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April 23, 1997



By Cara Alligood

Winners win big
with help of teachers

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I would like to personally congratulate this year's Teachers of the
Year on their accomplishment and thank all the local teachers for their
dedication and service to young people.

A teacher has the power to change lives. A good teacher can inspire,
empower and open doors that have no keys. A bad teacher can discourage
and destroy self esteem, but I believe most teachers are good people who
work hard, truly care about their students and are dedicated to their
profession for reasons beyond a paycheck.

Personally, I believe that education is extremely important, both to
people as individuals and to our country as a whole. I think that in
relation to their importance to society, professional athletes make
obnoxious amounts of money and teachers don't make nearly enough. (I
don't either, but I imagine most people feel that way.)

At any rate, there is a feeling that you get from accomplishing
something important that you just can't get from a paycheck. That
feeling comes from making something special happen, from helping
someone, from giving of yourself in the process of doing something you
really care about. It's hard to describe, for it's more than just a
sense of accomplishment or satisfaction, but I guess those things are
part of it. I believe many teachers understand this feeling. There are
some things that there just isn't any way to put a dollar amount on.

What is it worth to have someone teach your child to read well? How
much would you pay for that knowledge if you didn't have it and it were
an item for sale? Think about it. Once one learns to read, they can
learn anything.

Knowledge is power. Teachers take children from all different
backgrounds and help them build the foundations upon which their lives
are built.

This is not meant to discount parents, of course. Parents, hopefully,
teach all the basics. Parents are the first teachers. Besides the
letters, numbers, colors and shapes that most children know before
kindergarten, parents can teach manners, values, compassion and a host
of other valuable lessons.

Speaking of these lessons, there may be something to be learned from
the recent success of that golfer we've all heard so much about the past
few months, Tiger Woods. He won the Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga.
We have heard a lot about him being the first black man to win the
Masters. Only a few blacks have managed to get into the competition in
the past. However, Woods was born black, and has no control over that.
Maybe it's because I don't like most sports and therefore don't follow
them, but I have heard much more about race than about the
accomplishments he made that were within his control. By that I mean the
amount of practice and dedication that it took for him to win at his
age, and in the least amount of strokes ever.

I wish we lived in a place and time where the big story was "YOUNGEST
the first black man to win, also.)" What does it tell us about ourselves
that we focus so strongly on the race issue? Why are his hard work and
dedication not stressed as strongly? The public generally sees what the
media focuses on as being the important issue, and controversy sells,
sadly enough.

By all accounts that I've heard, Tiger Woods is a wonderful young man,
whom any parent would be proud to claim. I'll just bet he has had some
good teachers along the way.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Cara Alligood is an Enterprise writer and advertising
administrator whose column appears each Wednesday.


School officials give misinformation

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Dear Editor:
Our school district does not listen and is constantly giving students,
parents and citizens misinformation.

Crockett students were told they could take "credit by exam" tests on
April 21, 22, 24, to receive high school credit if they made a certain

Those interested signed up, received study guides, test schedules and
began to prepare. Friday afternoon students were told they had to
present a legal I.D. picture before taking each test. Obviously, not
many eighth graders have a picture I.D. It takes two to three weeks to
get one from the DPS.

Today, Apr. 21, my child said that their hair color, eye color, weight
and height were recorded so that they could take the test. I ask, why
were all of the facts not gathered before giving information to the
students? This misinformation crushed the hopes of those preparing. Not
to mention the frustration of parents.

Recently, our superintendent commented on Pecos Talking that eighth
graders had read the biography of Selena prior to seeing the movie. I as
a parent of an eighth grader know that my child's class has not read the
book. In fact, Ms. Olibas stated in the March 27 issue of the
Pecos Enterprise that the Selena foundation said not to read
the books that were written after her death because they "were totally
untrue and unauthorized." Why isn't he aware of the facts?

The Pecos Enterprise has already expressed their
disappointment that Memorial Day is not to be observed again this year.
Many have stated that we would like to see Memorial Day observed. But no
one is listening!

Is it too much to ask that administrators in central office listen to
the community and gather all facts before information is given to
principals, counselors, teachers, students, parents and the public?

-- Name withheld by request


Fund-raising stink takes odd course

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The speed with which an investigation was mounted against the head of a
House of Representatives committee probing Democratic fund raising is
interesting. It is particularly so in view of the many delays thrown in
the way anyone checking into the Democrats.

Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., is chairman of the House Government Reform and
Oversight Committee. In that post, he is expected to oversee an
investigation into possible improprieties in political fund raising.
Most of those have involved the Clinton White House and the Democratic
National Committee.

But Burton himself is under investigation by the FBI. Mark Siegal, a
former lobbyist for the government of Pakistan - and a Democratic Party
activist - claims that Burton pressured him to raise $5,000 for the
congressman's campaign. ...

Obviously, Burton's case must be investigated thoroughly. Federal
officials' zeal in going after him quickly would be commendable if it
didn't appear he was being given quick, intensive attention sometimes
lacking in similar situations. ...

-- The Inter-Mountain, Elkins, W.Va.

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`Freedom to Farm' law does its work

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce
America's farming communities are coming alive with preparations for
spring planting, and they reflect a spirit of optimism not seen in
decades. Farmers have had a taste of freedom under the "Freedom to Farm"
law, and they like it. This landmark measure - one year old this month -
swept away 60 years of government-mandated land idling programs such as
annual acreage set-aside programs, and micro-management of America's

Growers may not plant for dynamic U.S. and global markets - rather than
a government program - and are reaping the benefits. Farm income and
export sales both set record highs in 1996, and another strong year is
forecast for 1997. Farmland values continue to rise, and the value of
farm assets relative to farm debt is the best in years.

Communities and businesses that depend on a robust farm economy - from
farm suppliers, crop handlers and transporters, and food processors, to
rural Main Street businesses - are operating at higher levels of
capacity and profitability. Food manufacturers and exporters, in
particular, are now getting the crop varieties in the volumes they need
to serve customers, and they are paying premium prices to growers.

The environment also benefits under the new law. Elimination of nearly
all planting restrictions permits farmers to adopt more crop rotations,
which cuts soil erosion and reduces the need for chemicals, while
presenting opportunities for longer term gains in productivity.

And the general public benefits. Consumers can expect to pay a
declining percentage of their disposable income on food now that the
government is out of the business of manipulating farm commodity prices.
The Agriculture Department plans to cut up to 20 percent of its vast
work force that is no longer needed to administer programs, and
taxpayers will no longer bear the uncontrollable expense of farm
entitlements which have been replaced with capped, declining payments
over seven years.

Paying farmers not to farm never did make much sense. The achievements
of the new law make you wonder why it took so long to dump the old law.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Stuart Hardy is manager of resource policy for the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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