Arizona Daily Sun from Flagstaff, Arizona on October 8, 1985 · 20
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Arizona Daily Sun from Flagstaff, Arizona · 20

Flagstaff, Arizona
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 8, 1985
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20 The SUN, Flagstaff, Arizona, Tuesday, October 8, 1985 Mystery of Marfa Lights Continues in Texas Town BYTOMTIEDE MARFA, Texas (NEA) The whole thing is said to have originated with a man named Robert Ellison. He was a pioneer cattleman here in the second half of the 19th century, and the story is that one evening in 1883, while camping with his herd, he saw a series of strange lights out on the desert. Ellison told his neighbors that the lights were like glowing balls at the base of the Chinati Mountains. But they seemed to be free of the earth. He said they floated up and down for a bit, then bounced back and forth, and neither he nor his steers got a wink more of sleep that night. Well, everyone thought old Bob must have backed into his branding iron. The wags said hed been in one too many stampedes. But then others began seeing the flickering illuminations as well, like campfires that get up and move around, and the mystery of the Marfa Lights was delivered into lore. Today, 100 years and more later, the lights are still flickering in this isolated region of southwestern Texas. And so is the confounding mystery. Theres no doubt at all anymore the lights are real. Thousands of people have seen them by now. They are clustered on a sparsely populated prairie that is known as Mitchell Flat, and when they make their (decidedly sporadic) appearances the locals say they put on spectacular shows. Some locals say they look like flashlights, way out in the distance. Others claim they are the size of soccer balls, and up close. However they are described, almost everyone agrees that they are spirited; they dance, they race about and, at times, they even chase one another across the sagebrush. Indeed, Marfa Mayor Jane Churley says the lights are almost fun loving. And they have inspired what amounts to the stuff of pleasant legend here. Songs have been composed and doggerel written, and junior high school students have drawn up and distributed a coloring book history of the curious phenomenon. . Tall tales have been created in addition. Marfa old-timers cite some amazing stories. One man tells of the time he got lost on the desert, and started to perish from thirst: There I was, almost a goner, and then I saw them wonderful Marfa Lights; naturally, they spelled out Budweiser beer. Naturally. But dont snicker. Even sober Marfans like to think the lights are benevolent. For instance, some 0 90 180 Mi residents say the Chinati Mountains are inhabited by friendly creatures from other worlds, and they create the lights with their spacecraft when they fly after dark. 4 That viewpoint does not predominate, of course. But, on the other hand, no one seems to have a better explanation. The obvious guesses range from car lights to fireflies, and there are a few votes for pranksters, but, as Mayor Churley points out, the facts do not support anything so ordinary: People will come here and say that its nothing but swamp gas. But they forget there isnt a swamp in this de- Dear Me g BY MEG WHITCOMB With kids near, sex life is nil DEAR MEG What do you do when you feel like getting next to your wife, but she says no because shes afraid the kids will walk in? My wife and I moved from a house into a small apartment with two bedrooms, but she refuses to lock our door or even close it because she wants to hear the kids. Theyre too little to un derstand about sex, but, in any event, I cant see why we have to have an open-door policy. Also, I cant just turn on when its convenient for my wife, and shes never in the mood in the morning. Were arguing about this and our sex life is going down the tubes. Please give us some advice. T.N., JACKSON, MISS. DEAR T.N. Presuming the kids arent up all night, whats wrong with waiting until theyre asleep? If fatigue is a problem, set dinner time earlier and move up their bedtime. DEAR MEG My brother, Ed, and his wife adopted Mae when she was 4. Mae was an abused child and needed a lot of love. My sister-in-law died six months ago. Mae is 11 now and developing fast. She misses her mother dreadfully. Because of all the talk of sexual abuse, Eds afraid to touch Mae and the poor kids confused. She thinks Ed doesnt love her because he no longer hugs and kisses her. And he doesnt know how to explain the facts of life to her. What kind of affection can a widower show an adopted daughter without being misunderstood? CONCERNED SISTER, HERSHEY, PA. DEAR CONCERNED - Ed should continue to express his affection for Mae the way he always has. She needs Committee Studies Growing Problem of School Violence Sun Washington Bureau WASHINGTON - Alternative programs for troubled youths have developed across the nation to deal with the growing problem of violence and unruly behavior in schools as studies suggest the situation is growing worse, a Senate committee was informed. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, said the last nationwide analysis of the problem of violence in schools was made in 1978 by the National Institute of Education. Among its findings: Each month 282,000 students are attacked and 112,000 are robbed by force, weapons and threats. Each month 6,000 teachers are Earnings Review Is Urged With the year more than three-fourths over, now is a good time for people who get Social Security checks and who are working to review their earnings, said Jim Andersen, Social Security field representative in Flagstaff. It may be that a person has earned more or less than he or she expected and that could affect Social Security checks, Andersen said. The general rule is that a person can receive all checks for the year if earnings do not exceed the annual exempt amount. In 1985, the annual exempt amount is $7,320 for people who are 65-70 and $5,400 for people under 65 all of 1985. If earnings exceed the annual exempt amount, then $1 in benefits is withheld for each $2 of earnings above the limit. The earnings test applies to all people under 70 getting checks except those getting checks because they are disabled. There is a special work test for people receiving benefits because they are disabled. There is a monthly test that can be used in the first year a person has a month he or she does little work even though annual earnings exceed the limit. Under the test, a person can get a check for any month he or she earns less than the monthly limit or does little work in self-employment. The 1985 monthly limit is $610 for people 65-70 and $450 for people under 65. People should remember that gross pay counts for purposes of the earnings test, not just take-home pay. A person who finds that he or she is earning significantly more or less than expected should notify Social Security so that any needed adjustment can be made. More information about the earnings test can be obtained at any Social Security office. The Social Security office is located at 397 Malpais Lane. Most Social Security business can be handled by phone. Call the number listed in your local telephone directory or toll-free 1-8001-352-5488. robbed, 1,000 are assaulted seriously enough to require medical attention, and 125,000 are threatened with physical harm. Each month 2,400 school fires are set and 13,000 thefts of school property occur. Each month 24,000 cases of vandalism and 42,000 cases of property damage occur, resulting in annual expenditures of more than $200 million nationwide. The federal government should take no direct role in combatting the problems, said Alfred Regnery of the Justice Departments Office of Juvenile Justice. Our programs are aimed at assisting local groups, volunteers and state and local governments in their efforts to reduce juvenile crime, he said. We believe that people, including juveniles, are responsible for their actions. They and their families are accountable for their misdeeds. We dont think that social deprivation is an excuse for a child to turn to crime. It may explain the crime, but it doesn't excuse it, he said. 5? COMPROMISING POSITIONS V SuSQft NKHTir iM-m M'-y mu? TP ONCt NKKRY 7:30 i HSB 77t-3a0t fflni si IB COKZiaaaiDO j Arnold Schwarzenegger ! Somewhere, somehow, VV someone's going to pay. MOULT 7:15-9:20 i&Oi Three of the years best performances make Agnes soar... a movie that pulsates with dramatic urgency. -William Wolf. GANNETT NEWS SERMCF LXx r. W-, I PETER O TOOtE I MARIEL HEMINGWAY mFtifUhEk V'-C--'SPA ST GHOSTDUSTERS m ARE DACK. IS - SEPARATE ADM.SS.oiTV T OAPHEUM It is nothing COCOON. PEE -WEE HERMAN PfE-vmY0 0 fllG .55 Y ApVivtiR f y sert for hundreds of miles. Then they will say that it must be ranch lights, and we have to remind them that there wasnt any electricity when the lights were seen last century. That leaves the extraordinary. Not UFOs, but science. Mayor Churley says professional researchers have been studying the lights for years, they have measured them, and tracked them, they have even tried to catch them; in the process, they have developed a variety of mostly complex opinions. One astronomer says the. illuminations may be the reflections of lights that originate elsewhere. They might possibly come from bright stars. The astronomer thinks the lights are bent at their source, squeezed betwean air layers of different temperatures, and propelled to the Mitchell Flat. Then there is a geophysicist who thinks the glowing balls may be charged particles of dust. And there is a geologist who says they could be phosphorescent minerals. There is even a scientist who believes the lights resemble St. Elmos fire, which is a form of static electricity. Bent stars? St. Elmos fire? The people of Marfa say its all very interesting, but the mystery remains. And it more than ever now and will not understand his change of behavior. Also, the more activities they share sports, travel, crafts the more emotional support he will be able to provide. Why dont you offer to take on the birds and bees department? If you dont feel qualified, suggest he meet with her school counselor and explore ways that he can shoulder this task. Write to Meg care of this newspaper. She will personally answer only letters that contain self-addressed, stamped envelopes. Questions of general interest will be discussed in future columns. maybe its just as well. The mayor says the town has been through hard times over the years, oil booms and busts and the like, and it needs something like this for equilibrium. The lights mean Marfa is unique. The lights mean Marfa is notable. We had some tourist agents here the other day, the mayor says, and the lights put on a fantastic display for them. The agents were flabbergasted, Ive never seen the lights so bright, and everyone had an exciting time. The mayor doesnt conceal her pride. And shes not the only one with that feeling in this area. The nicest theory about the origin of the Marfa Lights is that they were gathered from the heavens by angels and sent down to make things a little more important, if enigmatic, out here on Mitchell Flat. ATTENTION: HOTEL, RESTAURANT & LOUNGE EMPLOYEES The place for you to be next week is in Phoenix at the Southwestern Hospitality Industry Show at the Civic Plaza, October 15-16. Pick up registration forms at: Little Americas Gift Shop, 2515 East Butler Avenue. SPECIAL NOTICE Must meet all store requirements. MovIm Double Topee Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Frl. Set. Sun. 2.00 Every other movie Any 2 movies Any 3 movies Any 3 movies 2.00 2.00 3.00 Vi Price 3.00 5.00 5.00 3.00 3.00 Ask about our 1" Movies Rent ONE & Get ONE FREE with this ad. Family Video Center Flagstaff ISM South Milton 7749709 Sedona Prescott 1919 Iron Springs ltd. 779-49SS I Bj yn rfvi rfti rvtirfYi rfil frgii fy fYtirrYi nrYi rfYl rfVi nrpjYi rfiri nrvi fYvi rrn rfiri rr nrti 7vin ryn Bring us any Montgomery Ward catalog and well give you a tree JCPenney FallWinter 85 Catalog and a $1 0 certificate good toward your next JCPenney catalog order of 50 or more. Your trade-in entitles you to: Savings in our 1470-page FallWinter 85 Catalog. Delivery in 2 to 4 days. Convenient home delivery. Toll-free phone orders. (1-800-222-6161) Direct confirmation of merchandise availability. A place on the mailing list for our SpringSummer 86 Catalog. The JCPenney Catalog FLAGSTAFF MALL Offer good through October 31 , 1 985. T I vrr While supplies last. - J-O-J;

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