All the news that's fit to print.

In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Plowboy Football Workouts Begin Monday

Are you ready for some football? Despite the complications of coping with Covid-19, the 2020 edition of the Roscoe Plowboys begins in earnest on Monday, August 3, with two-a-days at Plowboy Field.

Never has a football season looked more uncertain than the one this year, and it will have all sorts of conditions and restraints to overcome to achieve a successful outcome. But the will to proceed is there in school districts all over the state, so a tentative green light has been given, and we will just have to see how far we can go with it.



The Plowboys have been predicted to finish third in 5-2A-II this fall. Every other year, the UIL changes the make-ups of its districts, and this is one of those years. Roscoe’s district for this year and next is District 5-2A-II with five schools primarily to Roscoe’s north and west: Crosbyton, Hamlin, Lockney, Ralls, and Roscoe Collegiate.

Hamlin, after playing in the state finals last year, will be the overwhelming favorite to win the district crown. Here’s the way Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, the state’s premier publication for high school football, predicts the teams will finish:

          1.       Hamlin
          2.       Ralls
          3.       Roscoe
          4.       Lockney
          5.       Crosbyton

However, as we all know, predictions can often be wrong, and anything can happen. I’m guessing nobody will be able to deprive the district title to Hamlin, which Texas Football currently ranks second in state for Class 2A-II, but the rest is still pretty much up in the air, and the Plowboys will be in the hunt for a playoff slot.

In its discussion of the Plowboys, Texas Football notes that they are junior heavy this year with few seniors, that the QB position is still undecided between Antonio Aguayo and Gunner Helm, and that Kolten Hope, a senior, will be a leader on defense.



The Plowboys will once again face a tough schedule. Texas Football expects Hawley to win their district, 3-2A-I, and ranks them 7th in state in 2A-I. Christoval is also picked to win their district, 14-2A-II, and ranked 13th in state in 2A-II, and Stamford is always tough. Ralls was a 10-2 area finalist last year and returns several key starters, and the final game is against Hamlin, state finalist last year and ranked 2nd in state this year.

Date                 Opponent              Location               Time
Aug. 20            Forsan***             Roscoe                  6:00pm
Aug. 28            Hawley                  Hawley                 7:30pm
Sep.  4              Stamford               Roscoe                 7:30pm
Sep. 11              Miles                      Roscoe                 7:30pm
Sep. 18             Christoval             Christoval            7:00pm
Sep. 25             New Home           New Home          7:00pm
Oct.  2              Seagraves**          Roscoe                 7:00pm
Oct.  9              Bye
Oct. 16             Ralls*                     Roscoe                 7:00pm
Oct. 23             Crosbyton*           Crosbyton           7:00pm
Oct. 30             Lockney*              Roscoe                 7:00pm
Nov. 6              Hamlin*                Hamlin                7:00pm

          *** = Scrimmage
          **   = Mum Night
           *    = District Game


Aug. 20            Forsan***             Roscoe                5:00pm
Aug. 27            Hawley                  Roscoe                5:00pm
Sep.  4              Stamford              Stamford            6:00pm
Sep. 11             Miles                      Miles                   6:00pm
Sep. 18             Christoval            Roscoe                 6:00pm
Sep. 25             New Home          Roscoe                 6:00pm
Oct.  2              Seagraves             Seagraves            6:00pm
Oct.  9              Bye
Oct. 16             Ralls                      Ralls                     6:00pm
Oct. 23             Crosbyton            Roscoe                 6:00pm
Oct. 30             Lockney               Lockney               6:00pm
Nov. 6              Hamlin                 Roscoe                 6:00pm



Over 5,000 people have now died from Covid-19 in Texas, with over 1,000 of those coming this past week. Public health experts say that the reported totals are likely an undercount because not all people who died with Covid-19 symptoms were ever tested.

The worst hit area continues to be south Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and the Coastal Bend. Cameron County (county seat: Brownsville) has had over 130 deaths so far this month, 81 one of them last week. It and Hidalgo County, the next county over, got over 1,000 new cases this past week, and hospitals are full to overflowing. In the state, Harris County continues to have the most cases with Dallas County second.

Things aren’t nearly as bad in the Big Country as it continues to be one of the lighter hit areas. Even so, Taylor County still has 454 active cases (457 last week) with 45 Covid-19 hospitalizations (42 last week) in Abilene facilities with 24 of those patients from outside Taylor County. There have been 15 total Covid-19 deaths.

As of yesterday, Nolan County has 49 active positive cases with 2 more in the prison system. That’s a drop of 3 from the 52 of last week as recoveries outnumbered new cases. Mitchell County has 14 active cases (11 last week) with 3 in the prison system, and Scurry County has 78 active cases (77 last week) with 253 in the prison system.

These are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Jones, 621 (659); Scurry, 396 (371); Erath, 389 (300); Brown, 331 (289); Howard, 130 (98); Nolan 127 (90); Runnels, 90 (44); Comanche, 83 (50); Knox, 44 (17); Mitchell 42 (31); Eastland, 41 (34); Callahan, 38 (36); Coke, 35 (10); Haskell, 30 (25); Stephens, 28 (18); Fisher, 23 (22); Shackelford, 17 (18); Coleman, 10 (7), Stonewall, 4 (4); Throckmorton, 2 (2); Kent, 2 (2).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 5,150 (4,556); Ector (Odessa), 2,158 (1,643); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,493 (1,226); Midland, 1,364 (1,199); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 824 (751).

Texas now has 394,265 cases (341,739 a week ago), 143,939 of them active (151,059 a week ago), and 5,877 deaths (4,151 a week ago).



Editor’s note: I wrote about eating careless weeds a few years ago and thought it was about time I did it again, especially since I cooked some up for supper yesterday.

The careless weed (Amaranthus Palmeri) is one of the most common weeds in this area. To local farmers and gardeners, it is about as popular as mosquitoes or scorpions, and countless gallons of Roundup have been used in the attempt to get rid of it. However, it always seems to come back, and, with the possible exception of Johnson grass, is probably considered in these parts about as worthless as one could imagine.

However, what many don’t know about the careless weed is that it is an edible green and, when cooked, is tasty and just as nutritious as other greens such as collards or kale. It was eaten in various forms by Aztecs, Navajos, and other Native Americans and was also known to Mexicans and American pioneers.

In his memoir of growing up in Roscoe during the depression, Herschel Whittington mentions his mother gathering careless weeds when food was low and cooking and eating them as edible greens. In Spanish, they are referred to as quelite, which also means greens.

Probably the simplest way to eat careless weeds is to gather the leaves, clean them, and then cook them as you would with spinach or Swiss chard. That’s what I did yesterday from a healthy patch growing in the alley behind my house. I brought them in, washed them, boiled them, sprinkled a little vinegar on them, and then ate them. They were tender and tasty.

Try them sometime. You may be surprised. Bon app├ętit!



Summer clouds.
The past week was a welcome break from the heat wave we experienced for most of this month. Temperatures were not exactly cool with highs in the low to mid-nineties, but after all those triple-digit days, they did feel more pleasant.

And on Thursday afternoon, a cloud sprang up out of nowhere, cooled things down, and then rained off and on from about 4:30 to 7:30. It wasn’t a lot, but for farmers who dry planted sunflower seeds, it was enough to get them up and running. Here in town, I got .7”. West of town got from three-quarters to an inch, and I heard that as much as two inches fell in places around Hermleigh and Snyder. Then, yesterday a big cloud made up southeast of town, and it looked like some were getting rain over there, but I haven’t heard anything, so I can’t report on where or how much it rained.

The forecast for today is for partly cloudy skies and a hot afternoon, reaching a high of about 98°F and southwest winds with a slight chance of scattered thundershowers. Tomorrow is projected to be even hotter at 99° or 100°, but that will all change on Friday when a weak cool front moves through, bringing a light north breeze and an afternoon high of 91°. Saturday and Sunday will also be similar with a high of 91° on Saturday and 93° on Sunday. Monday should even be cooler with a high of just 88°, although there is little likelihood of rain. Lows for the weekend could drop into the upper sixties.



A private family gathering and services will be held at some time in the future for Julian Nunez, 56, who passed away on Tuesday, July 28, at his home in Sweetwater.

Mr. Nunez was born in El Zacaton, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He spent much of his life in Roscoe and Sweetwater providing for his family as a rancher. He loved his family tremendously, enjoyed caring for farm animals, especially cattle, and playing baseball in his youth.

He is survived by his wife, SanJuana Nunez; children, Julia Nunez and Marcos Nunez.

If you wish to celebrate Julian in some way, please consider donating to Hendrick Hospice Care in his memory.



A memorial service will be held at a later date.for Danny R. Coker, 73, who passed away Sunday, July 19, at his home in Roby.

Danny was born on May 22, 1947, in Rotan to Denziel L Coker and Lucille Myrle Parsons. He attended Monterey High School and achieved his GED while in the military. He served in the Marine Corps from 1965-1969. While serving in Vietnam, his unit established the Khe Sanh Military Base. Danny completed the Border Patrol Academy in 1971. During his career, he served as a Border Patrol Agent and advanced to Senior Special Agent with the Federal Drug Enforcement Task Force. He retired from the Department of Justice in March 1999. Danny was very athletic and was active in organized softball, the Law Enforcement Rodeo Association, and loved to play golf. He was a member and officer of the American Legion Post 227 in Roscoe and a lifetime member of the VFW.

He was predeceased by both of his parents.

Survivors include his children, Wendi Fleer, Ryan Coker, and Scott Coker; his grandsons, Blake and Tyler Fleer, and Cash James Coker; his brothers and sisters, Donald Coker, Darlene Moore, Debbie Trotter, Davey Coker, and Della Jane Tolbert; son-in-law, Rob Fleer; and daughter-in-law, Jacqueline Coker. He is also survived by multiple nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and many friends who loved him all dearly.

The family would like to thank all who helped in his care, especially Todd Coker, Amy Trotter Wilson, Crystal Coker, and Dave Coker.



Graveside services for Ted Wyman Early, 80, were at 2:00pm on Sunday, July 26, at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Sweetwater with Todd Snyder officiating. Interment followed directed by McCoy Funeral Home in Sweetwater. He passed away on Friday, July 24, at an Abilene Nursing Home.

Ted was born March 19, 1940, in Sweetwater to Cliff and Lena (Henry) Early. He married Dorothy Vernell Swofford September 4, 1959, in Roscoe. He graduated from Roscoe High School in 1959. Just out of high school, Ted spent the next five years working for the State of Texas helping build I-20 from Roscoe to Abilene. His railroad career began with the Roscoe, Snyder, & Pacific and later the Union Pacific Railroads where he spent 37 years before retiring. He resided at Lake Fort Phantom near Abilene the past three years, moving there from Big Spring after 23 years. He was a lifelong Methodist who enjoyed being with his family.

He is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Vernell Early of Lake Fort Phantom; a son, Keith Early and wife Cheryl of Plano; and two granddaughters, Hannah and Ava Early, both of Plano.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Roscoe Firemen Put Out Blaze

Arenivaz Fire
Members of the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department were successful in extinguishing a fire that broke out at the home of Manny and Liz Arenivaz at 1110 Ash Street on Thursday, but not before it had destroyed a greenhouse and part of the back side of the house, along with the items stored there.

The owners had no insurance, so a GoFundMe page has been established. Anyone wishing to help with a donation can do so by clicking here.  



Yesterday, RCISD’s Edu-Cast released the following video update of information regarding the opening of the upcoming 2020-21 school year. They plan to issue a new update each week.

Not mentioned is yesterday’s UIL news postponing football for 5A and 6A schools for one month. Smaller schools from 4A on down, however, are still on schedule to begin football two-a-days and seasons on time.

The latest TEA (Texas Education Agency) Guidelines for schools are available here



City and Nolan County workers will begin the annual summer project of seal coating Roscoe streets today. Streets receiving attention first will include parts of Ash, Oak, and 11th Streets.



Texas remains one of the national hotspots for Covid-19, but some parts of the state are more affected by the virus than others. The hardest hit areas are currently the Rio Grande Valley and the Coastal Bend area around Corpus Christi. Hospital ICU’s in south Texas are full to overflowing, and a mobile morgue of refrigerated trucks has been set up in Corpus because the permanent morgues are full.

Texas’ big cities are also nationally designated “red zones.” Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso all have hospitals at 80% or above capacity with around 20% of them Covid-19 patients. This week the state hit a new record high for Covid-19 hospitalizations at 10,848 and 829 more deaths this past week.

However, the Big Country is currently not in any crisis for hospital space and remains one of the lesser affected areas in the state. Roscoe, in particular, has been lucky so far as few people here even know anyone who has been a confirmed positive. Let’s hope it remains that way.

Abilene’s Covid-19 hospitalization rate, after several weeks of steady increases, has leveled off somewhat this past week to 42 (41 last week) and still has over 20 ICU beds available. Taylor County now has 457 active cases (419 last week) with 11 total deaths.

Nevertheless, the number of local active cases continues to grow. Nolan County now has 52 active cases (32 last week) with 2 of those in the prison system (4 last week), and Mitchell County has 11 active cases (19 last week) with 3 (2 last week) in the prison system. Scurry County has 77 active cases (73 last week) with 250 more in the prison system.

These are the area’s county figures for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses if different): Jones, 659 (607); Scurry, 371 (350); Erath, 300 (236); Brown, 289 (237); Howard, 98 (71); Nolan 90 (70); Comanche, 50 (32); Runnels, 44 (25); Callahan, 36 (28); Eastland, 34 (20); Mitchell 31 (26); Haskell, 25 (8); Fisher, 22 (14); Shackelford, 18 (9); Stephens, 18 (9); Knox, 17 (10); Coke, 10 (5); Coleman, 7 (5), Stonewall, 4 (0); Throckmorton, 2 (0); Kent, 2 (0).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 4,556 (3,823); Ector (Odessa), 1,643 (1,370); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,226 (1,065); Midland, 1,199 (1,194); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 751 (636).

Texas now has 341,739 cases (275,058 a week ago), 151,059 of them active (129,338 a week ago), and 4,151 deaths (3,322 a week ago).



The Joy Theater on Broadway in 1949.
Editor’s note: This memory of the Joy Theater originally ran in the Roscoe Hard Times of March 11, 2011.

In a world of smartphones, iPads, and HD television, it’s difficult to envision a time when radios were the most advanced medium in the home, and a trip to the movie theater to see a “picture show” was a special treat.  In fact, the number of people who remember those days is steadily shrinking, but some of us still recall when the Joy Theater was one of the most important establishments in downtown Roscoe.

The Joy Theater was located on the south side of the street, just east of the intersection of Broadway and Main and just west of Medlock’s Furniture store.  (It was across the street from where the Cotton Belles is today.) In the early fifties, it was owned by Jack Wallace, but he gave it up to run the Midway drive-in theater between Roscoe and Sweetwater and sold the Joy to John Weatherhogg, the math teacher at Roscoe High, who ran it with his son, Neil.      

The price of admission was 14¢ for kids under 12 and 35¢ for anyone 12 or over.  When we went on Saturday mornings, my parents usually gave my brothers and me the correct change or maybe 15¢, but occasionally we got lucky and got a quarter apiece.  That would not only get us into the picture show, but also a small sack of popcorn (5¢), a coke (5¢), and a piece of penny candy, such as a Tootsie Roll, a piece of bubble gum, or a little four-pack of Kits.  The Joy also sold candy like Big Hunks and Sugar Daddy, both of which were popular with kids because they took a long time to eat.

Next to the candy counter was a staircase that went up to the colored section, which was just a small balcony upstairs in the back with a few folding chairs and benches.

The evening shows were always for adults, but Saturday mornings were for kids, and it was always a treat to get to go.  My brother Joe and I regularly went with our neighbors Ronnie and Cuppy Graham but would meet up with other friends once we got to the theater.  Like other kids who lived in town, we walked together from one of our houses and, when it was over, walked back.  I don’t think it ever occurred to any of our parents to drive us to the theater the way parents do now.  

Inside the theater the best place to sit was the front row.  Besides being closest to the big screen, it was next to the open area between it and the screen, where you could play or wrestle before the show started.

When the lights went out, the show would start with Previews of Coming Attractions, followed by the Paramount World News.  Then came the cartoon (or sometimes a Three Stooges short), which we considered the best part of all.  Sometimes it would be a Disney cartoon with Donald Duck or Goofy, but more often than not it was Looney Tunes with Sylvester & Tweety, Tom & Jerry, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd & Bugs Bunny, or Woody Woodpecker.

Then came the serial, which ran in successive episodes from week to week and featured someone like Lash Larue or Flash Gordon and his nemesis, the mad scientist, Dr. Grood.  In all of the serials there was also a pretty lady who got involved and needed rescuing from time to time.  The episodes always ended with Flash Gordon or the pretty lady in dire peril of impending ruin—and then we had to wait for a whole week to find out what happened to them.

After the serial came the feature presentation, more often than not a black-and-white western starring Hopalong Cassidy or Roy Rogers or Gene Autry.  We knew them and their comic sidekicks—and their horses.  With Roy Rogers came Gabby Hayes and Trigger; with Gene Autry it was Smiley Burnett and Champion.  Most kids had a strong preference for one or the other, with some liking Roy Rogers better, while others preferred Gene Autry.

My friend Biggy Miller said he liked Roy Rogers better because Roy Rogers could duck bullets, a claim that I thought was preposterous.  He got this idea from scenes when the bad guys were shooting at Roy while he was riding Trigger full speed, and naturally he’d look back and duck down when they shot at him.  Biggy believed he could see the bullets coming and was dodging them.

Saturday morning movies weren’t always westerns, though.  Sometimes they were jungle movies with Tarzan or Jungle Jim or Bomba the Jungle Boy.  In these, the comic sidekick was Cheetah or some other chimpanzee just like him, who would at some point save the day.  And sometimes they were war movies with John Wayne, Van Johnson, or Richard Widmark.  It hadn’t been that long before that the country was at war, and the memory of sacrifice and victory was still fresh on people’s minds.

No matter what the movie was about, though, when it was over, we’d go back home and relive it in our play afterwards.  If it was a war movie, we’d be out in some vacant lot killing Japs or Germans.  If it was a western, it would be Indians or outlaws, and if it was a jungle movie, it would be crocodiles or gorillas or natives.  

People did things at the Joy Theater that don’t happen at movie theaters now, and I’m talking about adults, too, not just kids.  Sometimes there’d be a cartoon with songs.  The lyrics would appear on the screen, and a bouncing ball would move from word to word in sync with the song—and the people in the audience would sing along with the song.  I guess most of them were used to singing every Sunday morning in church, so nobody thought anything was unusual about singing in the Joy Theater--and so they did.  I can remember singing along to tunes like “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” and “Oh, my darling Clementine.”

And on certain nights, Tuesdays I believe, between the cartoon and the movie they’d turn on the lights, and Mr. Weatherhogg would go to the front of the theater to conduct a drawing.  The ticket stubs had numbers on them, and people would check theirs to see if their number matched the one that Mr. Weatherhogg drew and announced.  If it did, they won a prize of some sort.  After three or four prizes were awarded, Mr. Weatherhogg would remind everyone that there would be another drawing the next week, the lights would go back out, and the feature presentation would begin.

The movies that drew the biggest crowds were the religious ones.  When they ran one called “King of Kings,” a show about Jesus, there wasn’t an empty seat in the house, and another one, “Quo Vadis,” drew a similar crowd.  Also, a black-and-white movie about Bonnie and Clyde once came to the Joy, and along with it came the actual bullet-riddled car that Bonnie and Clyde had been in when they were ambushed and killed.  The car sat in front of the theater all day, and that evening the movie played to a packed audience.

However, the popularity of the Joy faded pretty quickly once Abilene and Sweetwater got broadcast television stations in the mid-fifties.  I don’t think the theater brought in a lot of money in the first place, but when people started staying home to watch Slim Willett and similar programming for free—or went to Sweetwater to see picture shows at the Midway or the Rocket drive-ins, the competition was too much for the Joy, and it finally had to close its doors, becoming just another memory of an earlier time.



Yesterday's sunrise.
The heat wave of the past couple of weeks continued all the way up to yesterday when a storm cloud built up and cooled things off for a welcome change. It also managed to generate some thunder, lightning, and even a brief shower over much of the area. Unfortunately, though, there wasn’t enough moisture to do more than cool the temperature a bit and get the sidewalks wet, as the dry weather continues to plague the area.

The hot spell continued unabated last week as Wednesday’s high was 106°F, Thursday’s 102°, Friday’s 102°, and Saturday’s 98°. Sunday and Monday were almost as torrid at 96° and 97° before yesterday’s clouds finally broke the heat.

Thankfully, the outlook for the rest of the week is for more moderate weather with more clouds. Today’s high should be about 91°, 93° tomorrow, and 94° on Friday and Saturday. There is also a 50% chance for some much-needed rain this afternoon as wind shifts to the east-southeast. Then, there’s also a 60% chance on Sunday and a 50% chance on Monday along with more clouds and cooler temperatures. The high on Sunday is predicted to be only 89° and Monday 90°.



Graveside services for Lucille Martin Brown, 95, are this morning at 11:00am, July 22, at the Loraine Cemetery with Dr. Rick Willis officiating. Burial will follow directed by McCoy Funeral Home. She passed away on Sunday, July 19.

Lucille was born and raised in Loraine, where she graduated in 1942. She graduated from Hardin Simmons University in 1945, where she loved being a member of the HSU Cowgirls Association. She married Hank Brown in 1948 and began a long career of teaching in Littlefield, Loraine, Silverton, Sudan and the last 20 plus years in Roscoe. She loved her students and always found joy in their accomplishments. She was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church in Roscoe, serving on many committees. She was an avid shopper and loved to travel.

Pax and I’Ann are so grateful she never stopped giving advice on how to look your best and be thankful for every day. Lucille was an amazing grandmother to Lance, Whitney, Sabra and Nace. She and Hank drove thousands of miles to take care of them and attend all of their events. She was a resident of College Park Care in Weatherford for the last 11 years. She maintained her wit and most of the time her graciousness till the end. To all the staff and caregivers, words cannot express our heartfelt thanks for the love and compassion shown to her on a daily basis.

Lucille is survived by two daughters, Pax Welch of Weatherford and I’Ann Washington and husband Eddie of Weatherford; two grandsons, Lance Welch and Jacque of Fort Worth, and Nace Washington of Weatherford; granddaughter, Sabra Washington of Weatherford.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard L. “Hank” Brown, in 2004; son, Ronnie Richard Brown, in 1970; and granddaughter, Whitney Welch, in 1998.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Roscoe School Announces Plans for Fall

The following is RCISD’s official announcement of the school’s plan for educating students this fall while coping with the coronavirus.

Roscoe Collegiate ISD has worked through the summer to develop a plan for the fall semester. Our plan is designed to focus first on student and teacher safety while meeting our commitment to high student success. The plan has been developed to be flexible and ensure that we are able to change and adapt as the COVID-19 situation dictates.  A brief summary of the plan follows:

Roscoe CISD will be starting school on
10 August 2020 (17 August 2020 for 3 year olds).

  •  Students will attend classes as usual.
  • We will take extra precautions for sanitation and to screen all students, staff, and visitors.
  • Everyone over the age of 10 will need to be prepared to wear masks.
  • Buses will be run for those who need the transportation.  We ask those on the bus to please keep masks on and sit with siblings to minimize community spread.
  • Our maintenance and cleaning staff have arranged their schedule to ensure all facilities, equipment, and buses are being cleaned more robustly than before.
  • Students will work remotely for a minimum of three days if they have a fever of 100.4°F or higher.
Be on the lookout for more information on the district website and campus Facebook pages in the coming weeks. As the state gives us more information, we are finalizing details on our plan.



Cody Thompson reports at yesterday's meeting.
At its monthly meeting in City Hall yesterday evening, the Roscoe City Council received a proposal from a local resident, heard updates from the City Manager and Chief of Police, and conducted routine business including approval of the Quarterly Investment Report.

Roscoe resident Margerite Wakefield presented a proposal to the Council encouraging citizens to build gardens to help themselves and others in times of need. She also brought up the possibility of holding a local dog judging show.

City Manager Cody Thompson provided a public works update. He opened with a report on the recent successful July 4th Celebration, saying that an estimate of the evening crowd was at around 2,200, that vendors had a good day, and the parade and Plowboy Mudbog were well attended.

He also reported that the City’s engineers, Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd of Abilene (eHT), are in town doing on-site work concerning plans for water line improvements. He mentioned that ground movement during the current spell of dry weather has caused some older city pipes to break and cause leaks at 10th Street and elsewhere.

RCISD is working with broadband companies for citywide coverage, visiting and consulting with the city and boards concerning input and assistance in creating a grant package.

City workers are planning and implementing work concerning the closure of the old sanitary sewer plant and the required inspection and repair at the new sanitary sewer plant.

Thompson also said that the sealcoating of city streets should begin in the next week or so.

Police Chief Felix Pantoja then gave the Police Report for the month of June, saying that the Department had received 91 total calls, issued 3 citations, given 27 warnings, handled 2 vehicle crashes, and made 2 arrests. He also said that the Roscoe Police Department and the State of Texas will present 3 counts of vehicular manslaughter to the grand jury against the driver of the vehicle causing the head-on collision on US 84 within the Roscoe city limits on June 1, which resulted in three deaths.  

The Council then discussed the Quarterly Investment Report before approving it unanimously.



These are the new RCISD officials for the 2020-2021 school year:

J. T. Elmore, Dean of Secondary Education
Tecka Heaps, Dean of Elementary Education
Dana Elmore, Dean of Early Childhood Education

In other school news, School Board and Administrative Staff went through Lone Star Governance training Friday and Saturday. Lone Star Governance focuses on roles and responsibilities of the board, school district goals, and integrity in leadership.

Student athletes resumed their strength and conditioning workouts on Monday, July 13.



The number of active Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to grow in Texas in both the cities and rural areas. Yesterday, Texas reported 10,745 new positive cases, a new record for one day, along with over 10,500 hospitalizations and 607 more deaths since last Tuesday. The positivity rate of tests to total tests for the past week is 16.9%, also a new record.

In the Big Country, Abilene recorded two more Covid-19 related deaths yesterday and 28 new cases, bringing the total of active cases in Taylor County to 419 (253 a week ago) and the year’s total to 794 (573 a week ago). Abilene now has 41 Covid-19 hospitalizations (21 a week ago) with 13 more “under investigation.” Hendrick Medical Center’s CEO, Brad Holland, said that capacity at Hendrick is “tight,” but not enough yet to stop elective surgeries, as has happened in San Angelo. San Angelo also reported two more deaths yesterday and 96 new positive cases with 38 hospitalizations.

Nolan County now has 32 active cases with 4 of those in the prison system, and Mitchell County has 19 active cases with 3 in the prison system. Scurry County had 73 active cases on Monday.

These are the area’s county figures as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses if different): Jones, 607 (609); Scurry, 350 (71); Erath, 236 (160); Brown, 237 (117); Howard, 71 (55); Nolan 70 (49); Callahan, 28 (24); Comanche, 32 (21); Mitchell 26 (18); Runnels, 25 (17); Eastland, 20 (11); Fisher, 14 (11); Knox, 10 (4); Shackelford, 9 (5); Stephens, 9 (9); Haskell, 8 (6); Coke, 5; Coleman, 5 (3).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 3,823 (2,918); Ector (Odessa), 1,370 (946); Midland, 1,194 (927); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,065 (530); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 636 (464).

Texas now has 275,058 cases (210,585 a week ago), 129,338 of them active (99,385 a week ago), and 3,322 deaths (2,715 a week ago).



Roscoe's temperature on the Weather Channel website yesterday.
It’s been a brutal week for the weather as the heat spell of last week has not only continued, but also increased in intensity as it wears on.

Last Wednesday’s high of 99°F was the most recent day in which the temperature didn’t top out with triple digits. Thursday’s high was 102°, Friday’s 100°, Saturday’s 105°, Sunday’s 105°, Monday’s 109°, and yesterday’s 110°, which is the hottest day Roscoe has experienced in many years. Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried recorded an official 110.4°F. In any case, the electric companies will be making a haul this month when they collect on all the bills sent to them from Roscoe and the surrounding area.

The heat was accompanied by plenty of sunshine and hot southwest winds, straight from the Chihuahuan Desert in northern Mexico. Lows have been in the upper 70s except for Monday, when it was 80°. And there has naturally been not a drop of rain.

The forecast is for more of the same—not as extreme as yesterday but still plenty hot. Today’s forecast is for a high of 105°, tomorrow’s 101°, and Friday’s 100°. Then Saturday will begin a string of eleven days in which the forecast is for a high of either 98° or 99° accompanied by early morning lows of 74°, 75°, or 76°.

If this keeps up, we may have to wear jackets the first time the high temperature drops below 90°.



Graveside services were held for Max Kenneth Smith, Sr., 93, of Katy, formerly of Roscoe, were held at 2:00pm on Saturday, July 11, at Roscoe Cemetery under the direction of McCoy Funeral Home. He passed away on July 6 in Katy.

Among survivors is his wife, Nita Carol (May) Smith of Katy.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Roscoe Celebrates July 4th

Jason Boland
Jason Boland at the free concert and street dance.
Coronavirus? What coronavirus? These might have been questions of anyone attending the July 4th Celebration in Roscoe on Saturday because this year’s crowd was as large as ever and masks were rare. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of people wearing masks I saw at the parade, the Plowboy Mudbog, the free concert and street dance, or the fireworks show. Not only was local law enforcement not handing out warnings or tickets, but they themselves were not wearing masks.

Just by looking at the crowd, you wouldn’t have been able to distinguish this year’s attendees from those of previous years. In fact, after all we’ve all been through this spring, the day seemed so normal it was remarkable.  

The morning parade sponsored by the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department had its usual large number of entries in all categories and went off without a hitch.

The Plowboy Mudbog at the baseball field had a large crowd and a record-breaking number of mud vehicles entered in six classes. Contestants came from as far away as Dallas and New Mexico. Competition was fierce, and everyone had a good time despite the 99° heat and lack of any wind.

The Roscoe Express shuttled people between downtown and the baseball field all afternoon, and many visitors toured the Roscoe Historical Museum. In the evening, the music by the featured bands enlivened the crowd, and the fireworks show was spectacular as always.

So, despite the current situation, it was another successful July 4th for the City of Roscoe, and all who attended apparently went away happy.



The AR-15 rifle.
The annual raffle for an AR-15 rifle by the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department was won by Casey Bowman of Lamesa when his name was drawn at the July 4th celebration. In case he did not meet his background check to take the rifle, a second name was drawn.

The Fire Department congratulates Casey and wishes to thank all of those who purchased raffle tickets and thanks them for their support.



The July 4th Parade was once again a resounding success. Here are the winners for each category:

          Best Bicycle: Taven
          Best Motorcycle: Tim Thompson
          Best Western: Hardin-Simmons’ Six White Horses
          Best Four-Wheeler: Phoenix and Z
          Best Antique Vehicle: EduMake It
          Best Patriotic: Talamantez
          Best Overall: Ellison
          Best Fire Truck: George Guerra

The Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department wishes to thank the following for their donations to the prize bags for the parade: First Financial Bank of Sweetwater, the Medicine Place, Dr. David King, 911 Services, Loves Storage Center, Sonic, Cotton Belles, Wildflower Boutique, State Farm, Hoyt Place, Morgan Real Estate, Roscoe Industrial Development Corp., Members of the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department, Roscoe Police Department, Parade Judge Misty DeLoera.



This four-minute video shows selected entries of the super-modified class on their first run.

Here are the top three finishers in each class:

1. Robert Sparks      Roswell, NM     ’87 Chevy Blazer “Freedom”
2. Sydni Sparks        Artesia, NM       ’90 Jeep “Dirty Dawg”
3. Chris Sparks         Artesia, NM      ’87 Chevy Blazer “Freedom”

Super Street
1. Al Sotelo                Abilene             ‘78 Ch. Blazer “Grasshopper"
2. Jennifer Davis     Seminole           Toyota Pickup “Country Girl”
3. Fletch Rivera       Colorado City    ’72 Chevy Blazer

1. Kevin Hendley      Lubbock            2000 Chevy S10
2. Brian Averette      Big Spring         ’89 Chevy “Bubba”
3. Luis Pantoja          Roscoe               ’77 Chevy Blazer

Super Modified
1. A. Montgomery     Big Spring         ’82 Chevy Pickup “Bad Co.”
2. Arden Alvarez       Colorado City    Chevy S10
3. Phillip Garcia        Colorado City    ’89 Chevy S10

1. Wacey Daniel          Big Spring         Chevy S10 “Green Go”
2. Tommy Maitland   Sweetwater      ’01 Ford Excursion “The Ex”
3. Tommy Skinner     Artesia, NM     1949 Jeep “Gaudzilla”

Tractor Tire
1. Marrisa Torres         Roscoe              Ford F350
2. Ricky Simon             Dallas               Ford F350
3. David Smallwood    Rotan               1940 Ford Bread Truck



The number of Covid-19 cases both in the state and locally continues to rapidly grow as the virus has now spread to all parts. Hospitalizations across Texas have more than doubled in the past two weeks, rising to 9,286 yesterday with almost 700 more deaths last week. Hospitals are nearing capacity in some cities and overflowing in the Rio Grande Valley with some patients there being transported elsewhere for treatment.

The Governor’s latest executive order mandates the use of masks and social distancing in public places, but the edict has met with considerable resistance, and both compliance and enforcement have been light in many areas, including the Big Country.

What will come next is anybody’s guess, but whatever it is will apparently be hastened by people’s desire to return to normalcy over their concerns for the consequences.

Here are the numbers for this week as of yesterday:

Abilene now has 573 total positive cases for the year (compared to 400 a week ago) with 253 active cases (compared to 110 a week ago) and 21 hospitalizations (compared to 9 a week ago).

Yesterday, Nolan County was reporting 49 confirmed positives on the year with 32 active cases and 17 recovered. One was in the hospital earlier, but I don’t know if that’s still the case. I have also heard that at least one of those active cases is in Roscoe, but that’s not official, and if there are more, I don’t know about them.

These are the area’s county figures as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses if different): Jones, 609 (611); Erath, 160 (87); Brown, 117 (72); Scurry, 71 (32); Howard, 55 (40); Nolan 49 (33); Callahan, 24 (16); Comanche, 21 (17); Mitchell 18 (5); Runnels, 17 (7); Eastland, 11 (10); Fisher, 11 (5); Stephens, 9 (8); Haskell, 6 (5); Shackelford, 5 (1); Coke, 5 ; Knox, 4 (3); Coleman, 3.

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 2,918 (2,095); Ector (Odessa), 946 (558); Midland, 927 (651); Tom Green (San Angelo), 530 (299); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 464 (318).

Texas now has 210.585 cases (159,986 a week ago), 99,385 of them active (72,744 a week ago), and 2,715 deaths (2,029 a week ago).



Heavy downpour during last Wednesday's rain.
Despite the weathermen’s prediction of a sunny afternoon with no precipitation, a summer thunderstorm struck with force last Wednesday, breaking telephone poles, blowing over lines with 100 mile per hour winds west of town, and knocking out electricity in Roscoe for a couple of hours during a rainstorm that dropped some much needed precipitation in the area. Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried recorded an official 1.22” in east Roscoe, but it rained almost two inches west of town, and amounts varied according to location.

Since then, there have been some more isolated showers here and there, particularly on Sunday and Monday, but the amount of rain was considerably less and in many places didn’t fall at all.

The temperatures were above average, especially in the latter part of last week, including July the 4th, when afternoon temperatures reached 99° just as they had they day before. The high for the week, though, was last Wednesday when it reached 101°. Since Sunday, however, the days have been cooler with highs of 93°, 90°, and 93° respectively.

Unfortunately, that will end today as temperatures climb back into the three-digit range and stay that way the next eight or ten days. Monday and Tuesday of next week have predicted highs of 109° and 108° respectively, and the surrounding days are predicted to be only a degree or two lower. Lows will be in the upper seventies and as high as 80°. So, get ready for some seriously hot weather, and be careful when doing anything strenuous outdoors for the next couple of weeks.

Once again, there is no rain in the forecast.



A graveside service for William Roy Willman, 72, of Sweetwater will be held today at 11:00am at Roscoe Cemetery with Ken Becker officiating and directed by McCoy. He passed away on Sunday, July 5, at Sweetwater Healthcare Center.

William Roy Willmann was born on December 20, 1947, in Clifton, Texas, to parents Albert and Mathilda Willmann. Roy graduated from Roscoe High School and served in the United States Army. He was an active member of VFW Post 2479 in Sweetwater and of American Legion Post 227 in Roscoe. He was a member of the Nolan County Honor Guard. He was also a member of First Salem Lutheran Church in Roscoe.

Survivors are son William Roy Willmann II and wife, Susan, of Belton; daughter, Nova Chevelle “Chevy” Downs and husband, Mike, of Abilene; sisters, Shirley Deleon and husband, Benny, of Sweetwater, Agnes Ann Kamer of Sweetwater, Benda Kay Kamer of Sweetwater; brother, Bradley Keith and wife, Bonnie, of Roscoe; eight grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert W. Willmann and Mathilda Richter Willman; and brother, Donnie Willmann.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Roscoe Celebrates July 4th This Saturday

Jason Boland & the Stragglers
Final preparations are underway for Roscoe’s annual July 4th celebration, and the event’s organizers are planning a day filled with fun for all to remember.

The day will begin at 10am with the annual July 4th parade down Broadway with the line-up for parade participants starting at 9:30am on West Broadway. Then at 12:00 noon the Plowboy Mudbog will get underway at George Parks Field with the special bonus of no admission charge this year, although food and drinks will be available for purchase.

During the afternoon, street vendors will be open downtown and selling food and other wares along Broadway, Cypress, and Old Town Park, and the Roscoe Historical Museum will be open for visitors.

The Roscoe Express will be available to shuttle people free of charge between downtown and the Plowboy Mudbog during the afternoon.  

Lyndall Underwood & the Dusty Creek Band
The free concert and street dance will begin “on the bricks” of Cypress at around 6:30pm with Lyndall Underwood and the Dusty Creek Band. Then, at around 8:00, this year’s feature act, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, will take the stage and play until 9:30, followed by the ever-popular fireworks show beginning at about 9:45. It will last about twenty minutes and conclude the day’s official events.

However, those who want to continue the celebration after the fireworks may do so at the Lumberyard, where there will be free live music by Lyndall Underwood and the Dusty Creek Band.

So, make plans now to attend, bring lawn chairs and coolers, and help us celebrate the country’s independence! Also, please be considerate of others by maintaining social distance and wearing masks. We don’t want the event to be a Covid-19 hotspot!



Summer is for swimming.
Kids are happy to know that the Roscoe Swimming Pool is now open and has been since last Tuesday.

Like last year, the pool is open Tuesday through Sunday, but the hours are slightly different. This year’s hours are 11am to 4pm. Price of admission is $2.00 per day.

The pool may be rented for private parties beginning and ending between 5:00 and 9:00pm all week except Monday. The fee is $60 for two hours, $70 for three, and $80 for four, all with a $15 deposit. The price includes an approved licensed lifeguard.

The pool will be closed Saturday for July 4.
For reservations or additional details, contact Pool Manager Rindy Rains at 325-236-1510.



Ryker Bromley & Aaron Aguilar
Roscoe Swimming Pool lifeguard Aaron Aguilar got a big test on his first day of work last Tuesday when a five-year-old boy, Ryker Bromley, drifted just into the deep end, lost his noodle, and sank down the slope to the bottom.

Aguilar pulled him out and applied CPR to get him breathing again. When the paramedics arrived, Ryker had been revived, but he was taken to Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital as a precaution. There he was checked out by a doctor and later released.

Ryker is the son of Alex and Daniel Bromley, and Aguilar, who just graduated from Sweetwater High, made an A on his first big test as a lifeguard. Congratulations, Aaron. Keep up the good work!



The strength and conditioning program initiated by the athletics program at Roscoe Collegiate has been suspended as of Monday, June 29, as a precautionary measure. Although there have been no reported cases of Covid-19 among student athletes or staff, the move was taken because of the recent spike in cases here in Nolan County.

The suspension of all boys’ and girls’ sport-specific workouts lasts until July 13, when it is hoped that they can be resumed. Other Big Country schools, including Hawley, Jim Ned, Colorado City, Haskell, and Stamford, have also suspended their strength and conditioning workouts.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, you may contact Athletic Director Jake Freeman at



Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital has just had its second video in the national media, this one in this past Sunday’s New York Times along with an opinion article by Texas journalist Mimi Swartz. Its title is “In Texas, 6 Critically Ill Covid-19 Patients Would Overwhelm This Hospital,” and it is 8 minutes and 20 seconds long. It covers much of the same ground that the CBS one did in the video that ran in early May, interviewing local people and speaking of the perils of barring elective procedures in rural hospitals, which puts them in danger of going bankrupt and closing.

The hospital survived the first prohibition of elective procedures this spring when the state reopened them in May. Just recently, however, as hospitalizations have rapidly increased, Governor Abbott has reimposed the ban. This time, however, it applies only to hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties, so the rural hospitals of Texas are unaffected.



At a Called Meeting at City Hall at noon yesterday, the Roscoe City Council approved going ahead with Saturday’s July 4th celebration. The vote was all in favor except for one abstention.

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful time and acts sensibly regarding the county’s recent uptick in positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.


Nick Pantoja's car after finishing second in Abilene derby.
Roscoe’s number one auto mechanic, Nick Pantoja of VP Tire & Service, finished second in the demolition derby at Abilene Speedway Saturday night.  Caleb Dean, also of Roscoe, finished fourth.



It had to happen sooner or later. It just seems to be a fact of life that things happen in the city before they happen in the country. It’s true of technology, of fashion, of the spread of certain drugs, and of other facets of modern life. And it has also been true of the coronavirus, which in the spring ravaged places like New York City, New Jersey, Seattle, and San Francisco while less settled parts of the country were largely spared.

But in the past few weeks it seems that the disease has begun making its way into places that up to now remained mostly untouched. These include Texas as a whole and west Texas in particular. The Roscoe Hard Times misses a week, and when it comes back, I see that the numbers of new cases in the Big Country are spiking just like they are in the cities.

Statewide, Texas has become a hot spot for the spread of the disease and is now averaging over 5,000 new cases a day with the number of hospitalizations steadily rising. In Abilene starting today, HEB is requiring masks for shopping. Here in Nolan County, changes are also happening. Last week, Sweetwater closed its city offices after exposure to the virus, and yesterday the Sweetwater Health Department announced it is also closing for the same reason. Nolan County’s number of new confirmed positives is also climbing. On Saturday, over nine new cases were identified with three of those being hospitalized, and by yesterday the number of active cases had risen to thirty, affecting people from the ages of 14 to 60.

Even so, life still appears to be going on relatively normally, but it will behoove us all to keep an eye on the numbers and take proper precautions if they continue to rise locally as they have recently.

Here are the numbers for this week as of yesterday:

Abilene now has 400 total positive cases for the year (compared to 259 two weeks ago) with 110 active cases (compared to 9 two weeks ago) and 9 hospitalizations (compared to 1 two weeks ago).

These are the area’s county figures as of yesterday (with two weeks ago in parentheses if different): Jones, 611 (630); Brown, 72 (61); Howard, 40 (23); Nolan 33 (5); Scurry, 32 (28); Comanche, 17 (14); Callahan, 16 (13); Eastland, 10 (7); Stephens, 8 (5); Runnels, 7 (2); Coke, 5 (4); Fisher, 5 (2); Mitchell 5 (2); Haskell, 5 (4); Coleman, 3; Knox, 3 (1); Shackelford, 1.

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with two weeks ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 2,095 (894); Midland, 651 (222); Ector (Odessa), 558 (260); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 318 (117);.Tom Green (San Angelo), 299 (121);

Texas now has 159,986 cases (93,206 two weeks ago), 72,744 of them active (
30,496 two weeks ago), and 2,029 deaths (1,830 two weeks ago).



A thundercloud from yesterday's false alarm.
The month of June is now history, and, just like May, it has been way below average in terms of precipitation. May and June along with September are historically the three wettest months of the year, but not this year. I don’t know how many times in the past month we’ve seen big clouds build up and move across west Texas and on almost every occasion miss Roscoe and the immediate area.

Yesterday was a case in point. I got an alert that lightning and possible thundershowers were in the area, so I watched the radar off and on for a big part of the afternoon. It was a shame to see how big clouds with red, orange, yellow and dark green patches on the radar map moved toward Roscoe from south of Colorado City and then just played out somewhere between Loraine and Champion.

We’ve had no shortage of thunder and lightning the past two weeks, but once the clouds start failing to produce, it seems that they get caught up in a pattern that results in everything but rain. I keep hoping we’ll finally get one that soaks the ground around here and breaks the current pattern.

Temperatures the past two weeks have been typical for June, maybe a little on the hot side, especially the last few days. Monday’s 103°F was the high for the past week, but yesterday before the big clouds moved in hit 100°, and today’s forecast is for a high of 101° with a low tonight of 75°.

The rest of the week looks similarly hot with highs of 96° and 98° tomorrow and Friday, and 100° on Saturday and Sunday. There is no rain in the forecast, but maybe one of those stray afternoon showers will finally hit and change the pattern.



Graveside services for Virginia Ruth (Ginger) Welch, 90, formerly of Roscoe, were held at 10:30am Wednesday, June 24, at Fairview Cemetery near Millsap, Texas, with Joe Howard Williamson officiating and McCoy Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. She passed away on Sunday, June 21, at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital in Sweetwater.

Ginger was born March 29, 1930, in Brownwood to the late Hubert Bates and Zula Estella (Williams) Keith.

When she lived in Roscoe, she was an active member of the First Baptist Church, taught Sunday School, and helped direct Vacation Bible School. She was a homemaker and always involved with all of her children’s endeavors and was always there for them. She loved cooking for cattle crews and was also a big fan of the National Cutting Horse Association and loved cooking and feeding family and friends at those events.

She is survived by her children; Ruth Ann Williams and husband Ronnie of Roscoe, Ken Welch and wife Dixie of Cross Plains, and Georgia Welch of Stanton; daughter-in-law, Pax Welch of Weatherford; grandchildren, Amy and Josh King, Katy and Kelly Welch, Lance Welch, Jenny and Matt LaSeur, Abby and B.J. Barnett, Dawson and Rebecca Burns, Kirby and Ward Meadows; and eleven great-grandchildren.

Ginger was preceded in death by her son, Greg Welch; granddaughter, Whitney Welch; grandson, Sterling Wilson; two brothers and two sisters.


Blog Archive