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Thursday, December 26, 1996

High tech aides cotton farmers

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Staff Writer
PECOS, December 26, 1996 - High tech methods in the cotton patch
produced bumper yields in the first year of experiments.

Dr. John Mullett, director of the Crop Biotechnology Center and project
coordinator for the $1 million TxCOT effort to enhance competitiveness
of Texas cotton around the world, said the program represents a unique
link between industry and researchers.

"Frankly, I am quite pleased with the results that have been proudced in
just one year," Dr. Mullett said. "This clearly reflects the large
investment that has been made by all involved."

While acreage in Reeves and Pecos Counties was reduced this year, cotton
remains the top money crop.

Alamo-Kerley Gin owner-manager Don Kerley said this morning that,
despite the decrease in acreage, they have ginned 9,000 bales of Upland,
up slightly from last year. He expects to gin another 400 to 500 bales.

Pima acreage is also down, and the final total for that gin was 3,474
bales - under last year's count.

Coyanosa Co-op has ginned 6,207 bales of Upland, with about two weeks

Weather has cooperated throughout the harvest season, and grades have
remained good, Kerley said.

Some of the crop was Bt cotton, a variety developed by researchers to
resist insect damage.

Researchers hope to build on that success with the TxCOT program. Funded
by the Texas legislature, TxCOT successes include:

* The tranfer of genes for herbicide and insect resistance into Texas
cotton varieties with field testing to begin in late 1997.

* Initial steps in the transfer of a fiber strength gene from Sea Island
cotton to Texas cotton, an effort that would have taken 10 years under
traditional breeding methods. The strength of cotton fibers is one
factor in determining its value.

* Identification and transfer of a gene into cotton that may reduce
gossypol, a toxic substance in cottonseed that limits its use as a feed.
This would provide for alternative uses of seed.

* Insertion of three genes that may make cotton plants more resistant to
boll weevils or other insects.

* Cloning of six classes of genes that may inhibit root rot.

"There is unanimous agreement that the partners in this have formed a
cooperative team to get the research done," Mullet said. "We have
limited resources and people to do this kind of work, so pulling
together into a project like this is what makes the difference."

Though cotton is a huge economic factor in the state, industry leaders
believe its value can be even greater with solutions to weed and insect
problems and improvements in seed quality and yield.

Buyt cotton industry leaders and researchers realized that the anwsers
would come sooner by combining biotechnology with ongoing crop breeding
efforts. TxCOT was initiated by the Texas Legislature in 1995 to kick
off the cooperatieve effort between the Texas cotton industry, Texas A&M
University, the University of North Texas and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service and the Texas Agricultural
Experiment Station.

Because of early successes in TxCOT, a similar effort is being developed
to accelerate improvement of Texas rice, wheat, sorghum, corn,
sugarcane, turfgrass and forage grass.

Post office cuts off mail to McLaren's neighbors

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FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) - Postal officials have cut off mail delivery to
a remote community near this historic West Texas town that has become a
haven to the leader of a secessionist group and his armed guards.

Richard McLaren, 43, the self-styled ambassador and consul general of
the Republic of Texas, is wanted on a civil contempt order after he
failed to heed a Pecos federal judge's summons. He has said he would use
force, if necessary, to resist the summons.

Mike Pearson, the Fort Davis postmaster, said he could only confirm that
mail service was ``temporarily disrupted'' and referred all inquiries to
supervisors in El Paso. Those officials were not available for comment
Tuesday because of the Christmas holidays.

But McLaren's neighbors say Pearson told them that they won't get any
mail that until McLaren's situation is settled.

``They don't feel the mail carrier is safe up there,'' Jeff Davis County
Sheriff Harvey Adams told the El Paso Times.

McLaren is being protected around the clock by the republic's
militia-backed defense forces. He has said he will not surrender to
federal marshals, and no attempt has been made to serve the warrant so

Republic members believe Texas was unlawfully annexed by Congress in
1845. They do not acknowledge state or federal laws and claim Texas is a
``free and sovereign nation.'' Consequently, McLaren says the court
order has no validity.

Some republic members contend that McLaren is no longer associated with
or representative of the organization.

U.S. Lucius D. Bunton III summoned McLaren to his Pecos courtroom to
answer questions in a long-running legal dispute over land titles with
Stewart Guaranty Title Co.

Joe Rowe, president of the Davis Mountains Property Owners' Association,
said residents normally do not agree with McLaren's politics, nor are
they pleased to have his armed bodyguards patrolling his property
nearby. But they also don't like not getting their mail, he said.

``I don't think he's that much of a threat on a day-to-day basis,'' he
told the San Antonio Express-News.

The postal service said the situation would be ``re-evaluated'' on Jan.
6, which is also the day before McLaren and other Republic leaders plan
to appear in Austin to hold a public hearing about human-rights
violations in Texas.

``You've got taxpaying citizens out here, and all we want is our damned
mail service,'' Rowe said. ``(Stuff) like this is what makes people want
to join up with groups like these.''

About 100 people live in the rural subdivision located in rugged,
mountainous country 16 miles west of Fort Davis, but about 700 own
property there, Rowe said Tuesday. They are not members of the republic.

Rowe said he believes the post office is using McLaren's warrant as an
excuse not to make the daily 32-mile round trip journey to the

``Rick's armed guards have been walking around here for the last three
months wearing their guns, wearing their knives. I want to know what's
changed?'' he said. ``I think it's ridiculous to use this as an excuse
to curtail mail service.''

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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The Fort Stockton Pioneer
FORT STOCKTON, Dec. 24, 1996 - State prisoners have rebuilt bicycles
donated by citizens of Fort Stockton for needy children at Christmas.
Inmates also wrapped gifts that were purchased by the Rotry Club through
Toys for Tots. United Way provided names of 61 children and 23 families
to receive the gifts.

Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch
FORT DAVIS, Dec. 24, 1996 - Defying state and federal officers, the
Republic of Texas ambassador and chief counsel, Rick McLaren, has
surrounded himself with ROT militamen at Fort Davis Mountains Resort
headquarters. He has snubbed the officers and their warrants for his
arrest, claiming surrender to those he calls "the enemy" is not an
option for him. McLaren was ordered to apper in federal court last
Thursday, but refused to do so and has since declared he will resist

The Big Bend Sentinel
MARFA, Dec, 24, 1996 - Presidio County judge Jake Brisbin Jr. was
elected chairman of the Rio Grande Council of Governments at a meeting
in El Paso. Brisbin has served on all of the key committees that govern
the council since 1989. In 1997, he will chair the board of directors,
the criminal justice advisory council and the regional review committee.

The Alpine Avalanche
ALPINE, Dec. 24 1996 - Flooding in Lawrence Hall Saturday adds to
concern about closing down the old Museum of the Big Bend and moving the
exhibits to storage areas around Sul Ross State University. A steam
pressure valve leaked, sending steam pouring into the basement where the
museum materials are located last Saturday. Museum staff and volunteers
moved the collection onto the ground floor.

The International, Presidio Paper
PRESIDIO, Dec. 24, 1996 - Presidio school board members will wait until
after a new superintendent is hired before considering the Marfa school
board's counter proposal in the Redford School matter. A new
superintendent could be slected as early as January 9.

The Monahans News
MONAHANS, Dec. 26, 1996 - The City of Monahans will soon have a new
address, «MDUL»«MDNM» No, City hall is not moving;
they're just getting their own address on the World Wide Web, the system
most often used to gather information on the internet.


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High Wednesday 50, low last night 38. Tonight, clear. Low around 30.
North wind 10-20 mph. Friday, increasing clouds. High around 60.
Southeast wind 5-15 mph.
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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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