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Fridy, Aug. 16, 1996

Times are hard in cattle country

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By Jerry Hulsey

Times are getting tough in cattle country. If you are not eating cheap
beef, complain to your market manager. He may still be trying to erase
some red ink from the 80-cent cattle of the early 90s.

Here are some true episodes from recent weeks in Central Texas.

Last month a dairyman was en route to the sale with three baby calves
in his trailer when a tire blew out on the trailer. Since he didn't have
a spare for the trailer, he left it on the side of the road and went
into town for another tire. Two years ago, he would have left someone to
guard the calves, which at that time were bringing $125 to $200. But
times have changed. On this occasion, his surprise on returning to his
crippled trailer and cargo was that the calves were still there, along
with seven more that some friend anonymously donated to him to avoid the
hassle of delivering them to the auction barn.

How much worse can it get? Last week, those who delivered baby calves
to the auction had to give the calf plus a dollar bill to sell the
animal. I questioned the sale barn owner about this, and this was his
explanation: These baby calves are butchered in Texas and shipped frozen
as veal to New York. He said that it costs $7 to butcher the calf and
another $10 to deliver it to New York. An average calf dresses 50
pounds, and the New York market was 35 cents per pound. He said the $1
surcharge was their profit margin.

As a youngster, I heard my parents and grandparents talking about how
it was in the 20s and the 50s, and I personally turned down 22 weaned
calves free for the taking in the 70s. Maybe if I had had the nerve to
tell the farmer that if he wouuld put a dollar bill with each one, we
would have made a deal.

Along with the gloomy faces and unpaid feed bills, there' still a sense
of humor among some of the cattlemen. One jokingly remarked Friday,
"Well, we're doing better at our place. I'm stealing calves from a
neighbor on one side, and my brother is stealing feed from the neighbor
on the other side, so we've cut our losses down to just $50 per head.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jerry Hulsey is a retired school teacher who writes for


Life on Mars report enlivens campaigns

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The entire affair seemed like an episode straight out of X-Files.

A panel of scientists, at a packed news briefing at the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration headquarters, laid out a string of
evidence Wednesday (Aug. 7) that may support their claim that primitive
life once existed on Mars. They said it was an unbelievable day.

The team announced new findings of life on Mars to be officially
published this week.

The most exciting piece of evidence comes from a small chunk of a
Martian meteorite found 12 years ago in the snow of Antarctica. It is
thought to have been thrown from the planet about 15 million years ago
and to have landed on Earth about 13,000 years ago. The rock, they say,
contains strong evidence for ancient microscopic life on Mars.

A leader of the NASA-supported team announced, ``None of (the evidence)
in itself is definitive. But taken together, the simplest explanation to
us is that they are the remains of Martian life.'' That is, the remains
of life on Mars, not the remains of little green men as we have come to
know Martians through our Earthly science fiction.

But the findings were stout enough that even President Clinton took
time to hold a briefing on the White House lawn to discuss the
possibilities of life on other planets. He announced that the White
House would hold a summit this year on the space program's future to
``discuss how America should pursue answers'' to questions raised by the

Of course, this is all good politics. Supporting the space race has
become as American as mom and apple pie.

But all this official buzz about life outside our planet appears
suspicious. It comes at a moment in our history when there seems to be a
strong public interest in creatures from outer space. From the sudden
popularity of ``The X-Files'' to the box office record-setting
``Independence Day'' to even ``The Third Rock from the Sun'' (both the
sitcom and the song), there is ample evidence that Americans, at least,
have become fascinated with the idea of sharing the universe with

Perhaps this sudden public interest offers the strongest support for
NASA's announcement. NASA understands that it can't have public support
without public interest. ...

As the candidates race to buy votes, it's only prudent that NASA stir
up support.
- The Lufkin Daily News


Success kit guides

local campaigners

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While Presidential conventions are drawing much attention nationally,
local campaigns are never far down the road. Anyone considering a bid
for office can benefit from a guide such as The Campaign Manager,
published by Oak Street Press.

Developing a successful political campaign is much like creating a
computer program: Start with a flow chart, the book recommends.

A flow chart is a graphical layout of events from kickoff and strategy
meeting through press conferences, fund raising, brochure development,
precinct analysis, gathering phone numbers and preparing maps to
enlisting volunteers, canvassing, advertising and getting voters to the

Author Cathy Golden was elected mayor of Ashland, Ore. in 1988; the
youngest mayor as well as the first woman mayor in the history of the
city. She has managed local campaigns for 10 years with a success rate
of 82 percent.

She recommends starting the flow chart by listing the tasks you need to
complete before election, then transfer them to the flow-chart in the
proper sequence.

Included in the book is a sample flow chart and eight forms that can be
photocopied for use. The 12 chapters detail how to follow through with
each item on the flow chart.

"Whether you are a novice or seasoned campaigner, you will find
information here that will make your efforts more organized and
effective," Golden says in the preface.

To order the $9 paperback manual, write Oak Street Press, 886 Oak St.,
Ashland, Or 97520. ISBN 0-9650761-0-5.

-Peggy McCracken

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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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