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Wednesday, July 12, 2000

City studies plan to build 144-bed detention center

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 12, 2000 - Construction of a new detention facility for the Town of Pecos City was presented publicly for the first time on Tuesday, during the monthly meeting of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Town of Pecos City Mayor Ray Ortega told the group about their newest venture to promote industry and more employment into the community, and gathered input from Chamber members about the plan.

The venture the group is talking about is a 144-bed facility that would generate about $1.2 million by housing U.S. Marshal's Service prisoners awaiting trial in Pecos Federal Court.

"This would provide additional source of revenue and provide employment opportunities," said Ortega.

"The police department would also be remodeled and the jail would be a holding facility as well," said Ortega. "We need to get into a surplus."

Town of Pecos City Police Chief Clay McKinney stated that this facility would have no guard towers, no fences and would not look like a prison from the outside. "They're building them really nice, now, to where it doesn't look like a prison, but can hold the prisoners safely."

Financing of the facility would not affect city taxpayers, Ortega said. "This would not affect taxes whatsoever. The money would not be coming from the community," he said.

City officials have been in talks with a private company, AB Amron Corp. of Houston, about building the facility. The turnkey operation means they would be in charge of design, architecture and construction work, with the city then operating the detention center, according to Ortega. "Based on revenue, that's how we'll pay the money back," he said.

U.S. Marshal Billy Johnson told the Chamber that they currently have 270 inmates awaiting trial locally, and only 40 are in the Reeves County Jail, which has a maximum capacity of 84 inmates. "That leaves another 200 and something that are in different facilities in the area, they're scattered everywhere," said Johnson. "They could be housed here in Pecos and the money from that coming into Pecos."

"I would like to put a lot of those prisoners right here and cut down on travel time," said Johnson.

"We could move 100 here tomorrow, if we had the facility," he said.

This project designed to generate revenue for the city that will be used in other areas. Town of Pecos City Council members will review this project at their Thursday morning meeting, according to Ortega.

"We'll have the people there, who are going to finance it and do the design, to speak to the council members," he said.

"The city needs another form of revenue," said finance director Steve McCormick.

"We either need to produce more revenue or cut jobs, and that would mean cutting services that the city provides," said Ortega.

McKinney told the group that they had spoken to Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez and assured him that in no way were they competing. "We don't want to compete with them, we won't be taking their inmates," said McKinney. "There's plenty to go around."

The group has looked at three or four sites, but the project remains in its first stages at this time.

"Right now, we're looking at the feasibility part and then we'll take it from there," Ortega said. "What we want today is a letter of support from the chamber."

"What about locals, local people that are arrested?" asked chamber president Jeannette Alligood.

"They would go into our facility as well," said Ortega. The city has been housing its prisoners at the Reeves County Jail since closing their small jail inside the Pecos Police Department 10 years ago.

Chamber members agreed to support their city in this project and to help out in any way.

Under presidential announcements, Alligood told the group that the chamber page is up and can be logged on at

Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce president Jenny Abbott updated the group on recent women's business. "I'm sure everybody read the article in the paper about the Golden Girl Pageant," said Abbott.

The wrong girl was crowned during the pageant held Friday, June 30 at the Pecos High School Auditorium. The mistake was rectified immediately and the girls notified.

"I want to commend the committee and the girls on the way they handled everything," said Abbott. "It was a sad situation, but everybody pulled together and worked things out."

Fall Fair Committee Chairman Barbara Creager spoke about the plans for the Fall Fair. "As we get nearer to the time of the fair, we need more people to attend," she said.

Winner of the quilt the group was raffling was Elaine Moody.

The group will meet at Cattleman's next Tuesday at noon.

The West of the Pecos Rodeo could be viewed on the Internet for the first time this year. "We've had about 131 hits so far," said chamber director Tom Rivera.

Rivera told chamber members that the group that had been in charge of the Fall Fair concert had given formal notice that they no longer wanted to be responsible for this event.

"There are two other groups who have approached me and told me that want to be in charge of this event," said Rivera. "We need to think about whether we want to let them or us take over this event again, like we did years back."

"Do we want to do it?" he asked.

"It's not as novel or as profitable as it once was," said Alligood. "We do not have the financial backing behind us to put it on and don't have the volunteers."

"I think we should let the executive committee talk about this and bring back some information or possibly a decision on this," said member Fred Dominguez.

Chamber members agreed to let the executive committee look at this and bring back their recommendations.

Alligood talked about rodeo banners for businesses in Pecos. "A group used to come in and put up the banners and then take them down after the Fourth of July festivities," said Alligood.

"A few years ago, at the recommendation of a former chamber member, we decided to buy our own," said Alligood.

Putting them up and taking them down poses a problem for some business owners.

"There were a lot of blank spaces in downtown Pecos, some of the businesses didn't have the banners and didn't know where to get them," said member Peggy Walker.

"We need for it to look like there's going to be a rodeo," she said.

"I'll work on gathering a proposal together on where to get them and maybe getting a group of kids to set them up next year," said Rivera.

"We'll look at different sources, on where to purchase them or rent them, and let business owners have the option to do what they want," said Alligood.

Pecos man on death row dies following infection

Associated Press Writer

PECOS, July 12, 2000 - HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A Pecos man on Texas' death row for killing a prison guard 15 years ago has died while being hospitalized, prison officials said Tuesday.

Ramon Mata, 51, died Thursday evening at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice hospital in Galveston. He had been taken there June 26 from the Terrell Unit near Livingston, which houses death row.

"The provisional cause of death is septic shock, an overwhelming infection," corrections department spokesman Larry Fitzgerald said.

An autopsy was planned. Fitzgerald said prison officials were having difficulties finding family members for the Reeves County native and former oil rig worker but he had pre-arranged funeral plans, which would be followed.

Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said his office had records of Mata's past history and names of family members, but was attending a funeral this morning and could not provide any further information at press time.

Mata, with two burglary prison sentences already behind him, was serving his third term in the Texas prison system - a 30-year murder sentence for the 1978 execution-style killings of two Pecos County men - when on June 3, 1985 he fatally stabbed 41-year-old corrections officer Minnie Houston in the officers mess hall at the Ellis Unit northeast of Huntsville.

In an interview following his 1986 murder trial in Madisonville, Mata said he stabbed the woman with a butcher knife he took from the prison kitchen. At the time he had been a trusty, a prison inmate granted special privileges as a trustworthy person.

Mata said Houston, a widow who lived in nearby Trinity with her three children, was friendly to him and he became attracted to her. She rebuffed him by telling him she was dating another man, Mata said.

He said he stabbed her because he didn't want to lose her "and now I've lost her."

Testimony at his trial showed that after the attack, he went outside the prison, got in Houston's car, drove to the front gate of the prison and told the officer there that he had killed her.

A defense psychologist testified at his trial that Mata suffered from serious mental problems. Testimony showed the longtime drug and alcohol abuser who dropped out of school after the seventh grade reported hallucinations of Houston coming to his jail cell on nightly visits.

"I'm saddened," he said in 1986. "I hate what I did and I'm going to pay for it. I ain't worried about it or anything. That's the way it is. For what I did I feel I should be executed."

State Theater's reopening rescheduled

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 12, 2000 - The opening of the State Theater has been delayed for a week, and is now scheduled for Saturday, July 22.

The grand opening was originally set for this Friday, July 14 but because of sewer problems the opening was pushed back a week.

State owner Richard Creasy said they have been working on the restrooms and knew that there was a problem but they did not know exactly what was wrong until recently.

Creasy and Gary Alexander of Cotton Plumbing began investigating the problem and found that the sewer line was completely broken.

Creasy said because of that they had to postpone the opening in order to fix it.

The grand opening will be at 1 p.m., on Saturday, July 22. The first show will be the animated movie "Chicken Run," which opened in late June to favorable reviews nationwide.

"Chicken Run is not just a kid movie, it's for adults, too," Creasy said.

Creasy said there would be a preview showing on July 21 for an invited audience only.

CNN Headline News will travel to Pecos to feature the newly renovated theater. Creasy said if the news team is not able to be here for the opening on the 22nd, there will be a "grand grand opening" with a street party when they come.

Creasy wants to assure the community that there will be a variety of movies shown and they will be current releases.

"I will have as close to first run as I can," Creasy said.

The second movie shown at the State will be the popular and extravagant "Mission Impossible 2" starring Tom Cruise with Martin Lawrence's "Big Momma's House" following. The fourth movie has not quite been decided but the possibilities are "The Perfect Storm" starring George Clooney and "The Patriot" starring Mel Gibson.

Creasy said the theater will be open seven days a week at first and once school begins he will cut back to three days.

The Creasys are still taking applications for staff and will go through the interviewing process and hiring next week.

School board to get updates on new lab, roofing projects

PECOS, July 12, 2000 - A report on Crockett Middle School's lab addition project and the Pecos High School and Austin Elementary School roofing projects will be heard during the regular Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board meeting.

The regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, in the boardroom, 1304 S. Park Street. The public is invited to attend the open portion of the meeting.

Board members will discuss and approve name change of the East Side Pecos Community Center; request from Sudden Impact for the use of the PHS Auditorium; endorsement for Region 18A TASB Representative; student insurance sealed proposal and Pecos High School, Crockett Middle School and elementary school handbooks and student code of conduct.

The group will review a letter from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., regarding Jim Workman; a letter from Hyta Folsom, GEAR-UP director, regarding the submission of a grant; a letter and news release from TASB concerning 2000 Media Honor Roll and a letter from the Juvenile Probation Officer.

Board members will discuss and set budget meetings; listen to the Reeves County Community Recreation Department report; discuss/approve 1999-2000 budget amendments; bread bids; milk/dairy products bids; policy on consideration of bids on tax foreclosed properties; request to purchase property foreclosed property, Lots 23 and 24, Block 51, Original Addition; officer to calculate effective tax and roll back tax rates; adoption of TASB Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) resolution.

Also for discussion and approval are: calendar to discuss budget and proposed tax ate; 2000-2001 budget, possible tax rates and possible pay raise scenarios; salary and compensation plan for administrative/professional and auxiliary employees for the 2000-2001 school year.

Regular items to be discussed and approved include:

· Tax report.

· Depository securities report.

· Investment transaction report.

· Reconciled bank balance report.

· Time and date for next meeting.

· Request for items for next agenda.

The group will also meet in closed session to discuss personnel, including Zavala Middle School sixth grade principal and Crockett Assistant Principal or hear complaints against personnel.

Emergency personnel receive training on operating vehicles

Staff Writer

PECOS, July 12, 2000 - Emergency vehicles need to be given the right of way on response calls, but have rules of the road they also have to abide by.

That is part of what was discussed last night at the fire emergency vehicle response training class.

Pecos and Fort Stockton fire fighters, Emergency Medical Service personnel and Pecos Mayor Ray Ortega learned more about the responsibility of driving emergency response vehicles.

Loss Prevention Training Specialist Ronnie Sexton talked to the class on what they should do to prevent accidents and the laws they must follow.

Sexton made the emergency personnel realize that they should not just get in the vehicle and drive.

"He made us realize how dangerous it is to drive an emergency response vehicle," Fire Chief Roy Pena said.

One of the laws that emergency response vehicles follow is not passing other cars unless they are given the right of way.

Another law is the emergency vehicles can not pass a school bus if the loading lights are on. Pena said he is going to consult with the school board and pass an agreement between the emergency personnel and the bus drivers on what would happen in an emergency.

Pena also said that Sexton explained to them that the big fire trucks are heavier than passenger cars so they take longer to stop. If a fire truck is driving at 25 mph then from the time the driver hits the brakes to the time it stops it travels 48 feet. The faster the truck is going the farther it takes to stop.

Pena would like to have laws passed where any emergency vehicle completely stops at stop signs and intersections. That is because 50 percent of all accidents happen at the intersections. Right now the emergency vehicles only yield at stop signs and stop lights.

Pena said the class was very educational and helped the emergency personnel realize they can cause accidents while responding.

It was very informative for the new guys," Pena said. "This is not a game, we're there to save lives and property."

"It's their emergency, we don't want to make it our emergency," Pena said.

The main thing Pena wants the community to realize is that the emergency vehicles can not pass them on a response.

"The people should be aware that if we are responding, we can't pass them but they need to move over and give us the right of way," Pena said.

Pena would also like to thank the employers of the volunteer fire fighters for allowing them to respond during business hours.

The Pecos Fire Department has the maximum 44 fighters with 13-14 "rookies" and the National Fire Protection Association has approved all the equipment.

Council to view Worsham Field plans Thursday

PECOS, July 12, 2000 - The Pecos City Council will discuss the design and planning phase and funding for the south Worsham well field, discuss water conservation measures and declare emergency for Ward County field water well drilling during their regular meeting Thursday morning.

They will also discuss a new building for the Reeves County Extension office as well as consider an amended ordinance regarding the regulations of food establishments.

City Attorney Scott Johnson will discuss with the Council the feasibility of a constructing a municipal law enforcement center and municipal court facility, and the council will hear the second reading on closing of the Alberta Street railroad crossing.

The Council will also discuss the resolution for directing publication of notice of intention to issue Pecos the Texas combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation.

Armando Gil, Pecos Health and Sanitation director, will report to the Council the amended ordinance for animal control and the recommendation from the plumbing board on inspection fees.

The Council will consider the proposals for engineering and management services for the Texas Community Development program projects.

Members will meet at 7:30 a.m., in the council chambers at City Hall.


Iris Botello

Iris Nicole Botello, 8, of Odessa, died Saturday, July 8, 2000, in San Angelo, in a head-on boating accident.

A rosary will be said at 7 p.m. Wednesday, at Martinez Funeral Home in Odessa.

Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday, July 13, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church with the Rev. Gilbert Rodriguez officiating.

She was born Feb. 18, 1992 in Odessa.

Survivors include her parents, Jose Botello and Erlinda Baiza of Odessa; two brothers, Hector Moya, Jr. and Trinidad Moya of Odessa; maternal grandparents, Lois Nabarrete, Moises Flores, and Guadalupe Flores and paternal grandparents, Jose "Chema" and Frances Botello of Odessa.

The Botellos are former Pecos residents.

Martinez Funeral Home of Odessa is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, July 12, 2000 - High Tuesday 107. Low this morning 74. Forecast for tonight: Isolated evening thunderstorms: Otherwise partly cloudy. Low 70-75. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Chance of rain is less than 20 percent. Thursday: Mostly sunny. High near 101. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Low 70-75. Friday: Mostly sunny and fair at night. Lows 70-75. Highs 95-100.

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