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Mac McKinnon


Tuesday, July 28, 1998


By Mac McKinnon

Waste should be properly

disposed of or stored

We keep hearing about all the protests on storing nuclear
wastes in our area - Sierra Blanca and Carlsbad.

I'm not real sure about the Sierra Blanca site or the site
in Andrews for that matter, but it would seem from what I've
seen in person at the WIPP site in Carlsbad that all
precautions have been taken, not only for storage but for
transportation as well.

We've written a number of stories on this situation and
columns as well as editorials. I have also noted on several
occasions that I'm an environmentalist although not radical
but on a realistic scale.

I also believe that the government along with just about
everybody else has overstated the risks of nuclear wastes as
well as lead and asbestos. To be sure, these items are not
to be toyed with but by the same token, we can't be afraid
of everything. I've made my opinion known on these subjects
several times.

I simply don't see any problem with the storage of low level
radioactive wastes at the WIPP site near Carlsbad. I don't
want to label myself as an expert in this (or any other)
area but I do know something about the subject.

First of all, let me note that many household items contain
some elements of radioactivity. Don't ask me to identify
them. I've been told and convinced of that by a number of

I've also lived through the eras of everything being harmful
including sitting too close to the television set. That at
one time was said to emit radio activiity.

I really get tired of people who don't have lives crying
"wolf" about everything. The waste that is to be stored at
Carlsbad is of such little consequence that it is almost
ridiculous to go to any special length to store it.

I was involved with nuclear weapons while I was in the
military and I can say with some authority that the military
and government goes overboard in taking precautions to avoid
risks when it comes to radiation. Being a person who likes
to be healthy, I appreciate that caution.

However, I'm getting tired of people who are holding up
plans to properly dispose of items (gloves, tools, aprons,
etc.) that have been exposed to radiation. What do they want
to do with all these things? Leave them in barrels on top of
the ground so that the wind might one day get hold of them
and spread them to who knows where?

It might not be that dangerous but I believing on erring on
the side of caution.

It appears that the Carlsbad WIPP site is ready to receive
the waste and it's time for protestors to get out of the way
and let's get this waste properly stored.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is the editor and publisher of
the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Tuesday. He
can be e-mailed at:


Money being wasted on unwanted projects

U.S. Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Senate majority
leader, recently made a statement that begs to be answered.

That statement was in regard to him getting additional
contracts for a shipyard in his state.

He asked, "What kind of Senator would I be if I didn't try
to help my state." That may not be exact but that was the
gist of what he said. House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently
did the same thing in getting additonal aircraft built in
his home state of Georgia.

The problem with both of these additions was that the
military did not ask for those additional ships and planes.
They didn't want them and the money spent for them will be
taken out of other projects they wanted.

The answer to Lott's questions is real simple: He would be a
responsible Senator, one who is looking out for the best
interest of his country and in the end, his state, by not
supporting projects that would seem to be beneficial to his

In the long run, everyone gets hurt by this kind of
politics. Money is wasted, the military is not served nor is
this nation.

Senator Lott needs to think about this long and hard.


Enterprise web page praised by reader

To The Editor:
We just recently purchased a computer and got on-line. I was
searching the web this weekend and found your page. I am
really glad to be able to see what is going on back home.
You have a wonderful layout here and I enjoyed it very much.

Keep up the good work and thank you very much for making
this possible for all of us so far from home. It's nice to
know you are still here for me after all these years.

Thanks again,
Debbie Brookshire Bertelson
Burnet, TX

County library important part of community

To The Editor:
I want to thank the ladies at the Reeves County Library for
their dedication and service to our city. Throughout the
years they have helped my students and me in countless ways,
and that help has always been extended patiently and
pleasantly. Although Pecos High School has an excellent
library for a school its size, the county library is a
necessary and integral part of our community.

Government was not designed to be a for-profit organization
but to provide the infrastructure, whether it be highways or
books, to improve the productivity and contributions of each
member of society. It cannot, and never has been, focused on
making money for the sake of making money. The shareholders
of the government are the citizens, and rather than help
them reap dividends, the government's role is to help them
improve the quality of their lives.

By supplying the opportunity for self-growth and
improvement, which can lead to economic growth for
individuals who can then contribute more taxes to the
government, education is the most valuable form of
infrastructure that a government can provide its
stockholders. This investment in the citizens - an approach
pioneered by the United States - is one of the great
distinguishing factors between it and third-world countries.

Public libraries provide a level playing field for those who
cannot afford a private education. They are tailored to
those individuals who want to improve themselves and
contribute more. Long ago, private libraries contributed to
social class distinctions. Public libraries, however,
benefit everyone, directly through improved education or
indirectly by increasing the potential for increased tax

The Internet provides another strong opportunity to level
the playing field among social classes. It offers access to
information that improves educational opportunities and
social awareness. Public libraries are one of the primary
focuses of the Internet, providing a strong foundation upon
which to build a new electronic society that crosses
cultural and educational boundaries on a global scale.
Public libraries contribute to the public, without bias,
without segregation based on cultural, social class, or
physical limitations. The elimination of this pivotal
contribution is the first sign of deterioration of a society.

Priss and Blaine McNutt,
Pecos, Texas

Junior League players praised for efforts

To The Editor:
This past weekend my husband and I were privileged to be a
part of the celebration as your Junior League All-Stars
defeated Lubbock Southwest.
We admire and commend the spirit of the fans, and parents of
Pecos. You as a city should be very proud of the young men,
as they not only played great ball, but showed sportsmanship.

Congratulations again, hope they go all the way. We
apologize to our guests from Pecos, for the conditions of
the field, and restrooms. I hope you visit us again, and
these conditions will be improved.

Pat and Don Brodie
Big Spring, Texas


Greene's writings focus on W. Texas

Not many books are written about the true West Texas of
today. However,one such book is coming up on its 30th anniversay and is recommended reading for all of us who are true West Texans.

That book is by A. C. Green and entitled "A Personal

He was born in Abilene and spent many of his formative years
in West Texas, having worked at the Abilene Reporter-News and later he joined the Dallas Times-Herald and now writes a column for the Dallas Morning News.

To paraphrase an old saying, you can take the boy out of
West Texas but you can't take West Texas out of the boy.
Greene was much past his boyhood when he wrote "A Personal
Country" but you can see his boyhood as he recounts his
memories of West Texas, past and present.

He gets into the much debated subject of what and where
exactly is West Texas. Many people will tell you it starts
in Fort Worth and is anything West of Interstate 35.
Greene's "Personal Country" is much more strictly defined. I
won't reveal much more other than to say by his definition,
West Texas ends at the Pecos River.

His prose is music to the tongue. To wit: "A four-strand
barb-wire fence, stapled to shaggy cedar posts every ten to
twelve feet, stands guard between the highway world and the
fields and pastures along nearly every mile of West Texas

His discourse on the mesquite is priceless and hits close to
home. He traces the history of many famous people who have
set foot in West Texas. There are so many great lines that I
couldn't begin to quote them all. Let me share another
paragraph that we can all identify with: "In the history of
the West Texas frontier, one word explains more defeats and
losses than all the Indians who ever fired a shot, hurled a
lance, or strung a bow against U.S. troops: water. Water,
and the lack of it, closed Fort Phantom Hill, Fort Belknap,
and Fort Chadbourne, all within a hundred miles of each

A person feels close to the this personal country as you
read and I'm sure people saw me nodding my head as I skimmed
through the pages.

It's in paperback, costing $18.95, to be published Sept. 1. Click here to order.A Personal Country or visit your favorite book store or through
the University of North Texas Press which published the book.

You'll wish for more when you get to the end of the 360


'Ryan' doesn't hide war's violent reality

"Saving Pvt. Ryan" is the subject of conversation just about
everywhere this past weekend and this week. The new movie
starring Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg debuted
Friday and is said to have grossed $35 million on the first
weekend of its release.

Not only has it been featured on the news, but it was the
subject of ABC's Nightline program Monday night.

In case you've missed all the news on this movie, it is
about the landing on Normandy, June 6, 1944. This is not
just another war movie. If you have a weak stomach, don't
go. If you are a veteran of some war and are haunted by
memories of combat, be forewarned. This movie is truthfully

The Veterans' Administration has set up a special hotline to
talk to veterans who are troubled by what they have seen in
the movie. I've not heard of one veteran who disputes the
facts of what the movie shows. It shows combat in all its
horrible reality.

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are good at that. They are
among the top people involved in movie making of our time. I
believe the movie accomplishes several things.

First, it shows the horror of war and the price our people
have paid for freedom. The movie shows that we should never
forget the price that was paid, not only by those who died
or were wounded but those who suffered through that hell.

Second, it shows the reality of people being shot - wounded
and/or killed - and that is not very realistically portrayed
by many action movies where people are killed by the dozen
but no blood or guts are shown. I don't believe that young
people fully realize the consequences of people being shot
and that could be one of the reason so many young people are
involved in shootings.

I realize that many young people might not be up to seeing
"Saving Pvt. Ryan" but if they can, I believe it has a very
powerful lesson to give on history and the struggle for

Politicians should also see this movie so they will not so
easily commit our troops to war.

When, I first heard of this movie, I didn't believe they
could outdo a movie in either the 50s or 60s entitled "The
Longest Day." I don't remember who was in that black & white
movie - possibly Robert Mitchum, but it was good, but not
nearly as moving and powerful as is this latest Spielberg

I recommend "Saving Pvt. Ryan" but with the warning that it
is extremely graphic, thus the "R" rating. The first 20
minutes or so will be indelibly etched in your memory. It is
very moving and easily the most powerful movie I've ever

As a sidenote, two movies on a lighter note that should be
recommended are "Dr. Do little" with Eddie Murphy and Walt
Disney's "Mulan," both new releases.


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