December 16 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Collaborating to close the healthcare resource information gap Healthcare resources in the Big Bend region are limited, but, as the participants in a recent forum sponsored by the Alpine Public Library discovered, they might not be as limited as people think. What is definitely limited is information on available resources.

The forum, which took place on October 16, was the second of the community conversations funded by a grant from the American Library Association. It brought together 20 residents of the Big Bend, including five persons from the healthcare community, to share their experiences with area healthcare.

Two issues dominated: the shortage of health professionals, and the lack of information on healthcare resources. The first, acknowledged by the government designation of the Big Bend as a Health Professional Shortage Area, is a focus for Dr. Adrian Billings of Preventative Care Health Services. Dr. Billings works with educational institutions and state and national governmental officials to make practicing in rural and underserved areas attractive to and feasible for new healthcare workers.

J. D. Newsom, the executive director of the Big Bend Regional Hospital District, wants to tackle the second issue: the lack of information on healthcare resources. This endeavor faces several obstacles — including funding the project, making the information accessible, and keeping it accurate and current. Alpine Public Library is in a good position to help. The staff of APL and Big Bend Regional Hospital District, along with volunteers — some from within the healthcare community — will work to gather, organize and distribute information in formats available to those with internet access and those without it.

Because most of the forum attendees were over 55, the conversations largely focused on health concerns of older residents. Nonetheless, the health-resource clearinghouse, as one discussion group dubbed it, will address the needs of all residents in the tri-county area. In addition, the library hopes to host future conversations that focus on the health-related interests of younger adults, teens, children and babies.

The library would like to thank the American Library Association and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries for funding the conversations that helped bring about this collaboration. We would also like to thank those area residents who participated in our community conversations.

Lee Smith
President, Friends of the Alpine Public Library

Don Wetterauer
Executive Director, Alpine Public Library

Dear Editor,

The proposed project at Round Top near Sierra Blanca has significant implications for our area. USA Rare Earth has indicated it will align with green initiatives, but there is more that can be done. Mining is not the sole source of available rare earth minerals. Devices which have components made of these materials are discarded by the thousands into our landfills every day.

A fair compromise could be initiated whereby some of the royalties would fund ways to collect and recycle useful material that is currently going to waste. 


Genie Mitchell
Fort Davis, Texas

Dear Editor,

I’m writing today to express my gratitude to the citizens of Marfa for making the Marfa Holiday Bazaar a memorable community event. Seeing so many people gather together on the streets around the courthouse, neighbors meeting for the first time, families dancing together to the music, parents hiding gifts from their children as they shopped and vendors selling goods made by hand was a joy to witness. The Santa processional and local kids meeting Santa made me misty eyed more than once. I sincerely thank each person for sharing those special moments with us. 

In particular, the Chamber would like to thank the vendors, participants of the Marfa Lights Holiday Decorating Competition, and competition judges. As always, this event would not have been possible without the hard work and participation of many. We extend heartfelt thanks to the City of Marfa, Presidio County, the Marfa Police Department, the Marfa Volunteer Fire Department, the Chinati Foundation Education team, the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office, TXDoT, Marfa Public Radio, The Big Bend Sentinel, the Marfa Library, Marfa ISD, AEP, Junie Villarreal, Sarah M. Vasquez, Mariachi Santa Cruz, Wind River Photography, event volunteers, and the board and members of the Marfa Chamber of Commerce. Special thanks to Santa for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit Marfa.

It is a priority to the Marfa Chamber to maintain these special traditions and celebrate together. These special events, that we work together to make happen, are what make us a strong community with a promising future. We look forward to doing it again next year and wish you all a very happy holiday season. 


Abby Boyd
President, Marfa Chamber of Commerce

Dear Editor,

The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Big Bend and the Presidio Public Library would like to thank those who have participated in the Christmas Giving Tree this year. A special thank you to Bertha Zubiate who made the beautiful ornaments for the Christmas tree, to Tammy and Terry Bishop and Brenda Witty for the Christmas tree that is the center of our project and to all of the private gift donors. We couldn’t do it without your support. We would like to recognize the manager of our local Dollar Tree Store, Iliana Armendariz, and the employees and customers who enthusiastically managed to gather toys and donate to our project helping bring joy to more than 50 underprivileged children.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Big Bend is a nonprofit organization serving child victims of sexual abuse in the counties of Brewster, Fort Davis, Terrell and Presidio. The CACBB conducts activities that benefit the children in the community such as child abuse prevention campaigns, Christmas gifts drives and school supplies drives. The Presidio Library shall function as the central access point of information media for the education, enlightenment and enjoyment of all the people in the community.


Shanna Spence Sullivan, Executive Director

Guadalupe Carrera, Program Manager

Carmen Elguezabal, City of Presidio Library