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Van Horn Advocate


Monday, Aug. 25, 1997


Rick Smith

Good crops, good rain
were, still are, blessings

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I don't profess to know much about agriculture so I'm just going to
relay this front page article from the Aug. 25, 1916, Pecos Times with
the headline "Alfalfa -- King Hay Crop" and let you that do know about
farming make your own comparisons between how it was then and how it is

"To the Doubting We Cite Just Two Examples of What Can Be Done

"B.W. Van Deren was in last week from his home in Balmorhea and gave us
the following data in regard to his alfalfa and seed crop this year:

"He has 110 acres in alfalfa.

"The proceeds from the first cutting netted him $1,100. The next two
cuttings were given to a seed crop from which he realized 66,000 pounds
of alfalfa seed, which he sold at 14 cents, bringing him $9,240. The
threshed hay will bring in another $1,000, and he can figure easily on
two more cuttings of about 220 tons, or $242, bringing the grand total
up to $13,760 - $126 per acre for this season.

"Messrs. F.S. Mills and C.C. Burris were Pecos visitors from Fort
Stockton last Saturday. In conversation with them Mr. Mills gave us some
figures as to what he was doing on his alfalfa farm of 170 acres near
that place.

"He has sold $10 worth of hay to the acre, alfalfa seed at $124 per
acre, the threshed hay at $15 per acre, and will get at least $20 per
acre for the next two cuttings, bring his total per acre to $169, and
the grand total to $28,730.

"His alfalfa seed averaged 776 3-4 pounds to the acre and he sold it
for 16 cents per pound.

There is no doubt whatever but that this Southwest Texas soil is the
natural home of alfalfa."

Immediately following the alfalfa story was this about a recent rain.

"Good General Rain Falls In this section Las Week

"One of the finest rains of the season fell in this section last
Saturday - coming down slowly nearly all day and also some more fell
during the night. The gauge at the Experimental showed a precipitation
of 1.06 inches but some who measured it in town say that it registered
fully two inches at their places.

"It was a dandy, anyway, and was the most general rain in West Texas in
many months and is reported from about El Paso to Abilene. Most of the
cisterns in Pecos were pretty well filled again.

"Reports from over this part of the state say that it will put the
ranges in fine shape, has put out lots of surface water for the stock,
and leave cattle in fine shape to go through the winter months."

I've only been in West Texas for about five months now, but I've not
seen a rain that long lasting and wide spread since I've been here. I
have the impression that it is a rare thing. Judging from this article
in 1916 it was considered nothing short of a blessing from God.

I'm sure a rain like that still brings prayers of thanks from local
farmers, as long as it's not harvest time.

Editor's Note: Rick Smith is an Enterprise writer and city editor whose column appears each Monday.


New law limiting access to records needs revising

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Laredo Morning Times on law limiting access to traffic records:
From the perspective of the public's right to know and the news media's
access to open records, Texas is effecting a new law Sept. 1.

For all intents and purposes, it's a bad law and in our judgment, should
be removed from the books.

The legislation, which cleared the governor's desk under unusual
circumstances, basically prevents public access to traffic accident
reports, even if the accident involves public officials. Traffic
accident reports maintained by law enforcement agencies have always been
completely open to the public, including the news media.

News media access to these reports is in keeping with the intent and
spirit of state and federal laws on freedom of information, open records
and the public's right to know.

The new law, the brainchild of state Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington,
resulted from the solon's intent to keep ambulance-chasers from tracking
down injured victims through traffic reports. Goodman specifically
targeted chiropractors and lawyers. This bill was vetoed by Gov. George
W. Bush because Bush viewed it as ``too broad and unduly restricted
access to information of legitimate interest to the general public.''

The governor's veto drew statewide support, particularly from news media
groups. This newspaper applauded the governor's veto. To exempt the
public from vital information would be wrong.

The Goodman measure, nevertheless, sneaked by everyone, including the
governor's desk, as an amendment to an unrelated bill sponsored by Sen.
Mike Moncrief, D-Fort Worth. State Sen. Gregory Luna, D-San Antonio,
offered the records-closing amendment at the 11th hour of the
legislative session. Luna's rationale: He did it as a favor to Moncrief
to curb ambulance chasing. A governor's office aide excused the slip as
failure of staff members to catch the language slipped into the Moncrief
legislation. ...

We see too many problems with this law and these concerns already have
been made known to our representatives in Austin. For starters,
reporters will have a difficult time accessing accident reports. It
smacks of an attempt to keep from the public accident report records and
information when public officials are involved. ...

Any way it's cut, it's a bad law. What the lawmakers have done is put a
cover on records that taxpayers pay for. ...

By The Associated Press

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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. 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 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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