December 5 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I was an attendee in the town hall at the Sentinel on November 21. The topic was aging in the Trans Pecos, and services available to older adults here. My background stems from growing up on a farm in Lobo Valley, near Valentine. My wife and I retired to Marfa after careers in San Antonio, and as the caregivers to my Aunt Dixie here for the past six years, we saw her pass 100 on her birthday in late August this year. My wife and I are both over 75 this year.

The lack of funds to attract, and pay professional caregivers was frequently mentioned as a problem out here. Ms. Fitzpatrick of Agave Home Health said that new regulations have already been enacted that will soon limit the availability of services to seniors. Another case of a few bad eggs spoiling it for everyone?

The comments from several of the panel members seemed to reinforce a point that should be repeated. Linda Molinar described growing up in Presidio, where she regularly experienced instances of help/support for seniors from individuals beyond the immediate family. Isn’t this a key point? We can each be a better neighbor and friend to someone not related to us. When this happens, and it happens often here in Marfa, we rely less on the home care professionals. Having had a career as a helping professional in San Antonio, I can say that in the majority of instances, I had guilt feelings about accepting money for doing really what a friend or a neighbor could do. Of course, in the city there are never enough neighbors to handle the load produced by city lifestyle temptations.

Suzanne Dugan of Marfa seemed convinced that the important thing in addressing limitations here is not necessarily having the funds, but leadership, and pulling people together. Improvements at Marfa’s Nutrition Center have emerged from her action-oriented “If the people lead, the leaders will follow” philosophy.

As President of Marfa Rotary Club for several years, I learned lessons about leadership and pulling people together. Later, in conceiving and supervising HOGAR, a service project was created to build gardens in residents’ yards. By pulling together on Thursday evenings for two years, 40 new keyhole gardens were built using volunteer help from across this community. Yeah team!

Research on preventing heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even Alzheimer’s is consistently pushing two lifestyle choices. The first is diet, and my belief was that growing vegetables in one’s own family garden might lead to better decisions in the kitchen. The second choice is exercise. Marfa now has additional resources for exercise programs, but it seems significant that last week a Mr. Brunson lost his life to a heart attack while hiking in the Big Bend Park. An hour long walk outdoors on a daily basis is what Seniors need if they want to stretch their time to be part of the solutions here. Shouldn’t we be talking about a walking club in Marfa? Please call if you’re interested.

Jon Johnson, Ph.D, Planet Marfa (now closed for the season), 432 386-5099

Jon Johnson

Marfa, TX


Dear Editor,

Sul Ross University is in development of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program that would be approved by the Texas Board of Nursing. Graduates would be Registered Nurses, an excellent and much needed occupation in the West Texas area, providing direct care and health education in clinics, hospitals, schools, and all kinds of health agencies. The application for approval by the Board of Nursing will be submitted January 1 and with it we will provide letters of support from area citizens. If you would like to participate in supporting this vital program, please write a letter of support addressed to:

Dr. Virginia Ayres

Texas Board of Nursing

333 Guadalupe # 3-460

Austin, Texas 78701

Instead of mailing the letter to Dr. Ayres, please send it to me, and I will see that it gets included in the application.

What the world needs now is more nurses!

Mary Bell Lockhart

Alpine, TX


Dear Editor,

Call for Civil Disobedience

Since the arrival of the so-called pilgrims claiming to seek religious freedom, white immigrants have demanded other people change to accommodate their sensibilities.  Over generations they’ve stripped away relevant elements of our culture. They’ve instilled a sense of shame in our children for having darker skin and speaking a “foreign language.”  They’ve pin-pointed our faults and maligned us until we’ve grown up believing their criticisms which many have taken to heart. Like “The Joker, ” my generation was made to feel like outsiders in our own land. As a nonwhite native of Texas, I was called a dirty Mexican and bullied by white schoolmates. Had I not rebelled and fought back, I might not have graduated.

These self-appointed judges of our culture have demeaned and betrayed us since their arrival.  I’ve long since detached myself from my phony white friends and now, like law Professor Ekow N Yankah, only view them as “acquaintances.” In an example of white oppression of a minority population, Congress, that has no voting Puerto Ricans, decided to ban the sport of Cockfighting in Puerto Rico. This is yet another example of racial oppression. They did the same to Native Americans before utilizing genocide, rationalizing that white ideas are superior to those of a minority population.  As a defender of the Constitution and victim of white oppression, I urge Puerto Rico civil rights leaders to call for civil disobedience.

Congress does not have the authority or moral high ground on any issue and cannot dictate what is culturally relevant and what is not.  Keep in mind, football has long been on the endangered species list but never in real danger of disappearing. Why? Because it makes a lot of money and rich white Americans love the game.  It is unconscionable that Congress can unilaterally decide Puerto Rico must outlaw cockfighting. Civil disobedience must be accompanied by continued participation and support of their cultural practices. Civil disobedience must include lawful demonstrations. We must never forget that it was the nicey-nice white Americans who placed the Japanese in concentration camps. They have also kept Latino children in cages and their parents in disease-infested prison camps. If these same people are given free rein, we will soon return to professionally photographed lynchings and thousands of white hooded men and women marching down Washington Ave in our nation’s capital.

Jorge Martinez

Newman, CA