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

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Sept. 4, 1996

By Jerry Hulsey

Cats brew trouble

down on the farm

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This country boy loves animals. Growing up on a farm with no brothers
and sisters, my family consisted of pet sheep, pet turkeys, calves, pigs
and even a couple of pet raccoons. I've never been without a good dog,
and he's probably the best helpmate I have. But I can't stand cats.
Their purring and scratching - well, everything about a cat - aggravates

More than once have I walked out on the patio at night to check the
weather and found myself tripping over a sleeping feline. To complicate
matters, welive in rattlesnake country and stepping on any obscure
creature summons some adrenalin, to say the least.

Well, you may be asking, If you hate cats, why do you have them

This is not my doing, I can assure you. It's called "give and take." My
compadre likes cats, and here's how he conjured me into consenting to
the beast on the place.

When Felipe arrive 11 years ago, this place had rats. We store our own
grain, which attracts rats like filth attracts cockroaches. As regularly
as I bought groceries, I bought a sack full of rat bait, and the rats
still abounded.

One day Felipe commented to me, If you bring me four free cats, we'll
solve the rat problem.

I rebuffed him with the fact that the rats we had were big enough to
whip the cats, and besides, they'd be outnumbered a thousand to one.

Bring me the cats, he said. They're just like policeman - what they
don't catch, they'll scare off. And you won't have to tell people who
come to get seed wheat that those black pellets are fertilizers.

He made his point and got his cats. And the rats did disappear.

Still, I couldn't like his cats. This one particular yellow female lies
right outside my back door just where I step out, and on the cat.

The very night I stepped on her last and she sent me stumbling into the
porch railing, I spotted a mouse skittering from the washer to the

I was waiting for Felipe the next morning. Amigo, I'm
fixing to start shooting cats, I said.

He stared at me as if I had threatened to shoot him. What's your
problem? he responded.

You told me that if I'd let you have cats, we'd have no rats. I
recounted the events of the proceeding evening. By this time we were
like two roosters beak to beak and ready to spar when a smile replaced
his scowl.

You realize, he said, she knew the mouse was in your house, but
couldn't get to it. You'll have to turn it out so she can catch it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jerry Hulsey is a former school teacher who writes for


Violent criminals

not welcome here

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When the Texas prison system was bursting at the seams with inmates,
the idea of building private correctional facilities to relieve the
overload made sense.

Now, the reduced crime rate in Texas and a massive prison construction
program have left the state with a surplus of cell space. And that has
convinced private prisons to fill their vacancies with inmates from as
far away as Oregon.

As a result, these private correctional facilities are housing more
dangerous prisoners than state officials anticipated. Earlier this
month, two convicted sex offenders from Oregon escaped for 11 days after
they scaled a fence at a Houston-area private prison.

The flight of two inmates convicted for violent crimes is bad enough.
But even more disturbing is the legal debate about whether they can be
charged in Texas for escaping.

Harris County District Attorney John B. Holmes said the Oregon convicts
cannot be charged because they were not in the custody of sworn Texas
peace officers. That's outrageous.

If Texans are to be affected by the type of prisoners placed in these
facilities, the least that state officials can do is make sure private
prisons comply with specific guidelines.

About 240 Oregon inmates are serving time in the Houston-area prison.
Law enforcement officers thought the prisoners were undocumented
immigrants. They were shocked to learn hardened out-of-state prisoners
had been locked up there.

The loose rules that have allowed these private contractors to fill
their cells with all kinds of inmates need to be changed as soon as

State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, will introduce legislation next
year that require state approval before any private correctional
facility can bring in prisoners from other states.

The Texas Legislature should move quickly to adopt Sen. Whitmire's
bill. Out-of-state prisoners have been a problem ever since these
facilities opened.

It's time to enact clear guidelines that ensure the safety of Texas
residents - not the financial well-being of private prison operators.
-- The Dallas Morning News


Savor ordinary days

in extraordinary ways

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Marie Clapper believes that life's hectic pace has left an emptiness in
the hearts of today's women. Women are looking for ways to get more out
of every day - more joy, more hope, more happiness.
EveryDay Matters, Clapper's book of witty and inspirational
reflections, is for the woman whose definition is closely tied to her
role in her family and who wants a book that both entertains and
enlightens her as she rides life's roller coaster. It presents Clapper's
take on topics and issues common to most mature women - children,
husbands, today's workplace, friends; self-examination and
self-acceptance; loss and change - with extraordinary insights and
gentle humor that leaves the reader filled with hope and joy.

Clapper is president/publisher of the five craft magazines of Clapper
Communications Companies: Crafts 'n Things, Pack-O-Fun, The Cross
Stitcher, Painting and Bridal Crafts. For more than 15 years she has
written a personal column entitled "One Last Thought" in each issue of
Crafts 'n Things. Over two million readers are familiar with Clapper's

Clapper is also on the board of Directors of the Magazine Publishers of
America and the Hobby Industry Association. She has extensive public
appearance and television experience, including as a guest on Donahue.
Mrs. Clapper and her husband, Lyle, have six children...two are hers,
two are his, and two are theirs.

EveryDay Matters is scheduled for publication in November and will be
available in bookstores or directly from the publisher at
1-800-272-3871. $12.95, paperback, ISBN 0-9652041-0-3.

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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

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