November 29, 2023 608 PM
I want to thank the community of Marfa for their participation in our Thanksgiving meal and celebration. We had people from all over the country (New Orleans, Dallas, Austin, Colorado, Atlanta, Marfa, Alpine) as well as all over the world (England, Poland, Canada, Mexico).
People brought side dishes and desserts, as well as volunteered to serve the food. We prayed, laughed, and enjoyed one another’s company. We are grateful to this newspaper, Marfa Public Radio, and the many Marfa businesses who spread the word.
All of this was the result of the collaboration with Convenience West and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
What set the tone for the day was watching the way Katie Rose, Kaki and Mark Scott exemplify how cooking a good meal for someone can be an expression of love. Last Thursday their cooking love was shared with friends, family, and extended to the strangers who walked through their doors. As much as the cooks of Convenience West enjoy making magic with their cooking, what seems to bring them the most joy is serving their food and watching others relish it in a circle of shared love and enjoyment. That is what took place on Thanksgiving Day. It is not just about the food; it is about being present for each other.
I hope next Thanksgiving you will come and experience this magical loving time of joy and gratitude. God be with you all.
The Rev. Mike Wallens
Vicar, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
The $1.3 million Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) grant that has just been awarded to Presidio County to build a pedestrian/bicycle bridge adjacent to the Alamito Creek vehicle bridge in good part was the community participation of Sal Si Puedes neighborhood residents who wrote letters of support and attended a TxDOT meeting a year ago in Marfa.
The project also comes with connecting sidewalks along FM 1112/Golf Course Road/Oak Street to the Marfa Public Library.
Neighborhood residents who attended a TxDOT meeting on November 10, 2022, at the USO/Marfa Visitor Center were Presidio County District Clerk Florcita Zubia and her husband, Ernesto Zubia; Carla and Raul De Hoyos; Kim Thornsburg; Annette Mendoza; Gary Oliver; and Sam Schonzeit. Thank you.
Neighborhood residents and property owners who wrote letters of support included Austin McClure, Robert Tillotson, David and Darlene Marwitz, Annette Mendoza, Gary Oliver and Kim Thornsburg. El Paso state Sen. Cesar Blanco, D-Far West Texas, also penned a support letter. Thank you so much.
Other folks who assisted in this successful effort were Adriana Rodriguez, El Paso TxDOT transportation planner and bicycle coordinator, who brought the grant opportunity to us and led the presentation session that day, and Jose A. Bocanegra, El Paso TxDOT advanced transportation planner, who walked the Alamito Creek bridge area with me to see first-hand the safety issues there. Mil gracias.
The Presidio County Commissioners Court –– with Commissioner David Beebe taking the lead –– supported the project throughout the yearlong process, and approved a $300,000 match from county reserves. Thank you very much.
In addition, Marfa Public Library Director Nicki Ittner and Friends of the Marfa Public Library member Bob Schwab consulted with David for the application. Thanks so much, y’all.
Thanks to reporter Mary Cantrell for keeping the public informed about this initiative that has really just begun.
Commissioner Beebe, however, did the heavy, heavy lift. An expectant father at the time, David divided his days between Presidio County and San Antonio, collecting data, creating a project map, and submitting the pre-application and application. With City of Marfa Streets and Recycling Supervisor Albert Dominguez, they measured the distance from the library to the bridge, noting where existing sidewalks are and where new ones need to be poured. David also researched firms that make prefabricated bridges, in all, creating the required cost estimate. Thanks, guys.
Again, thank you to all who made this quality of life project happen.
Workforce and economic development
The Rio Grande Council of Governments
It was deeply disturbing to read in the November 16 edition that the publicly-funded Big Bend Regional Hospital District (BBRHD) awarded $25,000 to the religiously affiliated Presidio Pregnancy Center (PPC).
Readers should know that according to BBRHD’s Annual Financial Statement for 2022, its purpose is “to pay for health care for indigent residents of Brewster and Presidio County,” and that county “property taxes make up 96% of revenue.” Readers should know that BBRHD is run by an elected board of directors who voted for this grant and who hold regular public meetings.
Despite BBRHD’s statement of purpose, BBRHD Executive Director JD Newsom is quoted as stating that maternal healthcare is badly needed in the region but admitted that PPC cannot provide healthcare services! There appears to be a serious disconnect here.
I urge readers to visit BBRHD’s website, attend BBRHD meetings (the next meeting is in January), run for a position on the board (the website indicates they are taking applications to fill a current vacancy on the board who would represent Marfa), etc. Close examination of all organizational documents of BBRHD for irregularities or illegalities in such a gross misuse of public funds is also seriously called for.
Kent C. Anschutz