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More Saragosa Tornado

Adverse publicity is hurting county

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PECOS, MARCH 1, 1988

To the Editor:
The disaster which destroyed Saragosa has now spread like a plaque over
Reeves county. When the national media covered the story of earth and
destruction in Saragosa the hearts of American were touched and
donations of money goods and services came form all directions.

The Reeves County Sheriff's Department, as is customary, moved into
Saragosa to maintain order and to stop looting, but the looting never
did stop according to rumors out of Saragosa. The media picked up on the
stories and thus began a second round of publicity with the tone
changing from compassion for the Saragosa victims to scorn for the rest
of the county.

Obviously there can be considerable distance between rumors and facts.
The county seemed to be paralyzed through apathy or intimidation to
determine if there was any difference. Since Reeves county is still a
part of Texas which is a part of the United States we could at least
have asked for outside help to get the truth.

Finally the Austin American Statesman did some investigative reporting
with a focus on the sheriff's department and Texas Rural Legal Aid is
currently conducting an inquiry. This situation in Reeves County is
reminiscent of stories involving street victims crying help but the
dozens of people who heard did not want to become involved.

Reeves county is already reeling from the downtown in farming and oil
and gas and now with more adverse publicity added to our burden of high
taxes and a high incidence of crime and drugs, what redeeming features
do we have for the Chamber of Commerce to use in attracting new
businesses and job opportunities? Individuals and area will move to
greener pastures which will further reduce tax rolls, which will require
additional taxes or reduction of serves. If we continue to have much
more of the same Pecos will resemble a town that the railroad bypassed.

Parents of all races have many things in common such as the desire to
raise their families in a tranquil atmosphere with a minimum exposure to
crime and drugs and when they reach working age to have the option of
finding local employment instead of being force to leave. As things are
now, such wishes would be wishful thinking.

It may be too late to stop the downward spiral but if we want to try we
could start by giving considerable weight to the meaning of the word
"integrity" in assessing qualifications for elective offices.

M.H. McKinney
Pecos, Tx.

Ninety area residents attend class

Weather spotters qualified

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By Jan Pearce
Staff Writer

PECOS, MARCH 2, 1988 - As the first severe weather warnings of the
season were issued for West Texas Tuesday evening, some 90 Reeves County
residents were certified as severe weather spotters in Pecos.

The three-hour Skywarn class was conducted by John Wright, meteorologist
in charge at the National WEather Service in Midland.

Wright used tapes and slides to illustrate cloud formations that have
the potential to produce severe weather.

Highlighting the class were recently discovered slides of the Saragosa
tornado that killed 30 people and almost destroyed the small Reeves
County community on May 22, 1987.

Wright illustrated how the slides provided valuable clues in his
continuing investigation of the Saragosa tornado. The slides were taken
from State Highway 17 looking southwest as the tornado approached.

Wright described the Saragosa tornado as violent, the most severe type,
and said his investigation has shown that winds in the center were in
excess of 265 mph.

Weather spotters learned not only how to detect potentially severe
weather, but also how to report their findings to the National Weather
Service for investigation and insurance of severe weather warnings when
and where they are needed.

We need to stop and say `Thanks'

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PECOS, MARCH 2, 1988

To the Editor:
On May 22, 1987 a black cloud rolled through this small town taking
lives and destroying homes. I arrived on the scene within 30 minutes of
the devastation not expecting to witness how cruel mother nature can be.
Only those of us there pulling the dead from under the rumble and
searching in the dark for yet more dead bodies could understand how that
nightmare will remain in our minds forever.

My question is what is the purpose of the Saragosa Foundations
allegations of misuse of funds and donated goods. Does anyone have proof
or is that a guessing game based on hearsay? For example TRLA attorney
Alpha Hernandez's statement in the Feb. 28, ODESSA AMERICAN, "The amount
accounted for doesn't seem to be near what was thought to have been
coming in." The key word here is thought.

Why not change the events of the first few weeks following that dreadful
day. Let's say the sheriff and his department had no stepped in trying
to organize the mass confusion, who would be accused then.

A human life is our world's most precious asset and that can never be
replaced, though most of the Saragosan's material losses have been
replaced ten-fold through donations from kindhearted people all over the

Why not stop accusing and start giving thanks. Not being a Saragosa
resident myself, I would still like to express my gratitude to everyone
who took part in Saragosa's new beginning. Starting with the sheriff's
department employees, local people and strangers from all over who
donated more laborious man hours than anyone could account and/or pay
for - Thank You!

Also everyone who gathered and donated clothes, furniture, appliances,
food, money and much more needed items - Thank You!

Least we not forget our young citizens who emptied piggy banks, toy
chests and closets, and worked round the clock helping wherever needed -
Thank You!

Another tornado will hit again somewhere, sometime and once more lives
and homes will be lost. Lets pray that all this bad publicity will not
hinder the response of generous and caring people to the needs of future

Neta Rhyne
Toyahville, Texas

New items stored in Balmorhea warehouse

Austin sends more to Saragosa

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By Karen Oglesby
Staff Writer

PECOS, MARCH 7, 1988 - Saragosans whose homes are now being built will
likely be the recipients of much of the furniture and appliances that
were trucked to Balmorhea on Saturday.

The items now in storage in Balmorhea were delivered by a group of
Christians who organized Austin CARES, the same organization that
delivered a truckload of furniture, appliances and clothing shortly
after the May 22 tornado.

The first truckload was stored along with clothing and other items
donated by a group from Monroe, La., at the Acid Delinters warehouse in
Pecos. Some of the appliances and furniture made it to Saragosa, but
much of the goods were rummaged by local people who crowded their way
into the warehouse in July and apparently took what they wanted.

Rev. Ray Noble of Austin had delivered that truck load in person in the
weeks following the tornado, and on Saturday he returned with another
truck and part of another full of more donated items.

"There were some mattresses, some slightly used furniture, about half a
dozen refrigerators and a couple of stoves," said Saragosa Foundation
president Tony Gallego. "There were more clothes, all marked and sorted
in boxes according to size."

Gallego said Noble contacted him late last year that the items were
available, but he did not have the resources needed for shipping.

Gallego said he had planned to go get the items with funds provided
three weeks ago by Interfaith in Saragosa and Balmorhea, but had not yet
had time to do so.

Central Freight of Austin made it possible for Noble to deliver the
goods after all, Gallego said.

The goods are being stored in a warehouse owned by Bob Scripps in
Balmorhea, and will be distributed as requested by Saragosans who most
need them, Gallego said.

Twelve Saragosans are having their homes re-built now with state funds,
and they will likely need the furniture and appliances most, Gallego
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324 S. Cedar, Box 2057, Pecos TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321