Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, October 9, 2002
Galindo pushes for construction of new housing
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., October 9, 2002 -- More employees are needed at the Reeves County
Detention Center and finding housing in Pecos seems to be one of the
The issue was a topic of discussion at the regular Pecos Area Chamber
of Commerce board luncheon, held Tuesday at the Pecos Senior Center.
The Detention Center will soon be opening its newest wing, which will
increase capacity from 2,000 to 2,960 inmates, and Reeves County Judge Jimmy
B. Galindo told the group that there would be an additional 100-250 new jobs
at the facility.
"They're currently working on the construction of RCDC-III, a $50 million
project," said Galindo. "It has been in the process of completion and we
plan to open it in January of 2003."
Construction is going well, but there are several issues regarding the
facility that need to be looked at, he said.
"We need jobs, but now that we have, we need people for those jobs," said
Galindo. "We were disheartened to see that in 2001, we had 190 new employees
and for one reason or another we only had 150 left.
"There's a number of issues, as to why these individuals left, ranging
from termination to them finding a new position elsewhere," he said. "It
is in a prison environment, so it calls for a different person.
"A hundred and fifty people were hired this year, and 117 separated from
the facility," said Galindo. "Over the last two years, there has been about
250 separations," he said.
Galindo asked chamber members for help in trying to stabilize the prison's
workforce. "We'd like you to reference people you think would like to work
in a prison environment," he said. "We have to come together as a team."
Galindo said that there was an available work force within the vicinity,
but that the lack of decent, affordable housing in the Pecos area seems to
be a major problem.
"These are starting positions and these individuals can't afford expensive
housing," he said. "We're looking at people who can afford a $250-$350 rent
and not more. Some of these are young, single people who at the beginning
can't afford very much."
Galindo said that apartments range from $400 plus, way too much for the
new employees. "We're also looking at raising the beginning pay for these
individuals, to try to help them out," he said.
The county judge also said additional housing could help those attending
the Odessa College-Pecos Technical Training Center.
"We really need to come together and make Pecos a college town. Not a
big college town, like Alpine, but a college community, where they can go
to school and still work full time," said Galindo. "That's another thing
we're working on, is scheduling those that want to attend college and still
"We want them to look at Pecos as the place to attend college for their
first two years and still work," he said.
"We need the housing compound," said Galindo.
Chamber president Kevin Duke told Galindo to talk to Nellie Gomez, about
Galindo told the group that there were a lot of opportunities at the facility,
not just starting level, but at the professional level.
"We can help out and work with you in finding a solution," said Duke.
City, schools ask Chamber to help anti-drug program
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., October 9, 2002 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD counselors and local
law enforcement officials were on hand for the regular Pecos Area Chamber
of Commerce board meeting held at noon Tuesday.
"We wanted to come out and ask for your support in our efforts to fight
drugs," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.
Deishler said that the schools and the law enforcement officials are planning
several activities for Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 21-25.
"We need all the help we can get to keep the kids off drugs," said Deishler.
"We wanted to let everyone know about the different activities we're planning
for Red Ribbon Week and ask for your help," said P-B-T Counselor Rosie Salcido.
"We have to have everyone work together."
Deishler told the group that they noticed the great participation that
the chamber had expected when they sponsored the recent Hawaiian Luau. "You
did such a great job, we wanted to ask your help in putting this on," he
The group will be sponsoring the Annual Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD District
Drug Free Rally. "We have all the schools there and the law enforcement people
and put out a positive message," said Deishler. "Now, we're asking the chamber's
help in getting more participation."
The District Drug Free Rally is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Friday, Oct.
25 at Eagle Stadium.
"Throughout that week, we'll be sponsoring other activities," said Salcido.
Monday, Oct. 21, will be "United We Stand For a Drug Free Land" day and
everyone is asked to wear red, white and blue.
Tuesday, Oct. 22, "We're a Team and We CAN Say No To Drugs," wear your
jersey and bring a canned good; Wednesday, "Follow Your Dreams. Don't Do
Drugs," wear pajamas; Thursday, "Put a Cap On Drugs" _ wear caps and Friday,
"Put a Stop To Drugs" _ wear red.
"We want to encourage everyone in the community to participate," said
Chamber president Kevin Duke assured the group that the chamber would
help out in any way possible.
In other business Tuesday, Cody West, who chaired the Annual Reeves County
Fall Fair Barbecue Cook-off, gave the group an update on the event.
"We had 54 entries and it was a great success," said West. "The posse
made some money, and I've heard that a while back they had about 100 entries.
I would certainly like to see it get back to that."
West said that he had been asked to chair again next year, but hasn't
decided yet if he will or not.
Interim Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Gholson told the
group that there have been many activities going on in Pecos recently.
"We had a great turnout at the fair, the Pecos Army Airfield reunion was
held here again and they had a great time," said Gholson. "Also the circus
that was here recently helped out the local Shriners and they want to come
back again next year."
Gholson said that the only thing missing at the fair this year was the
carnival. "We heard from some vendors who said they didn't miss the carnival
at all and did better without it," she said.
Gholson said that both the cook-off and the ranch rodeo did really well.
"Jason Garduno wants to do the ranch rodeo here again next year and add some
events," she said, while adding, "The livestock show needs some work, if
anybody wants to volunteer to help them."
Danny Fitzpatrick spoke about the coffeehouse they are currently working
on in the 800 block of West Third Street.
"There's a lot of rumors about what we're actually doing over there,"
said Fitzpatrick. "We have a wonderful school system, but that's one of the
positive things Pecos has to offer the youths, and we wanted to do something
positive for them."
"There's not a whole lot for them and we need to reach the teenagers,"
Fitzpatrick said that a non-denominational group had gotten together to
open He Brews Coffeehouse, which will be located at the old Bozeman Drug
"It is a Christian thing," said Fitzpatrick. "We'll be asking all the
pastors in the community to take turns being guest speakers and have a non-denominational
Other things the coffeehouse will feature are games, board games, pool
and live music at least once a month.
"We need to support them and help bring more things in for our young people,"
Assault victim dies, officials charge suspect
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Wed., October 9, 2002 -- An 81-year-old man who was severely beaten
in his own home two weeks ago has died in a Lubbock hospital, and police
in a Panhandle town have arrested a suspect in the attack.
Anastacio Acosta, 81, died Tuesday morning as a result of the head injuries
he sustained in the Sept. 28 attack. Acosta was flown to Covenant Medical
Center in Lubbock the morning of the attack, and survived for a week after
family members had him taken off the life support system because of the severe
head injuries he suffered in the beating.
This morning, Pecos Police said Juan Gonzales, 20, had been arrested in
Muleshoe, located 40 miles northwest of Lubbock and 240 miles from Pecos.
Gonzales was arrested originally on unrelated charges, but was connected
by investigators here to the Acosta beating.
"We issued a warrant," Pecos Police Department Lt. Kelly Davis said. "And
we have a confession."
Even with the arrest of Gonzales, Davis said that they are still working
on the case.
"We may or may not make an additional arrest," he said, but added he hoped
that a second arrest could be made in this case.
Gonzales was already in a Muleshoe jail on a charge of aggravated assault
on a police officer. Davis said that a warrant was sent to Muleshoe, where
Gonzales was arrested on the Pecos charge while in jail.
Gonzales now faces charges of first-degree murder, which is considered
a first-degree felony.
According to Davis, Gonzales bond is set at $100,000
The beating of Acosta occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday,
September 28, in his own home, located in the 400 block of East Fourth Street,
while he was sleeping.
Acosta lived in an area between the Del Rio Bar and a storage area.
Police received a call about the assault and when they arrived found Acosta
severely beaten in the head.
He was transported first to Reeves County Hospital, then airlifted to
Lubbock that same night, Davis said.
Police get $50,000 grant for video cameras in cars
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Wed., October 9, 2002 -- By the end of March 2003, Pecos Police Department's
marked cars will all have video cameras installed in them, as part
of a statewide racial profiling policy for law enforcement.
According to Pecos Police Chief, Clay McKinney, the policy provides funds
for those applying for grants to be used for the cameras in the police cars.,
which will be used to document actions by police who might be involved in
alleged racial profiling incidents or others involving allegations of use
of excessive force.
"We received a grant of about $50,000," McKinney said. "It will provide
us with 11 more cameras."
Currently the Pecos Police Department has three marked cars with the video
camera system installed.
"We received the funds about a year ago to purchase those cameras," McKinney
With the grant money McKinney said that every marked car would be equipped
with a video recording system.
"The cameras provide an undisputable account of a police-citizen contact,"
McKinney said that aside from the concerns addressed by the state policy,
the tapes can also be used by police as evidence in a case.
"For example they could be used in a driving while intoxicated stop,"
the chief said.
According to McKinney the only other police department within the Pecos
area that has all of its marked cars equipped with cameras is Monahans.
"Each police officer is issued a tape," he said. "They are eight hour
Each tape is activated with video and audio once the overhead lights come
on, McKinney said. He also added that the taping equipment has a manual on-off
The use of the tape is used completely, which would have anywhere from
30 to 40 traffic stops
Each tape is filed and stored for six months or 180 days. If an allegation
against a police officer is filed the tapes are then pulled and reviewed,
As with any grants, certain criteria have to be met. McKinney said that
one of those was that they could not ask for more cameras than the number
of marked cars the department had.
"Another criteria is that we are a smaller type of agency and we could
not afford it," McKinney said of the equipment itself.
He said he is pleased that the department was able to receive the grant
that will help them provide them with the cameras.
"We will be able to outfit the cars without the taxpayers money," McKinney
said. "We will outfit the cars with the grant money."
Red Bluff to re-examine position on cloud seeding
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Wed., October 9, 2002 -- After hearing from members of the their sub-district
boards over the past few weeks, Red Bluff Water Power Control Board
members said they would take action next month on discussing support
for a cloud seeding program for the Trans-Pecos region.
However the board also wanted to know why a similar cloud seeding program
was just discontinued in the Lubbock area, during a discussion of the subject
on Tuesday at the district's monthly meeting in Pecos.
Red Bluff board members have been reluctant in recent months to give formal
support to the Trans-Pecos Weather Modification Program, which would seed
clouds over Reeves and surrounding counties in an effort to produce more
rain and break the area's decade-long drought. The board made their decision
despite the protests of Tom Nance, with the Ward County Water Improvement
District No. 1 in Barstow.
"My personal opinion is I don't have the foggiest idea if this will work,"
said board member Dick Slack, who added "The president of the (water improvement)
district I'm in is for it … if that's what the district wants, then
I'm for it."
There are seven water improvement districts that receive water from the
Red Bluff District, and Slack said four of the seven were in favor of the
"I've got four letters from the presidents of the districts saying they're
for it, so in the interest of good government, I think we should be for it,"
said Slack, who asked that the item be put on the district's November agenda,
along with discussion of a contribution of about $1,000 to the project.
Red Bluff Managing Director Randall Hartman said he wanted to get any
agreement down in writing before action is taken, while adding, "I'm skeptical
of the program. I've talked to people on both sides of it, and if it works
out, great; if not we can pull out of it."
Earlier, Hartman asked Nance and Skeet Jones, a Loving County representative
on the Weather Modification Program's board, about the decision last week
by the board of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District to
discontinue their cloud seeding plan amid criticism that it wasn't beneficial
to all landowners. Other complaints were voiced that the process may have
actually broken up clouds and precluded them from forming rain clouds.
The board voted 3-1 to discontinue the program, which began in 1997 and
covered all or part of 15 counties across the High Plains district. It is
equally funded by the state and taxes from the water district.
Nance said he discussed the problem last week at a Texas Weather Modification
meeting in San Antonio. "They said their people seeded for three days and
got to the cloud after the half-life of the cloud. If you do it (cloud seeding)
after that, it dissipates the cloud," he said.
"There are 15 counties in the district. Did they kill the clouds in 15
counties?" Hartman asked.
"I talked to the man in charge of weather modification, and that's what
he said," Nance replied.
Nance also said he was told cotton farmers were the main opponents of
the High Plains plan, while Hartman said he was told livestock owners in
the area were the ones behind the petition that helped kill the program.
He also said the ranchers' rainfall data came in well below the numbers reported
by the Weather Modification Program's workers based on radar data.
"They said they'd get 18 inches, but they only got nine inches in their
rain gauges," he said. "I'm not against the program, but if you put this
program up you've got to put up rain gauges, because if you rely on radar
it's going to kill you."
"The intent of the program by the people monitoring it is not to hurt
anybody. There are supposed to be hearings on that if somebody feels like
it's going to hurt somebody," Jones said.
Along with the discussion on the cloud seeding program, Red Bluff members
also discussed the ongoing Malaga Bend salt alleviation project, the Pecos
River salt cedar eradication project, and voted too give 10 percent raises
to the district's four employees, while changing the district's payroll deduction
for the employee retirement plan from 5.87 to 6.95 percent.
The 10 percent raises were approved for Hartman, district secretary Robin
Prewit and field employees Tommy Mosley and George Brandenberg, after the
board was told the raises would come to about $1,000 a month increase in
the district's expenses, with $162,000 currently in Red Bluff's account.
"I was thinking 5 percent, but we haven't done this (raises) for quite
a while," said board member Teresa Walker before the vote, which approved
the raises retroactive to Oct. 1.
The retirement contribution change was mandated by the state, Prewit said,
and brings the district's contribution back near the 7 percent level it was
putting into the retirement until two years ago. The change will increase
the contribution by about $40 a month.
The district also agreed to increase their auto liability coverage by
$75-$100 a year in order to increase coverage on district vehicles from $100,000
in damages and $300,000 in injuries to $500,000 and $1 million respectively.
The salt alleviation project update was given by Hartman, who said Sun
West Salt Co. was preparing drill the wells that will be used to divert the
Malaga Bend salt spring away from the Pecos River to man-made ponds, where
water will be evaporated and salt mined out.
Board member Manuel Lujan noted that Sun West was three months behind
on their current salt payments to the district, which total about $15,000.
"What he (Sun West's Albert Wagner) has told me is pretty much what they've
been doing," Hartman said. "so I think it will work out OK."
Board members also voted to begin talks with Randy Graham on the district's
2002 audit, and approved accounts payable and cash disbursements. They were
also told that water levels at Red Bluff Lake were up only slightly in September,
but were still well below normal at just over 42,000 acre/feet.
"We still turn a little water out to keep the river bottom wet," said
Hartman, while board member Lloyd Goodrich pointed out earlier in the meeting
that the district may face a future costs for removing dead salt cedar trees
from along the Pecos River that were killed over the past three years as
part of the salt cedar eradication project.
"We'll have to remove those trees before the river gets up, or it will
be the highway department's problem," Goodrich said, referring to the possibility
that dead trees could be washed downstream towards highway bridges in the
event of a major increase in the river's flow.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Council to discuss water field project
PECOS, Wed., October 9, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City will discuss and
consider the final change order for the development of the South Worsham
Water Field Project during their regularly meeting Thursday at 7 a.m. in
the City Council Chambers.
The council members will discuss and consider the final change order for
the development of the South Worsham Project Parts B and the final plans
and specification for the development of the South Worsham Project Parts
C, E and F.
Pecos Main Street Program Director Tom Rivera will also be making a presentation
to the council members on the program.
During the meeting, the council will approve the minutes of the regular
council meeting of September 26, the accounts payable report and the municipal
courts report. A recommendation for trick or treat for Halloween and items
for the council's next meeting will also be discussed.
PECOS, Wed., October 9, 2002 -- High Tuesday 75. Low this morning 56.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 50s. Light and
variable winds. Thursday: Patchy low clouds and fog in the morning:
Then becoming mostly sunny. Highs 80 to 85. Southeast winds 5 to 10
mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 50s. Friday: Mostly
sunny. Highs in the mid 80s. Saturday: Mostly clear. Lows in the mid
50s. Highs near 85.
Anastacio Acosta, Robert Fuentes, Cresencio Machuca and Harry Nagel
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