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Thursday, April 24, 1997

Redistricting will touch
West Texas, but not county

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AUSTIN, Apr. 24 - When the furor and the dealing is done in the latest
legislative scramble to respond to the latest court-ordered
redistricting in Texas, Ward County will be little affected.

But West Texas will not.

Some changes are coming in the Permian Basin.

Exactly what will happen will be better known after expected action in
the State Senate on Friday.

First the easy one.

Under current bills before both houses of the legislature, there will be
no changes in West Texas in the drawing of State Senate and State
Representative districts, none, absolutely none.

Changes will come only in the state's largest metropolitan areas -
Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio.

Ward County will remain in the 73rd House District represented by State
Rep. Bob Turner, D-Coleman, and the 28th Senatorial District represented
by State Sen. Bob Duncan, R-Lubbock.

That was the plan for state legislative districts that overwhelmingly
was approved on Tuesday, April 22, by the Senate acting as a committee
of the whole. The vote was 30 yays and two absents.

Duncan voted with the majority on the Senate state redistricting plan.
A final redistricting confirmation on the Senate plan probably hits the
Senate floor on Friday. As noted earlier, there is no problem here on
state legislative redistricting in West Texas at this time. (Problems
always will come later when the legislature offers its plans to the
courts which may or may not like them.)

But there is an initial quandary in the redistricting of Texas
congressional seats. Under the plan that came out of the Senate
Committee of the Whole, no changes are suggested for West Texas. That
plan, lead sponsor State Sen. Gabriel Barrientos, D-Austin, passed 26-5.
This is the congressional plan expected to receive a final Senate vote
this week. Under the Barrientos plan, congressional districts in West
Texas will not be affected.

But here's the rub.

Enter a plan by State Sen. David Sibley, R-Waco. Sibley's proposal has a
very, very, very good chance of being amended to the Barrientos plan in
the final congressional redistricting vote. Barrientos doesn't like
this. But its chances are good. Under the coming Sibley amendment, Ward
County remains in the 23rd Congressional District represented by U.S.
Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio. Winkler and Crane counties go to the
19th District represented by U.S. Rep. Larry Combest, R-Lubbock.
Sibley's plan also reduces the 23rd's Latino population from 62.5 to
57.9 percent; its total minority group census, from 65.3 to 59.2 percent.

The courts await.

`Squaw with Blue Eyes' smash hit

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MONAHANS, Apr. 24 -- Felicia Wood is a school teacher from Marfa who
came to Monahans on Friday last with an Indian pony complete with yellow
handprint on its hindquarters and recordings from a red oak flute.

She set up shop in the basin at the Million Barrel Museum and proceeded
in a one-woman show called The Squaw with Blue Eyes to keep about 450
children quite and attentive in the afternoon and a hundred or so
so-called adults enraptured that evening. The last was harder by far but
succeed she did.

That in itself makes Felicia Wood worthy of a nomination for the
Congressional Medal of Honor.

We did not mention that the children in the afternoon audience were
third and fourth graders, a difficult group to keep from being bored,
almost as difficult a group to keep still as a bunch of good ol boys in
Nueva Laredo on Saturday night.

The Squaw With Blue Eyes, at the least, was a smash hit. At the most, it
showed there is a need in Monahans for comparable productions on a
more regular basis and that there is a place to stage them.

The basin at the Million Barrel Museum.

Officials and patrons of the museum are to be congratulated and given
standing ovations for bringing Felicia Wood to the museum for her
production. At a buck a head for adults and a half-dollar for the more
mature members of the community, it also probably was the most
economical and moving Ward County entertainment in the past year if you
don't count the arrest by Ben Keele's deputies of the poor dope truck
driver who couldn't handle a straight-shift pickup.

Those of us who huddled into the seats on a comparatively cool night
(Too cool for my tastes but I'm the one who doesn't start moving until
the mercury hits 120 Fahrenheit.) saw Felicia Wood present in a
particularly sensitive way the story of Cynthia Ann Parker as Cynthia
Ann might have told it.

If you're not Texan or if you watch cable television, you can be excused
for not knowing about Cynthia Ann Parker.

In the early days of Texas, she was captured by the Comanche. Abut nine
years old at the time, Cynthia Ann Parker was reared by the Comanches,
married a Comanche chief and mothered two sons and a daughter by him.
One of those sons was Quanah, the last Great Chief of the Comanche. She
later was recaptured by the whites when a Ranger team hit the Comanche
camp in which she lived. She was taken back to her family with her
daughter. The two half-breed boys escaped. If there was a criticism of
the Woods Production, it is that it did not speak enough about Quanah,
who in later years had the body of his mother moved to Oklahoma where he
then lived and had his mother buried beside him. But I do not mean to
criticize. This production was an absolute joy.

I encourage. No, I implore the Million Barrel Museum people to do this
again and do it with other productions. I believe the basin of the
barrel would be a great place to stage Richard III.

Alright, I am spoiled. Cable television is at least one of the reasons a
lot of kids in this country can't read and write. A little exposure to
productions like The Squaw with Blue Eyes might not save America but it
sure might put some soul back, soul that has slobbered all over the sofa
between Bevis and Butthead.

I digress.

Thank you, Million Barrel Museum.

Thank you, Felicia Wood.
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Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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