Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, February 25, 2002
Franco reports RCDC project is on schedule
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Mon., Feb. 25, 2002 -- Construction is going well at the Reeves
County Detention Center III, the new addition and the new contractors working
at the facility are very good to work with, though the prison's warden
said a new Statement of Work is being drawn up to meet new federal requirements.
The report came during reports from various departments at the regular
Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held this morning on the third
floor of the courthouse.
Reeves County Detention Center Warden Rudy Franco was on hand to talk
about the construction currently underway, which will increase the prison's
capacity from 2,000 to 2,960 inmates, and about other issues concerning
"We are currently at 1,960 at the facility, with an average daily of
1,910 inmates," said Franco. "Last year at about this time we had 1,825."
Franco said that it usually slows down at about this time and then picks
"We suspect it will be at 1,975 at the end of the year, because that's
been the trend," said Franco.
Franco said that it has been very calm at the facility and that things
are going well. "The staff problems have gone down, we had some problems
with staff last year, but I think the problems have gone down because of
more discipline and prosecutions," he said.
"How many U.S. Marshal's inmates do you currently have at the facility?"
said Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 4 Gilberto "Hivi" Rayos.
"We have 10 U.S. Marshal's, it's been down this year, last year we had
an average of 31," said Franco. "But we have all the beds available that
the U.S. Marshals need."
Franco said that the only other issue the group is working diligently
on is the Statement of Work agreement with the Bureau of Prisons.
"There is a shift in BOP, there are a lot of commercial companies that
are investing money in facilities and their only objective is to make money,"
Franco said that because the Bureau of Prisons is comparing privatization
with the other facilities, the Statement of Work would need to be revamped.
"As a result of this movement we have been negotiating with the old
Statement of Work," said Franco. "All of a sudden they hit us with this
new Statement of Work."
Franco mentioned several issues that were brought up in the new Statement
of Work that involved requirements mandated by the federal government and
which the RCDC is currently negotiating with and discussing.
Franco said that one of the major changes was in the health care of
the inmates. "They want a $100,000 cap on medical expenses, in other words
the facility would be liable for the first $100,000," said Franco. "In
privatization they have a $100,000 cap on medical, because they are able
to save money, where in intergovernmental we're not."
"There will be a major shift on focus of a number of issues, which is
why we haven't been able to complete the Statement of Work and the budget,"
Franco said he and his staff have been working diligently on the revised
of the Statement of Work and the new budget. "I see more changes in the
Statement of Work," he said.
Another issue Franco mentioned was the number of segregated beds. "They
want 10 percent segregated beds and we have 5 percent," said Franco.
"There are a lot of issues we have to deal with," he said.
"We are the first intergovernmental facility that has been challenged
with this new Statement of Work," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Franco said that they were going to rely on Tommy Duncan's expertise
and his help in this matter. Duncan is an assistant warden at the prison
who formerly worked for the BOP.
"We have gone through all these issues and have e-mailed them a copy
of our proposed Statement of Work," said Franco.
Franco said that usually privatization facilities have two years to
work on this. "And we have two months, but hopefully we can come up with
something everyone can live with," he said.
"I want to ask you to be very diligent at the facility and very frugal
during these next few months while we work out the details," Galindo said.
"In the big scheme of things, if you don't have any problems at the
facility, they won't question you, and we don't have any issues," said
Franco. "We don't have any thing to worry about."
Local drug task force aids in $180,000 cocaine bust
PECOS, Mon., Feb. 25, 2002 -- About 8.5 pounds of suspected cocaine was
confiscated over the weekend and an Odessa woman jailed in connection with
the drugs, which were part of a seizure made by the Trans Pecos Drug Task
Force in Andrews County.
At about 11:40 a.m., Saturday the task force, along with the Andrews
County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Public Safety, arrested
Rocio Vela, 30, of Odessa, for delivery of a controlled substance, cocaine.
The officers stopped Vela, who was driving a 2001 red Mitsubishi, in
Andrews and confiscated 8.5 pounds of suspected cocaine that she was carrying
in a Gloria Vanderbilt traveling bag.
Street value of the cocaine is set at about $180,000.
"They can still make a profit out of that, so it's worth more," said
Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Lieutenant Larry Arredondo, who added that
this was a cooperative effort between the agencies that paid off.
"This is the conclusion of an ongoing two-month undercover investigation,"
said Arredondo. "I'm thankful to all the agencies that cooperated, we work
really well together."
The cocaine was being transported in three sealed packages.
"It is still under investigation and it could lead to more arrests,"
Students seek 'small change' in cancer fight
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Mon., Feb. 25, 2002 -- Crockett Middle School students and staff
have been gathering change to donate to the "Pennies for Patients," a fund-raiser
to raise money for cancer research.
Crockett Science Teacher Jim Workman said that the students have been
collecting money for the fund-raiser that will benefit the Leukemia &
According to Workman, Pennies for Patients requests the assistance of
schools and their students throughout the United States in order to raise
funds for cancer research.
"We are competing with other Far West Texas schools, from the El Paso
area, and all of New Mexico," Workman said.
Last year, this chapter of the Pennies for Patients campaign raised
over $37,000 and hopes to at least raise $57,000 this year.
To encourage as many schools to participate each school that raises
the most money in each chapter will have a chance to meet singer and actress
Moore, who recently started in the film A Walk to Remember, is
the national spokesperson for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and will
personally visit the campus of each school in each chapter that raises
the most money.
Workman said that the students at Crockett have really showed great
enthusiasm and support of the fundraising campaign.
"Two kids have really gone hog wild," he said.
He explained that the two girls have each brought in $42 and $62 worth
of pennies themselves.
Everyday the students have a chance to donate loose change during their
homeroom class, Workman said.
A few local businesses have even decided to participate and made donations
to the project.
In addition to the effort to raise the most money, the students have
had their own competition.
"The homerooms are competing against each other for a pizza party,"
The last day for the competition is Wednesday, according to Workman,
who said that gives him time to count and bundle the money to turn in.
Anyone wishing to participate in the fund-raiser may contact Workman
at the Crockett campus by Wednesday.
Unemployment rises across area during January
PECOS, Mon., Feb. 25, 2002 -- Post-Christmas unemployment jumped in cities
and counties across the Permian Basin, though the numbers for Reeves County
and the Town of Pecos City remain about one percent lower than at the same
time a year ago.
January's unemployment rate for Reeves County was 7.6 percent, which
was above the original December unemployment number of 6.4 percent and
the adjusted December figure of 7 percent. But it was still lower than
the 8.5 percent jobless rate the TWC reported for Reeves County a year
The total number of jobs in the county was virtually unchanged last
month, rising from 5,901 to 5,902, while the local labor force grew from
6,342 workers to 6,384, accounting for the rise in unemployment. Last January,
the TWC reported 40 more jobs within the county, but over 100 more people
in the local workforce, which translated into the 8.5 percent jobless rate.
The current numbers for the number of jobs and jobless in the county
doesn't take into account the upcoming layoffs at Anchor Foods. Anchor
will begin shutting down its Pecos plant in March, leaving 700 people looking
for new jobs.
Unemployment in the Town of Pecos City went from 7.3 to 8.7 percent
last month, according to the TWC. The city had 432 people unemployed in
a workforce of 4,986 last month, which represents an increase of six jobs
in the city from December, but also a jump of 37 people on the unemployment
Other counties also reported rises of a little over one percent in their
jobless rates, though the TWC said Crane County saw a five percent jump
in unemployment, from 8.1 to 13.1 percent. Midland County's rate went from
2.9 to 3.7 percent, Ector County climbed from 5.0 to 6.2 percent, Andrews
County increased from 3.8 to 5.2 percent; Pecos County was up from 4.6
to 5.4 percent and Ward County increased from 5.7 to 7.3 percent.
Statewide, the TWC said unemployment rose from 5.2 percent in December
to 6 percent last month. The rate is up nearly two points from a year ago,
when joblessness in Texas stood at 4.3 percent, mainly due to the loss
of jobs in the high-tech industries around Houston, Austin and Dallas-Fort
Worth, though the total number of jobs in the state has actually increased
by over 90,000 from a year ago.
First voting day from primary race nets 272 ballots
PECOS, Mon., Feb. 25, 2002 -- Early voting for the March 12 primary election
began on Saturday, with 272 individuals voting by personal appearance at
the Reeves County Courthouse.
"We have received 56 ballots by mail and mailed out 287," said Reeves
County Clerk Dianne Florez. "We will be in Balmorhea on March 2 at the
Balmorhea Fire Hall, located at Fourth and San Antonio Streets," said Florez.
Early voting will be held weekdays from 8-5 p.m. at the Reeves County
Courthouse until March 8, which is the last day for early voting.
The last day to request an application for a ballot by mail is March
"If anyone has not received their ballot they can contact my office,"
said Florez, or if they have not received their ballot, they can call the
County Clerk's office at 445-5467.
PECOS, Mon., Feb. 25, 2002 -- High Sun. 85. Low this morning 37. Forecast
for tonight: Increasing cloudiness: Breezy: And turning much colder. Lows
in the upper 20s. NE winds 15 to 25 mph. Tues.: Mostly cloudy in the morning:
Decreasing clouds during the afternoon. Breezy and unseasonably cold with
highs 40 to 45. NE winds 15 to 25 mph. Tues. night: Mostly clear and very
cold. Lows 15 to 20. Wed.: Partly cloudy and warmer. Highs in the lower
50s. Thurs.: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 20s. Highs 55 to 60.
Michael James Proft, Gloria Alvarez and Mrs. Henry Ann Davis
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