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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Thursday, November 6, 2003

Wackenhut's VP says RCDC will keep current management

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 6, 2003 -- The Reeves County Detention Center is not the largest facility that Wackenhut Corrections Corporation will be managing - at least as of now - but the group is happy to be coming to Pecos to help out the county and plans no immediate changes in the prison's top management.

"It's not the largest facility that we manage. The largest is a 3,024 bed facility in South Africa," said Don Houston, Central Region Vice President for the Boca Raton-based company. "Our Taft facility in California is just over 2,400 inmates and Reeves County currently has a little more than 2,000," he said.

Wackenhut, whose U.S. operations are based in Boca Raton, Fla., with a parent company based in Europe, signed a 10-year management contract with Reeves County on Monday to operate the detention center. The move was made after Reeves County was unable to find prisoners to fill the new 960-bed RCDC III unit, and was faced with a possible default on bonds for the $40 million facility.

County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo said in July that because the three units are cross collateralized, a default on RCDC III's bonds would affect the entire $89 million facility.

While the prison currently has only a little over 2,000 inmates, according to terms of the contract, the three units contain approximately 3,025 beds, with 1,105 beds in RCDC I and 960 each in the RCDC II and III units.

Houston said that he would be in Pecos next week to visit with the management team and county officials.

Under the terms of the agreement, Wackenhut is now responsible for finding inmates to fill RCDC III. The contract calls for the company to pay Reeves County a total of $430,000 each month RCDC III remains un-utilized.

That part of the contract will go into effect as of Dec. 1, or at the start of the first month after Reeves County reduces the workforce at the prison to no more than 344 employees. The reduction will mean the loss of about 91 jobs from the current staffing level.

"We have not visited with BOP about bringing in new inmates, because we haven't started to manage the facility yet," said Houston.

He said that one of the provisions is to provide assistance for the IGA (Intergovernmental Assistance Agreement). "We'll be working with the county on that and after that, we will began to manage it, we will become more involved," said Houston.

There were three parts to the contract, the Intergovernmental Assistance Agreement, the Management Services Agreement and R3 Utilization Availability Agreement. It's the third part of the contract that requires Wackenhut to work on bringing in new inmates for RCDC III.

"I really appreciate what Judge Galindo did Tuesday, he went through the whole contract," said Houston. "He shared all the contract and that usually doesn't happen," he said.

"We will bring some people in to provide assistance, but the current managing team and will continue to provide support," said Houston.

Houston said that Warden Rudy Franco would continue to be the warden at the facility. "Only now, if he has a problem or question, he'll have 12 other wardens (at other facilities) that he can count on," said Houston.

Houston said that he really appreciated the professional way that the commissioners and county auditor handled the agreement and "talk" sessions.

"I'm looking forward to being there, you'll be seeing more of me," he said.

Gabaldon turns travels into new idea for new store

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 6, 2003 -- Picture frames, ceramics, clocks and more are what a shop owner is offering to the community at her boutique's new location.

"I've always wanted to open my own shop," said Emma Gabaldon, who just opened her shop at 311 S. Cedar St., after starting it up at 1221 S. Eddy St. She stayed at that location for about five months before making the move to Downtown Pecos.

"I needed a little bit more room and I liked this location, so I moved over here," said Gabaldon.

"Emma's" offers a wide variety of house wares and knick-knacks, and Gabaldon first got the idea of opening her own shop when she traveled with her husband, Agustin Gonzales, to Los Angeles and saw the many items there.

"I thought, Pecos needs a store like this, that will offer a little bit of everything for the home," she said.

Her store holds canister sets for the kitchen, pots and pans, ceramic items, blankets and some furniture. If you can't find it in her store, just let her know.

"I will try to find whatever item the customer wants, I still travel with my husband to California," said Gabaldon, who added that she is always in search of new items. Her husband, a longtime truck driver, has taken her on many trips and she still enjoys going with him when she gets the chance.

"I love going with him to different places, but now that I have the store, now I just do it to find things for my store," she said.

Before she opened her own novelty store, Gabaldon worked as a cook in different restaurants including Speedy's and at the Pecos Valley Country Club. "I always wanted something of my own and my husband has been very supportive, in fact, it was his idea," she said.

Gabaldon has lived in Pecos all her life and enjoys the small town lifestyle. "I knew I wanted to stay here, but at that same time, wanted to do my own thing," said Gabaldon. "I didn't have that opportunity until I met my husband," she said.

The store is open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. "But I will stay open later, if anybody wants to come in and browse after they get off work," she said.

Gabaldon said she welcomes everyone to just "come in and look." She will be adding new "items" to her store and is always open to new ideas.

"Maybe they'll see something they like and if they don't they can always tell me what they are looking for and I will try to get it for them," she said.

When she's not busy at her new store, Gabaldon enjoys spending time with her husband, Agustin; her two sons, Raul and Guillermo, Jr.; her five granddaughters and her grandson.

Amigos' owners shut one store, eye expansion

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 6, 2003 --The new owners of the Amigos Texaco stores in Pecos have shut down one store and are weighing a possible remodeling of the remaining store, along with a pending brand name change that already has taken place in other parts of Texas.

The sale of the Amigos Texaco stations on South Cedar Street, at Interstate 20 and East 14th Street, were finalized between the former owner, Rio Grande Distributing and the new owner, Bohica Investment LTD of Del Rio, this past Saturday.

The sale includes a total of 13 Amigos in West Texas, 10 of which will remain open. The station located on East 14th Street will close and the station on Interstate 20 will remain open and undergo renovations.

The company said the three stores are being closed down to focus resources on those 10 stores that are to remain open.

"We hope to maintain the current employees' throughout the conversion from Rio Grande's ownership to ours," Bohica Investments General Manager Jacob Kusenberger said, "any employees affected by the shut down of those three stores will try and be utilized at the remaining stores."

The store located on I-20 will remain open and undergo some remodeling to facilitate the conversion. The Amigo's name will remain, but the logo will change and the station's brand affiliation will change from Texaco to Shell.

That change is part of a nationwide change of 1,300 Texaco stations to Shell. The change was made following the merger of Chevron and Texaco four years ago, and stations in other parts of Texas already have undergone the brand name conversion.

Shell last had a presence in Pecos about 15 years ago, when the lone local station across I-20 from the current Amigos location shut down. It is now home to Hector's Tire Service.

The current Amigos site was formerly a full-service Texaco station that was later converted into a self-service station with a small convenience store. Kusenberger said they were looking to expand that facility.

"We are only looking to add services to the existing facilities of the station, underway are plans to add hot foods to the items available for sale, but more importantly none of the services currently available will be removed," he said.

"There is the possibility that the old station might have to be bulldozed and start over with the construction of completely new facilities; it all depends on whether the current site will accommodate all that we would like to bring into the store," Kusenberger said.

Bohica Investments itself is a new entity based out of Del Rio, with these 13 stores being currently its only interests.

"Our main interest at this point is convenience stores, the Amigo stores purchase is one of our first," Kusenberger added.


PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 6, 2003 --High Wednesday 80. Low this morning 50. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain. Areas of fog after midnight. Lows 45 to 50. Northeast winds near 10 mph. Friday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Highs 55 to 60. Light and variable winds becoming northeast near 10 mph in the afternoon. Friday night: Cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain.Lows in the mid 40s. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Highs near 60. East winds near 10 mph. Saturday night: Cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Lows near 50. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. Highs near 70. The chance of rain is less than 20 percent. Sunday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 50.

Crockett hosting "Reading Night" for kids, parents

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 6, 2003 --Crockett Middle School is sponsoring "Family Reading Night" for all 7th and 8th grade students and parents.

Interested individuals will meet next Tuesday, Nov. 11, from 6-7 p.m., in Room 107 at the school.

Everyone is invited to come and read an AR book with their student.

The Scholastic Book Fair will also be open in the front hallway.

Come by and see the great selection of books for the entire family.

Refreshments will be served.


Natividad Gonzales and Rebecca Crouch

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