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


Aug. 27, 1998

Monahan's Well

By Jerry Curry
Richard Acosta came to this newspaper before I did more
than two years ago.
He was then and remains a student in the journalism school
at the University of Texas-Permian Basin, which is in Odessa
and that fact should not be held against UTPB. Richard also
is from Odessa, which also should not be held against him
although he is a Mojo fanatic who cried after last football
season's unfortunate contest with Odessa High. We have
Richard's word Mojo will be back and I sincerely believe
him. If I were an Odessa High adherent, I would not want to
play Permian this year.
Richard began writing sports for us and then he branched
out into everything including obituaries and real news.
Scheduled for Winter graduation from UTPB this year, Richard
was the editor of that school's newspaper last year. He is
on track to graduate with honors.
In the past two years, I like to think Richard has learned
about this business. I do know Richard is the major reason
our newspaper's sports section won first in the 1998 Texas
Press Association competition where we also were named first
in general excellence, which means the best in all Texas.
Richard learned more here than how writing and reporting and
design works in the real world. He learned things that
cannot be taught in a college journalism school no matter
how good the journalism school purports to be.
They don't tell you in journalism school how to interact
with extremely upset wild hogs that wander in from the
desert and don't know why you want to take their picture.
They don't tell you in journalism school how to respond if
the Crane police chief starts yelling because you wrote a
story that said the bloody mystery of a Crane motel room
isn't a mystery after all.
They don't tell you in journalism school how to react when
someone begs you not to publish the fact they have been
convicted of driving while intoxicated because it will
destroy their life if you publish it.
They don't tell you in journalism school that what everyone
says is true is false more than 99 percent of the time.
Richard learned all that and a little more. He learned an
appreciation for the art and the craft of journalism. He
learned a newspaper man has to have a vocation for the work
as surely as a clergyman's. He learned the only people who
don't make mistakes are those who do nothing. He learned a
journalist must say the emperor (or the president) has no
clothes - if the emperor (or the president) is naked.
Richard learned people do blame the messenger and the
messenger must have thick skin and more than a little
attitude to do well.
This week Richard leaves The Monahans News, which he helped
make a better newspaper. He is going to work at the Midland
Reporter Telegram, which the Texas Press Association cited
first in general excellence for Texas dailies this year.
Richard leaves the best weekly in the state for the best
daily in the state. He has been given this opportunity a
semester before he graduates. He goes to a position for
which young journalists, already graduated, would kill.
At the Reporter-Telegram, Richard Acosta will work the
police beat, which is the place all young reporters should
start. The police beat is graduate work in humility and
the need to check, check and check again before reporting
We wish him well.

Monahans gets dumped on

We were feeling good about the fact we at least had stalled
with logic and common sense the proposed nuclear waste dump
at Sierra Blanca and the certain rolling of all that
radioactive Yankee trash down Interstate 20 through Ward
County. Strangely, some bureaucrats finally looked at a
geological map of the Sierra Blanca area and discovered
fault lines that triggered earthquakes in the past and will
in the future..

Then on Wednesday, Aug. 19, James H. Ogden Jr. of the Texas
Department of Health's Bureau of Radiation Control and Gary
Weeks of the Department of Public Safety's Division of
Emergency Management came to Monahans. They said nuclear
trash would be rolling down I-20 by next Spring. This
particular nuclear trash would be bound for Carlsbad, N.M.,
not Sierra Blanca.

Carlsbad? New Mexico? Aren't those the same people that
dammed the Pecos River and destroyed Trans-Pecos agriculture
in West Texas? They are.

Ogden and Weeks said we didn't have to worry. Only about a
third of the nuke trash coming through will be "really
dangerous" and require "remote handling." They plan to
train emergency service personnel in and around Monahans
just in case of an accident. We feel good about their
concern. But we can't help remembering that toxic rig
overturning on Interstate 10 near Fort Stockton a month or
so ago. The interstate was closed for five days while the
chemicals were removed.

How long will it take to mop up "really dangerous" nuclear
trash if one of those tractor-trailers slides, slips and
rolls on I-20 in front of the Colonial Inn?

Look to China, Bug out Bill

Only a little while after Bill Clinton said he did not
consider perjury all that bad, the draft dodger ordered
Tomahawk strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan
and an aspirin factory in the Sudan which Bug Out Bill says
had the capability to produce precursors for chemical
weapons. The reason, says Bug Out Bill, is the terrorist
bombings and mass killings at two United States embassies
in Africa. Strikes against the camps were long overdue.
While Bug Out Bill is about it, he also might tell the
sailors to fire a few cruise missiles at the training camps
in Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Iran and China. Bug Out Bill
should have ordered all of those strikes the day he took the
oath of office for his first term. We are not sure about
the Sudanese antibiotic and pain-reliever factory.
Precursors for chemical weapons can be produced in any small
town pharmacy and most home kitchens. But if Bug Out Bill
needs a real target, chemical weapons are stockpiled in
China where the word is production not precursor.

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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

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.

Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.