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Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


April 30, 1998

Monahan's Well

By Jerry Curry
There are some negatives in Ward County - not many,
actually, I have been able to identify only one.

That one: Prices here are too high for the market in some
areas. This is not to say all prices in Monahans are too
high because they are not. In fact, a little comparative
shopping would find a dozen eggs or a pound of nails (and
many other necessities of life) in Monahans are of higher
quality at a better price than can be found in - say, Odessa
and Midland.

I qualify my identification of that negative although many
citizens of the county do not, according to the recent
Monahans Main Street survey of consumer attitudes in our
region. Most of those surveyed said you could find anything
you wanted in Monahans (true) if you are willing to pay the
price (true but only slightly true).

Generally I have found this price differential to exist
consistently only in one area of our economy - the Famous
American Garage Sale..

It's pretty bad when you have to drive to Odessa to shop at
garage sales because Monahans garage sales proprietors are
too proud of their junk. You will not find this at all
garage sales but you will find it at enough garage sales in
our community to prompt garage sales addicts to say things

"You want to find some real bargains. Go to an Odessa garage

"Odessa, that's the place to go for garage sales. They have
good items you can afford. And they apparently have a great
desire to sell their wares instead of putting them back in
the garage until the next garage sale and the hope some
wandering idiot from California will drive off the
interstate and pay $50 for a busted plastic end table that
went for three bucks tops when it was new at the Dollar

"My goodness. That print they wanted to sell for $75 is
available for $10 over at the Wal-Mart in Pecos."

Here then is the problem. Monahans garage sales patrons, at
least some of them, generally feel betrayed.

Garage sales patrons come in three varieties - the addict,
the recreational user and those that generally can be
described as economically deprived (i.e. they need something
and they don't have the money to buy it new). None of them
want to spend a lot of money. The major attraction of any
garage sale is the purchase of junk at a price the purchaser
feels to be equitable.

We Ward County garage sale people need to make certain all
of them stay in Ward County. We need to do this for our bank
accounts and to save their lives. Odessa is not a nice
place. You can get killed over there.

The first step to save our garage sale patrons is to
encourage them to stay home with a proper garage sale. For
example, the Monahans Chamber of Commerce plans a garage
sale at the Ward County Coliseum on Saturday, May 2.
Experience shows the prices at this Chamber garage sale are
comparable to anything in Odessa and its a lot nicer and
safer place to roam. There's a rumor the Wagonmasters, a
bunch of really good cooks, will cook. Going to the Chamber
Garage Sale is recommended for patrons as well as garage
sale entrepreneurs who might learn a few viable marketing


Birds, Birds, Birds

In this business, you never can tell what story is going to
catch the interest of the community. Usually, such stories
have to do with tragedy or impending tragedy - massacres,
wars, executions, Ward Memorial Hospital, maybe even the
Ward County Golf Course.

This is not always true. Case in point: The Strange Tale of
the Wandering Woodcock, usually a denizen of the Piny Woods
and Semi-Swamps of East Texas and Louisiana.. Our story in
the editions of April 23 on the appearance of said woodcock
in a Monahans back yard touched off a flurry of comment and
mostly fruitless searching for brothers and/or sisters of
the woodcock on which Richard Acosta so ably reported.

But one search was not fruitless. It wasn't even a search.
County Judge Sam G. Massey believes he has a whole covey of
them in, around and over his backyard at the ranch near
Wickett. They look like woodcocks, they fly like woodcocks
and they yell like woodcocks so they must be woodcocks.

The judge reports these woodcocks in his backyard also like
catfood and they are pretty close to gregarious. He suggests
Richard come out to his place and get some really good
pictures of woodcocks which are not supposed to be here.
Based on the judge's report, we suggest the naturalists of
the world might redraw their little maps of woodcock
habitat. Put a big circle around the Oasis of the West Texas
Desert and note woodcock habitat also is here four or five
hundred miles from the nearest gator. These naturalists also
might consider catfood may be an important adjunct to the
standard woodcock diet of assorted bugs.

Disinterested electorate

If the early vote is any indication, it appears Ward County
will conduct an election on Saturday, May 2, and almost
nobody will come.

This would not be unusual in the declining stages of
Democracy in which we might well find ourselves. But in this
case the potential absence of voters from the polls might
well be the ultimate in Democracy. A principal reason for
the projected low vote: A county wide election, estimated
cost $4,000 plus, is to be conducted on an issue that does
not exist. The issue is whether leasing Ward Memorial
Hospital to a profit or not-for-profit group is an option in
the future of the county's health care.

It is an election that must be held because it was called by
petition of a little more than 10 percent of the county's
7,000 registered voters. This expenditure of public money on
a non-issue was forced on the public coffers by the
petition. And even that little more than10 percent, so far,
is not voting.. Members of the County Commissioners' Court
already have decided lease is not viable. They made the
decision because the only legitimate lease offer was
withdrawn. The company withdrew because its executives did
not desire to walk into a situation where their first major
concern was a nearly half-million debt. Economics killed the
possibility of lease several weeks ago Ward Countians seem
to be casting ballots on the issue by not casting ballots.
They seem to be voting overwhelmingly against spending
public money on non-issues. We support their decision.

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.