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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Roscoe in Years Gone By: Remembering Tonto Coleman

A. M. "Tonto" Coleman, SEC Commissioner, 1965-1972. 
If you ask someone today about Tonto Coleman, you’re likely to get a blank stare, but there was a time when just about everyone in Roscoe could tell you who he was. He’s still the only former Plowboy in the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame, and in his day he was well known not only in Texas, but also throughout the South. Even President Lyndon Johnson greeted him by name when he went to the White House with a delegation of coaches.

Although he was good at everything he did, Tonto was never a big star at football or, later on, as a football coach. But he impressed everyone with his intelligence, ability, character, and sense of humor, and he was successful at everything he tried, whether as a player for Roscoe or Abilene Christian, a high school coach at Baird or San Angelo, or head track and football coach at ACU (then ACC). In later years, he moved on to become assistant coach at the University of Florida and Georgia Tech, and eventually Commissioner of the SEC, the Southeastern Athletic Conference.

Arthur M. “Tonto” Coleman was born in Alabama on July 7, 1907, and when he was twelve, moved with his family to Wastella where, as he tells it, life was pretty hard. In a 1966 Sports Illustrated article entitled “Next Speaker Will Be Tonto Coleman,” he told its writer that the first thing he did in the morning was go out to the road to “see if anything had been run over during the night that would put some meat on the table.”

He went to Roscoe High School, where he played all varsity sports, and then to Abilene Christian, lettering in three sports there. He graduated from Roscoe High in 1924 and from ACC with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1928. He got his first head coaching job at Baird in 1929, moved on to San Angelo where he was head coach from 1931-39, and then returned to Abilene Christian in 1940, where he was the head track coach and assistant football coach until 1942. He then became head football coach from 1942-49 (with the exception of the WWII years, when he served in the Army Air Force). His overall head coaching record at ACC was 28-15-2.

In 1950, Baylor coach Bob Woodruff became the head coach at the University of Florida and persuaded Tonto to join him there. Then in 1952, Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd hired him away from Florida to be his defensive coordinator and coach of the freshman team. He was also a tenured full professor there. He remained at Georgia Tech until 1965, where he was also the assistant athletic director before becoming the Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. He held that position until he retired in 1972 and moved back to Abilene, where he died of a heart attack in 1973.

But those statistics don’t really tell of the impact he had on football and on people during his lifetime. He was credited with being the first coach to use the 5-4-2 defense when he coached ACC, a defense that Bud Wilkinson took to Oklahoma when he was head coach there. Darrell Royal claimed that Coleman’s recommendation was a big reason he got the head coaching job at the University of Texas, and in later years Coleman was also a popular after-dinner speaker because of his country sense of humor.

While he was at Georgia Tech, Governor Carl Sanders formally proclaimed a Tonto Coleman Day, and the Georgia legislature adopted a resolution honoring him. He is also a member of the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame. The final part of his description there says this: “He was known as the goodwill ambassador of college sports. Although he was a big man with a rugged appearance and a sandpaper voice, he was known for his warm, gentle, and polite personality. When he left Georgia Tech, then President Edwin Harrison said to him: ‘Many people pass through Georgia Tech, but only a few leave lasting memories. You are among those few.’”

I will close with a funny story he told about a football game Roscoe played against Snyder back when he was in high school. It is repeated in the Sports Illustrated article mentioned above. Someone spoke of his innovative defense, and part of his response was this: “But, speaking of defense, it puts me in mind of the time I was playing at Roscoe and we had a game with Snyder. They stopped us cold on every play. No matter what we tried, those Snyder boys seemed to know just where the play was heading. We took a bad beating and after the game I asked one of the Snyder players how they did it. This boy said, ‘Oh, we just happened to notice that whoever came out of the huddle wearing the helmet usually carried the ball.’”

There are more of his stories in the article, which is available online in the Sports Illustrated archives. You can access it by clicking here.



Firemen fight the blaze inside the house at 206 Cypress Street last Thursday.
A house fire at the David Griffith residence at 206 Cypress Street on Thursday afternoon, April 21, killed two dogs and caused major damage to the interior of the house. According to Roscoe Fire Chief Gary Armstrong, the fire engulfed two rooms and caused heavy smoke damage to the rest of the house. Once notified, the Roscoe Fire Department responded with two engines at 4:30pm, and the Sweetwater Fire Department, which also sent two engines, also came over and helped out with mutual aid.

No one was at home at the time of the fire, and its cause has not yet been determined.



A large number of Roscoe Collegiate High School and Junior High students received honors at the Roscoe Academic Awards Banquet in the RCHS School Cafetorium yesterday evening.

Alejandra Solis was the first recipient of the Pursuit of Passion: Kimberely Nicole Norris Memorial Scholarship for her accomplishments and achievements while a student at Roscoe. The $1000 scholarship is given in memory of Kim Norris, a 2011 Roscoe High School graduate and former varsity cheerleader and basketball player, who passed away unexpectedly in 2015 while attending the University of Hawaii.

Here are the other awards and honors recognized at the banquet:

Associate’s Degrees from Western Texas College in Snyder:

            Rafael Aguayo                          Javier Leaños
            Ray Bohall                                 Lena Martinez
            Magali Casas                             Max Nemir
            Cassie Chavira                          Adrian Ortega
            Caty Chavira                              Anthony Ortegon
            Emily Gonzales                         Vincent Pantoja
            Isaiah Gonzales                         A. J. Renteria
            Teresa Herrera                          Brena Robinson
            Hannah Hobdy                          Alejandra Solis
            Victoria Jimenez                       Bernardo Villa
            Ashley Lara                                Luis Villa
            Kevin Lavalais                           Xiao, Lin

Special Award: Emily Gonzales (graduating with Associate’s Degree while completing High School in three years)

Early Graduate: Crystal Alvarez

MSA Welding Certificates from Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater:

            Christian Acuña                       Jetly Hobdy
            Isaias Aguilar                            Juan Huidobro
            Crystal Alvarez                          Roadey Mann
            Brayden Beal                             Jayce Phillips
            Johnathon Cuellar                   Saxton Stewart
            Justin Gardner

Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society:

            Johnathon Cuellar
            Braiden Moore
            Caleb Ward

NASA Texas High School Aerospace Scholars:

            Cassie Chavira
            Caty Chavira

SAT Honor Roll:

            Ray Bohall
            Isaiah Gonzales

ACT Honor Roll:

            Braiden Moore
            Caleb Ward

Engineering Project-Based Learning:

            Caleb Ward                               Braiden Moore
            Camden Boren                          Jose Chavira
            Austin Willman                        Braxton Parrott

High School Class Awards:

            Senior Best All-Around Boy: Max Nemir
            Senior Best All-Around Girl: Cassie Chavira
            Senior Outstanding Work Ethic Boy: Lin Xiao
            Senior Outstanding Work Ethic Girl: Teresa Herrera

            Junior Best All-Around Boy: Brayden Beal
            Junior Best All-Around Girl: Karina Cisneros
            Junior Outstanding Work Ethic Boy: Johnny Cuellar
            Junior Outstanding Work Ethic Girl: Shirley Sanchez

            Sophomore Best All-Around Boy: Camden Boren
            Sophomore Best All-Around Girl: Iris Gonzales
            Sophomore Outstanding Work Ethic Boy: Tait Fullwood, Parker Payne
            Sophomore Outstanding Work Ethic Girl: Thea Abeita

            Freshman Best All-Around Boy: Alfonso Islas
            Freshman Best All-Around Girl: Lynzie Atkison
            Freshman Outstanding Work Ethic Boy: Jose Ortega
            Freshman Outstanding Work Ethic Girl: Veronica Cuellar

Junior High School Class Awards:

            8th Grade Best All-Around Boy: Tristan Baker
            8th Grade Best All-Around Girl: Jaci Alexander, Jaleigh Morales
            8th Grade Outstanding Work Ethic Boy: Roman Garza
            8th Grade Outstanding Work Ethic Girl: Jaci Stewart
            8th Grade Project-Based Learning: Hunter Anglin, Junior Martinez, Jaleigh Morales, Kyleigh Spencer

            7th Grade Best All-Around Boy: Zeke Murphy
            7th Grade Best All-Around Girl; Hannah Ward
            7th Grade Outstanding Work Ethic Boy: Kaleb Bohall
            7th Grade Outstanding Work Ethic Girl: Riley Sheridan
            7th Grade Project-Based Learning: Elida Aguilar, Barrett Beal, Caleb Reed

            6th Grade Best All-Around Boy: Hayden Baker
            6th Grade Best All-Around Girl: Isabel Ortega
            6th Grade Outstanding Work Ethic Boy: Tyler Guelker
            6th Grade Outstanding Work Ethic Girl: Marcella Saenz

Not listed here are all the award winners honored for individual class subjects for grades 6-12.



This weekend the Lumberyard is hosting two up-and-coming young country singers, Josh Ward on Friday night and Kyle Park on Saturday.

Josh Ward and Kyle Park
Kyle Park writes and produces his own songs, which might loosely be termed a part of the current Texas Country genre. Born in Austin in 1985, he formed a band while a student at Texas State University in San Marcos. His first album, Big Time, was released in 2005, and since then he has produced five others, the most recent being Beggin’ for More, released in 2013. His single “The Night is Young” reached #1 on the Texas Country Charts in 2013. Three other singles, “Fit for the King,” “Long Distance Relationship,” and “Turn That Crown Upside Down,” were all Top Ten hits on the Texas Music Chart.

Josh Ward sings traditional country music, citing Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, George Jones, and George Strait as major influences. A native of Houston, his music career began in parking lots of his rodeo events and progressed to honky tonks in 2003. His single “Get Away” (2012) reached #18 on the Texas Regional Radio Chart, followed by “Rainout Hangout,” which made the Top 5, and then “Sent Me You,” which made #1. Since then, two others, “Promises” and “Hard Whiskey,” have reached #1 on Texas Regional Radio. His newest album, Holding Me Together, is now available.

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

There was a nice article on Roscoe and the Lumberyard in last Thursday’s Abilene Reporter-News. You can read it by clicking here.



Yesterday's clouds in the northwest before the storm hit.
The second half of last week was cool with highs in the sixties and seventies, and we got some rain early Thursday morning with hail. Here in town it was only marble-sized and relatively soft, but it was larger—up to golf-ball sized—in some areas, large enough to put dents in vehicles. I had .76” precipitation in my rain gauge, while the official total for Roscoe was .71”. The weekend was warmer and sunny with highs in the lower eighties. Then on Monday and yesterday we were reminded that warmer days are coming as the highs rose to 89°F Monday and 88° yesterday.

Yesterday evening we got a bit of a surprise when storm clouds unexpectedly showed up from the southwest, and for a little while we had thunder, lightning, rain, and, once again, some more hail. The hail was small and soft, and the rainfall totaled an official .3" here in town, but the storm did cool off things considerably, dropping the temperature from 88° to 69° after the storm passed through. West of town, the amount was .5" to .6". I haven’t heard how much rain fell in other areas, but the storm looked heavier in the northwest, so I’m guessing people got more in the Wastella and Inadale areas. I also heard of quarter-sized hail southwest of Roscoe, but can’t confirm that.

Today’s high should be around 83° and tomorrow 87° with sunny skies and lows about 65° tomorrow. The weekend should be a little cooler with a projected high of 80° on Saturday and only 77° on Sunday. Lows will be in the fifties.

The next big chance of rain is next Monday night and Tuesday when the probability of precipitation will be 70% and temperatures will be decidedly cooler with highs of only around 70° for Monday and Tuesday.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kim Alexander Makes Case for RCISD Early Childhood Center

Kim Alexander discusses the Early Childhood Center at Monday's meeting.
Roscoe School Superintendent Kim Alexander addressed the public at an open hearing Monday evening at the school’s E.On Center on the subject of the proposed Early Childhood Center for the Roscoe Collegiate Independent School District (RCISD). Back in February, the School Board approved a bond election for Saturday, May 7, for the Early Childhood Center, which, if approved, will be located on school property across from the Elementary School.

In making his case for approving the bond, Dr. Alexander brought up several points. One was the growth in student enrollment in the RCISD over the past few years and the probability that the growth is likely to continue over the coming decade. The school is recognized as a state and national leader in both college and career readiness, and much of the recent growth has come from transfers who want to benefit from its advantages. Current facilities are already becoming overcrowded, and if the bond is not approved, the school will probably have to resort to temporary buildings to cope with the increase.

After much research by school officials, including Elementary School Principal Andy Wilson, the school feels it critical to move to the Montessori method of instruction for pre-K and kindergarten children. A study of current data indicates that as a group our primary students are not where they need to be, especially in reading, by grade 3. Since such a deficiency typically lasts through the following grades and beyond, it is important that it be rectified as early as possible. The Montessori Early Childhood Program is the established leader in doing just that, especially for economically disadvantaged children, of which Roscoe has many and is projected to have even more in the future. The Montessori Program involves a move from a half day to a full one for pre-K students. It also requires more space for storage of manipulatives and hands-on types of activities. However, a move to the program will benefit the children involved in ways that last them for the rest of their lives. And, as RCISD is one of the state and national leaders in educational innovation, the move will also strengthen its program for subsequent grades.

The downside of the bond proposal is that the facility will cost $5 million on a 30-year payout, which works out to an annual tax increase of about $52 a year per $100,000 home evaluation, although for homeowners 65 or older, there will be no tax increase, as taxes are frozen.. However, if the Roscoe schools retain their excellence, the transfers will continue to come, and under the new state regulations, model early college schools are required to accept them, and growth is likely to continue, especially with the new housing addition in Roscoe, the Young Farm Estates, well underway.

To the question about the cost of transfers to Roscoe taxpayers, Dr. Alexander replied that the money the school receives for each such student more than pays for the expense. The overhead for the school will still be pretty much the same whether it has a student enrollment of 500 or 900, so the cost per student decreases as enrollment increases.

He added that the school is the lifeblood of the community and since it will either get better or worse, the only direction to strive for is to make it as good as possible. Ten years ago, following a fifteen-year trend of declining enrollment, Roscoe ISD was, in school finance terminology, "circling the drain." However, innovations such as Early College and STEM Academy--and now Montessori Early Childhood--have reversed that trend and prevented Roscoe from losing its school, a rural trend over the past sixty years that has caused Texas to reduce from 4800 school districts in 1950 to fewer than 1200 today.

Dr. Alexander feels that improving the critical early levels will result in even greater success for our students as they gear up to compete in a global economy.



Francisco Garcia, center, with Youth Ambassadors from Arkansas, New York, Ohio, California, Maryland, and Iowa at the National 4-H headquarters in Maryland.
RCHS sophomore Francisco Garcia recently returned from Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he represented the state of Texas as its Youth Ambassador at the national 4-H STEM Futures Training conference. Six other students representing Arkansas, California, Iowa, Maryland, New York, and Ohio also attended.

On Friday, Francisco and his fellow Youth Ambassadors attended a series of workshops such as Reaching Underserved Audiences, Delivering the 4-H Message, and Understanding the Process Evaluation. At the end of the day, they toured Washington, DC, and visited the National Monuments.

On Saturday, both adults and youths attended the USA Science and Engineering Festival, where 4-H had a booth to promote the 4-H STEM programs and projects. Both youths and adults helped in the booth and toured the festival. On Sunday, all attended the Festival Debrief and State Planning Session before returning home.

Francisco’s 4-H mentor, Roxanna Reyna, local Program Specialist of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, accompanied him on the trip.



Two Plowgirls and four Plowboys will advance to the Regional Track Meet in Odessa next weekend after their performances at the Area Track Meet at McMurry University in Abilene on Friday. For the Plowgirls, Lyndi Wilkinson moves on in two events, the 400 meter dash and triple jump, and Bonnie Wilkinson in one, the 100 meter dash.

For the Plowboys, Kevin Lavalais was first in the 100 meter dash, and Max Nemir was second in the 300 meter hurdles. Both were also on the Plowboys’ 4 x 400 meter relay team, which also finished second. The other two on the relay team are Braiden Moore and Juan Solis.

Contestants had to finish in the top four in their event to advance. Here are the complete results for Plowgirls and Plowboys who competed in the Area Meet:


Event                         Place          Athlete                  Time/Distance
3200 meter run             8          Allison Acebedo           13:41.82
1600 meter run             7          Karina Cisneros            6:08.34
800 meter run               5          Karina Cisneros            2:45.63
400 meter dash             4*        Lyndi Wilkinson           1:02.45
200 meter dash             8          Bonnie Wilkinson         27.36
100 meter dash              3*        Bonnie Wilkinson         13.07
                                                      Lyndi Wilkinson            13.43
Triple jump                    4*        Lyndi Wilkinson            33’ 6¾”
Pole vault                        6          Bonnie Wilkinson           7’ 6”


3200 meter run             6          Alfonzo Islas                 11:30.27
1600 meter run             7           Alfonzo Islas                  5:10.10
100 meter dash              1*          Kevin Lavalais              10.94
300 meter hurdles        2*         Max Nemir                    41.41
4 x 400 meter relay       2*        Plowboys ‘A’                  3:34.05
  (Braiden Moore, Max Nemir, Juan Solis, and Kevin Lavalais)
Pole vault                        7           Jayden Gonzales           12’

* = Advances to Regional Meet


by Sonia Flores

Roscoe robotics teams at Texas Tech.
This past weekend eight teams from the Roscoe GT and 4-H Clubs participated in the 2016 GEAR contest at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. This is the third year Roscoe has participated in the GEAR contest. GEAR stands for Getting Excited About Robotics, which was started with a goal to generate interest among students to pursue a career in engineering, science, or technology and to show them that math and science can be fun. Challenges are designed to make students think at a higher level and give them an opportunity to see how everyday math and science apply to the real world.

For the past nine weeks, the students have been working hard to get their robots built and have working programs to retrieve and deliver items from the game mat.



This Saturday RCHS student Caty Chavira will be competing in the Prose Reading competition at the UIL Regional Academics meet in Odessa.



The Meek Blood Donation Bus
The Meek Community Blood Bank of Abilene is looking for volunteers to donate blood next Tuesday, April 26, from 9:00am to 2:00pm. The Bloodmobile will be located on 7th Street in front of the Roscoe Collegiate High School Special Events Center. Donations will take approximately 30-45 minutes, and donors are advised to eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluid beforehand.

Volunteers should bring a photo ID. To reserve a sign-up time or for questions, phone Nick Anthony, CD, of College Chiropractors at 325-766-3423. Walk-up donors are also welcome.



Friends and well-wishers are encouraged to attend a benefit for Kristi Graham Stacy Saturday night to help her pay medical expenses for her hospitalization. There will be live music from three different bands.

Marty Stuart

Then, on Sunday country great Marty Stuart and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, will make a rare West Texas appearance at the Lumberyard this Sunday, April 24.

Born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1958, Stuart’s talent with the guitar and mandolin made him famous at an early age. When he was twelve, he started performing with the bluegrass group The Sullivan Family before moving on to Lester Flatt’s band, the Nashville Grass. He stayed with Flatt until the band broke up in 1978 due to Flatt’s ailing health. In 1980, he joined Johnny Cash’s band a year after releasing his first solo album, With a Little Help from My Friends. He released a second album, Busy Bee Café, in 1982, and in 1983 married Johnny Cash’s daughter, Cindy. They divorced five years later, and in 1985 he left Cash’s band to pursue a solo career.

In 1990, his album Hillbilly Rock was a commercial success, and in 1991 he co-wrote and sang, “This Whiskey Ain’t Working” with Travis Tritt. Since then, he’s produced many more albums, including This One’s Gonna Hurt You, Soul’s Chapel, Badlands, and Live at the Ryman. For the past few years he’s hosted The Marty Stuart Show, which features traditional country music on RFD-TV. Top singles include “Burn Me Down,” “Tempted,” “Little Things,” “Honky Tonkin’s What I Do Best,” and many others.

For reservations or more information, call the Lumberyard during business hours at 325-766-2457, or visit the Lumberyard’s Facebook page.



The approaching storm west of town on Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Allen Richburg)
We got a nice rain on Saturday. Here in town, Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried reported an official 1.71” for Roscoe, but I heard reports of anywhere from 1.25” to 2”. It was one of those rains where the amount people got really depended on their location as reports varied considerably. Around Inadale some were reporting three inches, west of town was more like 2.5”, and between Loraine and Colorado City got as much as four to five inches. In almost all cases in the Roscoe area, there was a good rain. I heard more people saying 2” to 2½” than anything else.

Then last night a storm blew through from the northwest shortly after midnight that probably woke up everybody in town. It came in with lighting flashing, thunder crashing, and rain falling. It lasted about forty minutes and in that time dropped between a half-inch and an inch. The official amount for Roscoe was .71" In any case, the dry weather we’ve been having practically the entire year has come to a halt, at least temporarily. The ground has soaked up the moisture, and crop outlooks are more optimistic than they were this time last week.

Along with the rain, the week has seen lots of cool and cloudy weather with temperatures cooler than what we’ve come to expect from mid-April. The high for the week was 77°F on both Thursday and Friday before the front moved through, although lows were relatively mild, all in the fifties with the exception of Monday morning when the temperature dropped to 49°.

The forecast between now and Sunday is for highs in the seventies and lows in the fifties, similar to what we’ve been getting for the past week. There’s an 80% chance of rain tomorrow morning, but then the chances diminish to nothing for the days after that. Saturday will be sunny and so will Sunday, when the mercury will climb into the low eighties for the first time in a while.



Funeral services for Donald Rudell Marth, 80, will be at 11:00am on Saturday, April 30, at the Salem Lutheran Church in Roscoe, followed by a private family graveside ceremony. He passed away on Friday, April 15, in San Antonio after a valiant, courageous few years dealing with a blood disease. A memorial service of celebration for his life will be held tomorrow, April 21, at 3pm at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in San Antonio.

Don was born in Roscoe on December 3, 1935, to Rudolph and Jessie Marth. He grew up with his sister, Frances Marth Richburg, in a happy, hardworking home. After high school, he farmed and worked in the Texas National Guard reserves and at the gypsum mill in Sweetwater. He later graduated from North Texas State University with a BA in psychology and sociology, an MA, and a PhD in Clinical Psychology. While a student at North Texas, Don became an active member of the national fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and made many lasting friendships. He also studied for a year at the Carl Jung Institute in Switzerland.

His first job after earning his doctorate was at the State Hospital in Galveston, where he specialized in Adolescent and Child Psychology. Later, he opened a private practice in San Antonio, where he continued to focus on caring for children and youth for many years. In his later career he served as an expert vocational witness in disability appeal hearings working with administrative law judges at Social Security Administrative hearings. He didn’t retire until June 2015.

Famous for his Texas pecan sheet cake, dutch oven cobblers and corn bread at church gatherings and Knights of Columbus, Don generously shared his passion for tasty food and frolicking jocularity, making a party out of any occasion. He frequented the San Antonio area “pulgas" (flea markets), always hunting for a great deal and collecting dutch oven cookware, knives, boots, etc. He was known as the “Corn Bread Man” at Monte Vista neighborhood gatherings and enjoyed his colorful role as boot peddler extraordinaire at Wimberly Trade Days. He enjoyed singing with the San Antonio Liederkrantz. He was rarely without his cowboy hat and boots. He always wore his larger-than-life personality sharing his jocular humor and zest for life.

He is survived by his wife, Ernestine Pavelka Marth, and her children David, Steven, and Emily and their spouses; his mother, Jessie Marth of Roscoe; sister, Frances Richburg; daughter, Debbie Marth Stanaland and son-in-law, Rockey; daughter, Jennifer Marth Todd and son-in-law Steven; and son, Reuben Marth. He was also proud of and loved all his many grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as his Richburg nephews and nieces and the Pavelka grandchildren.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spring Super Sunday with Robert Earl Keen is This Weekend

Robert Earl Keen
Spring has arrived, and to celebrate it, the City of Roscoe is throwing its Spring Festival this Sunday, April 17. Roscoe retailers will be open from noon to 6pm, the museum will be open, and the Lumberyard will host what should be another great day of country music with the Austin Allsup Band opening around 3:00pm, Jason Eady & Courtney Patton following at five or so, and country great Robert Earl Keen, who is making his first appearance ever in Roscoe, beginning around 8:30 and playing until 10:00. He will sing some of his classic songs as well as new ones off his number one album, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions. Live music begins at three and will go on to about 10pm.

Unlike the free concerts on the streets, however, this one won’t be free as the price of the performers will be covered by the Lumberyard. Advance tickets are $30 or $35 at the door, and tables are $240. The format will be similar to last year’s Spring Super Sunday with Merle Haggard. For reservations, call the Lumberyard during business hours at 325-766-2457.

Roscoe businesses will have open houses that day from noon until 6:00pm, and the Roscoe Express will be carrying patrons from location to location free of charge. Participating businesses are the Blackland Smokehouse, Burritos Zacatecas, Main Street Antiques, McVey’s Native Nursery, Mexico Lindo, Pepe’s Imports, the Rockin’ S Cantina, Roscoe Thrift Store, Southern Belle Salon, the Lumberyard, the Wildflower Boutique, and Vickie’s Gifts.

Unlike as erroneously reported in the Hard Times, there will be no fireworks at the end of the show.



One of the many painted trailers that will be coming down Broadway Saturday.
The Sisters on the Fly, a woman’s outdoor adventure and culture group, will be coming through downtown Roscoe about ten o’clock Saturday morning in a long caravan of vintage travel trailers. The occasion of their “Waltz Across Texas” is the centennial celebration of the Bankhead Highway, later US Highway 80, which ran through Roscoe.

However, unlike the military convoy that came through last October, the Sisters on the Fly are traveling from El Paso to Texarkana, so they will enter Roscoe from the west, go east up Broadway and then travel the old road to the WASP Museum. They will then tour the museum and grab a bite to eat before going up Broadway in Sweetwater about one o’clock on their way to Abilene, where they will stay overnight before continuing on east. While they make their way through Roscoe, through traffic will be blocked so the caravan can stay together.

Before they come through on Saturday, they will overnight in Colorado City and host a dance from 7:00-10:00pm at the old Railhead Building featuring Roscoe’s Lyndall Underwood and his Dusty Creek Band. Tickets are $10 each.

Roscoe’s Becca Frierson is one of the Sisters on the Fly making the Bankhead “Waltz Across Texas,” and she is hoping for a big turnout in Roscoe. The Sisters are a national group with almost 800 members in Texas alone. She says there will be approximately fifty vintage and not-so-vintage trailers that the Sisters have brought back to life with paint and artwork. She’s inviting everyone to come have a look as the caravan makes its way through town. It should be quite a sight.



City Manager Cody Thompson reports to the City Council.

At its monthly meeting yesterday evening, the City Council heard the City Manager’s updates on Public Works, including water and sewer matters, as well as the Police Chief’s monthly report.

City Manager Cody Thompson informed the Council that work on the old sanitary sewer is progressing, but that it’s a big job with a lot of ground to cover. He also said that there has been some discoloration of the City water recently but wants to assure everyone that although the water may not be completely clear, it has checked out as being perfectly safe to drink. They also have identified the problem and are working to correct it.

The Community Center is getting a new president, but that will not affect the repair of the Center’s roof, which should take place within the next couple of weeks.

The construction of two new homes at Young Farm Estates is progressing, and AT&T is installing underground cables for television, internet, and telephone services.

City workers will attend a water and sewer licensing school in Abilene later this month and into May.

Police Chief Felix Pantoja reported to the Council that Officer Steven Spencer was relieved of duty on March 29 after being arrested in Dripping Springs for driving while intoxicated. The Department will start taking applications for a new full-time police officer on Monday, April 18. In the meantime, part-time officer Dickie Summers of Loraine is filling in when needed.

Pantoja also reported that on Monday night five vehicles in Roscoe were burglarized. He is urging everyone to remember to lock their vehicles and homes when unattended. He also wants anyone who notices any suspicious activity to call Dispatch at 325-235-5471.

He also reported that during the month of March, the Department had 78 calls, 3 vehicle crash reports, and 16 outside agency assists. He was unable to cite the number of citations issued because the citations system is currently down.

The City is accepting bids for people who want to run the City Swimming Pool this summer and hopes to award a contract at next month’s meeting. Interested parties should contact City Hall at 325-766-3871.



The public is encouraged to attend the open meeting on the RCISD’s proposed Early Childhood Center from 6:00 to 7:00pm next Monday, April 18, in the E-On Center at the Roscoe School.

In February, the RCISD School Board approved a bond election on May 7 for a new Early Childhood Center. If approved by voters, it will be located on school property across from the Elementary School and will come at a cost of $5 million on a 30-year payout, which works out to an annual tax increase of about $48 per year per $100,000 home valuation.

Superintendent Kim Alexander will present the case for the new facility because of the ever-growing student enrollment at RCISD and the corresponding space constraints, as well as a proposed change to the Montessori system of instruction, which includes a move from a half to a full day for Pre-K students. The school is already recognized as a state and national leader in both college and career readiness, and improving the critical early levels will result in even greater success for our students as they gear up to compete in a global economy.

The meeting will allow the public to ask questions, provide input, and be better informed before making their vote on May 7.



At the 7-2A District Meet in Hamlin on Thursday, several Plowboys and Plowgirls qualified for the Area Meet to be held at McMurry in Abilene this Friday. District 7-2A has eight schools: Albany, Anson, Hamlin, Haskell, Hawley, Roscoe, Stamford, and Winters. The Plowgirls finished fourth overall, and the Plowboys sixth. In order to qualify and move on to the area meet, athletes had to place in the top four in any event.

Both Plowgirls and Plowboys did well in the events in which they participated. The Wilkinson sisters dominated several, and both will be busy again in Abilene. Bonnie won the 100 meter dash, was second in the 200 and 400 meter races, third in the pole vault, and fourth in the triple jump; while Lyndi won the 400 meters, was second in the triple jump, and fourth in the 100 meter dash. Other qualifiers were Karina Cisneros, third in the 1600 meter run, and Allison Acebedo, fourth in the 3200 meter run.

For the Plowboys, qualifiers were Kevin Lavalais, second in the 100 meter dash; Alfonzo Islas, second in the 3200 meter run and third in the 1600; Max Nemir, second in the 300 meter hurdles; and Jayden Gonzales, fourth in the pole vault. The Plowboys’ 4 x 400 relay team of Braiden Moore, Max Nemir, Juan Solis, and Kevin Lavalais also finished second.

Here are the complete results of the Plowgirls and Plowboys at the District Meet:


Event                           Place          Athlete                   Time/Distance

100 meter dash             1          Bonnie Wilkinson         13.18
                                         4          Lyndi Wilkinson           13.43
200 meter dash             2          Bonnie Wilkinson         27.36
400 meter dash             1          Lyndi Wilkinson           1:03.85
                                          2          Bonnie Wilkinson        1:04.74
1600 meter run             3          Karina Cisneros            6:08.34
                                          7          Allison Acebedo            6:29.06
3200 meter run             4          Allison Acebedo            13:41.82
300 meter hurdles         5          Lynzie Atkison             56.75
Triple jump                     2          Lyndi Wilkinson           33’ 2”
                                          4          Bonnie Wilkinson         32’ 4½”
Pole vault                        3          Bonnie Wilkinson         7’ 6”


100 meter dash              2          Kevin Lavalais                11.19
1600 meter run              3          Alfonzo Islas                  5:10.85
3200 meter run              2          Alfonzo Islas                11:43.74
300 meter hurdles         2          Max Nemir                       41.41
4 x 100 meter relay        5          Plowboys                          45.48
 (Max Nemir, Kevin Lavalais, Juan Solis, Diego Garza)
4 x 200 meter relay       5          Plowboys                        1:37.12
 (Juan Solis, Francisco Garcia, Juan Huidobro, Diego Garza)
4 x 400 meter relay       2          Plowboys                        3:35.66
 (Braiden Moore, Max Nemir, Juan Solis, Kevin Lavalais)
Pole vault                        4          Jayden Gonzales                12’
Shot put                           7          Vincent Pantoja                 40’ 1”


by Dan Boren

The Plowbots' robot.
On April 2 and 3, the Roscoe Collegiate Plowbots traveled to Lubbock to participate in the U.S. FIRST’s Hub City Regional. In Lubbock, the varsity robotics team competed against 39 other teams from 6 states, Brazil, and Mexico. The Plowbots entered the contest confident after finishing 23rd at the largest and nationally highest rated Regional held in San Antonio, a few weeks earlier, where 70 teams had competed.

The competition this year was centered around a medieval theme where the teams were required to cross a variety of defenses or barriers, launch boulders into the windows of a castle’s tower, and finally to scale the tower. The Plowbots completed the qualification rounds with a record of 8-3. This record was good enough to qualify the team as the number 7 seed in the elimination round. Since 8 teams qualify, the Plowbots played their best of 3 series against the number two seed in the quarterfinals. Roscoe’s alliance quickly gelled together and swept the series to advance to the Semi’s. There, the upstart Plowbots upset the 6th seeded team, who themselves had just beaten the highly touted 3 seed in the quarters. The Plowbots found themselves in the finals with the number one seed alliance, which included two teams that had already qualified for the World Championships in St. Louis by winning a previous Regional. The Cinderella story Plowbots, along with their two teammates, quickly trounced the one seed in the opening match, shocking the nearly 2000 audience members. In the second round, a member of the Plowbots alliance was red-carded for not disengaging from one of the other alliances robots, so, with the match tied at one apiece, a rubber match was played.

The final match was close with lead changes going back and forth throughout the whole match. At the end of regulation, the score read: Roscoe’s Alliance 105, and the other alliance 98. However, the match was automatically reviewed before a final score was shown. After about 5 minutes of anticipation, the final score was posted with Roscoe’s alliance losing 113-105. The reason for the change was a referee’s decision to override a penalty called on the other team because their disabled robot had been pushed into a penalty zone by their opponent’s robot. The referee decided that, in fairness, they should not receive the penalty if they did not go in with their free will. Though disappointed, Roscoe’s alliance graciously accepted the decision and congratulated the winning teams, proudly representing their hometown.

The finish as Regional Finalists represents Roscoe’s best ever finish in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). With a strong class of upperclassmen returning for next year, supplemented with some promising underclassmen, the team is hoping to secure a trip to the World Championships. However, this season may not be over yet. On July 28th and 29th, UIL will be holding its first ever Robotics State Championships in Austin. Though the criteria for invitations have not yet been decided, it is likely Roscoe will receive an invitation because of its two fine finishes in San Antonio and Lubbock.

The team would like to thank their very special sponsors: N.A.S.A., West Texas Rock Resources, FIRST in Texas, Hunter Ranch and Reality, the Parrott Family, and Roscoe Collegiate ISD.



Cody Cannon and Whiskey Myers

Whiskey Myers, a Texas Country/Red Dirt/Southern Rock band featuring vocalist Cody Cannon, will play at the Lumberyard this Friday starting at 9:00pm. The group, which just completed its latest album, Mud, to be released this summer, has three other successful CDs: Road of Life (2008), Firewater (2011), and Early Morning Shakes (2014), which reached number 10 on the U.S. country charts.

Top singles include “Ballad of a Southern Man,” “Early Morning Shakes,” “Dogwood,” and “Anna Marie.”

Tickets are $20, and a table of six is $150. For reservations, phone the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



On Saturday a cold front moved through, bringing with it some rain. It wasn’t a lot. Roscoe’s official total was .3”, and that amount was indicative of what fell in the area, but it was the first precipitation we’d got in quite a while, so it was definitely welcome. Then, another light rain fell again yesterday, and this time the official amount was .53", and around a half-inch was pretty general both in and around Roscoe. So, the total for most people was somewhere around .8” for the week. We’re still way below average for the year, but more is in the forecast, so maybe things will start looking up as far as precipitation is concerned.

Temperatures were generally normal for this time of year, although yesterday’s high of 57° felt cool after the warm days we had immediately preceding. The high for the week was Sunday’s 84°F and the low was yesterday morning’s 50°.

Today should remain mostly cloudy with a high of 69°. Tomorrow and Friday will be sunny and warmer, but the weekend will be cooler with highs about 70° and a 50% chance of more rain on Saturday and Sunday, decreasing to 30% to 40% on Monday.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Brandon Abeita Killed in Sweetwater Shooting

Brandon Abeita                                        Tanner Engel   
Brandon Heath Abeita, 39, who grew up in Roscoe, was shot and killed at about 11:45am on Sunday in the 1100 block of Fowler Street in Sweetwater. The shooting reportedly occurred during an altercation in which the alleged shooter, Tanner Engel, 26, of Sweetwater, tried to get Abeita into his pickup. Abeita then tried to drive away in Engel’s pickup but wrecked it when it jumped the curb and ran into a utility pole on 12th Street just west of Fowler. Shortly thereafter, he was taken by ambulance to Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Engel was arrested and initially charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, placed in Nolan County Jail, and held on $125,000 bond. However, the charges have since been upgraded to murder, and the bond could increase. If found guilty, he could receive anywhere from five years to life in prison.

Abeita grew up in Roscoe and was a member of the RHS class of 1995. Family and friends will gather today from 6:00pm to 7:30pm at Cate Spencer and Trent Funeral Home in Sweetwater. Graveside services will be held at Sweetwater Cemetery at 2:00pm tomorrow, April 7, and burial will follow.



Both Plowboys and Plowgirls had their last tests before district at the San Angelo Relays last weekend. It was a huge meet with schools from all over west Texas participating. The boys’ events were divided into only two divisions based on school size while the girls’ events were divided into four divisions. The results suggest that they will do well in several events at tomorrow’s district meet in Hamlin as they performed well in San Angelo against schools of larger size.

Kevin Lavalais ran the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.18, which was good enough for a fifth-place finish, but all those with better times were from larger schools. The same was true for all those who beat Max Nemir’s 42.92 time in the 300 meter hurdles.

In the girls’ competition, the Wilkinson sisters did well in several events. Bonnie had good times in the 100, 200, and 400 meter races, while Lyndi excelled in the triple jump with a distance of 33’3”.


Event                          Place           Athlete              Time/Distance
100 meter dash             5          Kevin Lavalais               11.18
                                       29          Diego Garza                   12.13
                                       37          Juan Huidobro             12.48
800 meter run            35          Juan Solis                   2:20.14
300 meter hurdles       7          Max Nemir                     42.92
4 x 100 meter relay     16         Plowboys                        47.73
  (Max Nemir, Kevin Lavalais, Francisco Garcia, Diego Garza)
4 x 400 meter relay     15         Plowboys                     3:44.76
   (Juan Solis, Max Nemir, Diego Garza, Kevin Lavalais)
Shot Put                          24        Vincent Pantoja         36’ 6¾”
Discus                             20        Anthony Ortegon        106’ 2”
                                          23        Vincent Pantoja          102’ 2”
Pole Vault                       14        Jayden Gonzales           10’ 6”


100 meter dash               7         Bonnie Wilkinson         13.40
                                         13         Lyndi Wilkinson            13.84
200 meter dash              4         Bonnie Wilkinson         27.26
                                         15          Lyndi Wilkinson           28.93
400 meter run                6          Bonnie Wilkinson      1:03.74
                                           9          Lyndi Wilkinson        1:06.87
Triple Jump                    4          Lyndi Wilkinson            33’ 3”
                                         17          Bonnie Wilkinson          30’ 1”

The District Track Meet is at Hamlin tomorrow afternoon.



RCHS students Crystal Alvarez, Kelsi Vrubel, Katelyn Collins, and Matthew Buckley stand next to their overwintering cage.
An experiment conducted by 4-H students at Roscoe Collegiate High School this school year has helped to track the northern limits of sugar cane aphids’ ability to survive west Texas winters. Conducting one of nine sugarcane aphid overwintering trials replicated from San Angelo to Amarillo, they reported that the aphids successfully overwintered in their overwintering cages. They have been working on the project since November because the northern movement is a serious problem that has caused a major amount of crop loss throughout the state.

This is the most northerly confirmation of the aphids being able to survive the winter in Texas, although results of the experiments in some of the other locations are still pending. In any case, their results have been published in the Texas Sugarcane Aphid News, a blog sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. You can access the article by clicking here.

Students involved in the experiment include Crystal Alvarez, Kelsi Vrubel, Katelyn Collins, and Matthew Buckley. Roxanna Reyna, 4-H Extension Program Specialist, worked with the students in conducting the trial.



Two Texas country music singers, William Clark Green and Curtis Grimes will return to the Lumberyard this weekend, Green on Friday evening and Grimes on Saturday.

William Clark Green
William Clark Green, 29, is from Flint, Texas, but currently lives in Eastland. He recorded his first album, Dangerous Man (2008), while studying at Texas Tech. Since then he has released three others: Misunderstood (2010), Rose Queen (2012), and Ringling Road (2015). Ringling Road was number 18 on the Top Country Albums chart, and its first single, “Sympathy,” topped the Texas Music Chart. A video of his 2011 single “Caroline” may be seen here.

Curtis Grimes

Curtis Grimes, 29, from Gilmer, Texas, first made national acclaim with his performances on NBC’s “The Voice.” A former scholarship baseball player for Centenary in Louisiana, he gave up his dreams of professional baseball to pursue a career in country music. Since then, he has played shows with LeAnn Rimes, Jack Ingram, and others.

He hasn’t forgotten his love of baseball, though. A Texas Ranger fan, he just released on Monday a new video for his single, “Bottom of the Fifth,” paying homage to the sport that gave him his start. You can see it by clicking here.

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



Sunset at Duncan-Hastings Road overpass. (Photo by Eden Baker)

All the people who were worrying about an April freeze can now officially focus their concerns elsewhere. That last cold spell came on Friday, and on Saturday morning the temperature fell to 33°F here in town and as low as 32° in a few places in the country, particularly around Champion where one even reported a reading of  31°. But it stayed that cold such a short time that none of the blooming plants were damaged. So, we may just have a peach and apricot crop this year, and if you haven’t put out tomatoes and peppers yet, it’s time to get started. Heck, it’s warm enough at night now that you could probably go ahead and plant some okra.

Friday was also the day we had a 70% chance of precipitation. Unfortunately, we were on the 30% side of that prediction. It did drizzle long enough to mess up the windows on my car, but not enough to get the sidewalks wet. Since then, the humidity’s been low, the winds high, and there have been, and still are, fire weather warnings for all the Big Country.

We also got our first taste of summer on Monday and yesterday when the temperatures rose to 85° and 86° respectively, and many air conditioners around town got their first workouts of the year. Today’s high should only get up to 78° with a stiff north breeze, but tomorrow the winds will shift back to the southwest and the afternoon temperature will climb to 87°.

Then a good chance of rain is predicted for this weekend. The Weather Channel says it will be 60% on Saturday dropping to 10% on Sunday. Weatherbug, however, says it’s only 10% on Saturday but 40% Sunday night. I guess if you’re an optimist, you can go with the Weather Channel for Saturday and Weatherbug for Sunday night, and if you’re a pessimist you’ll do the opposite. Predictions are just that, and I’m guessing they’ll change some as the weekend approaches.

But it’s a sorry state of affairs when Robert McBride can make better forecasts of the weather by dancing around a fire in his back yard at dawn than the NOAA’s meteorologists can with all their fancy, cutting-edge equipment and six-figure salaries.



Graveside services will be held at Sweetwater Cemetery at 2:00pm tomorrow, April 7, with Rev. Matt McGowen officiating. Burial will follow.

Brandon was born on January 10, 1977 in Sweetwater, Texas to Lowell Wray and Carol (Beck) Abeita. He worked for A-l Auto Parts, Ludlum Measurements and Loraine Cotton Gin.

He is survived by his mother, Carol Abeita of Roscoe; grandmother, Charlene Wrenn of Sweetwater; brother, Noah Abeita of Roscoe; sister, Tera Trotter and husband Michael of Roscoe; daughter, Thea Abeita; son, Iven Abeita; nephew, Alex Trotter; nieces, Krysten Staggs and husband Nick, and Kenzi Trotter; great nephews, Mason Staggs and Jace Staggs; great niece, Myla Staggs; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father, Lowell Wray Snowden Abeita, grandparents, aunt, and great grandmother.

Donations may be sent to a page set up at the gofundme website to help defray funeral expenses. The page may be accessed by clicking here.


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