Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, October 15, 1999
Schools OKs share of funds for drug dog
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Oct. 15, 1999 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD discussed and approved
purchase of a drug detection dog during the regular school board meeting
held Thursday evening.
"I received a call from Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney about possibly
purchasing a drug detection dog for the district," said superintendent
Love said the district would use the dog, but so would the police department
in non-school investigations.
In his letter McKinney said that this project is on a six-year basis,
barring any illness or injury to the dog. Currently, the department does
not have a drug dog.
A drug detection dog will assist the department in drug enforcement,
and drug seizures and be readily available to all the schools within the
school district, according to McKinney. Hopefully the mere presence of
a drug dog in our schools will serve as a strong deterrent, he said.
McKinney was at a training session and could not attend Thursday's meeting,
However, in his correspondence he said, "It is commonly known that children
easily bond to dogs and that a drug dog will make a lasting impression
on our children at school. Therefore, the dog will be used in a variety
of anti-drug programs conducted throughout the year."
McKinney noted that this would help make Pecos a better place to live
and a safer place to raise our families.
The estimated cost over a six-year period is $17,951. The city would
share the expenses with the school district, according to Love.
"Do we really need one?" said board member Louis Matta.
"I think if we had a really good drug dog, it would be good for the
schools and community," said Love. "And they tell me that these dogs they
get from San Antonio are guaranteed."
The dog would make unscheduled visits to the school, according to Love.
"The cost is a little high, but it's something positive," he said.
Love said he would like to visit with the chief a little bit more and
discuss the cost.
"If you can negotiate something better, I'm for it, and also we need
to talk to our lawyers about the legal aspects of this," said board member
In other action, board members turned down a donation of property to
the west of the Pecos High School vocational building to be used as a sports
"I've been talking to Jimmy Dutchover, Judge Galindo and Kenneth Neal
about this, a sports complex," said Love. "We just haven't come up with
any grants and we don't want to use the school district's money."
Dutchover told the group that grant funds cannot go to the school district
for this type of endeavor, but the funds can be given to the city or the
"I've talked to Jimmy (Galindo, Reeves County Judge) and he's looking
into some type of grants that can be used," said Dutchover. "However, the
school district can't hold the title for this property."
"It's a long and tedious project," said Dutchover.
Also, the property in question is behind on about $8,000 worth of taxes,
and is owned by Nash Lamb of Furr's, Inc., of Albuquerque, N.M. Furr's
had sought to build a supermarket on the Washington Street site in the
"They were hoping to donate this property to us, but they still owe
taxes on it," said Love.
A resolution authorizing additional penalties on delinquent taxes was
also agreed to by the board. "By passing this resolution, this allows us
to collect the 15 percent," said Love. "This keeps everything consistent
and makes it legal," he said.
Love said that it was basically a clarification of the law. "If we didn't
approve it, the 15 percent would come out of our money," he said.
Another resolution was approved to recognize 4-H as an extracurricular
activity. "They would fall under the same rules, with the 15 days that
they can be out," said Love, referring to missed classtime for extracurricular
events during the school year.
Options offered to P-B-Ton consolidation
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Oct. 15, 1999 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members listened
to a proposal by Monte Hunter with Hunter Corral Associates, on an assessment
of facilities used by the district for Kindergarten through eighth grade.
Hunter gave board members a summary report, a report on each of the
campuses and two options the board could follow in consolidating campuses
and improving some of the school facilities, five of which Hunter said
could be considered in "poor" condition.
Projections indicate the district will experience a slow decline in
general enrollment of 4-5 percent each year. Accuracy tests of enrollment
projections indicated an accuracy rate within 2 percent, according to Hunter.
"The purpose of this assessment was to improve facility value while
maintaining minimum space standards," said Hunter. "This was accomplished
by, projecting enrollment, assessing facility condition, assessing facility
utilization, interviewing district staff, comparison to benchmarks, projecting
enrollment, and projecting long term costs of various options," he said.
"The facilities were in marginal condition," said Hunter.
The measure of facility condition was the Facility Condition Needs Index
which is the ratio of improvements needed to bring facilities to current
standards, compared to facility replacement costs. Ideal ratio is less
than 10 percent. Ten to 25 percent is fair condition, and greater than
25 percent is poor condition.
The findings made by Hunter Corral ranked Pecos Elementary, Lamar, Zavala
and Crockett Middle Schools and the Carver Center in the "poor" category.
Lamar was ranked at 40 percent, Pecos Elementary at 39 percent, Carver
at 36 percent, Crockett at 28 percent and Zavala at 27 percent.
The other three schools _ Pecos Kindergarten (18 percent), Austin Elementary
(21 percent) and Bessie Haynes Elementary (23 percent) were rated in "fair"
According to Hunter, facilities are underutilized. Full utilized rates
for K-6 facilities should be around 90 percent. For junior high it should
be 80 percent. The average for facilities surveyed was 55 percent.
Hunter said the general classroom size was acceptable. District facilities
may be inhibiting education in several ways, including library resources,
(individual grade campuses make it difficult to offer a diverse selection
of books. Consolidating campuses would provide more book selection for
students); facility condition, (as previously noted, district facilities
are in marginal condition. Research has revealed that facility conditions
impact student achievement and teacher morale. Many studies indicate improved
facilities result in higher test scores) and physical education, (opportunities
for interior physical education are below standards at most campuses).
"I would recommend that you budget more every year, instead of waiting
for a bond issue," said Hunter.
Hunter told the group that the Pecos Kindergarten, Austin Elementary
School, Bessie Haynes and Crockett were the primary schools looked at.
"These are some of your best schools, because of course they're newer than
the others," he said.
The improvements or consolidations would be made steps at a time, according
Improvements were placed in three priority levels. Level 1 should be
corrected in the next year. Level 2 should be corrected in the next few
years and level 3 should be corrected when economically feasible. Level
1 and 2 are considered backlog, according to Hunter.
Level 1 needs were assessed at $181,041; level 2, at $1.5 million; and
level three at $4.1 million.
"Budget for annual facility renovations to avoid renovation bond program,"
said Hunter. This strategy could save approximately $525,000 as opposed
to a forced bond program. Facility condition has been proven to impact
student achievement and teacher morale.
Projections indicate the district would save $2.4 million in 10 years
with either plan and these savings are after additions, and Level 1 and
2 improvements are funded, according to Hunter. Return on investment for
additions is less than four years.
Educational opportunities such as library resources, labs and physical
education would be improved.
Under Option 1, Kindergarten would consist of Pre-K and Kindergarten.
· Austin Elementary would be first, second and third grades in
2001 or 2002. Add new library and convert existing library to computer
lab and community tech.
· Bessie Haynes, - 4th and 5th grades.
· Zavala Middle school _ 6th grade.
· Crockett Middle School, 7th and 8th grades
in 2000. Add five classrooms, one computer lab, restrooms, storage room
for $580,000. Add gym and two locker rooms for $660,000.
· AEP would be moved to the newer part of Lamar, older part of
the school closed.
· Pecos Elementary would be closed.
· Carver would be closed.
Under Option 2:
· Kindergarten _ Pre-K and kindergarten.
· Austin Elementary _ 1st, 2nd and 3rd
grades in 2001 or 2002. Add new library and convert existing library to
computer lab and community tech training center for $288,000.
· Bessie Haynes Elementary _ 4th and 5th
· Zavala _ 6th grade.
· Crockett _ 7th and 8th grades in 2000.
Add five classrooms, one computer lab, restrooms, storage room for $580,000.
Add gym and two locker rooms for $660,000.
· AEP would remain at Carver Center.
· Pecos Elementary would be closed.
· Lamar would be closed.
Hunter told the group to look at the summary report and study it. "If
you need to talk to me again, we can discuss this further, because this
is a lot of information to digest," he said.
"If we had the money today, how long would it take?" asked P-B-T ISD
superintendent Don Love.
"It could get done before the start of the new school year," said Hunter.
"Get bids out, construction going," he said.
"Would these be portable buildings or additions to the existing facilities?"
asked board member Freddy Lujan.
"The additions would be permanent and the materials used much like the
existing facility," said Hunter.
The school district has been studying consolidation of grades for the
past five years, and shut Barstow Elementary prior to the start of the
1998-99 school year. The Pecos Head Start program is now using the Barstow
Task force nets $175,000 in drugs, cash
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Oct. 15, 1999 - A two-month investigation involving several
law enforcement agencies ended with the arrests of four individuals in
Midland and Monahans, and the confiscation of drugs and cash valued at
On Wednesday, officers with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, assisted
by the West Texas Narcotics Task Force, FBI, Midland County Sheriff's Office
and Midland Police Department, concluded the two-month investigation, which
ended in a two kilo (4.4 pounds) cocaine reverse sting.
Arrested during the reverse sting was Jesus Edmundo Ramirez of Dallas;
Cecil S. Thompson of Dallas and Andrew Smith of Los Angeles, Calif.
The conspiracy to purchase the cocaine having a street value of over
$150,000 ended at a motel in southeast Midland with the arrest of the three
suspects and the seizure of over $28,500, according to Reeves County Sheriff
"This was a cooperative effort that ended successfully," said Gomez.
"We want to thank all those who helped out."
Gomez said the task force is working on other projects and will continue
to work diligently.
The three suspects will be arraigned in Federal Court next week. A fourth
co-conspirator was arrested this morning in Monahans on state charges and
faces federal charges at a later date, according to task force commander
Observatory hopes dark times ahead
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Oct. 15, 1999 - Electric lights without a shield lose about
half their illuminating power and pollute the night sky, said Bill Wren,
public information specialist for McDonald Observatory.
Beginning at the observatory and working outward, Wren is educating
the public to the need to control outdoor lighting, he told the Pecos City
Wren showed a satellite map of the United States on which street lights
in population centers dot the dark background.
"McDonald has the darkest night skies of any major observatory in the
country," he said. "The majority of those on the west coast are useless
because of city lights."
Fort Davis, Marfa and Alpine already have joined the effort to shield
outdoor lighting, Wren said, and the city of Balmorhea has voted to install
sky caps on all their street lights.
McDonald Observatory purchases the $17.50 sky caps, and West Texas Utilities
installs them free of charge, he said.
Mya Surratt, public information officer for Texas-New Mexico Power Co.,
said TNP would probably do the same.
The council agreed to work with Wren to install about a dozen shields
as a demonstration project in Pecos.
Wal-Mart already has shielded lighting, Wren said, and Flying J Travel
Plaza has some shielded lights.
Reeves County Detention Center is a major offender, with unshielded
security lighting that not only pollutes the night sky, but falls short
of illuminating the prison grounds, he said.
"We recommend they tilt the fixtures down. They could get better security
and increase visibility under the lights," he said.
Reeves County Civic Center has full cutoff lighting and is "very well
lit," he said.
"There is a lot of debate about the relationship between lighting and
security," Wren said. "More lighting doesn't always mean more security.
Some schools have gone to a lights-out policy after dark so that vandalism
has fallen to zero and security personnel know if they see a light on to
He showed a security light at Madera Valley Water Supply Corp. at Verhalen,
which had black paint on one side to deflect glare from the nearby residence.
Full cutoff fixtures re-direct light to the ground, he said, giving
better illumination and saving energy costs.
The Texas Legislature this year passed a law requiring any institute
receiving state funds to use full cutoff fixtures, and the Texas Department
of Transportation has adopted it as a standard for all highway lighting.
Digital picture reprints offered
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Oct. 15, 1999 - Electronic technology has changed the way the
Pecos Enterprise handles news photographs, said Jon Fulbright, managing
"We are using digital photography for both news and sports," said Fulbright.
"That means we make fewer black-and-white prints for our press operations,
cutting down on darkroom work required for film."
Digital photos are stored in the camera on a computer chip and transferred
directly into the computer, Fulbright said.
"We can crop the image with the computer, lighten or darken it and remove
defects caused by dust or light streaks on the lens," he said. "As news
and sports pages are assembled on the computer screen, photos are placed
with related text. The full page is printed out, camera ready for our offset
Fulbright said that digital photos appearing in the newspaper are available
as color prints by special order, starting at $7.50 for a 4x6 glossy.
"Digital photography produces an acceptable print, although slightly
inferior to quality prints made from a negative," Fulbright said. "Since
Pecos is without a photography studio, we also offer to provide digital
portraits _ either on a disk or as a print _ as a service to our readers."
Masons to honor Merritt
PECOS, Oct. 15, 1999 - The Pecos Valley Masonic Lodge #736 will hold an
Open Meeting at 7 p.m., Saturday to honor Woody M. Merritt by awarding
him the Golden Trowel Award for his services to the lodge and community.
Right Worshipful Ferris Benham of Odessa, Past Grand Master of the Most
Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas, will be the main speaker and present the
award to Merritt.
All Masons, their families and friends are urged to attend this meeting,
according to Greg Luna, worshipful master of the Pecos Valley Lodge.
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 7-12-15-25-31. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner:
$39,096. Winning tickets sold in: Georgetown, Houston. Matching four of
five: 277. Prize: $423.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 6-4-9 (six, four, nine)
PECOS, Oct. 15, 1999 - High Thursday 92; low last night 53. Tonight, mostly
clear. Low 55-60. South wind around 10 mph. Saturday, mostly sunny and
becoming breezy late. High 75-80. south to southwest wind 10-20 mph shifting
to the north late in the day and increasing to 15-25 mph. Extended forecast,
Saturday night, windy and much colder with a slight chance of showers.
Low 40-45. Sunday, mostly cloudy, windy, and cold with a slight chance
of rain. High in the lower 50s. Monday, mostly sunny. Low in the lower
to mid 30s. High 60-65.
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