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April 11, 1997

School board hears dress code complaints

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Staff Writer
PECOS, April 11, 1997 - The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board
literally played to a standing room only crowd Thursday night, during
the opening portion their 4½ hour meeting.

Many local residents were in attendance as the meeting was called to
order in anticipation of the Audiences item on the agenda, where the
public is given an opportunity to speak. Most of those in attendance
were concerned about the new dress code implemented in February at Pecos
High School.

Only four of the school board's seven members - board president Linda
Gholson, Hugh Box, Daisy Roquemore and Earl Bates - attended the
meeting. Absent on Thursday were Alberto Alvarez, Frank Perea, and Steve

Before the Audiences item on the agenda was called, Gholson read a short
statement to those gathered, which explained the terms under which
public comment is allowed at a school board meeting.

Gholson said a group of five or more people should have a representative
to speak for them, that there would be no personal attacks permitted.
She a;sp stressed the fact that the board members could not reply to
anything that was said.

Following the statement, Louis Matta rose to speak on behalf of a group,
which he said numbers some 150 parents and community members and has
serious concerns about the dress code changes, implemented during the
board's Feb. 27 meeting.

"Everything's been status quo since Feb. 27," Matta told the board,
adding "we've had a hard time finding out who's in charge," referring to
a general reluctance on the part of many at the high school to say
exactly who came up with the dress code revisions.

Matta said the group is in favor of strong discipline and has no problem
with many of the provisions of the dress code, such as banning pants so
loose that they ride low enough to expose a student's underwear.
However, he said that because the new code sparked student protests, "we
feel its been detrimental to discipline at the high school."

"Today as the school day ended, you still had a lot of teacher versus
teacher controversy," Matta continued. "The only way a dress code will
work is if you have a community consensus." He then requested that the
issue be put on the agenda at a future school board meeting.

Matta also sought to dispel a rumor circulating over the past few weeks
that the school colors would be changed to black. A similar rumor
plagued Fort Stockton High School last year.

"That won't happen," says Matta, adding that the school colors will
remain are purple and gold.

When Gholson asked if anyone else wished to make a comment before the
board, Pecos High School special education teacher Audra Lozano spoke
about a student who had come to her earlier in the day with a slip
seeking to drop out of school.

Lozano told the board that the student, Gilbert Fuentez, was not a
discipline problem, and is a good student who "gives 110 percent," and
just wants to be able to wear shirts untucked, due to being a little

She then related the current dress code issue to the one she was
involved in when she was attending Pecos High School, and students
wanted the right to wear shorts to school. Now, shorts are allowed,
provided they aren't too short; three inches above the knee is the

No other members of the public sought to comment after Lozano, and many
in the audience filed out of the boardroom at the conclusion of the
audiences session.

The board could not take any action on the dress code Thursday, since it
was not a posted item on the agenda.

Several Barstow residents were also present Thursday, to hear the
board's discussion on the restructuring study report.

"It is good to see some of the Barstow people here...this is in the
discussion stages only," said Gholson. Barstow residents met with
Gholson, Bates and Superintendent Mario Sotelo on April 1 to discuss
reports the district would try and close Barstow Elementary.

Gholson emphasized that, "We do appreciate the concern of the Barstow
residents... They are talked about most often, but are not the only
school under consideration for restructuring." Restructuring plans come
about in the wake of Senate Bill 1, passed in 1995, which would cut the
amount of tax that school districts could collect from homeowners by
half, to fifty cents per $100 valuation; greatly reducing incoming

There is a two-year guarantee that school districts will get as much
revenue as last year, then there are no more guarantees. Sotelo told
those assembled that the bill also tries to reduce all teacher salaries
to base pay.

"We have to try all the options that we have and try everything," said
Gholson. She also told the Barstow residents, "We will have a meeting
sometime, somewhere, soon."

Any formal action could only be taken with at least four school board
members present, and a meeting would have to be called, with notice
posted 72 hours in advance.

In other business, the administrators job descriptions were approved
unanimously. Board members were told the tax collector is the only
administrator's position without a completed written job description.

Discussion on plans for the West Pecos Gym and warehouse was postponed
by the board, as were action on use of a drug-sniffing dog by P-B-T, and
district inventory discussions.

Enhanced curriculum for grades 1 through 6 was approved. The classes
will be primarily designed to meet the needs of the bright,
overachieving, self-motivated, independent student. There is to be a
maximum of 22 students per classroom.

Box asked if this will mean hiring another teacher, and was told by
Sotelo that principals don't anticipate more than one class per grade.

Parents must provide written requests for their child to be considered
for the enhanced program. Requests will be accepted April 14-25.

New teacher appraisal system training was approved. Only training was
approved, not the appraisal system itself. Sotelo wants to have all
administrators plus one teacher from each campus trained in the
Professional Development and Appraisal System.

The Texas State Teachers Association had previously asked to address the
P-B-T school board, and had a representative there to voice their
organization's objections to this system. The main objections were that
each individual teacher is evaluated on factors beyond their control,
such as district-wide TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) test
results, as well as attendance and dropout rates for the whole district;
and the removal of local control over teacher appraisal.

Granting a 10 percent local option homestead exemption was
approved, as it has been in the past. This exemption is granted in
conjunction with the automatic state-mandated exemptions offered by the
Texas Constitution and the Texas Property Tax Code.

During discussion on the roofing bid on PHS building B, it was decided
to reopen the bidding process because both bids submitted to district
were more than double the engineer's bid submitted by Frank X. Spencer
and associates. Neither of those bids includes Spencer's $16,000 fee.

Board member Earl Bates also raised the point that the higher bid of
$291,870 was from an air-conditioning company, The Darville Company of
Odessa. The other bid, of $281,046, came from Midwest Roofing Company,
also of Odessa. Spencer's estimate was $134,500.

He told the board that some expenses could be shaved from the lower bid,
but Bates questioned whether or not they could approve a bid at the
lower amount with the deletable expenses deducted, when the written
estimate that was submitted is higher. Spencer's recommendation was to
re-advertise for bids if the school district can wait another 60 days to
have the roof fixed.

In the bus fleet discussion, it was reported that the bus budget is over
budget by $17,500. Bates brought up the need for a small bus with air
conditioning as transportation for special education students who are
taken to Odessa.

Budget amendments for the 1996-97 school year were approved. Because of
natural gas bills that were higher than expected when the budget was
set, it was agreed to transfer money from non-budgeted funds to pay the
higher utility bills. That money won't be spent on something else if it
is not used for the gas bills.

Summer school was approved. Bilingual pre-K and kindergarten will be at
Pecos Kindergarten. A big portion of the funding for this program will
be reimbursed by the state of Texas in the fall. Migrant grades
kindergarten through 8 will take place at Bessie Haynes Elementary.
Accelerated grades 1 through 8 will meet at Bessie Haynes Elementary and
at Zavala Middle School. The summer food program will be moved from
Zavala to Bessie Haynes, which has a bigger dining room to accommodate
the large numbers of children attending summer school.

The attendance policy FDD Local was revised to reduce the number of
consecutive number of days that a student may be absent before
withdrawal procedures may be initiated from 20 to 10. Low attendance
rates lower state funding for the district.

The policy change will not affect excused absences; rather it is
intended to get students who are no longer attending the school off the
roll faster.

Three different school calendars were approved for the 1997-98 school
year, one each for 185 six- and seven-day school calendars, which leaves
the school district some scheduling flexibility. There will be school on
Memorial Day again in the 1997-98 school year.

Other items approved were the cheerleading/mascot constitution and a
request to use the Pecos High School auditorium for the Golden Girl
revue. All agenda items that were approved Thursday evening were
approved by unanimous votes.

There will be a name-clearing meeting for Coach Brandon Lee at a future
date. Lee was suspended last month with pay as junior high tennis coach
by the board.

Items requested for the next agenda were a recommendation for the
Superintendent on the dress code issue, the PHS building B bids and
everything that was skipped at this meeting.

The next P-B-T ISD school board meeting will be held on Thursday, May 8.

Council drops drilling new Worsham well

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Staff Writer
PECOS, April 11, 1997 - In its second meeting of the day Thursday, the
Pecos City Council took the advice of their grant administrator and
scrapped plans to drill a water well in Worsham Field.

Carlos Colina-Vargas, who arrived late from Austin due to Midland
International Airport's fog shutdown Wednesday night, said that a grant
request for replacement of part of the Ward County transmission line
would gain more points in the competition without the well added.

The council had earlier agreed to seek money for both the pipeline and a
well, based on a hydrologist's recommendation that the Ward County
pipeline be kept in good repair for future use and that a new well be
drilled in Worsham Field to ensure current water supplies during times
of peak demand.

The new well would replace one that collapsed about six months ago.

Details of an application for a planning grant were worked out with
Colina-Vargas, and he was given the go-ahead to implement it.

That grant would pay for a study by the planning and zoning commission
of the master plan that needs to be updated.

Recent requests for exceptions to the zoning ordinances and for a change
in zones that would allow beer and wine sales and numerous other types
of business in what is now a restricted area of South Eddy Street
prompted the commission and council to consider such a study.

Norley Sirott, co-owner of Pecos Autoplex and other property in the
Parker Heights Addition, sought council clarification of the C-1 zoning
code as it relates to amusements and a car wash with fuel sales.

On the advice of the council and City Attorney Scott Johnson, Sirott
applied for an exception to the C-1 zone for a bingo parlor and games

City Secretary Geneva Martinez said that Sirott did not immediately
withdraw applications for a change from C-1 to C-2 zone, but has not
paid the filing fee.

Sirott said that he and Dr. Norman Harris are purchasing the Showtime
and Pizza Pro building for a bingo parlor, restaurant and arcade. They
are negotiating with Chevron to operate an automatic drive-through car
wash with fuel pumps on the site of the former Fina station on the front
of the Pecos Autoplex lot.

Planning for Cantaloupe Pageant underway

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Staff Writer
PECOS, April 11, 1997 - As long as young people have fun participating
in a tradition, that custom or practice will live on.

It seems as though the Pecos tradition of the Little Miss Cantaloupe
Pageant will continue for years to come because the young girls that
join in the event - and the adults who help produce it - get to have so
much fun.

The Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant has been a part of Pecos tradition
since the early 1980s. This year for the first time, the pageant will be
held in conjunction with the 1997 Golden Girl Revue.

Both events will help kick-off a week of activities including Night in
Old Pecos, the West of the Pecos Rodeo parade and the annual four-day
West of the Pecos Rodeo.

The Little Miss Cantalopue pageant allows young girls enrolled in
kindergarten through the second grade in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school
district to get up on stage and perform a dance routine in front of
their relatives and the rest of the community. But they also get to do
much more.

"Before the pageant, all the girls get a week of practice together,"
said Brandy Owen, President of the Women's Division of the Pecos Chamber
of Commerce and in charge of the pageant for the past two years.

"Last year we also had a pizza party and toured the cantaloupe shed so
the girls could see what that was all about," she said. "The girls who
enter the pageant have a week full of fun with other girls, learning the
production and being on stage."

This year the entrants in the Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant, that will
be held June 27, will perform a production number to the tune of "High
Hopes," according to Owen.

The girls will sing in a chorus together, do a dance and walk across the
stage. Contestants will be judged by an out-of-town panel who will score
the girls 50 percent on a question-and-answer session prior to the
pageant and 50 percent on their stage presence.

The winner and runner-up will be crowned that evening. The winner will
receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond and the runner-up a $50 bond.

But the pageant is only part of the fun.

Entrants who pay the $25 fee and present their contest application and a
picture to the chamber by May 9 will be eligible to participate in the
chamber's style show on May 17, Owen said.

"For many of the girls the style show will be their first on stage in
front of a crowd experience," she said. "This is fun for them as well as
good practice for the pageant."

The Little Miss Cantaloupe title holder will have the opportunity to
represent Pecos at many community events such as the rodeo, chamber
functions and parades.

Last year 10 girls participated in the pageant but in the past as many
as 25 or more have entered, Owen said.

Lindsey Shaw, 8-year-old daughter of Brent and Tracy Shaw, took first
place at the annual event last year. Michelle Wein came in as runner-up.
She is the daughter of Pat and Becky Wein.

Most of the ticket sales from the pageant will benefit the West of the
Pecos Museum, according to Owen. She said last year's event allowed the
Women's Division to present the museum with a check for $2,600. In past
years the pageant has raised as much as $5,000 for the museum.

Applications for the pageant and more information can be picked up at
the chamber office located at 111 South Cedar. Or, call the chamber at
445-2406 for information.

Lubbock area cleaning up from twisters

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From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, April 11, 1997 - A series of tornadoes raked the South Plains
last night and early today, killing at least one person, destroying
mobile homes and toppling trees and power lines.

Funnel clouds were reported in at least nine South Plains counties -
Lubbock, Lynn, Swisher, Dawson, Hale, Lamb, Crosby, Garza and Dickens.
High winds kicked up dust in Pecos, making dirt stick where a few
drops of rain fell on windshields, and dropped temperatures 50 degrees
from Thursday's high of 89. The overnight low temperature was 39 degrees.

A man died about 9:45 p.m. Thursday, when a twister hit a double-wide
mobile home near White River Lake, about 15 miles south of Crosbyton and
about 40 miles east of Lubbock.

Hail as large as baseballs fell as firefighters and deputies from
Dickens and Crosby counties sought to rescue the man, officials said.
The continuing threat of tornadoes grounded rescue helicopters.

``It was totally destroyed,'' Janie Walker, a dispatcher with the
Dickens County sheriff's office, said of the mobile home two miles west
of White River Lake. ``His wife got out, but she's been cut up pretty

The woman was taken to Crosbyton Hospital, where she was treated for
serious cuts, said Pat Vasquez, director of Emergency Medical Services.

The couple wasn't immediately identified.

Other mobile homes were damaged by storms in the Lubbock area.

Victor Rodriguez and his wife looked at a friend's damaged home.

``That's where the living room was,'' he said, pointing a flashlight at
a concrete foundation. ``This was where the garage was, and their car
was inside.''

The car hadn't been found.

Rescuers used flashlights to search under fallen walls and trees after a
tornado ripped apart six mobile homes northeast of Lubbock late
Thursday. Only one person in that community suffered minor injuries,
Beverly Morton, a Lubbock County sheriff's dispatcher, said this
morning. Electricity for the area was knocked out.

Hale County chief deputy Richard ``Smokey'' Sims watched the twister rip
through the Beerwinkles' barn, skip across the highway and barely miss a
mobile home on the other side.

``It blew that metal all over the place,'' Sims said. ``I bet it scared
that guy in the trailer over there. It went right over there by him.''

In Tulia, about halfway between Lubbock and Amarillo, dozens of
residents huddled in the basement of the Swisher County Courthouse as
warning sirens wailed. Hundreds more were at the county Medical Building
and an elementary school before they were able to slosh their way home
through 5 inches of rain.

Five indictments returned

by fed grand jury Thursday

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Staff Writer
PECOS, April 11, 1997 - Federal grand jurors on Thursday returned five
indictments naming eight defendants on charges ranging from fraud to
importing and possessing marijuana for distribution.

Hector Manuel Marquez-Aguirre is charged with importing marijuana and
with possession with intent to distribute marijuana on April 2.

Benjamin Montoya-Hernandez, 27, of Las Cruces, N.M., is charged with
possession with intent to distribute marijuana on April 3.

Bardomiano Vargas Alcantar, 31, of Dallas is charged with possession
with intent to distribute marijuana on April 4.

Octavio Hernandez-Banuelos, Oralia Trevino, Irene Luna and Jorge
Saldana-Lara are charged with five counts of transporting aliens on
March 12.

David Vega-Montes, 23, of Mexico, is charged with fraud and misuse of an
immigration document - a resident alien identification card.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stuart Platt received the indictments. He also
held hearings in a number of cases and accepted guilty pleas.

Oscar Muro Valdez, 36, of 1900 Rhodes St., pleaded guilty to illegal
entry after deportation. He was arrested Nov. 20, 1996 in Hudspeth

The case was referred to Senior Judge Lucius Bunton for sentencing. Muro
could be sentenced to 20 years in prison, plus five years supervised
release and a $250,000 fine, because he had been convicted of an
aggravated felony prior to being deported, according to court records.

A week of successful interviews with the Texas Commission on Jail
Standards (TCJS), the Bureau of Prisons and a financial organization has
placed the expansion of the Reeves County Detention Center about 2
months ahead of schedule, according to Judge Jimmy Galindo.
As a result, the TCJS has given the go-ahead to county commissioners to
proceed to the design development phase of the expansion. Reeves County
commissioners will discuss the design and specification development for
the planned expansion of the county detention center during Monday's
commissioners' court session beginning at 10 a.m.
The proposed expansion of the detention center will add 300 beds, 30 new
jobs and about $4 million to the county economy, Galindo said.
Other items on the commissioner's court agenda for Monday include:
An agreement between the county and the Toyah Fire Department.
An Interlocal agreement between the county and the City of Toyah.
Agreement between Reeves and Andrews County for the detention of
juvenile offenders.
Rental agreement between Xerox and the county for a copy machine.
Madera Valley Water Supply Corporation 1997-98 TCDP Grant Resolution.
Resolution to amend contract for additional septic tank installations.
Reports from county departments.
Budget amendments and line-item transfers.
Personnel and salary changes.
Minutes from previous meetings.
Semi-monthly bills.


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PECOS, April 11, 1997- High Thursday 89, low last night 39. Tonight, mostly cloudy. Low 30 35. Northeast wind 10-20 mph. Saturday, mostly cloudy. High around 50. Northeast wind 10-20 mph, becoming southeast.
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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