All the news that's fit to print.

In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year!


As we move into the new year and out of the old, this is a good time to take a look back at 2015 and the year’s major happenings in and around the City of Roscoe.

Festivals and the Music Scene

Merle Haggard at the Lumberyard on Spring Super Sunday in April.
One of the first things that springs to mind is the City’s three major festivals: the Spring Fling, known this year as Spring Super Sunday, the July 4th Celebration, and the West Texas Wind Festival. All three events drew large crowds with live music and street dances, contests, street vendors, and fireworks shows. The Spring Super Sunday featured country music legend Merle Haggard, the July 4th celebration also had its annual parade and Plowboy Mudbog competition, and the West Texas Wind Festival featured another country music great, Bobby Bare, as well as Roscoe Elementary’s 5k and 1 mile fun run, the Fire Department’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” cookoff with its $1500 first prize, and a new popular feature this year, the Wild Hog Sacking sponsored by Highland High’s Junior class. All three events drew large crowds of visitors from area cities, adding to Roscoe’s reputation as a vibrant community with plenty to offer. The Cinco de Mayo celebration, always well attended, was another popular downtown event, as was the Roscoe merchants’ Christmas Open House in November.

Roscoe’s fame as a major music venue was once again enhanced by popular artists who played at the Lumberyard. Besides Merle Haggard, these also included such country legends as Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee of Urban Cowboy fame, the Bellamy Brothers, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, Terri Clark, and Travis Tritt. Popular with the younger audiences were the Texas Country and “Red Dirt” artists like Stoney LaRue, Josh Abbott, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers, Cody Canada, Aaron Watson, Shinyribs, and others. A recent article in the Austin American-Statesman, which you can access by clicking here, focused on Roscoe’s music scene as well as some of its other positive aspects.

Schools and the STEM initiative

US Rep. Randy Neugebauer and RCISD Supt. Kim Alexander outside the STEM Research Center.
The Roscoe Collegiate ISD had another banner year, increasing its standing as possibly the best small town school district in the entire state. It achieved national recognition this year for its 90% completion rate for the Associate’s Degree of its senior class in May, when 18 of the 20 graduating students also received their Associate’s Degrees from Western Texas College in Snyder. These completion rates have grown from one student in 2010 to 52% in 2011, 58% in 2012, 73% in 2013, 89% in 2014, and 90% in 2015. The program is both a time and money saver for students going on to college.

As an ACU graduate, Superintendent Kim Alexander received in March that school’s Grover C. Morlan Award for an alumnus who has made significant contributions to the field of education, and in November Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed him as one of ten outstanding educators to the Texas Student Assessment/Accountability Commission and the only one from a rural school district.

In October, the school completed the new STEM Research Center and held its Open House, where the keynote speaker was Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, Chair of the Education Committee for the Texas House of Representatives. During the year, various other dignitaries also visited to learn about the STEM Academy, which will provide certification that will give students a leg up both at universities and on the job market. In February, Texas Senator Charles Perry and Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams came to learn about the program, and in November US Congressman Randy Neugebauer took a tour of the new facilities.

Roscoe Collegiate ISD also continued to grow as it has every year since 2011. The initial opening enrollment in August was 618 for grades K-12, an increase of 45 over the previous year’s 573. Among the total were 260 transfer students from other area communities who want to take advantage of the education that RCISD provides.

The Plowboy football team surprised almost everyone with their success this year. After losing their first four games, they went on an eight-game winning streak, were undefeated in district play, and made it all the way to the regional finals before falling to Iraan. Their players dominated the all-district selections, and head coach Jake Freeman and his coaching staff were named as the district coaches of the year.

Highland ISD was also recognized for its academic excellence. In October it received a 2015 National Blue Ribbon, one of only 25 schools in Texas and of 335 schools in the country to do so. It was awarded the honor for the high performance levels of its students and was nominated for the honor by the Texas Education Agency. Like RCISD, Highland ISD has a large percentage of transfer students from area communities.

Cotton and the Weather

Cottonwood Creek overflowed its banks after the big rain on July 7. (Photo by Kenny Landfried)
Of course, as everyone around here already knows, with all the rain we got this year we could have had a bumper cotton crop if Mother Nature had just given us a good rain in late July, August, or early September. But she didn’t. After the four inches that fell on July 7 and 8, farmers were optimistic that this might be another year like 2007. Unfortunately, that never happened. For the next three months (i.e., between July 8 and October 9), the only rain that fell was the .62” that came on August 24, not enough to make a difference. So, what might have been a great crop turned out to be just about average.

For those who are interested in such things, this outcome accords with the prediction made last spring by “Injun Robert” McBride. As you’ll recall, he built a fire just before dawn on the day after the spring equinox, as the ancient Taba’na Yuan’e or “Sunrise Wind” ceremony of the Plains Indians demands. At dawn, the wind came from the north-northwest, which according to tradition foretells an average crop. So, Injun Robert’s prediction was that this year’s crop would be better than the previous year’s below average crop, and he was right.

As of yesterday, Roscoe’s Central Rolling Plains Co-op gin had ginned 47,141 bales with 1833 modules  on the lot or still in the fields. Gin manager Larry Black is now estimating that the final tally for the season will be from 68,000 to 70,000 bales and is hoping to be done by February 15. This will be more than double last year’s 32,274 and in the same ball park as 2013’s 71,849 and 2012’s 66,985.

Assuming we get no more precipitation before midnight tomorrow, the total official rainfall for Roscoe in 2015 is 33.55”, almost 12” above the 80-year average (i.e., since official records began in 1936) of 21.82”. And the rains we’ve gotten the past couple of months mean there’s plenty of ground moisture for wheat and for next year’s cotton crop. Stock tanks are full, and area lakes have more water now than they’ve had in years. I’ve even heard some say that some long dormant springs are once again flowing. So, the area is in good shape in that regard as we move into the coming year.

Other facts about 2015 from the official records of Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried, are these: The last freeze in the spring came on March 7, when the temperature fell to 24°F, and the first freeze this fall was on November 22, when it dropped to 25°. In general, the year was mild with fewer extremes than usual. The coldest temperature of the year was 12° on the morning of January 1, and the hottest, 102°, was recorded on three days: August 7, 9, and 10. In fact, this year had only six triple-digit days, all in August, and five of those were on consecutive days. This compares to the 14 100°+ days of last year, the 16 of 2013, 34 of 2012, and 81 of 2011.

City Progress

The new Police Station on Cypress Street opened in February.
The City of Roscoe also made progress this year. The new Roscoe Police Station opened in February and since then has got a new bathroom and other improvements, as has the Fire Station. Last month the Police Department also added a K-9 unit that will work with area law enforcement when called upon.

The three newly constructed state-financed homes in Roscoe were completed in May and placed into the hands of the owners, who are now living in them. The new reverse-osmosis water treatment plant was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the City approved the water, sewer, streets, and electricity and gas lines at Young Farm Estates. Two homes are scheduled for construction there, and lots are for sale.

The Stone Tower RV Park opened in January with a coin-operated laundry and now has several tenants. A new business, Main Street Antiques, owned and operated by Vickie Haynes, also opened. Sanders, an agricultural company specializing in seeds, feed, crop protection, chemicals, and fertilizer, erected buildings just north of the Co-op gin northwest of town and opened for business, and Smartt Industries LLC, just off US 84 on Roscoe's north side, expanded their operation by drilling an injection well. Other business activity includes the re-furbishing of the old Smacker’s CafĂ© downtown and the old Truck 'n' Travel Truck Stop on the west side of Roscoe. Hopefully, next year will see both up and running again.

In short, things continue to move in the right direction for Roscoe, and with continued hard work, creative thinking, and a little bit of luck, the coming year may well continue the trend. In any case, have a Happy New Year, and here’s wishing you all a healthy and prosperous 2016!



The Roscoe Police arrested two men this past week. On Friday, December 25, at approximately 3:45am they responded to a report of a person firing a gun on 709 Main Street. No one was injured, but Michael Anthony Feirro of Roscoe was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The case is under investigation.

On Saturday, December 26, at approximately 10pm, Roscoe Police responded to a report of burglary of a building at Eagle Railcar. A suspect, William Besse of California, was found and arrested in the parking lot of the CB Shop near I-20 and FM 608.

The Roscoe Police Department and Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department assisted DPS troopers and the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office with vehicle crashes and stranded motorists during the ice storm. Well over thirty people required help along I-20 and US 84.



A page from the Sunday magazine of Le Monde, France's top newspaper. The text at right says, "Texas politicians lead the charge against the carbon tax. Even so, the state is at the forefront of renewable energy. It's the number one for wind power in the United States.
The Roscoe Wind Farm continues to make international news. Le Monde, the number one newspaper in France, recently ran a feature article on Texas in its Sunday magazine, and the Roscoe Wind Farm was touted as the prime example of the state’s commitment to wind energy. It included information from an interview with Cliff Etheredge, the wind farm’s organizer.



Back during the West Texas Wind Festival, the City hired a San Angelo firm to take an aerial video from a drone. City Manager Cody Thompson gave a copy to the Hard Times, and I uploaded it to YouTube so you can all have a look. It shows various locations: the City’s north side, the downtown area, the football field, passing trains, the Fire Station, and Robert McBride’s fireworks show, among others, all from 30 to 90 feet in the sky.

For some reason, the video claims to lasts for over eight minutes, but it’s really more like three.



It was too good to last. The mild fall weather stayed with us much longer than usual this year—all the way up to Saturday night actually. The high on Christmas Day was 65°F, and the 26th, Saturday, was overcast and very windy, but still warm enough at 64° that afternoon. But that evening the wind shifted from south to northeast, and at about eleven the big storm, predicted days earlier, blew in with thunder, lightning, rain, and sustained winds of over 35mph with gusts up to 50mph.

Winter had arrived—with a vengeance—in the form of a huge storm that covered New Mexico and a large part of Texas, bringing in the north and west a blizzard with record snowfalls and treacherous driving conditions, and in the south and east tornadoes, heavy rainfall, and flooding. In the Dallas area tornadoes killed many people and destroyed entire neighborhoods.

In Roscoe the temperature steadily fell, going below freezing at about 3am as a light, blowing rain turned to sleet. It continued to drop until about 8am Sunday morning, and throughout the day the high winds persisted and sleet fell with intermittent thunder and temperatures of around freezing. The blizzard put the entire Big Country under a winter weather warning advising everyone not to leave home unless absolutely necessary. Most people never ventured out all day, and power was out in several country locations. Several electric poles were blown down, and electric company workers were out in several locations yesterday trying to repair the damage.

By Monday morning the brunt of the storm had moved on, although a light sleet turning to snow fell through the night. Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried recorded an official 1.72”, of which about 1.1” was from the rain and the rest from the snow and sleet.

Since then, the cold weather the storm brought still lingers, but the high winds are gone and there has been almost no wind at all since Monday. Weather will remain chilly for the rest of the week. Today’s high will be about 46°, tomorrow’s about 40°, and Friday’s only 37°. Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy and there is a slight chance of rain or light sleet tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday nights. Lows will be in the upper twenties or lower thirties. Next week will be only slightly warmer with highs around 50° and lows in the thirties or low forties.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive