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Daily Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


September 26, 1997

City ambulance service scrutinized

City officials critical of lack of fee collection by the Pecos Ambulance Service, call situation "pretty serious."


Staff Writer

PECOS, September 26, 1997 - It's a good thing that the Pecos Ambulance Service has the weight of the city behind it. "Any other business that operated like this would be bankrupt," said City Attorney Scott W. Johnson at the City Council meeting yesterday morning.

In the ambulance service's August report, of the $9,657 invoiced only $243 was collected. And in the July report, no money was collected out of $9,013 invoiced.

Steve McCormick, City Director, said he had been "assured of total collection by the end of October."

The situation which has been going on for three months is "pretty serious," according to Councilman Graham. The council asked Johnson to meet with Bill Cole, Chief of Pecos' Ambulance Service, and see what could be done to enhance the collections.

Mr. and Mrs. James P. Marquez came before the council seeking to lease property located at 1104 S. Cedar for a boxing club. The Marquez's, who want to lease the unoccupied property, are willing to do all needed repairs to the property but are not looking to buy at this point.

"We want to see what happens if we are approved," they said. James Marquez, who said that there is a boxing club in Pecos that is doing very well, wants to do something on his own for the community. He plans to open a business where "anyone can go and work out."

The council voted to move ahead with drafting a preliminary lease that then could be circulated to the other taxing entities. Should it be approved, the city would act as trustee on the lease.

The council approved a resolution to support the submission of a proposal to the Texas Youth Commission for the site location of a new juvenile corrections facility in Pecos. The Texas Youth Commission has plans to build a new 330 bed high restriction (fenced) juvenile facility and is accepting applications from Texas cities. An public hearing was held earlier this week in Pecos, and members of the community got firmly behind the proposal.

Included in the council's resolution of support is a list of incentives that will be furnished by the city should it be chosen as the location for the site. The city agreed to provide the water and sewer infrastructure to the facility; labor and equipment necessary to clear the construction site and grading for drainage (with the county); free water and sewer services for a period of one year; 10,000 cubic yards of fill material for construction of perimeter roads, parking areas, and building foundations (the county will provide an additional 10,000 cubic yards); and a cash incentive of $100,000.

The tax collection report (which shows an outstanding balance of $7,656), the municipal court report, and the city financials were all approved at the meeting.

West Texas Gas was awarded the bid for providing the city's fuel, after City Manager Kenneth Neal recommended the city "go with the low bid that provided multiple locations." The consideration of appointing a police reserve was tabled until an executive session could be called.

The Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school district provided their tax collection report for the months of October 1996 through August 1997, including errors and corrections of 1996 and prior tax rolls. Errors and corrections totaled $2,365.25.

Local Option Over-65 exemptions were listed at 15,000, medical disability exemptions at 10,000, and exemptions for disabled veterans up to 12,000.

Balmorhea HS celebrates homecoming

PECOS, September 26, 1997 - Balmorhea High School students began their homecoming activities this week with a pep rally on Thursday. The rally was held after the junior high game in the gym.

Today, the Balmorhea High School Student Council will hold a parade at 4:30 p.m. It will begin at the high school and end downtown at the gazebo.

The Business Professionals of America club will hold a reception for ex-students from 6 to 7:15 p.m. today in the school cafeteria. There will be food and fun at the reception, followed by the 1997 Homecoming game against Marathon.

The Balmorhea Bears will take on the Marathon Mustangs at 7:30 p.m. "It's just another game we have to win," said Balmorhea High School head football coach Ennis Erickson.

Reeves Co. exempt from welfare to work

PECOS, September 26, 1997 - Reeves and Loving counties are among the 25 Texas counties which are exempt from the 18-25 law, part of the Welfare Reform Law, which requires welfare recipients between those ages to work at least 20 hours per week, according to Rey Carreon, Client Self-Support Supervisor for the Texas Department of Human Services office in Pecos.

Under the Welfare Reform Law passed last year, 18.8 percent of Texas families on welfare are required to participate in a work-related program by Oct. 1. Carreon said that "whatever Texas is doing is working," because the statewide trend is a decrease in welfare case loads. In fact, Carreon said that new caseworkers are not needed here because of the declining number of welfare recipients.

During July and August, Carreon said, "we dropped 71 cases from Reeves and Winkler counties," which are the counties that he oversees. He said that 41 of those cases were in Reeves County.

"One of the things we run into here is we don't have a jobs program here, so we encourage clients to seek employment on their own," Carreon said.

Despite the lack of the jobs programs that more populated or industrial areas have, Carreon's office does have ways of helping welfare clients to find employment.

"We make copies of newspaper want ads, both from the Pecos Enterprise and the Odessa American. The school notifies us of their openings, and we encourage employers to notify us of their openings," Carreon said.

Carreon said that his office will do what they can to help employers who are looking for workers and willing to give welfare clients a chance. "We will even let employers use our conference room to conduct interviews," he said. If you are an employer with a vacancy to fill, you can contact Carreon at 445-5487.

Entries sought for county fall fair


Staff Writer

PECOS, September 26, 1997 - It's time to get those entries ready for the annual fall fair, according to organizers of the 1997 Reeves County Fall Fair.

The fair is scheduled for Oct. 9-11 and will feature many contests and exhibits housed inside the Reeves County Civic Center.

In division one, youth and adult foods, the categories are, cookies, candies, breads, pies, cakes and canned goods.

Division two is made up of adult and youth clothing and division three will be featuring youth and adult hobbies and crafts.

Division four is for youth needleworks and adult needleworks. Categories in this division include, quilts, knitted and crocheted articles and creative stitchery.

Youth and adult ceramics will be judged in division five and division six will have youth and adult photography.

Adult arts is set aside in division seven.

Best-of-show ribbons will be awarded along with honorable mention.

On Thursday, Oct. 9, at 9 a.m., all non-perishable entries will be accepted to be displayed.

Food entries will be accepted at the fair from 9-9:30 a.m., on Friday, Oct. 10. At 10 a.m., food and non-perishable entries will be judged.

Entries should be picked up on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Children invited to Chuckwagon Day

PECOS, September 26, 1997 - Chuckwagon Day will be held Saturday, Sept. 27, at the West of the Pecos Museum from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Fun activities such as singing and story telling will be a part of the morning.

Ages four and up are eligible to participate. Parents need to accompany their child to pre-register The deadline is Friday, Sept. 26.

There will be no charge to participate and everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information call the museum at 445-5076 or come by First and Cedar Streets, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Last hurdle cleared for radioactive dump

ANDREWS, Texas (AP) September 26, 1997 - Three opponents of a proposed low-level radioactive disposal site in Andrews County will not be allowed to participate in future hearings, possibly clearing the way for the project's approval.

Leslie Craven, an administrative law judge for the state Department of Health, has denied party status to Peggy Pryor, sister Melodye Pryor and Avis Fick, who are among the most vocal opponents to Waste Control Specialists' project near the New Mexico border.

The three would have been allowed to speak at another hearing regarding a TDH permit for storing radioactive material. They have 20 days to appeal Thursday's ruling.

If no appeal is filed, the judge likely will recommend that TDH issue the permit to WCS.

"We're not going to give up yet," said Ken Henderson, president of the small anti-waste group located in Andrews, which has been overwhelmingly supportive of the project. "Money's going to play a big part in it."

WCS president Ken Bigham said in a news release Thursday that the decision eliminated the "last major hurdle" before it can begin accepting low-level radioactive waste for treatment and storage.

Andrews is about 35 miles north of Odessa.

PBT administrators file grievances

PECOS, September 26, 1997 - Today, three Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD administrators filed separate grievances with the school district alleging unequal treatment in the way the district has compensated them and retaliated against them for their political activities, according to Ana Hernadez, one of the filers.

PBT Board President Frank Perea said today that he is not aware of the details of the grievance and would not comment on the issue.

"I heard they were going to file a grievance, but I haven't seen anything on it yet," said Perea. "I don't know that they have filed officially," he said.

Newly appointed PBT Interim Superintendent of Schools Ken Norris was not available for comment at press time.

Robert Hernandez, Juanita Davila, and Ana Hernandez all have at least 20 years with the district. The three allege there are PBT district employees, some who are not certified and some who have less years of administrative experience, being paid higher salaries or who have been given higher administrative positions.

"We don't want something for nothing," said Robert Hernandez, who was previously a principal but is currently the Pecos High School vice principal. "I have given 26 years of my life to this school district and I have many more years of experience in administration than others who are being paid much more money. I've been demoted and passed over for promotions for illegal reasons and I'm not going to take it any more."

"I have been retaliated against and had duties taken away from me because I have taken positions relating to the education of our children which were unpopular with certain board members," said Ana Hernandez, who was Special Education Director at one time but is now Director for Counselors and Gifted and Talented Program.

"I have been stripped of my duties relating to the Gifted and Talented Program because certain board members wanted total control over the program and I did not agree with that. The end result is that I have been targeted and subjected to illegal discrimination. My compensation level compared to that of others in the district with less years of experience speaks for itself. There is no valid reason for such a disparity," she said.

Juanita Davila, a principal with the district, said, "There are principals with this district who have significantly less years of administrative experience than me who are being paid much more than me. It's unfair and illegal. The school district's own documentation speaks for itself."

The three administrators hope to resolve their claims through the school district's grievance process. However, said Robert Hernandez, "We're ready to go to federal court if we have to, if that's what it takes to get treated fairly and equally."

The three administrators predict that other administrators will likewise be filing similar grievances soon. PBT Board President Perea stated the grievances will be handled according to procedure.

"We've handled other grievances before and if this one is filed we will handle it when it comes before the board," he said.

Perea explained that there are three levels to the procedure. Level one would be to file the grievance and present it to the principal of the school the employee is located at.

"But since these individuals are administrators, they will skip to level two, which is presented to the superintendent," said Perea.

Perea stated that if the superintendent does not find a grief or grant them a remedy, it then goes to level three, which is the board.

The board can then grant a remedy or relief, of what they are seeking, according to Perea.


PECOS, September 26, 1997 - High Thursday, 84, low this morning, 56. Temperatures will be climbing across Texas with clearing skies predicted for the weekend. But temperatures will remain pleasant. West Texas will have mostly sunny days and fair at night through Saturday. Lows tonight will be in the 40s in the mountains and in the 50s and 60s elsewhere across West Texas. Highs Saturday will be in the 80s and 90s.

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