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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

RCHS Names 2021 Valedictorian, Salutatorian

Hannah Ward                                           Elizabeth Rubio
At Roscoe Collegiate High School, the grades are in and have been averaged. The valedictorian for the Class of 2021 is Hannah Ward, and the salutatorian is Elizabeth Rubio.

Hannah’s final four-year average is 103.27 and Elizabeth’s is 99.49. Hannah plans to continue her education at Lubbock Christian University, while Elizabeth will go to West Texas A&M University in Canyon.

Both have already received their Associate Degrees from Western Texas College, where both were members of the honor society, Phi Theta Kappa.

RCHS graduation ceremonies are scheduled for this Friday at 7:00pm at the RCISD Special Events Center.

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SEVEN P-TECH STUDENTS RECEIVE BACHELOR’S DEGREES

At WTAMU, (l. to r.) Veronica Cuellar, Kadee Martinez, Blake Dean, Jose Ortega, Nicholas Limones, and Austin Lara. At Texas Tech, Iris Gonzales.
Seven students enrolled in the RCISD P-TECH program were awarded their bachelor’s degrees this past weekend, six at graduation ceremonies at West Texas A&M University in Canyon and one at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

All seven completed their work here in Roscoe without incurring any tuition debt. They earned their associate degrees while students at Roscoe Collegiate High School and then fulfilled requirements for their bachelor’s degrees through the P-TECH program with its offices on 3rd and Main Streets.

The program is the first of its kind in the country, and 18 students are currently enrolled. Eleven students from this spring’s graduating class of 2021 will remain here to complete post-secondary certifications or bachelor’s degrees through Texas State Technical College, West Texas A&M University, or Angelo State University. There are also five adults enrolled in the program.

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HAYDEN BAKER – SMALL TOWN UPCOMING ARTIST

Hayden Baker & his art teacher, Carolyne Walker.
Editor’s note: This article was conceived and written as a class project in Jamie Sasin Maloney’s Principles of Business class at RCHS. Contributing students are Marcella Saenz, Marta Herrera, and Kaiden Perez. Hayden Baker is a member of the class.

When you think of your average Roscoe student, art might not be the first extracurricular activity that comes to mind. But for Hayden Baker, 17, a junior at Roscoe Collegiate High School, art is his passion. On May 1st, he exhibited his paintings at an art show at the Sweetwater County-City Library. He introduced 35 original paintings and sold all but 10.

“I couldn’t believe how amazing it turned out,” says Hayden. “We had 120 people show up and sold over two-thirds of the paintings. The support from the community was so encouraging. This was my first show ever, and I don’t think it could have been a better introduction.”

Hayden began his adventure while taking art classes with Mrs. Carolyne Walker, who teaches art in Colorado City. “I discovered that I was absolutely terrible at painting landscapes that the rest of the class was thriving with,” he claims. “I had decided to try to paint a blue-streaked aurora sky for a contest and accidentally created my first abstract piece of art.”  At this point he discovered that abstract art was the genre he was interested in pursuing.

“I knew I enjoyed art as a kid,” Hayden says, “but I had never considered myself an artist. I didn’t think about art or what it meant to me, until Covid. Covid gave me perspective and I found a love of painting that led me here today.” His favorite is a painting of a comet coming down from space and lighting up the sky. “I love the colors and it was one of my first paintings,” Hayden explains. “It gives a sense of calm and grace that the Covid season was sorely lacking.”

Along with his parents, Hayden says that Mrs. Walker has been his “biggest supporter and source of inspiration” and the person who introduced him to the techniques and thought processes behind creating art.  He also says that without his parents and Mrs. Walker it would not have been possible for him to have progressed into the artist that he has become.  “They supported me in a way that not many have the privilege of knowing.  I couldn’t have done it without them.” In addition, He says he has a strong support system among his church family, teachers, and friends, who have all encouraged him and contributed to his success.

Hayden hopes to pursue a degree in animation from David Lipscomb University in Nashville. However, he plans to keep painting and following his passion for art. “I have new pieces every week,” he says. “I won’t be running out of paintings anytime soon.”

His paintings are on display until May 30 at the City-County Public Library.

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CITY COUNCIL MEETS, CONDUCTS BUSINESS

Mayor Pete Porter swears in Robert McBride and Edwin Duncan to new terms.
At its regular monthly meeting yesterday evening at City Hall, the Roscoe City Council heard reports from the City Manager and Police Chief, swore in two members to new three-year terms, and approved several measures.

City Manager Cody Thompson said city workers are busy getting the City Swimming Pool ready for the summer and expect to be ready by the end of the month. Several repairs are required due to this winter’s hard freeze, which damaged commodes and plumbing as well as piping in sand filters.

The water-line improvements scheduled for Roscoe’s south side continue to be delayed by the state logjam. Two state agencies, the TCEQ and TWDB, now have a backlog of up to 24 months for which they blame the pandemic. These delays are blocking progress and costing municipalities needed funds.

The purchase of fireworks for the July 4th celebration has also been negatively affected by the pandemic, and since most are imported from China, they will be more expensive this year. Nevertheless, they are still part of the plans for the celebration. The music performances have also been booked with Mike and the Moonpies as the headline act, along with Kody West, and local favorite Lyndall Underwood and the Dusty Creek Band.

Plans for spraying for mosquitoes have been made. The recent rains are bringing them out in large numbers and work will begin soon. Gordon Nemir of Sweetwater has been engaged for the project.

Roscoe Police Chief Felix Pantoja updated the Council on police activity during the month of April. The Roscoe department handled 89 calls, recovered a stolen 18-wheeler at the game room on Broadway, and dealt with two fights there. It also installed a laptop computer in the department’s Dodge police truck.

District Attorney Ricky Thompson purchased two refurbished Motorola in-car radios for the Roscoe department at a cost of $1,935 each.

Pantoja also gave the report for the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department, saying that it handled 1 house fire, 6 medical emergencies, 2 grass fires, 4 minor vehicle crashes and 3 major ones, 2 vehicle fires, and one other fire. It handled a total of 19 calls.

Mayor Pete Porter then swore in the two newly elected Council members, Robert McBride and Edwin Duncan, both incumbents, to three-year terms.

The Council accepted the 2019-2020 City audit as presented by City Accountant Ricky Bowman, CPA, and approved payment of the audit. 

It also approved a swimming pool contract for management of the pool this summer. The swimming pool operator will be Inez Leanas, whose phone number is 325=378-9799.

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CENTRAL ROLLING PLAINS CO-OP HOLDS MEETING

The annual Co-op meeting at the RCHS Cafetorium yesterday.
The Central Rolling Plains Co-op held its annual membership meeting yesterday evening at the Roscoe School Cafetorium with a ribeye supper catered by Rough Creek. Approximately 200 members attended, including industry guests.

Items of business included the manager’s report, regional reports, audit report, and election of two  directors. Kenny Landfried and Rolan Petty were re-elected to three-year terms on the Senior Board.

The $100 prize of the annual bale guess in which members guess how many bales the gin will produce was won by David Strain.

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US COVID-19 NUMBERS CONTINUE SLOW IMPROVEMENT

Around the country, news concerning the pandemic continues to improve as numbers of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations all continue to drop. States most recently identified as Covid-19 hotspots, such as Michigan, Arizona, and Minnesota all reported drops in numbers along with most other states. Many are relaxing restrictions as the situations become more normal.

In Texas, Covid-19 numbers remain low and essentially flat. Hospitalizations have dropped to 2,508 from 2,603 last week, and new cases also remain around 3,000 per day. Yesterday had 2,859. The number of active cases has dropped to 56,743 from slightly over 62,000 the past two weeks. Fatalities averaged 41 daily this week, 8 fewer than last week.

The numbers also remain relatively flat in the Big Country and Abilene. The number of active cases in Taylor County has grown to 223, a gain of 5 over last week’s 218, and Covid-19 hospitalizations in Abilene are now at 16 patients compared to 15 last week. Also, 1 more death was reported, so the total for Taylor County now stands at 404. The percentage of Covid-19 patients in the Abilene trauma service area is at 1.53% after last week’s 2.29%.

In our four-county area, the numbers remain low. Nolan County now has 4, the same as last week. Mitchell County has only 1 after 3 last week, and Fisher County also has 1, after 2 last week. Scurry County is reporting only 2 cases after having 18 last week. Once again, none of the four counties report any Covid-19 deaths this past week.

Here are the Big Country’s estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Howard, 33 (49); Brown, 14 (13); Coke, 9 (8); Erath, 4 (8); Nolan, 4 (4); Jones, 3 (8); Eastland, 2 (5); Scurry, 2 (18); Comanche, 2 (2); Runnels, 2 (2); Mitchell, 1 (3); Fisher, 1 (2); Callahan, 1 (1);  Shackelford, 1 (1); Stephens, 1 (1); Coleman, 0 (1); Haskell, 0 (0); Kent, 0 (0); Stonewall, 0 (0); Knox, 0 (0); Throckmorton, 0 (0). The total of all these counties for this week is 80, 45 fewer than last week’s 125.
 
Selected west Texas counties’ estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Ector (Odessa) 313 (328), Midland 268 (272), Lubbock 190 (156); Tom Green (San Angelo) 77 (76); Wichita (Wichita Falls) 59 (35). This week’s total for these counties is 907, 40 more than last week’s 867.

Texas now has had a total of 2,490,481 cases (2,478,241 last week), 56,743 currently active cases (62,517 last week), and 49,527 total deaths (49,362 last week).

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WEATHER REPORT: WARM, THEN CHILLY

Yesterday's fog.
The weather unfolded in two distinct phases this past week. First, from Wednesday through Saturday, the drying out from the big rain proceeded as expected with sunshine, wind, and warm temperatures with highs in the 80s and 90s. The hottest day was Saturday which reached 94°F.

Then on Sunday, a cold front blew through dropping the afternoon high to 78°, and Monday was even cooler with cloudy skies, a high of only 61°, and a brisk north breeze that made it feel even cooler than that. Yesterday was similar, and after last week’s warm weather, seemed more like March than May. The forecast for both Monday and Tuesday had been for showers—and, while both were damp along with some fog yesterday afternoon, the rains never materialized, not around here anyway. This morning’s low was all the way down into the 40s.

The forecast is for continued cool weather today with mostly cloudy skies, a high of 64°, and a cool north wind along with a slight chance of rain. Tomorrow will warm slightly with a high of about 72°, and only a light breeze. Friday will be cloudy but warm up to 82°. Saturday brings a chance (34%) of showers along with a high of 78°, and Sunday will warm up to 84° with a 16-mph south wind.

Then, early next week we’ll have a good chance of more rain (50%) as temperatures remain mild, about 80°.

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† THOMAS FERNANDO CASTRO

Holy Mass for Thomas Fernando Castro, 30, of Brazoria, Texas, was held at 10:00am on Friday, May 7, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Sweetwater. Interment followed at Sweetwater Cemetery under the direction of McCoy Funeral Home. He passed away Monday, May 3.  

Thomas was born February 14, 1991, in Sweetwater and attended school in Roscoe. He was the son of Mary Castro. He enjoyed making people laugh, being with family, and most of all, he loved being a father to his son, Westin.  He was a hard-working welder who enjoyed spending down time at the beach with his family.

He is survived by his son, Westin Thomas Castro, and significant other, Karly Beech of Brazoria.  He also leaves behind his mother Mary Castro of Roscoe; sister, Vanessa and her husband, Chris Aguilar of Hutto; and maternal grandmother, Josefa Castro of Roscoe, as well as many aunts, uncles, and primos.

Pallbearers were John E. Castro, Johnathan Castro, Christopher Castro, Philip Castro, Aaron Pequeño, and Adam Muñoz.

Honorary Pallbearers were Westin Castro, Chris Aguilar, John A. Castro, Kaden Castro, Christian Castro, Emilio Pequeño, and Benjamin Pequeño.

Donations to help with interment services can be made through this link: https://gofund.me/2037264b.  Your assistance is appreciated.

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† DAVID MARTIN VIERUS

Funeral services are pending with McCoy Funeral Home for David Martin Vierus, 34, of Roscoe, who passed away on Thursday, May 6.

David was born December 14, 1986, in Sweetwater. He is a graduate of Roscoe High School and was co-owner of JAL Contractors in Big Spring. David had worked for Ivey Pump and Supply in Roscoe, Charles Burnett Construction, McGlothlin Construction, and Price Construction. He was a crane mechanic and inspector. David grew up in Roscoe, loved farming, cattle ranching, and playing golf and was working toward becoming an airplane pilot.

He is survived by his wife; Jana Vierus of Big Spring; daughters, Maddie Robertson of Snyder and Hanna King and husband Sam of Needville, Texas; parents, Don and Teresa Vierus of Roscoe; sister, Lucrecia Dawn Vierus of Roscoe; maternal grandmother, Barba Kingston of Roscoe; paternal grandfather, Don Martin Vierus, Sr. of Castell, Texas; nephews, Korbin Vierus and Kamden Clark; and his special friends, Daniel and Randa Drake of Roscoe.

David was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Charlie Kingston; paternal grandmother, Dora Mae Vierus; and niece, Kayleigh Dawn Vierus.

Honorary pallbearer will be Daniel Drake.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

School Board, City Council Election Results

The results are in, and the winners of the School Board and City Council elections have been named.

In the Roscoe Collegiate ISD School Board election, the winners of the four regular four-year terms are Eloy Herrera, Kenny Hope, David Pantoja, and Allen Richburg. The winners of the two open two-year positions are Aaron Brown and Jerad Alford.

Winners of the two open three-year positions on the Roscoe City Council are Edwin Duncan and Robert McBride.

Roscoe Collegiate ISD School Board

This is the final vote tally. The first four below are the winners of the four regular four-year terms.

Eloy Herrera — 117
Kenny Hope — 111
David Pantoja — 102
Allen Richburg — 89
James Arnwine — 61
Jose Ortega — 42

The first two below are the winners of the two two-year terms:

Aaron Brown — 112
Jerad Alford — 96
Jason Freeman — 73

Total number of voters: 160 (64 early, 96 on May 1)

Roscoe City Council

The first two below are the winners of the two three-year terms:

Edwin Wilson Duncan — 59
Robert Ray McBride — 48
Larry John Clements — 36

Total number of voters: 97

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STUDENTS HONORED AT ACADEMIC BANQUET

These RCHS seniors graduated from WTC yesterday (l to r): Hannah Ward, Gabriella Dyck, Vidal Aguayo, Alexis Arce, Caleb Reed, Lisa Tollison, Georgia Bowers, Elida Aguilera, Ezekiel Murphy, Elizabeth Rubio, Megan Boren. 

Several high school and junior high school students received honors at the annual RCISD Academic Banquet held last Tuesday evening in the Roscoe School Cafetorium.

Eleven seniors were recognized for graduating this year with Associate Degrees from Western Texas College in Snyder:

Vidal Aguayo                                       Gabriella Dyck
Elida Aguilera                                     Ezekiel Murphy
Alexis Arce                                           Caleb Reed
Megan Boren                                       Elizabeth Rubio
Georgia Bowers                                   Hannah Ward  
Lisa Tollison

The top boys and girls from each of the four high school classes and three junior high classes were also named. There were two categories for each grade, Best All Around Student and Outstanding Work Ethic. Here are the students who received the awards:

High School

12th Grade Best All Around              12th Grade Best Work Ethic
Girl: Hannah Ward                             Girl: Georgia Bowers
Boy: Arthur Villa                                 Boy: Vidal Aguayo

11th Grade Best All Around              11th Grade Best Work Ethic
Girl: Marissa Solis                               Girl: Isabel Ortega
Boy: Reese Kiser                                  Boy: Bryan Marquez

10th Grade Best All Around             10th Grade Best Work Ethic
Girl: Carson Greenwood                    Girl: Aryana Zarate
Boy: Ismael Islas                                 Boy: Zain Jackson
 
9th Grade Best All Around               9th Grade Best Work Ethic
Girl: Mia Mondragon                         Girl: Kaidy Ornelas
Boy: Jax Watts                                     Boy: Christian Turnbow

Junior High

8th Grade Best All Around               8th Grade Best Work Ethic
Girl: Daniella Vela                              Girl: Ana Islas
Boy: Dimitrio Pantoja                        Boy: Jose Mondragon

7th Grade Best All Around                7th Grade Best Work Ethic
Girl: Sophie Gleaton                           Girl: Daisy Talamantez
Boy: Jace Arnwine                               Boy: Braxton Bartee

6th Grade Best All Around                6th Grade Best Work Ethic
Girl: Ivy Morris                                     Girl: Elise Toothman
Boy: Mason Alford                               Boy: Isaac Galindo

In addition, awards were given to the best students in each of the class sections offered in high school and junior high.          

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ROSCOE ATHLETES RECOGNIZED AT ATHLETIC BANQUET

Students, parents, and coaches were on hand at the RCHS Athletic Banquet in the Cafetorium Thursday evening to see the annual awards bestowed on Plowboys and Plowgirls for the various school sports.

Here are the this year’s awards for Plowboys and Plowgirls listed by sport:

Football

Plowboy of the Year in Football - Zeke Murphy
Fighting Heart - Kolten Hope
Britt Paty Memorial - Caleb Reed
Clyde Jay Memorial Scholarship - Zeke Murphy, Caleb Reed, Vidal Aguayo

Basketball

Boys
Honorable Mention All-District: Antonio Aguayo, Parker Gleaton, Jax Watts, Seth Wilcox
Academic All-District: Parker Gleaton
Plowboy Basketball Mr. Defense: Jax Watts
Plowboy Basketball Plowboy of the Year: Parker Gleaton

Girls
District Honors
Impact Player of the Year - Carson Greenwood
Co-Defensive MVP - Shauna McCambridge
1st Team All-District - Cameron Greenwood
2nd Team All-District - Kaidy Ornelas, Jacey Rodriquez
 
School Awards
Miss Defense - Cameron Greenwood
Plowgirls of the Year - Shauna McCambridge, Carson Greenwood

Fighting Heart Award
- Kaidy Ornelas

Editor's Note: Shauna McCambridge and Carson Greenwood were selected last week to the second team of the Abilene Reporter-News' All-Big Country 2A Girls Basketball Team.

Powerlifting

Regional qualifiers: Xander Moffett, Lupe Leaños, Keller Vinson, Seth Martin, Britt Justiss, Peyton Friedman, Diego Vela, Zeke Murphy 3rd place, David Diaz 3rd place, Xavier Lopez 5th place.
Plowboy Powerlifter of the Year: Zeke Murphy

Track & Cross Country

Boys
Regional Qualifiers: Caleb Reed: 1600m, Antonio Aguayo: 200m,
4x200m: Tyler Guelker, Antonio Aguayo, Seth Wilcox, Julian Cuellar, (Alternates: Lupe Leaños Jax Watts)
Track Captains: Jake Gonzalez, Lupe Leaños
Track Plowboy of the Year: Caleb Reed

Girls
Track Regional Qualifier: Kaidy Ornelas
Track Plowgirl of the Year: Kaidy Ornelas

Cross Country Regional Qualifiers: Yaniez Aguilar, Mahailia Calderon, Mia Lavalais, Kaidy Ornelas, Candy Ortega, Itzel Ortega-Solis, Jissel Rodriquez, Carson Greenwood, Jacy  Rodriquez

Cross Country Plowgirl of the Year: Jissel Rodriquez

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JAYDEN GONZALES HELPS McMURRY TO TITLE

Jayden Gonzales as a Plowboy.
Former Plowboy Jayden Gonzales, now an athlete for McMurry University in Abilene, helped his team win the American Southwest Conference track and field title by clearing 4.35 meters (14’3¼”) to win the Pole Vault at the 2021 Track & Field Conference Championships. In doing so, he was also named to the All-Conference First Team.

The American Southwest Conference is composed of teams from eight universities, six of them from Texas: McMurry, Hardin-Simmons, Concordia, UT-Dallas, East Texas Baptist, and LeTourneau—along with Belhaven in Mississippi and University of the Ozarks in Arkansas.  McMurry won the title with 215.5 points and Hardin-Simmons finished second with 174.5 points. The meet was held at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, April 29-May 1.

Gonzales, a sophomore at McMurry, is a 2019 graduate of Roscoe Collegiate, where he participated in all sports.

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BAKE, GARAGE SALE FOR JH CHEERLEADERS SATURDAY

The Roscoe Collegiate Junior High Cheerleaders are having a fundraiser bake sale and garage sale this Saturday, May 8, at 900 Cypress Street in Roscoe. They are earning money to attend cheer camp. The sale begins at 8:00am.

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BEAT THE STREET CYCLING CHALLENGE SATURDAY

The 9th Annual Beat the Street for Little Feet Benefit races will be this Saturday, May 8. Three bike races will head north on FM 608 from Highland and turn east on Broadway and heading to Sweetwater to 274 this Saturday. These races benefit the Cornerstone Christian School.

If you are interested in participating or want more information, go to the event’s Facebook page for details by clicking here.

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COVID-19 NUMBERS IMPROVE, VACCINE DEMAND FALLS

Around the country, news concerning the pandemic continues to improve as most states report a decline in new cases with only a few reporting increases, such as Arizona, Wyoming, and Oregon. But even in those states, the number of deaths remains low as most older people have been vaccinated, and the increases are mainly of people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, who tend to have milder and less serious cases. Even so, there are still many hospitalizations and needs for ICUs.

Since the Covid-19 vaccinations began in December, this is the first week that supply has exceeded demand, so starting this week Texas is asking only for doses providers have ordered instead of asking the federal government for as much as it can get. Many other states share the same situation. At the peak of vaccinations, the US was giving almost 3.5 million shots a day. That daily number is now about a million less. One of three adult Texans 1s fully vaccinated and 2 of 5 have had at least one shot.

In Texas, Covid-19 numbers remain low and essentially flat. Hospitalizations have dropped slightly from 2,718 last week to 2,603 yesterday, and new cases also remain around 3,000 per day. Yesterday had 3,217. The number of active cases also remains around 62,000. Fatalities averaged 49 daily this week, the same as last week.

The numbers also remain relatively flat in the Big Country and Abilene. The number of active cases in Taylor County has grown to 218, a gain of 4 over last week’s 214, and Covid-19 hospitalizations in Abilene are now at 15 patients compared to 16 last week. Also, 2 more deaths were reported, so the total for Taylor County now stands at 403. The percentage of Covid-19 patients in the Abilene trauma service area is at 2.29% after last week’s 1.43%.

In our four-county area, the numbers have increased slightly. After several weeks with no active cases, Nolan County now has 4. Mitchell County is also up to 3 after only 1 last week, and Fisher County still has 2, the same as last week. Scurry County now has 18 active cases after reporting 19 last week. Once again, none of the four counties report any Covid-19 deaths this past week.

Here are the Big Country’s estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Howard, 49 (45); Scurry, 18 (19); Brown, 13 (18); Jones, 8 (2); Erath, 8 (4); Coke, 8 (7); Eastland, 5 (3); Nolan, 4 (0); Mitchell, 3 (1); Comanche, 2 (3); Runnels, 2 (0); Fisher, 2 (2); Shackelford, 1 (1); Coleman, 1 (4); Callahan, 1 (0); Haskell, 0 (0); Stephens, 1 (0); Kent, 0 (0); Stonewall, 0 (0); Knox, 0 (0); Throckmorton, 0 (0). The total of all these counties for this week is 125, 16 more than last week’s 109.
 
Selected west Texas counties’ estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Ector (Odessa) 328 (249), Midland 272 (237), Lubbock 156 (92); Tom Green (San Angelo) 76 (77); Wichita (Wichita Falls) 35 (44). This week’s total for these counties is 867, 168 more than last week’s 699.

Texas now has had a total of 2,478,241 cases (2,461,831 last week), 62,517 currently active cases (62,206 last week), and 49,362 total deaths (49,022 last week).

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WEATHER REPORT: MORE RAIN, HAIL, CROAKING FROGS
 
Monday's storm cloud in the west.
In last week’s Hard Times weather report, I mentioned how a 3½ inch rain on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning broke our extended dry spell, but as it turned out, that wasn’t the end of the rain. Thursday night .3” more fell and then Friday night another 1½ inches brought the total to 5.3”. Saturday, I added .35” more to bring my total to 5.65”. All that rain brought the frogs out and late that night we had a frog serenade.

Then late Monday afternoon, a big thunderhead made up in the north, and even though I got a storm warning on my phone, I didn’t pay too much attention to it because I could see the cloud was moving east and figured it would miss us. But then, with the sun shining in the west, I heard noises of something hitting the roof and my cars in the driveway. I was surprised to see hail falling, which preceded the rain. Thankfully, it was only about marble size and not big enough to damage the cars’ exteriors, but I was glad I hadn’t yet transplanted the tomato and pepper plants I’d bought because the hail would have decimated them. I believe it was the first time I’d ever seen hail falling in the sunshine—and, in the beginning, without any accompanying rain. The rain did come shortly afterwards, though, and I found about .27” more in my rain gauge. So, my total for all the precipitation we got from Tuesday to Monday evening adds up to just over 5.9” inches.

Amounts varied in the Roscoe area, but the rain was general enough and the spell long enough that everyone I talked to was well satisfied with the amounts they got. It was a great week for all the farmers and ranchers in the area.

The forecast is for warmer and sunnier weather for the next few days. Today’s high is expected to reach 81°F with a light southeast breeze and mostly sunny skies, and tomorrow should be the same. Friday will be a little warmer with a high of 87° and Saturday will climb all the way to 93° with a strong southwest wind. Sunday the wind will shift to the north, and the high will be around 85° with sunshine. So, expect things to dry out and lawns to need mowing soon as the grass shoots up.

There is no rain in the forecast at least until next week, and even then the chances are still pretty low.


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† JIMMIE D. BURKE
 
Funeral services for Jimmie D. Burke, 79, of Champion will be held at 10:00am Saturday, May 8, at Champion Baptist Church with Pastor Bruce Parsons officiating. Interment will follow at Sweetwater Cemetery under direction of McCoy Funeral Home. He was called home on Wednesday, April 28, at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Jimmie was born May 6, 1941, in Sweetwater to William “Bill Pete” Burke and Mary Emma Payne Burke. He married his wife of 52 years, Janey, on August 31, 1968. Jimmie graduated from Sweetwater High School in 1959 and earned an Industrial Engineering degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock in 1968. He proudly and honorably served in the U.S. Army National Guard of Texas from 1963 to 1969. He started his career in 1968 as an industrial engineer first with Susan Crane Packaging in Dallas and then with Varo Semiconductors in Garland. In 1985, Jimmie returned to Nolan County to start Burke Farms in Champion. He supplied local grocers as well as farmer’s markets with hydroponic tomatoes and fresh produce.

Jimmie loved his family, Janey’s pies and cooking, Red Raider sports, classic country music, fly fishing and the outdoors. In recent years, he could be found enjoying RV life with Janey, fishing in streams across Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado with his beloved dog Lacey by his side. A man of strong faith, he served as a Deacon at Champion Baptist Church beginning in 2000.

Jimmie leaves behind his cherished wife, Janey, his children and their spouses, Dale and Christy Burke of Rancho Santa Margarita, California; Cody and Terri Burke of Manhattan Beach, California; Joni and Scott Carswell of Austin; and Stoney and Josefina Burke of Washington, D.C., as well as his treasured grandchildren, Alyssa, Ryan, Jacob, Lorelei, Dixon, Aiden, Rigby, Benjamin, Matilda, and Theodore.

Jimmie is preceded in death by his father and mother, Bill and Mary Burke of Sweetwater, as well as his sister and brother-in-law, Billie and Carl Jones of Stamford.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Champion Baptist Church or Texan by Nature (www.texanbynature.org).

--o--

† RICHARD EARL ROGERS
 
A private family service will be held at a later date for Richard Earl Rogers, 78, of Camp Verde, Arizona, who passed away April 20 in El Paso after a trip with his wife to the Texas hill country to see the bluebonnets.

Rick was born in Comanche to Robert (Bob) and Ora Rogers on February 23, 1943. He attended both Highland and Roscoe Schools while growing up here and was a member of the Roscoe High School Class of 1961. He was also a graduate of Clark County Community College in Vancouver, Washington. He served in the Engineer Corps in the US Army and was a Vietnam War veteran 1965-67. He and Michele, his wife of over 53 years, were married on May 20, 1967, in Houston. He was a master woodworker and electronics engineer. During his life, he lived in Texas, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, California, and Arizona.  

He is survived by his wife, Michele Rogers; son, Mark and daughter-in-law Alice Rogers; and grandchildren, Emma, Cooper, and Mason.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Ora Rogers, and siblings James (Pete) Woods and Bryan Rogers.

The family is requesting no flowers or contributions.

--o--

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

School Board, City Council Elections Saturday

The RCISD School Board and Roscoe City Council elections are both this Saturday, May 1, with voting at the Roscoe Community Center on 600 Broadway from 7:00am-7:00pm.

The RCISD School Board election is in two parts. The first is for four regular four-year positions. Six candidates are running, but only four will be selected. Voters may choose up to four candidates from the following group:

            James Arnwine
            Kenny Hope
            David Pantoja
            Eloy Herrera
            Allen Richburg
            Jose Ortega

The second group is for three two-year positions. Four candidates are running, but only three will be selected. Voters may choose up to three candidates:

            Jerad Alford
            Jason Freeman
            Cheyenne Smith
            Aaron Brown

Three candidates are running for two three-year positions on the Roscoe City Council. Voters may choose up to two:

            Edwin Wilson Duncan
            Larry John Clements
            Robert Ray McBride

For more information about the School Board Election, contact the Roscoe Collegiate ISD Office at 325-766-3629. For more information about the City Council Election, contact City Hall at 325-766-3871.

--o--

CHARLEY CROCKETT, SHINYRIBS AT LUMBERYARD

Downtown Roscoe will be rocking this weekend with two big shows at the Lumberyard. Shinyribs will put on Friday night’s performance, and Charley Crockett will make his first appearance ever here on Saturday night.

Shinyribs
Shinyribs may never take center stage at the Grand Ole Opry, but once you see them, you’ll always remember the show because when they take the stage, it’s party time, and in short order everybody in the house is having a good time and enjoying themselves.

The band’s originator and lead performer is Kevin Russell, originally from Beaumont but now based in Austin. He originally became known there with his band, The Gourds, before going solo as Shinyribs. Later, he formed the band, which now goes by the same name.

Winners of the Best Austin Band in 2017-18 and 2018-19 at the Austin Music Awards, Shinyribs has been featured at South by Southwest and on Austin City Limits.

Russell describes their music as country soul, swamp funk, and tickle with his own versions of songs by such artists as George Jones, Leadbelly, Burl Ives, and Hank Williams, Jr. If it’s a good time you’re looking for, you’ll get it from Shinyribs Friday night at the Lumberyard.

Charley Crockett

West Texas country music fans get a special treat on Saturday night when singer/songwriter Charley Crockett brings his act to town. Originally from the Rio Grande valley, Crockett was born in San Benito, but also lived in Dallas while growing up and now works out of Austin. He has sung on the streets of New Orleans, New York, and Paris, France, and traveled extensively in Europe and the US. He has also sometimes been on the wrong side of the law.

His recent rise to fame has been both unusual and phenomenal. From singing in the subway to being featured in this month’s Rolling Stone, Crockett has done it the hard way, but he is now getting his due as his single “I Can Help” has just hit a million streams on Spotify.

He began his professional career with the release of his debut album in 2015, A Stolen Jewel, and in 2016 with In The Night, both blues albums. Lil G. L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee, his third, is a collection of country classics and blues, which peaked at 10 on the Billboard Blues Albums chart. Since then, he has released two more, The Valley, in 2019 and his latest, Welcome to Hard Times, in 2020. His popularity has steadily grown, and he now has a large following of fans.

Popular singles include “Welcome to Hard Times,” "I Can Help," “Fool Somebody Else,” “Borrowed Time,” “Don’t Cry,” “Lily My Dear,” as well as such covers as “Jamestown Ferry,” and “Good Time Charley’s Got the Blues.”

The Rolling Stone article on Charley Crockett is available online by clicking here.

For more information or to make reservations, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.

--o--

RCHS TRACK SEASON ENDS AT REGIONAL  MEET

The Plowboys and Plowgirls wound up their season on Saturday afternoon at the Region 1 Track & Field Meet in Canyon. And, although no one is going to the state meet this year, the team’s rallying cry is now “Wait ‘til next year!” because their only senior at the Regional Meet this year was Caleb Reed.

The Plowboys scored personal bests in two events Saturday. Antonio Aguayo ran a 23.03 in the 200 meters to finish in seventh place after finishing fourth in the preliminary heat, and the Plowboys’ 4 x 200 meter relay team, which finished sixth, ran a year’s best at 1:32.63.

Caleb Reed finished 15th in the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:19.41, and Kaidy Ornelas finished ninth in the Girls’ 1600 meters with a time of 5:57.63.

Congratulations to all the athletes who made it to the Regional Meet. That’s quite an accomplishment!

Plowboys

Event                           Finish            Athlete(s)                     Time
200 meter dash              7          Antonio Aguayo                23.03
4 x 200 meter relay       6          Plowboys                          1:32.63
      (Julian Cuellar, Antonio Aguayo, Seth Wilcox, Tyler Guelker)
1600 meter run             15          Caleb  Reed                      5:19.41


Plowgirls

1600 meter run             9           Kaidynce Ornelas           5:57.63

--o--

COVID-19 REPORT: WORLD BAD, U.S. OK, WEST TEXAS GOOD

The worldwide news about Covid-19 is not good, especially for India, where 353,000 new cases were reported on Monday, setting a new world record for the fifth day in a row, and where enormous funeral pyres are burning in several cities. Experts say India’s reported 200,000 deaths is a ‘vast undercount.” Several South American and African countries are also reporting high numbers. On the other hand, Britain is now reporting fewer cases, and Scotland and Wales have reopened restaurants and other businesses. Europe will also allow Americans to visit this summer if they’ve been fully vaccinated.

In the US, the numbers are little changed from last week. They are slowly beginning to decline in Michigan, New York, and New Jersey but increasing in Oregon and Colorado. Deaths and hospitalizations are slowly lessening. The national number of vaccinations is also decreasing as demand diminishes. It is now under 3 million per day, with 29% of the adult population fully vaccinated and 42% with at least one dose.

In Texas, the numbers remain low. Hospitalizations have dropped slightly from 2,967 last week to 2,718 yesterday, and new cases also remain below 3,000 per day. Yesterday had just 1,390. Fatalities averaged 49 daily this week, a drop of 9 from last week’s 58.

Numbers remain low in the Big Country but growing some in Abilene. The number of active cases in Taylor County has grown to 214, a gain of 62 over last week’s 152, and Covid-19 hospitalizations in Abilene are now at 16 patients compared to 9 last week. Also, 2 more deaths were reported, so the total for Taylor County now stands at 401. The percentage of Covid-19 patients in the Abilene trauma service area is at 1.43% after last week’s 0.90%.

In our four-county area, the numbers are still quite low. Nolan County reports 0 active cases for the third consecutive week. Fisher County now has only 2 after 4 last week, and Mitchell County reports only 1 after last week’s 2.  Scurry County has 19 active cases compared to 15 last week, but that’s still considerably lower than its 46 two weeks ago. Once again, none of the four counties report any Covid-19 deaths this past week.

Here are the Big Country’s estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Howard, 45 (47); Scurry, 19 (15); Brown, 18 (6); Coke, 7 (13); Coleman, 4 (0); Erath, 4 (7); Eastland, 3 (1); Comanche, 3 (2); Jones, 2 (34); Fisher, 2 (4); Shackelford, 1 (3); Mitchell, 1 (2); Haskell, 0 (0); Callahan, 0 (0); Stephens, 0 (0); Runnels, 0 (0); Nolan, 0 (0); Kent, 0 (0); Stonewall, 0 (0); Knox, 0 (0); Throckmorton, 0 (0). The total of all these counties for this week is 109, 27 fewer than last week’s 136.
 
Selected west Texas counties’ estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Ector (Odessa) 249 (245), Midland 237 (215), Lubbock 92 (79); Tom Green (San Angelo) 77 (88); Wichita (Wichita Falls) 44 (38). This week’s total for these cities is 699, 34 more than last week’s 665.

Texas now has had a total of 2,461,831 cases (2,444,933 last week), 62,206 active cases (62,555 last week), and 49,022 total deaths (48,677 last week).

--o--

WEATHER REPORT: FINALLY, A BIG RAIN 

Eden Baker took this photo of yesterday's approaching storm.
Last night, we finally got a much needed rain. After reaching a high of 95°F yesterday afternoon, along about sundown the sky clouded over, and I was surprised by a big flash of lightning and a window-rattling boom, something I hadn't heard for quite a while. About a minute later, the sky opened up and the rain began to fall. Then I heard the hail hitting my house's steel roof. It was fairly heavy but was small enough that it did no damage to the cars in the driveway. 

The rain lasted twenty minutes or so and then stopped until about 1:20am when it resumed, and this time it lasted over half an hour. Then, I heard a sound that is music to the ears after the dry spell we've had this spring--the croaking of frogs. It also rained some more after that, but I didn't check the time. 

This morning, I checked my rain gauge and found just over 3.5 inches in it.  Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried reported an official 3.58" at his home in east Roscoe. Other reports from the local area varied. Allen Richburg got 3 inches west of town, Randall Bankhead got 1.75" south of Champion, Jason Freeman got 2.6" a mile southeast of town, and Josh Boston got 3.6" in south Roscoe.

This past week has included a wide range of weather—from last Wednesday morning’s freeze to Monday afternoon’s sweltering 96°F, from clear blue skies to completely overcast, from dead calms to high winds from multiple directions, and from dry, dusty southwest winds to last night’s downpour accompanied by lightning, thunder and hail.

The freeze of last Wednesday morning didn’t seem to do much damage here in town, but I heard from both Craig Diddle and Randall Smith that there were places here and there, especially in and around Fisher County, where the mesquite trees were damaged by the cold. As we native west Texans know, that’s not supposed to ever happen to the mesquites, which are always the last trees to bud out—but apparently this year it did.

And maybe it’s just me, but it seems that this spring has been unusually windy, including this past week, when winds of 20-25mph are the norm and gusts of 35-45mph were occurring just about every day.

Today’s forecast is for a 40% chance of more scattered thunderstorms, winds from the northeast at 10-15mph, and a high of 79°. Tomorrow, winds will be from the north with a 60% chance of showers, strong north winds, and a high of only 65°. Friday’s chances for precipitation drop to 25% with wind from the north, cloudy skies, and a high of 72°. Saturday will be partly cloudy with a light southeast breeze, a high of 75°,  and a 25% chance of rain. Then on Sunday, the heat returns with a southwest wind and a high of 87°.

Sunny skies are predicted for all of next week with little chance of rain.

--o--

† GAINES HUNTER PRICE

A graveside service for Gaines Hunter Price, 66, was held at 3:00pm Sunday, April 25, at Roscoe Cemetery with Rev. Ollie Wilburn officiating. Interment followed directed by McCoy Funeral Home. He passed away last Wednesday, April 21, at his residence.

Gaines was born January 9, 1955, in Nolan County to the late Garland Gaines and Myrtle Jean (Hunter) Price. He was a lifelong resident of Nolan County. Gaines was a graduate of Highland High School and farmed the Roscoe area all of his life.

Gaines is survived by his son, Tyson Price and wife Riley Ann of Roscoe; daughter, Callie Jones and husband Casey of Fort Worth; three sisters, Letha Fullwood and husband Eugene of Roscoe, Jerita Richburg and husband Walter of Fredericksburg, and Garla Allen of DeLeon; grandchildren, Tyleigh and Tatum Price of Roscoe and Carsten and Callen Jones of Fort Worth.

He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter Laura DeLynn Price on January 28, 1985.

Pallbearers were Keith Johnson, Kenneth Reed, Michael Herrera, Josh Stansell, Eliseo Lopez, and Frankie Stewart. Honorary pallbearers were Billy Monroe and Zach Wilcox.

--o--

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Rondo Whorton's Solo Flight

Lt. Larry Douthit beside Rondo Whorton's Flying Jenny.
Editor’s Note: Since this week has been a little short of news, I’m including below a bit of Roscoe history that I ran once before about five years ago. It involves one of the town’s early characters, Rondo Whorton, and was written by his son, Billy, about 1972. Both were descendants of Roscoe’s original settlers.

The first people to make a home in what we now call Roscoe were the F. M. Whorton family, arriving here in 1888. At the time, there was only one building in the area, a section house by the railroad track that burned down a week after they arrived. Mr. Whorton bought land and immediately built a home in present-day south Roscoe while the rest of the family lived in Colorado City until it was finished. It wasn’t long, though, before other families began to settle in the area, and the community that developed was known as Vista until late 1891, when its name was changed to Roscoe.

In 1893, Mr. Whorton’s eldest son, D. B., married the daughter of the owner of Roscoe’s first general store. It was Roscoe’s first wedding, and their first son, Ronda Hoyt Whorton, born in 1894, was Roscoe’s second baby. Known as “Rondo,” he went to Roscoe schools and lived his life here. He is the subject of the following account written by his son, R. H. Whorton, Jr., better known as “Billy.” The story comes from a Whorton family history donated to the Roscoe Historical Museum by Ronnie Fry, a descendant of the family.

RONDO WHORTON'S SOLO FLIGHT: A ROSCOE MEMORY
By R. H. Whorton, Jr.

Rondo Whorton in 1915.
Rondo, as he was affectionately called, was born May 23, 1894, to D. B. and Willie Belle Whorton at the F. M. Whorton homestead farm just south of Roscoe, Nolan County, Texas. He was the oldest member of a family of three brothers and one sister. He was reared on the farm and attended the Roscoe Schools. In the years that he grew into manhood, marvelous adventures were being developed in the field of transportation and communication. These new ideas intrigued and fascinated him to the point he wanted to be a part of their application to local conditions. He told me of operating silent movie projectors for free so he could learn of their principle. He built crystal radio sets and received signals from Fort Worth and later Abilene.

As a teenager he and his friends would “hop” freight trains and travel over the Texas & Pacific Railway lines. It made no difference which way the train was going as they could always return to Roscoe from Marshall or El Paso via another freight. To him the practical application of electricity in homes was an obsession, and he purchased a set of books from which he could learn the basics of electric science. In later life he used this knowledge to supplement the family farm income by installing electricity in commercial and residential buildings.

The post-World War I years were filled with daring exploits of the young Americans of the roaring twenties. The army during the war had built and found both a practical and a destructive use for the airplane. The combination of surplus airplanes brought on the art of “barnstorming.” Daring young men would buy and fly surplus World War I planes from community to community and “carry up” passengers from the local population.

This type of daring appealed to Rondo, and in 1924 he purchased an army surplus trainer at Love Field, Dallas. The biplane was a wood and fabric Curtiss-Wright with a water-cooled OX-5 engine. It was better known as the Flying Jenny. As he could not fly the plane to Roscoe, he engaged a pilot to fly it for him. After leaving Love Field, he and the pilot were forced to land at Ranger for fuel. The pilot on his final approach overshot the landing strip, and since these planes had no brakes, it crashed through a fence and into a mesquite thicket. The pilot returned to Love Field and Rondo to Roscoe via the dependable T&P railroad. The damaged aircraft was left in Ranger in storage.

Rondo frantically wrote suppliers for parts and finally the Curtiss-Wright factory in Akron, Ohio. The factory advised him to rob parts from some other wrecked plane that was damaged beyond repair. The factory also advised if all other efforts failed, the air frame could be repaired by a skilled carpenter but cautioned that the wood must be of the lightest weight available. The plane was repaired and brought to Roscoe to be parked in a pasture just north of the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway shop.

While awaiting repairs on the airplane, he wrote to Kelly Field in San Antonio, an army training school for pilots, requesting the possibility of some aviator coming to Roscoe to teach him to fly the airplane. His letter was answered by Air Cadet Larry Douthit, who said he was to graduate in a few weeks and he would request a leave of absence for the purpose of coming to Roscoe and teaching Rondo to fly the Jenny. Meanwhile, the airplane at Ranger was repaired, and it and the instructor arrived in Roscoe. We children were quite small, and we were all awed by the Jenny and the army instructor. Rondo and Mary had very recently constructed a new modern house with three bedrooms, and we five children had the luxury of sharing not one but two bedrooms.

The arrival of Lt. Larry Douthit required that we give up the choice front bedroom to him, and we again were allotted cramped quarters. However, he more than made up for this inconvenience by building us kites constructed from balsa wood, fine cotton fabric, and airplane dope. We were the envy of the neighborhood as these kites made from airplane materials were practically indestructible.

After a short period of instruction, Rondo was urging his instructor to let him solo. Lt. Douthit did not believe his pupil was ready and would not allow a solo flight. However, at dawn one morning Rondo very quietly slipped out the back door of the house with his clothes in his hands. I was only about five years of age, but the closing back door awakened me, and I looked from the bedroom and saw my father dressing on the back porch. I hurriedly dressed and slipped outside to find him pushing the family Model T Ford from the garage and down the driveway. Upon seeing me, he motioned me to be quiet and help him push. We pushed the car to the street and about a half block from the house before he started the engine with a hand crank. This was necessary so as not to awaken anyone else in the household.

We then proceeded in the car to the pasture north of Roscoe where the Jenny was staked down. Rondo told me to stay in the car while he took the airplane up for his solo flight. At this point I cried so loud and raised such a big fuss he strapped me in the Jenny’s passenger seat in the front cockpit. He then hand cranked the plane by its propeller and jumped in the pilot’s seat in the rear cockpit. He proceeded to take off from the rough pasture. After flying the plane in a few circles, he flew over the house. After buzzing the house a few times to get the instructor’s attention, he flew very low and dropped a note tied to a pair of pliers.

I don’t recall what the note said, but I can still see the family gathered in the front yard with hands shading their eyes from the early morning sun, watching Rondo solo with his young son as a passenger. Instructor Douthit made quite a sight running back and forth in the street below in pajamas and robe shouting something we could not hear. I did not realize until years later that this act was so daring and so typical of my father.

Lt. Larry Douthit returned to Kelly Field and had a distinguished Air Force career. He retired in about 1960 but made many local friends, and he returned to visit them occasionally. Rondo continued to fly the Jenny until 1926 when he traded it to A. H. Warken of Pyron for a Fordson tractor and an Oliver treble-disk plow. In 1938 he and three other Roscoe men formed a Flying Club and purchased a Piper Super Cruiser and flew it until 1943 when the shortage of aviation gas forced them to sell it. Although he had hundreds of flight hours, he had only an Airman’s Certificate, which was issued him on April 16, 1942, by the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

--o--

SWEETWATER MAN ELUDES LAW AFTER BEING SHOT

About the biggest excitement around Roscoe this week came on Thursday when a Sweetwater felon, James Hearin, 41, was pulled over for a traffic stop about 10am, resisted arrest, and was shot in the stomach and arm by law enforcement as he tried to escape. He then led officers on a high-speed chase from Sweetwater and eluded them in the Champion area.

He then went live on Facebook, making streaming video to say that he had been shot by police and showed his wounds. Meanwhile, as law enforcement attempted to locate him, both Highland and Roscoe schools were put on lockdown. He was found and arrested several hours later on a ranch in Mitchell County with several bullet holes in his pickup.

According to a report on the Big Country Homepage, he was hospitalized in stable condition. He was arrested for outstanding warrants and now faces additional charges.

His Facebook video was posted on the Big Country Homepage but has now been removed.

--o--

SUSPECT WANTED IN KIRKLAND SHOOTING ARRESTED

The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office has announced the arrest of Yahayra “Heidi” Gutierrez for tampering with evidence in the shooting of former Plowgirl Megan Kirkland at a party outside Abilene last August. Her arrest follows the previous arrests of four others as reported in the Hard Times last week.

Gutierrez gave herself up at the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.

--o--

SALES TAX HOLIDAY FOR EMERGENCY ITEMS

The State of Texas is having a sales tax holiday for emergency items this weekend, April 24-26.  It begins 12:01am Saturday and ends at 12 midnight on Monday.

Items include portable generators under $3000, emergency ladders under $300, and several items under $75 including axes, batteries, non-electric coolers and ice chests, fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, mobile telephone batteries and chargers, smoke detectors, tarps, and other items.

For a full list and other information contact the state website here.

--o--

 ANOTHER GOOD COVID-19 WEEK IN WEST TEXAS

It’s been another good week for the pandemic situation in west Texas and especially for Nolan County and Roscoe, which are recording no active cases of Covid-19 for the second straight week.

In the US, the outlook is not so clear as some parts of the country are experiencing increases in new cases and hospitalizations while others improve, and others are mixed.

All adults in every state are now eligible for shots. Over 3 million are still being given every day, even though a pause has been imposed on Johnson & Johnson shots. However, European countries are resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has caused a few rare blood clots, deciding that using the vaccine will cost fewer lives than withholding it. So, the US may soon follow suit.

In Texas, the numbers remain low. Hospitalizations have leveled off to somewhere around 3,000 with 2,967 yesterday, and new cases also remain at about 3,000 average per day. Monday had 1,073 while yesterday had 3,554. Fatalities averaged 58 daily this week, a drop of 6 from last week’s 64 and of 9 from two weeks ago.

Numbers remain low but mixed in the Big Country. The number of active cases in Taylor County is now at 152, a gain of 9 over last week but still 8 less than the 160 of two weeks ago. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in Abilene are now at 9 patients compared to 14 last week. However, 1 more death was reported, so the total for Taylor County now stands at 399. The percentage of Covid-19 patients in the Abilene trauma service area is down to 0.90% after last week’s 1.69%.

In our four-county area, the numbers are mixed but still quite low. Nolan County reports 0 active cases for the second consecutive week. Fisher County now has 4 after only 1 last week, and Mitchell County still has 2, but the Wallace Unit now has none in its prison staff. Scurry County is down to 15 active cases, a drop from last week’s 46, and once again, none of the four counties report any Covid-19 deaths this past week.

Here are the Big Country’s estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Howard, 47 (38); Jones, 34 (38); Scurry, 15 (46); Coke, 13 (12); Erath, 7 (8); Brown, 6 (3); Fisher, 4 (1); Shackelford, 3 (2);Comanche, 2 (3); Mitchell, 2 (2); Eastland, 1 (2); Haskell, 0 (1); Callahan, 0 (2); Stephens, 0 (2); Runnels, 0 (0); Nolan, 0 (0); Coleman, 0 (0); Kent, 0 (1); Stonewall, 0 (0); Knox, 0 (0); Throckmorton, 0 (0). The total of all these counties for this week is 136, 28 fewer than last week’s 164.
 
Selected west Texas counties’ estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Ector (Odessa) 245 (219), Midland 215 (260), Tom Green (San Angelo) 88 (90); Lubbock 79 (101); Wichita (Wichita Falls) 38 (38). This week’s total for these cities is 665, 43 fewer than last week’s 708.

Texas now has had a total of 2,444,933 cases (2,428,867 last week), 62,555 active cases (64,307 last week), and 48,677 total deaths (48,273 last week).

--o--

VACCINE CLINIC TOMORROW AT COLISEUM ANNEX

The Nolan County Health Department will have a COVID-19 vaccine clinic tomorrow, April 22, from 8:30-11:30am and 1:00-4:00pm at the Coliseum Annex FOR SECOND DOSES ONLY to the people that were administered their first dose on March 17-19 & March 23-25.

--o--

WEATHER REPORT: WINTER CHILL IN APRIL

Yesterday morning's sunrise.

The tundra may be thawing out above the arctic circle and glaciers melting in Iceland, but you wouldn’t know it with the weather we’ve been experiencing here in Roscoe for over a week now. Starting on Tuesday of last week, we had five consecutive days in which the temperature never rose above 58°F.

The days were typically cloudy and misty with forecasters giving us excellent chances of rain. Unfortunately, we got the gloomy weather with overcast skies, occasional mist, and sprinkles but never the downpour or steady rain that the area needs.

The average daily maximum for April in the Roscoe area is 78°F, so this past week’s highs ran about 20 degrees below normal, and they felt even cooler than that because of the strong north wind that often accompanied the clouds and low temperatures. The only day to break seventy was Monday when we endured a sweltering 74°. Lows were around 40° until this morning when the low fell all the way to 33°. At least, that's what it said on the Weather Channel app. I hope the cold didn't damage any of the peach, apricot, or other trees that have been blooming out lately.

Today will also be cool with a forecast high of 55°, but that will change as the week goes on. Tomorrow’s high will climb to about 65°, and Friday’s up to 84° along with a strong southwest wind. Saturday’s high will drop to 79° as the wind shifts to the north, but then Sunday and Monday will both peak at 90° along with a stiff southwest breeze, and air conditioners will once again be necessary.

Unfortunately, the greatest chance for rain will come on Friday when forecasters give us just a 24% chance of showers.

--o--

† BASSETT BUCKLEY “BUCK” NIX

Bassett Buckley "Buck" Nix passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, April 10, 2021, one week after his 88th birthday. 

Born April 3, 1933 in Roscoe, Texas [and known in Roscoe as Bucky], he was an All-State Track & Field champion and Football star. He enlisted in the Marines and was always proud of his service. Buck was a life-time member of Ironworkers Local 75. This work took him to Alaska and back to Phoenix in 1966 where he met his wife, Marcia. They were married for 52 years, living in the same house where he passed away.

Everyone who knew him had a "Buck" story to share. He was a character with a larger-than-life personality, charming even strangers with his big smile. His shock and awe storytelling also left quite an impression on his audience. It wasn't uncommon to hear him recite poetry at parties, favorites being Robert W. Service's, "The Cremation of Sam McGee" or "The Shooting of Dan McGrew." He was a skilled dancer and his love of music and entertainers from country to contemporary was a source of joy for him almost as much as his love of movies. A HUGE movie buff and fan of the Silver Screen, he always preferred the first showing, "a fresh pop" popcorn, and a cold coke in his souvenir Harkins cup.

Buck was a local "legend" around Central Phoenix and, after an early retirement, could often be found in the mornings at AJ's Fine Foods having coffee, exercising at the Christown YMCA, hiking North Mountain, walking the track at Phoenix College, or playing 9 holes at Palo Verde Golf Course. He was also a regular at Turf Paradise "playing the ponies." He never missed a chance to wager a sporting bet, especially if Tiger Woods was playing or a Bob Baffert horse was running. He enjoyed poker games at the Local 75 and at home, Buck loved a good game of Forty-Two dominoes.

Buck stayed athletic and competitive with his participation in the Arizona Senior Olympics well into his 50's, winning six Track & Field gold medals in one day. Ever the gamblin' man, Buck never passed on the opportunity to challenge another in the 100 yard dash.

Buck continued to make happy memories even as the dementia blurred the present. He delighted every party or backyard BBQ with a tale from his storied life. He was especially proud of his daughter and his granddaughter. Some of his best memories were watching Sarah in her Track & Field prime and he never missed a chance to watch Olivia dance.

Buck is survived by his wife, Marcia (Perry) Nix, daughter, Sarah Nix, and granddaughter, Olivia Kennefick. Buck requested his body be donated to Science Care. Services will be held at a later date. May he fly with the Elegant Trogon and keep signifyin' those monkeys.

Published in the Arizona Republic, April 15, 2021.

--o--

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

P-TECH Advisory Meeting Held Here Monday

Dr. Andy Swift explains Texas Tech's wind energy program.

A group of 65 educators, professors, administrators, and others was on hand at the RCISD STEM Center Monday evening for the Spring P-TECH Advisory Meeting. Not everyone who wanted to be there was able to attend in person, however, so the program was also livecast as a webinar to 25 others from several CEN (College Edu-Nation) member schools.

Roscoe participants included P-TECH officials and students, RCISD administrators and faculty, school board members, and others. The evening began with several RCHS seniors informally presenting their capstone presentations to attendees who arrived early to learn about them and vote on their favorites.

After a dinner catered by Taquería las Alteñas, RCISD Superintendent Andy Wilson welcomed the group, initial formalities were observed, and Dr. Kim Alexander opened the program with a brief history of the development of the P-TECH program along with an update of its current progress.

Dan Hunter, a former Plowboy and RHS ex who is now the Associate Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture, was unable to attend in person this time, so he gave his talk virtually via the livecast. He provided a brief update of the situation in Austin along with praise for Roscoe’s program as an innovative approach to rural education and the ongoing need for such efforts as long as the Texas rural areas continue to provide energy, food, and fiber for the rest of the country and world.

Morgan Martin, P-TECH’s program coordinator, updated the program’s current progress and presented several of its current students, who answered questions about working toward college degrees while remaining in their hometown.

Dr. Johnson of Angelo State University spoke of that school’s current efforts toward increased involvement in such programs as Roscoe’s. He was followed by Dr. Andy Swift, who discussed Texas Tech’s new Renewable Energy degrees and opportunities.

Then Thomas Taylor of Ludlum Measurements and Jeff Grimland of US Gypsum spoke of the Big Country Manufacturers’ Alliance and the need of local schools and manufacturers to coordinate their efforts and maintain better communication.  To do so will benefit both the manufacturers as well as their communities.

Dr. John Dedwyler of Collegiate Edu-Vet spoke of progress in working with animal reproduction services at Edu-Vet along with the opportunities for students such as apprenticeships as a way to careers in that field.

Dr. Glenn Shinn closed the program with a brief question-and-answer session concerning the evening’s presentations and education as it relates to rural economic development in Texas.

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CITY COUNCIL APPROVES ANNUAL AUDIT, HEARS REPORTS

City Manager Cody Thompson addresses the City Council.

At its monthly meeting in City Hall yesterday evening, the Roscoe City Council heard and approved the annual audit report from City Accountant Ricky Bowman, approved the City’s Quarterly Investment Report, approved a proclamation establishing April as national 9-1-1 Education Month, appointed Ernestine Edmiston and Helen Perry as election judge and clerk for the May 1 City Election, approved the purchase of a replacement vehicle for the Police Department, whose previous one was totaled when it was struck on I-20 during the ice storm, and heard reports from the City Manager and Chief of Police.

City Manager Cody Thompson gave the Council an update on the water and sewer and public works. He met yesterday with TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) and learned that the City of Roscoe will likely have to relocate the City’s main force sewer line located on the southside I-20 service road due to realignment adjustments proposed by TxDOT. In such realignments, the City must bear the costs and will be out around $50,000 to $60,000 to complete the project.

The City still can’t begin work on the water line improvements on Roscoe’s south side until the improvements are approved by the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) and the TWDB (Texas Water Development Board). The work has been held up for some time now with the state placing the delay on the pandemic.

The Spring Clean-Up ended yesterday as a success. Workers had five roll offs at the clean-up and emptied 3 times and hauled off two loads of tires and numerous loads of scrap iron.

The City’s 4th of July celebration will be held this year on Saturday, July 3, since the 4th falls on a Sunday.

City workers are taking a load of reverse-osmosis filters to have cleaned for re-use at the City Reverse-Osmosis Water Plant as soon as possible, probably this weekend.

The City still has not chosen a manager to run the City Swimming Pool this summer.

Police Chief Felix Pantoja gave the Police Department report for the month of March. The Department received 73 calls, 2 civil standbys, handled one vehicle crash just outside the City limits by the American Legion hall, and issued no citations.

The suspected driver of the car crash of June 1, 2020, just inside the Roscoe city limits on US Highway 84, was Thomas Richard Gamage. He was indicted by the Grand Jury for causing the crash that resulted in the death of two adults and one child. Gamage was arrested in South Dakota last month on the indictment warrant from the Nolan County Grand Jury.

No suspect has been identified for the armed robbery at the Yesway convenience store on the westbound I-20 service road on March 19. The Department is still waiting on a store video from the corporate office.

Mark Wade Kilgore of Lubbock was indicted in March for stealing a truck from West Texas Rock Resources. He is also the suspect who broke into vehicles at the same locations and burglarized Nutrien Ag Solutions.

The Sweetwater Police Department has obtained new car computers and is giving the Roscoe Department two or three of its old ones, which are in good working condition and better than what the Department currently has.

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RCHS RUNNERS ADVANCE TO REGIONAL MEET

Antonio Aguayo won the 200 meter dash at Wink.
Six Plowboys and one Plowgirl qualified for the upcoming Regional Meet by finishing in the top four of their events at the Area Meet held in Wink on Saturday.

For the Plowboys, Antonio Aguayo won the 200 meter dash, Caleb Reed finished fourth in the 1600 meter run, and the Plowboy team of Seth Wilcox, Antonio Aguayo, Julian Cuellar, and Tyler Guelker finished third in the 4 x 200 meter relay. For the Plowgirls, Kaidy Ornelas finished third in the 1600 meter run..

The Region 1 Meet will be in Canyon on Saturday, April 24.

Here are the Roscoe Collegiate results by event:

Plowgirls

Event                           Finish        Athlete                    Time/Distance
1600 meter run             3          Kaidynce Ornelas                5:55.48    
800 meter run               8          Yaniez Aguilar                      2:52.27
400 meter dash             7          Mia Lavalais                          1:08.18
4x400 meter relay        7           Plowgirls                               4:41.72
    (M. Lavalais, M. Calderon-Ruiz, Cr. Greenwood, K. Ornelas)
Triple Jump                   7          Kaidynce Ornelas              29-08.25
Shot Put                          8          Shauna McCambridge      27-08.50

Plowboys

Event                           Finish        Athlete                    Time/Distance
1600 Meter Run           4          Caleb Reed                           5:08.27        
200 meter dash             1          Antonio Aguayo                    23.32         
4 x 100 meter relay      5          Plowboys                                 45.32         
    (Tyler Guelker, Antonio Aguayo, Seth Wilcox, Julian Cuellar)
4 x 200 meter relay      3          Plowboys                              1:34.52        
    (Seth Wilcox, Antonio Aguayo, Julian Cuellar, Tyler Guelker)
4 x 400 meter relay      8          Plowboys                             4:05.88
    (Julian Cuellar, Keller Vinson, Seth Wilcox, Tyler Guelker)

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NICK PANTOJA WINS BURNET DEMOLITION DERBY

Nick Pantoja in his '84 Ford Crown Victoria before the start of the derby.
Nick Pantoja, manager and operator of VP Tires & Service on Broadway, aced the competition Saturday, April 10, in the full-size class of the Demolition Derby at the Burnet Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, Texas.

Burnet is a central Texas town of 6,300 people 50 miles northwest of Austin.

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SUSPECT CHARGED WITH MURDER OF MEGAN KIRKLAND

Megan Kirkland
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office is reporting progress and arrests in the shooting death of Megan Kirkland, 19, last August at a big party northwest of Abilene.  

George Girard Johnson, Jr., 18, of Abilene was taken into custody and charged with murder with bond set at $250,000. His mother, Stephanie Avalos, along with Ramon Aguirres, Jr., and Kimberly Renee Limas have been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence, while Yahayra Gutierrez has also been charged but is still at large. Their bonds are set at $100,000 each.  

Megan was apparently an innocent bystander hit when shooting broke out at around 2am during a fight at the party. She had lived in Roscoe and was a former Plowgirl before moving with her family to Wylie while she was still in high school.

The party was attended by over 150 young people, many of whom did not know one another at  what Taylor County Sheriff Ricky Bishop called a Snapchat party. Snapchat is a social medium on the Internet popular with young people because its messages, often with photos, quickly disappear after being posted and can’t be traced.

On the night of the incident, news got out on Snapchat that there was a big party outside Abilene, and young people all headed out there to see what was going on. According to the Sheriff, they came not only from in or around Abilene, but also Sweetwater, Ranger, San Angelo, Albany, Austin, and elsewhere, which made learning what actually happened so difficult because everybody scattered after the shooting broke out. Only about 15 people were still there when law enforcement arrived.

Sheriff Bishop says that the investigation is ongoing, witnesses are still being interviewed, and several other arrests will be made.

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NATIONAL COVID-19 NUMBERS RISE, LOCAL ONES FALL
NOLAN COUNTY REPORTS NO ACTIVE CASES

In the United States, the mixed numbers continue as southern states report low numbers while states in the northeast and upper Midwest are high and increasing. Michigan is still the state hardest hit, but it is not alone as Minnesota, Illinois, and the northeastern states all report high numbers, while the southern states—with the exception of Florida—remain low.

Vaccinations for Covid-19 continue at a steady pace of over 3 million a day with 22% of adults fully vaccinated and 36% with at least one dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, has been suspended as it has caused 6 rare cases of blood clotting. In Texas, one adult in five is fully vaccinated and one of three has had at least one dose. Texas is a leader, however, in full vaccinations for people in rest homes.

The numbers in Texas remain comparatively low. Its steady drop in all categories has leveled off this past week, however, as slight upticks in numbers of new cases and hospitalizations were reported while the number of active cases and deaths continues to fall. Covid-19 hospitalizations have reached 3,002 after a couple of weeks below 3,000. Active cases statewide are at 64,307 compared to 69,241 last week, and deaths now total 48,273, 451 more than last week’s 47,822 for a daily average of 64, which is 3 less than last week’s 67.

Numbers remain low but mixed in the Big Country. The number of active cases in Taylor County has fallen to 143 from 160 last week and 206 two weeks ago. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in Abilene are now at 14 patients compared to 13 last week. The percentage of Covid-19 patients in the Abilene trauma service area is at 1.69%, slightly above last week’s 1.45%, but still quite low. However, 8 more deaths were reported compared to only 2 last week. The total for Taylor County now stands at 398.

In our four-county area, the numbers are also mixed. Nolan County reports 0 active cases—that’s zero, nil, nada—down from 3 last week. Fisher County has only 1, 2 less than last week, and Mitchell County has 2, down from 3 last week, along with the same 2 in the Wallace unit prison staff. Scurry County, however, is now listed as having 46, down from 65 last week. So, even though their numbers are still high, at least they’re moving in the right direction.  And none of the four counties report any Covid-19 deaths this past week.

Roscoe schools remain Covid-19 free and have lifted their Covid-19 protocols.

Here are the Big Country’s estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Scurry, 46 (65); Jones, 38 (35); Howard, 38 (16); Coke, 12 (0); Erath, 8 (27); Brown, 3 (11); Comanche, 3 (3); Callahan, 2 (4); Mitchell, 2 (4); Stephens, 2 (2); Eastland, 2 (2); Shackelford, 2 (0); Fisher, 1 (2); Haskell, 1 (1); Runnels, 0 (3); Nolan, 0 (3); Coleman, 0 (0); Kent, 0 (1); Stonewall, 0 (0); Knox, 0 (0); Throckmorton, 0 (0).
 
Selected west Texas counties’ estimated active cases (with last week’s in parentheses): Midland 260 (232), Ector (Odessa) 219 (171), Lubbock 101 (141); Tom Green (San Angelo) 90 (91); Wichita (Wichita Falls) 38 (47).

Texas now has had a total of 2,428,867 cases (2,408,440 last week), 64,307 active cases (69,241 last week) and 48,273 total deaths (47,822 last week).

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WEATHER REPORT: MIXED SPRING WEATHER, MAYBE RAIN

Yesterday's cloudy sky.
The Roscoe area had mixed weather this past week with a little bit of everything except what is currently most needed—a good rain. There were more clouds than usual, but none that produced any rainfall. We’ve got a good chance today and tomorrow, though, so anything is possible.

Last Wednesday and Thursday were mostly cloudy and warm with 78°F on Wednesday and 88° on Thursday. Friday’s high was 92° with a strong southwest breeze, and Saturday’s wind was from the north with a high of 76°. The wind shifted to the southwest on Sunday and reached a high of 92°. Monday’s high was only 68° with cloudy skies and a north wind, and yesterday was also cool with a high of 56°.

The forecast is for continued cloudy skies and cool weather today and tomorrow with a good chance of rain. Today’s high will be only 57° with wind from the north, scattered thunderstorms, and a 50% chance of rain. Tomorrow will be similar with a high of 61°, wind from the east, cloudy skies, and an 80% chance of rain. Friday will be partly cloudy with a 66° high, a strong north wind, and a 35% chance of rain.

Saturday will probably be dry with a high of only 59° with a strong north wind, and Sunday’s high will be 62°, also with a north wind.

So, the possibility of precipitation is there. Maybe this time we’ll get some.

--o--

† ROY LEE McMILLAN

Funeral services for Roy Lee McMillan, 91, of Roscoe, were at 11:00am yesterday, April 13, at Roscoe Church of Christ with Phillip Tomlin officiating. Interment followed at Roscoe Cemetery with McCoy Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Roy was born October 10, 1929, in Big Spring to the late Ray D. and Mary L. (Ashbrook) McMillan. He married Jo Ann Roberds October 16, 1976 at Friona, Texas. Roy joined the U.S. Navy in September of 1948. After boot camp in San Diego, he was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Sicily in Norfolk, Virginia. From there, the Sicily was deployed to service in the Atlantic and then to the Pacific Oceans. When the Korean War broke out, it was ordered to Korea. “We did tours in Korea from August 1950 until August 1952. We received three battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation and Ribbon.”

After Roy was honorably discharged on September 3, 1952, he returned to Big Spring, where he worked for the Texas and Pacific Railroad as an electrician apprentice and worked for the T & P for 18 years. He moved to Roscoe in September of 1967, where he worked for the RS&P Railroad for 17 years. He retired after 35 years of faithful service. Upon retirement, he became the custodian of Roscoe Church of Christ, where he was a member with his beloved wife, Jo Ann, since 1976. He served the church faithfully and with great love and devotion until his death. Truly, he was a good and faithful servant of his Lord. He was a member of the Roscoe Lions Club for 14 years and served one year as a Director and 12 years as the Club Treasurer.

Roy is survived by his stepdaughter, Billie Jo Selby and husband Leonard of Vancouver, Washington; brother. Bobby J. McMillan and wife Marilyn of Lubbock; nieces and nephews, Allison McMillan of Lubbock, Scott McMillan of Houston, Alicia Holligan and husband Dale of Lubbock, Kathy (McMillan) Odum of Jasper, Texas, and Riley Ray “Butch” McMillan of Oliver Springs, TN. He is also survived by great nephews, Conner and Brendan Burkholder, Taylor and Tanner Holligan; and great-great nephew, Aden Holligan.

Roy was preceded in death by his wife, Jo Ann, and his brother, Ray D. McMillan, Jr.

Pallbearers were Kim Alexander, Randall Smith, Ignacio Castillo, Dale Holligan, Ronnie Helm and Don Martin. Honorary pallbearers were Danny Allred, Ed Althof, Allen Pharis, and Danny Boren.

Memorials may be made to Roscoe Church of Christ, Lubbock Children’s Home, or South Plains Food Bank in Lubbock.

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