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Tuesday, January 26, 1999

Peggy McCracken


By Peggy McCracken

Droughty times

hurting landowners

It was comical, yet tragic. I couldn't help but grin when I drove up to Roger and Angela Harrison's house in the country Friday to take a picture of a windmill bent double.

Thursday's high north winds kicked up so much dust you could see only a few feet, Roger said. And then the windmill toppled over. But not like windmills usually do - from the ground up. This steel tower bent in the middle, and the crumpled blades rested on the ground. So Roger called me, thinking I might want a picture. And he was right. Look for it in today's "Living off the Land" section.

While I was in the neighborhood, I thought I might as well get an oil patch photo to go with a story I had just finished on the sorry state of the oil industry. No, there are not any pump jacks nearby, Roger said. The nearest is 12 miles on down the road toward Coyanosa. So I settled for some storage tanks on a lease across the highway. They could well have been as empty as the surrounding pasture.

Ranchers who have relied on income from producing wells on their property during droughty times like these are hurting along with roustabouts, drillers and roughnecks. The price of oil has dropped so low that it costs nearly as much to produce as it will fetch at the market. You can't keep paying wages at that rate, so many independent producers are shutting in their wells. That means no royalties, no wages, no income for anybody.

I did see a working pump jack on a little spread just east of Pecos along I-20 Sunday as I drove to Monahans. Making a mental note to stop on the way back for a photo, I kept an eye out to see how many were pumping. Not many. I realize that most wells are shut down for part of the day, so I don't know how many of those may have been pumping later. But it is disheartening to see so many idle.

When I got back to my "photo-op," I noticed a small herd of cattle grazing in the background. Somebody is hanging on, trying to make a little money one way or the other. I hope they succeed. It's hard to publish a special section called "Living off the Land" when nobody is.

"The wages of the righteous bring them life but the income of the wicked brings them punishment." Proverbs 10:16, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is the Webmaster of the Pecos Enterprise. She can be e-mailed at:

Online reader requests information on team

Hi, I just wanted to let the staff at the Pecos Enterprise know that I appreciate the job they are doing. It is great to be able to read the newspaper over the internet.

One question: is there an issue where the flag football teams were covered? (Ages 10-12). My brother Michael Nichols participates in the flag football league and of course, I have not seen him play. However, if I could read some info about the league, that would be fantastic! Could you please let me know where I could find that kind of information?

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Eyes of Prey

Barry Hoffman capitalizes on a much-publicized New York subway mugging/vigilante story to craft a fictional account of an abused woman's own war against subway muggers.

The second in a planned four-volume series of abuse stories uses so much vulgarity to disguise a vague and uninteresting tale that it turns off the serious reader in the first chapter.

Hoffman has worked with adolescents at Philadelp[hia inner-city schools for 28 years and claims to have met every type of student imaginable.

He had heard their stories of abuse, living in poverty and life in crime ravaged neighborhoods while seeing middle-class kids rebel with multi-colored hair and piercings, running away when not allowed to go on a date.

Kids hold nothing back if they trust you, Hoffman said. "Their stories are the backbone of fictional characters I've created."

The hardback is available at $35 from Gauntlet, 309 Powell Rd., Springfield PA 19064. ISBN 1-887368-18-3; or at a discount from

--Peggy McCracken

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