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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, February 23, 2004

Commissioners approve RCDC lease payments

Staff Writer

Reeves County Commissioner approved several payments this morning, during the regular commissioners court meeting, including two lease payments of over $830,000 for the Reeves County Detention Center.

Commissioners approved the 1999 lease payment in the amount of $419,680. Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo made the motion to approve the payment.

"Do we have the money?" asked commissioner precinct 4 Hivi Rayos.

"I wouldn't have made the motion if we didn't," said Galindo.

The county has struggled to make payments on the prison facility in recent months, due to a lack of inmates in the 960-bed RCDC II facility, which was completed last year. An agreement was signed last week by the county and the BOP which will increase federal man-day payments and the number of inmates in the RCDC I and II units, and is expected to help the county's financial situation. In conjunction, the group approved the maintenance reserve payment in the amount of $29,166 and the 2001 lease payment in the amount of $412,207.

Commissioners approved a request for payment invoice No. 31, to LMD Architect for a fence outside the prison complex. "This deals with the fence project and is just a reimbursement for expenses for Lorraine Dailey," said county auditor Lynn Owens.

An agreement with N.C. Sturgeon, Carothers Construction and Reeves County was approved, during the morning meeting.

"There was a mix-up with the "as built" drawing and what we have agreed upon in consideration for not providing the drawings, is that N.C. Sturgeon will offer it's consulting services for all the consultation that we require," said Galindo.

He said that this would be just consultation services and would not include labor or materials. "They will just provide all the consulting services for all the construction done by N.C. Sturgeon in exchange, we will release retainage money and Reeves County will approve the release of the retainage on the 23rd, " said Galindo.

Owens told the group that they would need a signed agreement. "As soon as we approve it, we'll have Carothers sign it also and have it in writing," said Galindo.

Carothers' request for payment No. 22 was tabled. "We still have one out there, American West," said Galindo. "Until we have closeout with them, we'll have to table this final payment to Carothers," he said.

In other action, property bids for several foreclosed properties in Reeves County were approved including: 40 acres and 20 acres located on the south side of town; property located at 310 W. 13th St.; property at 1006 E. 9th St., and 2027 Adams St.

Deputation and oath for Carl Wayne Watters for Reeves County Deputy Sheriff was approved. Watters will be working with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force as a sergeant investigator at an annual salary of $30,000.

Budget amendments and line-item transfers included a budget amendment at the Reeves County Detention Center fund. "I'm asking the court to amend GEO management fee in the amount of $62,500," said Owens. "I'll be asking you to do this each month."

GEO, formerly Wackenhut, is the company hired by the county in November to manage the RCDC and assist the county in finding inmates for RCDC III.

A line-item transfer in the amount of $100 from the Highway 17 utility funds to the telephone was approved as well as reports from various departments.

Monahans man linked to Austin bank heists

A Monahans man wanted by Ward County Sheriff's deputies on a tampering of evidence charge was arrested on Friday in Austin and charged with robbing five banks in that area over a two-week period.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, Thomas Leslie Thompson, 48, was charged Friday with five counts of robbery by theft and jailed in lieu of $420,000 bail. Police Lt. Charles Black said Thompson was traced to a motel on Interstate 35 and arrested after the public was shown a photograph on Thursday of one of the Austin bank robberies.

Thompson's picture was taken by a security camera at a Wells Fargo Bank on the south side of Austin, which was robbed on Tuesday. Police said it was the fifth robbery Thompson is believed to have committed in the area.

Police said no money was found when Thompson was arrest, and officials believed the money was spent by Thompson to buy drugs for himself and friends.

Thompson has been in trouble with the law in the past in West Texas. According to 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds, he defended Thompson a decade ago on charges filed in Winkler County, while he currently has a minor charge of tampering with evidence against him that was filed by the Ward County Sheriff's Department.

Sullivan seeking another chance at Bonilla

Staff Writer

U.S. House of Representatives hopeful Joe Sullivan was in-town Friday campaigning for support in the upcoming Democratic primary. Sullivan is running against Virgil Yanta for the 23rd Congressional District seat, with the winner of the primary going on to compete against incumbent Henry Bonilla in the general election this November.

During an interview on Friday, Sullivan said that he had been "very well received here in Pecos. A lot of people still remember me from the last time I ran," he said. Sullivan has run several times in recent years against Bonilla, who was first elected to Congress in 1992 and narrowly defeated Henry Cuellar for re-election in 2002.

"I came here today to let people know I am running, and I believe that we have an excellent chance to win. I really believe I can do more for the people of West Texas than Bonilla has done."

"I just heard today that you had had some problems finding prisoners for part of your prison. I am a creative person, and I believe that we could use more creativity in Washington. Now it this is just a thought, but possibly the facility could be converted into a training facility for corrections personnel. I believe that Pecos could become 'the' place for incarceration training," Sullivan said.

Sullivan also spoke on the fact that he believes that veterans' benefits and rights are being eroded away and that erosion must stop. "We must do more than just say thank you. We must help the people that have served this country by putting their life on the line by helping them develop new careers and educational opportunities."

As for education itself, Sullivan said that he wanted an equal educational opportunity for all children regardless of the area they live in. "The current system of property tax funding is leaving behind the children in poorer schools. I believe that an equal amount of money should be spent on each child in the state. George Bush's No Child Left Behind program is falling short of its goals, children are being left behind. The problem is that he has not supplied the money necessary to fund the program."

Sullivan also expressed his belief that free lunch and breakfast would be given to every child who requests it, public school should run 12 months a year and the school should start educating kids at the age of three to alleviate the pressures on working mothers.

"I believe that we should better educate or teachers, and pay them more accordingly. The salaries for teachers in Texas is 47th in the nation, and that must improve."

"I also believe that the tax credits that George Bush has given to the wealthiest one percent of the country cold be better put to use helping the poorer segment of our community."

Sullivan also elaborated on his stance on the trade issue. "America needs a balance of trade, not free trade but fair trade. Eighty percent of China's exports are to America, while America's exports to China don't even come close to that. I believe that we need to stop importing China's goods until they import an equal amount of our goods."

"I also believe that we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil as well. We need look into wind and solar energy production, two things that West Texas has plenty of. Also we need to remove some of the government restrictions placed on our oil industry here at home, and make it profitable for them to resume pumping on the wells that are currently in place."

Rec department starting spring soccer sign-ups

Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department is now enrolling children for their Spring Soccer Program.

This is open to children between 41/2 and 12 years of age. Parents may pick up enrollment forms at the Recreation office between 4-9 p.m., Monday through Thursdays; between 4-6:30 p.m., on Fridays and between 10-1:30 p.m., on Saturdays.

Parents or guardians will need to bring in birth certificate and both parents' signatures; and cost will be $10 per player.

Entry deadline is March 16.

For more information call 447-9776.


High Sunday 71. Lowe this morning 52. Rainfall in last 24 hours in downtown Pecos, trace. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy with rain and thunderstorms likely. Lows near 40. West winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent. Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. A slight chance of rain and isolated thunderstorms then a chance of rain in the afternoon. Cooler. Highs near 50. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent. Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain mixed with snow. Windy. Lows near 30. North winds 20 to 30 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly clear. Lows in the lower to mid 30s. Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower to mid 60s. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s to the lower 40s.


Charlie Wein

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