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April 13th, 2017 under West Texas Talk » West Texas Talk Highlight


An enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers celebrated the re-dedication of Alpine’s Amtrak train station on the morning of April 4.

In attendance at the community “meet and greet” were Amtrak officials, Joy Smith, Chicago-based Long Distance Services, and Alexandra Curtis-McVay, District Stations Manager; representatives of the Texas National Association of Railroad Passengers; Alpine city officials, including our Mayor, City Manager and several council members; Martha Latta, representing the Chamber of Commerce; Jim Street, heading up many other members of the Alpine Downtown Association; as well as dozens of pleased local residents and travelers.

Passengers were happily surprised by cheers, hugs, and the music of Johnny O’s mariachi band: “Welcome to Alpine!” and “All aboard!”

Thanks to the contractors for giving the station a fresh new look and meeting ADA compliance codes. Thanks to those now involved with adding literature racks and furnishings. Next steps to enhance the station include outside painting, new signs, outside benches and a small sensory native garden. Alpine, Amtrak and all travelers can be proud of our recent station improvements. Again, thank you to the many who made the Re-dedication event a success.

Liz Sibley, Dave Dumas, Gwynne Jamieson




This week is National Library Week. Consider the following quote by Libba Bray, an American author of young adult novels who lived in Texas until the age of 26:

“Libraries are a force for good. They wear capes. They fight evil. They don’t get upset when you don’t send them a card on their birthdays. (Though they will charge you if you’re late returning a book.) They serve communities. The town without a library is a town without a soul. The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance. Libraries are the torch of the world, illuminating the path when it feels too dark to see. We mustn’t allow that torch to be extinguished.”

Way out here in Far West Texas we are fortunate to have excellent libraries in all of our communities. If you are interested in promoting your library, consider joining the Friends of the Library group in your town.

Thank you.

Renee Mick, Secretary

Friends of the Marfa Public Library




On March 23-25, 40 teachers gathered in San Antonio to participate in a Computer Science Initiative that targeted Algebra teachers and aimed to give instruction in Computer Programming that could be implemented when teaching Algebra concepts.

Within three days, my partner Paula, a first-year teacher from Dell City, and I had programmed a video game using the programming language. It was new territory for many there and me. There were three teachers from Presidio attending, as well as a teacher from Fort Davis.

This workshop, using the curriculum from Bootstrap, was organized through UT’s College of Education’s STEM Center with the help of Congressman Will Hurd and funding from many technology companies, like Facebook and Dell.

In 2014-2015, all avenues of teacher preparation programs in the state produced only 14 teachers with a certification in Computer Science. To answer the need, UT’s Stem Center has a grant to pay certified teachers $1,000 to become certified in Computer Science. If anyone is interested in more details, please check out


Marcy Reed

Big Bend High School



Re: the relocation of the sheriff’s department impound lot from the Marfa airport;

Locating the sheriff’s department impound lot from its current location at the airport to county land east of Vizcaino Park is a bad Idea. Yes, for me this is pure and simple a not-in-my-backyard issue, but there are other important reasons.

Antelope Hills: After decades of being a community development concept, it is now happening. The anchor for those who are buying and developing these properties is the vast, and for the most part unobstructed view.

I have concern over the impound lot’s proposed relocation site next to Vizcaino Park and the golf course.

Expense and logistics to relocate from the airport.

The less than ideal location of an impound lot away from the area’s highway infrastructure.


Taxpayers fund the airport with little perceived direct benefit to the average citizen (I am sure interested parties can argue this point).

The importance of the airport to Presidio County and our regional infrastructure has been clearly established. The exception to this premise of indulgent airport spending is working pilots, ranchers, and law enforcement. Obviously, the airport is not all just for the pampered and pilot hobbyists; it represents the access to our remote area and provides our community with important options for future development.

It is my understanding that the current location of the county impound lot is a coveted spot for a much needed new hanger construction. My solution to this is to locate the hanger elsewhere, or move the impound lot to another location on the county-owned airport grounds.

Landscape and visual aesthetics:

It has been reasoned that the impound lot currently located at the airport is an eyesore along Highway 17 and that the impound lot needs to be moved because It is ugly.

In reality, the current location of the sheriff’s department impound lot is along a visual corridor that includes an airport, a Customs and border patrol tactical training range, a tomato farm, and further south, power line towers, and a pipeline scar rendering the argument of an unsightly impound lot simply absurd.

It is my understanding that the proposed location for the impound lot is expected to be east of Vizcaino Park. Preserving unobstructed views and site lines surrounding our municipality is of value to our community and county given that Marfa’s greatest resource is our open space and visual attractiveness.

I look to our Presidio County commissioners to deliberate this issue of the impound lot relocation, considering the wishes of their constituents, not just the convenience and whim of those with airport special interests.

I implore my fellow citizens to contact their local county representative and direct their opinions on this issue so that they can make an informed decision that reflects the wishes of all of us living in Presidio County.

On a final and probably most important note, what is the proposed expense of moving the impound lot, and more importantly all said and done what will it cost the county budget to realize the construction of a new impound lot and aren’t there more pressing expenditures for our finite county resources?

Sincerely yours

Don Culbertson




I have called the City of Marfa on several occasions regarding people walking their dogs without leashes, including the sheriff and his wife. I have sent video after video after video to the Marfa court as well as the JP Court (so they will have evidence, too.) Videos show people walking their dogs without leashes.

Numerous dogs have dug up our yard and tore up the sprinkler heads. My husband is very sick and should not have to go out and clean up after other people’s dogs.

Early last Saturday morning, dogs came through and killed one of the cats. They also killed five of the kittens. Only one has survived so far.

I have asked the City of Marfa to comply with the ordinance and the results are obvious. It’s not the dog’s fault that their owners don’t comply with the leash ordinance. If dogs can do this to kittens and a cat, what could happen to a child?

I welcome citizens who are tired of the City of Marfa’s non-actions to contact me to join together to stop this nonsense.

For those dog owners who do have their dogs on leashes, I applaud you. You are responsible citizens.

A very heartbroken citizen,

Cheryl Calvert




I had a conversation with a friend of mine in front of the post office last week and he said he had read my letter to the editor about Perry and wondered when I was going to say something about Trump.

We laughed and I said I’ve been thinking about that. Well, dear friend, just for you and me, here is a letter about some of Trump doings.

I have said several times that Perry and Bannon are the two worst appointments by Trump but, now I add Trumps son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner is 36 years young, a real estate investor and a Senior Advisor to his father-in-law who is the President of the Divided States of America.

Kushner figured prominently in the tumultuous come-up to Trump’s presidency and was involved in the ouster of Gov. Chris Christie as a potential vice presidential candidate. Christie, who was a federal prosecutor, had young Kushner’s father jailed on 18 counts of tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and such.

Now old friend, this is Trump’s son-in-law’s daddy. And, Trump put his son-in-law in charge of brokering peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as making deals with foreign countries. He sent Kushner on ‘missions’ to Iraq and to China. And now we learn that Kushner was behind the ouster of Bannon from the National Security Council. That’s good but it says far too much about the growing presence of ‘President’ Kushner.

Trump has not even begun to settle in to his new job and he has bombed Syria.

I can’t keep up. What about you, old friend?

Ken Whitley



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