Big Bend Notes, December 3rd 2009

Big Bend Notes, December 3rd 2009

Snow on the Highway in Marfa

Snow on the Highway in Marfa

–The biggest news is that Alpine has been covered in ice and Fort Davis and Marfa have been covered in snow. I-10 was closed for a period of several hours due to the extreme weather. Click here to read more on that story.

A reader sent these pictures of a snowbound Marfa. I have reports of spontaneous snow angels and deep hibernation with fires and brandy due to the bad weather.
West Texans are notorious for not liking cold weather… this is the time of year we drink indoors in front of the fire place and watch marathons of bad television in our pajamas.KVUE provides video on bad weather

–A wheelchair-bound New Brunswick man was inadvertently killed in Fort Stockton by police. Despite his history of mental illness and drug abuse, this is a tragedy that should have been avoided. What surprises me is that I haven’t seen coverage of this in the local media. The other thing that surprises me is that he managed to wrestle the gun away from the Pecos County Police Officers twice despite being confined to a wheelchair. Texas Rangers are investigating this incident. To read an article on this from CBC news, click here.

— About 70% of you believe that Marfa has been overexposed in the media. To weigh in on this issue, vote in the poll in the left sidebar. The good news is that I’ve also received several responses of “where’s Marfa?”, so perhaps things are not as dire as some people believe.

As a side note, I’ve heard silly, unsubstantiated rumors that Padre’s Marfa is being shut down. Don’t worry! This is just an ill-informed rumor.

Snow on Marfa

Snow on Marfa

–Bill Bourbon is running for Precinct 2 Commissioner here in Brewster County. In general, I refrain from endorsing candidates for political office because I often don’t have the time to thoroughly research their views and records. However, I heartily endorse Mr. Bourbon. He is politically active, a long time resident of the area and a thoroughly decent human being. I also agree with Mr. Bourbon’s concern that there is a lack of transparency in local government. I hope that West Texas Weekly can be a place where politics can be discussed openly and frankly by readers and officeholders.

In related news, I am going to interview Dr. Avinash Rangra concerning his campaign for County Judge soon.

Boyd Elder, Hugh MacLeod and Romi are some of my favorite people out here. You can learn more about Hugh’s views on art at You can purchase these handsome leather jackets created by Boyd Elder at Romi will have a fashion show at Padre’s Marfa in February.

–Our rather long weekly quote comes from Edward Abbey:
Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.


–Many media outlets’ editorial staff have criticized the recent suit attacking the Open Meetings Act:

  • Longview News-Journal Calls Suit “Frivolous”
  • The Galveston Daily News–“Using Our Money to Erode Our Law”
  • Statesman: Don’t let Lobbyists Undermine our Open Meetings Act

Jack McNamera defends the recent suit by Texas towns and the first suit by Councilpersons Rangra and Elms:

In his Nov. 15 commentary “Don’t let lobbyists undermine the Texas Open Meetings Act,” special contributor Fred Hartman complains of the Texas Municipal League’s efforts “continually trying to chip away at the public’s right to know” and cites a lawsuit here in Alpine — “This lawsuit is being paid for by taxpayer dollars as well — outrageous.”

Well, it might be objectionable if true but Hartman is wrong. The lawsuit “Rangra v. Brown” was financed by the plaintiffs, Avinash Rangra and Anna Monclova. The case was dismissed for “mootness” because Rangra’s term-limits as a three term city councilman meant he no longer had “standing.” The courts took so long deliberating that Rangra was out of office.

Click here to read the rest of this intelligent and well-researched look at the suit. McNamera contributed a special piece to the Austin Statesman on this subject.


–Reader Mary Lancaster reminds us about the upcoming tour of historic Alpine homes: “It will be Dec. 12th from 1p – 5p. Tickets can be purchased for a minimum donation of $10, which includes all 7 homes/businesses on the tour and refreshments at Talgar’s, at the Chamber of Commerce or through a board memember. Our website is

Participants line up at Civic Center, Friday, December the 4th at 6 PM and Parade begins at 6:30 PM Parade will go east on Holland Avenue and turn north at 5th Street and contiue to the Longhorn Restaurant. Bring your Brown Santa donations there for the “Chicken Fried Steak”. Cost will be $7 or toy of at least equal value.

Motorcycles register at Antelope Lodge at 11 AM December 12.
Brisket Plates at Harry’s Tinaja Ride begins at 1 PM in Alpine to marfa, to fort Davis and back to Alpine. (Sheriff’s escort.) $15 per entry ($25 with additional rider) plus unwrapped toy.
50/50 raffle will also be held to benefit needy for Christmas. Toys and donations may be dropped off early at Antelope Lodge. Questions call: Albert ledezma 915-667-6866

–Reader John Elsbury sent in the following picture of a redneck Christmas display:

Redneck Christmas Lights

Redneck Christmas Lights