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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Christi Pepper Beal and Robert McBride Win Council Seats

Christi Pepper Beal and Robert McBride were elected to three-year terms on the City Council.
Christi Pepper Beal and incumbent Robert McBride were the winners in the City Council election held on Saturday at the Community Center. 

A special meeting of the City Council called for yesterday to canvass the election results confirmed the outcome.  Here is the final tally of votes for the two contested seats:

       Christi Pepper Beal    51
       Robert McBride          50
       Robert Fortin              27

A total of 69 people voted, but not all voted for two candidates. 

Beal and McBride will be sworn in by the Mayor at the next City Council Meeting on June 12 and begin serving three-year terms.  

The term of Council Member Ken Brawley will expire next year, while those of Helen Perry and Virgil Pruitt will last for two more years. 


Congratulations to these 11 Seniors graduating with their Associate of Arts Degree from Western Texas College: Katie McIntire, Amber Adames, Devon Freeman, Jacinda Morales, Corey Hatcher, Lynnsi Moses, Hannah Box, Sara Kingston, John Hermosillio, Hannah Weems, Natalie Anthony.
Numerous students received honors Monday evening at the Academic Banquet held at Roscoe Collegiate High School.  In addition to the eleven graduating seniors pictured above who are also receiving Associate Degrees from Western Texas College through Roscoe High’s collegiate program, other students receiving honors were as follows:

Best All-Around Students:

      Senior Boy: Corey Hatcher
      Senior Girl: Jacinda Morales
      Junior Boy: Keeston Ford
      Junior Girl: Faith Boren
      Sophomore Boy: Luke Rovig
      Sophomore Girl: Whitney Williams
      Freshman Boy: Chase Cathey
      Freshman Girl: Jesenia Peña
      8th Grade Boy: Vincent Pantoja
      8th Grade Girl: Teresa Herrera
      7th Grade Boy: Brayden Beal
      7th Grade Girl: Karina Cisneros

Highest ACT Score: Jose Rangel
Highest SAT Score: Keeston Ford

The outstanding students in forty-nine separate high school and junior high classes were also recognized.



The Bellamy Brothers at the Wind Festival last fall. (Click image to play video.)

The Bellamy Brothers, who drew such a large crowd to Roscoe during the West Texas Wind Harvest Festival last October, are returning Friday night for an encore performance, this time at the outdoor stage of the Lumberyard.

The performance starts at 9:00pm, and there will be a $10 cover charge.  For information, phone the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



At  yesterday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Pete Porter, with the unanimous approval of the Council, proclaimed the month of May as “Laura Fay Duncan Month” in the City of Roscoe.

Mrs. Duncan, who celebrated her 105th birthday on May 7, has been active in the community since moving to Roscoe in 1930, was the English teacher at Roscoe High from 1930 to 1939, served as an election volunteer for decades, willingly donated time and energy to community affairs, and taught Sunday School at the Methodist Church for over seventy years.  



Last Thursday, we got a nice, slow rain ranging from an inch and a quarter to two inches, depending upon location.  In town, most of the people I heard from got about an inch and a half, which brings the total for the year to a little over 8.5 inches.

On Sunday, another .05” fell, and on Monday there was a dark cloud in the west that looked very promising but never materialized, not in this area anyway.  Even so, we’ve received an abundance of moisture in the last week or so, and even though more would be better, most of us are thankful for what we’ve got.

The weather has continued to be unseasonably cool for May, with high temperatures in the seventies and lows in the fifties.  That appears to be coming to an end, though, as today’s high is forecast to be in the mid-eighties with a steady warming trend as we move into a weekend with highs in the nineties.  The chance for rain also seems to be over at least for the next few days.



If you’ve driven around in the ranch country around Roscoe recently, you may have noticed that the yucca plants are in full bloom and the algerita bushes are just covered with ripe berries.  

I mention the yucca blossoms because not everyone knows that in some circles they are regarded as a gourmet’s delight.  The petals of the flowers are good to eat, and back when I was living in Austin, some of the yuppies there considered it classy to sprinkle yucca petals into their salads—both for color and for the delicate taste.   Recipes on the Internet instruct you to boil the petals in salted water or use them as an ingredient in omelets.  They can also be used in soups.

A cousin of mine in the panhandle says that when the stem that holds the yucca blooms first comes out, it is also good and tastes like asparagus, but I’ve never tried it. 

If you’ve never heard of algerita bushes, then you need to know that they’re also very common in these parts and can be found in varying degrees all over the western half of Texas.  Their size varies of course, but bushes are generally three or four feet tall and three or four times that across. 

The berries are small, round, and red, and the bushes are covered with little silvery green leaves that have sharp points on them like holly, only worse.  If you try to pick the berries with bare hands, the leaves are guaranteed to puncture your skin and bring a sharp pain and possibly a drop or two of blood—but the pain is worth it because the berries are just bursting with taste, the perfect combination of sweet and sour. 

One word of warning, though, if you’re going out to pick some—watch out for snakes.  Rattlesnakes know that birds and little critters love the berries, so they sometimes hang out under the bushes in hopes of snagging something. 

A better strategy than picking the berries by hand is to spread an old bedspread or blanket underneath the bush and then beat the branches with a stick.  That knocks the ripe berries right off the limbs, so you can get a lot of them quickly.  Unfortunately, it also knocks off a lot of the sharp little leaves that have to be dealt with later on, that is, if you plan to eat the berries raw or use them to make a pie.
If there is an easy way to separate the leaves from the berries, I have yet to learn it.  A few years back, I went out and gathered about a gallon of berries and leaves.  When I got back home, I put water in the bathtub and poured them in, hoping that the berries would sink and the leaves would float, or vice versa. 

Unfortunately, neither occurred.  Some leaves and berries float while others sink, so the only benefit of dumping them in the water is to clean the dust off the berries.  As far as I know, the separation of berries from leaves still has to be done by hand. 

(News Flash: I just talked to Dianna Heady, and she says a hail screen probably available at Higginbotham-Bartlett should be able to catch the leaves while letting the berries fall through.  I’ll have to try it.)

The old timers usually made jelly with the berries, but algerita berry pie is an absolute delight, and it is also possible to make algerita berry wine.  Recipes for all these are available on the Internet.  Bon Appetit!



Former Roscoan Edgar Nance wrote to report that Louie Shuler passed away after surgery on Saturday.  Shuler grew up in Roscoe in the forties and early fifties.  Memorial Service is Sunday in New London, Texas.  


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