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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Commissioners boost JP funds, eye phone pact

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 26, 1999 -- Reeves County Commissioners approved a request from Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, J.T. Marsh, for an increase in his budget, discussed problems with a phone contract awarded earlier this year and accepted reports from various departments and other monthly items during the regular meeting of the commissioners court.

The commissioners meeting ran through the early evening hours, and was scheduled to continue today, with discussion on the county-run cemetery and the proposed Envirocare low-level radioactive waste dump in northwestern Ward County.

Marsh had requested that $600 more be put into his budget for the remainder of the year. "We're running short on supplies and still have one more seminar to go to," said Marsh.

He told the court that the seminar is a 20-hour school, mandatory for JP's.

"If there's any left, we can put the money into another line item," said Marsh.

Precinct 2 Commissioner David Castillo told the court to take the funds out of his travel budget and put it into the JP's.

Under reports from various departments, Richard Slack, with Teletron Communications, spoke to the group about concerns and questions regarding the phone system at the Reeves County Detention Center and Reeves County Sheriff's Office, which is used by the inmates.

Teletron is the current phone service provider for the inmates at both facilities. It was awarded the contract over the protests of two other companies, Evercom and Allcomm Long Distance, on March 14, 1999, because the contract was not advertised for bids. Commissioners said the contract procedure was legal when they announced the agreement with Teletron.

"In any change there's bound to be some bumps and lumps and we're still trying to figure them out, and get it right," said Slack.

Slack told the court that his son is currently involved in the business and is helping out tremendously. "A principal problem out there is that we're not using the card system which was used before," said Slack.

"Right now, when we gave the county their first check, they were startled at how small it was," he said, but added the problems are being worked out, and that will bring in more revenue to the county.

"Inmates just give them the cash now, they don't use the card, that's why the check was so small," he said.

The Reeves County Sheriff's Department liked the idea of keeping the funds and subtracting them themselves, according to Slack.

"There's about $12,000 there that's not accounted for in the check that we sent," said Slack. "The next check will be much larger."

Slack told the group that problems would be addressed as they crop up.

"So, you're trying as hard as you can to straighten all this out?" asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin, who was filling in for Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. Galindo was absent for the morning portion of the meeting.

"We now have those small bugs corrected and have a few others we are working on," Slack said.

"The refunds may cause a problem," said County Auditor Lynn Owens, about the new debit system that is in place. "A lot of times these people are leaving and they want a refund."

Slack told commissioners that the company would reimburse those inmates who are leaving. "If it's a small amount, we'll just eat it, but if it's a large amount we can work something out," he said.

Also under reports from various departments, the mandate report from the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force showed some improvement. "The mandate is going up," said Tarin.

"We won't have funds for this year, but hopefully we will see them next year," said Owens.

The oath and deputation for Jaime Rodriguez, who has joined the task force was approved during the morning session.

Other personnel and salary changes included, at RCDC Adam P. Rodriguez, was promoted to mailroom officer at $23,000 a year; Sue Evans, was approved as the new secretary for the Texas Agriculture Extension Service at $14,569 a year; and at the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center, Richard Molina was approved at juvenile probation officer at $15,500 and Anthony Rene Aguilar, was approved as a part-time, on call employee at $6 per hour.

Commissioners met that afternoon behind closed doors to discuss the City of Pecos Water Rate Analysis.
 

September jobless rates unchanged

By JON FULBRIGHT
Staff Writer
PECOS, Oct. 26, 1999 -- Unemployment rates for the city of Pecos and Reeves County in September were virtually unchanged from August's figures, though the number of workers did decline with the end of the 1999 cantaloupe harvest season.

According to figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission, the city had 707 workers without jobs last month, out of a labor force of 5,520 people, for a 12.8 percent unemployment rate. That's the same number as in August, when the local labor force had 5,791 workers, with 739 without jobs.

Reeves County's rate dropped from 11.3 to 11.2 percent last month, with 790 out of 7,028 people unemployed. The county's labor force dipped by almost 350 from August to September, while the number of jobless claims were down 35 from the previous month.

The TWC said unemployment in the county fell from 11.5 percent in September of 1998, due to a drop of 550 people in the workforce. Nearly 1,000 people were without jobs in Reeves County the previous September.

Statewide, the unemployment rate was much lower, but also virtually unchanged, going from 4.4 percent in September to 4.5 percent last month. Permian Basin jobless figures also showed little overall change, though several cities did see larger changes their rates.

Odessa saw a decline in its jobless total from 9.2 to 8.5 percent last month, Andrews' rate fell from 9.4 to 8.7 percent, while Fort Stockton went the other way, rising from 8.8 percent in August to 9.4 percent in September. Presidio County continued to have the area's worst jobless numbers, with a 30.3 percent unemployment rate and over 1,100 people out of work.
 

Prop 5 would let state workers hold paid elected posts

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fifth in a series of stories on the proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, which Texas voters will decide on next week, in the Nov. 2 general election.

By PEGGY McCRACKEN

Staff Writer

Proposition 5: Allows state employees to receive compensation for serving as a member of a governing body of a school district, city, town or other local governmental district.

Background: Dual-office holding is restricted by Section 40, Article XVI, which prohibits a person from holding "more than one civil office of emolument." There are a few exceptions, including justice of the peace, county commissioner and an officer or director of a soil and water conservation district. The phrase "of emolument" limits the constitutional provision to persons who receive monetary profit, gain, or advantage from the office.

A 1972 amendment permits a state employee or any person compensated with state funds to serve on a local governing board without a salary.

The proposed amendment would allow a state employee or other person paid with state funds to serve as a city councilman, school district trustee or other local governmental office, and to receive compensation from both the local entity and the state.

Arguments for:

1. A repeal of the salary prohibition would increase the pool of qualified candidates for local governing board positions. State employees will be more willing to contribute their time and talents if they are compensated for both state and local service.

2. The potential for a conflict of interest between a state employee position and a position on a local governing body, such as a school board or a city council, is negligible.

Arguments against:

1. Taxpayers expect their state employees to make a total commitment to the state job. Local government positions are often very time-consuming, complex endeavors.

2. The proposed constitutional amendment is too limited in scope. It would allow state employees or other persons compensated with state funds to serve on governing bodies of local entities, but does not permit those persons to hold other local offices. The amendment should be broadened to allow state employees to seek any local office.

Taken from the Texas Legislative Council's publication, "Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments." Next: Prop. 6, increasing the maximum size of an urban homestead to 10 acres, prescribing permissible uses of urban homesteads, and preventing the overburdening of a homestead.
 

Red Ribbon Week balloon release set

Bessie Haynes Elementary School is participating in different activities throughout the week in honor of Red Ribbon Week.

On Thursday, balloons will be released at 8:30 a.m., and parents are welcome to participate.

The balloons will have a note attached to them, written by the students, and if anyone finds the notes they are asked to contact the school at 447-7244.
 

Obituaries

Julie Crouch

Julie Crouch, 72, of Pecos, died Sunday, Oct. 24, 1999, at her residence.

Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 27, at Chaparral Village Memorial Park.

She was born March 24, 1927, in Decatur, Ill., was a retired counselor and a member of the All Saints Episcopal Church in El Paso. Before moving to Pecos, Crouch was a counselor in El Paso, where she received her Masters degree in Education from U.T.E.P. She was a counselor for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD. She had previously worked as Woman's Director for a television station and had gone to New York City to study at the American Theater Wing.

Survivors include her husband, Robert I. Crouch of Pecos; one son, Gene R. Crouch of Santa Fe, N.M.; one daughter, Rebecca B. Crouch of Angel Fire, N.M.; one brother, John Magnuson of Delhi, N.Y.; two grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Eutimio Gonzales

Eutimio Gonzales, 81, of Andrews, died Friday, Oct. 22, 1999, in Midland Memorial Hospital.

Services were held at 10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 25, 1999 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Andrews with Rev. Bernard Gully officiating. Burial was in the Andrews North Cemetery.

He was born April 23, 1918 in El Comedor, Mexico, had moved to Andrews from Plainview seven years ago where he worked as a farm worker. He was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Andrews.

Survivors include his wife, Maria Gonzales of Andrews; six sons, Jose L., Martin, Damacio and Alfredo Gonzales of Andrews, Hector Gonzales of Colorado and Ismael Gonzales of Lubbock; seven daughters, Jovita Pando of Presidio, Maria N. Sanchez of Burlington, Colo., Maria E. Carrasco of Valentine, Juana Rangel, Rosa C. Gonzales and Yolanda Perez of Andrews and Teresa T. Gonzales of El Paso; four brothers, Antonio Lopez of Portales, N.M., Damas Gonzales and Nicholas Lopez of California, Santiago Hernandez of Ralls; 39 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.

McNett Funeral Home of Andrews is in charge of arrangements.
 

Lotto


AUSTIN (AP) The winning Cash Five numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery: 23-27-31-34-39 (twenty-three, twenty-seven, thirty-one, thirty-four, thirty-nine)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-7-8 (zero, seven, eight)
 

Weather

High Monday 91. Low this morning 46. Forecast for tonight: Clear skies with lows in the mid-40s. Wednesday, becoming partly cloudy with highs in the upper 80s.



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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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