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Thursday, June 4, 1998

TAAS failures below state average

From Staff and Wire Reports
More than 7,750 high school seniors didn't pass the Texas
Assessment of Academic Skills needed for their diplomas,
according to the Texas Education Agency. That's about 3.7
percent of the Class of 1998.

The total includes 6,999 students who failed one or more
parts of the reading, writing and math test on their latest
chance to take it last month. Another 755 failed previously
and didn't try again. The senior class includes 207,226

Locally, more Pecos High School seniors passed the TAAS this
year and were able to graduate with their class, and the
overall failure rate was about seven-tenths of a percent
below the state average.

"Only five students failed the test that kept them from
graduating," said PHS Counselor Pat Cobos. That works out to
a 3.03 percent failure rate.

Last year there were more students that didn't pass the
state test and in addition the scores were much better this
year, according to Cobos.

"Their scores improved also, especially in writing and
reading," said Cobos.

There were 165 graduates at this year's graduation

Any student who takes the TAAS during their sophomore year,
(10th grade) and passes it does not have to take it anymore.

Passing the TAAS is a requirement for graduation, according
to Cobos.

Students start taking the TAAS exam in the third grade,
while the senior level exit exam starts in 10th grade.
Students may attempt the TAAS as many as eight times before
their graduation date, beginning when they are sophomores.

Education Commissioner Mike Moses said on May 27 the numbers
are improving. He said 9,400 members of the 1996 class
hadn't passed by the end of their senior year, and the
number was 8,393 in 1997.

``The results are definitely moving in the right
direction,'' Moses said.

To receive a diploma, students must pass the exit-level TAAS
and complete all course work. Some special education
students are exempt.

Of the students who failed, many also may need to complete
course requirements, according to the Texas Education

Last month, the TEA announced that 11,122 students still
needed to pass the TAAS, including 1,481 in special
education classes. A total of 10,367 students have since
re-taken the test, and 3,368 passed.

Of those who took the test again, 740 were special-education
students. Of those passing, 155 students were in special

As for students who didn't re-take the test, TEA spokeswoman
Debbie Graves Ratcliffe said, ``We don't know for sure what

Some students moved out of state, some may have transferred
to private schools, a number likely dropped out and others
may opt to take the General Educational Development (GED)
test instead of trying for a traditional diploma.

Students who were failing their coursework and thus wouldn't
graduate anyway also may have decided not to take the exam,
she said.

School districts may award students a certificate of
completion if they have passed all their coursework but not
the TAAS. Students who still wish to receive a diploma may
continue taking the test after their formal schooling is
over. They only have to re-take portions of the test that
they have previously failed.

Education officials are considering whether the exit-level
test should be moved to the 11th grade and measure more

Senate Education Committee Chairman Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo,
has said the proposal would result in ``a more meaningful
test in terms of ensuring prospective employers of the value
of a high school degree in Texas.''

If he pushes the idea when the Legislature next meets in
1999, Bivins said he likely would recommend ending the
state's end-of-course tests in high school. He also said
students completing the more rigorous TAAS would be exempt
from the college test necessary to take upper-level courses.

Female juveniles growing violent

Staff Writer
Half of the 14 juveniles detained by law enforcement during
the month of May in Reeves County were female, according to
a report released by Reeves County Juvenile Court's
probation department.

Alberto Alvarez, the juvenile probation officer, called the
increased number of female offenders during the past three
months a "startling trend." The offenses are also growing
increasingly violent in nature.

From burglary to assault, females are becoming a larger part
of the juvenile problem than in any of the 17 years Alvarez
has been in Pecos.

"There is less parental supervision," said Alvarez. "More
girls at younger ages are out doing things without

But increased summer temperatures, said Alvarez, tend to
limit delinquent behavior. He expects to see the numbers of
juveniles referred, up to 28 last month (11 of which were
female), to decline during June, July and August.

Of the 14 juveniles detained this month, three were referred
for assault causing bodily injury; two for failure to attend
school; two for violation of court order; two for assault of
provocative/offensive nature; two for terroristic threat;
burglary of habitation; and one for home-related crisis

Of the 14 referrals, evenly split among males and females,
13 were classified as Hispanic and one as white.

The detention facility is currently detaining nine juveniles
from Reeves County and two juveniles from out-of-county.

The total number of juveniles on probation in the county is

Drought brings grasshoppers into town

Staff Writer
Bugs, bugs, bugs!

If you've seen more than your share of these "critters" you
can blame it on the weather, just like everything else.

Grasshoppers can pose a problem only if there is a "wet
spell" which will make their eggs hatch, according to
entomologist Rex Friesen.

Yet, the insects can be seen everywhere despite the fact
that there has been no "wet spell."

"I don't think that they are any worst than any other year,"
said Texas A&M Experiment station supervisor Mike Murphy.

"I think people are noticing them more, because since it's
so hot, they are coming in from out in the country," he said.

Murphy stated that it's so dry everywhere, the insects -
like other animals - are looking for some cool, wet spots to
take cover.

"It is heat-related because in this heat, not even insects
want to be out there," he said.

"Grasshoppers are cyclic anyway, they come and go according
to a cycle," stated Murphy. "But right now, since they are
coming into town they are more noticeable.

"I haven't heard from any farmers or ranchers that they are
posing a threat to crops, yet," said Murphy.

Friesen explained that grasshoppers are usually dormant
during the winter and the wet spring weather is what makes
their eggs hatch.

"The spring weather wakes up the eggs, makes them come out
and rainfall encourages this also," said Freisen.

Grasshoppers will be more noticeable in yards located next
to pastures, which are dry. "Since the pastures are so dry,
they will move in to seek the moisture," said Freisen.

"If we were to have more rain, then it would become a
problem to ranchers and even homeowners," said Freisen.

But at this time with the weather so dry, the only problem
will be in the wet, soggy areas or where homeowners water
their lawns more, according to Freisen.

Freisen also stated that he has heard no complaints from
local ranchers and farmers about the insects posing a

"They are usually not a threat to crops," he said.


The Big Bend Sentinel

MARFA, May 28, 1998 - A 34-year-old Marfa man suffered
severe burns when an explosion rocked his Marfa Housing
Authority apartment Monday. Roy Dean Crosby was in serious
condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock, a
hospital spokesperson said Wednesday morning. His condition
was upgraded from critical on Tuesday. Crosby suffered burns
on 17 percent of his body, mainly to his face and hands. The
top academic students of the Marfa High School Class of 1998
are Valedictorian Miriam Halpern and Salutatorian Lauran

The International

PRESIDIO, May 28, 1998 - City Council members may have
solved this year's $57,000 budget shortfall Tuesday night
with water and sewer rate increases, but the solution must
overcome Mayor Locho Nichols' anticipated veto of the
ordinance before it can take effect in June. Council members
approved almost $37,000 in general budget cuts and $23,000
in revenue rate increases suggested by Michael Kovacs, city

The McCamey News

McCAMEY, May 28, 1998 - The South Orient Railroad Company
has announced its intent to abandon the San Angelo-Presidio
Line. The line runs from near Mertzon to near Presidio. This
line runs a distance of about 307 miles thru Upton,
Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Irion, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan
and Tom Green counties. It includes the stations in Mertzon,
Barnhart, Big Lake, Rankin, McCamey, Baldridge, Sulphur
Jct., Fort Stockton, Belding, Hovey, Alpine, Paisano,
Tinaja, Plata, Casa Piedra and Presidio. The reasons for the
proposal abandonment are that the present and anticipated
overhead traffic volumes are not adequate to make the line
viable. The line is incurring substantial operating losses
with no reasonable possibility that these losses can be

Iraan News

IRAAN, May 28, 1998 - Members of the Altura Energy LTD's
Terrell Gas Plant recently donated $850 to the Sheffield
Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Service in a
new and unique program under which company employees have a
direct impact on where Altura's donations go.

The Monahans News

MONAHANS, May 28, 1998 - Seven Monahans children want back
the meteorite they retrieved when the space rock zipped over
their heads and smacked into a vacant lot on Sunday, March
22. Members of the Monahans City Council are considering the
request. The Council, pending a survey to determine exactly
where the rock fell, instructed City Manager David Mills to
place the question on the Council agenda for action on June


Mandina Botello

Mandina Martinez Botello, 68, of Fort Morgan, Colo., died
Wednesday, June 3 at her residence.

Services are scheduled for today in Ft. Morgan, Colo.

She was a former Pecos resident, a homemaker and a Catholic.

Botello was preceded in death by her husband Roberto G.

Survivors include three sons, Fred Botello of Colorado,
Robert Botello of Lubbock and Tony Botello of Iowa; six
daughters, Rosalinda Bowie, Thelma Lopez, Graciela, Bilma
and Diann Botello of Colorado, Yolanda Botello of Minnesota;
numerous grandchildren and nieces and nephews from Pecos.


High Wednesday 108. Low this morning 80. Forecast for
tonight: Fair. Low in the mid 60s. West wind decreasing to
10-20 mph, becoming northwest late. Friday, partly cloudy.
High in the mid 90s. Northwest wind 5-15 mph, becoming
northeast 10-20 mph in the afternoon.

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Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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