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Wednesday, August 14, 1996

Pay hike has school in hole for now

Staff Writer

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The last in a series of budget workshops was held Tuesday evening by the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board, with a total of some $700,000 in
adjustments made from last year's budget, and a total of about $500,000
included for salary increases.

The 1995 revised pay scale approved by state legislators will include at
least a $1,000 raise for teachers and librarians this year.

Other professional staff members will also be looking at similar raises,
according to Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Business Manager Cookie Canon, who
explained the scale during the first in-service for all school district
teachers and staff this morning.

"This is money we don't have," said Superintendent Mario Sotelo this
morning about the $500,000 for salary increases. "We presented the
budget with a half-a-million-dollar deficit."

A total budget of $3.3 million was devised, said Sotelo, with tax monies
for the 1996-97 year expected sometime in November or December.

"We were able to save by being frugal with operations," Sotelo added,
that three years ago when he first began serving as P-B-T
superintendent, the budget was at $11 million.

No questions were raised from the audience regarding salaries.

"At this point and time, the incentive pay is still included in the
budget," Canon said.

The incentive pay, she explained, is the opportunity for professional
staff to receive an additional $1,000 increase for a perfect attendance
record, with $200 being deducted for each absence, up to five absences.

Canon said earlier that voluntary adjustments totalling $400,000 were
made by the administrators, while she and Sotelo made about $300,000
more in budget changes.

She added that some more changes are expected, including those within
the Alternative Education Program.

Cuts were made after a loss of $7,087,980 in valuations was reported to
the school district by the Reeves County Tax Appraisal District.

This situation wasn't limited to only the P-B-T ISD. Other area school
district were faced with large drops in their taxable value totals, with
the largest going to the Fort Stockton ISD of some $215 million.

However, Fort Stockton ISD valuations were still put at $978 million,
nearly three times P-B-T's current valuations of $373,764,400.

The Culberson County-Allamoore ISD was the only neighboring district
that showed an increase of $46,836,678. Sally Carrasco of the Culberson
County Appraisal District Office said this was in part due to the
addition of wind power devices near Guadalupe Peak and the addition of
the Hudspeth County school, which was merged with Culberson County ISD
last year.

Wind-Loving ISD had a total valuation of $282,575,500, about $31 million
less than last year; Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD reported valuations of
$564,063,096, down $38,993,022 from last year; Andrews ISD was down
$17,106,068 on total valuations of $1.382 billion and Kermit ISD's
valuations fell $1,474,670, to $315,309,360.

Chamber plans Lubbock, Port Arthur displays

Staff Writer

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Agri-business committee members are preparing materials for a booth to
be set up at the Texas Farmer Stockman Show in Lubbock Oct. 8-10, C.W.
Roberts told the Pecos Chamber of Commerce board of directors Tuesday.

Roberts was named chairman of the committee after Bob Bickley resigned
due to health problems.

"We will have a promotional booth set up with information on the area,"
Roberts said.

The chamber will also be represented at the annual Texas Association of
Convention and Visitors Bureaus Aug. 21 in Port Arthur, said executive
director Tom Rivera.

"It is the first time the advertising-tourism committee has sent anyone
to these conventions," Rivera said. Rivera, Dick Alligood, Paul Hinojos
and Starkey Warren plan to attend.

Rivera said the chamber was invited to put on a program relating to the
July 4 tourist kidnapping promotion for the West of the Pecos Rodeo.

"They thought it was a great idea," he said.

Alligood said that further rodeo promotion can be done through sales of
soft drinks in cans designed especially for Pecos. West of the Pecos
Museum can be featured on one side and the rodeo on the other, he said.

Local citizens will be asked to make suggestions for the can's design.

Another promotion the committee proposed is a hotel-restaurant-concert
ticket package for the Fall Fair concert. One motel has already offered
a discount of rooms and meals, he said.

"We may provide transportation home for those who have too much to
drink," he said. "We are making every step we can to ensure the safety
of the people."

Alligood said the economic development committee has set a workshop and
dinner for Sept. 24 at the Swiss Clock Inn.

Corporate sponsors are being asked to pay for the meal, and no charge
will be made to participants. He asked that anyone planning to attend
call the chamber office at 445-2406 for reservations.

Economist Chip Bauer will lead the workshop, addressing local problems
and opportunities. Texas-New Mexico Power Co. is underwriting Bauer's

President Gerald Tellez reported the 13th Annual Pecos Cantaloupe
Festival was a success and thanked the Women's Division for the Little
Miss Cantaloupe Pageant and Style Show, Nora Geron for the volleyball
tournament and the Lions Club for the fly-in breakfast, along with
committee members who organized the event.

Several out-of-town vendors said they were amazed by the cooperation and
friendliness, Tellez said.

"We didn't have great crowds, but a lot of cooperation, a lot of work.
All enjoyed it. They are willing to come back if we invite them," he

With several bills still pending, the festival showed a profit of $1,616.

Tellez said letters will be mailed thanking donors who paid $3,245 in
support of the festival. Booth rental brought in $310.

Rivera invited board members to his house for a cookout at 6 p.m.
Friday, honoring those who helped with Fiesta Night in Old Pecos. He
asked that they call the chamber office if they plan to attend so they
will know how many to cook for.

Chamber office manager Karen Capers thanked those who helped with the
pre-rodeo event.

"We had a real good turnout," she said. "For the first time, we had no
corporate donations, and we made $303.85 profit. We are pretty thrilled,
and we are already making plans for next year."

The board approved Rivera's attendance at a workshop in Midland Aug. 27
on grant writing.

Rivera reported the Ambassadors held a ribbon cutting at the Physical
Therapy Office in Reeves County Hospital.

Four bands are lined up for the Fall Fair concert, and corporate
sponsors are being sought. Sponsors will be granted three print and
radio advertisements and a banner at the event.

Rather than selling tickets, the chamber will use wrist bands, Rivera
said. Admission will be $18 at the gate and $15 in advance, an increase
of $3.

"It will take more money to offset the cost of bands," Rivera said.

Armando Hinojos asked bout the dance floor that was previously discussed.

"We definitely need it," he said. "Monahans is so successful because
they have a place to dance."

The board deferred action until construction costs are estimated.

Board members were invited to attend the booster club watermelon feast
at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Pecos High School cafeteria to meet the
players and support the new coaches.

Rivera also encouraged chamber members to attend the Balmorhea Labor Day
Weekend Festival on Aug. 31.

"They support us, and we need to support them," he said.

Trio in jail after feds find pot in doors

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Staff Writer

Three Kansas residents are in Presidio County jail in Marfa charged by
U.S. Customs agents with marijuana possession.

Clifford Macgerald Nevins, 27, Jose Benito Medrano Jr., 24, and Stacey
Lee Becker, 30, crossed the international bridge from Mexico at the
Presidio port of entry on Sunday.

Customs inspectors became suspicious of the driver's actions and used a
drug-sniffing dog to inspect the 1996 Dodge Intrepid they occupied.

The dog alerted to a metal canister in the trunk, a small, white plastic
tube in the front and the door panels.

Marijuana and cocaine residue were found in the containers, and agents
found several tape-wrapped bundles of a green leafy substance inside the
doors, the complaint alleges.

Two of the defendants admitted knowing the marijuana was in the doors
and said they dorve to Chihuahua, Mex. to purchase it.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Baker ordered the suspects detained
without bond.

Panhandle avoids state's recent drought woes

Associated Press Writer

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LUBBOCK - The High Plains is one of Texas' driest regions in normal
years, but this year has been anything but normal for Texas weather.

While the bulk of the state bakes under a severe drought, this semi-arid
region is running on schedule for rainfall. A downright lush landscape
across the plains is testament.

``Who'd have thought we'd be the oasis of Texas?'' said Van Swinford,
grain merchandiser for Willard Grain & Feed in the Panhandle's
northwesternmost city, Texline.

Swinford said record corn production from his area is possible thanks to
a monsoon-like summer. Weather watchers believe that enough rain has
already fallen to invigorate crops in the ground now and lay a
foundation for the next winter's wheat planting.

Elsewhere, sporadic showers aren't even making a dent in the dry spell.

``The outlook has really changed a lot as far as corn, cotton and milo
(sorghum) in the plains are concerned,'' said Doug Bierstedt, who
monitors crop conditions for the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service
in Austin. ``The drought is pretty much a done deal down here.''

The High Plains region, which includes most of the Texas Panhandle and
part of the Permian Basin, is considered to be barely in a drought
according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index. The index takes into
account several factors, including rainfall, and is figured by the Texas
Water Development Board.

Despite some recent relief, most of the eastern two-thirds of Texas is
suffering under a ``severe'' or ``extreme'' drought, according to the
index. Data released Tuesday indicates improving conditions in far East
and West Texas and the High Plains.

Recent cloudbursts across the state haven't affected the overall dry
picture, meteorologists say.

``There may have been a few cracks in the drought, but it certainly has
not broken,'' said Richard Hagan, a meteorologist for the National
Weather Service in Brownsville, which is plagued with one of the lowest
rainfall levels in the state.

Though the Lower Rio Grande Valley is enduring only a moderate drought,
Brownsville and other cities in the area rely on the Amistad and Falcon
reservoirs to the northwest, which remains extremely parched.

Texas' share of the lakes located along the Mexican border is running at
a quarter of capacity.

The story in the Texas Panhandle is much different.

Lake Meredith reservoir north of Amarillo is rising so fast that
National Park Service officials are scrambling to keep it from
swallowing shoreline picnic tables and docks.

Hagan noted that even El Paso, normally the driest spot in the state
with just 8 to 9 inches of rain a year, has had nearly three times more
rain than Brownsville, a coastal city.

``You know something is wrong if the desert areas of Texas have had more
rain than South Texas,'' he said.

Hagan said the Valley needs the kind downpours that have fallen
regularly for the past three months in northwestern Texas. A spate of
heavy thunderstorms won't do, he said, because too much water at once is
more likely to run off than soak into the thirsty earth.

Along with the record corn, wheat farmers who plowed under their
bone-dry crops last spring in lieu of sorghum are expecting a bountiful
harvest coupled with robust prices. As long as a freeze doesn't strike
before October, cotton growers in the South Plains are anticipating
hearty yields.

Swinford and others in this part of the state know the kind of
trepidation other Texans are feeling.

``I think the agricultural community was sure looking at some people
going out of business if it didn't rain and we had good crops,'' he
said. ``We're going to heal some people up this year if nothing bad


Eunice Hamilton

Eunice Hamilton, 91, died this morning in Midland Memorial Hospital.
Services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday in Pecos Funeral Home Chapel, with
burial in Fairview Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the
donor's preferred church or charity.


PECOS, Aug. 14, 1996 - High Tuesday 99, low last night 69. Tonight, fair. Low around 65. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Thursday, mostly sunny. High around 100. South
wind 5-15 mph.

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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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