Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
By Smokey Briggs
Can you call
I just want to let everybody know that I am taking the rest of the week off.
My days off will be a celebration of sorts. A festival if you like. A time to reflect and enjoy life as a healthy human being.
Such days are numbered for me - and dads everywhere like me. Monday may well be the last day of my life where I feel good.
You see, school starts Monday. That means that She-who-must-be-obeyed and I will be taking young Ruby to first grade that morning.
And, if last year is any indication, Monday will mark the last day of good health for me until next May.
Monday night my small army of defensive cells will be overrun by a swarming hoard of evil viruses, mutated germs and who knows what else that happens to be lurking on the doorknobs and desktops of first grade.
By Tuesday morning the battle will be raging and my body will be racked with the symptoms of the fight. Maybe I will survive but I would not bet any money on it.
The assault was brutal last year. Only the cease-fire of summer brought victory to my beleaguered white blood cells. I am sure there was a great victory celebration in the tissues of my body as the last kindergarten-bred monstrosity was surrounded and killed.
No doubt medals were handed out and crowds of cells cheered the victors as they paraded down my veins - all thinking the war was over.
Alas, it was just a truce and next week we start round two. After two months of germ free living my immune system is probably wallowing in complacency.
Monday night will be reminiscent of a Japanese Banzai attack.
I really do not know what young children do at school to create this plague. Is it required that they each lick the doorknob as the walk in to class in the morning?
The scientist in charge of our biological-warfare programs would do well to come study the process. Rather than invading Iraq we could have simply dismantled the local elementary school and bombarded the country with the pieces.
The enemy would sue for peace in a week - if any of them were capable of speaking through the raspy, swollen thing that was their throat.
So, on Monday, I may try a new approach. I think I will call Ruby in well.
“Hello, Principal So-n-so? This is Ruby’s dad. Ruby won’t be able to attend school today because her mother and I are not deathly sick and we wish to stay that way.”
It probably will not fly but it is worth a shot.
Reader wants answers from publisher
To The Editor:
As a frequent writer to the Enterprise, I assure readers that: 1) I have no local political aspirations and, 2) I write only out of a commitment to the decent and generous people who have been my neighbors for the past seven years. Nor, do I suffer from a “savior complex” or submit “vanity” Letters to the Editor to see my name in print.
I don’t engage in heated gossip over tepid cups of bad coffee. I stopped attending local meetings after attending numerous hospital board meetings and after serving as a director of the Chamber of Commerce. I simply determined that most of the meetings held in Pecos are merely vents for super heated air. Little, beyond dinner, is usually accomplished.
As a source of news, I demand that newspapers be objective. My largest source of local news is the Pecos Enterprise. Current events raise the following question:
Is, or has, the editor of the Enterprise offered legal advice to, given succor to, or participated in any way with any party (ies) bringing any suit against any local officials?
My question is not an accusation. Nor, should anyone infer it as such.
But, given that Briggs is a lawyer, the nature of the petition, the suit’s invocation of citizen rights to public information, and that the petition involves local officials of whom the Enterprise is openly critical, my question bets for an answer.
It’s a question that will be asked by the editor’s critics. One who has publicly praised the editor should publicly raise the question. His, uncharacteristic, silence on the matter concerns me. Lately, Enterprise op-ed pieces have been bland patter about Wal-Mart, building guns, daughters painting fishes on a trailer, and a Walton-like story of his efforts to feed his family. He’s avoided the abundance of local issues and controversies.
Why? It’s not like him at all.
Briggs’ answer will determine how much weight I, and other readers, will give the Enterprise’s reporting on the developing dispute. Whatever his reply, we should take him at his word. He can no longer remain silent.
DR. JOHN C. LIBBIE
Local citizen thanks for help
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Emergency Management Cordinator, Ricky Herrera. Last week Mr. Herrera brought all of his gear to my home west of Pecos, checked the situation and by himself evadicated a hive of killer bees that had taken up residence. We are lucky to have county employees like Mr. Herrera who are concerned about public safety.Thank you,
Balmorhea library may shut down
When Reeves County wanted to have a bond election to build the Reeves County Library, the people in Balmorhea were asked to vote for it. In return, the Judge and Commissioners’ Court told the voters in Balmorhea that they would help support a library in Balmorhea. In the past years they have always honored their commitment. I don’t know if this was entered into the court minutes or not. Back then a man’s work was all that was necessary.
For Several years the Court gave the Balmorhea Library $150 a month, a total of $1,800 a year to pay the salary for a part time librarian. This paid for the library to be open two days a week for two hours each day. Later it was increased to $250 a month, a total of $3,000 a year. This allowed the Library to be open 10 hours a week.
The Well-Kept Community Club sponsored the Library, The Balmorhea Cemetery Association, and the Balmorhea Senior Citizen Center.
When the Senior Center closed after using the building for twenty-two years, the WKCC members, now in their third generation, wanted to insure the Balmorhea would always have a library. In January 2000, they deeded the building to The Balmorhea Public Library and disbanded the Club forever.
Since then, volunteers have worked to make our Library one of the nicest libraries in the area. We have worked hard and have created a Library that our little City can be proud of. Fundraisers, donations and memorials have helped us pay our utilities and phone bills. When the work got out about our hard work and accomplishments, and not having any funds for the purchase of books, libraries and individuals from all over the state began sending us books. One library in Austin has sent us several hundred books, including recent novels and children and juvenile literature. The Balmorhea School with the help of a TIF grant has provided us with sex new Dell computers, printers and scanner. They also provide us with free wireless service and maintain our computers. Our library has been a big help to the community by promoting tourism. Persons traveling thru on their way to the Big Bend, Alpine, Marfa and Presidio often stop in to use our computers and take advantage of our paperback exchange. We use the opportunity to promote our three great restaurants, the Balmorhea State Park, the lake and the Hecho en Mexico shop on Main Street. We keep literature on the Big Bend area to give to them. We have had visitors from all over the world. When a visitor first steps thru the front door, they stop with a look of amazement on their face. Usually their first sentence is “What a beautiful Library for such a small town.” They walk thru and admire what we have done, use our computers, exchange their paperbacks and admire our collection of antiques on the op of all the shelves. They often make a small donation to the library.
Due to the financial problems facing Reeves County, the Commissioner’s have made across the board reductions in almost ever thing funded by the County. This pas month they took away the entire funding for the Balmorhea Library. We were not told in advance, so we could go before the court and discuss it. They didn’t even have the integrity to notify us that we had been removed from the budget. When we did not receive our check for July, I called Lynn Owens, and he told me all funding for the Balmorhea Library had been stopped. I was told that it was not discussed by the Commissioner’s Count but most likely included in a group of across the board cuts.
Thus, it was not reported in the Pecos Enterprise. It being just $1,500 for the remainder of the year, and being included in with budgets of $25,000 or above, probably didn’t even draw the attention of all the Commissioners. They most likely didn’t realize they were voting to close the Balmorhea Library.
I didn’t become Librarian until November 2002, when Patty Brown and her husband had to move to Ft. Stockton because of his health. I had always been a volunteer. With the $3,000 a year from Reeves County, volunteers and a STEP person paid by the state for twenty hours a week we have been able to be open five days a week. I was paid for ten hours a week but have volunteered many more. Without a librarian as supervisor, we may lose the STEP employee.
Without funding from Reeves County, we have had to cut back to three days a week. If the library closes, as it may eventually have to, it is going to hurt the City of Balmorhea. This past Monday, 8/2/04, I received a call from Lynn Owens that Herman Tarin had stopped by his office and told him to send the library the July payment of $250 form his line item account. I thought perhaps this was an indication of his good will and that our funding would be reconsidered at the Aug.9th meeting of the Commissioner’s Court. Today, 8/9/04, I attended the Commissioner’s court and nothing was said. Evidently, the ‘Good Will’ didn’t extend the year.
FRANCES S. JONES
Return to top
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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.
Copyright 2003-04 by Pecos Enterprise