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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

County OKs RCDC payments, new bid process

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 30, 2003 -- Reeves County Commissioners approved a payment to GEO Group Inc., made a liability insurance payment to the prison management company and agreed to change the bid process on items for the Reeves County Detention Center to a monthly basis, during a special Commissioners Court meeting Monday morning.

Commissioners approved the November payment for RCDC management and professional services in the amount of $62,500 to GEO, the former Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, with whom the county contracted last month to operate the financially troubled Reeves County Detention Center.

"This payment is in accordance with the revised agreement we have with them, that until the population at the prison reaches 2,000 or whatever that was," said county auditor Lynn Owens.

Owens told the group that the liability insurance payment was also due to them at this time, which was 1/12th of the annual amount. "That would be $27,083 and is for $325,000 annually," said Owens.

He told the group that all the correspondence had the name GEO Group Inc., because Wackenhut had changed their name as of the first of December.

"I also want to make sure our county employees will be covered by this policy," said Owens.

In other action, commissioners approved bids for inmate clothing/linen supply and inmate food and kitchen supplies after being tabled at the last two commissioners court meetings.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said that he had discussed the bids with Don Houston, vice-president of GEO Group Inc. before any action was taken.

"We wanted to look at their particular method of awarding this on a monthly basis," said Galindo.

He said that they wanted to award all the contracts on a monthly basis to allow the jail staff to get a business manager to make sure they were compatible.

"The only problem is that the vendors might object to three months," said Owens.

Owens said that he could go ahead and ask if it was all right with the vendors to go on a three-month basis.

"If they object we can re-bid them again," he said.

Owens said that there were only two bidders for the inmate clothing/linen supply, and the lowest bidder was Leslie Scott.

Commissioners agreed to award the bid to Leslie Scott for one-month basis. "This will end on March 31 and I'll advise them of this and they object I'll bring it back to the court," said Owens.

The group further stated that they would give Owens the authority, that if the vendor rejected the terms, they would allow him to re-bid the item.

The inmate food and kitchen supplies bid was awarded to various vendors. "I'll contacted all current vendors and vendors we've done business with and advise them if they want to do it on purchase basis only," said Owens.

Owens said that there was only one vendor that didn't object to this method. "No one else wanted to do it this way," he said.

Owens said that some of the vendors said that they needed more advance notice because they got special pricing on this.

"GEO said that they bid on a monthly basis, except meat and vegetables, they do that on a weekly basis," said Galindo.

Commissioners approved a resolution allowing them to waive the bidding process and allow them to make purchases on a weekly or monthly basis.

"We probably should specify which categories will be on 30-days and which will be on a seven-day option," said Owens.

The group outlined which purchases would be made on a monthly basis and which would be made weekly.

Commissioners approved a contract with the transportation director for the Reeves County Detention Center.

Transportation Director Tommy Duncan was on hand to talk to the commissioners.

"My last contact with BOP was very positive and it has been approved," said Duncan. "There will be some additional bus runs."

"This is the proposed and revised contract," said Galindo. "The mileage payment will be $4.18 a mile, with a guarantee of 11,000 miles per month," he said.

"We actually estimated that it will be a total of 200,000 miles," said Duncan. "We'll probably have a signed contract within two weeks," he said.

Duncan said that they had been getting a lot of cooperation and that BOP was very pleased with their service.

"Normally during this period transportation dips, has that happened recently," said Galindo.

"No, it hasn't, last week we ran three days and this week three days and two crews are out today," said Duncan. "We'll see it slow down in June and July."

"How many employees are in transportation?" asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin.

"We have 12 employees at this time, if additional runs open, we'll need to bring in another crew," said Duncan. "Our goal is to be available at all times."

"Transportation has been moved to the general fund, so what will happen if we don't get a signed contract?" asked Tarin. "With those 12 additional employees and the problems we're having in the general fund it will be a disaster."

Duncan told the group that the department was in good shape and the employees could get paid out of the current contract.

"Now we have to look at the transportation department differently," said Galindo. "It will just break even," he said.

"There's also one other problem, because of the way we bill, we'll bill for January in February and get the check in March," said Owens.

"The November services were billed in December and we won't get the check until January," said Owens.

Galindo said that he would talk to region about this problem and hopefully get the December payment quicker and in advance.

Year In Review

Work began during February on housing, hospital projects

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of stories recapping major news events in the Pecos area during 2003. Today's story covers the month of February.

PECOS, Tue., Feb. 4, 2003 - Construction has been underway for the past three weeks for the development of the new Housing Infrastructure Project.

According to City Manager, Carlos Yerena, the contractor, Reece Albert Construction of Midland has already installed the water and sewer lines and the fire hydrants that are designed to serve up to 20 new homes that will be built on the site in the 800 and 900 blocks of West Washington Street, in the Airlawn section of town.

"Later this week or early next week the contractors will be installing the sidewalks and streets," Yerena said.

PECOS, Thur., Feb. 6, 2003 - Balmorhea students are enjoying a long holiday, but some students may be just too sick to really have fun during these unexpected days off.

"We had about 75 percent of our students attending school on Tuesday and that's when we decided we had to do something," said Balmorhea Superintendent Elizabeth Saenz.

Saenz said that the school officials decided to close the campus for three days to allow students to regain their health and really sanitize the school. Classes were out on Wednesday and will remain out today and Friday.

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 7, 2003 - Several awards went out last evening to outstanding individuals in the community, including the Citizen of the Year Award, which went out to someone who came to Pecos 10 years ago and made it his home.

Paul Hinojos was named Citizen of the Year, by the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce, during their annual awards banquet held last evening at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Earlier in the evening, Phillip Salcido, a senior at Pecos High School, was named Student of the Year by the Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce. Hugh Box received the Ruiz Profile of Courage/Hidden Hero award during the annual banquet. Also receiving an award on Thursday was Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Israel Campos, who was named Officer of the Year for 2002.

PECOS, Feb. 11, 2003 - Reeves County Commissioners discussed several change orders involving final work at the Reeves County Detention Center III project, and discussed delays involving two of the contractors during their regular meeting Monday in the third floor courtroom of the Reeves County Courthouse to.

According to Gerald Tally with Carothers Construction Co., the main contractor on the project, the companies requesting change orders have met the definition of completion that would allow the county to occupy and use the facilities as intended.

However, Tally added that there were two additional companies that did not meet with definition of completion.

PECOS, Feb. 12, 2003 - The Town of Pecos City will be looking for a new finance director to replace current finance director, George Bejarano.

Bejarano said that he had submitted his resignation as the Town of Pecos City's Finance Director on Monday, with Friday, Feb. 21, being his final day on the job.

PECOS, Feb. 13, 2003 - The Reeves County Detention Center's new addition failed to pass a recent inspection by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, but officials said the failure was due only to minor problems that can easily be corrected.

TCJS inspectors visited the new 960-bed facility, RCDC-III, recently and found it came up short of the requirements for certification. "They cited some minor problems that are in the process of being corrected," said County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

PECOS, Feb. 14, 2003 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board members once again discussed the possibility of closing two campuses as an effort to save money, but took no final action during the regular board meeting held Thursday evening.

"We have touched on this before," said PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love of the plan to close the two oldest remaining campuses in the district, Zavala and Lamar elementary schools. Under the plan, the board would move sixth grade classes from Lamar to nearby Bessie Haynes Elementary, which currently has all fourth and fifth graders, while DAEP/AEP would move to Pecos High School from the north side Lamar campus.

PECOS, Feb. 14, 2003 - Removal of salt from the Pecos River at Malaga Bend is awaiting final action by the U.S. Geological Survey, Red Bluff Water Power Control Board members were told on Tuesday during their regular monthly meeting in Pecos.

Work was completed last month on the new well at Malaga Bend, about 70 miles north of Pecos, which will be used to pump water from the salt spring away from the Pecos River and into man-made ponds built by Sun West Salt Co., which will then evaporate the water and mine out the salt.

PECOS, Mon., Feb. 17, 2003 The Pecos Eagle boys swimming team won only one medal at the Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin on Saturday, but scored enough points overall to place fifth in the final team standings.

Junior Will Oglesby had the only medal of the day for Pecos, taking third in the finals of the 100-yard butterfly, but the Eagles were able to place enough individuals in the finals, along with all three relays, to claim fifth place in the final standings, with 144 points, just one behind fourth place Highland Park and within striking distance of third place Conroe Oak Ridge, which ended up with 156 points.

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 19, 2003 The Town of Pecos City's current and former police chiefs have been subpoenaed in connection with allegations of prior offenses surround a former Pecos police officer who was recently terminated as a junior high school guard in Midland following his arrest on child pornography charges.

According to a story in today's Midland Reporter-Telegram, federal prosecutors said John Peter Marquez, 41, who was arrested on Feb. 11 on a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor, had previously been forced to resign his position with the Pecos Police Department amid allegations he molested two junior high boys.

PECOS, Thurs., Feb. 20, 2003 The Pecos Police Department responded to an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip Wednesday afternoon at Lamar AEP campus, which resulted in the arrest of one male juvenile on a gun possession charge.

Investigator/Gang Officer Armando Granado said that he had been dispatched to Lamar AEP yesterday at about 1:36 p.m. on a tip about a student with a gun at the school.

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 21, 2003 Puppies being kept in a trailer located northwest of Pecos were killed early this morning when a fire broke out inside, destroying the moble home.

The Pecos Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire call at 2:18 a.m. out on Country Road 406, located off the Duval Road.

Though no one lived in the trailer, Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire said that the owner of the trailer was housing his dog and her new puppies in the trailer with a heat lamp.

PECOS, Mon., Feb. 24, 2003 Bill, Malone, the longtime owner of the Dairy Mart Drive-In at Third and Eddy Streets, died Sunday at the Reeves County Hospital at the age of 72.

Malone, who had run the restaurant for over a quarter-century, is remembered by an employee as a very good man who always thought of others before himself.

"He was a sweet person," Ernie M. Flores said. "Bill was just Bill. We are all going to miss him."

PECOS, Tues., Feb. 25, 2003 Temperatures in the low 20s greeted Pecos residents this morning, but the weather here was better than conditions both to the south and east of town, as icing was reported on Interstate 20 east of Midland and caused the closing of Interstate 10 east of the Pecos River.

More bad weather was expected to arrive in the area tonight, and the National Weather Service was predicting a chance of freezing rain in the Pecos area through Wednesday morning, with a greater chance for rain or snow around Guadalupe Pass and in the Carlsbad, N.M. area.

PECOS, Wed., Feb. 26, 2003 The Reeves County Hospital Board accepted a bid for nearly $8 million from Cooper Construction Inc., of Odessa for expansion and renovation of the hospital's facilities, during the regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night at the hospital.

Hospital administrator Robert Vernor recommended Cooper to the board over four other companies that submitted bids for the project. Cooper Construction was in charge of the recent work done at Odessa Medical Center.

PECOS, Thurs., Feb. 27, 2003 - For the second time this year cocaine was found in the engine block of a vehicle stopped for traffic violations in Reeves County.

At about 10:53 a.m., Wednesday, Trans Pecos Drug Task Force officer Joe Gonzales stopped the 1997 red Jeep Cherokee at mile marker 33 on Interstate 20, about seven miles west of Pecos and discovered 11.6 pounds of cocaine, hidden inside a metal box. The cocaine has a street value of $473,550.

The driver of the Cherokee was identified as Alzono Olivas, 29, of Fabens, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a first-degree felony.

PECOS, Fri., Feb. 28, 2003 It was a momentous occasion this morning when community leaders and members had the opportunity to participate in the Groundbreaking ceremonies for Reeves County Hospital's $8 million expansion project.

Hospital Administrator Robert Vernor welcomed everyone and talked about the $8 million project that will begin March 11 on the northwest corner of the hospital grounds in the 2300 block of Texas Street. The expansion will consist of a new emergency room, specialty clinics, expanded space for the rural health clinic and physical therapy, along with a new dialysis center.

Commissioner seat hopefuls still on rise as deadline nears

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 30, 2003 -- Time is running out to file for the March 9 primary elections and an eighth possible candidate has taken a step towards running for the open Reeves County Commissioner position for Precinct 3.

James Molinar Gallegos was the latest individual to file his treasurer's designation as the first step in seeking election as commissioner for Precinct 3. Gallegos named Linda G. Briceno as his treasurer.

Filing with Reeves County Clerk Diane Florez is only one of two steps required to run in the March primary. In order to officially enter the race, the candidates must file with the county party chairmen by this Friday, Jan. 2. All local candidates who have officially filed so far have done so on the Democratic Party line.

Gallegos' action comes after Joseph "Peter" Rodriguez and Saul Herrera filed their treasuer's designation for Precinct 3 Commissioner following the Christmas holiday. Rodriguez named Nancy Ontiveros as treasurer and Herrera named himself as treasurer.

Current Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin announced last week he would not seek a fourth term in office, after originally deciding to enter his name into the March Democratic primary election race. His withdrawal was announced on Dec. 23 by Reeves County Democratic Party chairman Robert C. Dean.

As of Monday afternoon, only Lisa Lopez Boicourt, Rosendo C. Galindo, and Bailey Wheeless, have officially filed with Dean to run for the four-term term as Precinct 3 commissioner. The other candidate to file a treasuer's designation is Manuel "Manny" D. Lopez, while the eighth possible candidate, Joel Madrid, said last Friday he planned to enter the race before the deadline a week from today, but was in California for the Christmas holiday.

The field is a little less crowded in the Precinct 1 race, but incumbent Felipe Arredondo will face challengers in his bid for a fourth term in office.

Arredondo and Robert C. Natividad were the first to file with Dean to officially enter in the race. The others are Armando "Mondie" Granado and Elizer "Chel" Flores and Rojelio "Roy" V. Alvarado.

The heavy interest in the two commissioners court races comes after six months of publicity about financial problems surrounding the $40 million Reeves County Detention Center III project. However, outside of those races, only incumbents have filed for the other Reeves County primary election races.

In the other local races, the incumbents who have officially filed with Dean include: for Reeves County Sheriff, Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez; Tax Assessor-Collector, Elfida Zuniga; for constable, precinct #2 Jerry Matta and for constable, precinct #3, Tomas "Tommy" Martinez.

One other incumbent, Heriberto "Eddy" Rodriguez has filed his campaign treasurer's designation to retain the Precinct 4 constable's seat.

Along with the county positions, other local offices that will be up for election on March 9, are Reeves County Attorney; 143rd District Attorney and 143rd District Court Judge.

Judge Bob Parks filed in Austin to retain his position as 143rd District Court Judge, while former 143rd District Attorney Hal Upchurch announced in November he planned to run for that seat again, after a 12-year absence. Pecos attorney Randall W. Reynolds currently holds the position, and was first elected too office in 1996.

Upchurch has already filed in Austin for the District Attorney's position. He had stated that he would keep his office in Monahans if elected to the post.

The District Attorney and District Judge positions cover Reeves, Ward and Loving Counties.

Both the District Attorney and the District Judge candidates will file their petitions or pay a filing fee in Austin.

Filing for the Reeves County primary elections in March began on Dec. 3 and will continue through Friday.

Parents invited to view classes at PHS Fridays

PECOS, Tues., Dec. 30, 2003 -- Parent Day is sponsored by Pecos High School every Friday.

Parents are invited to come and visit the classrooms on that day.

If any parent or guardian would like to eat lunch with their student, they need to call the appropriate campus before 9 a.m. on that day.


PECOS, Tues., Dec. 30, 2003 -- High Monday 54. Low this morning 21. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy. Lows near 30. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy. Highs near 65. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain. Lows near 40. South winds 10 to 15 mph. New years day: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain. Highs near 70. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower to mid 40s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the lower to mid 70s. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s to the lower 40s.


Jesus Adame and Hipolito Vasquez

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