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Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


April 9, 1998

Monahans Well

By Jerry Curry

Clowns, politics and awareness of child abuse

There were two professional clowns out there in Rudy Park on
Saturday. One was named Valentine. That was the official
clown for the official celebration of children and families.
The other was Dan-D Morriss, sometimes rodeo clown,
sometimes staff photographer for the Monahans News. Neither,
to our knowledge, seeks political office in this election
year. Maybe they should. They were sure working the crowd.
Kids loved them. Both of them were helping the children
count their eggs after the mad scramble through the park for
the varied color bits of treasure. Dan-D even led a couple
of scores of the youngsters in some impromptu calisthenics.
The adults should have joined them.

Fe Gregorio, chair of the Ward County Family Pride Council,
had coordinated this gathering as one of the nonprofit
organization's events for Child Abuse Awareness month which
comes each April.

Children were everywhere on Saturday, laughing and sliding,
laughing and coloring, laughing and finding all the colored
eggs. I believe I saw Sheriff's Capt. Steve Vestal trying
his culinary art with the intricacies of hot dogs. It was
hot dogs and all the trimmings washed down with Coke.
Everyone it seemed helped make it a success..

Doing all these nice things for the children of Monahans was
really something for which Gregorio and her fellow
volunteers should be congratulated.

It was a wonderful thing to do.
It was fun for the kids and parents too.

All that fun made me think later of the first time I
encountered child abuse. It was a long time ago in a city
far, far away.

The incident involved a little boy about eight years old and
one of the best cops I have ever known - a man named Herman
Ubban, a detective assigned to robbery and homicide, an
officer who in the ordinary course of business never would
have been involved in a child abuse investigation unless
there had been a child murdered. In this instance, the child
was not murdered. But to stop it, Herman (and I must
acknowledge I was a genuine accomplice) became an outlaw to
stop a child murder.

Herman lived in one of those working class apartments in
this big city, the only place he could afford to live. Being
a starving write, I also lived there. About 3 a.m. one
Sunday morning when both Herman and I were returning home
after equally hard nights at work, we heard screaming in an
apartment across the courtyard. We heard a child crying
hysterically. Both of us rushed to the little boy's aid.
Herman arrested the Neanderthal father beating the little
boy. Then we took the child to the hospital. A day later,
some idiot judge ordered him returned to his family. Herman
and I kidnaped the little boy. We hid him in Herman's
apartment to keep him save. Herman and I got a lawyer.
Herman almost got fired. When it was over, Herman was
successful in getting the child placed in a foster home. And
we both avoided jail for kidnapping.

Hospital conspiracy?

Ward County's continuing hospital crisis went from
tragically sublime to absolutely ridiculous in the
impromptu town meeting that ensued after county
commissioners told the hospital board the county no longer
provides free lunches for the hospital.

It came when one well meaning citizen, who said he was not a
resident of Ward County but who does work here, suggested
more or less directly the possibility of a conspiracy to
lease the hospital. He cited a series of improbable
machinations that revolved around the absolutely unnecessary
referendum on whether to lease the hospital.

Lease is no longer an option. Economics have killed that.
The $4,000+ election is going to be held because law
requires it. If voters approve the concept of lease, the
citizen suggested a lease would be forthcoming. And this
well meaning speaker believes the county commissioners have
planned it all.
Balderdash! Horse feathers!

The problem is some people actually may believe this twisted
and fantastic conspiracy tale. There is nothing to it.

To lease or not to lease the hospital has been the question
plaguing the citizens of Ward County for the last several
weeks. Feeling around town has, for the most part been an
all out "NO! We want to keep the money in Ward County and
don't want to raise the price."

We find it odd the justification for not leasing the
hospital (or golf course for that matter) comes for the same
people who themselves spend money outside of Ward County.

Where do we go for our entertainment, our shopping, to buy
our clothes or office supplies? We am sorry to say but we
all go to Odessa for the Wal-Mart, H-E-B; the Music City
Mall, Office Depot, etc., etc. . In fact, the only place we
see more people from Monahans is at Lobo football games.

We are neither for nor against leasing. All we are saying is
the community is already spending money outside the county.
Money spent outside the county is money that cannot be spent
toward the hospital (or golf course.)

County Commissioners have put the ball back in the
hospital's court. Hospital administrators are going to draft
a budget to overcome the facility's $500,000 deficit. When
you have a hospital with 144 employees and not many patients
(two were there on Tuesday, according to a personal check of
the rooms) where do you think the hospital board will reduce

There absolutely is no county commissioner-corporate-media
conspiracy to steal the hospital. An advertisement in this
issue of The Monahans News favoring lease was paid for,
scheduled and placed prior to the commissioner's decision
to give the problem to the hospital board of managers under
strict budgetary guidelines.

Corporations don't want Ward Memorial Hospital. The people
of Ward County must have it.

It is time now to stop yelling at each other and combine our
many talents to resolve this problem.

Members of the County Commissioner's Court have taken a
major step toward resolving this issue that threatens the
health care and the people of the county.

This problem can be resolved.

To do it involves producing a reasoned budget and then
proceeding to solve already identified problems in hospital
collections and administration.
Difficult decisions must be made in the months ahead.

All of us need to forget anger and remember Ward Memorial
Hospital is necessary for all of us.

This is truly a life and death issue.

Let us treat it as such.

Terror at the door

It happened in our town.

It didn't happen in Odessa or any other place where the
citizens have become so hardened to everyday violence that
horror movies about vampires and werewolves and ghouls
don't scare them anymore. The real dangers out there on the
street are more terrifying than supernatural ones.

It happened in our town.

It happened in Ward County.

A man in his 70s opened the door of his home to a knock.

People in Ward County don't even lock their cars.

People in Ward County walk the streets at night and say
hello to their neighbors.

It happened in our town.

A man in his 70s opened the door of his home to a knock and
was beaten with a chair leg. He made it to his bed room and
got a pistol. If he had not gotten to that pistol, that
elderly man might well be dead today.

The cowards that beat him ran.

What this means graphically was illustrated last week when
one man in Monahans remarked: "I don't answer my door
anymore without my Glock in my hand."

It happened in our town.

Is there anyway to stop it? Did we just come face to face
with the reality of life and death in late 20th Century

Terror at the door.

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.