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


June 18, 1998

Monahan's Well

By Jerry Curry

Pop Culture passed by and I didn't notice.

Several friends and enemies, from time to time, note this
glaring gap in my otherwise formidable fortress of useless
information, a data base that includes true stuff like:

Originally barbarian was not a synonym for Odessan. It
meant you couldn't speak Greek.

Most Washington and Austin bureaucrats have DNA prints
comparable to human beings.

Never eat polar bear liver. It'll make you real sick,
maybe even kill you, and it also might make the polar bear

Monahans' award-winning city water is cheaper than any
diet soda and is much better for you.

Eating a minimum of three jalapenos a day guarantees you
will live to be more than a century old with no loss in
mental or physical vigor.

This Pop Culture gap in my knowledge hit me like a hillbilly
linebacker the other day. The revelation caused much
laughter, slapping on the back and assorted remarks of
derision, all directed at me.

It happened on Lowe's parking lot. I am in the car, starting
the engine, slipping my Irish rebel song tape into the
cassette, getting ready to cry all over again to the mystery
of the pipes and the symphony of really good fiddles.
Basically, you all know I am a truly sensitive individual.
Most Irish are. It is this sensitivity to those less
fortunate which prompted the scenario that follows.

Walking through the parking lot was a young man, 15 or 16
years old, with the glint of innocence in his eyes, a
young man like I might have been except this young man
appeared to be underprivileged. He wore jeans that
obviously belonged to an older brother or his father or they
may have been hand-me-downs from a National Football League
offensive lineman. The jeans were not just a little big on
the young man. They were a lot big on the young man. And I
knew the young man was poor. As the fiddles played and the
pipes screamed from the cassette, I touched my eye because
there were tears there for this poor unfortunate young man.
I assumed he had been forced by horrendous social and
economic circumstance to wear these hand-me-down trousers of
a much larger, color-blind relative. I say color blind
because these trousers were bright yellow, a yellow so
bright its reflection blinded drivers on Interstate 20,
causing a few minor traffic crashes. Perhaps these truly
yellow, truly large trousers came from on
e of those fourth-hand clothing stores over in Odessa where
the boy was forced to go because it is only in these
poverty emporiums he could afford to shop. So I turned off
the car engine and prepared to exit the vehicle when the Val
asked me what I was doing.

"See that poor kid," I said." I am going to take him over
to Beal's and buy him some jeans. It is obvious he is poor
and a victim of social and economic ills. There is no
other way he would be caught wearing such trousers." The
voice of reason replied: "That's fashion. The pants
probably cost $150."

I stopped. The cash the voice of reason cited is more than I
will pay for a car. "No," I said, "No," and the voice of
reason said: "Yes. It's fashion. It's style." Then the voice
of reason snickered; the voice of reason cackled; and the
voice of reason laughed out loud - at me.

Pop Culture surely has passed me by.

Major anti-dope agency felled

When Gov. George W. Bush's staff decided to kill the Permian
Basin Drug Task Force because of vague allegations of
financial mismanagement by the agency's leaders, no one
apparently stopped to think they were killing the major
coordinating agency for the anti-dope war in 15 West Texas
counties, including Ward.

Ward County Sheriff Ben Keele was a member of the board of
the now departed task force. Ward County Sheriff Ben Keele
and most of his fellow West Texas law enforcement
officers were more than a little perturbed by the
precipitous action of the governor's staff. It really
didn't make sense to destroy a major unit in the on going
campaign against the illegal drug traffic because of
allegations the Texas Rangers and the FBI have investigated
for more than a year.No evidence has been presented to any
grand jury. If the cases have merit, indictments would be
made and those indicted removed. If such due process had
been followed, the task force would have continued. The
governor's staff, at best, as an earlier generation often
said, threw the baby out with the bath water when it denied
dollars that fueled the agency.

Don't forget, this is a popular Republican governor
running for re-election against a popular Democratic
candidate, Land Commissioner Gary Mauro. True, a couple of
vacant lots in San Antonio could out vote the whole of West
Texas but we might make a difference in a close election and
we just might go Mauro.

What to do? How does Bush cut his political losses and bring
back the West Texas votes he might lose? Historically, what
does any Texas governor do when said Texas governor is in
trouble? Send in the Rangers!!! In this case, Bush turns to
the whole Department of Public Safety. It's not a done deal
yet. But a statement from the governor's office says money
that would have funded the Permian Basin Drug Task Force now
goes to a DPS -led group to serve all the counties,
including Ward, in which the old task force had
jurisdiction. The new group is called the West Texas
Narcotics Enforcement Task Force. And says a governor's
statement: "All area sheriffs, chiefs of police and district
and county attorneys in the affected counties are invited to
participate in the new task force. All agencies are invited
to share personnel, assets and law enforcement resources in
this cooperative effort to fight illegal drugs."

This is not going to happen unless local law enforcement
agrees to ante matching dollars to restart an area-wide
anti-dope traffic initiative.

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Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, 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.