Letters to the editor

Dear editor,

The brush fires that were burning Friday evening near Alamito Creek and Loma Pelona were contained.

Although the fire did cross to the east side of FM 170, no residences were affected. Damage appears to be limited to burned fence posts as well as extensive burned support posts to side railing along the roadway.

We are all thankful to our Presidio Volunteer Fire Department, Marfa Volunteer Fire Department, Tx-DOT, and especially our firefighter colleagues from Mexico, Bomberos Ojinaga.

Also thanks to Martin Sanchez Valles, Presidente Municipal de Ojinaga and officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for helping to coordinate the international assistance.

John Ferguson, mayor


Dear editor,

Hats off to all the volunteers, bomberos, law enforcement, and Texas Forest Service who braved the fire on Friday night and put it out!

God bless you for risking everything to save our homes and our lives.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

Cinderela Guevara, Judge

Presidio County

Dear editor,

Our team at Ballroom Marfa has been receiving questions about the production of a music festival from C3 Presents, which unfortunately, we are not equipped to answer.

We are aware of the evolving plans for an art-focused festival by C3, but Ballroom does not currently have a role in the organization of this event. Please be in touch with C3 directly with questions and comments: [email protected].

The staff at Ballroom


Dear editor,

I agree whole-heartedly with Patty Manning in her letter of February 14 in the Sentinel concerning the damage that irresponsible use does to our fragile lands in the Big Bend. The reality is that very few people doing any kind of business in West TX care about damage to the environment in whole or in part. We live on Terlingua Ranch where for many years the land has been subjected to unencumbered exploitation in every fashion. The only thing that matters to these businesses is money.

We’re called “the crazy people on the hill on Gate 9 Road” because we believe we have a right to the things we wanted when we bought our property 37 years ago. As frequent hikers in Big Bend National Park, Terlingua Ranch gave us a place to “renew” on weekends before moving permanently here 20 years ago. The beauty, big sky, climate and especially the solitude make it a wonderful place.

The tourists and dirt bikers suck the joy away at other times. We’re called “the crazy people” by dirt bikers. It seems that these people from the large cities consider our beautiful county a place to recreate on their dirt bikes on our private roads with abandon. The roads on Terlingua Ranch are maintained by the Property Owners Association of Terlingua Ranch, Inc. (POATRI) for “4 wheel drive and high clearance vehicle use” and can be easily damaged by the aggressive tires that the dirt bikers use, along with high speeds.

These dirt bikers claim the roads are public and I continue to stop them and tell them to stay off our road, as it is private. They laugh and say, ‘get out of my way, the roads are public.’ I’ve had every known curse word thrown at me because I continue to fight for what I believe is my right to live without being harassed by tourists and dirt bikers. Brewster County and the State of Texas do not maintain the roads (with tax money), therefore the roads are private roads owned by the property owners. They are roads, not a dirt bike racetrack. POATRI claims they do not have the right to give or deny access to the roads, only the property owners do. The Brewster County Sheriff’s Office claims they cannot patrol the private roads on Terlingua Ranch as they do county roads. They have to be called by a property owner for trespass or crime.

The Tourism Council (supported by tax money) and businesses in Brewster County seem to care little to none for the residents, only for their own income. Where do they think these dirt bikers ride when they check in to the motels? They obviously don’t care. We spend our retirement dollars 365 days of the year here in Brewster County and that doesn’t seem important to them.

And when the tourists and dirt bikers leave by way of Hwy 118, they stop and plant their trash in and around the Texas Hwy Department trashcans halfway to Alpine. Each trip to Alpine I see the trash all over and think how little the tourists think of our beautiful county. The roads around Midland/ Odessa are trashy and horrible. We’re always in a hurry to get back to the beauty of our home when we have to make trips there.

Our property is 10 miles from Terlingua and 2 miles from the pavement. We don’t deserve to be harassed by the tourist industry. Nowhere on my deed does it say I am responsible for supporting the tourist industry by giving the businesses free use of my road for recreation.

How long will it take to turn the beauty into ugly? When it happens slowly, one doesn’t notice until someone like J.O. Langford, whom Patty referred to in her letter, states the obvious. If we allow our beautiful environment to slip away at the hands of opportunistic exploiters for profit, then we all deserve what is coming.

Suzy Ervin

Terlingua Ranch

Dear editor,

This letter is a response the Rex Redden’s letter which appeared in the February 21st edition of the Sentinel.

In my previous letter, I referred to Mr. Redden as a son of the Jim Crow South. It was based upon my recollection of his having said he was from Mississippi. If I am wrong about that, or if I heard it in a dream, I apologize. I would note, however, that Jim Crow discrimination was not limited to the states of the South. Areas of Illinois and Indiana were equally repressive of black citizens’ rights and lynchings occurred there well into the 20th century, if even more so in the South.

The New Yorker is an exceptional publication with a long reputation for excellence. The magazine rigorously fact checks the articles that appear in its issues. In the era of instant journalism, where opinion is often presented as fact, it triumphs. It is one of the last remaining publications that support deep, investigative journalism, and thank goodness for that. The magazine’s editorial stance has not been kind to Trump. Which publications other than those of the right-wing have been supportive of this president?

My views on the history of race relations in the United States are informed by the historical record and not upon the kind of personal anecdote cited by Mr. Redden in his letter. Who among us has not sat in a classroom with black classmates, worked with black co-workers or served along blacks in the military? I have done all three. Those who disagree with my views might read black history by reputable black historians.

In my previous letter, I was not commenting upon the acceptance of blackface humor by whites, but upon the resentment of most blacks to the same. February was Black History Month, a month set aside to recognize the achievements of outstanding black individuals and to honor the contributions of black culture to the American story. To represent blackface humor or the Amos and Andy radio show as flattering depiction of black culture or to refer to a black man as “c–n” is a slap in the face to black people. If it was intended to undermine the significance of Black History Month, one can only guess. Give Trump a chance? Trump has undermined his own presidency by his statements and actions. He has divided Americans along racial lines by his race-baiting comments. He has attacked the institutions of our government that guarantee our freedom and security. He has refused to accept the briefings of our national security agencies like the FBI, NSA, and CIA and perhaps compromised our security and elections in the process. He has attacked the integrity of our judicial system by demeaning the character of individual federal judges based upon their ancestry or previous political affiliation. He has used his position to financially enhance his family fortune. He has attempted to obstruct justice in his comments and actions regarding the investigations into the conduct of his administration and other alleged personal crimes. His day of reckoning is at hand.

The preservation of democracy depends upon fair elections, the rule of law, and the integrity of our judicial system. If they fail us now, I fear all may be lost as we slide into Trumpian autocracy. Nazism in Germany did not occur overnight. It slowly gained favor as it increasing appealed to German citizens’ worst instincts and to their sense of demoralization in losing the First World War. Hitler scapegoated the Jews much as Trump now scapegoats “illegal” immigrants for what many perceive to be the woes of the nation.

Joel Gormley, mobster? Now that is funny.

Joel Gormley


Dear editor,

The Dancing with Alpine’s Stars organizing committee wholeheartedly thanks all of those who participated in and attended the Alpine Public Library fundraising event on February 16. The funds raised from this event support the operations of the library.

Special thanks go to the astonishing dancers, whose creativity, talent, and enthusiasm made the night a tremendous success. In addition to convincing their friends to vote for them and to attend the event in large numbers, the dancers energized the crowd at the Civic Center.

Also crucial to the success of the event were the business sponsors, whose donations covered the upfront costs. They also helped publicize the fund-raiser and attended the function. More than just sponsors, they were active partners in making the night so enjoyable.

The volunteers who contributed time and labor before and during the function also deserve thanks.

These volunteers include members of the Sul Ross State University football team, students from the Sul Ross Theatre Program, Friends of the Alpine Public Library, and directors of the library board.

Finally, thank you to the community members who attended. Your enthusiastic response to the dancers and your generous donations made all the hours of planning worthwhile.

Thank you all!

Lee Smith, Chair