Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, November 9, 1999
Commissions steer bus deal to new firm
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Nov. 9, 1999 - A San Angelo company was awarded the bus transportation
contract for the Reeves County Detention Center on Monday, after Reeves
County Commissioners listened to two proposals during their regularly scheduled
The proposal by Ted Springer, a representative of Bus USA of San Angelo
was accepted by commissioners over a bid by the current contract holder,
Odessa-based All Aboard, whose representative, Bert Bealls, was also on
Both made a presentation to the court in hopes of winning the contract
to provide bus service for the Reeves County Detention Center for the transportation
"This is something that we've asked Warden (Rudy) Franco and his staff
to look at very comprehensively, in order to provide a better service to
the Bureau of Prisons," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Galindo said Franco and his staff had looked at the item from every
aspect and came up with a good proposal.
"The proposal is pretty self-evident," said RCDC Warden Rudy Franco.
"We came up with a proposal that will work for us and keep the BOP satisfied
with our services."
Springer, a former highway patrol officer, told the group that if he
received the bid for bus transportation, he would act in a very professional
and very helpful manner. "I would do my best to provide the service that
is required," he said.
"It's real important to me to be flexible and to deliver," said Springer.
He told commissioners he has been in the bus transportation business
since 1969, after leaving his job with the highway patrol.
"The main thing to me, is the service to the people, the job getting
done the way it should be done," he said.
Springer stated that right now, the county is spending $180,000 for
bus transportation services. "My proposal is for $150,000, which would
mean a savings of $30,000," he said. "I'm also looking at purchasing a
new bus, with a door in the back, so the guards can get in and out without
going through the whole bus."
The new bus will also be longer, have a space for a cot and drink cart,
according to Springer. "And of course, it will be a caged bus," he said
adding that the bus would have a warranty.
Springer stated that he was in the process of becoming a reserve officer
in Tom Green County and if awarded the bid would also like to do the same
"I believe in working closely with law enforcement," he said.
Springer told the group that he also believed the guards should be trained
to drive the bus in case something happened to the bus driver.
All-Aboard, the current bus transportation service provider, told commissioners
they had been providing this service for the county for 13 years.
"At the beginning it was a trial and error experience," said Bealls.
"Until 1992, it was an uncaged bus, until Reeves County and BOP told us
it had to be cages," she said.
"We had several meetings and came up with a bus that would serve your
needs," said Bealls.
Bealls said that All-Aboard is fully regulated with the Department of
Transportation and the company also provided services for Pennzoil, which
is located 40 miles northwest of Pecos.
"We have very experienced employees and bus drivers," she said.
Bealls also said that in discussions with both the warden and other
personnel, she thought Reeves County was asking for a second bus as a backup
"I understood that you wanted us to also provide a second bus, in case
something happened en route to where the inmates were being transported,"
"The criticalness is not a second bus, but the quality of the first
bus," said Galindo.
"My point is not about a second bus, but to have a good, reliable first
bus, we've had breakdowns that have to led to people being stranded on
occasion," he said. "In those 13 years, we have had the same bus."
Bealls stated that she understood the problem, but that mechanical problems
will happen regardless. "That incident in Rosenberg (a bus breakdown in
the Houston area) was an isolated incident and probably the first time
we couldn't get a second bus out there," she said. "But we got there as
soon as possible and on their way."
Galindo said the other issue was the cost of service. "We've seen a
rise and fall, and in the past two years have seen an increase," he said.
Franco stated that a second bus had been a topic of discussion, because
the U.S. Marshals had asked for their help in transportation. "However,
that never materialized and we didn't assist them," said Franco. "We discussed
that about a year or so ago, but I don't think that's a driving factor
"It would have been if we would have gotten more business from the
U.S. Marshals or BOP," he said.
"There's several issues that need to be clarified," said Galindo. "If
the bid award is made based on what is on the table, we may end up with
an old, inferior bus."
County auditor Lynn Owens stated that after the bid was awarded the
contract could be negotiated. "You can't sit down and negotiate prices,
but bus and quality of service you can negotiate that," he said.
Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin made the motion to
award the bid to Bus USA.
The goal will be to have a new bus, completely rebuilt and caged, according
In other business, legal services for Reeves County Reapportionment/Redistricting
based on 2000 Census were awarded to Rolando Rios and his firm, out of
San Antonio, at a total cost of $5,500.
"His law firm will obtain approval from the U.S. Department of Justice,
under Federal Voters Act," said Galindo.
"I think it will be good to have legal counsel for this process," he
Galindo told the court that he had spoken to Ward County Judge Sam Massey,
who had also hired Rios for this purpose. "He said they did an excellent
job, 10 years ago, when they did the redistricting in Ward County," said
Houston firm gets Red Bluff repair contract
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Nov. 9, 1999 - A Houston firm was awarded the contract for Phase
I rehabilitation of Red Bluff Dam on Monday, during the monthly meeting
of the Red Bluff Water Power Control District board.
Stolt-Comex-Seaway's bid of $122,105 for the first part of the two-year
project was the lowest of the five bids submitted, board members were told
by Rich Shoemaker of HDR Engineering, the firm supervising the rehabilitation
work on the 63-year-old dam. The board then approved the agreement.
Phase I involves blocking off water flow into the dam this winter in
order to inspect the dam's deteriorating gates and interior valves. Only
one of the two gates on the dam currently works, and it is slightly out
of alignment. Repairs to the dam and installation of two new stainless
steel gates are scheduled for the winter of 2000-2001.
Shoemaker said the Stolt-Comex-Seaway plans to begin Phase I work in
January. "They're a big company, and they can finish it in three weeks,"
he told the board, adding that last year, the company bought out American
Inland Divers, which did the initial inspection of Red Bluff Dam for the
project two years ago.
"The purpose of this phase is to minimize surprises for when we get
around to the new equipment installation," Shoemaker said. "We'll come
out of this knowing how to seal the tunnels up. We won't have to be guessing
off old drawings."
Stolt-Comex-Seaway's bid was $16,000 less than the next lowest bid,
by S&J Diving. Other bids were $147,200 by Orlon Construction, $168,175
by Inland Divers and $278,268 by Oceanic International. However, Shoemaker
said S&J and Orlon failed to provide the written specifications required
in the bid proposal.
"One-hundred twenty-two thousand is a lot of money, but I had visions
of it being $200,000," Red Bluff General Manager Jim Ed Miller said. The
final cost of the project was estimated at $750,000, but Shoemaker said
it might come in under budget.
HDR is currently working on final bid specifications for the building
of the new gates. "I hope to get the equipment specification contract out
by Thanksgiving," he said. The contract would be awarded sometime in early
January, and the gates _ at an estimated cost of $150,000 _ would take
about six months to build.
In other business, the board voted to support a resolution in opposition
to a proposed low-level radioactive waste site northeast of Barstow in
Ward County. Other local governmental bodies have also voiced their opposition
to the plan by Envirocare of Texas, which is seeking to build an above-ground
storage site either near Barstow or at two other sites, one in Loving County.
Board members focused on the problems Envirocare's parent company has
had with regulatory officials in Utah, where the firm is headquartered.
"I read letter after letter showing how this company, Envirocare, lied
and lied and lied to the Utah people," said board member Charlotte Wilcox,
while board member Teresa Walker questioned how well a concrete storage
facility would hold up as a storage site for the waste, some of which can
remain dangerous for thousands of years.
Board member Richard Slack felt the items stored in such a dump would
not be as big a threat as some people have indicated.
"The hard (high-level radioactive) stuff goes to Carlsbad (the Waste
Isolation Pilot Plant). I can't imagine, and neither can anybody else imagine
in geological time, that stuff coming to the surface," he said.
"If you're all opposed to it, go ahead. I just don't get alarmed about
this stuff," Slack added.
"West Texas and the western portion of the United States is not populated
heavily, so we're going to have a lot of stuff pushed on us," said board
president Randall Hartman.
Miller asked why federal land wasn't used for a storage site. Over half
the land in states west of Texas is owned by the federal government, but
board member Lloyd Goodrich said, "Regulations are less strict if you put
it on private property land, and all the private property is in Texas."
In other business, the board voted to contract with Randy Graham of
Wuster, Armstrong & Williamson, P.C. for the district's fiscal 1999
audit, approved merit bonuses for district employees and approved October
cash disbursements and accounts payable.
In general discussion, board members briefly went over the status of
the salt cedar eradication project along the Pecos River. Goodrich said
spraying of the trees with Arsenal has been done along the river from the
dam south to the State Highway 302 bridge near Mentone, and Barney Lee
of the Soil Conservation Service has talked with water districts south
of Girvin and with the Army Corps of Engineers in New Mexico about extending
the project to the north and south of Red Bluff and its member districts.
"The Corps of Engineers is taking about putting $1 million into it,"
Goodrich said. Board member Jay Lee added the Army would like to get the
"Texas label" for Arsenal use along the river approved in New Mexico. Miller
said the Bureau of Reclamation in New Mexico has fought spraying salt cedars
on federal lands there, and a test project along the river south of Artesia,
N.M. was conducted on private property.
Wilcox also asked Miller to see if 400 acre/feet of water could be diverted
to her district in the Grandfalls area, a move that did not require a board
"If the district overruns not more than 10 percent, we can go ahead
and charge you for it," Miller said, though Hartman added, "We don't want
to set a precedent where everybody overruns their allotment and thinks
they can make up the difference."
Summer rains helped push the water level at Red Bluff Lake up to 85,343
acre/feet as of Nov. 1, and Imperial Reservoir also has more water at this
time of year than at the end of recent growing seasons. "We should be able
to make a bigger allotment (in 2000) than last year," Miller said.
Trio convicted in alien smuggling case
PECOS, Nov. 9, 1999 - Three men were found guilty, one in absentia, of
smuggling illegal aliens into the United States, a federal court jury decided
Juan Oliveros-Munoz, Raul Betancourt-Lara and Javier Vera-Munoz were
convicted on four counts of transporting illegal aliens, following the
trial before visiting judge Peter Beer of New Orleans. The three were charged
after their arrests on Aug. 14 south of Marathon, according to assistant
U.S. Attorney Jeff Parras. The three were charged with attempting to bring
29 illegal aliens into the United States.
Parras said it was incorrectly reported in Monday's Enterprise that
both Raul Betancourt-Lara and Vera-Munoz failed to appear in court for
the trial. Parras said only Vera-Munoz did not appear before Judge Beer,
but Bentancourt-Lara's brother Raul Bentancourt-Lara did not appear in
federal court last week. All four men were out on bond pending their trials
in federal court.
Bench warrants have been issued for the arrest of both Vera-Munoz and
Juan Bentancourt-Lara. Oliveros-Munoz and Raul Bentancourt-Lara were taken
into custody following the verdict, and a sentencing date has been scheduled
for January, Parras said.
Parras handled the case for the government in place of AUSA John Klassen,
whose wife gave birth to a baby over the weekend.
Judge Beer was overseeing the second of four criminial trials scheduled
this week in Pecos federal court. George Guzman is on trial today on charges
of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Nicole
LeAn Meek will go on trial Wednesday on one count of marijuana possession
with intent to distribute and on Thursday, trial is scheduled for Ruben
Alarcon Pinon, Llama Edmidia Alarcon and Sergio Alarcon-Lopez on charges
of conspiracy, possession of marijuana and use of a minor to avoid detection.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 3-13-15-18-30. Number matching five of five: 1. Prize per winner:
$77,457. Winning tickets sold in: Rockdale. Matching four of five: 236.
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery,
in order: 1-6-8 (one, six, eight)
Fred Gerke, Jr., 59, of Pecos, died Sunday, Nov. 7, 1999, at Westwood Medical
Center in Midland.
Graveside services are scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10, at
Mt. Evergreen Cemetery with Father Ben Flores officiating.
He was born June 30, 1940, in Port Neches, a retired farmer and a Catholic.
Survivors include two sons, Fred Gerke III of Arlington and Michael
Gerke of Odessa; two brothers, Thomas L. Gerke of Pecos, Calvin G. Gerke
of Barstow and four grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Jacob Hernandez, 37, of Alpine, died Friday, Nov. 5, 1999, at Big Bend
Regional Medical Center in Alpine. A rosary was held at 7 p.m. Monday,
Nov. 8, 1999, at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Alpine, with a funeral
mass at 11 a.m. today. Burial will be in the Holy Angel Cemetery in Alpine,
under the direction of Martinez Funeral Home.
Hernandez was a former employee of the funeral home in Pecos. He was
born on Nov. 19, 1961 in Idalou, and had lived in Alpine for the past eight
years. He was a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Maria B. Hernandez of Alpine; his parents,
Benito Hernandez and Maria Hernandez of Friona; two daughters, Joshua Marie
Hernandez and Angel Hernanedez on Alpine; one son, Le Roy Justin Gonzales
of Alpine; two brothers, Jose Hernandez of Dallas and Jessie Hernandez
of Friona; and four sisters, Sylvia Sais of Friona, Sandra Hernandez of
Lubbock, Susie O'Toole of Friona and Sally Cox of Comanche.
High Monday 83. Low this morning 49. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy.
Low in the upper 40s. Wind light and variable. Wednesday: Partly cloudy.
High in the mid to upper 70s. North to northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday
night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s.
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 1999 by Pecos Enterprise