Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise


Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Photos 2000

Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, April 7, 2000

County jail ordered shut down by state

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - The Texas Commission on Jail Standards gave Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez 15 days to shut down the Reeves County Jail because of on-going violations of state standards.

"These have been problems since I've been in office, or at least since 1994," Gomez said following the commission's decision on Thursday. "I've been before the commissioners court time, and time again, and I can't get any help."

"I can't fix these problems. Only the commissioners can let the contracts necessary to make these repairs, and that hasn't happened. All I can do is ask for it, and I have. At this point, I'm fed up," he added.

According to Gomez, the primary problems are out-of-standard cell locks, plumbing problems, and not enough showers.

"We have been written up on some other matters, but we can and have corrected these deficiencies," Gomez said.

Gomez said that in a surprise inspection by the Jail Commission on February 24, the jail was found wanting in several areas other than the cell locks and plumbing problems, but that these were easily remedied.

"We had not been documenting our fire drills and emergency generator checks, among other things," he said. "We also had not had our classification plan, our health services plan, and our facility handbook approved, but these were submitted to the Commission back in October. They weren't approved on February 24, but had been approved by the Commission before the hearing yesterday."

"The real problems, the ones we are being shut down for, are the cell locks and the plumbing problems, and I can't fix these," he said.

Gomez said the locks were a safety issue.

"Right now we have to manually unlock every cell. In case of fire, we need to be able to open all the cells at once electronically," he said.

"We also need two showers for every eight cells to meet state standards. Right now we only have one. And the plumbing is just old. It is terrible. When you flush a toilet the waste tends to just show up in the next toilet down the line."

Gomez laid the blame for the situation squarely in the lap of the county commissioners and County Judge Jimmy Galindo.

"The money for these repairs has been in the jail's budget for at least two years. In 1998, the commissioners said that they would build an addition to the jail and do the necessary repairs at the same time. And nothing has happened since then."

"The commissioners authorized the solicitation of bids for the work last summer and they got bids back. But no action has been taken. Now we are here and the jail is being shut down," he said.

County Auditor Lynn Owens confirmed that the county had solicited bids for the repairs through Banes General Contractors, Inc. in June or July of 1999. Banes is the contractor that is overseeing the Reeves County Detention Center expansion project.

"I believe they just piggy-backed the jail bids with the bids for the prison project," Owens said. "I know they received bids on the jail work. What the commissioners did with them, I don't know."

Why, or if, the commissioners and Judge Galindo have not taken action, or have been proverbially dragging their feet on the issue, remains unanswered.

Galindo was out of town today, and he and some county commissioners were unavailable for comment before press time. In the interest of fairness, the Enterprise is holding the publication of comments concerning causes and blame for the situation, until a better effort can be made to contact all concerned parties.

As for the future of the jail, Gomez said that he would appeal the Commission's ruling, but that he didn't know what it would take for the decision to be overturned.

"I don't have a lot of hope that we can win on appeal," he said. "If we don't win, the jail must be closed in 15 days."

OC campus project running on schedule

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - Things are running smoothly and on schedule at the construction site for the new Odessa College-Pecos Campus.

"It's looking so nice in there," said Pecos Campus Director Michelle Workman about the former White's Auto Center building, which is due to be completed sometime this summer.

Construction is going as planned and things are running really well, according to Economic Development Director Gari Ward. He said construction employees are working diligently in getting the campus ready for the fall semester.

"We'll be having some summer courses, but the entire building won't be completely ready for the summer," said Workman.

The building, which housed the Pecos Autoplex after White's closed, was donated by Dr. Norman Harris to be used as a campus for Odessa College.

"This is a big building, it has 26,000 square feet," said Ward.

Inside the facility, a science lab, a computer room, lounge, restrooms and classrooms will be housed.

"The majority of the right (south) side of the building is completed," said Workman. "The learning labs still need to be installed, bring the ceiling down and some painting done."

The left hand side, which will hold the vocational area, hasn't been completed yet, Workman said, "But I can't believe the construction phase is going so fast and smoothly."

"We're very excited about it and we can't wait to move," said Workman, who will have an office at the facility, to better serve the community.

Other plans from Odessa College are in the works.

Robert Munoz, the college's Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education has also been visiting Pecos. "I went out to Anchor West, because they want us to implement a supervisory training through OC," he said.

"We work closely with Gari (Ward)," he said.

Munoz said his office provides customized training for companies. "To meet their needs," said Munoz. "We use full-time instructors that use the latest in management supervision."

He said this was his first meeting with Anchor officials, but certainly not the last. "We'll continue to work with them," he said.

Munoz also met with Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo to discuss plans for programs at the Reeves County Detention Center.

"We met with him about expanding programs that we already offer and possibly look at helping the full-time employees with continuing education," he said. "Another thing we'll be doing is possibly expanding what we already offer the inmates."

Munoz said he's been checking on some things for the facility and will be sending out the information on the ideas that his office has.

"We also have the traditional computer classes that we offer, but we also want to help businesses and help bring them in," he said.

"We're also looking for instructors in the area, who are qualified and would like to help," said Munoz.

Munoz stated that they want to become a part of the community and help it grow.

"The relationship has always been there, we just want to improve on it," he said.

Board supports non-renewal of teacher pacts

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board approved two resolutions without comment supporting the non-renewal of two teachers' contracts during a special meeting of the board Thursday evening.

Members met briefly to discuss personnel and meet with the board's attorney about the non-renewal of the contracts. The meeting started at 6 p.m. and concluded at 6:20 p.m.

Board members met behind closed doors first and in open session board president read out the two motions discussed and approved by the board.

The first motion was, "Whereas the Board of Trustees voted on March 9, to send notice of proposed non-renewal to Mrs. Brenilda Bauer; and whereas as directed by the Board of Trustees, the Superintendent send notice of proposed non-renewal to Mrs. Brenilda Bauer on March 20; and whereas the employee received the notice on March 11 and has not requested a hearing as required by Texas Education Code Section 21.207.

"I move that the board non-renew the term contract for Mrs. Brenilda Bauer for the 2000-2001 school year pursuant to Section 21.208 and direct the superintendent to give written notice of the non-renewal of the contract," said board member Frank Apolinar.

The motion was seconded by board member Freddy Lujan and approved unanimously.

The second motion read the same but was directed at Mr. Bruce Bauer.

"I move that the Board non-renew the term contract of Mr. Bruce Bauer for the 2000-2001 school year pursuant to Section 21.208 and direct the Superintendent to give written notice of the non-renewal of the contract," stated board member Brent Shaw. The motion was seconded by Louis Matta and approved by all board members.

The school board offered no reason for the termination of the Bauers' contracts following the executive session. The item was the only one on Thursday's agenda.

Fifth grader kids take home regional science fair honors

Staff Writer
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - Bessie Haynes students fared very well at the recent Regional Science Fair held in Odessa, bringing home several honors, including a first place award.

"We had more students win this year than we have had for as long as I can remember," said science fair director Diane Paz.

Eleanor Mason, one of the fifth grade winners, won first place in Fifth Grade Chemistry and a special award from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers. Her project, "Bac-Terminator," was a study of which household cleanser most effectively kills bacteria. This is Mason's second year to take top honors at the Regional Fair.

Mason placed second last year and also received the National Association of Corrosion Engineers award.

She stated that she enjoys science and plans to use science in the future. "I plan to be a veterinarian when I graduate from high school and that needs a degree in science to do that," Mason said.

"Science is my best subject and it's so interesting," she said.

She is the daughter of Socorro and Mike Mason.

Only winners from local science fairs are allowed to participate in the Regional Fair so the Bessie Haynes students were competing with winners from local science fairs all around the Permian Basin.

There were 116 fifth graders entered in the competition this year.

Second place in Fifth Grade Behavioral and Social Science was awarded to "Rainbow Cheese," a project by Dina Ortiz and Crystal Ikeler. Their project was an investigation into whether the power of suggestion really affects people's choices.

"Dina was the one that thought of this project," said Ikeler.

"And it really does work, the power of suggestion really affects people choices," said Ortiz.

Ortiz said that even though she enjoys science and doing experiments, she wouldn't pursue it as a career. "I want to do something in sports, I love sports," she said.

She is the daughter of Linda Ortiz and Ikeler is the daughter of Melonie and Robert Ikeler.

"Unmixable Water," by Syra Mendoza and Jesseca Perea, won third place in Fifth Grade Earth and Space Science. This project showed that hot water molecules are like hot air molecules. The young scientists used colored water to prove that hot water in the top of a jar would not mix with cold water in the bottom of the jar.

"Jesseca is the one who thought of this project," said Mendoza. "I like science a lot."

And someday, she might be sharing her knowledge with others, since she plans to become a teacher. "I don't know what subjects I want to teach, but that's what I want to do, is be a teacher," she said.

Mendoza is the daughter of Velia and Robert Mendoza.

Phillip Ramos and Huric Salgado were awarded a special award from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers for their project, "Effects of Oil on Plant Growth." These young men demonstrated how pollution, such as motor oil effects the growth of bean plants.

"This project turned out good and we found out that it affects it in a bad way," said Ramos.

Ramos is the son of Phyllis and Alvin Rodriguez, while Salgado is the son of Magda and Junior Salgado.

Rural hospital concerns discussed at forum

Special Correspondent
PECOS, April 7, 2000 - Diversification is the key to survival for any hospital, Reeves County Hospital Board President Hiram Greg Luna and Vice-President Marcella Lovett learned at the Texas Healthcare Trustees/Texas Hospital Association (THT/THA) Spring Forum 2000.

Luna and Lovett were in Corpus Christi for the annual conference March 10 and 11.

Lovett said some of the topics covered under "Board Governance: Coming Attractions," included, "Being a Trustee in the 21st Century." She said those in attendance were told, "that it will require all of the trustees leadership skills as they face the many challenges ahead."

"They must look beyond the problems of yesterday and today and create solutions for tomorrow with the emerging trends, as hospitals are having to diversify to stay alive," Lovett added.

One of the featured guests at the forum was James Orlikoff, president of Orlikoff and Associates, the leading authority in today's healthcare field. He met with Luna and Lovett after the session and complimented the RCH board members, "for coming such a long way in such a short time and being so successful," said the Lovett, and on keeping the local hospital, "alive" in today's rural marketplace.

She said board members were told that many hospitals in Texas are choosing to become Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), "like the one in Ballinger," Lovett said, which is struggling to survive financially.

Under CAH status rural hospitals can continue to provide access to basic quality care for their citizens without having to maintain a full spectrum of services. They stabilize patients before they are transferred to a larger hospital.

"Due to the foresight of the administration and the RCH Board of Trustees we are able to offer a full spectrum of services, and for the first time in the history of the hospital Reeves County Hospital is strong financially," Lovett said.

Another session was entitled "Physician Recruitment for Rural Hospitals." and Lovett said, "it was discouraging to find this is the tightest `doctor' market there has been in over 30 years."

Government standards require 65 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, she said, quoting numbers supplied at the session. The actual numbers showed 36 PCPs for Odessa, which has a population near 100,000, 45 for Temple, 34 for Harlingen and 33 for McAllen.

"Reeves County Hospital has three recruitment firms searching for physicians, which will be the right match for our community, with the blessings of local physicians," she added, "but we are competing with 80 percent of the hospitals in Texas and 40 to 60 percent of medical groups, plus the government."

After visiting with David Curtis of Merritt, Hawkins & Associates, a physician recruiting company, Lovett said she was assured that RCH is doing everything recruiters advise, "and we are in the middle of the low to upper range for income. It was disheartening to know that most family physicians did not want to practice in rural America."

In 1998, Luna and Lovett were appointed by the THT/THA to the prestigious Trustee Network of Texas. The organization was created to play a role as an advocate for health care public policy issues, and meets several times a year.

"There are only three rural hospitals represented on the 60-member committee from all the hospital boards in the State of Texas and it was quite an honor for Mr. Luna and I to serve on this committee," Lovett said.

"We are active politically and receive information weekly about cuts the state and federal governments `inflict' upon the healthcare industry," she added. "The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 has been devastating to rural hospitals, and healthcare in general, and we have been very successful in getting the attention of legislators about our concerns for rural healthcare."

Richard Hoeth, vice-president of Rural Health with the Texas Hospital Association and former RCH administrator, was complimentary of the administration and board while meeting with Lovett and Luna at the forum. He cited the upgrading of the hospital since he served there during the mid-1990s.

"He stated it was nice to have Reeves County Hospital represented as a `good' example now and not the `bad', at the trustee conference," Lovett said.

Senior center pact, water resolution on county agenda

PECOS, April 7, 2000 - A Balmorhea Senior Center Contract and Madera Valley Water Resolution will be topics of discussion at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for Monday.

The group will meet at 9:40 a.m. on the third floor of the courthouse and the public is invited to attend.

Commissioners will discuss Baron Risk Management request to settle insurance claim for Trans Pecos Drug Task Force and the road and bridges department.

The group will discuss and approve the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department rescue cam purchase; Banes General Contractors request for payment number 12; DRG Architect request for payment; Reeves County Sheriff's Office request for new copier and Criminal Justice Department Juvenile Accountability Grant Resolution.

Commissioners will discuss Veterans Service Officer status; the Reeves County Library Board and Lay representative terms; the independent audit report FY 1999 and the Community Recreation Department membership for the 143rd Judicial District Staff.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers drawn: 4-7-19-20-34. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $39,775. Winning tickets sold in: Edinburg, Mesquite. Matching four of five: 246. Prize: $485.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 7-9-3 (seven, nine, three)


PECOS, April 7, 2000 - High Thursday 94. Low this morning 61. Forecast for tonight: Clear and breezy. Low around 40. Northeast wind 15-25 mph. Saturday: Mostly sunny and cooler. High in the mid 70s. East wind 10-20 mph. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Low 40-45. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s. High in the lower to mid 80s.

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
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

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise