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Tuesday, December 17, 1996

Temperatures to drop into teens tonight

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From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, December 17, 1996 - The Cold War is won with layers - lots of
layers - the state's former top doc says.

``The body is pretty good at adjusting to the cold if you're able to
provide enough layers,'' said Dr. David Smith, president of Texas Tech's
Health Sciences Center and former state health commissioner. ``It's
better than a big coat, which is one single layer.''

Cold weather is the hot topic today in Texas, as the state braces for
one of the frostiest assaults this decade.

Locally, temperatures stayed above freezing over night, with a low in
Pecos of only 34 degrees. But temperatures tonight are expected to
approach single digits, and the are could see its first snow
accumulation of any kind in over three years.

However, higher elevations to the southwest could see their second
snowfall in three days with the new cold front. Snow fell in the Davis
and Glass Mountains area around Alpine on Monday.

With temperatures headed towards in the lower teens overnight,
homeowners with non-insulated pipes may need to keep a small trickle of
water flowing, in order to keep the pipes near the outside walls from

The northern half of Texas was under various wind chill and winter
weather advisories this morning as frigid winds made it feel minus-20
degrees or colder in the state's northwestern quadrant.

Parts of the Panhandle received up to 3 inches of snow, accompanied by
strong winds, icy roads and bitter cold. Temperatures might not hit 32
degrees again until the weekend for most of the region.

``It's just a little normal winter blow-through for us,'' Stratford
resident Ronnie Pickens said today. Pickens, owner of The General Store
in the far northern Panhandle town, said the only unusual aspect of this
chill is its expected length.

In the Panhandle, the weather became so cold Monday that divers have
suspended their search for the bodies of two children. Dean Britten of
Amarillo and his three sons died when their boat apparently capsized
Saturday on Lake Meredith.

The northern Panhandle might not reach double digits on Wednesday. From
El Paso's predicted lows in the mid-teens to Orange's lows in the
mid-20s, Texas will endure a border-to-border norther.

The onrushing Big Chill was foreshadowed last weekend by a minor Pacific
cold front. Monday saw sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s and 50s
over most of the state.

Snow could fall elsewhere in Texas through the week. Only the Rio Grande
Valley is expected to remain above freezing, but other typically warm
places like Houston and San Antonio should see atypical temperatures in
the 20s and below.

``Unfortunately, we may not have all the winter clothes we need in
Texas,'' said Smith, a pediatrician who once practiced in South Texas.
``You can't understate the impact of wind and cold. We need to take this
seriously when we bundle up children.''

Smith said bundling up with layers, particularly of wool, is key for
Texans, many of whom are more versed in preparing for hurricanes than

Lubbock city worker Nicholas Zertuche said he hopes snow will accompany
any really cold weather.

``If I have to work out in it, I think I'd really enjoy it,'' said
Zertuche, who works at the city's ``Santa Land'' tribute to Christmas,
where Kris Kringle makes nightly rounds greeting children. ``It would be
nice if we had a white Christmas.''

Changes eyed to law on school discipline

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Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN - A state law empowering teachers to remove disruptive students
from their classrooms would be broadened in some areas and pupils would
be ensured due process under proposals by Senate Education Committee
Chairman Teel Bivins.

``The purpose of this package of bills ... is to further the cause of
safe schools,'' Bivins, R-Amarillo, said in filing legislation Monday
for consideration when lawmakers convene in regular session in January.

The safe schools provision in the 1995 education reform law allows
teachers to remove violent or disruptive students from their classrooms
for placement in alternative education programs. It also calls for
automatic removal of students who commit violent or drug-related

Bivins' package includes bills to:

- Give schools the discretion to expel students for misdemeanor drug
offenses. Bivins said current law only allows schools to expel students
for felony drug, alcohol and controlled substance violations.

- Ensure students are informed of the allegations against them and have
a chance to respond. A federal judge in May ruled part of the safe
schools law unconstitutional, saying it denies students due process by
moving them to alternative education programs without formal hearings.

- Require alternative education programs run by juvenile justice
authorities to serve all students who are expelled, not just those
declared delinquent by a court. This would allow students who continue
to be disruptive when placed in a school-run alternative education
program to be sent to a program run by juvenile justice authorities.

- Require schools to place students in alternative education programs
for off-campus felonies only if the student has been charged and the
school has been notified. Current law says school personnel must send
students to an alternative program if the student ``engages in conduct
punishable as a felony.''

House Public Education Committee Chairman Paul Sadler, D-Henderson,
agreed that changes are needed in the safe schools law.

Like Bivins, Sadler said he doesn't want to back away from the law but
said he believes clarification is needed in areas such as due process.

``What I'm going to take a look at is to see if we can rewrite the
entire chapter (on safe schools) as a whole and make it a little easier
to understand,'' Sadler said.

A major proponent of the safe schools law was the Texas Federation of
Teachers. Its secretary-treasurer, John O'Sullivan, said the group still
must review details of Bivins' bills but that they don't appear to
change core provisions of the law.

``There is always a risk that presenting any list of changes to a
fundamentally sound law invites others to submit their less
well-intended changes as a result. So we certainly hope the short list
of measures announced by Senator Bivins will not open the door to many
more,'' O'Sullivan said.

Also Monday, Bivins said he plans to file a proposal for a pilot program
to allow public money to be used for private school tuition for
disadvantaged students. Such a program was backed by the Senate as part
of the 1995 education measure but was negotiated out of the law in a
House-Senate conference committee.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Local CED is DOA after morning vote

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 17, 1996 - Six representatives of the seven-member
County Education District #26 were present this morning to discuss and
then approve the official dissolution of the now-inactive board.

The CED was overseen by the Texas Education Agency, as part of the
state's first effort to equalize funding between rich and poor school
districts in Texas. Ray Golden, who was at this morning's meeting at the
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board Room, said that in 1991, "the State passed
a law creating CEDs."

CED #26 was made up of P-B-T ISD, Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD, Wink ISD,
Kermit ISD, Balmorhea ISD, Grandfalls-Royalty ISD and Culberson County

P-B-T was designated the central tax assessor/collector for the CED.
"All taxes collected," by the seven districts, said Golden, were sent to

"The CED dispersed it (money) back by a formula set up by TEA,"
explained Golden.

The CED operated for two years before the, "(Texas) Supreme Court
declared it unconstitutional." It was replaced by a system in which rich
school districts would contract directly with poorer ones to share their
property tax revenues to equalize funding, which was mandated by the
state Supreme Court in a 1989 ruling that originally created the CEDs.

As a result of the court's later ruling, Golden said, "taxes (collected
for 1990-91 and 1991-92) were left in the hands of the CED."

"Collections were not that great, so superintendents and the districts
have been trying to dissolve it (CED)," he said, making each district an
agent of the CED and, "do what they need to do," disperse the funds.

By unanimous vote by representatives from P-B-T, Monahans-Wickett-Pyote,
Culberson County ISD, Kermit, Grandfalls-Royalty, and Wink-Loving, CED
#26 was dissolved with the stipulation that Wink-Loving be relieved of
paying the $1,311 it owes the CED, and the sum be split by the seven
member district according to formula percentages.

The motion was entered by Interim Superintendent for M-W-P Mike Fletcher
and seconded by Wink ISD Superintendent Maxie Watts.

Grandfalls-Royalty Superintendent Charles Carter told the group that the
district's school board felt they shouldn't have to pay an additional
sum, "for something that we didn't cause," meaning the deficit in
collection projections.

"Basically we're shooting arrows at Pecos," said Carter.

P-B-T ISD Superintendent Mario Sotelo told Carter that Grandfalls was
looking at paying back $250 and added that Carter could choose not to
vote for the dissolution and, "never have access to the money."

Taking up Wink's payback to the CED, "is well worth it to get this thing
behind us once and for all," said Flectcher.

Remains of space shuttle found on Atlantic coast

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AP Aerospace Writer
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Two large chunks of space shuttle Challenger
washed up on the Florida shore today nearly 11 years after it exploded,
killing all seven crew members.

NASA identified a rectangular piece of metal, 6 feet by 15 feet, as
being part of Challenger. A smaller piece, 1 feet by 5 feet, was found
about 10 blocks north and also was verified as part of the doomed

The larger piece, believed to be part of the rudder, tail or wing flap,
had pieces of thermal tile attached, and some of the tiles even had
identification numbers still on them, said NASA spokesman Bill Johnson.

``It has been verified. It is for sure a piece of Challenger,'' Johnson

It has been several years since any Challenger pieces have been found.
Although NASA regularly receives reports of Challenger debris being
found, it usually turns out to be junk - chunks of unmanned rockets or
other flotsam and jetsam.

``It's uncanny,'' Johnson said. ``First of all, it's a very large piece,
and nothing so big has washed up in Florida before. They've washed up in
the Carolinas.''

Both pieces were found in the surf this morning in nearby Cocoa Beach. A
man calling himself Spider discovered the larger piece and possibly the
other one, too, NASA officials said.

``What does this tell me that's new?'' asked Bruce Jarvis, father of
Challenger crew member Gregory Jarvis. ``There's nothing new about it.
It doesn't change the situation or the picture at all, really.''

Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff on Jan. 28, 1986, killing
Christa McAuliffe, who was to have been the first teacher in space;
Jarvis; and their five crewmates. A leak in a joint on the right
solid-fuel rocket booster was blamed.

Within a day of the accident, hundreds of pounds of metal was salvaged.
The remains of the astronauts were found in March 1986 in the debris of
the crew cabin.

``What it does, it brings things back,'' Jarvis said. ``It's like having
a bad wound and you've got a scab. It's like somebody picking at the
scab. Yes, the remembrance is bound to hurt.''

Both items were to be taken to Kennedy Space Center for further
analysis. They eventually will be buried with the other Challenger
remains - about 5,000 pieces weighing a quarter-million pounds - in
abandoned missile silos at the adjoining Cape Canaveral Air Station.

Most of the space shuttle remains in the Atlantic Ocean: half the
orbiter and boosters and two-thirds of the external fuel tank.

The others in the Challenger crew were commander Francis ``Dick''
Scobee; pilot Michael Smith; Judith Resnik, the second American woman in
space; Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space; and Ellison
Onizuka, the first Asian-American in space.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Drug dog helps officers harvest pot out of barn

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 17, 1996 - A Balmorhea man, almost half way through a
six year probationary sentence for a felony conviction of possession of
marijuana, was arrested Friday on the same charge.

The latter charge was filed as a misdemeanor and issued after local law
enforcement officials found almost an ounce of marijuana in a barn on
58-year-old, Lino Barragan's property, at 113 Austin St.

Barragan was released after Reeves County Precinct 2 Justice of the
Peace J.T. Marsh arraigned him on a bail of $1,500.

Marsh's search warrant was held by Reeves County Narcotics Investigator
Clay McKinney and a local entry team when entering Barragan's Balmorhea

McKinney said that a Permian Drug Task Force canine unit was provided
by the Odessa-based agency.

It was the dog that discovered the marijuana in a plastic bag. The
pouch was tied to a piece of bailing wire, said the investigator, that
slid down between the barn's outer and inner wall.

"The piece of wire (that jotted out from the inner wall) was the only
thing visible," said McKinney. "We would not have found it (marijuana)
if it hadn't been for the canine unit."

McKinney added that the marijuana previously discovered and which led
to Barragan's 1993 felony conviction was found in the same barn.

Final sales tax rebate for `96 shows increase

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PECOS, December 17, 1996 - Reeves County's sales tax rebate jumped 28.77
percent for the month of October, reports John Sharp, state comptroller
of public accounts.

However for all of 1996, the city's tax receipts rose by only 1.6
percent over 1995.

Sharp delivered the final check for 1996, totaling $55,210 to Pecos,
while Balmorhea and Toyah also received their share of sales tax
collected by local merchants and submitted to the state.

For all 12 months of the year, the city got back $723,396 from Austin, a
1.6 percent rise over the $711,674 Pecos got back from the comptroller's
office in 1995.

Balmorhea and Toyah also saw their December check rise sharply from a
year ago, but were down overall for 1996. Balmorhea got back $6.076,
down nearly 17 percent from the $7,280 of a year ago. Toyah's monthly
checks totalled $7285 this year, 1.3 percent lower than the $7,383 of a
year ago.

Most other area cities also reported gains for 1996. Andrews $730,206
total was a 2.3 percent rise over 1995, Alpine's $625,325 was nine
percent up from last year, Big Spring's $3,579,147 was a gain of 1.9
percent, Fort Stockton's $913,905 was 11.3 percent high, and Monahans'
$531,457 was up 31.9 percent from 1995.

Checks to 1,084 Texas cities and 117 counties in December are 9.2
percent higher than the 1995 total, Sharp said, noting the state's
economy is continuing a healthy upward trend.

The San Antonio sales tax rebate was $8.2 million, up 26.1 percent from
the December 1995 payment. This year, San Antonio received 7.4 percent
more in local sales tax payments than the total for last year.

El Paso's sales tax rebate of $2.9 million is up 12.8 percent from last
year. Twenty-three special purpose districts were sent $4.2 million,
including Reeves County Hospital District's $21,025.


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December 1996 rebates (Collected on October sales)
(Source: Texas comptroller's office)

* = New Rate

Andrews 1.0% $ 62,157 $44,974 Up 38.20%

Alpine 1.5% 46,873 46,887 Dn 00.02%

Crane 1.0% 19,266 9,067 Up 112.47%

Van Horn *1.5% 18,193 12,128 Up 50.01%

Odessa 1.0% 711,018 510,564 Up 39.26%

Big Spring 2.0% 281,666 209,930 Up 34.17%

Midland 1.0% 1,063,562 703,478 Up 51.18%

Ft Stockton 1.5% 78,362 62,867 Up 24.64%

Marfa 1.0% 5,259 4,560 Up 15.32%
Presidio *2.0% 11,092 7,067 Up 56.93%

Balmorhea 1.0% 616 499 Up 23.44%
Pecos 1.5% 54,197 42,165 Up 28.53%
Toyah 1.0% 397 209 Up 90.00%
RCH Dist. 0.5% 21,025 16,292 Up 29.04%

Monahans *1.5% 52,282 22,519 Up 132.16%

Kermit 1.0% 26,815 18,664 Up 43.66%
Wink 1.0% 1,959 1,957 Up 0.07%

Stuck in the cooler Juarez officials say lack

of funds to leave prison without heat, blankets

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CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) - The freezing weather sweeping through the
area will add to the burdens of inmates in this border city's prison,
the warden says.

Budget shortfalls mean cell blocks will have to go another year without
central heating and only those inmates whose families buy them a space
heater will be spared the cold, said prison director Gustavo de la Rosa.

``We don't even have money to buy blankets for them,'' said de la Rosa.
``If charity groups don't come through for us, the poorest inmates
probably will have to do without blankets.''

The only heat in some cells is generated by inmates themselves, many of
whom are crammed into cells holding five or six people when they should
only house two or three.

Designed to hold about 800, the prison in Juarez, across the border from
El Paso, now holds about 1,315 men and women. As a result, officials
have asked the state of Chihuahua to take over the city-run facility.

Gov. Francisco Barrio said that if the state cannot take over the prison
for legal or economic reasons, it will try to help the municipal
government in other ways.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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The Fort Stockton Pioneer
FORT STOCKTON, Dec. 12, 1996 - Fort Stockton's reverse osmosis plant
should be in operation by the end of January. It will serve the city,
Alamo Ranchettes area and the state prison at Belding. Water lines and
brine lines are already in, said Tony Cordova, director of utilities.
The plant will remove brine and other contaminants from the water and
mixed with untreated water. Brine water will be used for irrigation.

Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch
FORT DAVIS, Dec. 12, 1996 - Warm temperatures and high winds have driven
mule deer into the tall grass, making the 16-day hunting season tough
for hunters. Game Warden Randall Brown said he has seen a few good deer
in camps, but overall the numbers are down. Deer are fat and in very
good shape, he said.

The Big Bend Sentinel
MARFA, Dec, 12, 1996 - Academy award winner Tommy Lee Jones has
purchased the 84-section Boracho Ranch in Jeff Davis and Culberson
counties near Kent. The ranch is part of the Reynolds family original X
Ranch, which was once one of the largest ranches in the state. Jones, a
member of the Chinati Foundation board of directors, owns a ranch near
San Saba and has homes in San Antonio and Los Angeles.

The Alpine Avalanche
ALPINE, Dec. 12 1996 - Board members of the Big Bend Regional Hospital
District Monday night are expected to sign agreements with Paracelsus
Health Care that will bring a brand new hospital to this area.
Paracelsus proposes to build and operate a $15 million hospital and
nursing home.

The International, Presidio Paper
PRESIDIO, Dec. 12, 1996 - Presidio County won't make its next jail
payment due Jan. 2, but it may have the funds to do so by the end of
that month, said County judge Jake Brisbin Jr. Due is $238,000 in
principal and interest. Brisbin said the jail has had enough paying
prisoners the last six months to make the payment, but the county has
not received funds from billings. The 96-bed jail is currently full. The
county is in arrears $479,000 on jail payments.

The Monahans News
MONAHANS, Dec. 12, 1996 - A youth activities supervisor at West Texas
State School in Pyote and an inmate pleaded guilty Tuesday in district
court to sexual assault in return for dismissal of other sexual predator
charges. The indictments were based on documented alcohol and hard core
video porn used to prey on two Monahans girls in their early teens in
August or September. Adrian B. Niblett, 24, and Gerald A. Harris, 18,
were placed on probation. The incidents occurred in Niblett's apartment
while he was working at the state school for delinquent boys.


Ricardo Ontiveros

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Ricardo Ontiveros, 77, of Pecos, died Sunday, Dec. 15 at Reeves County
A vigil service will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Pecos Funeral
Home Chapel.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Pecos Funeral
Home with burial at Greenwood Cemetery.
He was born Aug. 22, 1919, in Marfa and was a World War II veteran.
Survivors include his wife, Rosa Ontiveros of Pecos; four sons, Domingo,
Richard, Luis and Oscar Ontiveros all of Pecos; two daughters, Grace
Alvarez and Norma Florez of Pecos; one brother, Arnulfo Ontiveros of
Odessa; 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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High Monday 58, low last night 34. Tonight, very cold with flurries
possible. Low around 10. North wind 10-20 mph with wind chills around 15
below. Wednesday, continued cold with a 30 percent chance of light snow.
High 15-20. North wind diminishing to 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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