The West News (West, Tex.), Vol. 99, No. 33, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 24, 1989 Page: 2 of 12
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The West News ■ August 24,1989
Card game decides Texas - Louisiana border
Larry Knapek, Editor
Linn A. Pescaia, Publisher
The West Times
The West News
Consolidated January, 1913
214 W. Oak, West, Texas 76691
(USPS) 677060 published weekly each Thursday, Second Class Postage paid at West,
Texas. POSTMASTER: send address changes to The West News, P.O. Box 38, West,
Subscription Rates: $13 McLennan County, $16 all other Texas Counties, $18 out of
state, $25 for Canada, Alaska and Hawaii. Cechosiovak Publishing Co., inc
Member: Texas Press Association
America is still "The Promised Land"
An editorial in the University of North Carolina campus newspaper has
contrasted the heroism of China's student demonstrators with an alleged lacX
of commitment by today's American students. "Remember when college
students made a difference in this country," it lamented, "the days of sit-ins,
Freedom Rides, Kent State, the march onthe PEntagon?" In a similar vein, the
New York Times suggested editorially the other day that if an alien spaceship
approached Earth and asked, "Take us to your leader," that person undoubtedly
would be Mikhail Grobachev.
Another Point of View
by Keith Peck
Farming has been something less than profitable the past several years so 1
know that the industrious farmers have been looking for alternative sources of
income. In the interest of helping with the problem I would like to share with
you a couple of ideas that to me seem to have meriL Granted the approach is
a bit unorthodox, but it is something that has been tried and does show that a
good imagination will sometimes succeed where all else fails.
A farmer in upper midwest had tried for years to make a living growing com
and soybeans. These were the crops of choice for his area. None of his
neighbors were getting wealthy and he was doing worse. He would plant com
and soybeans, but his best crop was weeds. He decided to go w ith his best crop
and for the last several years has planted weeds. Now he raises ever two dozen
varieties of weeds. He harvests the seed and sells it at a handsome profit to
chemical companies who are developing herbicides.
In Louisiana a fanner tired of losing money raising traditional livestock
decided to go with an unusual herd. He opted for a herd of alligators.Alligators
used to be protected but in the wild they are very prolific so they are no longer
an endangered species. However, the number of wild alligators that can be
killed is strictly controlled The solution? Raise them in captivity for the
commercial trade. The skins are very valuable as any dedicated boot wearer
We beg to differ. It is preposterous to compare the student demonstrations
inChinawith the rioting on U.S. campuses during the Vietnam War. The
courageous Chinese youths were struggling for democracy, while protest
leaders in America, by their own admission, were trying to bring down our
democratic system. Happily, today's college students seem more interested in
education than in revolution. Likewise, if aliens approaching Earth have any
intelligence, they certainly would seek out the freely-elected leader of the
world's greatest democracy instead of a director who is trying to fast-talk the
West into propping up his shaky empire.
Whatever the case, self-criticism is nothing new in America. George F.
Kennan, the renowned diplomat, historian and architect of America's post-war
foreign policy, in his published diaries characterized the United States in recent
years as "essentially a tragic country." But Kennan, like many other critics, has
a concept of America that is utopian rather than realistic. Despite its imperfec-
tions, ours is a country in which we still can take pride, not sorrow.
Listen to what Natwar Gandhi, an immigrant from India, has to say about his
adopted country. "What matters," he said in a Washington Post commentary,
"is not that America falls short of its promise, but that it continually strives
toward that promise. That is the American genius." Gandhi, now a lax-policy
analyst in Washington, D.C. is astonished by the changes for the better he has
seen during his 20 years here. "America never ceases to evolve. It is an ever-
improving, ever-improvising process. Mostly, it is muddling through. Things
are never really neat and orderly, but always changing. No other country
changes as fast and as much as America. Even the complexion of its own people
changes... They let people of all kinds and colors come to their shores."
"And," adds the immigrant from India, "the melting pot not only remakes the
newcomers, it also reshapes the country. New generations of immigrants bring
vitality. The fresh new stream keeps the old water from stagnating. That is
America's unique strength." Gandhi sees America not as "a tragic country" but,
Now getting started in the reptile business is not without it's hazards.
Registered breeding stock just isn't available. The way you get started is to find
a clutch of alligator eggs, distract the female alligator and then raid the nest.
Will carrying alligator eggs protect you from protect? It depends on how fast
you can carry them. Another problem is getting the alligator to market. Some
fanners tried herding them like cattle using dogs. The dogs kept disappearing.
Not only are the hides valuable, but a market isdeveloping for alligator meaL
I haven't tried it yet. I am waiting for the price to come down. There you have
a couple of ways that you could rotate your crops. One is rather bland, the other
could be exciting. Pick which ever one appeals to you. Maybe even my brother-
in-law might try one!! *
on the contrary, "a triumphant nation that has provided an unprecendentcdly
high standard of living and freedom of expression to the majority of its
heterogeneous people. No other country has done it on the vast American scale.
It has made the 'good life' possible even for the common man.”
"Most Americans take their good fortune for granted," concluded Gandhi.
"I don't. I know better. I am from the old world, where they still see America
as the promised land."
(Distributed by America's Future, Inc, New Rochelle, N.Y.)
Letter to the Editor
taught at UT
I received a letter from a Mr. Jack
A. Bailey of Opelousas, Louisiana
inquiring about whether 1 was related
to a Thomas Holder that grew up
around West some 60 years ago. As
far as I know, Thomas Holder and I
were not related and I don't remember
him. I thought some of you might
remember him or Mr. Bailey. Mr.
Bailey is 76 years young now and
grew up in the West Area. He men-
tioned A tt Cook andBusterRogcrsas
being neighbors and mentioned he
still had a few distant relatives in the
area. Mr. Baileys grandfather was a
police officer in West and perhaps the
Chief of Police. His name was R. L.
Bailey, but everyone called him
If you can remember any of these
people and have the time, maybe you
could take a few minutes and drop Mr.
Bailey a letter. His address is Jack A.
Bailey, Route 2, Box 418, Opelousas,
Mr. Bailey said he received The
West News nearly every week, when
the roads weren't flooded or washed
out from all the rain down that way.
He advised that there were motor-
boats running up and down his road
and the streets of Opelousas most of
the Spring and Summer and that a lot
of the crops in that area had been
ruined by all the flooding. He really
wanted to know the whereabouts of
Thomas Holder or whatever became
of him, so if you can remember him or
Jack, drop him a letter at the address
Kenneth W. Holder
State Game Warden
Enclosed is my check for a sub-
scription. I let mine run out and I sure
miss iL You know when I lived in
West - everyone always said, "there's
not much in the "West News". But,
when you move away from home,
there's a lot in it.
I'll see if I can dig up an old story
about our ancestors moving into the
West area for the Anniversary issue.
Keep up the good work.
Czech language courses fulfill the
basic language requirement for any
university degree program. A major
in Czech is also offered. In addition to
Itasca, Tx. 76055
Some 6.5 million Americans pley
tennis at least twice a week.
language courses, conference courses
for research into Czech subjects can
also be arranged.
Woody Smith, who has taught
Czech at UT for several years, will
continue heading the Czech program.
Smith says of his classes: "It is re-
warding for me to see young Czech-
Texans who are three or four genera-
tions removed from the immigration
maintaining an interest in the culture
and language of their Czech ances-
1988-89 school district budgets in Texas
AUSTIN - School budgets have
been increased by 50percent since the
school reform HB 72 was enacted five
yearsago. A total of$l 3.5 billion was
approved by school trustees in 1,055
Texas school districts last year. To
pay for it, officials levied local prop-
erty taxes totaling S5.6 billion. The
state provided $4.9 billion. The re-
mainder came from school lunch and
other fees, federal aid, bond sales,
interest, and other revenue.
The figures come from the latest
District Budgets in Texas, an annual
publication of the Texas Research
League, an Austin-based, educational
corporation engaged in governmental
An average of $3,384 per student
for current operations was budgeted
last year plus $288 for repayment of
debt and $464 per student for capital
West ISD's budget provided
$2,467.75 per student for current
operations, $178.60 for debt service
and $140.31 per student for capital
outlay based on the 1,187 students
enrolled in the fall semester of 1988.
The average salary for classroom
teachers paid by West ISD in 1987-88
was $21,323 plus supplements for the
In West ISD, the average salary for
administrators was $37,628 and
$26,593 for other professional sup-
port employees (librarians, counsel-
ors, nurses, supervisors, etc.).
Four dollars in five were spent for
salaries. Statewide payroll expense
averaged $2,757 per student, as com-
pared to $1,929.52 in the West ISD.
Payroll expense is a combination of
salary levels and staffing patterns.
Taxpayers provided one teacher
for 192 students in West ISD while
the statewide pupil-teacher ratio was
17.1 to one. Because of the existence
of small classes, especially at the high
school level, and abbreviated leach-
ing schedules, many other classes have
more than the average number of stu-
To fund higher school budgets with
a declining tax base, school trustees in
most districts have raised tax rates.
The average school district imposed a
property tax at the rate of 912 cents
per $100 of appraised value, which
value averaged 96.5 percent of market
value (selling price). The "true lax
rate" was 88.1 cents (912 times 96.52
percent) statewide. Locally, the West
ISD imposed a rate of $.637 while
property was appraised at 93.7 per-
cent of its market value making the
true rate $.597 per $100 of market
value (selling price).
The report points out that the cal-
culation of a true tax rate based on
market value rather than on appraised
value enables a valid comparison of
tax levels with other schools. In 1988,
the true tax rate exceeded $1 in 336
school districts in Texas.
The tax on a house that would sell
for $80,000 in West ISD would have
been $479. If the homeowner were
eligible for homestead exemptions,
the tax would have been $447, and if
owned by a person 65 years or older,
the tax on an $80,000 house in this
district would have averaged $383, or
less if subject to a tax freeze. That
compares with statewide average tax
bills of $723, $638 and $544 respec-
tively for an $80,000 house.
Last year West ISD's revenue from
the property tax increased by 4.8 per-
cent for 1988-89 as compared to a 6.8
percent increase statewide.
Local property taxes plus state aid
was $2,622 per student in West ISD as
compared to $3221.staiewkfe. The
primary purpose of state aid is to
equalize state and local tax resources
among schools. In 1988-89 tax re-
sources ranged from less than $2,500
per student in 12 districts to more than
$10,000 in five districts.
In addition to the courses offered
for credit, the Slavic Department
sponsors a Czech Club through which
students augment their Czech educa-
tion in an informal way. The club
explores Czech history, folk culture,
music, food and particularly the Czech
immigration to Texas. This study
occurs in both academic and social
For more information about Czech
Studies at The University of Texas at
Austin, contact Woody Smith at 512/
335-0365 or the Department of Slavic
Languages at 512/471 -3607.
Cpt. Dennis Meurer
completes Air Force
KELLY AFB ~ CapL Dennis R.
Meurer has completed the U.S. Air
Force military indoctrination for
medical service officers at Sheppard
Air Force Base, Texas.
The course acquaints newly
commissioned medical personnel
with professional and administrative
responsibilities as Air Force officers.
Meurer is the son of George and
Henrietta D. Meurer of 401S. Reagan
The captain is a 1974 West High
School graduate. He received a doc-
torate in 1984 from the University of
Texas Medical School in Houston.
"Kid" and 1 were discussing the
fact that summer vacation was all but
over and school would be starting
back in a couple of weeks and 1 won-
dered what courses and activities he
would be involved with, when the
subject of Texas History came up.
The Texas-Oklahoma battle over
where the State lines were on the Red
River are infamous and had much
publicity but I have never read too
much about how the Texas-Louisiana
border was established.
One night in the swamps of South-
east Texas when we had the Federal
Wardens from "Louisiana" with us
trying to break up an out of state
alligator poaching ring, I questioned
how this God forsaken mess could
ever be in Texas. My partner for the
stake out was Beau LeBlanc and he
proceeded to explain to me the TRUE
story of how the Texas-Louisiana
border was established.
In the very early days of both stales
existence, the area around the Sabine
River was very sparsely settled and
with people of questionable back-
grounds and character. Seldom did
they leave the woods, marshes, or
bayous for any length of time, lest
they be spotted by someone in author-
ity, but when they did venture out
there was alwasy a terrible argument
as to where the Louisiana and Texas
borders were. The same held true for
the politicians from New Orleans and
Houston. Every lime they would try to
get together to discuss mutual bene-
fits from state hood, the question of
where the state line would be, always
came up. One side argued that it
should be the Sabine River, the other
side would argue that it should be the
This thing became very serious and
a war was about to break out over who
would govern the area. One side stub-
bornly held out for the Sabine River
and the other just as stubbornly held
out for the Trinity River. Because of
all the squabbling and arguing the
area from the Sabine to the Trinity had
very little government and progress
was very slow to come to the area. It
finally became so bad that each side
knew that the matter must be settled
once and for all if any type of civiliza-
tion was to ever come to the area.
These were strong, stubborn men who
lived all their lives on the edge and put
more fort in a game of chance than
Finally cooler heads intervened
and it was decided that a representa-
tive from Louisiana and one from
Texas would meet along the Neches
River at what is now Beaumont and
settle this business once and for all
with a game of chance.
The favorite game of both sides
was Five Card Stud, and it was de-
cided that a dealer would deal five
cards straight up to each player and
the winner would determine where
the state line would be. LeBlanc
couldn't remember the names of the
players or who was dealing but he
described each card in detail.
Each player cut the deck of cards
and it was determined that the Texan
would be dealt to firsL They cut the
cards again and the dealer very slowly
and deliberately began to give the
players their cards. A Jack to the
Texan and a 10 to the Cajun. Then a
King to the Texan and an Ace to the
Cajun. The third card was a 4 to the
Texananda7totheCajun. The fourth
card was a 10 to the Texan and a 4 to
the Cajun. (The Texan J-K-4-10 —
The Cajun 10-A-7-4). The room grew
deathly quiet as the fifth and final card
was dealt. A King to the Texan, he
had a pair of Kings. The whispers and
vibrations ceased as the dealer turned
the final card to the Cajun. An Ace. A
pair of Aces.
The Texan had LOST and to this
day the state line remains the Sabine
Until next week, good luck and
good fishing and safe boating.
Kenneth W. Holder
State Game Warden Lake Whitney
AUSTIN - The leaching of Czech
language classes will continue this
fall at The University of Texas at
Austin announced Michael Katz, dean
of the Department of Slavic Lan-
guages. Courses offered include first
and second year Czech and special
conference courses for advanced stu-
Repeat after me...Dad
Reenlistments aren't unusual. They happen every day. Fathers often enlist or reenlist their sons. But when a son
reenlists his father, it becomes unique. Recently, Army 2nd LT Allen Soukup had the honor of reenlisting his
father, Chief Master Sergeant Steve R. Soukup, in the Air Force Reserve. Chief Soukup has completed 33 years
of active and reserve duty since graduating from West High School in 1956. This is his last reenlistment. He will
retire in December 1992. He is a Reserve Individual Mobilization Augmentee assigned to Hq TAC, Langley AFB,
VA, as a civil engineering Work Control Superintendent. Chief Soukup and his wife Frances live in San Antonio,
TX, and traveled to Ft. Rucker, Alabama, so their son could perform the ceremony. Lieutenant Soukup, 23, on
active duty since Jan. 13,1989, after graduating from Texas A&M University, is attending Army Helicopter pilot
training at FL Rucker. (Photo by SSgt. Robert Mitchem, Ft. Rucker, AL)
WE PHOTOGRAPH EVERY CHECK
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proof of payment, don’t worry. We can produce a
copy without delay.
This is simply another service that continues to
make your association with our bank more valuable
The State National Bank
MEMBER F.D.I.C. WEST, TEXAS
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Knapek, Larry. The West News (West, Tex.), Vol. 99, No. 33, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 24, 1989, newspaper, August 24, 1989; West, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth716634/m1/2/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting West Public Library.