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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday, August 26, 1998

Board approves budget, $1.50 tax rate

Staff Writer
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members adopted the fiscal
1998-99 tax rate, with a 10 cent increase, at a special
meeting held Monday evening.

Total tax rate was set at $1.50 per $100 valuation, up from
previous years, due to the financial crisis the district has
been experiencing. An ordinance levying a tax rate for the
district for the tax year 1998 noted that $1.431 will be
used for the purpose of maintenance and operation and $.069
will be for the payment of principal and interest on debts
of the district.

"I think this is something that needed to be done and I hope
you maintain it next year also," said teacher Ronnie Daniel.

Daniel said he and other teachers approve the new tax rate
and applauded the board in making that difficult decision.

"Right now teachers have more work to do and we are bearing
the majority of the burden," said Daniel. "But we certainly
don't want to cut the quality of education."

Becky Heard, president of the local TSTA, also applauded the
board's decision. "I feel we need the $1.50 to stabilize our
financial situation and this is something we should have
done last year," she said.

Daniel told board members that five or six years ago taxes
were 25 percent more than last year and as a businessman as
well as a teacher, felt that it was time we all pay what is
due. "Hopefully someday we can get in a position to reward
the teachers and those people out there that need it and
deserve it."

Daniel stated that it was time to get ready for the future
and build back up. "I'm certainly in favor of this and I
want my kids to have the quality education that deserve and
need," he said.

The new tax rate was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Louis
Matta casting the only vote against the new rate. Matta had
voted "no" on all previous occasions in decisions on the new
tax rate, the first increase by the P-B-T district since

Board members also adopted a budget for the 1998-99 school
year. "There was $1.7 million cut out of budget, something
we've been working on in trying to make ends meet," said
superintendent Don Love.

The district's spending dropped from $12 million to $10.5
million. Of the cuts required to reach the $1.7 million
mark, Love said, "Most of that was personnel."

In other action, Board members approved a new insurance
company for school employees during Monday's meeting.
HealthSmart will be the network the district will be using
with agents Howard Pollard and Bob Painter. R.H.
Administrators, Inc., Rick Holder president is the third
party administrator.

Rates for school employees will be for employee only $180;
employee plus one dependent $350 (employee pays $170);
employee plus two or more dependents, $380 (employee pays

Deductible will be $500 per individual and $1,500 per family
and will carry a prescription card that may be used at all
participating pharmacies with 90 day supplies of
prescriptions made available by mail order.

Effective date will the first day of the month following the
employees employment date.

Insurance representatives will meet with the staff at each
of the schools to outline their proposal and sign up

Under the same topic board members voted to eliminate life
insurance covered by New Era.

New assignments included Patrice Mosser as a Pecos
Elementary third grade teacher and a reassignment, Sherry
Holland from Lamar Middle School special education teacher
to Pecos Kindergarten teacher.

In the technology report, board members opted to upgrade
Pecos Elementary's library. Pecos Elementary Library
automation will be scheduled during the 1998-99 school year,
with discussion between campus administration, Central
administration and the Tech Department to decide to optimal
completion range (least intrusive time for students and
staff) for the work to be completed.

Cotton, onions do OK despite drought

Contributing Writer
Drawing the curtain closed on the local summer produce
season for this year, the last onions in the Pecos area were
processed this past Friday, while the last cantaloupes came
in on Saturday.

"They'll be planting again next year," says A.B. Foster of
Pecos Cantaloupe Co., referring the produce farmers in the
Pecos area.

Describing the 1998 season, Foster said that for the most
part it was typical. The overall quality of the crop turned
out good, and it was one of the largest production years in
history, he added.

"The extreme heat cost the produce farmers a slight
reduction in per acre yield compared to other peak years,"
Foster said, "but prices were stronger, so financially, the
growers will come out about the same."

Two onion sheds were operated this year by Pecos Cantaloupe
Sheds, Inc. An older shed located at the north end of Willow
Street has been in use for several years. A new onion
processing shed was inaugurated this year at 2101 Bickley,
replacing a facility south of Interstate 20, which was
retired. Also, processing at the cantaloupe shed on Bickley
was begun this year.

According to Clay Taylor, who manages the operation of the
sheds, the new facilities all worked very efficiently with
few problems. The current plant is capable of handling
adequate volume for the number of acres grown. No need for
expansion is anticipated, but all facilities will be
maintained in anticipation of a good crop next year.

"Now it's time to clean up, repair our equipment and get
ready for another year," said Taylor, "and maybe take a day
off this Christmas."

Sun Up Produce of Donna, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley,
operated a cantaloupe shed in Pecos for a short time this
summer. Their operation closed on July 17.
Still to come this fall will be the area's bell pepper
harvest, followed by the annual cotton harvest, starting
sometime in late November or early December.

Grand jury takes no action on leader

Staff Writer
Commander Tom Finley and his staff are off the hook for
alleged misconduct while operating the Permian Basin Drug
Task Force.

Ector County grand jurors on Tuesday wrapped up an
investigation of the task force and issued a two-paragraph
report stating they will take no action other than to "urge
the community to put this matter behind it and ask all law
enforcement and other government officials to work and
cooperate with the Governor's Office in establishing a new
drug task force as quickly as possible."

Grand jurors said they appreciate the hard work and thorough
investigation done by Sgt. Curtis Becker of the Texas
Rangers and John Neal of the Texas Attorney General's office.

"We believe both offices conducted the investigation and
Grand Jury presentation in a professional and fair manner,"
the report said.

Ector County District Attorney John Smith echoed the grand
jury's sentiments and said the Department of Public Safety's
drug task force is ready to go to work.

Based in Midland, the task force will be headed by David
Bradshaw, with retired Capt. Glen Lisso as vice-commander,
Smith said. "They hope to have it up and running in 10 days."

But Gov. George W. Bush still hopes that some local county
will agree to host a task force and let the chief of police,
district attorney or sheriff manage it and choose a
commander, Smith said.

"I think the governor would disband the DPS task force (if
that happened)," Smith said. And there is still a lot of
interest a local task force. "Some folks are being
recalcitrant. They got mad over Finley being fired," he said.

Smith said he hopes that a local task force can be organized
within a year or so. Meanwhile, counties that agree to work
with the DPS task force will get a free ride for the first
nine months.

Each county will assign one officer to the task force, and
the state grant will refund his or her salary 100 percent,
Smith said. After nine months, the county would pay 30
percent of the salary unless the task force becomes
self-sustaining and pays all the costs.

Tigua's suit is rejected by Bunton

Associated Press Writer
EL PASO -- The Tigua Indians' casino may be in a precarious
position again after a judge dismissed a suit aimed at
thwarting Gov. George W. Bush's campaign against what he
deems illegal tribal gambling.

U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton of Pecos found earlier
this month that both the governor and the state were immune
under the Constitution's 11th Amendment, which bars citizens
from suing a state in federal court unless that immunity is
previously waived.

The suit asked the court to stop Bush from saying the
tribe's operations are illegal and to make a final
determination of the casino's legality.

``Gov. Bush is pleased the court dismissed and found no
merit in a suit that challenged the governor for simply
doing his job and enforcing the law against casino
gambling,'' Bush spokeswoman Linda Edwards said Monday.

She said Bush will continue the fight, which has included a
request to Attorney General Dan Morales to pursue a federal
injunction to stop any illegal games at the Tiguas' Speaking
Rock Casino.

Tigua attorney Tom Diamond said the tribe was surprised
Bush's office asked to have the suit dismissed because it
was seeking a resolution to a long-running dispute. He said
the tribe will appeal.

``When we filed this suit, it was at his invitation, we
thought, because he kept insisting we were operating
illegally,'' Diamond said. ``(Now) I don't know whether he
wants this issue decided or not.''

Bunton's order, issued Aug. 7 but only recently made public
by the tribe, was the Tiguas' second court loss in their
five-year-old battle with the state over casino gambling and
it could have significant consequences.

After the suit was filed May 26, the Attorney General's
office seemed to back off as it awaited the court's ruling
on the legality of the Tiguas' games, which include slot
machines, blackjack and poker.

``That lawsuit had the potential of answering the question,
but it didn't turn out that way,'' said Attorney General's
spokesman Ward Tisdale.

Nevertheless, Tisdale said, Morales' office was still
working with the governor's legal counsel to determine the
proper course of action.

The process will continue with the Tiguas seeming to have
lost a potential trump card.

Besides seeking to stop Bush's statements about the casino,
the tribe was also hoping to get a final say on their
operations, which generate $60 million in gross annual
revenues and are the cornerstone of the tribe's vigorous
economic development efforts.

The tribe has used the proceeds to begin construction on a
large housing development, lay the groundwork for opening a
convenience store chain and buy a ranch that may be
converted into a tourism resort.

The Tiguas contend the Texas Lottery opened the door for
them to operate the casino under a Congressional act that
recognized them as a tribe and allows them to conduct any
activities not prohibited by the state.

Tribal attorneys argue specifically that slot machines and
the lottery are both identical games of chance built around
random number generators.


On June 13, Pecos Police responded to a Burglary of a Motor
Vehicle which occurred earlier in the parking lot of the
Reeves County Civic Center. Complainant stated that a person
or persons had taken a cellular phone out of his work truck.
The phone is described as a NEC talk time 800 and belonged
to the Town of Pecos City. Anyone with information on
this crime or any other crime call "Crime Stoppers" at
445-9898 and you will remain anonymous...Thank you.


Inez Stafford

Inez Richmond Stafford, 85, died Sunday, Aug. 23, in San
Diego, Calif. from complications following surgery on July

Graveside services will be held in San Antonio at a later

She was born Sept. 21, 1912, in Wise County, Tx., was a
Pecos resident from 1937 to 1977, and then moved to Taylor,
Tx. While living in Pecos, she was active in the Church of
Christ and in the community.

She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers and
four sisters. Also her husband E. Glenn Stafford, who died
in 1986.

Survivors include two sons, Joseph Garld Stafford of Del
Mar, Calif. and Thomas Gerald Stafford of Seabrook, Tx.;
three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials be
made to the Pecos Church of Christ.


High Tuesday 92. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight:
Partly cloudy. A less than 20 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms. Low around 70. Southeast wind 10-15 mph.
Thursday, partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of afternoon
thunderstorms. High around 90. South to southeast wind 10-15

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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

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

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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise