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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

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Monday, September 27, 1999

Commissioners OK task force expansion

Staff Writer
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 Force.

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 County.

`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

Staff Writer
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 reported.

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 moratorium.

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 break event.

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 Initiative.

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 of teachers.

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 to succeed.

"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 student.

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.

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Pecos Enterprise
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