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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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March 26, 2001

Commissioners back probation violator facility

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 26, 2001 - Reeves County could be home to a third new detention facility in as many years in 2002, as county commissioners approved a resolution during today's meeting to help take the first step towards security funds for an intermediate sanction facility.

"Judge Bob Parks and his staff are looking to submit an application to the state for funding for an intermediate sanction facility," Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said today, while Camila Blum with the 143rd District's Adult Probation Department, told commissioners that Jason Woods, community supervision officer, had done a lot of research on the project, sent out surveys and submitted the proposal.

Woods said if the Texas Legislature, which is meeting right now, approves the grant, the facility might be built in Pecos, though that wasn't guaranteed. "It might be built here, Loving County or Ward County," said Woods. The three counties make up the 143rd Judicial District.

"The grant application has been turned in and we are still waiting for approval," said Woods. The application is now in the hands of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Community Justice Assistance Division, according to Woods.

The facility would be constructed for technical violators, he said. "These are individuals who have been on probation and violated their terms or probation in a technical way," said Woods, adding the violations would be from both felonies ore misdemeanors.

This would include those who violated their terms of probation by not reporting, not completing community service, absconding or not going to counseling as recommended, according to Woods.

Woods said if the grant was approved and the facility built, it would mean 25 jobs, with 16 correctional officers, secretaries, physical officer and two cooks.

The program would be for about 100-190 days, or 3-6 months and the three major components that the facility would offer include, life skills curriculum, cognitive restoration program; work detail program or community services and a literacy program. "These are the three main programs that will be offered," said Woods.

Those exclusive from the program would include individuals that had been on probation for sexual assault crimes or had a history of sexual assaults; those on probation for violent offenses or had a history of violence and those on probation for serious drug offenses or a history drug abuse.

A task force will be formed to decide where and on what land the facility would be built.

Reeves County just finished construction on its 1,000-bed addition to the Reeves County Detention Center, which doubled the size of the facility on the southwest side of Pecos. Currently, the Town of Pecos City is looking at building a 96-bed Law Enforcement Center on Interstate 20 on the west side of town, which would house the Pecos Police Department, police prisoners and others being held for trial in federal court in Pecos by the U.S. Marshal's Service.

The 143rd District facility would cover 15,000 square feet and cost a total of $1.9 million to build. Woods said that they would be looking at acquiring four acres and would like to get more for future expansion.

"We're asking for full funding," said Woods. "A lot of this funding will go towards the construction and to purchase needed vehicles."

"We want to work on getting these offenders into the community and cleaning up all three counties as best as we can," he said.

There are currently nine such facilities in the state, with the closest one located in El Paso.

"Is it more like a jail or just dormitories?" asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin.

"It's a 24-hour facility, but it could also be considered a dormitory," said Woods.

"More like a halfway house?" said Galindo.

"Well, no actually, because in a halfway house they get to come and go, but in this facility, if they are let out for work detail, a correctional officer will go along, and they will travel in a bus," said Woods.

The facility will accommodate 56 males from different counties and locations, according to Woods.

"We would like to use it as a diversionary program to hopefully turn them around," said Woods.

Galindo told Woods that he would like for him to ask the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to consider Reeves County as the site for the facility.

"I'll be taking this resolution to the TDJC and including those from Loving and Ward," said Woods.

Growth of area cotton farming created guest worker program

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of features on historical locations and events in the Trans-Pecos region
By The Ghost Writer

PECOS, March 26, 2001 - When Pecos was enjoying good cotton crops and before the mechanical cotton pickers was invented, we better than doubled our population when the Mexican bracero came to work in the fields.

Living in Mexico has not been easy for the Indians and the poor. Spanish priests considered that it was better to slay the Indians who would not accept Christianity rather than teach them. The government kept the masses in poverty and ignorance. Benito Juarez passed laws in 1855 to break up the large estates of the Roman Catholic Church. Reading the history of Mexico is like reading a novel with one revolution after another. The poor working conditions in Mexico were one factor that brought about the bracero program.

An agreement between the governments of Mexico and the United States permitted Mexican nationals to come to this country and work in the fields. The United States Department of Agriculture set up the conditions that had to be met before laborers could come to this country. The agreement was for workers to work in agriculture only.

Today, Rep Howard Berman, a California Democrat, wants to increase guest workers from 40,000 to 150,000 and later they may apply for legal residency. Other Democrats want to wave background checks before making them citizens while Sen. Phil Gramm wants to increase the number of guest workers without the residency option, which would not allow them to vote. Both bills would expand the program from agriculture to other business.

The Trans-Pecos Cotton Association was formed and built a $90,000 labor camp in December 1952. The labor camp provided a good bed, showers and eating facilities. A farmer would submit his name, the number of men he would need and an assurance that he would meet government regulations as to the housing and pay of the workers. The farmer would have to pay $15.00 for transportation from the bracero's home to a clearinghouse in El Paso. The Association had 17 trucks hauling men from El Paso to Pecos to supply workers for a six county area. It was reported in March 17, 1955, that there were 18,500 braceros in this area. The Association claimed about 400 members or farmers who wanted farm labor from Mexico.

Pecos citizens well remember these laborers as they would come to town on the weekend and purchase groceries and things that they needed such as shoes to replace the old auto tire sandals they wore when they arrived. They would send money home and would buy things that their families would appreciate. This was a different life from what they had ever seen. They enjoyed a life never before known to the poor citizens of Mexico.

Braceros did have difficulties while working here. The paper reported that three local youths beat and robbed a 56- year-old man who was married with eight children. They used a knife and broke his cheekbone for a pack of cigarettes and a few cents. The Cotton Association hired a special attorney as a moral obligation to prosecute the youths. Others were killed in traffic accidents while riding in trucks or trailers and some were killed leaving a beer joint and crossing a highway.

The advent of the mechanical cotton pickers limited the need for pickers but they are still used in other agriculture aspects.


One of my "mature" advisors reported that while carrying two pizzas to his car, a young girl approached him and said "I'll be real nice to you if you give me those pizzas." This did wonders for the old man but he said that he turned her down as the pizzas cost $7.50 each. The other old men pretended that they believed his story but they all thought to themselves that the truth was that it was not the month that his wife gave him his Viagra.

Elektra rates encore performance after plug wrongly pulled in 2000

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 26, 2001 - In preparation for district competition later this week, the cast and crew of Elektra are scheduled to perform for the public at 7 p.m., Tuesday night at the Pecos High School Auditorium.

Community members are invited to watch the high school students perform one act from the Greek tragedy Elektra.

"It's the story of two children seeking revenge on their mother, who killed their father," Assistant Director Sam Armstrong said.

This is the second year in a row the students involved with the one-act play performed Elektra at the District 2-4A competition. "We performed this play last year at competition and were incorrectly disqualified," Armstrong said, which prevented them from advancing to the area competition.

She said the contest manager, who was responsible for enforcing the University Interscholastic League rules, disqualified the Pecos team for having 30 seconds of lyrics in the music at the beginning of the play. Only recently did they find out that the reason for their disqualification was not valid, Armstrong said.

Director Ben Price said that because of the disqualification, they decided to perform the same play this year.

"They didn't really get to compete last year because they were disqualified," he said.

This year's cast has many returning students, which left open eight spots for new students.

"The kids from last year are reprising their roles," Armstrong said.

Open tryouts were held for the remaining positions and practice began about two months ago.

Both Price and Armstrong believe that the practices have been good.

"It's going very well," Price said. "It even looks better than it did last year."

Armstrong said that the cast and crew have had more time this year to "fine tune" the play.

"The practices did go more smoothly this year," she said. "The new students learned the lines faster."

Armstrong said because of that the students were able to work on little details that would draw some attention from the judges.

Senior Jenny Alvarez returns to her leading lady position from last year, playing Elektra.

Senior Wesley Roberts plays Elektra's brother Orestes while Freshman Erica Caballero plays their mother, Clytaemestra.

Other members of the cast include: Grace Hernandez as Chrysothemis; Cortney Freeman as Aegisthus; Grant Holland as Tutor; Chyloe Martin, GeNelle Willis, Sandy Belles and Rebecca Tollett as the women; and Sergio Herrera, Adam Seijas, Trent Riley and Omar Zermeno as the Attendants.

Crewmembers include Hannah Paz, Jena Cranfill and Robert Hidalgo.

The cast and crew of Elektra will be traveling to El Paso on Wednesday were they will perform at district competition at 2:30 p.m., CST, on Thursday at Americas High School.

Price said that Pecos would be performing second giving them a chance to watch all the other competitors with the exception of the first play.

He said it could not be determined if performing at the beginning of the competition is good or bad.

"I don't think you could really say one way or the other," he said.

If the students do well at district they would be able to advance to area competition on April 4 again in El Paso giving them a chance to advance to region competition on April 20 in San Angelo.

"We're very excited and we're very optimistic of doing well at competition," Armstrong said.

"Mrs. Armstrong and I are very hopeful and we'd like to have a nice crowd for rehearsal," Price said.

NWS reps to hold weather spotting class on Tuesday

PECOS, March 26, 2001 - A weather spotting class will be held Tuesday night in Pecos by officials from the National Weather Service in Midland. The NWS will be conducting the Basic Weather Spotters training class from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak St.

The classes are for emergency personnel and amateur radio operators and the general public is also welcomed and encouraged to participate. During this class the primary goal will be to become proficient in recognizing visual characteristics that indicate a storm may be severe or may become severe. Particular emphasis will be placed on local severe weather events and situations.


PECOS, March 26, 2001 - High Sunday 64. Low this morning 42. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low in the mid 40s. Southeast wind 10 to 20 mph. The chance of rain is 50 percent. Tuesday: Cloudy with a chance of rain and thunderstorms. High in the lower 60s. Southeast wind 15 to 25 mph and gusty. The chance of rain is 40 percent. Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and thunderstorms. Low in the mid 40s. The chance of rain is 30 percent. Wednesday: Decreasing cloudiness and warmer. High in the mid 70s.

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