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Thursday, August 3, 2000

County sets meeting on jail expansion plan

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 3, 2000 - Reeves County's Detention Center was one of the first county-owned facilities in the nation to house federal inmates, when it opened for business in 1986.

Now, other West Texas counties are also looking at building their own prisons as a way of attracting more income and adding jobs to their economies. But competing for prisoners won't be a problem, since different services will be used to procure the inmates, according to Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.

Gomez was referring to recent talks to expand the Reeves County Jail in an effort to generate revenue.

Reeves County Commissioners discussed the issue briefly at their last meeting and agreed that something had to be done.

While other cities and counties are also looking to implement a jail or upgrade facilities, this would not pose a problem to the Reeves County Jail, according to Gomez.

"We wouldn't be competing with the RCDC, because these would be different inmates that we would be getting," said Gomez.

The Reeves County Detention Center has an agreement with the Bureau of Prisons to house their inmates at their facility, which is currently being renovated to house 2,000 inmates instead of the 1,000. The facility should be completed by September and that is when they will start receiving more inmates, according to RCDC Warden Rudy Franco.

The Reeves County Jail's expansion plans are much smaller, and are being reviewed by Lorraine Dailey, architect with Dailey, Rabke and Gondeck, of San Antonio, who designed the plans for the RCDC expansion.

The renovations at the Reeves County Sheriff's Department would include adding 60 more beds and bringing the number of beds at that facility to 144.

"We would be getting U.S. Marshal Prisoners," said Gomez. "And with the federal courthouse located right across the street, this would be beneficial to everyone."

Gomez approached the commissioners court last month about raising the salaries at the Reeves County Jail to coincide with the RCDC salaries.

County Judge Jimmy Galindo told Gomez that in order to sustain that salary adjustment was to expand the revenue generating ability through expansion of the downtown jail.

"This would be the only way without having to raise taxes," said Galindo.

Commissioners are planning a special meeting for 1 p.m., Monday, on the third floor of courthouse to further discuss the expansion plans.

Based on inmate population numbers, there are a lot of inmates out there, according to Gomez.

Other cities in the area want to get in on the action, with several companies approaching the entities about the possibility of building a prison.

Officials in Monahans and Odessa are discussing plans to build 1,000-bed facilities of their own, which would house inmates under contracts with federal agencies.

Town of Pecos City is also looking at the possibility of a jail and will also be accepting U.S. Marshal Prisoners.

Town of Pecos City Mayor Ray Ortega approached the Pecos Chamber of Commerce about support from them in this endeavor.

Ortega told the chamber that this is a lucrative business and would generate revenue within the city, create jobs and promote stability in the city budget.

Store says deli display problems fixed

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 3, 2000 - Corrections have been made to problems in the delicatessen department of La Tienda Thriftway, its regional manager said this morning, during a hearing into health code violations held at City Hall.

Town of Pecos City Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil ordered the deli department closed down following an inspection on Tuesday due to the violations, which he said were similar to ones he cited the store for in April. The problems applied only to the store's delicatessen section, Gil added.

He said the problems focused on failure to keep refrigerated compartment doors closed, failure to keep meats at their proper temperatures and failure to keep sinks open where employees could wash their hands and sanitize store utensils.

"I will allow you to open the facility today if you make every effort to resolve those problems," Gil told Fenn Foods' District Manager Robert Garcia, who said the violations have been corrected.

Garcia said the company's refrigeration workers have already been in to check on the unit in the deli area. "The luncheon meat counter is well below the level you need, and the refrigeration area has been cleaned so it is getting good circulation," he said.

Gil brought a chart to the meeting, indicating meats should be stored at temperatures either below 41 degrees or over 140 degrees. Tuesday's inspection showed temperatures in the refrigeration unit were above the 41-degree level, while meat in the deli section's cookers was at temperatures of around 112 degrees. Those problems were noted in a letter dated Aug. 2 from Gil to La Tienda manager Noe De Los Santos.

Garcia said a glass door on the back of the deli case that had been removed by a previous deli department manager has been replaced, and that the temperature inside the case is now at 30 degrees. He added that the hand-washing sink has been cleared and sanitizing chemicals for kitchen utensils have been placed in the area to be used by the employees.

An area that allowed customers to pick out their own roasted chickens from the case was previously closed off, Garcia said.

Gil said he would return to the store in 15 days to conduct another inspection to make sure the problems had not returned, as he said was the case following an April 27 walk-through of the area.

He presented photos of that walk-through to Pecos Mayor Ray Ortega and City Manager Kenneth Neal showing the problems found at that time. Gil said the glass doors on the counter had been taken off because they didn't close, which left the counter open to flies, while other products were placed too high in the counter, cutting circulation of the refrigerated air.

"I asked for voluntary closure at that time, and Mr. De Los Santos complied," Gil said. He added store employees fixed the problems overnight following the April walk-through, and that a return inspection was conducted on May 8, after which department manager Debra Lara signed an inspection form.

Garcia said this morning he did not know the current closing was mandatory. "We were under the impression this was a voluntary suspension. I talked with the mayor and a talked with Mr. Neal, and they gave the impression that that was what we were under," he said.

Gil said he had notified De Los Santos of the problem, and told him about the Thursday hearing.

Garcia said the department's half dozen employees had been without work for the past two days.

"We're willing to do everything in our power to correct the problem, but I don't believe in putting people out of work," said Garcia, who added the store had passed a state inspection six weeks earlier.

Earlier in the meeting, Gil told Garcia "my concern is with the consumer, to make sure they have a good safe product. In 17 years I've been in this, I've only shut down three establishments, and we've had not a single food-born outbreak in Reeves County, which reflects on my record."

In response to a question from Garcia, Gil said store employees were allowed to eat the food in question, but could not sell it to the public until the problem was resolved.

Gil said following today's 10 a.m. hearing he had briefly shut down the store's previous owner, Furr's, several years ago when the supermarket's manager failed to remove meat that had been on display in a faulty refrigeration unit.

"They fixed the cooling unit, but they didn't remove the meat," he said. After the closure, "I got a call from (Furr's offices) in Lubbock, and they were very co-operative. The problem was solved that day, and then they had a new manager."

Two face indecency charges following arrests on Tuesday

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 3, 2000 - Pecos police arrested two local men on Tuesday on charges of indecency with a child, in separate incidents, which allegedly occurred during the past 10 days.

Len Carson, 52, was arrested at the police department after turning himself in at 10:08 a.m., and charged with indecency with a 10-year-old female.

According to the police report, the child's mother reported the incident on July 26.

The report said the child immediately told her mother of the incident as soon as it happened.

In the other incident, Armando Guzman, 41, was arrested at 2:39 p.m. on Tuesday, in the 500 block of South Oak Street and charged with indecency with a 13-year-old male.

The police said the mother of the child walked in on the incident happening and reported it on July 31.

In both incidents, the men charged are acquaintances of the victims and their families, said police, who are continuing to investigate both incidents.

Bessie Haynes sets registration Aug. 10 for 4th, 5th graders

PECOS, August 3, 2000 - Bessie Haynes Elementary School will be having registration on Thursday, Aug. 10 for incoming fourth and fifth grade students.

Registration will be held from 6-7:30 p.m., in the school cafeteria. If your child is new to the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, please bring the child's birth certificate, social security card, immunization record and report card of previous school attended.

Helen Miller and Sarah Tarin, Food Service Personnel, will be on hand to process free and reduced lunch applications.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instanced we will indication payment and release.

Eric F. Baeza, 19, was arrested at 1:04 a.m., on August 1 in the 1900 block of Scott Street for assault under the Family Violence Act-Class B and resisting arrest-Class A.

Fred Lara, 43, was arrested at 4:29 p.m., on August 1 at Allsup's, 708 S. Cedar St., for criminal trespass.

Lynell Metcalf Putnam, 31, was arrested at 3:12 a.m., on Aug. 3 at Third and Cedar Streets for public intoxication.

Hilario Celaya III, 19, was arrested at 4:07 a.m., on Aug. 3 in the 800 block of Monroe Street following a report received from the 1500 block of Johnson for public intoxication.

Charles Palmer, 42, was arrested at 5:27 p.m., on Aug. 2 in the 500 block of South Eddy Street for public intoxication and assault by threat under the Family Violence Act.

Benjie Maldonado, 40, was arrested at 9:24 a.m., on Aug. 2 at Fourth and Locust streets on a warrant for parole violation.

Theresa Enmon, 48, was arrested at 9:50 a.m., on Aug. 2 in the 800 block of South Eddy Street on a warrant for terroristic threat.

Orlando Munoz, 18, was arrested at 11:02 a.m., on Aug. 2 in the 300 block of West Palmer Street on two warrants for delivery of a controlled substance/cocaine.

Marco Vasquez, 18, was arrested at 11:28 a.m., on Aug. 2 in the 100 block of Locust Street on a warrant for delivery of a controlled substance/cocaine.


PECOS, August 3, 2000 - High Wednesday 101. Low this morning 68. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low around 70. South to southeast wind 5-10 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs 102-106. South wind 10-20 mph. Friday night: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 60s. Saturday: Mostly sunny and clear at night. Lows in the upper 60s. Highs 104-109.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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