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Thursday, Oct. 31, 1996

State workers have spooky neighbors in aging building

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Staff Writer

PECOS, October 31, 1996 - Imagine working with ghostly voices, sounds of
footsteps and door knocks with no one to attribute them to.

Well that's what employees of the Texas Department of Human Services and
Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services have to do during
daily and after work hours at the old Camp Hospital.

The old building, located in the 1700 block of West Fourth Street, has
been renovated several times in the past three decades to include the
two state offices and before that served as the office of Dr. Bruce Hay.

Human Service (TDHS) employees point out that their current office area
is located next to the door that leads down to a basement area believed
to be the old hospital morgue.

The lobby adjoins to a door leading into a janitorial closet with steps
directing up to the attic. It's this same door that is now barricaded by
a trash container because TDHS employee Gloria Machuca said that one
morning the door kept opening and closing by itself as she checked into
work at an early hour.

Machuca also said that loud knocking was heard from the inside of the
door on three different occasions. Two clients were sitting in the
lobby, she said, during the incident.

TDHS Area Manager Ray Carreon said Machuca contacted him about the door
and he only made it half way up the attic stairs while checking it out.
"I blamed it on my sinuses," he explained.

Ana Levario, also a TDHS employee, said one day while in another room of
the office she heard a female voice just outside the door telling her to
hurry. She added that she heard it once more near her, again telling
her, "hurry."

Levario said she didn't think much of it, but when she realized that it
wasn't a co-worker or client she could have been compared to a ghost,
according to other TDHS employees who said she went pale with fright.

Machuca said that one morning she too heard the female voice. She said
that she felt someone brush up against her and, thinking it was her
co-worker, told her that her two appointments were waiting in the lobby.
She heard an "okay," but later realized that it was not the co-worker
nor any of the other TDHS staff members talking.

So who answered?

TDHS employees spoke of one day when another co-worker thought she was
alone while covering for other employees while on their lunch break. She
said she heard typing sounds coming from another room, according to
Machuca, when she decided to go and visit with the typist. As she
approached the room the typing stopped and no one was in there. As she
walked away the typing continued, recounted Machuca.

Maybe the ghostly prankster was once a records clerk.

Just down the hall, in the south wing of the building are the TDPRS
offices. Employees of both offices admit to feeling like someone is
watching them at times, although no one is actually there.

Or at least, no living human being.

Protective Services case worker Mike Mason said, "I can't believe how
noisy it is here," at night, when checking in to the building for an
after-hours work sessions.

He said perhaps it could be the old building settling or cats. Mason
does admit that the building is, "sometimes cool...spooky," when he's
around during late hours.

But his co-worker, Leslie Ontiveros, said she "feels," that something
supernatural lurks the hallways of the old Camp Hospital.

She stated that one night while at her office about 10 p.m. she walked
out into the office that one enters through and discovered the desk
chair in the middle of the room. "I know it wasn't there before," she
said, because that's where she came in through.

"Needless to say," said Ontiveros, "I gathered Jackie (her niece) and

She added that one of her co-workers said they've seen an elderly female
standing at the door of that office while in the building at night. On
another occasion, Ontiveros said, the same woman was caught peeking into
her co-worker's office.

The TDPRS employee said she often hears walking and knocking sounds
while working after hours, "but I've gotten used to that," and
understandably so.

Ontiveros said the noises don't bother her because her parents' house is
also subject to strange happenings and noises.

Her mother, Gloria, said that her family has grown accustomed to the
unexplainable occurrences. "We just say, `Go away. Leave us alone.' and
they will," said Gloria about times when knocking and cabinet door
slamming persist without explanation.

She described a time when she was washing dishes and she felt someone,
or something, brush against her. Gloria said she caught a glimpse of a
young female with long hair and a flowery dress.

Leslie claimed she spotted visions of two little boys at her parents

She remembered a time when she lost the back of her earring. "I looked
and looked for it," said Leslie, and when she gave up and went back to
her chair, "it (the back to her earring) was there in the middle of the

"I've heard them say `hello'," said Leslie, who added that her daughter
Ezra has claimed to have seen a, "lady in white."

On another occasion, Leslie said she remembers a pan sitting in the
middle of the kitchen table that was continually being knocked off. "We
kept putting it back," said Leslie, until finally her father walked into
the kitchen and angrily said, "Cut this !#@$% out."

"And it stopped," said Leslie.

"It was scary at first," said Leslie about the unexplained instances,
but claimed she's adjusted.

The age of the home, located in the corner of 12th and Oak streets,
could not be determined. Leslie explained that her parents constructed
the home from a frame that was moved onto the lot several years ago.

Gloria said she and her husband purchased the home from her husband's
cousin, but have never been able to determine how old the house is.

Prisons begin using teleconferencing to handle court cases

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Staff Writer

PECOS, October 31, 1996 - Teleconferencing is not just for big
corporations anymore. Now it has moved into the prisons.

Inmates at the Reeves County Detention Center who face deportation upon
release from federal custody once had to travel to an Immigration and
Naturalization camp in El Paso for hearings before an administrative

Now those hearings are held via a television hookup, with the inmate
still in prison. The judge may be in Dallas or another location, but
with a teleconferencing hookup that allows them to talk face to face via

RCDC Warden Joe Trujillo said the first hearings were held Friday, with
a Dallas judge presiding.

"It worked great," he said. "We can accommodate 50 inmates at one time
in an area where we converted offices to an INS conference room and

And inmates in some state prisons who have filed civil cases in federal
court can testify by teleconferencing hookup without leaving the prison

A new system linking federal courts in Corpus Christi, Austin, Houston,
Amarillo and Tyler to prison complexes in Huntsville, Beeville,
Palestine, Amarillo and Abilene is due to go online next month.

"Cutting out the trip to court should cut out a lot of lawsuits," said
Texas Department of Criminal Justice executive director Wayne Scott.

So far, the Pecos Division is not included in the system, although
inmates in two state prisons in Fort Stockton file numerous lawsuits

Deputy U.S. Marshal Billy Johnson said inmates are brought to Pecos for
trial three to six times a year.

"I have heard they do a lot in Midland," Johnson said. "I think it would
be fantastic to have teleconferencing."

Inmate lawsuits against the TDCJ triggered a new state law that takes
away their good time credits for frivolous lawsuits.

Inmates file about 400 lawsuits a month against the system, 75 percent
of them in federal courts. At any time there are about 3,500 suits

The new law requires TDCJ to dock an inmate six months of good time if
the prisoner within one year files four or more lawsuits declared by a
court to be without merit.

State Rep. Allen Hightower of Huntsville, author of the law, said it
"will save a lot of money and staff time by taking the fun out of
frivolous claims by the recreational writ writers."

Attorney General Dan Morales, who helped draft the law, said the new
penalties "will show all inmates that their right to due process on
legitimate questions does not give them a right to clog up the courts
and waste millions of tax dollars on foolish claims."

Besides the loss of good time, the new law requires inmates who have
money to pay some portion of the costs of their cases.

State to rule on local phone competition

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From Staff and Wire Reports

A decision made in Austin today could impact telephone service in Pecos
and all of Texas.

The Texas Public Utility Commission was poised to decide today how two
major phone companies will compete with Southwestern Bell for customers
making local calls in Texas.

Among other things, the PUC was expected to determine how much AT&T
Communications of the Southwest and MCI Telephone Corp., along with
three other competitors, will pay Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. to use
its equipment and facilities in establishing their own local customer

``It sounds like the most arcane thing, but it may make or break the
promises that we will have (local phone service) competition and
benefits,'' said Janee Briesmeister of Consumers Union.

To begin in local service, most competitors first will purchase service
from SWB and GTE Southwest Inc. and resell it under their own names.
They later will establish their own facilities and equipment, company
officials say.

Dick Alligood of Allcomm Long Distance said he has a representative at
the hearing to protect his interests.

Allcomm is among 100 companies in Texas interested in providing local
telephone service. Alligood said his application hinges on the PUC's
decision about interconnection, portability and charges.

The PUC is expected to set a discount rate for the local competitors to
purchase service from SWB. AT&T and MCI hope to see a large discount
rate, which they say will allow them to be more competitive and move
more quickly toward their own facilities.

The companies asked the PUC earlier this year to arbitrate final
negotiations with the state's dominant local phone company.

AT&T, MCI, Sprint Corp. and other companies are getting into the local
phone market after state and federal lawmakers decided competition would
be good for customers.

Sprint is in separate negotiations. Talks between potential competitors
and GTE are ongoing.

Alligood said he hopes to pay a reasonable fee to use the system already
in place in Pecos in the initial stages, but each provider must have its
own lines in place within five years.

"The public needs to understand the stringent restrictions to provide
local service," Alligood said. "We have to build our own infrastructure
within five years or our license will be revoked."

One reason for the restrictions is to guarantee that rural areas will
still have infrastructure in place after the new companies take over
local service, he said.

"These companies are looking at opening competition in major areas. It
makes sense. One city block in Houston may have 5,000 customers. An
118-square mile area of West Texas may have 2,000 customers in Pecos."

Alligood said he does not plan to purchase GTE equipment, because he
wants modern equipment that can provide services not available now. And
what the PUC does today will set the stage for those changes.

``It's the real step. This is how you're going to do business,'' Pat
Wood, chairman of the three-member PUC, said of the pending decision.

``The customers are the winner. Having another choice will stimulate
pricing improvements, hopefully, and also new packaging and
technological improvements,'' he said.

While competitors prepare to invade the local phone market, SWB is
waiting to get into the long distance market. GTE already is in that
market under the 1996 federal telecommunications law.

Under federal law, former Bell companies must face competition from a
company with its own facilities before entering the long distance

``We're viewing this as something that is good for Texas,'' said John
Loehman, director of regulatory affairs for SWB. ``We accept and welcome
the fact that the markets are competitive.''

``We will lose some customers. That's what happens in competition,''
Loehman added. ``The ironic thing is that it appears that AT&T really
doesn't intend to have its own networks to provide service, but to use
our facilities so that that good service you may be buying from AT&T in
fact may be Southwestern Bell's.''

Rian Wren, a vice president for local services for AT&T, said the
company will build its own local networks. He said the better the rate
AT&T gets on services from SWB, the faster it could move toward
statewide service.

``If we get a good resale rate, we'll be able to offer customers
services across the state. If it is not good, we'll have to take a look
at what we can do,'' he said.

``I believe we are at a critical moment in this process,'' Wren added.

Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
this report.


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A cutline in Wednesday's Enterprise incorrectly identified Ramon
Natividad as the gentleman in the picture of the new Eagle 10 coach
buses recently received by the school district. The man in the photo was
Eleuterio Garcia. Natividad is the bus maintenance supervisor but was
not in the picture.

It was inadvertently stated that the older MCI buses will be retired
after the receipt of these two new buses. Natividad clarified this
morning that the district will continue to use the older coaches until
they've been sold. "They're still good," he stated.

Also, Friday's incident did not involve the breaking down of one of the
older buses carrying part of the band. There was an electrical problem,
according to Natividad, and, "I didn't want to take any chances." So a,
"yellow dog," was sent out and the older bus returned back to bus yard.

The latter mistake was due in part to incorrect information given to the


Gracie H. Wilkins

Funeral arrangements are incomplete for Gracie H. Wilkins, 70, who died
in Waco today.
Visitation for Wilkins, a long-time Barstow resident, will be from 7 to
8 p.m. Friday at Pecos Funeral Home.


PECOS, Oct. 31, 1996 - High Wednesday 80, low last night 54. Tonight,
mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers. Low in the mid 40s.
West wind 5-15 mph, becoming north to northeast toward morning. Friday,
mostly cloudy. High around 60. North to northeast wind 5-15 mph.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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