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


June 4, 1998

Monahan's Well

By Jerry Curry
Given the choice between hot and semi-hot, most, I believe,
would choose semi-hot which it has not been the past week or
so in our cherished clime. Hot is a more apt term for the
past few days.

As C. Pearson Cooper, former newspaper mogul, art teacher,
designated National Weather Service observer and general man
about the county notes, it has been warm - not enough to
melt the pump jacks though.
If that were to happen, it might well destroy what is left
of the cattle industry in Ward County.

Cooper was explaining how it takes about 20 acres to feed
one steer in our patch of the planet and those 20 acres are
in bad shape because of the continuing unpleasantness
involving sun, wind and no rain. Because of the continuing
unpleasantness, I doubt seriously that 100 acres right now
would feed a steer or a rabbit.

He explained how cattle tend to congregate in these times
around the pump jacks both for the comfort of the shade and
the possibility that there may be some forage there because
of the shade.

The obvious conclusion to all this is pump jacks have become
a necessity for the survival of what remains of the once
legendary cattle business of West Texas.

(Don't let anyone tell you the Panhandle is in West Texas.
People from the Panhandle like to call it West Texas but it
isn't. It's the panhandle and if you don't believe that, ask
the next cholla cactus you bump into on a dark night when
the smoke from the current wild fires in Mexico have
obscured the stars which really were big and bright deep in
the heart of Texas before Mexico started to burn.)

Pump jacks then provide shade, as Cooper noted, and an
oasis, albeit small, for the thirsty cattle.

The pump jacks also provide oil, which even at today's
prices, still provide a dollar or two for the rancher or
lease holder. There are about 10 ranches of any size left in
the county and everyone of them, it seems, makes more
dollars each year from the pump jacks than they do from
their steers.

For those immigrants to the area who wandered in from the
cooler environs of the North, the term "any size" when
applied to the aforesaid about 10 ranches means that each of
the 10 ranches is a lot larger than Luxembourg and just a
tad smaller than France.

It has been warm recently and it has been dry.

Our next dollar crop might well be meteorites if this keeps

But we do have water. After all we are the Oasis of the West
Texas Desert. And pump jacks do not provide the only shade
out there in the wild among the sand and cactus. Ward County
boasts a very large oak forest out there at Sandhills State
Park, maybe the largest surviving natural oak forest in the
world. Of course, those oaks are only about knee-high but
they do provide shade to assorted varmits.

Gay teens prom prompts no comment

High school graduation and proms are part of the American
That experience has been extended.

According to the Associated Press, gay teens in Dallas on
Saturday, May 30, 1998, attended the first prom in that city
to be dedicated exclusively to the gay life style. The
affair was sponsored by an organization named Parents,
Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. The group's
president, David Gleason, reports that more than 100

Says Gleason: "If you could see the look in your son or
daughter's eyes and know that they're happy, that's what

Comparable proms, says the AP, have been held in San
Francisco, Florida and Oregon.

This is presented as a matter of information only.

No comment is required.

Hospital staff on right track

Jim Bullard of Lubbock Methodist Hospital recently told
Ward Memorial Hospital trustees how bad financial problems
really are at the county's hospital in Monahans. Lubbock
Methodist now has an agreement with the county to manage
Ward Memorial.

After reciting the hospital's varied fiscal traumas,
including the villainous computer billing conversion,
Bullard said: "Let's not talk about who to shoot but how to
repair it."

Amen, Jim. And the hospital staff already is moving in that

Due process in order for task force

If we didn't know better, we would think the Washington and
Austin politicians have finally lost it. This week it was
decided the Permian Basin Drug Task Force would not receive
$2 million in federal funds to help it continue what even
the most conservative analyst would term one of the most
successful efforts against illegal drug traffic in the state.

This was done, according to statements from the Governor's
Office, because there had been allegations of a lack of
fiscal restraint and law enforcement restraint by members of
the task force. Texas Rangers and agents of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation investigated those charges for more
than a year. So far, nothing, absolutely nothing has been
presented to a grand jury anywhere - state or federal.

The FBI and the Rangers, apparently tired of investigating
smoke and mirrors and illusion, have reported on their
investigation to the governor. The governor has punted the
report to Attorney General Dan Morales, who really does not
know what to do with it. If truth be told, the target is
Task Force Commander Tom Finley and his second in command.

That's the bottom line. This whole thing is no more, no less
than Dope War Politics.

As Ward County Sheriff Ben Keele, a member of the Task Force
board, suggests, a little due process might be in order. Tom
Finley has not been convicted of anything. Tom Finley has
not been charged with anything. It does not make sense to
take down a major law enforcement effort in 15 West Texas
counties because someone does not like Finley. But that is
what's happening.

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, 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.