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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

County Leaders Appeal for Funding of New Jail and Courthouse Repairs

Missing granite panels characterize the south side of the Nolan County Courthouse.
At a public meeting in the Community Center on Monday evening, Roscoans heard Nolan County Sheriff David Warren make a case for a new County Jail, while County Commissioner Terry Willman spoke to the need for Courthouse repairs in the wake of a 2000-pound granite slab falling to the sidewalk at the Courthouse’s north entrance. 

Sheriff Warren presented a slideshow of photographs demonstrating the inadequacies of the current jail in the County Courthouse.  It has 54 beds, but four cells in the middle cannot be used because male and female inmates are allowed no visual or verbal contact.  

Moreover, when the Courthouse was first used in 1977, it housed an average of 20 inmates, whereas the current average is about 57, and the number is escalating every year.  There is also a security issue as jailers must often walk within reach of the prisoners through the cell bars. 

The overflow of prisoners is sent to the Garza County Jail in Post and the Taylor County Jail in Abilene.  In the past ten years, the cost to the county for doing so has come to about a million dollars when transportation costs, including the hiring of extra personnel, is figured in.

The jail’s laundry, which consists of a single washer and dryer, is running 24 hours a day, and the kitchen is similarly not big enough to handle the large number of inmates.

Sheriff Warren wants a new 96-bed facility good for 30 years, built at a still undetermined location somewhere on the outskirts of Sweetwater. Besides the jail space, the facility would also include several new offices since at the present time eight deputies share a single office.  

The price tag will be in the $11 million range, to be paid for by an increase in county property taxes.  The projected increase is about four cents per $100 valuation with an average family seeing around a $25 annual increase to their tax bill.  The sheriff reminded the audience that the county tax rate over the last ten years has decreased from 51¢ to 40¢ per $100 because of wind farm revenues, so an increase to 44¢ is not an undue burden.

County Commissioner Terry Willman spoke to the need for Courthouse repairs.  After a granite slab on the Courthouse wall came crashing down to the sidewalk, an inspection of the remaining ones was done, and it was discovered that another one was loose and in need of immediate repair—and all the others lining the Courthouse walls were similarly unstable because back when the Courthouse was built in 1977, no measures were taken to waterproof the bases of the slabs, and over the years deterioration has occurred to the point that all are in danger of falling sooner or later unless something is done.    

Repair costs will likely include the removal of all the slabs with repair and weatherproofing of their bases before replacing them to their original positions.  The total cost is projected to be in the $1.3 million range.  Willman said that the Commissioners have yet to decide whether to go with that plan or to replace the granite with something else.  But one thing is certain—repairs must be done.

The audience seemed to respond favorably to the presentations.  Although the Commissioners have the power to authorize both proposals, a bond election with each as a separate issue in November 2012 is also possible. 

There will be similar public meetings on these two issues at Maryneal, Blackwell, Nolan, and Sweetwater.  See last week’s Roscoe Hard Times for times and places.



RISD Superintendent Kim Alexander has signed an agreement with Angelo State University in San Angelo that will make life easier for Roscoe seniors who graduate from high school and community college at the same time.

Through a program with Western Texas College started a couple of years ago, many students have earned credits toward their Associate’s Degree with advanced classes taken at Roscoe High—and this past spring, 13 of the 25 graduating seniors who took part in the program got both their high school diploma and their Associate’s Degree at the same time.

Now Roscoe Collegiate will partner with Angelo State and Western Texas in a program designed to create a seamless transfer of community college coursework taken at Roscoe into whatever major the student chooses at ASU.  Almost anyone who has tried to transfer from a community college to a university has run into the problem of community college coursework that won’t count toward graduation at the university. 

Now students who choose to go to Angelo State won’t have that problem.  Measures will be taken so that the students know ahead of time just exactly which courses they need, so that time and effort are not wasted.  Counselors from Angelo State will periodically come to Roscoe to advise students and make sure they are on the right track, and Roscoe students on the Associate’s track will take trips to the Angelo State campus to learn of opportunities and procedures there.  

The process will also help students who choose to go to a different university since through counseling they will become familiar with university requirements and procedures.

Angelo State stands to gain students who go ahead and choose to do their university work there, and Roscoe grads will benefit by already being familiar with the university system once they enter Angelo State with their Associate’s Degree in hand. 

Angelo State also has other advantages for many Roscoe grads.  Tuition is cheaper than at other area universities and the campus is only seventy miles down the road.



The City of Roscoe has just received and deposited in its City construction account the $1,765,000 it was promised from the State of Texas Water Development Board for the construction of a reverse-osmosis water treatment plant and for water distribution line improvements.

The new water treatment plant will be located on the north side of Broadway and Cedar Streets, where the ground storage tank is located.



The Roscoe Plowgirls took care of business at the Plowboy Gymnasium last night, jumping out to a ten-point lead in the first half that they held for the rest of the game, defeating the Hawley Lady ‘Cats by a final score of 39-29.  Lynnsi Moses led the Plowgirls with 9 points.  Sara Kingston and Faith Boren scored 8 each, and Mirian Solis had seven. 

With the victory, the Plowgirls are now 2-2 on the year.  After beating Blackwell 57-21 on November 15, they fell to Cross Plains 52-22 on November 18 and Colorado City 39-28 last Tuesday.  Their next action will be in the Blackwell Tournament, which will start on Thursday and run through Saturday.



No, that is not a misprint in the headline.  The Hawley Bearcats overpowered the Plowboys in a way seldom, if ever, experienced by a Plowboy basketball team.  The Bearcats jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead and never looked back in dispatching the home team.  The halftime score was 47-4.

Keeston Ford had 7 points for the Plowboys, and Jesus Leanos and John Hermosillo had 4 apiece. 

The only other game the Plowboys have played this year was last Tuesday against Colorado City,  which they lost 60-26.  Some allowance should be made for the fact that both Hawley and Colorado City are 2A schools.  Even so, unless the Plowboys can turn things around, this is shaping up to being a long basketball season for them. 

They have a chance to redeem themselves starting on Thursday, when they take part in the Blackwell Tournament. 



Wanda Faye Dunn, 77, passed away last Tuesday, November 22, at Rolling Plains Hospital.  On Friday morning, there was a public visitation at McCoy Funeral home in Sweetwater followed by a private burial at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene.  Pallbearers were her grandchildren.

Wanda Faye Martin was born on April 16, 1934, in Loraine.  A graduate of Roscoe High School, she married James (Buster) Dunn in 1953 and remained married to him for 58 years.  A homemaker for much of her life, in later years she also worked at Mott’s in Sweetwater. 

She is survived by her husband, James (Buster) Dunn; daughters Kay Hunter, Terri Griffin, and son Hank; brother Winford and sister-in-law Barbara Martin; six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.  She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Robert Martin, Jr.

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