June 25 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

This is a quote from the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov) website: “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (‘asymptomatic’) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (‘pre-symptomatic’) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.”

I share this to encourage people to wear masks when indoors in public places.

Wearing a mask only on the chin or below the nose, while breathing through the nose, makes the mask useless.

Please, let’s endure a little discomfort to help keep each other safer.

Pam Gaddis



Dear Editor,

Regarding a suggestion to change the name of Sul Ross State University to something like the University of the Big Bend or a variation of it, is a non-starter. Too much Walt Disneyish.

I think SUL ROSS TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY sounds much better. It has a star quality charisma,

The insertion of the word TEXAS adds an intellectual and marketing heft of a much stronger appeal to attract students and faculty without having to feel embarrassed or ashamed for introductory purposes, as has been voiced by few muddled voices. I have never felt tormented as I introduced myself to the high and mighty to talk about Sul Ross during my tenure at the ol’ Sully. To the contrary, I am proud of my long association with this great institution of higher learning.

Of the four systems of higher education in our state, each and every campus has the word TEXAS inserted in its name. For example, all campuses affiliated with the University of Texas system start with the University of Texas … (fill in the blanks).

It is true of all the Texas A&M campuses. Same for the Texas Tech campuses.

The Texas State University System that Sul Ross is affiliated with has 12 campuses. I counted thirteen stars on its website, spread across the state. It is the oldest, but the least funded system. That’s another story for another day. There is only ONE of the thirteen stars (at San Marcos) for some mysterious reasons named Texas State University. Go figure that out?!

I suggest to the Sul Ross faculty senate, the Alpine Chamber of Commerce, all the elective bodies, and civic organizations in the tri-county area to approach President Pete Gallego to ask the board of regents of the Texas State University System for a correction to this oversight.

That’s all folks.

Avinash K. Rangra



Dear Editor,

This Thursday they set-up a testing site in the humble little town of Alpine, TX. I would like to share with you my disappointing and troublesome experience. I have to hopefully ensure that things will change. To start, I am a resident of South Brewster, the red-headed stepchild of the county. As to date we have had one, yes, just one testing site set up in Terlingua this entire time.

Monday I was made aware I was exposed to someone who could potentially have COVID-19. So, with due diligence I sought out the test site that started at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the Sul Ross campus. I took off work at 11:30 a.m. and headed towards Alpine. By 12:45, I was trying to navigate the already large mess of vehicles, some of which were already blocking the highway median for a good bit. After being directed multiple times to multiple lines, I finally seemed to be in the “real” line. Then I was directed to call 512-883-2400. After 54 minutes on hold, I was received by a man who had no clue we were even a test site in the state. Minutes later he figured it out and I was given an appointment number.

Three hours go by … I was told to leave my windows up in my vehicle. I am grateful to have a/c in my truck, but I could not imagine having an older vehicle and waiting for that length with my windows up or better yet with children or elderly folks, for that matter. At 4:15 p.m., a lady in scrubs starts walking down the line and says, “Sorry, we have run out of tests for the day.” You can only imagine how frustrating this was for not just me, but the other stretch of cars behind me. So, I drove back home with a large sense of defeat.

Six a.m. Friday morning, I depart once again from Terlingua. This time with a better sense of what I am about to get into, or so I thought. Arriving at 7:30 a.m., an hour and a half before the testing is even to begin, there is already a line. It was at the time way more encouraging, since I was only 12 cars deep. Trying to stay patient, I saw that right around 8:45, cars were pulling in, parking and forming a line outside of the college building. There was no staff to direct anyone or attend to enforcing social distancing to be seen. In fact, I saw several folks headed to the line without a mask at all. With a large amount of reluctance, I parked my truck and headed towards the line to follow suit.

Now I was there in a line with 40 to 50 people waiting at the door to get in. One hour of sitting in the sun, thank goodness I had a hat, but most people were cooking. Yes, it was a warm morning for Alpine in the sun. Multiple elderly folks were being escorted to the front of the line just to get them inside. By then the line was only getting longer. Then it was doubled up and we were all standing side-by-side with only as much as an arm-length distance between us.

Then I realized that we were all headed inside, all of us. Let’s say if we are lowballing the number of people, probably 100. Everyone around me verbalized in some form or fashion about their level of discomfort. Time frame, it was then 9:45 a.m. It wasn’t until about 10:30 a.m. when my name was called, just for me to go stand in another line closer to people than the last line I was in. Once again, no one was enforcing distance or wearing their mask properly. By this time, I realized that I had at least two more hours of being stuffed in this building with COVID-19 potentials.

As defeating as it was, I decided my health was at risk now more than maybe ever through this entire pandemic, and so I left. Now I am two days, 360 miles of driving, six hours short of work and still uneasy about whether I am a positive COVID-19 case or not. Let us be honest, if I didn’t have it before, I might have actually contracted it from the test site itself.

I am ashamed of this entire experience. It’s almost like they want to spread the COVID-19. They used the excuse that the National Guard would be too hot in their uniforms to perform the same thing they did Thursday, which in hindsight was a treat compared to Friday’s showing. I have seen bake sales more organized. It will not surprise me in the slightest if there are more cases due to this test site’s inadequate abilities.

Hopefully sharing this terrible experience, someone may listen and try to devise a better plan of action. It was like this was the first ever test site, ever. Maybe we shouldn’t test at all if this is how it is going to be done. Disappointment doesn’t really even cover it, now I am more worried for all those who sat in that building for hours and may have contracted COVID-19 right there. Thank you for your time, stay safe and stay healthy.


Shawn Shields