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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
February 27, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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February 27, 1997

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10 Thursday, February 27, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette DEJA VIEWS: Murphy Worked Overtime By Robert Lowes There's an old saying around the newsroom, "A newspaper is only as good as today's headlines." The writer becomes either an instant Hero or an outcast Bum, depending, of course, on the eye of the beholder. Naturally, some weeks are bound to be better than others. Last week, for example, was not one of my personal bests. Murphy's Law was defi- nitely working overtiine. If anything that could possibly have gone wrong, it did, and then some. However, all things considered, thanks to some special friends, we got the jump on some impor- tant stories, such as exposing the tip of a much larger iceberg with the proposal to bring the an- tique ghost plane to the old airport at Tonopah and the big Beatty explosive bust, which could have averted a major tragedy in the making. Somehow, in some miraculous way, the paper man- aged to come out on Thursday, albeit a little bit later than usual. Being Irish by heritage, it used to bother me that I was more lucky than smart. Doesn't bother me a bit anymore, just as long as the luck continues to hold. We do apologize for the lateness in getting last week's edition off the press, and for any inconvenience that delay may have caused our loyal read- ers - especially those who made a series of unsuccessful trips to their local news stands. Without boring readers with the gory details, suffice it to say, for now, we experienced ev- ery possible pre-press gremlin from cannibalized computers to garbled graphics and transposed typos - you name it and we had it. Volume XIV, No. 28, February 20, 1997, could easily have been a com- plete disaster had it not been for the tireless devo- tion and dedication of our loyal staff and some faithful friends who pitched in and went the final extra mile along with us. NO GREATER LOVE" That was the title of our friend Jim Donahue's book about an often ne- glected dimension of the Vietnam veteran's ex- perience and of the quiet camaraderie and self- sacrificing love among men under the fire of com- bat. As one of the founding sponsors, along with the author of the book and two-tour Green Beret medic Jim Donahue, of the annual Death Valley- Vietnam Veterans 100-Mile Marathon a little more than a decade ago, we were proud and pleased to once-again welcome the returning vets on their memorial sojourn. This year, as in years past, the veteran runners kicked-offtheir week-long memorial run through the rugged desert regions of world-famous Death Valley National Park by parachuting into the neighboring Amargosa Valley in Nye County on February 3. For me and for the men who served in that far-off Asian War, it was time for Deja Vu. Last year's run was marred and saddened by the tragic death of veteran jumper Don Kiefer of New York State, 53, who died instantly when his parachute failed to open during a ceremonial jump. Kiefer, a two-tour combat veteran with the 3rd Marine Division in Southeast Asia, was a law enlbrcement officer in civilian life. This 15th Marathon event was dedicated to Kiefer's memory by his fellow Vietnam vets, Bob Miller, Hank Humphreys, Mike Jackson, John Quirk, Don Hehnbrecht, Mike Tan- ner and Jim Murphy - each and every one of them the subject basis for a book aboutAmerica's tragic and misunderstood War in Southeast Asia. Kiefer had participated in every annual marathon event since 1984, and had completed running his 1,000th mile the day before the tragic accident. The seven remaining participating veterans, all now in their late forties and early fifties, repre- sent a cross-section of all branches of the Armed Forces and have been recognized for contributions to their respective communities. For this year's visit, they brought with them the Vietnam Me- morial "Moving Wall" containing the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the de- cade-long war, which will remain on display lo- cally at the Amargosa VFW Post 6826 until Sat- urday, March 1. THE BEST OFFENSE IS GOOD DE- FENSE For years, the newspaper straddled the delicate balance between anti-nuclear protests and pro-nuclear supporters over at the Nevada Test Site. Approximately half of our subscribers were on one side of the issue, while an equal number were on the other. We did our best to remain ob- jective throughout the entire Cold War period but, bottom line, we supported the government's na- tional defense policy, while fully supporting the demonstrators constitutional right to protest. However, we did not believe the cattle guard en- trance to the Nye County test site was the proper forum to effect that change. Said it before, and I'll probably be saying it again. The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Current case in point is over the hill at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert, about 100 miles southwest of the Nevada line. A 300,000-acre expansion is being sought there to meet the demands of increasingly sophisti- cated weaponry. From all the uproar, we'd be surprised if the Army gets the land it wants. A southward expansion of the base was halted because of the desert tortoise. Native Mojave vegetation and Joshua trees also stand in harms way. Environmental groups are alarmed that tortoises and other species of wildlife will be wiped out by barrages of rocket fire and artillery. And, they're not the only ones upset by the prospect of expand- ing the military reservation. Rockhounds, ranchers, researchers and antimilitary groups are all up in arms over the proposal, if you will pardon the poor pun. The Ru- ral Alliance for Military Account- ability, for example, . is rallying against the government proposal, The Alliance is well known in Ne- vada for its resistance to-any mili- tary presence in the Silver State. The military in recent years has become increasingly sensitive to the environment and the communities they serve. Base cleanups underway are being protected. But apparently that's not enough for some hard-core critics. The Nevada Army National Guard's ar- mored brigade in Southern Nevada has been barred from conducting training exercises on pub- lic lands in the state and must send its personnel to Fort Irwin, a vital Army training center. It is the graduate school for armored exercises and was the proving ground for Desert Storm. Anyone who thinks all dangers, foreign and do- mestic, have melted away with the end of the so- called Cold War isn't watching the news. Several nations would like to do us harm and some have even developed the capability to do just that. We must oppose the currently proposed expan- sion of Fort Irwin since it would negatively im- pact Death Valley, the rural desert communities and restrict public access to the heavily-visited Death Valley National Park. The best offense is a good defense. Surely, there's got to be some other land available somewhere else in the Great Mojave Basin more suitable for these national se- curity purposes. ADOPT A PET TODAY 7 1 8