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Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Tarin, Arredondo score runoff victories

Staff Writers
PECOS, April 12, 2000 - Reeves County Commissioners Felipe Arredondo and Herman Tarin won nomination to new four year terms on Tuesday, as the result of the Democratic Party runoff elections.

Arredondo repeated his victory over Jesse Baeza in the March 14 primary election, when the two finished first and second in a four-person race for Precinct 1 commissioner, while Tarin narrowly beat out challenger David Pattillo, after suffering a narrow loss to him in last month's four-man election for the Precinct 3 commissioner's post.

The candidates were sweating and pacing back and forth Tuesday evening at the Reeves County Courthouse, as the counting of votes for the run-off election commenced.

Arredondo, who beat out Baeza for first last month by 159 votes, won again on Tuesday, this time by 93 votes. Arredondo had 442 votes to Baeza's 349.

In the Precinct 3 election, Pattillo had beaten Tarin last month by 11 votes, but in the runoff, Tarin came out ahead by a 17-vote margin, collecting 530 votes to 513 for Pattillo, who remained unhappy with the results this morning.

"I can't believe that 530 people voted for a known liar," Pattillo said. "I did everything right and as honestly and fairly as I could."

Pattillo added that he will be asking for a re-count and that he would take it from there.

"We'll see what happens," he said.

"I'd like to thank God for the things he's done, it's wonderful and it's through Him that all things are possible," said Tarin.

Tarin also thanked his family, friends and the voters for coming out to vote. "I want to thank my faithful supporters for everything," he said.

Tarin said he has worked hard for Reeves County and will continue to do so. "I have been working hard and now I'm ready to start on some of those projects that I have mentioned before," he said.

Tarin congratulated Pattillo on a good, hard race and wished him luck.

"I'm very, very happy with the turnout and want to let everyone know that I am here to help," said Tarin, who is seeking his third consecutive four-year term on the commissioner's court.

Arredondo is seeking his second consecutive term and third overall as commissioner, after serving one term in the 1980s and winning as a write-in candidate in the November general election four years ago.

"First I just want to thank the Lord for providing me with this win," Arredondo said this morning. "We worked very hard on the campaign for the last two months. It was a rather clean campaign with no real mud slinging on anybody's part.

"I really appreciate that. I want to thank the voters of Reeves County for coming out for the extra election. They came out strong in the primary; they gave me a win but not enough of a majority to keep from having the run-off. Then they came out again," he said.

Arredondo also promised to work to keep the Reeves County Jail from being closed by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

"Tell the people of Reeves County that I can almost assure them that the jail will not be closed. We are working hand-in-hand with the Sheriff to make sure of it," he said.

Arredondo's challenger, Baeza, is employed at the Reeves County Jail, which is under threat of closing due to both a failure by commissioners to implement reforms mandated by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards as long as 5½ years ago, and recent overcrowding by the sheriff's department, which has raised the number of inmates at the facility above the maximum 84 allowed by the state.

Gomez, Galindo swap jail charges

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 12, 2000 - Whose fault is it? That is the million-dollar question concerning the possible closing of the Reeves County Jail.

So far, no one seems to agree on an answer, though commissioners were scheduled to discuss the problem during a special session that began at 1 p.m. today.

"The two worst problems the Commission found with the jail were the locking systems and the overcrowding problem," Texas Jail Standards Commission Executive Director Jack Crump said.

"The most important issue of all is the locking system. This can become a huge problem and is an issue of security and safety," he said.

According to Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, the problem with the locks dates back to at least 1994.

"I have the Commission report where the jail was written up for the locks in 1994," Gomez said.

County Judge Jimmy Galindo disagrees.

"The locks may have been a problem in 1994, but we obviously fixed the problems that existed then because the locks were not written up in the Commission inspection reports in 1996 or 1997," Galindo said.

Gomez saidd that the lock problem should have been addressed long ago.

"The commissioners court has been promising to do something about the locks, and the other physical repairs needed to come into compliance, for at least two years and still no action has been taken," Gomez said.

In reply, Galindo said that the court has solicited bids for the work, but that in an effort to save money, the work was "piggybacked" with work being done at the Reeves County Detention Center expansion project.

Galindo said that the county would save about $100,000 with the move, but that if the jail is in danger of being shut down, the county would forego the savings and do whatever is necessary to make the repairs.

Gomez also said that a lack of support on the part of other county officials played a role in the Commission's decision to order the jail closed.

"Midland's hearing (last Thursday in Collin County, north of Dallas) was the one before mine and the jail commissioners commented on the support shown by other county officials. The sheriff, the county judge, a commissioner and the district judge were there to address the Jail Commission," Gomez said. "And the jail commissioners noted that support. When I stood up, they asked me, `Where is your support?'"

"The commissioners said that it was obvious that Reeves County didn't care about what was going on with the jail. This really hurt us," Gomez said.

"I met with Mr. Crump the Monday (April 3) before the hearing," Judge Galindo said in reply. "We discussed the issues and I explained what we were doing about the locks and plumbing. At that time, he had already written his recommendation to the Commission and his recommendation was to close the jail, so there wasn't really a reason for me to be at the hearing.  I can't address the administrative problems with the jail, only the sheriff can do that, and I had already talked with Mr. Crump about the issues the commissioners court can address."

Gomez also accused Galindo of neglecting the jail to attend to other matters such as the RCDC and a separate private prison-building venture in southeast Texas.

"I think the work we've already done clearly indicates that the jail has not been ignored," Galindo said. He also said that while he has been involved with helping other communities with prison related projects, he has "no monetary interest in building a prison outside of Reeves County."

"I think the biggest factor (leading to the order closing the jail) is that we are capped at 84 prisoners and these inmates have to be transported to other jails so we don't go over that limit," Galindo said.

"The Jail Commission issued a remedial order to Reeves County in 1998 regarding the population limit of 84 prisoners in the jail," Crump said. "When the Commission inspected the jail early this year, there were indicators that the county was busting the order (by housing more than 84 prisoners).

"The most important issue to me is that the county was busting the order not because it had more than 84 local prisoners, but because it was housing a large number of federal contract prisoners," he added.

"I can't say that either of these two violations (overcrowding or the locks) would, or would not have, led to the Commission's decision if the other problem had not existed. The blame seems pretty much equal to me. The statutes charge the commissioners court with providing a jail up to standards and the sheriff with operating the jail. One problem rests with the commissioners court and the other with the sheriff," Crump said.

"We didn't have a problem with overcrowding until January, and I can't really say why it became a problem in the last few months. It's just how things worked out," Sheriff Gomez said.

Gomez explained that he tries to keep 55-plus U.S. Marshal's Service prisoners in the jail at all times.

"The county makes $35/day on these prisoners and the county budgeted for revenue from an average of 55 of these prisoners a day. We also try to keep a few more than 55 because the money from the additional prisoners goes to fund the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force. Without those funds, the task force funding has to come out of the general fund," he said.

Gomez said that he felt pressure from the commissioners court to keep the federal prisoner count as high as possible.

"Every time I go before the court the first thing they say is, `You are not bringing in enough money.'"

"We try to ship off local prisoners as fast as possible when we get close to the limit, but we can't always ship them out fast enough," Gomez said.

"The overpopulation in the last few months is my fault, and sometimes it happens, but it doesn't make sense to blame the jail being closed on a couple months of over population when the locks and plumbing haven't been fixed for years. That just doesn't make sense."

Galindo explained that in the agreement with other counties in the region that formed the task force, Reeves County agreed to fund the task force by housing federal prisoners if other counties would take local prisoners that would put the county jail over the 84-prisoner limit.

"If we can't keep 55 federal prisoners in the jail without going over the population limit then we will have to keep fewer of them," he said.

As to the financial impact on the county, Galindo said that either the budget would have to be trimmed or taxes would have to be raised.

As for the jail, Crump explained that the Commission's order closing the jail would be signed and the county would receive it within the next week.

"Once they receive it, the county will have 15 days to appeal. The Commission can then either call a special meeting to hear the appeal or wait until June 1, at the regularly scheduled meeting," he said.

The jail would remain open until the Commission heard the county's appeal, he said.

West of the Pecos Rodeo planning Internet broadcast

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 12, 2000 - Fans who can't make it to all of the West of the Pecos Rodeo events this year will have the opportunity not only to check on the results but to watch the rodeo's events live over the Internet this year.

Starkey Warren, president of the West of the Pecos Rodeo Committee, told Pecos Chamber of Commerce Directors at their monthly chamber luncheon, that 25 rodeos are going to be televised this year. The Pecos rodeo is not going to be one, but Warren said they would be available to computer owners with an Internet connection.

"It will be live on the internet, which is something new," said Warren.

Warren saidd that he had talked to the bed tax committee and they had agreed to fund the effort. Cost will be $6,000 and will be on the Internet at

"Tom and I are putting together a tape and we will use it to promote Pecos," said Warren. "The clown shows won't be shown on the internet, just the actual events, but we'll use that time to promote Pecos, the museum and everything here."

Executive Director Tom Rivera reported that the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitor's Bureau is sponsoring a briefing session on the Texas Main Street Program, at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Reeves County Civic Center.

The main speaker for this presentation will be Genora Young, Main Street Manager for the city of Fort Stockton.

Each year, the Texas Historical Commission selects up to five Texas cities as official Texas Main Street Cities. Selected communities are eligible to receive a wide range of services, to include:

· Ongoing comprehensive training for Main Street manager and board members.

· Training communities in successful economic development approaches.

· Providing a three-day, on-site evaluation and full report with recommendations.

· Identifying and assisting with architectural elements, such as façade drawings, and educating building owners in proper maintenance techniques.

· Consulting with downtown merchants about visual merchandising and window display.

· Advising communities on heritage tourism programs and marketing.

The continuing deterioration of our downtown area cannot continue as it has to date, Rivera said. "We must be proactive in that regard and find a solution to the current problem as it pertains to our downtown area," said Rivera.

"We look forward to seeing you at the presentation and more importantly, of working together to improve the quality of life in our community," he said.

"I wish the entire community would get involved and attend this seminar," said Rivera. "It's very important that we come together on this," he said.

The Women's Division of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce reported that there are currently eight young ladies vying for the title of Golden Girl. Applications are being accepted for younger girls to participate in the Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant to be held in conjunction with the Golden Girls.

Tickets are now on sale for the Style Show, featuring the Golden Girls and to be held at the West of the Pecos Museum on May 6. Tickets for the event are $12 and can be purchased at the chamber office.

Kevin Duke told the group that he had spoken to Edwin Jaquez of Odessa, who will be having a softball tournament later this year in Pecos. "This will bring in more people to Pecos and he's doing an excellent job," said Duke. "He did do it, so that they will qualify for the state competition."

The next Fall Fair Committee meeting will be held at noon on April 25, according to Barbara Creager.

Board member Richard Creasey told the group that a lot of newspapers had picked up the story on the State Theater. An Associated Press Reporter, Michelle Kordin, wrote a story on the theater on one of her visits to Pecos. The story has been picked up newspapers all over the country.

"I got a call from a friend in Madison, Wisconsin, San Diego, California and CNN from Atlanta called about possibly doing a feature story," said Creasey. "Pecos is starting to get back on the map."

"We've gone nationwide with this article," he said.

Rivera spoke to the group briefly about a business directory for Pecos. "I would recommend setting up a committee of 3-4 people, to have a membership/shopper's guide," said Rivera. "We are in the process of launching a web-site and we could have a membership drive and include the members."

"I still believe that we need to publicize our local hotels and activities," he said.

Board to hear update on new Crockett labs

PECOS, April 12, 2000 - An update on the Crockett Middle School Eighth Grade lab addition project will be topics of discussion at the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting.

Bids to re-roof sections of Austin Elementary and sections of Pecos High School also are scheduled to be discussed and approved during the meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m., Thursday, in the boardroom, 1304 S. Park St.

The lab expansion is part of the overall expansion project at Crockett, which will house both seventh and eighth grade students beginning with the 2000-2001 school year. Sixth grade students at Lamar Middle School will take the place of the seventh graders currently at Zavala Middle School, while part of Lamar will be used to house students currently attending the Carver Center.

In other action on Thursday, Crockett Middle School and Pecos High School science fair students will be recognized, along with UIL science and math students in grades 6-8 at Crockett, Zavala and Lamar Middle School during Thursday's meeting. The board will also discuss participating in adult education for the Pecos River Economic Restoration Project and listen to the presentation of candidates and announcement of Teacher of the Year.

Under correspondence, is a donation from Pecos Eagles Athletic Booster Club of 50 gym chairs and donation from First National Bank for eighth grade science fair students.

Board members will discuss and approve a resolution that the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board of Trustees joins with Texas State Teacher's Association in petitioning the Texas Legislature to provide quality health care to all teachers and other school employees under the umbrella and protection of the State of Texas.

The group will discuss and approve an interlocal agreement for transfer of Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD/Town of Pecos City video lab equipment to the new Odessa College-Pecos Campus.

Board members will also discuss summer school and the 1999-2000 budge amendments.

Also for discussion and approval will be requests to purchase property owned by P-B-T ISD: Block 3, Lots 11-14, Blk 4 Lots 11-12, Blk. 7, Lots 13-14, Blk 8 Lots 1-14, Blk 9 Lots 1-2 Meadowbrook Addition; to purchase foreclosed property Block 131, Lot 4, Orig. Pecos; Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD's investment policy and security cameras for parking lot and Park Street area of Pecos High School funded by Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant Program.

The board will also meet behind closed doors in closed session to discuss personnel or hear complaints against personnel as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Section 551.01 et. Seq., Section 55.074: and Section 551.071- Private consultation with the board's attorney.

The board will return to open session and take action, if any, on items discussed in closed session.

Alamo St. crossing, landfill top council agenda

PECOS, April 12, 2000 - The Town of Pecos City Council will take on a lengthy agenda Thursday during their regularly scheduled meeting at city hall at 7:30 a.m. The council is slated to discuss the railroad crossing at Alamo Street, awarding the bid for closing of "Trench 1" at the landfill, and ratification of the water contract with Reeves County.

The council will also discuss an interlocal agreement with Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Independent School District and Odessa College dealing with the transfer of interactive video equipment, and discuss ongoing work in the Ward County water well field and Worsham field.

In other business the council will discuss / consider:

  •  An offer to purchase the property described as: North 45 feet of Lot 5 and south 15 feet of Lot 6, Block 2, Veterans Addition,  also known as 2019 S. Park St.
  •  Purchase of a rescue cam for the fire department.
  •  Closing the streets at Maxey Park for the Firemans' Convention.
  •  Resolution supporting the Resource Development Team.
  •  Placement of a stop sign at intersection of Cherry and Adams Streets.
  •  Public hearing on the city sewer system and permit modifications.
  •  Employment of a police reservist.
  • Sewer mediation agreement.

The meeting will be held in the council chambers at City Hall.

OC campus plans session for seniors

PECOS, April 12, 2000 - The Odessa College-Pecos Center will be sponsoring a college orientation for high school seniors and parents, from 7-8 p.m. on Thursday at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Attend the seminar and find out how the Odessa College-Pecos Center can save your family money by attending your local college.

The presentation will be available in both English and Spanish.

Financial aid information and payment plans will be discussed.

Bake sale set at RCH Friday

PECOS, April 12, 2000 - A "Benefit Bake Sale," will be held beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday in the lobby of the Reeves County Hospital.

The sale will benefit Juanita Metcalf, a Reeves County Hospital employee, who is suffering from cancer.

All baked goods will be homemade by hospital employees.

Donations will be accepted for the special fund set up for Metcalf.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night: Winning numbers drawn: 21-25-31-35-37. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $38,138. Winning tickets sold in: Houston, Sugar Land. Matching four of five: 259. Prize: $442.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 1-4-3 (one, four, three)


PECOS, April 12, 2000 - High Tuesday 77. Low this morning 53. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain early. Low in the lower 40s. Chance of rain 20 percent. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High in the upper 70s. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low around 45.

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