November 14 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

For the past seven months, I have been one of many members of our community helping contribute to the mass gathering permit application. We had a rocky start — it felt like, no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn’t get our concerns heard. During one of these meetings I stood up with a simple sign that displayed two numbers: 240 vs. 37. This represented, to date, the 240 minutes the court had spent talking with C3 Presents about their proposed event vs. the 37 minutes the court had spent listening to citizen concerns.

From that point forward, the court turned the tables and did everything possible to allow for meaningful citizen participation. This included utilizing the school for a packed public hearing when it was clear we needed more room; getting sound systems operational, so we could all hear; posting drafts of the permit, so we could review in advance; holding meetings in the evenings, so those with work commitments could attend; answering emails and phone calls; bringing in external legal advice; calling other counties for advice; consulting local emergency services about our questions; and more. The vote was delayed three times so information we brought forward could be considered, a four-hour public workshop was held where we went line by line, and both north and south county had a chance to weigh in during the process.

If I were to stand up with a sign today, it would look very different. Instead of 240 vs. 37, you’d see 240 vs. 637. The court turned these numbers around in a significant way.

I’d like to thank Judge Guevara and Commissioners Aranda, Bentley, Cabezuela, Knight and the courthouse staff for listening, considering, and collaborating in this process. Constituents were heard, and the court was transparent in their decision making. The result is a mass gathering permit application that is the strongest and most thorough of any in our state, while still being mindful of the smaller events, which increase tourism and contribute to our daily life.

I’m also thankful for the many people in this community who contributed to the discussion, attended meetings, provided feedback on permit drafts, dived into research, and spread the word. As we moved through this process, our community was consistently contributing and never lost hope that this document could be better — it made all the difference.

Together we accomplished a great deal, and I am proud of what was passed on Wednesday.

When C3 Presents uses this permit application to apply for their event, I believe the court and emergency officials will have a good idea of what is being proposed and will be able to consider what is really before them.

Shelley Bernstein

Marfa, Texas


Dear Editor,

Nearly three women are killed every day by their domestic partners in this country.

In regards to the recent Sullivan mistrial, I am alarmed by the lack of forensic evidence given in testimony.

Though I could not sit and listen to the trial, and I know the newspapers could not print all of it, it seems that the science of evidence evaluation was alarmingly missing!

My questions range all over concerning the crime scene: from whether or not the woman’s body had her hands bagged and fingernails scrapings analyzed, to if the bloody footprints were being tracked. And why did a pastor testify about the lack of “visible blood” on Sullivan’s dirty clothing which was in a duffel bag? Dry blood on clothing turns black. Were these clothing items analyzed? Why would a pastor’s testimony be acceptable on this matter? If there was blood, then whose was it?

Where is the murder weapon? Was a police dog used to track a killer “fleeing the house”?

A young person’s mind is malleable and, as anyone in the world of social work knows, a child will always want to go back to the parent, however dysfunctional or horrid the relationship is. It is all the child knows. The fact that a child’s testimony is unreliable is simply because they are CHILDREN.

Forensic specialists are necessary in murder investigations. Did our good local sheriff’s department ask for help from DPS or the Texas Rangers? Was the crime scene secured until they could get up to Fort Davis ?

Do we need a special ADA who has years of experience with murder trials? So many questions, so little justice for Sophia.

Marjie Erkkila

retired police officer

Fort Davis, TX


Dear Editor,

More on proposed disc golf location!

Good game, bad location!

A letter in last week’s paper stated “a growing sport” with “out of town teams.” Are you kidding me? The flood and drain control system on the north side of town is such a poor choice for these events, not to mention it is surrounded by private property owners who have repeatedly objected to it! So, come on city council, listen to people who own property and pay their taxes. The answer is not porta-potties and parking lots! Put this kind of thing at Vizcaino Park! Better parking, restrooms, shade, bleachers for all their fans, BBQ pits for the after party – now that’s a win-win situation. So please do not renew this lease of property for disc golf! Marfa has enough parks now!

Bill + Robin Fellows

Marfa, TX


Dear Editor,

Hello Marfa and Marfa Band parents!

Our Shorthorn Band Booster account was down to $15.37 just a couple of weeks ago when we made a decision that we could not allow the Marfa Band Booster program to die. We decided to host a bake sale as a quick fundraiser that might allow us to at least keep the bank account open, as we have to pay service fees monthly. This account is for use by Marfa Band Boosters to benefit of the Marfa Shorthorn Band in various ways, from band trips to instruments, scholarships, any and all items that might need funding that are not in the band director’s budget.

In true Shorthorn form, parents turned out in droves with burritos, tamales, quiches, cakes, cupcakes and breads!

Thank you so much Marfa Shorthorn Band parents! You all are the core of what makes organizations like Marfa Band Boosters a success. Just days before the bake sale, we received a couple of generous donations totaling $120; we are so grateful to the two individuals who made that donation. The bake sale itself earned us a whopping $859.65, and another $30 from a cake that was made and sold before it even made the table! Thank you Frances Garcia! So total, we will now have $1025.02 going in to the Marfa Band Booster account.

We also want to give HUGE Thanks to all of the people who stopped by to see us on their way into or out of the grocery store. Some people bought items from us, and some people didn’t buy but left donations for the kids. We appreciate every cent that came in, big and small donations allow us to keep the program alive. Last, we want to thank Ms. Amber Strach and the Shorthorn Band kids for their help at the sale. Many of the band kids showed up and stayed throughout the entire sale. They stood by the roadside with a sign, they worked the table, and they bought goodies. You guys are amazing! You are fighters, workers and Shorthorns! You will not be defeated, you guys rose to the occasion and made it happen!

There are people who are still leery over what was done to the Marfa Band Booster’s account after the Disneyland trip, but we ask that you do not allow that to keep you from supporting this program. We are rebuilding it for the sake of the kids. We will make sure that it is well kept and used for only their benefit. They will attend music-based programs, they will hopefully acquire enough instruments so that they won’t have to share or put their families in a financial burden, they will even be given scholarships when they graduate if we can continue to build the balance in this account. Please don’t give up on these kids, they deserve the world!

Florcita Saenz Zubia 
Brenda Silva Bentley

Marfa Band Booster Officers 


Dear Editor,

The Marfa Lions Club and the Ernest Chavez Memorial Scholarship Fund would like to thank everyone for making the annual golf tournament a success on November 9. A big thanks to all of our sponsors and donors, including: Lajitas Golf Resort, The Big Bend Sentinel, Livingston Insurance, Big Bend Coffee Roasters, the Eppenauer Ranch, Cheri and Oscar Aguero, AEP, Ann and Dan Dunlap, Rolling Highway in Memory of Ronnie Webb, KV Electric, the Judd Foundation, Jarratt Dirt Work, Marfa National Bank, Tom Jacobs, Marfa Realty, Celebration Liquor, El Cosmico, Virgie and Eddie Pallarez, Alpine Country Club, Virginia and Dan Platt, Randy Sanchez, Mona and Rudy Garcia and the International Woman’s Fund. Thanks also goes to all of the golfers in attendance, the Marfa Golf Course, Nellie and Ernest Villareal and Marfa High School Project Graduation.

Marfa Lions Club
Ernest Chavez Memorial Scholarship Fund


Dear Editor,

Since school started at Presidio High School, some of the students that take biology have experienced some problems. On the first day of school, biology students were divided in half and put with two different teachers. Some students got lucky and were placed with a teacher that is here every day and knows how to teach properly. Meanwhile, the other half, like me, got a teacher that is not here most of the time. Instead, we are taught by a substitute teacher that does not teach as well as someone that studied for this class.

We thought that it was going to be for a few days, but we were wrong. Weeks passed by and our teacher still wasn’t here.

Then one day, she showed up for the first time. We were excited to finally have a teacher because we were struggling with some assignments. We finally got the teacher and it was a good week. Everyone was understanding the work and we had a teacher to ask questions to. Sadly, this did not last long because the teacher stopped coming.

For weeks, my grades went down, and that concerned my parents. Being a straight-A student and having a 51 in biology is not good. I want to be a doctor, which means that I need to study biology and take different classes that include biology. I know many of my classmates want to major in something that requires some knowledge in this class, but not having somebody that can explain the class and not understanding anything is making me rethink my options in majoring in something that requires knowledge of biology.

And all of this is happening because we don’t have a teacher. The substitute did not know how to answer questions that we had about the work since all we would get were worksheets.

This might not be a big problem for some people, but for us it is, because the first semester is about to be over and I feel like we have not learned anything. This is concerning because biology is a subject that is an EOC (End of Course) test, and not passing this test can affect the students in many ways. Parents have complained to the principal and all she said to them was not to worry. One of Principal Ramos’ solutions was that she was going to teach us herself because she has a science degree. Now, Ms. Ramos is our science teacher while still working as a principal.

It has now been three weeks since she started to teach us. Ms. Ramos has been teaching us with videos she makes for us to take notes. But she is not in the class so it feels like we still don’t have an actual teacher. This is going to affect us when the final test comes. I do not want to retake the EOC or the class just because of the absence of a teacher.

Karla Padilla

Presidio, TX


Dear Editor,

Last Sunday, November 3, my dream of running the New York City Marathon came true with the help of 11 friends and family joining me on the epic trip to the city – I became a marathoner! But what I’m truly amazed about and why I’m reaching out to the community is to thank you all for the tremendous support, well wishes, prayers, advice and love from the Tri-County area!!

Thirty-two weeks ago, I was drawn into my very first marathon from a lottery after trying for about seven years in a row. My lucky day became quite the unexpected journey of strength, endurance and focus. I found a training plan, stuck to it and I finished the race!

Shout out to so many friends encouraging me along the way, especially Rick and Kim Keith, Carol Slocomb, Chachi Hawkins, Anne Powell, Anne Calaway, Liz Rogers, my parents and my husband Andy, who knows I’m absolutely crazy! I proudly ran wearing my Texas Beef Team jersey, “Fueled by Beef,” representing not only the great state of Texas and the best protein on Earth, beef, but I knew as a cattle producer I was also representing the best little kept secret anywhere, Far West Texas.

Throughout the 26.2 miles, as you can imagine, my mind wandered, from “where are we now?” to how many more dang bridges, but horrible hip pain struck me at mile 7 and I thought, I can’t let all my peeps down at home, everyone following me on the app, everyone on social media, much less the posse of friends and family who came to cheer me on! So I dug deep, tried to ignore the pain, dreamed of that cold beer at the finish and every poor soul I passed that was either cramping or puking or being carried away by the tremendous first responders…I knew my path could be worse. All of you helped me finish whether consciously or subconsciously; I felt all the love!

I simply cannot tell you what fantastic humans live in our little slice of heaven in Far West Texas, and when an adventure like this comes around, friends and complete strangers from afar reached out to encourage and congratulate me on this bucket list accomplishment! I am so proud to call God’s country home and I thank you all for the indescribable love and support!


Janna Stubbs

Your Marathon Runner

Alpine, TX