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Former US Ambassador to South Africa and NPR head Delano Lewis

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Letters Banner

Fort Bayard's Future

I enjoyed your article on Fort Bayard last issue ("The Past as Prologue," January). As I was reading it, I began to drift to an alternative view of the entire issue, which I'd like to share.

It occurred to me, the essential reason Fort Bayard exists, was created, was to further a culture of dominance. It was built to protect settlers and profiteers coming into this territory to take it from the resident Apaches. I don't say this so much out of a special empathy for the Apache. After all, they did the same thing to the residents they found here when they moved in and conquered. I say this from realizing in all the talk about Fort Bayard this understanding is not present.

Once I realized this, my first thought was to flatten the entire fort, plant some trees and return it to nature. I then thought this was a bit extreme, because there are some usable structures there. Not one of the ideas about what to do with those usable structures took into account moral values or making a clear statement today about what happened then. This seems to me to be an opportunity to make a choice that reflects compassion, love and reconciliation. It is an opportunity to chose to act from a partnership mentality and an opportunity to say, "In the past we choose domination; today we choose partnership."

I believe as a species we can evolve to act from values such as love, making amends, taking responsibility, respect, doing only that which we would want done to us – values that touch our spirits. Why not name it "Reconciliation City," and use it to further these values through positive programs?

We don't need to go into a judgment about what occurred. We only need to make a conscious choice today that affirms our willingness to support spiritually fulfilling values.

Tom Gibbons
Silver City


Reading the article on Fort Bayard in the current Desert Exposure, it seems to me like a lot of yuppie thinking about what to do with it. For a start, those neat little cottages could be sold to people who would like to have their own home but are priced out of the regular real-estate market. The county and state might then provide low-interest loans so that the new owners could improve the houses. The hell with the building code; what ever happened to AYOR ("At Your Own Risk")!? If there is asbestos tile in the house, just tell the buyer; so long as they don't saw it up and make asbestos dust, it shouldn't be a problem. Before the houses are sold, just fix any real safety hazards that may exist, such as exposed wiring or heater problems. There is certainly a lot worse housing in the area than those cottages!

The county and state along with, perhaps, some federal funds might then fix up the large buildings and sell or rent them as low-income condos or apartments. The museum could be housed within one of the large buildings and many of the other historical features of the property might also be preserved. The idea is to make it a viable town and not just a museum; otherwise it will be an endless search for funds and Fort Bayard won't be preserved in the long run.

I'm not surprised when government can't deal with large domestic or international problems, when it doesn't even appear to be able to solve relatively simple local problems such as Fort Bayard, recycling or traffic-light controllers (US 180/32nd. St.).

Craig D. Merz
Silver City


Critical Need

I was impressed by the excellent article, "Grade C for Crises" in the January 2007 issue. This report well defines the serious mental care problems that we have nationwide and in New Mexico.

Why is this area of critical need being placed on the back burner by our elected officials while funding for nice to have items such as Spaceports are being pushed as absolutely necessary for the fiscal welfare of the State of New Mexico?

Could it be that our elected officials think that if mental-health problems are ignored that they will go away?

Leroy Lozier
via email


Lashing Out at Lightner

Ms. Currant was right on target when she stated it amazes her that Mr. Lightner continues to write drivel and still get published (Letters, January). Do you not have a process of selecting contributors based on the quality of what they have to say? His recent column on the pristine outdoors was an improvement, but when he says, "When I'm out and about I don't even wanna see even the tiniest hint of another human, " does he not realize that the noise of his machines announce his presence to others who may be miles away?

As for his outdoor ethics, I appreciate his help with the removal of all traces of trash, etc., but I would suggest that burial of toilet paper is unrealistic. It will be dug up by animals and exposed. Users of public lands should get in the habit of carrying out all toilet paper. Just wrap in double plastic bags. It's squeamish the first time but after that it's nothing.

Tim McKimmie
Las Cruces


As a long-time resident of Silver City, I feel your paper fills a great void! I've enjoyed the DIVERSITY of news and love the Desert Diary, and coverage of the little businesses coming (and going) in the area. What I've also enjoyed is coverage of local people, pioneers and agricultural articles, since that has been a major part of Southwest New Mexico for a lot of years. Keep up the good work!

I, however, became a little distressed at the mean-spirited, ugly-minded letter of attack on Larry Lightner. I enjoy his "ramblings" and feel ol' Nanda Currant was a bit harsh. If she doesn't like his article, then, this is the good ol' USA, for heavens sake– don't finish the article, go on and read something else. But to get that ugly is just not very nice.

J. Hamilton
Silver City

Puzzle Passion

I am a crossword-a-holic almost, and yours are great! And two! My cup runneth over! And, they are big enough that I can read them! They are in the "easy to medium" category, which means I can do them in ink. I get very tired of some crosswords that require a three-word answer or a "cute" or "clever" tricky answer. Is there any such thing as a theme crossword–like for literature or the arts? I'm happy enough with these, however! Thanks.

Maya Nothing
via email


Editor's note: Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm for our new crossword puzzles. We hope you and other crossword-a-holics out there will continue to find them a challenge that's just right.


Light in the Desert

As usual, your editorial in the December issue ("Vox Populi") was incisive, succinct and right on! I'm so pleased that you decided to come to New Mexico to bring (along with the other columnists) light to the desert.

I am a "mermaid in the desert," having moved from Monterey peninsula seven years ago, a refugee from my own "country" territory. I have acclimated to this biosphere, have grown to love the wide-open and used-to-be-ocean expanse. Your tabloid brings "culture" (as I was used to) into my space, helping me to deal with the monoculture, Bible-belt mentality that abides here.

Thank you for all your fine words and to all the folks involved in the endeavor.

Joyce Bovee


Let us hear from you! Write Desert Exposure Letters, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email letters@desertexposure.com. Letters are subject to editing for style and length.



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