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Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Commissioners told RCDC almost finished

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 28, 2000 - Construction at the Reeves County Detention Center's 1,000-bed addition is going real well and the Reeves County Commissioners will have a chance to see for themselves on Wednesday.

Commissioners are planning a visit to the construction site on Wednesday morning, following discussion and review of the final stages of the addition, which will double the size of the facility. In conjunction with the tour, commissioners will have a working session on the RCDC expansion.

RCDC Warden Rudy Franco told the group at their regular meeting held Monday morning that construction was coming along real well. "We have had two pods inspections," said Franco.

Franco told the group that the Reeves County facility is the second largest in population in West Texas, with the Big Spring federal correctional site ranking first. "The Texas Jail Commission agreed to give us two inspections and we have enough beds available to carry us," he said.

The facility was scheduled to be completed just after Labor Day, and has missed two other completion dates since then, but despite the drawbacks and problems that have plagued the project, they haven't lost anything, according to Franco.

"It would have taken us 5-6 months to fill them (beds), but we have filled them up in stages," he said.

Franco added that they have three weeks to work out the details and will have time before the Texas Jail Commission makes their second inspection.

In conjunction with Franco's report, commissioners approved payment invoices #19 to Banes General Contractors in the amount of $479,803 and payment invoices #210 and #217 to Dailey Rabke and Gondeck for remodeling in the amount of $27,000.

The remodeling was a part of the project to make the infirmary, the dayroom area and the admissions area larger, to better accommodate the inmates who will fill the 1,000 additional beds.

"We built additional items within an existing space," said Franco. "The office space and infirmary were too small."

"We took care of some of these necessary items by remodeling some of the vacated area," said Franco.

Total cost for the remodeling project was set at $125,000, according to Franco.

In addition, commissioners approved payment #13 to Frank X. Spencer. "This is the last invoice on this," said county auditor Lynn Owens.

Franco stated that he has worked on other big projects, such as the 1995-96 RCDC Expansion Project, and that this one has gone smoother and stayed within budget.

"During all those other projects, there were always bigger problems to contend with and they always came in way over budget," said Franco. "We're within the budget and the problems we have encountered have not been big or expensive," he said.

County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said one of the benefits of this project was the 16-inch water line leading to the facility. "We were going to have to pay for it separately and now it's been included," said Galindo.

"I spoke to Mr. (Town of Pecos City Utilities Director Octavio) Garcia who installed the water line and he said everything had gone really well," said Galindo. "Except at the railroad crossing where they had a few problems, but they fixed it."

"We're also waiting for GTE (Verizon) or Valor Telecom to install a telemetry system at the city plant, that issues needs to be resolved," said Galindo, in regard to the water line. "But the water line has greatly enhanced the water pressure at the facility."

"This is coming as close to completion date and as close to budget, all those other projects I have mentioned were way over budget," he said.

Franco stated that the inmate population at the facility is up to 1,400. "The Texas Jail Commission will be up here on the 18th and we'll have the additional 600 beds available," he said.

Commissioners approved the lease of two copy machines for RCDC and a report from the Judicial District Community Annual report. "I noticed that Ward County fees collected was double the amount of Reeves County," said Owens. "That must mean that we're not doing a very good job of making these people pay."

Owens said he noticed in the report that there were a lot of people who completed probation without having finished paying their fees.

"Our courts need to be more aggressive in making these people pay," he said.

"I sat down and went over the records and there were a lot of people that finished probation, but had not been brought back to court, so it expired and the fees are gone, there's no way to get them back," said Owens.

An amendment between Reeves County and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs was approved along with reports from various departments, minutes from previous meetings and semi-monthly bills.

Write-in candidate files suit over election

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 28, 2000 - OK, it's not George W. Bush vs. Al Gore and there are no disputes over dimpled chads or butterfly ballots. But the already-controversial Loving County general election has taken another twist, after one of the three losing write-in candidates in the Nov. 7 vote filed a lawsuit over the results in 143rd District Court.

J.W. "Buddy" Busby has sued over his 37-24 loss in the election for Precinct 1 Commissioner to Harlan Hopper. In a suit filed in 143rd District Court in Mentone, Busby questioned the fairness of the vote count, citing the fact that Loving County Clerk Beverly Hanson is Hopper's daughter.

The suit comes a month after 143rd District Attorney Randall W. Reynolds asked the Texas Rangers to investigate the unusual number of new voter registrations in Loving County.

Hansen said in late October that while 146 people had been registered to vote in the county 1999, that number had risen to 212 by early October. The number of registrerd voters surpassed 200 even though the U.S. Census Bureau showed only 113 people living in Loving County as of July 1, 1999. The most recent employment numbers for the county showed 109 people in the county's labor force during October, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Loving County ended up with 161 people voting in the Nov. 7 election, Hanson said. The vote registration probe is being investigated by Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos.

Aside from the race between Busby and Hopper, Richard Putnam defeated write-in candidate Tom Jones by a 91-68 margin in the race for Loving County Sheriff/Tax Assessor-Collector, and Regena Derrick beat write-in Beverly Creager for the county Justice of the Peace unexpired term, 97 votes to 46.

One race that won't need a recount though was the one for president. Loving County voters went solidly for Bush on election, by a 124-29 margin over Gore.

Hospital board to discuss new equipment

PECOS, November 28, 2000 - The Reeves County Hospital Board of Directors are scheduled to discuss recommendations from the finance committee on purchasing new equipment for the hospital, during their regular monthly meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. today in the hospital's classroom.

The equipment includes a sonic cleaner for surgery, IV pumps and a file storage system for medical records.

The Board is also expected to discuss a self-funded insurance for RCH, monthly tax reports the patient grievance policy, the sale of three properties in Pecos and payment of bills.

Board members will also receive their first report from interim Reeves County Hospital Administrator Richard Murphy. Murphy sat in on the board's October meeting as outgoing administrator Charles Butts finished off his duties at his last meeting with the hospital board.

Under a contract the hospital has with Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock, Murphy was appointed to fill in as interim administrator after Butts announced his resignation in September.

Christmas Tree lighting events set for Friday

PECOS, November 28, 2000 - Austin Elementary first and second grade students will be singing Christmas songs for the public at the lighting of the city Christmas Tree at Maxey Park this Friday evening.

The students will be singing three songs before lights on the tree and in the park are lit and three songs after the lighting, according to second grade teacher Becky Patterson.

She requests that parents bring their students to the old city swimming pool at the northeast (Pinehurst Street) side of the park at 6:30 p.m., on Friday.

The Christmas tree is located at the old city swimming pool and community members are welcome to join the students in celebration of the lighting of the tree and park.

TxDOT holds meeting tonight

PECOS, November 28, 2000 - A meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Ward County Community Center in Monahans on upcoming projects by the Texas Department of Transportation for rural counties in the Odessa District.

TxDOT spokesman Glen Larum said the meeting would cover TxDOT plans for the years 2002-2004, and is the third such meeting held in the district in the past two weeks.

"They will talk about projects they have scheduled and will ask the public to comment on them, and they will ask about other projects they would like to see," Larum said.

He added a map will be available showing all of the TxDOT project sites for the 2002-2004 period.

The community center is located on East Fourth Street in Monahans, near the Ward County Courthouse.


Eduardo Natividad


PECOS, November 28, 2000 - High Monday 70. Low this morning 36. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low in the lower 30s. Wind becoming northeast 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High near 60. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly clear. Low in the lower 30s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Low in the 30s. High in the 60s to near 70.

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