Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, February 6, 2002
Dedication held for new Criminal Justice Center
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 6, 2002 -- Hundreds of people joined officials with
the Town of Pecos City and the Pecos Police Department for the grand opening
of the Pecos Municipal Criminal Justice Center this morning on Raul Florez
Mayor Ray Ortega welcomed community members and numerous representatives
of area law enforcement organizations to the opening of the justice center
that will house U.S. Marshal's Service inmates as well as the Pecos Police
Department and their inmates.
Before the ceremony began Ortega expressed the excitement that has been
building since this project started about 10 months ago.
We're very excited," he said. "The City of Pecos hasn't seen any new
city construction for about 20 to 25 years."
The project of building the 96-bed facility began approximately two
years ago with planning then construction, and was made possible with a
$2.4 million grant from the Marshal's Service, which has been keeping inmates
awaiting trial at U.S. District Court in Pecos at out-of-town jails.
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney explained a recent designation given
to the new facility.
"This facility was designated a BOP (Bureau of Prisons) holdover," he
said. "That means that any Federal inmates sentenced to a BOP facility
would come here and wait for transportation."
McKinney said that designation was acquired through the cooperation
of the Marshal's Service.
Although the facility's Grand Opening was today, the police department
will not move in until later this month.
McKinney said that orientation for the 18 new staff members hired to
help in the facility would be held on Feb. 11 and the first Marshall Service
inmates would start coming in on the 19th.
Former police officer Tony Dawdy was recently appointed to serve as
jail administrator, according to McKinney.
Dawdy has been with the police department since 1995 and would now be
running the jail facility.
McKinney said that Dawdy was chosen for a number of reasons, including
his experience in law enforcement and corrections as well as the fact that
he was already a city employee and is familiar with procedures.
"We just felt he was the best applicant for the job," McKinney said.
"It was a hard decision though because we had many qualified applicants."
During the ceremony, Ortega spoke to the audience of the many problems
that Pecos and cities in the surrounding areas are facing such as declining
population, affordable housing, high unemployment and scarcity of valuable
resources like water.
Ortega explained that many other communities might experience this same
problem but it is somehow different in rural West Texas.
"Traditional models of economic development used in other parts of our
nation and our state prove useless in our unique region," he said.
That is why the city decided to build the justice center, which they
determined would create 18 new jobs and bring at least $1.5 million into
our local economy.
With the help of the Marshal's Service and James Parkey, president of
Corplan Corrections, the city is now able to do that ahead of schedule.
Parkey expressed his gratitude to the city for allowing his company
to construct the facility in Pecos.
"I want to thank you for the opportunity you've given us today to dedicate
this facility," he said to member of the Council, city and police department.
Parkey said that the construction of the facility wrapped up 45 days
ahead of schedule.
U.S. Marshal Billy Johnson explained to the audience the importance
of this facility for the Marshal's Service who previously had to use seven
county facilities to house inmates awaiting trial in Pecos.
"This new facility would be able to hold a lot of the inmates within
a few minutes of the courthouse," he said.
McKinney said the completion of the new facility has brought many years
of hard work and dedication to an end.
"Today our dream has become a reality," he said.
During the ceremony, Ortega also presented an ordinance and street sign
to former Reeves County Sheriff Raul Florez' wife, Jon, after dedicating
the North I-20 Frontage Road as Raul Florez Blvd. The council voted last
year to change the name of the service road, which formerly had been called
Helping with the grand opening celebration, Patricia Matthews and Jonathan
Martinez sang inspirational and patriotic songs just before the Pecos High
School Band performed. Also present was the Pecos High School Mariachi
Band and bagpipe player Flynn Long.
Once the ceremony was over, community members were invited in for guided
tours of the facility then joining the city for lunch.
Rec Department starting sign-ups for youth soccer
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 6, 2002 -- The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation
Department has begun signing up boys and girls for its Spring soccer program.
The program is open for boys and girls between the ages of 4½
and 14. Parents of children who are interested in playing can pick up forms
at the recreation department office in the old Pecos High School gym during
Entry fee is $10 per child and a birth certificate and signatures from
both parents are needed on the registration form. The deadline to register
is Saturday, March 2.
For further information, call 447-9776.
Rivera leaving Chamber for Main Street post
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 6, 2002 -- Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Executive
Director Tom Rivera has announced his resignation, in order to take the
newly created position of the Town of Pecos City's Main Street Program
Rivera, who has served as Chamber director for the past 10 years, said
his resignation would take effect on Friday, Feb. 15.
"We will have an executive committee meeting tomorrow," said Rivera,
at which time the committee will decide what to do about his vacancy.
Rivera said he has truly enjoyed his job as Chamber director, but added
that the Main Street Program is an important part of revitalizing Pecos.
"The Main Street program is a program that is desperately needed in
Pecos," said Rivera. "This is something to help revitalize the downtown
area, especially during this economic crunch we are experiencing."
Rivera said he is looking forward to working closely with the Chamber
and West of the Pecos Museum on the project and with the business owners
in the downtown area. "My first priority will be the old Woolworth's building,"
said Rivera. The building at Third and Oak streets has been empty since
1989 and is an excellent location for a business or other venture.
"I have really enjoyed the last 10 years with the Chamber and will continue
to work closely with them," said Rivera. "I also look forward to working
with the whole community, because it will take the whole community to make
the Main Street program successful."
Rivera said the project was going to be a lot of hard work and a lot
of hours. "I look forward to working with the city administration. I'm
looking forward to the challenge, it's definitely going to be a lot of
hard work," he said.
Rivera added that one of the requirements for the position is that he
attends a school for training and that is the first thing he plans to do.
"I'm going to re-file the application with the state, as soon as the training
is completed," he said.
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 6, 2002 -- High Tuesday 43. Low this morning 31. Rainfall
last 24 hours at Texas A&M Experiment Station .27. Total for month
1.25 inches. Total for year 1.59 inches. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear.
Lows around 30. Northwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday: Sunny and warmer.
Highs near 60. Light and variable winds. Thursday night: Mostly clear.
Lows 30 to 35. Friday: Sunny. Highs 60 to 65. Saturday: Partly cloudy.
Lows 30 to 35. Highs near 60.
Nicolas Gonzales, Jr.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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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Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise