Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Ward County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Jan. 7, 1999
Single, but not alone
By Rebecca Jones
I've a bone to pick, people of Monahans. Not to generalize,
but lately I"ve been regarded by a lot of you as an object
of pity. No, I'm not an orphan-- no, I don't have some
terminal disease-- it's (apparently) something far worse
And (gasp!) I like it that way.
Now, it's always half-amusing, half-appalling to confide
this in somebody, and see the half-amused, half-appalled
expression that bubbles up on their face. Generally my
statement is taken as one of denial, or perhaps an attempt
to be humorous... for who on earth actually enjoys being
Well, I do. And listen here: I'm not alone.
You can take that two different ways. First, I'm not alone
in that sentiment; and secondly, I'm not alone despite the
fact I'm not part of a nauseatingly loving couple. To tell
you the truth, I think single people are less "alone" than
coupled people. Now, why do I say a thing like that?
Because everybody I've ever known who's ever been caught in
that deceptive little thang we call love makes the object of
said thang the center of their world. This means a
significant decline in hanging out with all their old (still
single) buddies. It means that everything is now done as a
joint venture, and that if one party decides they'd rather
not go out tonight (to have dinner with other dignified
couples, of course), the other party must nod
understandingly, and stay home with them. So, you see,
while they're not alone in the immediate sense that they
have a mate, they ARE alone in the grand social scheme of
I can see many of you out there pooh-poohing my argument, so
here's some more singlehood incentive for you to chew on:
When you're single, you don't have to share the bedcovers
with anyone, except maybe a beloved pet or choice stuffed
You learn to see yourself as an individual, and not through
someone else's eyes.
When you're single, and someone offers you a phenomenal job
position in eastern Europe, you don't have to say, "Let me
get back to you on that-- I've gotta go home and discuss it
with my husband/wife first."
You can dedicate more time to your friends (even though a
large portion of it may be spent listening to them rant
about how wretched their relationship is). And, in
listening to them, you intensely think about and realize
what it is you exactly crave in a mate, and you don't settle
When you're single, you have a lot more money to spend on
But perhaps the most important gift being single offers you
is that of freedom. You're not tied down... if one day you
wake up and decide to drive to Nebraska or spend the weekend
in bed eating ice cream, no one's going to tell you (with
eyes rolled heavenward for guidance), "for God's sake, girl,
don't be so illogical." You answer only to yourself.
And that's why I like-- no, scratch that-- that's why I love
This is not to say that I won't ever find My Knight in
Shining Armor someday... I do believe we all have soulmates.
And anyway, as I said in one of my incentives above, I've
thought so much about it, I'll recognize him right off the
bat when he does come along. He'll be the one with dark
hair, a wicked sense of humor, and a really big bank account.
Tough times bring out the best
Faced with the dropping price of oil and the subsequent
reduction in property values, the entities in Ward County
dependant on the tax dollar are looking hard at ways to make
the best use of that dollar.
Thanks to some forward looking folks from Ward County's not
too distant past, that task is not as hard as it could be.
When the hospital was partially destroyed by the 1977
tornado, a lot of thought and discussion went into the
Hospital Board and County Commissioner's decision as to how
the hospital should be repaired. Rather than just replace
the wing where most of the damage was sustained, those
governing bodies elected to totally rebuild.
A few years later, when the strip mall located across the
street from the hospital had set largely vacant for a while,
far-sighted overseers stepped in, made a decision to
purchase that property along with the old Gibson's building
and remodel it to make it more usable. An old pizza building
at the south end of the mall was converted into an apartment
for weekend help in the emergency room or visiting medical
personnel, thus saving the cost of renting a motel room or
apartment. Classroom space went into another area. The north
end was converted to house a doctor's office.
Now, the old Gibson's building is not only home to the
physical therapy department and hospital administration, but
a portion of it is rented out to the Appraisal District.
While the hospital issue was being considered, the school
board and administration were looking at the high school
where the tornado had taken out all the windows on the east
side. With an eye to the future, the front of the building
was refaced and the windows changed to a narrower, more
With the oil fields booming, it seemed there would always be
plenty of tax dollars. But the men on the school board had
seen the booms and busts of the oil field before and knew it
wouldn't always be so. Plans were laid for a new
kindergarten and a sports complex. Sudderth Elementary would
be enlarged. But these men not only considered the school
system, they considered the community as well. And so the
sports complex houses not only a gym, but it also offers
racket ball courts, a super circuit weight room and an
aerobics area. These facilities, along with the swimming
pool and the old gym, are available to the community at a
very nominal cost. And in a town where fitness clubs are
unheard of, that is a real asset. And with all the doing,
these guardians of the tax dollar kept the debt as
short-term as possible to take advantage of the good times.
County administrators, too, knew they must make the most of
what they had. The old community center was razed and the
Law Enforcement Center constructed. With much thought and
citizen input, a new community center went up and was joined
to the library. It is a much larger, more community-usable
structure and houses several meeting rooms, a large gallery
and kitchen, a small auditorium and even a parlor. Every day
of the week it is used by someone.
As those men and women feared it would, the high property
values ended in an abrupt cataclysm of dropping oil prices.
Though there have been small flurries of higher prices, the
overall prognosis is not good.
The oil field economy also effected the State's tax dollars.
Not too long ago, in a cost-cutting move, plans were
announced to close or at the least greatly reduce services
at the Sandhills State Park.
Ward County citizens were up for the fight. Friends of the
Sandhills State Park was established and the battle cry
became SOS - Save Our Sandhills. The State Capitol was
deluged with calls from angered area residents and the
"Friends" took the fight to the capitol itself, visiting
Austin to see what could be done.
When it was determined the issue was strictly one of money,
the group launched a fund-raising drive and though times
were hard for many folks, the Sandhills were saved.
Today the local Friends organization is a model for the rest
of the State and only last year once again successfully
raised money for extensive remodeling of the roads and
interpretive center at the Park.
Realizing it could no longer draw from the oil field wealth,
the City established an Economic Development Commission
which was successful in bringing in a business not tied to
the oil field. Efforts continue to secure similar businesses
for this area.
Joining the fight, downtown merchants, seeing businesses
relocate or close altogether, established the Main Street
Association and the City has rezoned the area to create an
When bids for an addition to City Hall came in higher than
what was budgeted, the Council and City Manager opted
instead to buy an available building which required only a
little remodeling to fit the City's needs.
Both the City and the County are reevaluating other planned
projects and equipment purchases to determine it they are
necessary at this time or could be canceled altogether.
Commissioners are taking on added responsibilities to cut
personnel cost and the Court is looking for other possible
It is said that when things get tough, the tough get going
and from where I stand, it looks like there are a lot of
tough folks rolling up their sleeves.
Readers always our focus
By Joe Warren, publisher
1998 was a very busy year in Ward County and Monahans.
It was also a very busy year at The Monahans News.
We had two meteorites land in Monahans that made national
and international news. We elected two new commissioners, a
county judge and county clerk. We saved a hospital and a
golf course. We had a football team go to the state
semifinals. We saw improvments downtown. We hired a new
chamber director. We started and nearly completed
improvments at the Sandhills State Park. The Permian Basin
Drug Task Force was replaced by the state run DPS Task Force.
A lot of news happened in Ward County last year and we were
here to cover it. At The Monahans news our focus will always
be to bring you honest and objective coverage of the events
that happen in our county.
I am proud of our news coverage and the year we had at the
Our focus for 1999 will remain the same. We will continue to
bring you all of the news that happens in Ward County. We
will continue to promote projects and our community. We will
continue to bring you local columns and editorials. We will
continue to be your number one media shopping source.
We won general excellence at the 1998 Texas Press
association making us, according to our peers, the best
weekly of our size in the state, and have improved since
Our focus is not awards, they are nice to win but winning
your confidence and respect as being your source in Ward
County for news and shopping is hands down better than any
plaque the Texas Press Association could ever give us.
We have put together a great team at The Monahans News and
are ready for the new year and what ever it brings. We are
ready to cover the news that affects you. We are ready to
handle any and all marketing needs for your business. We are
ready to promote all of the events of our area.
We would like to thank all of our many supporters for a
great year and look forward to an even better year in 1999.
If we win another award at the Texas Press Association that
will be fine, but you are and will always be our focus at
the paper this year and all the years to come. Our readers
and advertisers are our most important critics. Good luck
and happy New Year to all of our readers.
Token collector needs help
I am a lover of history and I have a somewhat unusual hobby.
I collect old tokens used by stores, barber shops, pool
halls, bakeries, saloons, forts, and other businesses years
The tokens were "good for" 5 cents, 10 cents, 12 and a half
cents or such in trade or merchandise or "good for" a loaf
of bread, one drink, one shave, one ride or whatever. They
were usually made of metal, and while having the general
appearance of a coin, they were made in all shapes and sizes.
I am hoping that if you have a "Letter to the Editor"
section or such in your paper that you might mention my
search. I know that this request is relatively unimportant,
but as our elderly pass away and the younger members of the
family inherit their possessions, tokens and other items are
considered junk and thrown out. I do get a great deal of
enjoyment from my hobby and I do believe that these concrete
reminders of our great heritage are worth preserving.
I have reason to believe that some of these tokens were used
in your area and I would be most interested in obtaining
some of them for my collection.
I would like to hear from anyone having one or more of these
tokens or from anyone that might be able to help me. Any
help that you can give me of any kind is greatly
appreciated. My address is Travis Roberts, Box 1168,
Bellaire, Texas 77402.
Thank you kindly in advance and best wishes.
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 1999 by Ward Newspapers Inc.