Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

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July 30, 1996


Waging war on shame of illiteracy

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Life is limited when you cannot read.

People who can't curl up with a good book are missing one of life's
great pleasures. Those who can't read job applications or respond to
written questions face severe career limitations. Not being able to read
instruction sheets, road signs or warning labels can be downright

We live in an age of information. It's impossible to keep up with all
of it, even with the right tools. Never before has the ability to read
been so important. The nation has declared war on illiteracy, and the
battle will be a long one.

This newspaper is proud to be a part of the war. Through the efforts of
the local merchants and the Pecos Enterprise, we will once again have
the Newspaper in Education program in Pecos and Balmorhea schools. As a
result, several thousand newspapers will be going into local schools
each week.

To be sure, it will take more than distributing and using newspapers in
the schools to win this war.

Everyone has a stake in the illiteracy issue. You can't blame all of
America's problems on the inability of part of the population to grasp
the printed word, but illiteracy does figure into the equation. We can't
hope to compete with the rest of the world if we become a nation of

Who is to blame for our shameful lack of reading skills? Schools that
allow functional illiterates to graduate. Parents who don't encourage
their children to read. Children who pick the television or the video
game over a textbook or a magazine. A society that promotes instant
gratification from low effort.

It's not hard to point the finger. The greater challenge and the
important one is finding a cure for the illness. It is a war that we all
must wage together.



By Peggy McCracken

Pecos Enterprise goes

worldwide on the web

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O.K., we're up and running on the Internet. If you have Internet
connections, look us up at

So far, we have the most important local stories and opinion, special
section (Living off the Land this week), classified and The Monahans

We've reserved a section for advertising, so anyone who has a message
to send to the world should contact Christina Bitolas, Cara Alligood or
Mac McKinnon to reserve space.

Folks, this has been an education and continues to be for me and for
the entire staff. It was my idea and I kept feeding Mac goodies about it
until he got so excited he pushed me to get it done yesterday. Many of
those long weekends I regretted ever suggesting it.

Everything I knew about the Internet I learned from askSam, so I used
their database program to prepare the copy. They have a new program that
prepares copy in HTML, a language that web browsers can read.

They put up an early version of the page on their server so I could see
what it would look like with their Web Publisher. The copy
looks the same, but accessing it is a little different than with a web
browser. Preparing the copy for it is so much simpler than for other
servers that I almost signed a contract with them.

Then Dick Alligood at Oilfield Phone Service helped me get it up on the
local Internet server July 5, just as I was leaving on vacation. When I
got back and caught up a little, I began training the staff to prepare
daily copy to update the site.

Cross your fingers and hope we have it down straight. In making the
first update Saturday, I accidently downloaded the entire BitStreet file
to my computer. BitStreet is the name of the server where our pages are
located. But you don't have to go through BitStreet to get there. Just
type in the LOCATION box at the top of your
web server.

Our e-mail address is Write a note telling us what
you think of the web site and how we can improve it. We'll be making
changes as we have time. Mostly on weekends.

One of the things we'll be working on is putting photos and graphics
onto the pages. I started with plain text because it is easier to deal
with and takes less time for the user to download. But I think judicious
use of photos will add to the text. And certainly we will use them in

It took a lot of prayer for me to get this far, so I say with the

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the "gods" I will
sing your praise." Psalm 138:1, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose
column appears each Tuesday.
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Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall
not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or
redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP
Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for
personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for
any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the
transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages
arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
This page prepared in askSam
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