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November 12, 1996



By Peggy McCracken

Smile and hug tell

more than any words

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Last week's little flap over who is supposed to be picking up
newspapers from recycling dumpsters around town reminded me once again
of the need for clear communication.

Nobody could be worse at communicating orally than I am. My brain runs
away from my mouth - and vice versa - and I often leave my listener
trying to read my mind.

That seems to have happened with the trash situation. City staff
thought Wes Tex Waste was picking up the newspapers, WTW thought the
city was doing it, and Butts Recycling didn't know nobody was doing it.

One of the problems in that particular case is that the city's contract
with WTW does away with the sanitation department and leaves nobody in
charge. Well, Harry Nagel is supposed to be in charge, but he didn't
even know there was a problem until he read about it in the paper. He
would have found out sooner if he'd been in his office to answer the
phone when I called.

Through the years I have found that my questions have served to inform
a lot of people about what's going on in their own little world. You may
think that proves they're not on top of their jobs, but that's not
necessarily so.

I'll bet wars have been started over misunderstandings that could have
been avoided by better communication. Two people can take the same set
of facts and arrive at opposite conclusions. It takes a lot of feedback
in a conversation to ensure that both parties are on the same wave

Dickie Jones told about just such an incident in Siberia when he and
Cindy were there on a mission trip back in October. They stayed with a
couple who speak no English, and Dickie and Cindy know about five words
of Russian. Knowing that Russian President Boris Yeltzin's illness was
in the news, Dickie asked his hostess how Yeltzin was feeling.

Mistaking the name "Yeltzin" for a similar Russian word that describes
an illness, the hostess thought Dickie was telling her he was sick and
tried to give him medicine or take him to a doctor. The more he tried to
explain, the more confused she got. When they finally got an interpreter
to explain the situation, it was hilarious. But when it was going on,
Dickie almost did get sick.

Some of my conversations in Mexico were just as hilarious. I know just
enough Spanish to be dangerous. It's no telling what I said to those
people - or what they said to me. But a smile and a hug say more than
words in any language.

"Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs." Proverbs
10:12, NIV.

Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose column appears
each Tuesday.


Existing things need more use

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One of the major concerns across the nation in recent years, a concern
that is coming more acute with time, is the lack of affordable, decent

Cost factors including inflation of prices for building materials,
labor, land and taxes have driven up the cost of housing while wages
have lagged behind that would help people get into decent housing.

It would seem there is housing in many smaller communities, housing
that is deteoriating due to being vacant and unkept and prices are
falling. These houses are vacant due to people leaving small towns to
find work.

It would seem to be in the best interest of everyone if a tax incentive
program could be developed to encourage businesses and industries to
locate in small communities, those under about 20,000. Many facilities
in addition to housing in those communities are under utilitized.

In the meantime, the larger cities are growing and getting overcrowded,
leading to congestion, crime, pollution and increased taxes to provide
more and more public facilities.

We know that the large cities keep wanting more and more to keep
additional money coming in to finance the growing burden of public needs
- such as police, water and sewage treatment and streets and highways.

A number of towns and states have learned that bigger is not better and
are discouraging growth or else directing it toward areas where
development would help.

As things exist, the existing resources in our nation are being
squandered - either by lack of use or by financing new projects where
they already exist in other areas.

We need a national plan to help use our resources and as we make
preparations to enter the 21st century, it would appear that now is the
time to come up with such a plan.
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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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