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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, April 9, 2004

School board forced to seek new turf bids

Staff Writer

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members will start the bidding process for the installation of synthetic turf and track renovations again, and start all over again. The board met Thursday to discuss several items including the synthetic turf and renovations to the track.

Three weeks ago, the board voted to award the bid to ProGreen, off Louisiana to put new turf in before the start of t he 2004 football season in August. However, the board on Thursday was forced to reverse that decision as the result of a letter they had received from the company.

“They wrote to us to let us know that they were unable to procure a bond or an alternate bond,” said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love.

The Eagle Stadium project drew eight bid proposals, according to architect Monte Hunter. Pro-Green, of Louisiana, was the lowest bidder, according to Hunter.

Hunter said that the district had $490,000 budgeted for the turf and the competitive sealed proposal submitted by Pro-Green was for $499,950.

He said he had spoken to the group and that they had agreed to do the turf and track of the basic proposal (synthetic turf field with structure coat track surface in D areas behind the end zones) and Alternate 2, (custom end zone text/color and graphic at center of field), for $490,000.

In addition, Pro-Green agreed to perform the work of Alternate 3 (structure coat on existing track) for $40,000.

Love said that he had written to ProGreen stating that Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD is terminating negotiations for a contract with them for the project.

“What the board has to do now is reject all competitive sealed proposals and start all over again,” said Love.

“The other bidders were way over budget,” he said.

“Didn’t you mention at the last board meeting that the closer you get to summer the price will go up?” said board member Lila Cerna.

“There’s still a lot of interest, even more interest than last time,” said Hunter. “Jeff (Brasee, architect involved in the project) is the one who knows more about this, but he has assured me that we might even receive more bids this time around,” he said. Hunter said that he was assured that they could do it within the district’s budget. “If it comes in too high, all you have to do is say we don’t want to do it,” he said.

Hunter said that drainage system was the main problem. “But there are some companies that say they can do the drain material cheaper,” he said.

He told the board he would start advertising again and bring back the proposals to the board for approval.

TASB officials discuss plan to search for superintendent

Staff Writer

Officials with the Texas Association of School Board were in Pecos on Thursday, to meet with Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members on the search for a new school superintendent.

Don Kellogg and Ernest Martinez, with TASB were on hand to discuss plans for the search of a new superintendent for the district, after the board accepted the retirement of Superintendent Don Love last month.

Board members approved the retirement Love, effective at the end of the current school year, and at that time opted to partner with TASB in their search for a new one. Kellogg introduced himself and Martinez and spoke to the board briefly about their expertise, background and network.

“We’ll want to involve the staff and community as much as possible,” said Kellogg. Kellogg told the group that they would do all the legwork for them, bring in the candidates that would be interviewed.

“The first step is doing the profiling,” said Kellogg. “Once we get past the profiling session, we’ll seek applicants for you, and we do the recruiting.”

Kellogg said that they would put it out on the website and advertise the position. “We’ll also be with you for a year after the superintendent has been on the job,” said Kellogg. “We’ll help you with the transition.”

The profiling is to show TASB what the school district wants in a superintendent. Kellogg said that they would be in Pecos on April 19-20, to talk to the administration, high school students, community leaders and then plan an open forum to discuss the item. “We’ll talk to anybody that wants to about their new superintendent,” said Kellogg. “We’ll have that report to you on April 26,” said Kellogg.

Kellogg said that they would then review the applications and pick out five applicants to be interviewed. “We think five is a good number,” he said.

That number will then be reduced to three, and those would come to Pecos for interviews with the board.

Kellogg said that they would also be asked to bring their spouses. “You need to meet their spouses and they need to meet you,” said Kellogg.

After the superintendent of the district’s choice is picked, Kellogg said that he would ask three board members to visit their district and talk to their former administration. “We’ll see their former position and talk to some of their principals and staff,” he said. Application deadline is May 21, according to Kellogg.

“Our goal will be that on June 17, you will be 100 percent certain that you have found the person you want as superintendent,” said Kellogg.

Along with a search for Love’s replacement, board members agreed to start the search for a new high school principal right away. Current principal Danny Rodriguez also announced last month he would retire at the end of the current school year.

“We’ll be more than happy to interview and bring in recommendations,” said Love. “We can advertise in San Angelo, Odessa and Lubbock,” he said.

Love said that the salary being offered, $67,682 is a salary that compares across West Texas.

“The high school CIC (Campus Improvement Committee) will sit in on interviews and then bring back the number one choice to the board,” said Love.

“The new superintendent might have someone in mind,” he said. “But if you waited too long, they might have trouble getting out of their current position.”

“I feel it would be more advantageous to act on it now,” said board member Steve Valenzuela.

Board members agreed to search for a new high school principal immediately.

Volunteers aid in Toyah flood clean-up effort

Staff Writer

Cleanup efforts are continuing in Toyah following Sunday’s flooding from a broken levee west of town, while Texas Department of Public Safety troopers plan to continue heavy patrols of the Interstate 20 detour through Saragosa over the Easter holiday weekend.

Reeves County Emergency Management Coordinator Ricky Herrera said a formal declaration of Reeves County as a disaster area wouldn’t come until sometime next week, though state officials did announce on Thursday that members of the Air Land Emergency Response Team (ALERT) were arriving in Toyah to help with cleanup efforts.

Heavy rains over the weekend caused the levee on the northwest side of town to break early Sunday morning, sending a three-foot high wall of water through the community. Later on Sunday, floodwaters in Salt Draw east of Toyah caused the eastbound bridge on Interstate 20 over the draw to collapse, forcing closure of the highway between Toyah and Pecos.

Captain David Jodrey, Training Director for the ALERT group out of Big Sandy, said a total of 20 members of the volunteer group were assisting in clean-up efforts. “We’ll be here until the mayor says she doesn’t need us any more.”

ALERT is a religious-based non-profit academy that trains emergency workers. The group includes volunteers from 13 different states along with one from Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific.

“Everything they give is donated,” said Gary Hargrove, with the DPS Emergency Management Services. “When I made a phone call they responded in 45 minutes and said they’re be on their way.

The group is staying overnight in Pecos. “I talked to Mr. (Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Superintendent Don) Love and he allowed us to open up the old gym to set them up for the night,” Herrera said. “They needed facilities to take showers and get cleaned up, and the Red Cross provided cots for them.”

Food for the volunteers is being provided during the day by members of the Odessa chapter of the Salvation Army, which along with the Red Cross have a mobile unit and workers operating out of the Toyah Senior Citizens Center.

Herrera sent the request for a disaster declaration to the Division of Emergency Management of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office on Wednesday, and said he met with Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo on Thursday to discuss the situation, while DEM officials were surveying the damage in Toyah.

“We’re expecting to hear back from them next week,” Herrera said. “There are other counties in the state that were affected, so they have to work with them. But they’ll notify us as soon as the governor’s office gets the report of the damage assessment they did yesterday.”

Weekend rains also caused flooding in counties southeast of Del Rio over the weekend. Jack Colley, the state’s DEM coordinator, said in a report Thursday afternoon that aid workers also have been to those communities.

Herrera said nine Toyah single family homes were listed as having major damage by the state assessment team, while four had minor damage and seven others were affected. Aside from the ALERT Team members and others from outside the area, Herrera said, “We still needing people to come out here and get houses cleaned up, so people will be able to move back into their homes.

“Right now they’ve got water damage, so they need people to help pull out wet carpet and move things around so they can clean-up,” he said. Most of the houses north of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks suffered some type of water or mud damage from the floods.

“Toyah really appreciates the emergency personnel,” said Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy Damon Compton, whose house was one of the ones heavily damaged by the flood. “Everybody was real quick to respond. It was just wonderful.”

Herrera said along with the DPS and sheriff’s department personnel, EMS crews, fire crews from Balmorhea, members of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force helped out with the search and rescue efforts after the flood, while the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provided boats to help get through the three-foot deep waters to evacuate people from their homes.

Meanwhile, Toyah residents still face about a 25 mile detour to get to Pecos, while Interstate 20 drivers will have to go at least several more days detouring along I-10 and State Highway 17, until repairs can be made to the surviving westbound bridge at Salt Draw.

TxDOT expects the bridge to reopen to westbound traffic next week, after which the bridge will be converted to two-way use, and eastbound traffic will again be able to use the Interstate in late April.

DPS troopers increased patrols on Highway 17 earlier this week after reports of speeding and dangerous driving. “Traffic’s doing pretty good on Highway 17 right now, and we’ve still got an increased effort with Eastern coming up,” said DPS Capt. Richard Jacobs. “Seventeen is the main thoroughfare for Easter drivers going south,” for area residents visiting Mexico for the holiday.

Jacobs said the 30-mile two-lane detour route is handling between 6,000 and 8,000 vehicles per day that normally use Interstate 20. He said he wasn’t sure what the normal daily traffic count was for the highway, which connects Pecos with Balmorhea, Marfa and Ojinaga, Mex.

Sunrise service Easter morning north of Barstow

Barstow will be celebrating Easter with its annual special Easter Sunrise Service, Sunday, April 11, on the hill north of town, on Farm Road 516.

Everybody is invited to attend.

Lions Club holds Family Health Day Saturday

The Pecos Lions’ Club will be holding its annual Family Health Day beginning Saturday morning at Maxey Park.

The event will include a number of activities for both children and adults designed to promote health, and Lions club members will also give out T-shirts during the event, which will continue through Saturday afternoon.


High Thursday 78. Low this morning 51. Forecast for tonight…Partly cloudy. Lows near 50. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Cooler. Highs in the upper 60s. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Saturday night: Cloudy with a chance of rain and isolated thunderstorms. Lows near 40. Chance of rain 20 percent. Sunday: Mostly cloudy. A chance of rain. Highs in the upper 50s. Chance of rain 30 percent. Sunday night: Mostly cloudy. Lows near 40. Monday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 60. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40.


Marvin Frazer

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