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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, July 28, 2003

Galindo plans afternoon release of RCDC deal info

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., July 28, 2003 -- Representatives of Reeves County, the Town of Pecos City and Pecos Chamber of Commerce have returned from last week's trip to Washington, D.C., to discuss the fate of Reeves County Detention Center (RCDC) with U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla and Bureau of Prisons officials.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said this morning that the county had reached an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on payments to the county, but the full details of the meeting with BOP were to be made public by Galindo during this afternoon's commissioner's court meeting and were not available at press time.

Local officials present at the negotiation session with the BOP were Galindo, Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin, Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez and RCDC attorney Bill Weinacht. The county also retained legal council out of Washington, and they also attended Thursday's meeting.

Galindo and Tarin were both at this morning's county commissioner's meeting in which agenda items that would invoke discussion of a possible deal with BOP, including a transfer in the amount of $415,000 from the General Fund to the Reeves County Detention Center Fund to meet payroll at the facility, were tabled until the end of the meeting.

Weinacht said that it appeared a deal had been struck but could not comment on the details.

"I had no part in this deal," Weinacht said. "The guys who made the deal need to explain it."

Weinacht said that he walked out of the session shortly after the director of BOP addressed the group.

"We went to Washington to get an increase (in the per diem rate)," he said.

"I left because our representatives were deferring to the Washington counsel," Weinacht said.

Although Weinacht did not comment on what may have taken place after he left the meeting, county officials were reportedly considering an offer for a slightly lower per diem rate than the $47.47 interim rate the BOP had been paying when he left.

The county originally had sought an increase in the man-day rate from $47.47 to $54.72. At the time, Galindo said the 10 percent increase would still be 10 percent lower than the rate the BOP paid to other privately run prisons in the U.S.

The county also was seeking to get the BOP to send the county additional inmates to fill up the just-completed RCDC III project. The $40 million addition can house 960 inmates, but the BOP has balked at adding any more prisoners to the 2,000 currently being kept in RCDC I and RCDC II.

Sheriff Andy Gomez actually left the meeting before Weinacht.

"I left when the director told us that BOP would not negotiate the use of RCDC III," Gomez said.

Gomez concurred with Weinacht that the deal makers, Galindo and Tarin, were the ones that would need to explain any deal that was made.

The county is facing a $950,000 bond payment on Sept. 1, the first towards repaying bond holders who funded construction of RCDC III. Galindo said last month that the three sections of the prison are cross-collateralized, so any problem with repaying the RCDC III bonds will affect the status of the other two prison units.

While the meeting with the BOP left some hard feelings, meetings with Congressman Henry Bonilla were very successful, Chamber President Al Gomez said.

Gomez, Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford, City Manager Carlos Yrena and Chamber Executive Director Linda Gholson all met with Bonilla last Wednesday.

"It was a good trip," Gomez said. "We met with Mr. Bonilla for about an hour and I feel sure that he and his staff are doing everything that can be done on our behalf."

"There is quite a lobbying effort going on," he said.

"Our goal was to communicate just how serious this situation is and I feel certain Congressman Bonilla understands," Gomez said.

El Paso woman dies after car plunges off I-10

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., July 28, 2003 -- A one-vehicle rollover claimed the life of an El Paso woman and injured another Friday on Interstate 10 near the Springhills exit in Jeff Davis County.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the accident occurred Friday at 2:18 p.m.

The DPS report said the vehicle was traveling west on I-10, near the Springhills exit (mile marker 184), two miles west of the I-10 I-20 junction. The vehicle veered off a cliff in the hilly area just north of Gomez Peak and became airborne.

The vehicle landed on its right side, slid into the curb of a service road, and came to rest upright in a barrow ditch.

The driver of the 1997 Plymoth Neon was Gina Rene Fields, 33, of El Paso. According to DPS reports, Fields, who was not wearing a safety belt, was ejected from the vehicle and was killed. Justice of the Peace, Fred Granado, pronounced fields dead at the scene. Her body was taken to Peaceful Gardens Funeral Home in Pecos.

The passenger, Norman Owen, 41, of El Paso, was taken to Reeves County Hospital with broken ankles. He is listed in stable condition.

Grassland Reserve program sign-up ending

PECOS, Mon., July 28, 2003 -- USDA Farm Service Agency is taking application until Friday for the Grassland Reserve Program. It is a voluntary Program that helps landowners and operators restore and protect grassland, including rangeland, and pastureland, and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as grazing lands.

The program emphasizes support for grazing operations, plant and animal biodiversity, and grassland and land containing shrubs and forbs under the greatest threat of conversion. It offers several enrollment options: Permanent Easement, 30-year Easement, Rental Agreement or Restoration Agreement

If you need more information about GRP, please contact your local USDA Service Center at 1417 W Third St, Pecos, Texas 79772 or call (432) 445-3196.


PECOS, Mon., July 28, 2003 -- High Sun. 100. Low this morning 67. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with an isolated shower or thunderstorm. Lows 65 to 70. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Tues.: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Tues. night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Wed.: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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