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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Happy New Year!


Here’s hoping you are still basking in the glow of a merry Christmas! I know I am. But now that Christmas is over, it’s almost time to welcome the new year and close the books forever on the old one.  Before we do, though, now is a good time for us to look back at 2016 and remember what kind of year it’s been for the city of Roscoe. 

Festivals and the Music Scene

Tanya Tucker at the Lumberyard.
A good place to start is with the city festivals—the Spring Fling in April, the Independence Day Celebration on or around July 4th, and the West Texas Wind Festival in October. These festivals have been around long enough now that people in surrounding communities associate them with Roscoe, and there are many of them who, along with the Roscoe folks, always make a point to attend them and enjoy the music, fireworks, and other events that accompany them.

This year’s Spring Fling featured noted Texas singer and songwriter Robert Earl Keen, who performed on the stage at the Lumberyard while shoppers enjoyed the open houses of Roscoe’s downtown businesses or visited the museum. As usual, the Independence Day Celebration in July was a day to remember. It began with the Roscoe Lions Club’s pancake breakfast followed by the July 4th parade down Broadway. At noon, the Plowboy Mudbog got underway at the baseball field while street vendors filled the downtown area. Texas Tech’s Masked Rider was on hand with his black horse, and live music at the free concert featured country singer Sunny Sweeney. As always, the event was capped off by an impressive fireworks show. At the tenth annual West Texas Wind Festival in October, the Cooder Graw band was the main act for the street dance, and the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department once again held its annual “BBQ in the Wind” cookoff with its $1500 first prize. The Plowboy Mudbog entertained the crowd at the baseball field, and the day was once again capped off by the fireworks show.

Roscoe’s reputation as a major music venue for the Big Country was once again confirmed by the live performances of nationally-known music artists and groups. Most prominent among these were Tanya Tucker and the Charlie Daniels Band, whose appearances filled the Lumberyard with crowds easily exceeding Roscoe’s population. Other performers also drew large audiences. These included such country greats as Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, the Mavericks, LoneStar, Bobby Flores, and Terri Clark, as well as “Red Dirt” artists and others like Josh Abbott, Stoney LaRue, Cody Canada, Jamie Richards, Aaron Watson, Roger Creager, Charlie Robison, and Jason Boland. The online magazine RV Life wrote a very complimentary article about Roscoe’s music scene as well as some of its other positive aspects. You can access it by clicking here.

Roscoe School

The school is always the heart of small towns in west Texas, and Roscoe is no exception. What is exceptional about Roscoe’s school are its unique accomplishments in recent years and its contributions to rural education in the state of Texas. In May, 30 graduates received their diplomas. Six of these were early graduates who had finished after the fall semester, and 23 of the other 24 received their Associate’s Degrees from Western Texas College in Snyder along with their high school diplomas. Roscoe is unique among Texas high schools in the percentage of its graduating seniors who finish high school and community college at the same time.

It is also in the forefront of technology instruction and this fall it began a new program in drone instruction, repair, and certification in a joint venture with Strat-Aero International, Inc., which specializes in military and commercial drones. In this area it inspects wind turbine blades with camera-mounted drones. In exchange for providing instruction to RCHS students, the company has established its local office on the south side of the school grounds in the old ag science building.

Roscoe’s 4-H Club had one of its students, high school junior Francisco Garcia, chosen to represent Texas as its 4-H Ambassador to Washington, DC. He made his second trip to that city in October, where he taught drone skills to DC students and was featured in an article in the news magazine U.S. News & World Report.

The STEM Center saw its first full year of use, and in November, a large crowd of professionals—educators, legislators, attorneys, veterinarians, geneticists, and specialists from various other fields—were on hand to attend the first STEM advisory meeting and receive updates on RCISD’s P-20 System Model for Student Success.

In May, the bond proposal for a new $5 million Early Childhood Center was rejected by voters in a close election. Nevertheless, in August Supt. Kim Alexander and the RCISD School Board came up with a Plan B by purchasing the old Town & Country Grocery building on Main Street, which after remodeling will house the school’s Montessori Early Childhood Center. The purchase and conversion of the building will cost about $1 million, paid for with a 15-year note through the RCISD operating fund. The Montessori program, recognized everywhere as a superior and successful method of instruction, will give Roscoe’s pre-K and primary students a leg up in preparing them for subsequent grades.

Roscoe High School exes converged on the school and town in September for Homecoming and a weekend of renewing old friendships and seeing old classmates that in some cases they hadn’t seen since high school.

The Plowboys once again had a successful year in football, going all the way to the Regional Finals before being eliminated in the playoffs by Seagraves, a team they had defeated earlier in the year. Several of their players made the All-District and All-Big Country teams, and wide receiver and defensive back Jose Ortega was selected as a defensive back to the 2A All-State second team.

City Progress

The City of Roscoe also made progress this year with the addition of three new businesses. Sanders, Inc., had its official opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in March. An agricultural supply company specializing in seeds, feed, crop protection, chemicals, and fertilizer, it is located on 4620 County Road 111 in newly erected buildings just north of the Co-op gin northwest of town.

The other two new businesses are both located in south Roscoe along Interstate 20. Both opened on the same week in November. The 235 Travel Stop is in the newly remodeled building that formerly housed the Truck and Travel truck stop on the south side of I-20 across from the STEM Center. Owned by Zul Menin, it services trucks and has a restaurant and convenience store. The other new business is the Tex-Mex Restaurant on FM 608 nest to I-20 in the building that was most recently Retta Mae’s restaurant and originally the Dairy Queen. It specializes in Mexican and American cuisine and is owned by Marco Alba of Pecos.

Cotton and the Weather

For the second year in a row, this area got enough rain for a bumper cotton crop if we’d just got the rains at the right time, but, for the second year in a row, we didn’t. Even so, the yield has been larger than expected, so we’ll take what we got. The official rainfall total for this year was 28.97 inches. Although it's not as much as the 33.55 inches we got last year, it easily exceeds Roscoe’s annual average for the past 81 years (when official totals began in 1936), which is 21.87 inches.

Currently, Roscoe’s Central Rolling Plains Co-op gin has ginned 38,700 bales with 548 modules on the lot and 1295 still in the fields. Gin manager Larry Black is now estimating that the final tally for the season will be over 80,000 bales. This will be more than last year's 75,636 and double 2014's 32,274. It will also exceed 2013’s 71,849 and 2012’s 66,985. He is hoping to be done ginning by mid-February.

Other facts about 2016 from the official records of Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried, are these: The last freeze in the spring came on April 2, when the temperature fell to 30°F, and the first freeze this fall was on November 19, when it dropped to 30°. In general, the year was mild with fewer extremes than usual, at least until last Sunday, December 18, when the temperature fell to 9°, the coldest temperature since January 7, 2014, when it dropped to 7°. The hottest was the 103° recorded on July 8. There were 20 triple-digit days this summer, ten in July and ten in August. This compares to the 6 100°+ days of last year, the 14 of 2014, 16 of 2013, 34 of 2012, and 81 of 2011.

Despite some setbacks, 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 2017!



A farmer works in his fields near Roscoe, Texas. Roscoe is home to one of the largest wind farms in the world, and wind energy grew substantially during Gov. Rick Perry’s time in office. (Photo by Tom Pennington, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram.)

Read more here:
Roscoe’s wind farms are still being featured in the national news. The most recent article, written by Alex Daugherty of the McClatchy news service and published on December 16, appeared in newspapers all across the United States. A copy was sent to me by former Roscoan Mike Mayes, who read it in his local paper, the Sherman Herald-Democrat.

This latest article puts an interesting twist on the development of the Roscoe wind farms and the revival of what Roscoe Mayor Pete Porter referred to as a once dying west Texas town. It attributes the city’s and state’s success to former Governor Rick Perry, now President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Energy. And how did Perry achieve this feat? By simply by staying out of the way and not interfering. By not establishing a bureaucracy or making developers jump through hoops to obtain up to 30% of their construction costs from the federal government, Perry paved the way for the state’s wind energy success.

The article includes quotes from Mayor Porter and from Rod Wetsel, long-time Sweetwater oil and gas lawyer. Wetsel thinks Perry can be a successful Secretary of Energy if he continues to stay out of the way and not rock any boats.

The article is available online and can be accessed by clicking here.



School may still be out for the holidays, but the Plowgirls have resumed their basketball season, and yesterday evening picked up a 60-49 victory over Eden in their first game in the Eden Tournament.

The Plowgirls play Bronte this morning at 9:00, and, if they win, will face Robert Lee in the championship game.

The scoring by quarters went like this:

Plowgirls 60 – Eden 49

Plowgirls          16        22        42        60
Eden                    6        16        31        49

Veronica Cuellar and Bonnie Wilkinson led the Plowgirls in scoring with 16 points apiece, while Kenzie Buchanan had 14, Jaleigh Morales 7, Jaci Alexander 5, and Karina Cisneros 2.

The Plowboys resume their season today with their first game of the Eula Tournament.



The Black Dirt Revival.
The Lumberyard will be rocking Saturday night as it brings in the New Year with the live music of the Black Dirt Revival. Members of the band include Jamie Tollison (rhythm/vocals), Robbie Nolan (bass/vocals), James Sturdivant (lead/vocals), and Shane Winslett (drums).

Cover charge is $10. For reservations or more information, contact the Lumberyard during business hours at 325-766-2457.


The sunset Friday night. (Photo by Lonnie Orman.)
Compared to the previous week with its extremes of 79°F for the high and 9° for the low in a two-day span along with some fierce wind, this past week was relatively mild and pleasant and uneventful. There were some strong south breezes on Christmas morning with sustained winds up to 37mph and gusts up to 47mph, but by 2pm they had diminished considerably and by 5pm were essentially calm.

Otherwise, there was nothing remarkable about the weather, considering it was the first official week of winter. Except for Thursday when the high was 50°, all the afternoon highs were in the sixties, the highest coming on Saturday and Sunday at 68°. The low temperatures were yesterday’s 35° and Thursday’s 37°. All the others were in the forties and fifties. Skies were overcast most of the time with the sun peeking out only now and then.

Today should be the warmest we’ve had in a while as morning clouds clear off and the afternoon sun warms the temperature to around 74°. It won’t last, though, as the clouds and cooler weather return on tomorrow and Friday with highs in the low fifties and lows around forty. The sun will come back out for the weekend and highs will once again warm into the sixties.

There is no precipitation in the forecast.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Christmas card from the early 1930s.
Merry Christmas!  Here’s hoping you’ll be enjoying this special holiday with family and friends this time around. I’m also hoping you’ve been a good boy or girl this year and Santa doesn’t bring you switches or lumps of coal. If you get a new BB or pellet gun, please let me remind you to be careful. Those things can put your eye out!

One of the most comforting aspects of the Christmas season is the continuity of the holiday and its familiar practices through the years--Christmas lights, carols and other Christmas music, manger scenes, the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, the exchange of gifts, the gatherings of family members, Christmas dinner, and so on. At the same time, it’s also interesting to note the changes that have come to the celebration over the decades.

Mary Edna Worthy (1918-2009), who taught English and other subjects in Roscoe High School from the 1940s into the 1960s, also wrote about many of her memories growing up as a member of Roscoe’s Baptist Church. The following, one of those, is an excerpt about the Christmas celebrations at church during her childhood. She describes the Baptist experience, but all the Roscoe churches of that time had somewhat similar celebrations, whether Church of Christ, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, or Presbyterian. Her memories highlight the community spirit embodied in those celebrations at a time when many families didn’t have the money to have a proper celebration at home.

by Mary Edna Worthy

For those of us who were children in the 1920's and 1930's Christmas activities at Church seemed to assume, perhaps, a greater importance than they do for children today. Indeed, during the Great Depression, Christmas functions at Church were about the only Christmas festivities many children had. Preparations, of course, began far in advance of Christmas Eve. The W. M. U. conducted rummage sales each Saturday during the harvest season. At that time, cotton was harvested by hand, and large groups of migrant workers from the Rio Grande Valley came in each autumn. Roscoe had several business establishments, and Saturday was a very busy day. The migrants did not work on Saturday and spent the day downtown. The Church ladies did a thriving business, and dedicated a portion of their profits to prepare for Christmas. They bought red, stiff mesh material and cut and sewed stocking-shaped bags. These bags were filled with apples, oranges, and nuts, which at least two local grocers sold to the churches at reduced prices. One certain deacon always furnished a large supply or garishly colored candy to be added to the socks. The candy always seemed to be a great favorite with the children and, I suspect, with the deacon

Meanwhile, the Girls' Auxiliary met in the home of their sponsor, Miss Fay Dunn, to make tree decorations. Paper chains were made from red and green school construction paper; fresh cranberries were strung like beads on thread; and yards of popped corn strings were made. There were no electric tree lights, but each Sunday School class would be asked to donate a few glass balls. A pasteboard star would be cut, and covered with carefully hoarded tinfoil wrappers from Hershey candy bars—no aluminum foil was available then—and then edged in shiny tinsel. To our childish eyes, this star, when placed in the top of the tree, was the ultimate decoration-

The tree itself was a cause of much speculation and excitement. A few days before Christmas most of the men of the Church, marshaled by J. E. “Shorty” Clayton, piled on Mr. Clayton's dray and were pulled by his team of trusty mules to pastures south of town to find a cedar tree suitable for use at Church. The tree had to be as large as possible and of a symmetrical shape. This often involved hikes over several pastures before one could be found to suit their fancy. Once the tree was selected it was chopped down, loaded on the dray, and hauled back to town. On one notable occasion, a particularly impressive specimen was brought in, only to prove too large to go through the doors. It was trimmed down enough to be pulled through the doors, but when it lost some of its branches, it also lost some of its splendor

On Christmas Eve morning enough volunteers left their busy home activities to come and decorate the tree. Those families who did not have a tree at home usually brought their children's gifts and placed them on or about the tree. Those families who did have trees at home usually produced at least a token gift for their own children. Most Sunday School classes usually had a modest gift for their teachers, and the teachers sometimes had gifts for their pupils. I still have a small New Testament which Miss Beatrice Kerby (later Boston) gave to members of her junior girls' class. There was usually a free-will cash offering for the pastor.

The program usually consisted of a reading of the second chapter of St. Luke, traditional Christmas carols, some secular songs and poems, and a visit from Santa Claus. For years the role of Santa was, by common consent, played by J. E. "Shorty” Clayton- It was a role for which he was well suited, and one which he admittedly thoroughly enjoyed. Besides, he owned an elegant red plush Santa Claus suit, complete with shiny black boots, a cap and pack, and a luxuriant set of white whiskers. He called each child's name in a loud voice and happily distributed each gift and bag of fruit and candy.

Through the years this writer has seen dozens of Santa Clauses in schools, stores, and parades, and the passage of many years has taken away that child's sense of excitement occasioned by a visit from Santa Claus. Yet, taking all that into account, I think that most modern Santas lack the flair and panache brought to the role by Shorty Clayton.



Santa rode the Roscoe Express in last year's Christmas parade.
Saturday, December 24

Line-up at 6:00pm – Start time 6:30pm

Begins at 400 Block of Broadway, proceeds west to Cypress Street, turns south at Cypress, and ends in front of City Hall.



(Editor’s note: Due to a medical emergency I had last Wednesday morning, I was unable to put this in last week’s issue. I do so now with an apology for its lateness.)

These are the results of the Roscoe FFA Stock Show held at the RCISD Ag Barn on Saturday, December 10.


              Anselma Acuna
              Madison Gonzalez

               Madison Gonzalez


               Kayla Justiss
               Abigail Meadows

               Kayla Justiss


Class 1 – Medium Wool
               1st – Tait Fullwood
               2nd – Ty Fullwood
               3rd – Ty Fullwood

Grand Champion Lamb
               Tait Fullwood

Reserve Champion Lamb
               Ty Fullwood

Sr. Lamb Showmanship
               Tait Fullwood


Class 1 – Lightweight Purebred (76 – 110 lbs)
               1st –  Zeke Murphy (Spot)
               2nd – Aiden Richburg (Spot)
               3rd – Lauren Herrera (Duroc)

Class 2 – Heavyweight Purebred (125 – 206  lbs)
               1st – Zeke Murphy (Berkshire)
               2nd – Aiden Richburg (Duroc)
               3rd – Dax Drake (Hereford)
               4th – Jake McCoy (Duroc)

Class 3 – Lightweight Cross (116 - 131 lbs)
               1st – Justin Herrera
               2nd – Lauren Herrera
               3rd – Kaylee Palacios
               4th – Aiden Richburg

Class 4 – Heavy weight Cross (133 - 178 lbs)
               1st – Kaylee Palacios
               2nd – Justin Herrera
               3rd – Aiden Richburg
               4th – Dax Drake
               5th – Montana McCoy

 Grand Champion Swine
               Kaylee Palacios with Heavyweight Cross

Reserve Champion Swine
               Justin Herrera with Lightweight Cross

Jr. Swine Showmanship
               Justin Herrera

Sr. Swine Showmanship
               Kaylee Palacios

Pee Wee Show Exhibitors
               Diana Collie-Brickel
               Dylan Dosser
               Davis Drake
               Kason Gunter
               Kaycee Gunter
               Jonathan Herrera


The Plowgirls lost both of their last basketball games before the Christmas break, one to Hawley on December 13, the other to Anson on December 16. Here is the scoring by quarters of each, followed by individual scoring:

Hawley 65 – Plowgirls 44

Hawley         18       34      48      65
Plowgirls      15       24      36      44

Veronica Cuellar 16, Jaleigh Morales 14, Bonnie Wilkinson 7, Baylor Trevino, Jaci Alexander, Pena 2.

Anson 58 – Plowgirls 44

Anson          10       25      36      58
Plowgirls       8       17      22      44

Cuellar 5, Morales 9, Wilkinson 16, Jaci Alexander 7, Lynzie Atkison 3, Ba. Trevino 3, Be. Trevino 1.

The Plowgirls are off for the holidays and will resume their schedule December 27-29 with games in the Eden Tournament.



The Globe Theatre photo in the Hardin-Simmons collection.
Last week, I posted for the Roscoe Historical Museum’s Photo of the Week a picture of the old Globe Theatre that is part of Hardin-Simmons historical photograph collection. Someone has labeled the photo as being of a building in Roscoe. I thought this must be in error because I’d never heard any mention of a Globe Theatre in Roscoe, and the building was too grand for no one to at least remember talk of its existence. However, since I had no evidence one way or the other, I asked for help in solving the problem.

And I got it. Alert Hard Times reader David Maloney, who’s the husband of the former Jamie Sasin of Roscoe, provided the answer in the message he sent me. He says,

It seems that the "Globe Theatre" shown was actually the Old Globe Theatre at the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition at Fair Park in Dallas. Strangely enough, years ago, I was searching through the Hardin-Simmons photo collection for info on Roscoe's St. George Hotel, and ran across the Globe's photo. Like you, I thought something was amiss with the location in the theatre's description.

In the link below, if you click on the "GM Building" postcard to the left of the "Old Globe Theatre" card, you can get a larger perspective of the fair's site, which includes the theatre.

Another postcard, with different coloring:

So, there it is. The labeling of the Globe Theatre as being in Roscoe was indeed a mistake, and thanks to David, we now know it was actually in Dallas. Mystery solved.



This past week was marked by wild swings in the weather. The only constant was the complete absence of precipitation. On Friday the temperature rose to a balmy 79°F, yet on Sunday, only two days later, it had dropped to a high of only 25° and a low of 9°. At times the wind howled and the wind chill went below zero. Plants that had survived the first freeze were laid low this time around. In my garden, this single-digit freeze finished off my arugula, oregano, Swiss chard, rosemary, and parsley, all which had come through the first freeze with flying colors.

Since Sunday there’s been a gradual warming trend with Monday’s high of 39° warming to yesterday’s 63°. The forecast high for this afternoon is 69°. However, tomorrow will be cloudy and cooler with a high of only 46°. On Friday there is a 50% chance of morning rain along with a predicted high of 60°. Saturday’s high will be 65°, and Christmas Day should be windy and warm with a high of 67°, followed by a couple of days with highs in the fifties and decent weather for those who need to be on the roads as they make their return journeys.



Funeral services were held for Helen Joyce Martin, 79, at 2:00pm on Monday, December 19, at the Roscoe Church of Christ with Royce D. Clay, Jr., and Dan Boren officiating. Interment followed at Champion Cemetery under the direction of McCoy Funeral Home. She passed away on Friday, December 16, at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene.

She was born to Johnny B. and Inez Evelyn (Walter) Cotton on October 28, 1937, in McCulloch County and moved to Roscoe from Voca, Texas, in 1946. She married John O. Martin on August 24, 1956, in Roscoe. Helen was a member of the Roscoe Church of Christ, worked as tax collector for the Highland School District and Nolan County Tax Appraisal District and had worked for the Roscoe State Bank. She enjoyed painting, sewing and crocheting.

Helen is survived by her husband of sixty years, John O. Martin of Roscoe, daughter Amy Boyd and husband Kent of Loraine; sons, Don Martin and wife Debbie of Roscoe and Larry Martin and wife Carola of Sweetwater; and her sister, Linda Juhan of Atlanta, Georgia. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Kassie Alexander and husband Jake, Derick Merket, Kara Johnson and husband Kade, Tyler Martin, Tanner Martin and wife Morgan, Kaylee Martin, Corynn Martin and Christa Martin; and four great-grandchildren.

Helen was also preceded in death by her brother, Jimmy Ray Cotton, and a grandson, Trevor Martin.

Pallbearers were her grandchildren: Kassie Alexander, Derick Merket, Kara Johnson, Tyler Martin, Tanner Martin, Kaylee Martin, Corynn Martin and Christa Martin.



Funeral services for Willofae M. Elrod, 91, of San Angelo, were held at 10:00am on Monday, December 12, at Harper Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. James Hassell officiating. A private burial followed the service. She passed away on Wednesday, December 7, in San Angelo.

She was born in Nolan County on September 23, 1925, to William Patrick and Fraulein Mayes. She attended Roscoe High School where she was a cheerleader, twirler and played clarinet in the band. She met the love of her life, Festus Elrod, in the 7th grade at Roscoe, and they were married in 1943, after he returned from serving his country in WWII.

The couple moved to Lubbock, where he attended Texas Tech University and she worked at several jobs including GTE and JC Penney. Then they moved to San Angelo, where they made their home and retired. They had two daughters and one son. When her children were born, she became a stay at home mom and spent her time caring for her family. She was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church where she was on the cradle roll and sang in the choir. She also volunteered in the Shannon Hospital Gift Shop.

When her youngest daughter, Sheila, was killed in a robbery at a jewelry store in San Angelo in 1980, she became one of the founders of the local chapter of the Compassionate Friends in San Angelo, an organization for parents whose children have died. She helped many by listening to them and empathizing and relating to their loss.

She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis around the age of 33 and was an inspiration to all who knew her by her perseverance and determination to not let this disease destroy her life.

She was a loving mother and wife and was preceded in death by her husband, Festus, her children, Gary Pat and Sheila Gay Elrod, her parents, and an infant brother, William Patrick Mayes, Jr.

Willofae is survived by her brother, T. Mike Mayes and wife Ola, of Sherman, and her oldest daughter, Diana Elrod, of San Angelo; her grandchildren, Wes Noyd and wife, Paige, of Cibolo, TX, Eric Elrod, of Weatherford, OK, and Sheila Frances Elrod, of San Angelo. She was also blessed with two great grandchildren, Kayleigh and Gavyn Noyd; and many dear friends.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Randi Sulls Perishes in House Fire

Randi Sulls.
A tragic house fire at 1009 Fourth Street early Saturday morning took the life of Randi Sulls, 36, who was caught inside her mobile home as it was destroyed by fire. Her husband, Randy Sulls, and 11-year-old daughter both escaped and survived the blaze.

The fire, most likely electrical, broke out at about 1:00am on a frigid night with a temperature in the mid-twenties. Randi, the first to notice it, woke her husband, who was burned as he ran barefoot through the house to rescue his 11-year-old daughter. After doing so, he then ran outside thinking his wife was right behind him, but she had either not come out or had gone back into the house, possibly to save their puppies. He then tried to re-enter the house, but by then the blaze was too strong.

DPS troopers responded and were soon joined by the Roscoe and Sweetwater Police and Fire Departments along with the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office. By the time the first emergency units arrived, the house was engulfed in flames. Both the father and daughter were taken to Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital and treated for burns and smoke inhalation. They were released from the ER later that morning.

The investigation is ongoing and the State Fire Marshal’s Office is also involved as is customary when there is a death. Other emergency responders included the American Red Cross and the City of Roscoe.

Randi Sulls, who had been living here for fourteen months with her family, was an employee at the Roscoe Stripes station and had many friends, all of whom remembered her for generosity to those less fortunate.

To help the family defray expenses for the funeral, which will take place in Roscoe, several benefits have been planned, and everyone is encouraged to pitch in.

The first took place yesterday at the Legacy Tattoo Parlor on Cypress Street.

This Friday, December 16, a Memorial Service will be held in the Roscoe Community Center from 5:00-8:00pm.

On Saturday, December 17, a Brisket Benefit will be put on by the Roscoe Little League at ?

On Monday, December 20, a Bake Sale in front of the Stripes station will be held from 11:00-3:00pm. Donations will be accepted at all of these events. They may also be made by clicking here. at this website:

For more information, contact Andi Hall at 325-721-7130 or Angela at 325-232-4015.


City Manager Cody Thompson reports to the Council at last night's meeting.
At its monthly meeting in City Hall last night, the Roscoe City Council approved Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd, Inc., (eHT) of Abilene for engineering services for the City’s sewer-line replacement project and A & J Howco Services of Lubbock to manage the grant work necessary to procure funding for the project. The contract for the latter will be contingent upon receiving grant funds from the Texas Department of Agriculture.

The Council also approved the sale of Block 67, Lot 4, spaces 1-10 of the Roscoe Cemetery to Young, Fox, and Coleman, Ltd., and approved the annual Christmas Parade in downtown Roscoe. It also heard public works updates from City Manager Cody Thompson and the monthly Police report from Police Chief Felix Pantoja.

Thompson reported that the City’s Christmas decorations are up for the holiday season and that sanitary sewer improvements will begin sometime after the first of the year. The estimated completion time for the entire project is approximately one year. In the next couple of months, the City also plans on doing some necessary concrete work around town, including a slab at the City Barn and a number of street and driveway repairs.

Pantoja gave the Council a full report on the fire last week that took the life of Randi Sulls and thanked all the emergency services that participated. These included the DPS Highway Patrol, Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department, Sweetwater Fire Department, Nolan County Sheriff’s Department, American Red Cross, the Texas State Fire Marshal, and the City of Roscoe, as well as the Roscoe Police Department. He also provided a review of Police activity in the month of November. And, because he is also in charge of the Christmas Parade, he gave the Council the particulars of that event, which will be on December 24 starting at 6:00pm.



Jose Ortega (Football photos by Tamara Alexander.)
Plowboy sophomore Jose Ortega has been named a back on the second-team defense of the 2016 Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Class 2A all-state high school football team. This year’s selections were released Sunday, and voting was based on players’ regular-season performances.

Francisco Garcia

Plowboys receiving Honorable Mention were junior Francisco Garcia as an offensive running back and junior Paul Pantoja as a defensive lineman.
Paul Pantoja
Congratulations are due all three, as it is an honor to receive statewide recognition as one of the better players in the class.



RCISD Press Release: Monday, December 12, 2016

Roscoe Collegiate ISD’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution at its meeting on Monday, December 12, 2016 concerning the A-F accountability rating system for Texas public schools.

The resolution calls on the Texas Legislature to repeal the A-F letter-grade school/district rating system that will be implemented in the 2017-18 school year as part of House Bill 2804, passed by the Legislature in 2015.

The resolution notes that, despite A-F rating systems being implemented in 16 other states, there is no evidence that these systems have helped to improve student or school performance. It points out that the majority of the grades assigned by the A-F rating system will be based on students’ scores on the STAAR, a standardized test viewed as unreliable for accurately measuring student learning, and that an overwhelming majority of Texans recently surveyed by the State Board of Education have said they do not want standardized test scores to serve as the primary basis for Texas’ school accountability system.

The resolution also notes the flaws of A-F systems: They require a complex set of rules and calculations to combine a multitude of disparate measures into a single, “simple” letter grade that cannot be supported with explanation, are useless for providing feedback that could be used for improvement, and usually align with the wealth or poverty of the students in the school.

The resolution offers an alternative to the A-F rating system: development of a community-based accountability system that empowers districts to design their own systems of assessment and accountability that, while meeting general state standards, allows innovation and customization to match the needs and interests of the local community.

“The Roscoe Collegiate Independent School District (RCISD), as a member of the TASA School Transformation Network, the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, and a designated District of Innovation has local accountability goals of 90%+ Associate Degreed Graduates, symbolic of true college readiness, 90%+ STEM Certified Graduates, symbolic of true workforce readiness, and 100% of graduates carrying STEM Research Projects, symbolic of true graduate school readiness. RCISD refuses to acknowledge this attempt by the State to reduce the accomplishments of the District to a single letter grade assigned by the State, based predominantly upon standardized test scores, that are believed to be seriously lacking in both validity and reliability, in terms of defining meaningful student outcomes that can only be accomplished as a result of deep and meaningful learning experiences. Therefore, as co-chair of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, it is my pleasure to join the other co-chair, Dr. Greg Smith, superintendent of Clear Creek ISD, in becoming two of the first school districts in Texas to publicly urge the Texas Legislature to repeal the A-F School Rating System in Texas.”

Dr. Kim Alexander, Superintendent
Roscoe Collegiate ISD



The Plowboys got a chance to hone their basketball skills this past weekend at the Blackland Divide Invitational Tournament held in the gymnasium of the RCISD Special Events Center Thursday through Saturday.

On Thursday, their first game was a victory over Ira, 38-30. Jose Ortega was the Plowboys’ leading scorer with 19 points. The second game on Friday, was a loss to Coleman 77-22. In that game Jayce Phillips led the Plowboys with 5 points, followed by Junior Martinez with 4, Clemente Aguayo 4, Johnathon Cuellar 4, Ortega 2, Brayden Beal 2, and Jayden Gonzales 1. The third game, a battle for third place, was also a loss as Bronte downed the Plowboys 33-27. Ortega led the Plowboy scoring with 11, Cuellar had 5, Gonzales 5, Beal 4, Cade Garrett 1, and Martinez 1.

The teams finished in this order:

1.      TLCA (San Angelo)
2.      Coleman
3.      Bronte
4.      Roscoe
5.      Anson
6.      Ira
7.      Guthrie
8.      Highland

The Plowboys are now off for the holidays. They won’t play again until December 28-30 when they participate in the Eula Varsity Tournament.



Two Tons of Steel.
The best band in San Antonio, Two Tons of Steel, will be on hand for the Ugly Sweater Contest at the Lumberyard Friday night. The band, which got its start in the mid-nineties, is still one of that city and area’s favorite bands. It has won “Band of the Year” twelve times and the San Antonio Current’s “Best Country Band” ten times. The group has also released eight albums and appeared on the cover of Billboard magazine. Top singles include “Sedated,” “Hold Over Me,” “Your Kiss,” and “Crazy Heart.”

The judges for the Ugly Sweater Contest will be the Two Tons of Steel band members. For reservations or more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



The view from my front yard last Thursday afternoon.
The Roscoe area got its first snow of the season on Thursday morning. It wasn’t a lot, just a good dusting really, but it was enough to make roads slick for a while. And while they were was, the conditions caused several wrecks and vehicles in the ditches. I had an early appointment in Abilene, and it was slow going on I-20 for everyone, including the 18-wheelers, until Trent, where the blowing snow ceased and vehicles were able to resume normal, or almost normal, speeds.  By Friday afternoon the snow had all melted, although skies remained overcast and temperatures remained low until Saturday when it warmed up to 58°F. The lows for the week were on Thursday and Friday when the mercury dropped to 24° one day and 26° the next.

Then on Sunday afternoon the high of the week, 67°, came with clear skies and a brisk southwest wind. Since then, the weather’s been cooling a bit again. Monday’s high was 61°, and yesterday’s was 51°. The lows yesterday and this morning were 32° and 34° respectively.

The coming week is going to be something of a weather roller-coaster. This morning’s temperature is only 29°, and the high will be only in the mid-fifties, but the forecast for Friday is for a high of 77° and one of 66° on Saturday with both days accompanied by strong winds. Conversely, Sunday’s high will be only 29° and the low a frigid 16°, and that’s before you factor in the wind chill. Then, next Wednesday the 20th, the prediction is for a 60% chance of a wintry mix, which should make those last shopping trips to Abilene a harrowing adventure. It appears then, that we’ll have a little bit of everything in the week leading up to Christmas.


Funeral services are being held at Champion Baptist Church this morning, December 14, at 10:00am for Beatrice D. (Reed) Stack, 86, of Champion, who passed away Saturday evening, December 10, at her home following a lengthy battle with cancer. Burial will follow at Champion Cemetery.

She was born in Hobart, Oklahoma, and spent most of her adult life in Vinita, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of Omer Austin and Alta Mae Reed, of Vinita. She married Harris Jackson “Joe” Stack of Columbia, South Carolina, on February 15, 1959. She worked as a dental assistant for several years in Vinita before her marriage. She and her husband lived in Barber’s Point, Hawaii, until his retirement from the Navy, then moved with him to Jacksonville, Florida, until returning to Vinita, Oklahoma, where she worked in the County Assessor’s office for 20 years and was a member of Trinity Baptist Church of Vinita. In 2001, she moved to Champion to be near her grandchildren. She was a member of Champion Baptist Church for 15 years and served as church clerk and co-teacher of the Ladies’ Sunday School Class. She volunteered as a Monday Angel and weekend hostess at the Samaritan House in Colorado City for over 10 years. She enjoyed cooking, sewing, gardening, and collecting bells.

She is survived by her daughters, Carol Parsons and husband Bruce, of Champion, Texas; Margaret Glass and husband Frank, of Pelham, Alabama; a sister, Dorothy Pippin, of Skiatook, Oklahoma; two brothers, Conaly Reed and wife Alice, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and Dale Reed of Glendale, Arizona; grandchildren Douglas and Jennifer Parsons of Tyler; William Parsons and fiancé Sarah Wells of Plano; Richard and Kayla Parsons of San Angelo; Joanna Parsons and her “future fiancé,” Jascha Baugbog, of San Marcos; step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Alta and Omer Reed, one sister, Peggy (Reed) Ginnings, and her husband, Harris Jackson Stack, who died on December 28, 1992.

The family wishes to thank the gracious love and care given Bea in the last six months of her life by the nurses, care givers, chaplain, and others of Kindred Hospice of Lubbock.

Pallbearers will be the Deacons of the Champion Baptist Church.

If you wish to make a memorial donation, the family suggests the Samaritan House, 1325 Westpoint, Colorado City, TX 79512, or the building fund of Champion Baptist Church, 3217 FM 2319, Roscoe, TX 79545.


Randi Suzanne Sulls, 36, passed away on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at her residence in Roscoe, Texas.

Memorial Services will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 16, 2016 at the Roscoe Community Center in Roscoe, Texas. A graveside service will be at a later date.

Mrs. Sulls was born on January 30, 1980 in Kenton, OH. She married Randy Lynn Sulls on 10/31/2012 in Athens, Tennessee. Randi had worked at Stripes in Roscoe the past 5 months living in Roscoe the last fourteen months. She was a graduate of Cosmetology School and a homemaker.

Survivors include: Husband- Randy Lynn Sulls of Roscoe, TX; Daughter- Kaylynn Goeppinger of Roscoe, TX; Son- Michael Anthony Scott of Mt. Vernon, OH; Mother- Margaret Hamilton of Calhoun, TN; Brother- Anthony Lee Smith of Mt. Vernon, Oh; Sisters- Lateresa Sue Johnston of Calhoun, TN, Shannon Kay Williams of Calhoun, TN; 2 Step-sisters- Shelly Lynn Hamilton of Mt. Vernon, OH and Traci Green of Mt. Vernon, OH.

She was preceded in death by her father, Oliver Randall Scott, Jr. in 1998 and her step-father, Michael Hamilton in 1999.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Several Plowboys Honored with All-District Football Selections

Brayden Beal is the district's Offensive MVP.
In District 4-2A-II, a district dominated by three teams—Hamlin, Roscoe, and Seagraves—the Plowboys got their share of All-District honors. Brayden Beal (Sr.) was named the Offensive MVP, Matt Buckley (Sr.) the Offensive Line MVP, and Jayden Gonzales (So.) the Offensive Newcomer.

On the first-team offense, Francisco Garcia (Jr.) is the running back, Jose Ortega (So.) a receiver, and Isaias Aguilar (Sr.) and Johnathon Cuellar (Sr.) linemen. The first-team defense includes Paul Pantoja (Jr.) at end, Tait Fullwood (Jr.) at inside linebacker, and Ortega at defensive back.

Second-team honors on offense went to Cade Garrett (Jr.) at receiver, Paul Pantoja (Jr.) as a lineman, and Juan Garcia (Sr.) as kicker. The second-team defense has Roady Mann (Sr.) at tackle, Parker Payne (Jr.) and Tristan Brooks (Jr.) at ends, Austin Willman (Sr.) inside linebacker, and Clemente Aguayo (Jr.) at back. Juan Garcia was named utility player.

Making the Academic All-District Team are seniors Brayden Beal, Matt Buckley, and Johnathon Cuellar; juniors Clemente Aguayo, Francisco Garcia, Tait Fullwood, Cade Garrett, and Parker Payne; and sophomore Nick Limones.

Jose Ortega is the only Plowboy to make first team on both offense and defense.
Congratulations to all the Plowboys for another memorable football season!



Roscoe’s only public laundromat, the Stone Tower Laundry, located at 200 N. Cypress in the Stone Tower RV Park, closed its doors this past Sunday, December 4. It had been open for two years. This is unfortunate since Roscoe residents who have been using it will now have to go to Sweetwater to the 12th Street Laundry to get their clothes washed and dried.

The owner of the laundry, who lives in Merkel, is moving it there. He thinks he can do more business there.



Roscoe Collegiate High School’s FFA Stock Show is this Saturday, December 10, starting at 10:00am. It will be at the Ag Barn on the School Farm next to the STEM Center and will feature competition in cattle, pigs, goats, and lambs.



The Plowboys opened their basketball season at the Highland Tournament this past weekend. Playing without a full roster, they lost two and won one, falling to Eula 61-25, defeating the Snyder JV 29-26, and losing to Sterling City 38-29.

Then last night, they defeated Lueders-Avoca 73-70 in Lueders to even their record at 2-2. Given below is the scoring of the games by quarters, followed by individual scoring:

Eula 65 – Plowboys 25

Eula                 16        34        50        61
Plowboys          6          9        16        25

Jayden Gonzales 8, Jose Ortega 7 Johnathon Cuellar 7, Jace Phillips 2.

Plowboys 29 – Snyder JV 26

Plowboys           3        11        18        29
Snyder JV        11        14        19        26

Cuellar 12, Ortega 11, Gonzales 4, Cam Boren, 2.

Sterling City 38 - Plowboys 29

Sterling City       8        16        27        38
Plowboys             3        11         18        29

Cuellar 11, Ortega 11, Gonzales 4, Boren 2.

Plowboys 73 – Lueders-Avoca 70

Plowboys            21        43        59        73
Lueders-Avoca  10        27        41        70

Cuellar 20, Ortega 14, Cade Garrett 11, Phillips 9, Gonzales 8, Brayden Beal 6, Brandon Lavalais 3, Clemente Aguayo 2.



The Plowboys will attempt to sharpen their basketball skills this weekend when they host an eight-school tournament at the RCISD Special Events Center. Games begin at 2:00 tomorrow when Anson meets TLCA (San Angelo). At 3:30 it’s Highland vs. Bronte, at 5:00 Guthrie vs. Coleman, and at 6:30 Ira vs. the Plowboys. On Friday there will be four games starting at 2:00, and on Saturday, four more starting at 10:00am.



It was rough sledding for the Plowgirls at the Highland Tournament last weekend as they lost two games, one to Forsan 61-20, and the other a close one to the San Angelo Central JV 49-48. However, they got back on the winning track last night with a victory over Lueders-Avoca.

Here is the scoring by quarters in the games along with the individual scoring:

Forsan 61 – Plowgirls 20

Forsan               13        31        47        61
Plowgirls            3        10        17        20

Veronica Cuellar 8, Bonnie Wilkinson 7, Jaleigh Morales 2, Jovana Peña 2, Jaci Alexander 1.

San Angelo Central JV 49 – Plowgirls 48

SA Central JV     5        20        34        49
Plowgirls              9        21        32        48

Cuellar 15, Morales 13, Wilkinson 13, Bergan Trevino 2, Jaci Alexander 2, Karina Cisneros 2, Lynzie Atkinson 1.

Plowgirls 52 – Lueders-Avoca 23

Plowgirls           19        38        45        52      
Lueders-Avoca    4        15        19        23

Cuellar 17, Wilkinson 8, Morales 6, Baylor Trevino 6, Peña 6, Alexander 5, Bergan Trevino 2, Atkinson 2.

The Plowgirls’ next game will be with Hawley here next Tuesday, December 13.



This year’s Christmas Band Concert will be held in the School Cafetorium this Sunday, December 11, starting at 3:00pm. It will feature performers from the fourth through twelfth grades.



December sunset.
As predicted, we got more rain this past weekend to the delight of some and chagrin of others. On Friday night (and early Saturday morning) my rain gauge recorded a total of 1.06”. Then on Saturday night (and early Sunday morning) another .1” fell, and on Monday morning another .02” for a grand total of 1.18”.

The temperatures for the week were mild to cool for this time of year. The high was Thursday afternoon’s 64°F and the low last Wednesday's 34°. There were sunny skies and clear nights leading up to the weekend, but then cool, cloudy and sometimes wet weather through Monday. Yesterday was mostly clear, but the high was only a chilly 48°.

Today will be mild and mostly cloudy with a high of 55°, but tomorrow is going to be cold, and weather warnings for the area have already been issued. We’re in for a hard freeze with temperatures dropping into the mid to low twenties at night along with enough north wind to drive the wind chill down into the teens. Forecasters are also giving us a chance to see our first snow of the year, although the snowfall is likely to be minimal, if at all, and not enough to create any serious travel hazards. Still, the high tomorrow will be only about 34°. Brrrrr!

Skies should clear and temperatures begin rising on Friday with mostly sunny skies and a high of 45°. That will go up to 60° on a windy Saturday and highs on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday should all be around 60° with lows in the thirties and forties.


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