November 25 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Thanks for a fine article which shined a light on the incredible work that four local women are doing on behalf of the “unwanted” dogs and cats of our area. These are animals that only a couple of years ago would have been routinely disposed of by lethal injection.

In this year alone, between Marilyn McGhee of Alpine, Heather Hall of Terlingua, Nicole Bennett of Ft. Stockton and DJ Hensley of Marathon, an amazing 2,077 dogs and 106 cats were saved by sending them to areas where they were adopted by much better homes.

When one considers how difficult it is to find a good home for just one dog or cat, these numbers of lives saved are even more heroic.

All of these women have full-time jobs and constantly struggle to help save these animals by spending all of their spare time and much of their own money. Marilyn works in administration at Sul Ross. DJ is a housekeeper.

The public can pitch in to help in three ways:


2. Step up and volunteer to foster or to help transport dogs and cats to the vet or to the next leg of their journey.

3. Send some money. Your donations help these heroes to save the lives of our “unwanted” dogs and cats. Contact Heather Hall ([email protected]), Marilyn McGhee ([email protected]), Nicole Bennett ([email protected]) or DJ Hensley ([email protected].)

Mary Baxter



Dear Editor,

It has come to my attention after interviewing our fellow citizens in the Marfa Trace program that it would be helpful to define the terms that we are using to communicate with our contacts. Here’s a couple of reminders of what to do if you end up having COVID-19 or are a close contact or household member of a positive person.


Quarantine, for the purposes of COVID-19, is separating oneself away from others in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Quarantine entails staying in one’s home, avoiding school, the workplace, shops and public spaces. If the infected individual feels well enough, quarantine allows for going outdoors, and a drive or a walk away from others can ease the monotony of separation. For contacts and family members, receiving a negative test does not automatically release them from quarantine, as it can take up to 14 days to show a positive result post exposure. Testing too early can yield a false-negative result. Returning to the general population prematurely risks a person infecting their closest friends and family, as most COVID-19 is transmitted before a person has symptoms or knows they have the virus.


Isolation is a separation within quarantine. When a household member has COVID-19 and other household members don’t, the infected person needs to stay away from other household members. When possible, the isolated person would have their own bedroom and bathroom. If a person leaves their room and is around other household members, everyone needs to wear masks and try to stay at least 6 feet apart from the infected person.

Public life

Quarantine is a hardship causing many of us to miss days of life activities. In order to limit the spread between individuals and groups, quarantine is our most powerful tool.

There is much to discover about this Novel SARS CoV2 Virus, for example, how COVID-19 infection, immunity and viral reactivation works. At our current phase in the COVID-19 outbreak globally, a return to population means a continuance of mask wearing in public, as well as social distancing.

If you live in or around Marfa, remember to call our City of Marfa, Marfa Trace hotline number 432-279-0279 to report your positive COVID-19 test and discuss your contacts. Marfa Trace is here to guide you through the infection. Our contact tracers are here to get you back on your feet and back to your daily life.

Don Culbertson PA-C

Marfa Trace

Marfa Clinic


Dear Editor,

“December 7, 1941 – a day which will live in infamy.” I’m sure we all know where that quote came from and why. For me, there is another day which will live in infamy – September 8, 1974. That was the day Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.

Of course there have been several other high level political scandals over the years. The ones most prominent in my mind were Iran/Contra during the Reagan-Bush administration and the outing of CIA Agent Valerie Plame during the Bush-Cheney years. In each case, underlings took the fall and the big dogs walked away relatively unscathed.

Okay, so what? Now there are hints/rumblings/speculation that Joe Biden is against federal investigations into Trump’s (alleged) crimes as president. In theory that decision would be up to the Justice Department but, well, do we know how Biden’s position might affect that decision? That New York will continue with their ongoing civil and criminal investigations is beside the point.

Why this matters is that millions of Americans would like to see proof that “the law is the law,” as anti-immigrant Republicans like to say, and “no one is above the law,” as many Democrats have said in recent months and years. In other words, many of us are sick and tired of seeing the rich and famous or the not-so-rich-but-politically-connected get away with things that you or I would be in jail for. And, really, who cares if the Trump base goes berserk, because they already are!

I, for one, will not forgive Biden or the Democratic Party if they punt on this one.

Both sides of the issue can be found in the recent article, “The Perils of Not Prosecuting Trump,” in The Nation. Google it, read it and decide for yourself.

Fred Gossien



Dear Editor,

I would like to take a moment to thank the folks at ROMP (Responsible Ownership of Marfa Pets) and the Marfa community at large for helping me care for the feral cat colony in my alleyway.

With financial assistance from ROMP, I was able to get all ten cats fixed and vaccinated. I’m extremely thankful for this program, as I would not have been able to afford the vet care on my own.

In addition to ROMP, I would like to thank Neil Chavigny and Marc Declercq for lending and delivering traps. I’m grateful to live in a community where folks are willing to lend a hand (or their expensive animal traps) to a stranger. I would also like to thank Marfa’s Animal Control Officer, George Gonzalez. While I didn’t end up needing to borrow George’s traps this time, he was willing to lend them to me if I did.

Another instrumental organization in this process was Alpine Small Animal Practice. I greatly appreciate the staff for their hard work caring for these animals. Lastly, I would like to thank my neighbor Laura Price for helping to trap and transport the cats back and forth from Alpine. Laura also helps feed and care for these critters. If you have ever dropped a bottle cap in the ROMP jar at The Get Go, I appreciate you as well!

It means a great deal to me to know that these outdoor kitties can live out their lives and will not reproduce or spread disease to other animals in the neighborhood.

If you are curious to learn more about TNR (trap, neuter, release), there are a lot of great resources online (I recommend “Kitten Lady” on YouTube for great educational videos).

Thank you,

Claire Lindsay-McGinn



Dear Editor,

Tyson plant managers and supervisors were betting on how many of the workers would get COVID-19. That begs the question to those voting against their own interests and siding with the Republicans: “How’s capitalism doing for you in Iowa?”

We’re so many replaceable widgets to them. By example, remember Charlton Heston’s Ben Hur? He’s chained with dozens of other slaves pulling oars, whipped and driven by the pounding drum past a point of exhaustion on a Roman battle galley. When one of the slaves dies, they unchain the body, throw it overboard, bring another from the hole, chain him, and the cycle continues without missing a beat.

Please, friends, prayers for all the widgets of the United States! Consider being a widget while supervisors bet on how many die at their oars.

Yes, a metaphor. But witness our political and financial systems. U.S. Senators – with committee assignments having oversight or legislative responsibility – make a financial killing on stocks they’re able to buy or sell.

Widgets, forget about “Socialism in Venezuela.” Our home-bred capitalism is killing us.

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah