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Mac McKinnon


Tuesday, July 21, 1998


By Mac McKinnon

Hope is an important

role in agriculture

I recently had the opportunity to drive through northern
Colorado and Wyoming among other spots and saw some really
nice country.

It was nice in the respect that it was green and there was
grass everywhere and plenty of water. They've obviously had
what we haven't - rain.

It was also nice and cool, something that was refreshing.

One reason I make this reference is the drought we've been
suffering in this area and the plight of ranchers who
haven't had any rain to speak of in seven years, even a
worse stretch than the 7-year dry period in the 50s.

I remember throughout the years, Texas ranchers transported
cattle to "the high country" during the summer for grazing.
In talking with various ranchers in this area, not many
people have done that since the 50s and many who did have
said it just never worked out.

As I understand it, those who trucked the cattle north to
graze on ranches they owned there or lands they leased from
owners or the federal government, have found the trucking
cost to be prohibitive, particularly in light of stagnant
beef prices.

Many of the trucks would go north in late April or May and
bring the cattle back in September or October. When to bring
them back was the trick as the north country weather is as
unpredictable as weather anywhere else. You never know when
the first cold spell was going to hit and then the cattle
would be trapped and many have died.

As I was told, Buck Jackson was one person who suffered that
kind of loss on cattle in Colorado.

I have a friend who is a truck driver who used to bring the
cattle back and forth and one winter, a cold spell make the
roads slick and he ended up going off the side of a mountain
with a load of cattle.

Plus, one rancher mentioned that environmentalists are
trying to keep cattle off of federal land as they want to
restore it to the way it was in history. Little do they know
that grazing helps the land along with fertilizer deposited
by the cattle.

It just seems to be a pity to let all of that great
grassland go to waste up north, especially when there is
such a need for good grass in this area. I'm sure much of it
is grazed by ranchers in that area but much of it is allowed
to go to waste as the government controls a whole bunch of
that area.

There's nothing like good grass for cattle to graze on and
although we have great soil in this area, nothing grows
without at least a little moisture and goodness knows we've
had precious little of the wet stuff.

I do understand that a few ranchers have property in New
Mexico where they take cattle to when grass is scarce in our

Ranching is a very important part of our community and area.
Let's just hope that we get substantial rain before ranchers
get hurt any worse than they've already been.

It may be too late for some but hope is one thing people in
agriculture know a lot about.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is the editor and publisher of
the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Tuesday. He
can be e-mailed at:


Virginia visitor agrees with Rediger's ideas

I just finished reading the article in which different
personnel were presenting ideas to attract tourism to Pecos.
I must agree 100 percent with those ideas offered by Mr.
John Rediger. My family and I visited Pecos during the last
week of June and first week of July. We attended the Golden
Girl Review and of course Night in Old Pecos, both of which
we enjoyed.

However after those events and prior to the Rodeo, there was
simply nothing to do there in town. We searched high and low
for Rodeo T-shirts for us and the kids and were
unsuccessful. Believe it or not, we wanted T-shirts as
souvenirs to wear proudly here in the Commonwealth of
Virginia and show off what our town has to offer, but we
left with nothing but brief memories of our short stay.

I also agree with the Hall of Fame idea. There are entirely
too many vacant buildings which are an eyesore to someone
visiting. I do realize it is extremely difficult to attract
new business, however it is more difficult to attract
business to a town, which from the outside looks like it is
dying out.

Especially with the recent news of the closing of the sulfur
plant, measures must be taken to prove that Pecos will
strive after this major loss.

Finally I do strongly believe that recreational areas which
provide activities that are up with the times, will provide
an avenue for the kids to discover unknown talents. As Mr.
Rediger stated, there may in fact be a champion there in
your children.

To be totally honest, if it were not for close friends and
family living in Pecos, we would not return. I am not
stating this to be rude or to be disrespectful, however,
there is nothing that attracts tourists to visit Pecos other
than the rodeo. If this is true for us who are formerly from
Pecos, how does Pecos stand out for those who know nothing
about the area? I realize that this statement may anger some
there in Pecos, yet many more will agree.

One must view Pecos as a tourist looking in rather than as a
resident trying to justify why "things are fine the way they
are." Now that I am on the outside looking in, there is
simply nothing to look at.

Ernest A. Matta
Newport News, Virginia


African-American history brought to life

What do you know about African-American literature and
history and the people who led the way for that race?

There is a new book out, actually it was pubished in
December 1996 but it hasn't received the publicity it should
have, that tells the story of African-American literature.
It is entitled, "Sweet Words So Brave, the Story of
African-American literature," published by Zino Press
Children's Books for ages 8 and up. It is 64 pages in hard
bound copy, with rich full-color illustrations, costing
$24.95. It is available through Amazon Books on the Pecos
Enterprise web page, or at your favorite
book store.

Written by Barbara K. Curry and James Micahel Brodie with
illustrations by Jerry Butler, the book is written in the
voice of an African-American telling his granddaughter about
the literature and history of their people.

The story covers the broad and epic sweep of black writing
in this country from the first slave narratives and the
poetry of Phillis Wheatley to the work of current writers
like Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou.

Curry is an associate professor of educational development
at the University of Delaware while Brodie is an editor at
the Baltimore city paper. The illustrator, Butler, lives in
Madison, Wisc., where he is the chairperson of the Art
Department at Madison Area Technical College.

Many of the people written about you have probably heard of
and after you've gotten through with the book, you'll never
forget those who are included.



Line item veto allows president to delete items

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the line item veto
is unconstitutional raised our hackles as we have long been
a supporter of such a measure to keep Congress from tacking
spending bills on to unrelated legislation.

If you are not aware, the line item veto allows the
president to delete items from bills sent to him by
Congress. This can pertain to certain laws as well as

Congress has long abused the hustle and bustle of passing
legislation by last minute additions of unrelated items that
favor their states and districts. This practice is
particularly exercised by the champions of what is called
"pork barrel" politics and one leader of that element is
Senator Robet Byrd of West Virginia. He is also one of the
ones who challenged the line item veto and helped take the
measure to court.

The line item veto became effective Jan. 1, 1997 as it was
passed by the Republican Congress to go into effect when a
new term for the president started. Since that time,
President Clintn has used the line item veto in a number of

On further review of the Supreme Court ruling - and after
reason had a chance to settle in rather than emotion - we
believe the proper way for such a law would be a
constitutional amendment.

A line item veto - which is practiced by a number of
governors - is needed so that the administration has some
control over spending. The politics of government spins out
of control as it has for many years in the nation's capitol
unless the president has some control.

We would urge voters to contact legislators and urge them to
do this right and pass such a constitutional amendment.

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