Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, September 27, 1999
Commissioners OK task force expansion
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Sept. 27, 1999 -- Another city and county have joined the Reeves
County-based Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, after a resolution and cooperative
agreement for the task force was approved at this morning's Reeves County
Commissioners Court meeting.
Commissioners met at their regular meeting on the third floor of the
courthouse to discuss various items, and Gary Richards, commander of the
task force, was on hand to update the court on the group's operations.
"We had a few of the agreements between the task force and other counties
that were not consistent," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Richards re-submitted all of them to make them consistent and told the
court that all needed the commissioners' signatures.
"Presidio County has signed a working agreement with us, they have opted
out of their agreement with the West Texas Task Force," said Richards.
"The city of Marfa also withdrew from the West Texas narcotics team, which
is another potential for us," he said.
Richards said that a lot of the border areas have working agreements
with Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, to be a part of the task force.
Culberson County is one of the counties associated with the task force.
"We're just covering their county for them," said Richards.
The task force was one of two created last year to combat drug smuggling
and sales in the Permian Basin, after Texas Gov. George W. Bush's office
declined to continue funding for the Odessa-based Permian Basin Drug Task
The state created one task force, The West Texas Narcotics Task Force,
which was initially run by the Department of Public Safety and is now being
operated out of Ector County. About half of the counties in the Permian
Basin opted to join that group, while the others formed the Trans Pecos
Drug Task Force under an agreement which set up Reeves County as the host.
Reagan County is fully participating and provides one deputy; City of
Pecos, provides one officer; Ward County, provides one officer; Winkler
County has an officer assigned; City of Monahans, one officer assigned;
Andrews County has donated an officer, a dog and two cars; City of Andrews,
an officer, who is getting paid through a separate narcotics fund and has
donated a vehicle, and County of Midland, one officer.
The groups that will be providing the 25 percent matching funds are,
Reeves County and the City of Pecos, City of Kermit and Winkler County,
Monahans City and Ward County, Midland County, Reagan County and Jeff Davis
`There are eight participating members that will provide the 25 percent
grant matching funds," said Richards. "We have two that we don't have the
agreements on, but will get them, and those are City of Kermit and Jeff
Davis Counties," he said.
"We have a working agreement between Gomez and Sheriff Dominguez, which
is Presidio," said Richards.
German jets crash west of Carlsbad
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Sept. 27, 1999 -- Ranchers opposed to low-level training flights over
their land gained support for their argument Friday when two German Air
Force Tornados from Holloman Air Force Base collided in mid-air and crashed
near Sitting Bull Falls in New Mexico.
The four pilots parachuted to safety near the Kincaid cattle and sheep
ranch and were treated at Carlsbad Medical Center.
Traveling in opposite directions between 12,500 and 29,000 feet, the
Tornados collided and caught fire. All four pilots ejected and parachuted
to safety. Three of them were able to walk to the ranch to seek help. The
fourth waited near his parachute.
No injuries were reported on the ground from falling debris, and fire
in the planes did not spread to surrounding grassland, the Carlsbad Current-Argus
Ande Marbach of the Kincaid Ranch said she was hanging out the wash
when she heard the collision. She called for help when she saw parachutes
and said the men all appeared to be in good shape.
"It sounded like when they break the sound barrier," she said. "I saw
smoke from where the planes hit and saw two of them come down."
One of the pilots used her telephone to call Holloman, Marbach said.
Holloman officials said all four men were in stable condition at Carlsbad
Medical Center. Local authorities said one suffered a back injury, two
suffered ankle injuries and the fourth initially refused medical treatment
but later went to the hospital
The two Tornado strike-attack planes, which belong to the German air
force, were on a training mission at mid-level altitudes. Each plane carried
a student pilot and an instructor.
The Air Force is investigating the crash.
Owners of McCoy Land & Cattle Company, which has ranching interests
in several Texas counties, had filed suit against the U.S. Air Force and
the German Luftwaffe to stop expansion of the training flights over their
land. The route from Holloman AFB would have covered several far West Texas
counties and included a loop flight path around Pecos.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton removed the German Air Force from the suit,
and the plaintiffs agreed in July to dismissal of the remaining defendants.
They retained the right to file a new suit to challenge any subsequent
final Air Force decision making on the modification of military training
routes IR-102/141 and the AR X652 refueling anchor action after a 12-month
The German Luftwaffe has trained its pilots at Holloman for years, and
its Flying Training Center there currently has about 580 military personnel
and about 25 Tornado airplanes. Along with training flights out of Hollomon,
the Air Force is also seeking to conduct low-level training flights for
bomber crews out of Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Barksdale AFB in
Louisiana that would travel though the same areas of Far West Texas and
also include a loop path around Pecos.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Cookoff remains 10 entries short
PECOS, Sept. 27, 1999 -- An emergency call for entries produced a few responses,
but still not enough to guarantee that the 27th Annual World Championship
Barbecue Cookoff will be held as scheduled this weekend.
The event, held as part of the Reeves County Fall Fair, added six entries
over the past several days, but the 15 total entrants is 10 short of the
number Pecos Chamber of Commerce Director Tom Rivera said is needed to
Rivera said that about $1,200 in prize money is awarded and money is
also spent on trophies, electricity, port-a-potties and other expenditures.
"We just can't afford to lose that kind of money," he said.
Rivera said the chamber has set a deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday for all
those who would like to participate in the event. Anyone wanting to enter
in the Amateur, Club or Pro Divisions should call the chamber, at 445-2406.
Officials focus on 9th grade droput problems
EL PASO (AP) — Texas education officials have pinpointed the ninth grade
as the as the `unkept secret' to the state's dropout problem, according
to a recent report.
In other words, kids who don't make it through ninth grade in one year
are more than twice as likely to quit school, said officials with the Texas
Education Agency, which conducted the analysis.
"We know that's where the bubble is," TEA spokeswoman Debbie Graves
Ratcliffe told the El Paso Times in today's editions. "It looks like 18
percent of the students are retained at ninth grade."
The study also found that one of every six ninth-graders has to repeat
one or more courses to reach 10th grade.
The Legislature has already taken notice of the problem, the paper said,
by creating an $85 million grant fund in June for the Ninth Grade Success
The fund allows school districts, through a competitive process, to
tap in to pay for special programs aimed at reducing dropout rates.
The initiative also raises the age that students must remain in school
from 16 to 18.
Ten other states have done the same.
David D. Anderson, TEA's coordinator for curriculum and professional
development, said in the first eight years of schooling, students are promoted
from grade to grade based on performance and the subjective recommendations
But he said a world of change awaits newly-minted ninth graders, who
must complete a preset number of classes — counted through school's credit
system — to move on.
"In first grade, the parent, teacher and principal will sit down and
talk about why a child needs to be retained," Anderson said. "But in ninth,
students are not promoted because they don't have enough credits."
In terms of academics, failing first-year algebra is the No. 1 reason
ninth-graders are held back, according to the TEA.
But some students who have dropped out point to drugs, the violent atmosphere
in big-city high schools and an apathy about school work and the ability
"The main reason for dropping out in my opinion was because of the drugs
going around, and ditching," said William Winslet, a 19-year-old El Paso-area
He repeated ninth grade and dropped out in 11th before enrolling at
Ysletas Plato Academy in January.
"The second time I was going to ninth grade, I was doing just as bad,"
Winslet said. "I was just mad because I didn't go up, and I thought, Ah,
who cares? I'm not going to make it anyway.."
Principals and counselors say ninth-graders who fail are usually behind
their classmates in math and language skills, haven't developed study skills
or lack maturity.
They point to factors that lurk behind those problems: single-parent
homes, poverty, mothers' low education levels and the role fathers play
in students' lives.
In tracking who fails to make it, Texas schools may have overlooked
thousands of dropouts, despite a new state system designed to correct underreporting,
the El Paso Times reported Sunday in a copyright story.
Officially, Texas had 27,550 dropouts in the 1997-98 school year. But
many more may have been listed as "transfers" or disappeared from school
rolls without explanation
The National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University ranked
Texas 43rd among the 50 states with a 41.5 percent dropout rate. The rate
is based on the gulf between the number of high school freshmen in 1992-93
and graduates in 1996.
Nationally, the average dropout rate was 32 percent based on a pool
of 3.3 million high school freshmen in 1992.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 06-10-20-21-29-34. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number
matching six of six: one Winning ticket sold in Houston. Matching five
of six: 63. Prize: $1,723. Matching four of six: 3,949. Prize: $99.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 02-08-14-24-34. Number matching five of five: five. Prize per winner:
$18,606. Winning tickets sold in: El Paso (2), Vernon, Houston, Midland.
Matching four of five: 369. Prize: $378.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning
numbers drawn: 12-80-54-52. Number matching four of four in Group One:
none. Number matching four of four in Group Two: none. Number matching
four of four in Group Three: one. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three
of four in any group: 353. Prize: $300.
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery,
in order: 1-5-0 (one, five, zero)
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 8-1-0 (eight, one, zero)
High Sunday 102; low last night 62. Tonight, increasing clouds with a 20
percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low around 60. Southeast wind
5-15 mph, becoming northeast after midnight. Tuesday, cloudy, windy, and
much cooler with a 20 percent chance of showers. High 70 75. Northeast
winds 20-30 mph and gusty. Extended forecast, Tuesday night, mostly cloudy
with a slight chance of showers. Low 45 50. Wednesday, becoming partly
cloudy. High in the mid 70s.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, 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 1999 by Pecos Enterprise