March 3, 2021 512 PM
Thanks to Midland Memorial Hospital, over 560 members of our community have now received their two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, bringing our region that much closer to keeping local infection rates under control. In collaboration with the City of Marfa, who generously hosted these events at the USO building, and a number of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers, we were able to administer a total of 1,152 vaccines.
We are immensely grateful to Terri Wilborn, Val Sparks and the staff at Midland Memorial Hospital for sharing their vaccines with citizens of our region.
We would also like to thank Mayor Baeza, City Administrator Mandy Roane, City Council members Buck Johnson and Yoseff Ben-Yehuda, Marfa Visitor Center’s Minerva Lopez, Marfa Fire Department’s Gary Mitschke, Marfa Public LIbrary’s Nicki Ittner and JD DiFabbio, Presidio County Judge Cinderella Guevara, Pam Franzheim, EMS Director Bert Lagarde and his staff, Marfa City Police Department, Rio Grande Council of Government’s Annette Gutierrez, Corina Campos, Sam Schonzeit, MISD nurse Beverly Dutchover, and also Betty Nunez, Roxanne Bloom, Dr. Patrick Daly, Adrienne Humblet, Kate Sterchi, Virginia Pallarez, Natalia Williams, and our dear staff Leticia Garcia, Kassandra Hernandez, Irma Leos, and Arlene Conners. We could not have done this without you, thank you.
Don Culbertson and Valerie Breuvart
I was sad to see that the Museum of the Big Bend is now going to charge an admission. I suppose this is the new way of the world, but after over forty years in the museum business I know of no institution that makes its budget on the “gate.” Most, including the Museum of the Big Bend, have a donation box and often people give more than what the admission charge would be.
It should make sense to understand the value of donations versus the charge of admission. That information is easily obtained based upon donations and attendance. I have always thought that the board, whether directors, trustees or advisors, had the responsibility of making any museum as accessible as possible. Once an admission fee is charged, often the people who would best benefit are the ones who lose out. Museums should not be elitist institutions but open to all.
For the creative, there are other means to develop a membership program without requiring an admission fee.
An alternate successful membership program might include discounts in the gift shop, which are always in favor. Members-only openings to special exhibits are a viable option. The museum newsletter and special programs are a possibility. Reaching further is the possibility of admission fees to special exhibits. Since these often reflect the interests of curators more so than the general public, why not charge admission there to non-members while leaving the main exhibits free?
Mark Twain once wrote, “few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” It is the responsibility of the governance of any museum to provide that example and make it accessible to all, especially those who cannot otherwise afford it.
I am concerned with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s plans to end air transport of first class mail like bills, prescription medicines and magazines. Rural America still relies on the USPS. Our post office in Alpine, Texas, is hopping most of the time during the week. I still receive important bills and correspondence by first class mail. I realize that almost 90 percent of Americans have a computer at home. Fewer have printers that can scan legal documents. Not everyone can scan and electronically file documents from home. Many still send their tax returns by mail. We don’t have a Federal Express office here in town. We are fortunate to have a UPS one, but they don’t handle letters, bills, etc.
Look at how some children have not been able to do online learning this past year because they didn’t have access to a computer or their home’s internet performed poorly. Not all people are highly skilled in using a computer either. And when the internet is down in your office or the town, the post office is still open and receiving mail.
USPS is also an employer that pays a decent wage for the work it requires. Many employees are able to have middle class incomes. And our post offices in small towns help keep the communities in touch with each other. Before the COVID era of social distancing, you could count on seeing someone you knew going in or out of the post office most days. The postal workers also give a personal face to a very large service organization.
Citizens need to let their representatives know that they want General Louis DeJoy’s plan changed or to have him replaced by the board that appointed him.
Thank you for this opportunity to express my views.