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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Roscoe Featured on MSNBC, NBC Nightly News

Carl Childers walks with an NBC Newsman through the modules at the gin.
As predicted earlier when an NBC News film crew came to town about three weeks ago, Roscoe was featured this week in news segments on MSNBC and NBC Nightly News. Although one crew shot the same footage for both networks, the segments were not identical. The one on MSNBC came off as being more political, and the one on NBC Nightly News less so and a bit more mainstream as editors for each network handled the available material differently.

The local people involved in the interviews were told that the segments would be broadcast soon, but at the time no one knew exactly when that would be.

The MSNBC segment aired on Friday, February 23, and the one on NBC Nightly News on Sunday evening right before the Olympics and was thus seen by a much larger audience. The focus on both segments was the Roscoe Wind Farms.

If you missed them, don’t worry. They are still available online. The MSNBC segment is available by clicking here and the NBC Nightly News one by clicking here.



Direct descendants of Dr. and Mrs. Young stand at the monument after yesterday's ceremony.
Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Young, Sr., and family were honored in a ceremony held yesterday at Memorial Park in downtown Roscoe. A monument to the couple had been placed there by the City on February 12, and yesterday’s event was the formal dedication of the monument. Direct descendants along with spouses, partners, and friends were there, and so were several local residents who came to pay their respects.

Edwin Duncan gave a brief account of the couple’s lifelong service to the Roscoe community as well as the contributions of their descendants, and Mayor Pete Porter issued a formal proclamation designating February 27, 2018, as Dr. J. W. Young, Sr., and Iona Kearse Young Day in the City of Roscoe. Framed copies of the proclamation were distributed to all the direct descendants on hand.

The monument will now be a permanent reminder of the good works they did during their lives for the City and people of the Roscoe area along with the monument to George Parks, the only other individual so honored at the Park.



A three-day meeting designed to provide information about RCISD’s innovative programs and its P-20 system of education will begin with school tours on Monday morning as representatives from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the U. S. Department of Education (USDE) will learn as much as they can about the successful initiatives developed by the school in recent years.

These two government agencies are interested because Roscoe’s school is dealing with problems that are common to rural schools everywhere, and the agencies are interested in successful strategies that can be replicated elsewhere.

There will be interviews with representatives of several different agencies, universities, and school districts. Teachers, parents, and students as well as others will also provide input.

Last week’s meeting at RCISD with U.S. Representative Jodey Arrington had to be called off because of the icy rain that fell on the day he was scheduled to come, making the roads treacherous.



Plowboy and Plowgirl varsity track teams didn’t open their season last week after all as the Hamlin Long Sleeve Relays were called off because of the weather. Instead, they’ll participate in their first meet on Friday when they go to Abilene to compete in the ACU Wildcat High School Open, a meet that begins 12:00 noon.

The Junior Varsity Boys start their season in Anson tomorrow in a meet beginning at 3:30pm.



The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) meeting for public comment on alternatives for proposed improvements in Roscoe for the I-20 and US 84 interchange will be held at the RCHS Cafetorium on Tuesday, March 6, from 5:00-7:00pm.

The meeting will be in an open house format for the public to meet the project team, learn about the proposed project, review the proposed alternatives, ask questions, and provide comments on the proposed project.

This project is being considered to improve safety and traffic flow through the interchange. The proposed project would potentially re-align a portion of I-20 main lanes and frontage roads, provide direct connections between I-20 and US 84 mainlanes, and update ramp configurations along I-20. Maps showing the proposed project's location will be available for review at the open house.



It’s been a long winter, and life in Roscoe has in some ways been in hibernation, but all that begins to change this weekend when the Lumberyard kicks off a new season of live performances with some of the best musicians and groups in the state. And all of that begins Friday evening with a performance by the always interesting Black Lillies.

The Black Lillies.
The Black Lillies are an Americana band from Knoxville, Tennessee, who have been around since 2009. They are led by Cruz Contreras and originally made an impact on the Tennessee music scene with their album Whiskey Angel, which was nominated for the tenth annual Independent Music Awards in 2010. The following year they produced 100 Miles of Wreckage, which peaked at no. 11 on the Americana radio charts. Their third CD, Runaway Freeway Blues (2013) was on in the Americana Music Association’s top five for over five months, and their most recent album, Hard to Please, reached #30 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. Popular singles include “Same Mistakes” and “Smokestack Lady.”

The Randy Rogers Band.
Then on Saturday, it’s back to Red Dirt with the return of the Randy Rogers Band. This Texas-based band got its start in San Marcos in 2002 and has kept its lineup intact since then. It has reached the Top 5 of Billboard’s country albums chart with each of its last three studio releases, including 2016’s Nothing Shines Like Neon. The group recently completed a new album, set for mid-2018 release, at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A.

Other albums include Rollercoaster (2004), Just a Matter of Time (2006), Randy Rogers Band (2008), Burning the Day (2010), and Trouble (2013), along with two other live albums in addition to Homemade Tamales (2014).

The band’s top singles include “Too Late for Goodbye,” “In My Arms Instead,” “One More Sad Song,” “Kiss Me in the Dark,” “One More Goodbye,” and “Satellite.”

Opening band is Aaron Einhouse beginning around 8:00pm with the Randy Rogers Band taking the stage at about 9:30. For reservations or more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



Rain in my driveway this morning.
It wasn’t a lot, but the total of .58” that fell in the icy rain last Wednesday was welcomed because of the almost total lack of precipitation in the last few months. And I woke up to find we've got another small amount this morning. As I speak, a light drizzle is still falling. Maybe the moisture will be enough to prime the pump, so to speak, and generate more in the near future. Some areas got as high as three-quarters of an inch while others got somewhat less, but it was all sorely needed and, if nothing else, caused the county-wide burn ban to be lifted for a while. Right now, forecasters are giving us another possibility this coming Sunday when the chance for rainfall goes up to 50%.

The weather was cold on Wednesday and Thursday with highs of 34° and 36° respectively. Friday’s high was warmer at 47°, and Saturday’s even more so at 66°. Since then, we’ve had warmer weather culminating in yesterday’s high of 76°.

The forecast is for highs in the sixties and seventies for the rest of this week and into the next. The only rain in the forecast is the aforementioned 50% on Sunday.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Jodey Arrington to Speak Here Tomorrow

Jodey Arrington at the Lumberyard last April.
Jodey Arrington, the U. S. Representative for Texas’ 19th District, which includes Roscoe, will visit the Roscoe School tomorrow, February 22, to address the students and tour the school. The public is welcome to attend the talk and participate in the following Q&A. The event is scheduled to begin at 10:15am in the AVID Room of the high school.

This will be Rep. Arrington’s first visit to Roscoe since last April when he and Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller were at the Lumberyard in an event sponsored by Richard Kemp’s Farm and Ranch Report of KGLD.FM radio of Abilene.


Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Young, Sr., in 1950.
A ceremony honoring one of Roscoe’s most respected men of the previous century will take place in Memorial Park downtown next Tuesday at about 5:50pm. Dr. J. W. Young, Sr., and his wife, Iona Kearse Young, have been memorialized with a monument that was placed in the park last week.

The couple served the community for a half-century, and Dr. Young was assisted at one time or another by all his children at the Young Hospital in Roscoe.

Descendants of the couple will be on hand at the ceremony, and the public is invited to attend. Mayor Pete Porter will also formally proclaim Tuesday as Dr. J. W. Young, Sr., and Iona Kearse Young day.


Dr. Betsy Oesch.
Good times will be had on Saturday at the RCISD STEM Research Center for all who attend the Edu-Vet Pet Hospital Open House. There will be a bounce house for the kids, family fun activities, free lunch, free pet items, and a fire truck tour.

The resident vets, Dr. Betsy Oesch and Dr. John Dedwyler, will meet attendees and provide pet care information.

There will also be a raffle and a Student DC Trip Bake Sale. The event will run from 11am to 2pm. For more information, consult the Edu-Vet website at



The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will host a meeting at the RCHS Cafeteria on March 6 from 5-7pm for public comment on alternatives for proposed improvements to the I-20 and US 84 interchange in Roscoe. The interchange limits along I-20 are from Main Street (FM 608) to Loop 170 and along US 84 from Union Pacific Railroad to I-20.

The meeting will be in an open house format for the public to meet the project team, learn about the proposed project, review the proposed alternatives, ask questions, and provide comments on the proposed project.

This project is being considered to improve safety and traffic flow through the interchange. The proposed project would potentially re-align a portion of I-20 main lanes and frontage roads, provide direct connections between I-20 and US 84 mainlanes, and update ramp configurations along I-20. Maps showing the proposed project's location will be available for review at the open house.

Special accommodations: TxDOT makes every reasonable effort to accommodate the needs of the public. The open house will be in English. If you have a special communication, accommodation or need for an interpreter, a request can be made. If you have a disability and need assistance, special arrangements can also be made to accommodate most needs. Please call (325) 676-6817 at least five working days prior to the meeting. Please be aware that advance notice is requested as some accommodations may require time for TxDOT to arrange.

The environmental review, consultation and other actions required by applicable federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been carried-out by TxDOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 16, 2014, and executed by the Federal Highway Administration and TxDOT.

For more information, contact TxDOT Abilene District, 4250 Clack St., Abilene, TX 79601. (325) 676-6800.



Editor’s note: Herschel Whittington (1925-2004) moved from Arkansas to Roscoe with his family in 1927 when he was two years old and grew up in and around Roscoe, not leaving until January 1944, when he quit school to join the Army Air Force 36 days after his eighteenth birthday. His oldest brother was Hillman Whittington, a bomber pilot killed at the Battle of Midway in 1942, whose name is part of the title of Roscoe’s Frost-Whittington American Legion Post 227. 

In 1993, Herschel finished his book of memoirs, Smiles and Tears of Boyhood Years, a 187-page Xerox-copied account of growing up in and around Roscoe. He gave a copy to Mary Edna Worthy, which wound up in a cardboard box stored in her garage. The box was recently found and given to Main Street Antiques whose owner, Vickie Haynes, then donated to the Roscoe Historical Museum. Despite the fact that Whittington is sometimes an unreliable witness—especially when it comes to dates—his accounts of those years captured many aspects of old Roscoe that would otherwise be gone forever. This excerpt about washing machines and ice boxes is just one of them.

Washing Machines and Ice Boxes in 1930s and ‘40s Roscoe
by Herschel Whittington 
Site of the old Southland Ice House on East Broadway.
The leading wash-day appliances were a No. 3 tub made of galvanized iron, a scrub board, a line on which to hang the items washed (so they might dry in the sunshine and wind), and a flat iron (cast from tempered iron) with which to press the clean, dry items. Wash tubs came in three sizes: Nos. 1, 2 and 3. I have no idea how these sizes evolved; however, as I think about it, the No. 1 was about the size of a bushel basket, the No. 2 was about twice the size, and the No. 3 about three times as big.

The first "washing machine" I ever saw was a Speed Queen that belonged to Ora Cooper. It was a single unit that had a small tub with an agitator for washing clothes on one end, and a smaller tub-within-a-tub on the other end which spun the clothes hard enough to wring out much of the water, but they still had to be hung out on a line to dry.

We never owned a refrigerator until after the War. Some did, and they worked well enough as refrigerators. But many did not have built-in freezer units, and there were no home freezers.

Instead, there were "frozen lockers." These were large buildings the entire interiors of which were kept at below-freezing temperatures and were lined with large lockers with lockable doors. Anyone who wished to could rent one or more lockers in which to keep meat, specially prepared vegetables, or anything else preservable by freezing. I don't remember when the "locker plant" was built in Roscoe, but I do remember where: on the southwest corner of Bois d'Arc and Broadway [i.e., where the Community Center is now].

We did have an "ice box" after about 1939. Mr. Fitts operated the Banner Ice Company which sat catawampus across the northeast corner of Broadway and Laurel. He delivered block ice to folks in town, or folks could take advantage of his drive-through service. Country people like us had to haul our own ice from his establishment. I'm indebted, once more, to Dowl Wilson for this recollection of the "ice man cometh:"

The now deceased Banner Ice Company was operated in Roscoe by Elmer Fitts.  Early on we had no refrigerator in our house on Hickory near the school. We had one of those oak ice boxes that I'd give my other eye-tooth for now. Mr. Fitts made regular home deliveries of ice in a bob-tailed truck with a tarp over the ice in back. Ice-box people had a yellow card with 25, 50, 75 and 100 pounds printed thereon. Placed in a window with a number up, the card told Mr. Fitts how much ice to take from the truck and place in the customer’s ice box. I don’t know how Mr. Fitts got his money. I never did see any change hands.

Kenneth Winn, former Roscoe grocery store owner and mayor from 1970-72, also worked earlier for Southland Ice Co. In First 100 Years: Nolan County, he explains that customers “left their door open and he put the ice in the box, and they left the money on top of the box.”


Freezing rain on the ground at 8:00 this morning.
“Hold your horses! It’s not spring yet!” That seemed to be the message from Mother Nature at about 2:30 yesterday afternoon as a cold, strong wind from the northeast struck and turned what had been a warm 75° afternoon into a return to wintry conditions with temperatures steadily falling throughout the afternoon and evening.

Up until the cold front hit, temperatures had been above average for this time of year. Last Wednesday and Thursday peaked at 80° and 81°. Friday and Saturday dropped somewhat with highs of 62° and 66°. Then Sunday, Monday, and yesterday topped out at 76°, 75°, and 76° before the cold front hit. The entire week was marked by dry weather and strong wind, although we did get .1” of rain on Saturday. It wasn’t enough to make any difference, but it was welcomed nevertheless because it was the first precipitation we’d got in a long time.

Today’s high is projected to rise only to 30° with a 100% chance of freezing rain along with a strong breeze, which has brought the wind chill factor down to 8° as I write this at 9:00am. TxDOT is warning of possible ice on the roadways and is cautioning people to drive carefully and to check weather conditions before they get out on the road. Tomorrow should be warmer with a high of 46° and low of 36° with a 40% chance of precipitation, and Friday should continue the trend with a high of around 58° and a low of 46°. Thunderstorms are also in Friday’s forecast with an 80% chance of rain. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday should see highs return to the mid-sixties to low seventies under sunny skies and lows to the forties.

DEATH NOTICE: Dennis Brawley passed away at Hendrick Hospice in Abilene last night. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tribute to Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Young, Sr., Placed in Memorial Park

Monument honoring Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Young, Sr.
A new monument was placed in Memorial Park on Monday after approval from the Roscoe City B Board. It is a tribute to Dr. J. W. Young, Sr., and his wife, Iona. The two were named the Outstanding Citizens of Roscoe in 1950, and both were greatly respected and loved here during their adult lifetimes, which were spent almost exclusively here in Roscoe.

Dr. Young came as a young man to Roscoe in 1907, beginning his practice on horseback and seeing to patients in the entire area, including Maryneal, Champion, Pyron, Bernecker, Blackland, Wastella, and other country communities. The following year, he married Iona Kearse, who was teaching in the Roscoe School, and the couple spent the next half-century here, working and raising a family. Dr. Young was known for treating all sick patients who needed his help whether or not they had the money to pay for his services.

Over the years, his reputation grew and his practice prospered, and in 1935 he built the Young Hospital, where countless Roscoans entered and left this world. He was assisted by his sons, T. D., also a doctor; J. W., Jr., better known as June, a dentist; and his daughter, Lady Iona, known as Lady Jane, who kept the books.

The formal dedication of the memorial will be made at about 5:30pm on Tuesday, February 27, and the public is invited to attend. More details about the event will be provided later.



City Manager Cody Thompson addresses the City Council.
At its monthly meeting in City Hall yesterday evening, the Roscoe City Council ordained that an election be held on May 5 for the reauthorization of the local sales tax at the rate of ¼ of 1% for maintenance of repair by City streets. The tax brings in about $15,000 a year and is used for buying street patching materials. This reauthorization is required by state law every four years.

Also on the ballot will be the election of two City Council members whose terms are expiring. Anyone interested in running for one of these seats has until closing time Friday at City Hall to submit an application. The Council also approved Sheila Santiago and Ann Teaff as election judge and clerk and Donna Parker and Belinda Ince as early voting judge and clerk for the election.

City Manager Cody Thompson informed the Council about last week’s visit of the NBC Nightly News crew who were in town to interview Carl Childers and others about E.On’s new lithium-ion battery stations, the Roscoe Wind Farm, and the Coop Cotton Gin and cotton crop.

He also reported that the monument to Dr. J. W. Young, Sr., and Mrs. Young has been placed in Memorial Park downtown, and the Council approved a proclamation for J. W. Young Day for February 27.

Plans are also being made to have a Buster Welch Day in Roscoe on Saturday, May 12, to honor him on his 90th birthday.

Thompson also reported that City workers have been patching City streets and repairing water leaks. They are also preparing City parks for spring by trimming trees, spraying, and fertilizing.

He said that hospitalization insurance for the seven city workers has gone up by $128 a month each, which adds another $900 a month expense to the City budget.

He also reported that a Mississippi pipeline company has leased some of Randall Smith’s land just north of the railroad tracks across from the American Legion in east Roscoe. They will put a pipe yard there.

Police Chief Felix Pantoja then gave the Police Report for the month of January. He reported four ongoing investigations. Three are for fraud cases, and the other is a suspected case of arson for a house fire in east Roscoe. He also said there were 61 total calls for service, 9 citation warnings, and 4 citations issued.



4-H Water Ambassadors explain a water model to Elementary students.
RCISD’s entire elementary student body of about 240 kids visited the STEM Research Center last Tuesday, February 6, to learn more about best practices for protecting and restoring our streams and rivers. The event was led by high school 4-H Water Ambassadors Gerardo Garcia, Magdalena Garcia, Jovana Peña, Alfonso Islas, and Arthur Pop.

Dr. David Smith, an Extension Program Specialist from the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M, brought the Stream Trailer, which houses a working model that demonstrates stream processes, and students learned how water is polluted and ways to prevent it. He also used an Enviroscape model and a Groundwater Aquifer model to demonstrate how groundwater is distributed and how to access it.



After losing a close game to Hawley in Hawley Friday evening, the Plowboys ended their season on an up note with a victory at home over Anson last night.

Hawley 56 – Plowboys 53

Scores by quarters:
Hawley               11        33        43        56
Plowboys            8        23        44        53

Individual Plowboy scoring: Caleb Gray 11, Jose Ortega 8, Brandon Lavalais 8, Nick Limones 7, Hunter Anglin 6, Jayden Gonzales 5, Micheal Wright 4, Clemente Aguayo 3, Brayan Medina 2.

Plowboys 44 - Anson 38

Scores by quarters:
Plowboys            6        28        34        44
Anson                  4        10        21        38

Individual Plowboy scoring: Anglin 17, Ortega 8, Gonzales 7, Medina 4, Junior Martinez 3, Aguayo 2, Lavalais 2, Gray 1.



With the track season at hand, can spring be far behind? This year Roscoe Collegiate will be competing with District 8-2A foes Albany, Anson, Hamlin, Haskell, Hawley, and Stamford.

Here’s the season schedule for the Plowgirls, Plowboys, and JV Plowboys.

Date                 Meet                        Where              Start         Teams
Feb. 23    Long Sleeve Relays      Hamlin             12:30    VG, VB, JVB
Mar.  1     Tiger Relays                   Anson                3:30     JVB
Mar.  2    Wildcat HS Open          ACU                  12:00    VG, VB
Mar.  9    Blackland Div. Relays  Roscoe               2:30     VG, VB, JVB
Mar. 17    Piper Relays                  Hamlin              9:00     VG, VB
Mar. 23   Post Invitational           Post                    3:30     VG, VB, JVB
Mar. 29   Lone Wolf Relays         Colorado City   3:30      VG
Mar. 30   Mogul Relays                Munday             3:00      VB, JVB
Apr.   4    District 8-2A Meet       Albany               9:00      VB, VG, JVB
Apr. 12-13   Region 1 Meet           Odessa College
May 11-12    State Meet                 Austin – U Texas

VG = Varsity Girls, VB = Varsity Boys,  JVB = Junior Varsity Boys.



Yesterday's strong south wind had the flags at school popping.
It’s been a relatively typical week for early February weather in Roscoe—a couple of pretty days, a few cold ones, with most of them sunny and windy. Thursday and Friday were warm with highs of 63°F on Thursday and 74° on Friday. Saturday was considerably cooler as a cold front moved through dropping the low to 20° and the high to 50° with enough wind to make the temperatures feel even lower. Sunday and Monday were also cool with a high on Sunday of only 40° and 51° on Monday. The lows both days were in the low twenties. Yesterday was much warmer with a high of 64° along with sunny skies and blustery winds.

Today should be even warmer with a high of 76°, and tomorrow even more so with a high of 80°, before a norther comes in and drops Friday’s high over thirty degrees down to 48° along with a strong northeast wind that will make it feel even cooler. Saturday will have a high of 56° and Sunday 66°, followed by several days with highs in the sixties and lows in the forties. From Friday through next Wednesday, there is a 20% daily chance of rain.


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