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December 14, 1998

RCDC to upgrade medical facility

Staff Writer

Photo Warden Franco, Mike Cuyer
Stricter medical requirements by the Bureau of Prisons could force the Reeves County Detention Center to seek accreditation for their medical facilities, Warden Rudy Franco told commissioners in their regular meeting this morning.

"Any new contract the Bureau of Prisons has, they are going to insist on full accreditation for the medical department," Franco said. "It would be extremely expensive. At this point, they are willing (to waive accreditation) and they will be, if we follow the spirit of the joint commission on accreditation standards.

"As long as we meet the spirit, we don't have to go with full accreditation," he said.

To do that, Franco proposed adding a clerical position for the medical department and training three corrections officers for emergency medical technicians on the third shift.

"BOP wants full medical coverage," Franco said. "It would be very expensive to hire three EMTs for the morning watch."

These changes to the new BOP statement of work were approved, along with a sliding scale proposal for salaries.

The statement of work provides guidelines under which the staff at the RCDC operates the prison to comply with standards of the BOP, which contracts with the county to house federal inmates.

Franco's request for an emergency declaration that would allow immediate installation of hot water heaters in dormitories that have been expanded from 26 to 44 inmates was approved.

Barmore Plumbing submitted the lowest of three bids, at $53,514, not including a performance bond. Auditor Lynn Owens said the state requires a performance bond for any work over $25,000, but that may be waived if Barmore agrees to complete the work before any payment is made.

Architects Dailey, Rabke and Gondeck were authorized to continue work on a proposed 1,000-bed addition to the prison, at a fee of 6 percent of the estimated $30 million cost.

Owens said the 1999 budget does not include architect fees and requested that it be amended.

"At this point, there's a lot that Lorraine Dailey can do while she is here on a regular basis for this ongoing construction," said County Judge Jimmy Galindo. "I ask that we allocate $45,000 and then wait for final approval from anyone else."

He said the BOP and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards require design plans before they can approve the addition. Because the TCJS was to meet on Dec. 9 to change the standards to require 10 percent separation cells for any new construction, the plans had to be in before that to avoid higher costs, Galindo said.

"This would have added $2 million to the construction cost," he said. "I consulted with Dailey and Wayne Gondeck, trying to get our project submitted before revision of the rules so we wouldn't have to meet the 10 percent."

The plans were submitted Dec. 7, he said.

Galindo said the court will meet with Dailey on Thursday to go through all the financial numbers.

"The other issue is dealing with the Texas Attorney General's office with being able to borrow (revenue) bond money," Galindo said. "We are to meet with the attorney general's office Friday in Austin."

Payment to the general contractor on the current construction work was delayed because Owens had not received a copy of the bill for $128,756. He said that state law forbids the court from approving payment until he has checked a bill.

Franco introduced his new transportation director, Mike LeCuyer, to explain a request for additional credit cards.

"Our crew went to Yazoo City, Miss. last week. Their credit card was over the limit, so they didn't have a place to stay."

LeCuyer said the officers who transport inmates from federal institutions to the RCDC have been on the road 15 to 18 hours a day lately.

"They start at 2 a.m. and get to a motel at 8 or 9 p.m. On the return trip, they get in at 10 or 11 p.m., go home, unpack, re-pack and are back out at 2 or 3 a.m. It is less than an eight-hour turnaround."

Not being able to pay their bills is embarrassing, he said. And he requested an increase in the per diem for meals from $22 to $33.

"$5 is not enough for breakfast," he said. "Would you want to eat at a fast food place every day?"

"If you do two 18-hour days back-to-back, you require more than three meals," Franco said. "It is not unusual for them to do three trips a week. For just basic sustenance, they need a good solid meal."

Average per diem payments is $30 to $40, depending on the area, LeCuyer said.

Galindo said the per diem should be looked at separately from the credit card issue, because all county employees need to be considered.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Bernardo Martinez's motion to allow Franco and Owens to obtain local bank card and American Express cards, plus major oil company credit cards, was approved.

Franco presented a list of 75 employees who have been unable to use their annual leave this year because of additional duties during construction. His request that they be allowed to carry those days over into 1999 was approved.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Felipe Arredondo sought to include all county employees in his motion, but Galindo said that department heads would have to present them individually.

`Christmas' falling short of donations

Staff Writer
More families have been added to the list of those seeking help from Pecos' Christmas for Kids program, but donations have remained the same, worrying group members who are trying to making children happy during the holiday season.

"We added some children to the list, because we had some late referrals from the schools," said Christmas for the Kids coordinator Sofia Baeza, who said the group is still working hard to reach their fundraising goal.

The group has 126 applications and have already wrapped 336 presents.

"Our goal, again, was to raise $5,000 to buy Christmas gifts for the children on our list," said Christmas for the Kids coordinator Sofia Baeza.

But Baeza stated the group has already spent about $4,000 and not all the children on the list have not been helped as of today.

Christmas for the Kids provides the essentials that children need and should have in our community, according to Baeza.

"We want to make sure that all the children are entitled to warm clothing, good shoes and other essentials needed to attend school comfortably," said Baeza. "With this cold winter weather, we've been buying more coats this year."

She added there are more "older" children are on the list this year and items for them are more expensive.

Last year the group provided a warm and happy Christmas for 147 families, about 400 and something children.

"We're in need of more donations," said Baeza.

"Whether it snows or not, we'll be out delivering the gifts on Friday," said Baeza. "And I've already had to buy some items out of my own pocket," she said.

The group will be delivering the gifts on Friday in a brightly lit trailer. "This year we want to go all out and have a decorated trailer and everything," said Baeza.

"We're very concerned about the children and we want to accommodate all of them," said Baeza. "We also want to thank those that have already helped us out and want to wish them a merry Christmas," she said.

Not only does the group provide clothing, shoes and jackets, but they also strive to help with school supplies and other necessities the children might have, according to Baeza.

For more information on this group call the sheriff's department at 445-4901.

December rebates down, year's total up

Pecos' final sales tax rebate check of the year from Texas Comptroller John Sharp's office was down five percent from the check sent out in December of 1997, but the city's tax rebate total was up over 7 1/4 percent for all 12 months of 1998.

Pecos got back $57,030 this month, as part of it's 1 1/2 cent share of the state's 8 1/4 cent sales tax, based on sales which occurred during October. That's down from the $60,082 sent out by Sharp last year, but still left the city with a total of 790,357 for the year, up from the $736,591 it received from the comptroller's office in 1997.

Tax rebate totals were mixed in West Texas, with several towns reporting double-digit increases from a year ago while others saw their rebate checks fall by over 10 percent from 1997.

Kermit and Van Horn were in the former category, as were Balmorhea and Toyah. Balmorhea's 687 check was up 44 percent from last year, and Toyah got back $534 from Austin, up by 18 percent, though that was due in part to an increase in the city's sales tax since last year. Fort Stockton's rebate check was up by nearly 10 percent, and Odessa was up by almost 17 percent, though that also was due to a rise in their sales tax rate.

Andrews, Alpine and Big Spring all saw double digit declines, and Midland joined Pecos in seeing their rebate check fall by just over five percent.

Reeves County's 1/2 cent sales tax gave the hospital $24,811 in rebates this month. That's down by .1 percent from last year but overall for 1998, the hospital's tax rebate checks for $317,873 were up 11.2 percent from the $285,856 it got back last year.

Statewide, Sharp's office sent out $161.9 million to cities this month, up from the $150.6 million from a year ago. For all of 1998, tax rebate checks totalled $2.2 billion, a 10 percent increase from last year, according to Sharp's office.


Remigio Gonzales

Remigio "Ray" Gonzales, 58, died Saturday, Dec. 12, 1998 at the Fort Stockton Nursing Home after a lengthy illness.

Mass is scheduled for 1 p.m., today at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with Father Mike Alcuino officiating. Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery.

He was born Oct. 1, 1940, was a retired ranchhand worker and a Catholic.

He was preceded in death by one son, Ray Lee Gonzales.

Survivors include his wife, Genoveva "Eva" Gonzales of Pecos; his father, Francisco Gonzales of Fort Stockton; two brothers, Gregorio "Greg" Gonzales of Fort Stockton, Hipolito "Paul" Gonzales of Albuquerque, N.M.; one sister, Magdelena G. Sanchez of Fort Stockton and two grandchildren.

Martinez Funeral of Pecos is in charge of arrangements.

Alicia Posada

Alicia Prieto Posada, 52, of Odessa, died Thursday, Dec. 11, 1998.

Graveside services are scheduled for 10 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15, at Rosehill Cemetery.

She was born in Balmorhea and had lived in Odessa since 1997. She was a Catholic.

Survivors include her husband, Isidro Posada of Kermit; her mother, Dolores L. Prieto of Pecos; two brothers, Juan and Pedro Prieto of Pecos; three sisters, Beatriz Villegas of Kermit, Adela Matta of Odessa and Carmen Prieto of Pecos.

Martinez Funeral Home in Odessa is in charge of arrangements.


High Friday 38, Saturday 52, Sunday 60. Lows 19, 27, 27. Moisture .20 inch. December moisture .80 inch (all from snow). Year-to-date 6.77 inches. Patches of snow remain on the ground from a 10-12 inch snow Thursday night and Friday. Tonight, clear. Lows in the lower 30s. Light winds. Tuesday, mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. East to southeast winds 10 mph.

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