Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, June 27, 2003
Gomez joins call for public support for RCDC
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Fri., June 27, 2003 -- Support from the community and no "finger pointing"
about the financial problems at the Reeves County Detention Center is what
this county needs at this time, according to Reeves County Sheriff Andy
Gomez said that Reeves County is facing a major dilemma at this time,
with the problems the Reeves County Detention Center is facing with the
Bureau of Prisons. The county recently opened its 960-bed addition to the
2,000-bed prison, and was expecting it to be quickly filled with inmates
by the BOP.
However, federal officials have balked at placing new inmates in the
facility, and have not agreed to a request by the county for a 10 percent
increase in the man/day rate paid by the federal government to the county.
The actions have left the county facing a cash crunch, with a $950,000 bond
payment due on Tuesday and payroll for the prison's nearly 500 workers scheduled
for next Thursday.
"This is no time to be finger pointing," said Gomez. "Instead, we as a
community, have to pull together to get us out of this mess."
Gomez said that everyone in the community needed to help to keep the
local facility open. "It's vital to this community to keep that prison open
and it's vital for the workforce in the community," he said.
At Monday's Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting Reeves County Judge
Jimmy B. Galindo said that Reeves County was currently in negotiations with
the BOP in regards to the status of the prison.
At that time he said he was asking the community members to contact Congressman
Henry Bonilla and Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison to urge
them to help in the matter.
In a letter to the BOP, Galindo said that the new section needs at least
575 inmates in order for the county to meet its financial requirements,
though the judge said later that Reeves County does have enough available
funds to meet the July bond payment.
Payroll money will have to come out of the county's General Fund. On
Monday, County Auditor Lynn Owens said, "We'll primarily need to transfer
$420,000 for payroll on the third (Thursday)."
Galindo said that they were supposed to have a conference call with the
BOP today, but that officials with the agency had cancelled the phone meeting.
"They've rescheduled it for next Tuesday at 9 a.m.," said Galindo.
Gomez said that he has been busy trying to bring in more support and get
the community involved and united. "I've talked to the chamber of commerce
and plan to speak to all the entities," said Gomez. "This is a serious matter
and right now is not the time to be putting blame on somebody."
Gomez said that the community needed to come together and help each other
out. "We need to keep those jobs out there and keep the prison going," said
Gomez. "This is not the time to be splitting apart," he said.
Gomez said that he and his staff will be circulating petitions in support
of the prison.
"We'll be drafting a letter to send to our congressman," said Gomez. "We
encourage everyone to write," he said.
Among the objections listed by the BOP in a letter to Galindo by inspector
Elaine Peebles on June 11 was that salaries for management and administrative
positions at the RCDC appeared excessive compared to U.S. Department of
Labor Estimates for the Odessa-Midland area.
The two other prisons in West Texas that fall into the same category as
the RCDC are prisons built by the City of Eden and by the City of Big Spring.
However, unlike Reeves County, those prisons are managed under private contracts.
Dale Brown, warden of Cornell Unit in Big Spring said, "I don't think
it's in our best interest to get involved in this matter."
"We respect BOP as an agency and Reeves County Detention Center, they
are both professional and good agencies," said Brown.
Presidio faced similar prison cash crisis in '95
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, Fri., June 27, 2003 -- What happens if Reeves County cannot make the
required monthly payments of approximately $950,000 on the new wing of Reeves
County Detention Center (RCDC)?
The first payment is due next Tuesday and as of Thursday there were only
a handful of U.S. Marshal's Service prisoners occupying the 960-bed unit
- not nearly enough to offset the County's financial obligations for the
At Monday's County Commissioners' meeting the County loaned RCDC $420,000
from the general fund so that the prison could make the next payroll on
But money from the general fund (primarily money paid by taxpayers) cannot
be used to pay off the private bonds issued to build RCDC.
According to County Judge Jimmy Galindo, funds are available to make
the first payment due next Tuesday, even with the $420,000 loan from the
general fund to meet the RCDC payroll. But the county will not have enough
funds to make the second payment due in August unless prisoners are found
to fill the new wing.
So, what happens if the County cannot pay?
Would default mean the end of RCDC - now the largest employer in the
county since the closing of Anchor Foods last year?
"It would have major financial implications," Galindo said in an interview
Galindo said that in the case of default the prison complex would revert
back to the lessor - an investment company that holds the bonds.
But default and "major financial implications" may not mean the end of
Presidio County faced a similar situation in 1995.
According to former Presidio County Judge Jake Brisbin, the county built
a new jail in 1993 and financed it with private bonds just as RCDC is financed.
Brisbin was elected County Judge in 1994 and served until 1999. Currently
he is the executive director of the Rio Grande Council of Governments.
A new jail was needed when federal officials began declining to prosecute
drug cases in U.S. District Court in Pecos, instead turning them over to
officials in the county where they were arrested. The sudden increase in
cases forced the state to create a new district court for the Big Bend area
and overwhelmed the old Presidio County Jail, forcing the county to build
a new facility.
However, a year later, Presidio County found itself with a shortage of
inmates from the federal government, with payment deadlines looming.
"By 1995 we we're in real trouble," he said. "We were in default with
no revenue coming in and no assets except the jail itself."
Brisbin said that the investors only had two real choices; either they
could take the jail away from Presidio County and try to run it themselves,
or they could allow Presidio County to continue to run it.
In Presidio the investors decided to work out a deal with the County rather
than having a private corporation come in and try to run the jail.
"They wanted their money back and the way to get it was to run the jail
and eventually they understood that in that situation we (Presidio County)
were best suited to run it," he said.
Brisbin said that while the situation in Reeves County was different he
would not expect the prison to close.
He pointed out that the major difference is that there are plenty of
companies nationwide that are set up to run large prisons as a private business
whereas the Presidio County Jail was a 112-bed facility and not really large
enough to be attractive to outside corporations.
RCDC might be attractive to a corporation in the business of running prisons
for profit - that might be an attractive option for the investors, he said.
"Your prison is not going to close - at least not for long. The economic
benefit will still be had by Pecos. Someone will be operating the prison,"
According to current Presidio County Judge Jerry Agan the scenario that
Brisbin paints makes sense.
Agan took over the reins of Presidio County in October of 2001 and recently
negotiated a final settlement with the Presidio investors.
"If there is a default you can be sure that the investors will make sure
the prison is operating," Agan said.
Teacher ready for summer's VBS classes
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Fri., June 27, 2003 -- Patricia Matthews is using her schoolteacher
skills this summer by organizing Vacation Bible School at Iglesia Primera
Bautista Mexicana, at Eighth and Sycamore streets during the second week
"This is a Holy Spirit movement," said Matthews, who expects 500 children
to attend the five-night school from 6 to 9 p.m. July 7-11.
"We are endeavoring to embark upon a great spiritual victory in the name
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we attempt to win as many souls as
possible during this VBS," Matthews said.
Matthews joins her efforts with Susie Lujan, who has directed the Primera
VBS for the past several years. They have asked other churches in the community
to supply teacher helpers, registrars and clerks in the office, volunteers
to pick up children from their homes and return them after class, kitchen
helpers, monitors, music helpers and clean-up crews.
Donations are invited to help purchase Bibles for the children, buy scriptural
art projects, prizes for games, food and drinks.
Anyone who would like to help may contact Lujan at 447-2292 or Matthews
"Or just show up," said Matthews. "We will give you something to do."
City workers asking council for help with costs
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Fri., June 27, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council discussed a
request to help city workers in paying their insurance costs, during the
council's regular meeting Thursday evening at City Hall.
Pecos Police Department Investigator Paul Deishler asked the council
if they would be willing to set up some form of supplement to help police
officers and other city workers pay their private insurance company.
Councilman Danny Rodriguez said that he thought they needed to find a
plan that would work.
"It is hard to retire from a place you have worked at for most of your
life at the age of retirement, when you need the most (out) of an insurance,"
According to City Secretary Connie Levario, the City of Fort Stockton
and Reeves County currently pay the insurance costs for their retired employees
but that Kermit and Monahans did not.
"We the county won't be able to do that much longer," Mayor ProTem Gerald
Again Rodriguez asked how the city could help those who have put so much
of their time working for them but yet not break the city at the same time.
"We need to come up with something," Rodriguez said.
Deishler said that he was not asking for the city to cover all of the
insurance but rather to set up some form of supplement.
Finance Director Sam Contreras said that there were other options available
to them but that there would be some form of trade off attached to it.
"If there is a catastrophical illness, our premiums will then go up,"
Contreras said. "How would we then plan for next year?"
He added that the city would then need additional revenue to help pay
for the cost of the insurance.
The additional revenue would have to come in from increasing property
taxes, Contreras said.
Agreeing that they currently did not want to burden the citizens of Pecos
further, the council agreed to table the issue till the situation with the
county was resolved.
In a related action, the council heard from Contreras on information he
and Accountant Mark Rushing had found on insurance for retired employees.
"This year there will be nine people eligible to retire," Contreras said.
"Those nine people will cost $9,225 in premiums the first year."
He added that next year the city would have one person eligible for retirement.
In other action on Thursday, the council discussed the duties of the of
City Manager Carlos Yerena during executive session, but took no action
and did not discuss their finding after returning to open session.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, council members met
newly appointed Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Athletic Director and head football
coach Patrick Wills.
Wills, who was an assistant coach at Abilene Cooper for the past three
seasons, informed the council that he was excited to be here and that his
goal was to produce a quality football team as well as other sports.
"That's my goal," Willis said. "Is that going to be easy, no its not."
He added that his career has taken him places that have gotten him were
his is at now and that he is ready for this year's school year.
"I will make such your coaches coach your kids," Wills assured the council.
With that the council then told Willis that they just wanted to beat
"That's one of many," said Willis, a 1987 Monahans High School graduate.
In the change order for the Housing Infrastructure Councilman Frank Sanchez
made a motion to approve the maintenance change order with Rodriguez seconding
Council members also approved both change orders of the development of
South Worsham Well Field with Rodriguez making the first motion and Sanchez
seconding it. Sanchez went on to make the second motion with Tellez seconding
With the approval of City Attorney Scott Johnson, Mayor Dot Stafford
combined three of its items of the purchase of property into one. Rodriguez
made to motion to approve all three offers with Tellez seconding it.
The properties that were for purchase were 1019 S. Oak St., 1102 E. Third
St. and 812 S. Plum St.
The council also approved its minutes of its last regular council meeting,
the municipal court report, the accounts payable and the monthly tax collection
Golden Girl, 'Night' open Rodeo Week events
By KRISTEN CARREON
PECOS, Fri., June 27, 2003 -- The Golden Girl Revue and Night in Old Pecos,
two of the city's great traditions as part of Rodeo Week in Pecos, are taking
place this weekend, starting with Golden Girl Pageant tonight at 7 p.m.
in the Pecos High School Auditorium.
Robin Lebouf, Co-chair for last year's show, is chairperson this year's
event, which will also include the Little Miss Cantaloupe Pageant and will
begin an hour earlier than in previous years..
"I didn't have a co-chair this year, but I leaned heavily on last year's
runner-up, Erica Franco," Lebouf said. "She did everything from lights
and curtains to working with the girls on the production number."
Lebouf said that the ladies began working on the production number the
first week of May, and they began actual practices for the show June 1.
"We would start practicing at 7 and we would end whenever everything
had gotten done. Some nights we'd go on until 11:30," Lebouf said.
The ladies have been working hard on their production number and their
talents. This year, as in the past, a lot of thought and work has gone
into the gowns.
"We didn't want to replicate other dresses. This year, I don't think
any of the dresses have been done on a regular basis," Lebouf said.
Thursday night was the final rehearsal before tonight's show.
"It went really smoothly. We have a variety of talent and we've kept
things traditional, but have changed things up a bit. We don't want people
to feel like they're sitting through last year's show," Lebouf said.
The contestants were also excited and a little nervous about opening night.
"We had a good run-through. It went pretty well," said Golden Girl nominee
Dena Dutchover, last year's winner, said that she was ready to let the
next girl have the same opportunities that she has had. She will also be
Tickets for tonight show can be bought at the Chamber of Commerce until
3 p.m. today. After that, they can be bought at the door before the performance.
Carlos Madrid from KWES-Ch. 9 in Odessa will be recording the event.
Lebouf said that video cameras are not allowed in the pageant, but this
way, people can get a professional recording. The videos can be bought
for $25 by calling Lebouf at 448-1947.
Night in Old Pecos is set to begin Saturday night. This year, in addition
to the 34 regular booths, space was made for more entries.
Committee director Debbie Thomas said that she is excited about the night
finally being here.
"We're supposed to have beautiful weather, and we want people to come
out with their lawn chairs or folding chairs and enjoy themselves," Thomas
There will be a jumping balloon, pony rides, a small farris wheel, and
a small train for children to enjoy.
"We have a lot more things going on this year than we did last year,"
People will be able to find many kinds of things from food and desserts
to sunglasses and t-shirts.
Aside from the booths, live music will also be on hand to entertain the
"We'll have The Fat Daddy's on Oak Street. They play a bit of everything
from rock to country," Thomas said.
A variety of performers can be found performing at the Windmill Square.
Two young girls from Victoria, Texas, ages 7 and 12 will be singing. The
Golden Girl contestants and the Little Miss Cantaloupe contestants will be
performing their production numbers as well.
Thomas said that a youth talent show will began there at 8 p.m. and will
continue until all of the entries have had a chance to perform. In between
the different performances and following all of the acts, Ricky Barreno
will be the DJ.
"We're going to have a lot going on, and I think people are really going
to enjoy themselves when they come out," Thomas said.
Also scheduled for this weekend is the first performance by the Windmill
Square Players, on Sunday afternoon and evening at the Pecos Elementary
auditorium. The group will also perform on Monday and Tuesday nights, while
the start of slack competition for the 120th anniversary West of the Pecos
Rodeo begins at 7:30 a.m. on Monday at the Buck Jackson Rodeo Arena.
Catholic war vets plan Open House Tuesday evening
PECOS, Fri., June 27, 2003 -- VFW Catholic War Veterans are hosting an
Open House at 6 p.m., Tuesday at the Santa Rosa Hall, 600 E. Third Street,
to honor Marine Adam J. Seijas on his safe return home from Baghdad.
Everybody is invited to attend.
Museum offers locals' recipes in cookbook
PECOS, Fri., June 27, 2003 -- West of the Pecos Museum has collected the
best recipes from group members, family and friends and compiled them into
an attractive keepsake cookbook.
They began selling their one-of-a-kind cookbooks on Thursday for $12.
Cookbooks can be purchased at the museum and proceeds will go to the
West of the Pecos Museum.
The cookbook contains about 200 well-loved recipes including appetizers,
main dishes, desserts and many others.
Recipes include the contributor's name, enabling the purchaser to find
the recipes of family and friends.
For more information contact the West of the Pecos Museum at (432) 445-5076.
PECOS, Fri., June 27, 2003 -- High Thurs. 93. Low this morning 71. Forecast
for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows
in the mid 60s. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Sat.: Partly cloudy with isolated
afternoon thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. South winds 5 to 15 mph.
Sat. night: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows
in the mid 60s. Sun.: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs in
the mid 90s. Mon.: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the
upper 60s. Highs in the upper 90s.
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 2003 by Pecos Enterprise