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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Plowboys Open Season at Hawley Friday

Trace Guelker carries the ball at the Forsan scrimmage Thursday.
Believe it or not, it appears that something we’ve wondered about for weeks will actually come to pass Friday evening as the Plowboys’ 2020 football season gets underway at Hawley. Of course, the excitement is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that the Plowboys are opening against one of the best 2A-I teams in the Big Country and state of Texas—Hawley.  

The Bearcats enter the game ranked seventh in the state in 2A-I, the class larger than Roscoe. They are the overwhelming favorites to win a tough district that includes Anson, Stamford, Forsan, Haskell, and Colorado City. Last year they were 4-0 in district and 13-1 on the year, their only loss coming to Post 52-42 in the state quarterfinals.

This year, they return 7 starters on defense and 6 on offense. QB Xavier Rodela, who had 18 passing and 18 rushing TDs last year, is back, and 275-pound tackle Kolter Willeford is an Abilene Reporter-News pre-season All-Big Country Super Team selection.

The contest will definitely be a challenge for the Plowboys, who are led by QB Antonio Aguayo on offense and LB Kolten Hope on defense.

Kickoff is at 7:30pm.

The JV Plowboys start their season at Plowboy Field tomorrow at 5:00 against the Hawley JV.


The 2020 Plowboys are featured in a video/article posted on the Big Country Homepage yesterday. Entitled "Roscoe Looks to Rebound with Physicality," the video was created by Dusty Baker and lasts one minute. It is available by clicking here.



Because of the UIL requirements concerning social distancing, sales for seats at Friday evening’s game at Hawley will be restricted. Limits for visitors, however, are more generous than those for home fans, so Roscoe fans attending the game shouldn’t have any problems as long as they don’t arrive late—and maybe not even then.

The visitors’ side is reserved for Roscoe fans up to 15 minutes before game time. But after that time, tickets will be sold to anyone, including Hawley fans, on a first-come first-served basis until both sides are full. So, if the Hawley stands are full because of the social distancing, they can also sit on the visitors’ side. Or at least, that’s the way I read the policy.  

Even then, there may not be any problems, depending on the number of fans who show up. But to be on the safe side, make sure to get to the game a little early. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.

If you’re going to the game, you should read the policy yourself, just in case I’m not reading it correctly. It is available by clicking here.



The Roscoe Athletic Booster Club is having its annual membership drive. Dues are $30 for family and $100 for businesses. 

Please contact Geory Martin at 325-242-0130 or Kirstin Smith at 806-441-0295. We appreciate your support!



The Roscoe Police Department has had a busy week with several incidents and calls for assistance.

On Saturday evening they answered a call of a burglary in progress in which the suspect also took the homeowner’s vehicle. A short time later they took a white female into custody and charged her with the crimes.

At the Lucky Pot Game Room at the 235 Travel Stop on I-20, an ex-female employee currently at large is suspected of the theft of $12,000. Roscoe Police are preparing a warrant for her arrest.

On Thursday, an elderly man was arrested for criminal trespass after acting strangely, going to houses, knocking on doors, and refusing to leave.

Roscoe Police also handled a three-car crash during the morning traffic rush at the Early Childhood Center on Main Street.

They also assisted the FBI in gathering information about a former Roscoe resident currently charged in a kidnapping case.



Although the coronavirus is still with us and will be disrupting our lives in many ways for some time to come, the good news so far is that the local schools are now open and operating with in-person classes. Football season begins on schedule Friday night, and we all have our fingers crossed that other signs of normalcy can slowly but surely begin moving back into our lives.

In Texas, the Covid-19 numbers are trending in the right direction. The death rate is slowing as 1,326 Texans died of Covid-19 this past week compared to 1,540 the week before, and there were also fewer hospitalizations, 4,907 this week compared to 6,210 a week ago.  

The news is similar in the Big Country, where the rate of new cases continues to be about the same along with the number of hospitalizations. Taylor County has 353 active cases (369 last week), and Abilene currently has 22 Covid-19 hospitalizations (19 last week), 11 from in county and 11 from out of county. There have been 29 total Covid-19 deaths.

Nolan County currently has 11 active cases (down from 19 last week) out of 147 positives on the year. 134 people have recovered and 2 died. Mitchell County has 14 active cases (13 last week) out of 73 on the year with 58 recovered and 1 death. Fisher County has 21 active cases (14 last week) out of 52 on the year with 30 recovered and 1 death. Scurry County has 47 active cases (78 last week) out of 280 on the year with 231 recovered and 2 deaths.

The new prison figures drastically improve active area Covid-19 numbers. Last week they were reporting almost no recoveries. This week they’re reporting almost all recoveries. Figures released by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice include the following area facilities:

  •  The Daniel Unit in Scurry County reports 8 active staff cases with 30 recovered and 4 active inmate cases with 252 recovered.
  •  The Wallace Unit in Mitchell County reports 8 active staff cases with 13 recovered and 4 active inmate cases with 447 recovered.
  • The Middleton Unit in Taylor County reports 4 active staff cases with 17 recovered and 3 active inmate cases with 310 recovered.
  •  The Robertson Unit also in Taylor County reports 9 active staff cases with 36 recovered and 5 active inmate cases with 198 recovered. 

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Erath, 633 (603); Jones, 604 (603); Scurry, 532 (507); Brown, 447 (419); Howard, 258 (217); Comanche, 206 (182); Runnels, 183 (168); Nolan, 147 (141); Stephens, 114 (130); Eastland, 106 (98); Mitchell, 73 (70); Knox, 64 (62); Callahan, 57 (56); Haskell, 51 (53); Fisher, 52 (36); Coke, 48 (43); Coleman, 45 (37), Shackelford, 21 (20); Stonewall, 8 (7); Kent, 7 (4); Throckmorton, 4 (4).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 6,918 (6,542); Midland, 3,094 (2,948); Ector (Odessa), 2,703 (2,561); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,975 (1,882); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1.227 (1,149).

Texas now has had 586,730 cases (550,232 a week ago), 108,604 of them active (124,079 a week ago), and 11,576 deaths (10,250 a week ago).



Clouds on Monday.
Every year we go through what are known as the dog days of August, which is an extended period of time in which every day is pretty much the same—hot, sunny, with light southerly winds and little else, including rain. These last couple of weeks are good examples.

At least this week was a little cooler. For the first time since July, we had a week without any day reaching 100°F. The high for the past seven days came on Friday when the temperature peaked at 97°. The lowest maximum came on Thursday at 91°, but with the heat we’d been experiencing previously, 91° felt downright pleasant. Once again, there was no rain. It seems this summer is destined to remain our driest since 2011.

The forecast for the rest of this week and the beginning of next is for a return to the heat that has marked this summer. Today’s high is forecast to be 96° with a light east wind and mostly sunny skies. Tomorrow will reach 97°, and Friday will be a blazer with a high of 104°.  Saturday’s high is set at 100°, Sunday’s 99°, and Monday’s 101°. The days will be sunny or mostly sunny with light winds from the south and morning lows in the mid to upper 70s.

Once again, there is little chance of rain. As mentioned, these are the dog days of August.



Funeral services for Ernest Schattel, 97, of Roscoe were at 2:00pm, Monday, August 24, at McCoy Chapel of Memories with Reverend Ben Reid officiating. Family graveside services followed at Lone Wolf Cemetery directed by McCoy Funeral Home. He passed away Saturday, August 22, at Lyndale Memory Care in Abilene.

Ernest was born February 17, 1923, at Hermleigh to the late Emil and Louise Schattel. He graduated from Pyron High School in 1941, then attended North Texas Agriculture College for a year, then served in the United States Army Air Corp as a Staff Sergeant. When he returned, he finished and graduated from North Texas Agriculture College and then attended the University of Texas Arlington. He married Janet Moore August 23, 1946, at Fort Worth. Ernest lived in the Roscoe area all of his life and was a farmer. He was a past member of B.P.O Elks Lodge and the VFW and past Director of the Inadale Co-op Gin. His hobbies include flying, boating, fishing and traveling. He was an avid Roscoe Plowboys and Plowgirls fan.

Ernest is survived by his wife of 74 years, Janet of Roscoe, and many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents, brothers; Leo Schattel, Walter Schattel, Eugene Schattel and John Schattel, sisters; Della Light and Evelyn Clifton, brothers-in-law; Buford Light and Billy Joe Clifton, sisters-in-law; Annabell Schattel, Louise Schattel and Fern Schattel, nieces; Lisa Bowman and Dana Boggs,nephews; Emil Schattel and Paul William Schattel.

Memorials may be made to the Lone Wolf Cemetery Association, West Texas Rehab Center or to one’s favorite charity.


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Megan Kirkland Killed at Abilene Party

Megan Kirkland

Former Roscoe resident, student, and Plowgirl Megan Kirkland, 19, has been identified as the girl shot and killed at a big Saturday night party on Fulwiler Road just northwest of Abilene. She was an unfortunate victim as the shots fired were apparently not intended for her.  

In a KTXS-TV news interview, a witness said a fight at the late-night party led to the shooting that killed her. It started after a fight broke out, and someone fired warning shots in the air hoping to stop the fight.

“A guy shot up in the air three times,” the witness said. Then, according to KTXS, he saw another male pull out a gun and shoot twice, causing people to start to panic before the third shot was fired and hit Megan. He said there were about 70 people at the party. She was found at about 3am early Sunday morning by officers from the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.

Megan was a student at Roscoe before moving with her family to Abilene, where she graduated from Wylie High. She had recently enrolled at Cisco College. She was the daughter of Lee and Tessa Kirkland.

The incident is under investigation by the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office with the Tye and Merkel Police Department assisting.

The KTXS-TV news release can be accessed here.



The 2020 Plowboys will get their first taste of competition tomorrow at Plowboy Field when they take on the Forsan Buffalos in a scrimmage. 

The JV teams will kick things off at 5:00pm with the Varsity squads starting at 6:00.

Forsan is a 2A Division 1 school in the same district this year as Hawley, Stamford, Anson, Colorado City, and Haskell. Texas Football predicts them to finish fourth.

They were only 3-7 last year. However, they return 9 starters on both offense and defense, so they will be improved and ready to give the Plowboys some tough competition. They are led by QB Major Stockton and RB Chris Mendez.

The Plowboys are led by QB Antonio Aguayo on offense and LB Kolten Hope on defense.



Plowboy linebacker and all-purpose utility man Kolten Hope has been featured in an article on Big Country Preps, an online publication covering football in the Big Country.

The article appeared on August 14, and part of it may be accessed here.

Here’s hoping Kolten lives up to the hype and then some!



It’s not specifically Roscoe news, but an interesting article on a big solar farm in southeast Nolan County is in the current issue of Texas Observer magazine. It is available here.



On a national scale, Covid-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart attacks and cancer, and Americans are 8 times as likely to die from Covid-19 as Europeans. Over 171,000 Americans have now died from the disease.

In Texas, the situation also remains serious, as the state has averaged over 200 Covid-19 deaths a day for almost three weeks. A total of 10,250 Texans have now died of Covid-19, including 1,540 in the past week. However, hospitalizations continue to fall as there are 6,210 statewide compared to 7,216 a week ago.

The news is better in the Big Country, where the rate of new cases continues to decrease, as do the numbers of hospitalizations. Taylor County has 369 active cases (501 last week), and Abilene currently has 19 Covid-19 hospitalizations (21 last week). There have been 23 total Covid-19 deaths. The numbers are more serious in San Angelo, where Tom Green County has 776 active cases, 47 hospitalizations, and 45 deaths (with 11 of those from other counties).

Nolan County currently has 19 active cases (down from 22 last week) out of 142 positives on the year. 121 of those have recovered and 2 died. Mitchell County has 13 active cases (24 last week) out of 69 on the year with 57 recovered and 1 death, plus 447 active inmate and 14 employee cases in Wallace Unit. Fisher County has 14 active cases (8 last week) out of 42 on the year with 27 recovered and 1 death. However, Scurry County still has 78 active cases (63 last week) out of 134 on the year with 55 recovered and 1 death. The prison system there still has 253 active cases with 0 recoveries.

These are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Jones, 603 (600); Erath, 603 (555); Scurry, 507 (488); Brown, 419 (398); Howard, 217 (177); Comanche, 182 (150);
Runnels, 168 (129); Nolan, 141 (136); Stephens, 130 (49); Eastland, 98 (79); Mitchell, 70 (68); Knox, 62 (60); Callahan, 56 (47); Haskell, 53 (43); Coke, 43 (43); Coleman, 37 (24), Fisher, 36 (29); Shackelford, 20 (19); Stonewall, 7 (5); Throckmorton, 4 (4); Kent, 4 (3).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 6,542 (6,222); Midland, 2,948 (2,676); Ector (Odessa), 2,561 (2,439); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,882 (1,760); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1.149 (932).

Texas now has had 550,232 cases (500,620 a week ago), 124,079 of them active (133,598 a week ago), and 10,250 deaths (8,710 a week ago).



Clouds on Sunday afternoon.
It’s been another week of torrid heat--up until Sunday night, that is, when some clouds moved in with thunder and lightning, cooling winds, and a brief rain. The rain didn’t last long enough to measure, but the drop in temperature was a welcome change from the relentless heat the area had been enduring for the previous two weeks.

The thirteen-day period from August 4 through August 16 had only two days that didn’t reach the century mark, i.e., August 8 and 9, and those two days had highs of 98° and 99° respectively. Every day from August 10 through August 16 had highs of at least 100° with the hottest being August 12 through August 15, when the highs were 104°, 104°, 108°, and 105°. By contrast, Monday and yesterday were much milder at 92° and 94°.

The forecast for the coming week is for continued heat, just not quite as hot as it's been. Today’s high is projected to be 96°, tomorrow’s 95°, Friday’s 98°, Saturday’s 99°, and Sunday’s 98°. Skies will be partly cloudy until Saturday, after which they’ll be clear and sunny with light breezes from the south or southeast. Morning lows will be in the low to mid-seventies.

Once again, there is no rain in the forecast as the drouth continues.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Roscoe School Enrollment Sees Little Change

Despite all the changes the coronavirus has brought to education this year, the enrollment numbers at RCISD aren’t one of them. They are almost identical to the numbers of the previous two years with a slight drop of 6 overall from 2019. However, the 2020 figures do include a few enrolled students who have opted to go completely online.

Here are yesterday’s numbers compared to those of previous years:

                           Grades             2017        2018        2019        2020
Elementary      preK-5               358          348          359          352*
Junior High      6-8                     121           148          149           154
High School     9-12                    133           144          145           141
       Totals        preK-12              611            641         653           647

* This figure includes the pre-K students who have enrolled but not yet attended their first class because 3-year-olds begin next Monday, August 17.



Cheer Pals perform at a previous Plowboy Preview.
The annual Plowboy Preview hamburger fundraiser for the Junior High cheerleaders will be held outside behind the east football stands starting at 6:00pm tomorrow, August 13. Burger, chips, and drink will be $7.00.

At 7:15pm, the Cheer Pals will perform, followed at 7:30 by introductions to this year’s football players, coaches, cheerleaders, cross-country team, and band.



City Manager Cody Thompson addresses the Council.

At its monthly meeting in City Hall yesterday evening, the Roscoe City Council received updates from the City Manager and Chief of Police, heard and acted on requests from the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department, and conducted other business.

City Manager Cody Thompson reported that City workers had to repair the pump on the pivot at the City sewer plant. While the pivot pump was being repaired, they rented a six-inch pump from Sunbelt Rental for use on the lagoons.

The City Swimming Pool, which is now shut down for the summer, has issues that will have to be addressed this fall, among them some leaks in the wall of the pool in the basement.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has employed an appraiser for property along the I-20 proposed re-alignment route as a preliminary step in acquiring land for future changes.

The City and County have completed their summer sealcoating program. Nolan County Commissioner Terry Willman says the City spent about $49,000 on the program this year.

The 2021 budget for the City will basically be the same as 2020 with the amount of revenue being the same but with the tax rate slightly smaller.

Roscoe Chief of Police Felix Pantoja then gave the Police Report for July, saying that the Department handled 94 total calls and issued 10 warnings. They made one arrest for family violence, and the Nolan County Sheriff’s Department made one for shots fired at the RV Park in north Roscoe. There was also a vehicle pursuit in town that resulted in an arrest by the Texas Highway Patrol, as well as one vehicle crash, and the impounding of two dogs.

Fire Chief Virgil Pruitt then informed the Council of current problems of the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department. He first requested that the Department receive regular updates on the balance of the Fire Department fund from donations. Then, after explaining that despite making as many cost-cutting measures as possible, the Department still lacks the funding needed to maintain essential operations, citing the many costs accrued in fighting fires. To make up the shortfall in funding, he proposed attaching a small fee to the monthly City service bill to residents as is currently done in Loraine.

The Council then approved a motion directing the City Manager to write a City Ordinance for next month’s meeting that creates a Fire Department maintenance fee of $2 to be attached to the City’s monthly service bill sent to residents. The ordinance will then have to be discussed and approved by the Council before being enacted.

Assistant Fire Chief Sam Mardis explained that necessary updates to communications equipment already obtained by the Fire Department still needs to be paid for. City Manager Cody Thompson said the expense might be defrayed by the City’s A Board and that he will bring the issue up with its members.

The Council then passed a resolution for adopting the Hazard Mitigation Action Plan, a measure by the West Texas Central Council of Governments that will provide local relief in the event of flooding or other natural or man-made disasters.  

The Council then discussed revising an ordinance and application covering a license to operate a pool hall or establishment for video games and coin-operated video machines. After some discussion, the Council tabled the issue to next month’s meeting so that more information can be obtained before making a decision.

Looking at the before and after images above, it may be hard to believe that driver Nick Pantoja finished second in the demolition derby at Abilene Speedway this past weekend, but he did.


Dealing with the coronavirus in Roscoe enters a new phase this week as school started back on Monday.  So, the new concern is the possible spread of the virus at school, causing subsequent spreading to members of the students’ families at home. The school is doing what it can to prevent this from happening, but the danger remains.

On a state level, the number of hospitalizations in Texas continues to drop with 7,304, which is 1,515 less than a week ago. Who knows? Maybe the hot weather helps. However, the death rate is still high. It is now at 8,490, which is 1,474 more than last week. Houston has started ticketing people who violate the state’s mandatory mask order, and some disturbing news comes from Corpus Christi, as Nueces County reports that 167 infants have tested positive for Covid-19 with one six-month-old dying.

The Big Country rate of new cases is decreasing, as are the numbers of hospitalizations. Taylor County has 501 active cases (749 last week) after changing their method of counting active cases to conform with state guidelines. Abilene currently has 21 Covid-19 hospitalizations (36 last week) with 14 (20 last week) of those patients from outside Taylor County. There have been 23 total Covid-19 deaths.

Nolan County currently has 22 active cases (down from 28 last week) out of 136 positives on the year. 112 of those have recovered and 2 died. Mitchell County has 24 active cases (22 last week) out of 69 on the year with 35 recovered and 1 death, plus 447 active inmate and 14 employee cases in Wallace Unit. Fisher County has 8 active cases (6 last week) out of 29 on the year with 19 recovered and 1 death. However, Scurry County still has 63 active cases (92 last week) out of 214 on the year with 121 recovered and 1 death. The prison system there still has 248 active cases with 4 recoveries.

These are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Jones, 600 (628); Erath, 555 (476); Scurry, 488 (454); Brown, 398 (356); Howard, 177 (161); Comanche, 150 (118); Nolan 136 (131); Runnels, 129 (112); Eastland, 79 (83); Mitchell 68 (56); Knox, 60 (48); Stephens, 49 (30); Callahan, 47 (43); Haskell, 43 (39); Coke, 42 (40); Fisher, 29 (26); Coleman, 24 (13), Shackelford, 19 (17); Stonewall, 5 (4); Throckmorton, 4 (4); Kent, 3 (2).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 6,222 (5,652); Midland, 2,676 (2,362); Ector (Odessa), 2,439 (2,158); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,760 (1,637); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1.039 (932).

Texas now has had 500,620 cases (451,181 a week ago), 133,598 of them active (137,658 a week ago), and 8,710 deaths (7,261 a week ago).



Monday sunrise. (Photo by Vanya Duncan)
The weather has been downright monotonous this past week. Days have been hot and sunny with few clouds, no rain, and southerly breezes. Afternoon highs have been around 100°F and early-morning lows around 75° with six of the last eight days reaching triple digits. Highs varied between 101° last Wednesday and yesterday and 98° Saturday, while lows were either 75° or 76° all week. The area remains in dire need of rain as the dry spell continues unbroken.

The forecast for the next five days is for increased heat. Today’s high is predicted to be 104°, tomorrow’s 105°, and Friday’s 107°, before Saturday and Sunday cool down to highs of only 100°.  The only significant change will be the clouds that return on Saturday and then hang around for a few days. Along with the clouds will come a 20% chance of precipitation.

Maybe one of those days will bring a shower.



Funeral services for William Alfred “Fred” Blankenship, Jr., 70, of Weatherford were held yesterday at 10:00am at Galbreath-Pickard Funeral Chapel in Weatherford. He passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday morning, August 5.

Fred was born on February 16, 1950, in Roscoe to William “Dub” Alfred, Sr., and Wanda Blankenship. He was a graduate of Roscoe High School. He married Patricia “Patti” Hunter on June 1, 1969, and together they had 6 children. Fred will be remembered for being a hard worker. He was employed at Southern Marketing Affiliates and was very successful throughout his entire career. “He was loved by dealers and farmers across the state.” Fred loved the Lord Jesus and was passionate about His Holy Word. He was a member of The Gathering Church south of Weatherford and additionally was co-pastor of a House Church in his home. He enjoyed gardening, bird watching, and eating catfish. Fred will be remembered for his sense of humor and was always willing to serve others. Most of all, he will be remembered for being a loving and devoted husband, father, and papa to his family.

Fred is survived by his wife, Patricia “Patti”; children, William Michael (Melina) Blankenship, Gregory Edward (Bridgett) Blankenship, Philip Aaron (Ashley) Blankenship, and Andrew Joshua (Kristie) Blankenship; by 9 grandchildren, Benjamin, Jeffrey, Noah, Lucy, Adria, Logan, Hunter, Gavin, and Cole; and by his sister, Shirley Ann Blankenship.

In addition to his parents, Fred was preceded in death by his children, Adria and Jonathan Blankenship.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Roscoe Students Return to School Monday

Roscoe Collegiate
On Monday, summer for kids will be officially over as the new school year begins. But this year will be like no other. Along with their new pens and notebooks, students over ten will also be bringing masks, socially distancing from others on buses and elsewhere, taking extra precautions with sanitizers and handwashing, and be subject to screening.

Since Roscoe has been remarkably free from Covid-19 problems thus far, there’s a good chance that classes may resume with a minimum of problems. But it will take care and attention on the part of everyone for it to stay that way for long. Schools that started last week have already shown how just a few positive cases can shut down entire classes and even schools. So, vigilance will be required of everyone, including parents, to keep our students in the classrooms instead of online at home.

Here’s hoping for the best! A return to the normal routine will be appreciated by everyone involved!



Hannah Ward brings you the latest news from RCISD in this Edu-Cast news broadcast. It was filmed by Riley Sheridan. Time of broadcast is 3:14.



These are Roscoe’s new teachers for the 2020-2021 school year:

Early Childhood Center
          Iris Gonzalez
          Victoria Jimenez
          Lusia Rico

Elementary School
          Vernon Carey - Music
          Anabelle Vasquez – 1st-3rd Montessori

High School
          Dennis Campbell - Welding
          Jana DeLoach – Secondary English
          Zane Graves – JH Avid
          Lacy Gregory – Secondary ELA
          Javier Leanos – Welding
          Benjamin Malone -Government, WTC Liaison
          Jamie Maloney - Business
          Melissa Perryman – Credit Recovery



Here are the directions for morning student dropoffs for the new school year at RCISD:



Plowboys at the first workout on Monday.
Since Monday, Coach Jake Freeman and his staff have been preparing this year’s Plowboys for the upcoming season. They’ve got a long way to go. Many of the players haven’t done much physical work since the coronavirus shut down regular school back in March. However, other schools are dealing with the same problem, so play should even out, even if it is a little rough for a while.

In any case, it’s good to see the Plowboys back out on the field. Coach Freeman has about forty players trying out who will make up this year’s varsity and junior varsity squads. His assistant coaches this year are Ryan Dillon, Zane Graves, Kevin Lavalais, Joe Rackley, and Shawn Speck.

We wish them all a successful football season.



In the state, the good news is that the rate of new Covid-19 cases is slowing  in some areas and declining in others. The number of positives that rose dramatically in June began to decline in the last week of July. Many doctors are attributing this recent drop to Governor Abbott’s executive order of July 2 to wear masks in public.

Unfortunately, the rate of deaths is going in the opposite direction. As the Texas Tribune points out, it took 53 days to get from the first Covid-19 death to 1,000, 39 days to get to 2,000, 24 to get to 3,000, 10  to get to 4,000, and only 6 to get to 5,000. The total as of yesterday was 7,261 (5,877 a week ago) and still climbing, so Texas is still nowhere close to being out of the woods.

In determining whether schools should stay open, Governor Abbott said yesterday that the local school boards are the ones to make that decision.

The Big Country rate of increase in new cases seems to be leveling off with a decrease in the numbers of hospitalizations. Taylor County has 749 active cases (454 last week) after changing their method of counting active cases to conform with state guidelines. They currently have 36 Covid-19 hospitalizations (45 last week) in Abilene facilities with 20 (24 last week) of those patients from outside Taylor County. There have been 19 total Covid-19 deaths.

Nolan County currently has 28 active cases (down from 49 last week) out of 132 positives on the year. 102 of those have recovered and 2 died. Mitchell County has 22 active cases (14 last week) out of 58 on the year with 35 recovered and 1 death. Fisher County has 6 active cases out of 26 on the year with 19 recovered and 1 death. However, Scurry County has 92 active cases (78 last week) out of 214 on the year with 121 recovered and 1 death. The prison system there still has 250 active cases with 0 recoveries.

These are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Jones, 628 (621); Erath, 476 (389); Scurry, 454 (396); Brown, 356 (331); Howard, 161 (130); Nolan 131 (127); Comanche, 118 (83); Runnels, 112 (90); Eastland, 83 (41); Mitchell 56 (42); Knox, 48 (44); Callahan, 43 (38); Coke, 40 (35); Haskell, 39 (30); Stephens, 30 (28); Fisher, 26 (23); Shackelford, 17 (17); Coleman, 13 (10), Stonewall, 4 (4); Throckmorton, 4 (2); Kent, 2 (2).

Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with a week ago in parentheses): Lubbock, 5,652 (5,150); Midland, 2,362 (1,,364); Ector (Odessa), 2,362 (2,158); Tom Green (San Angelo), 1,637 (1,493); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 932 (824).

Texas now has 451,181 cases (394,265 a week ago), 137,658 of them active (143,939 a week ago), and 7,261 deaths (5,877 a week ago).



In the early 1950s, summers were hot and dry just as this one is. Roscoe had no swimming pool at the time, but for the town’s boys, most of whom were in the Boys Club, there was welcome relief with the frequent afternoon trips to Turner May’s tank. It was on Mr. May’s ranch about five miles east of Roscoe off the old highway to Sweetwater, a mile or so north of the old city dump.

Boys Club leader George Parks would take as many boys as could pile into the Moose Wagon, usually somewhere between eight and twelve. You had to go over a cattle guard and through a ranch gate on a dirt road to get to it. The tank was a stock pond created by a large earthen dam on a creek, and it was large as stock tanks go. At its deepest it was nine or ten feet deep, but about half of it was shallow enough to stand up in, and it was in the shallow part that older boys taught younger boys how to swim.

Most swimming trips began with swimming instruction, with good swimmers teaching beginners how to swim overhand, sidestroke, and breaststroke. A boy had to demonstrate his ability to do all three strokes before being allowed to try to swim a mile. Swimming a mile was a firm and long-standing requirement in the Boys Club for anyone who wanted to swim in deep water on any Boys Club outing, whether at Turner May’s tank or anywhere else. Near the east end of the tank there was a small island with a telephone pole on it. Boys had to swim from the base of the diving board on the west side of the tank out to the island and then back eight times without stopping to get a full mile. Good swimmers took turns swimming beside the boy swimming his mile--both to keep him honest in his counting and to be there in case anything went wrong.

The whole process took over an hour of non-stop swimming, so it was a considerable feat for the 9-, 10-, and 11-year-old boys who did it. Once it had been done, though, the boy could dive or swim in deep water forever after, so it was a necessary rite of passage.

Swimming instruction would last about a half hour for everyone else, and after that it was a free swim with beginners staying in the shallow part while accomplished swimmers dived off a 2” x 12” diving board someone had set up on the bank beside the deep part. George also had a large raft made of plywood tied to a large tractor-wheel inner tube, and boys also played around it in the deep water.

If no outsiders were around, boys would often strip down completely to swim “in the raw.” It was a great feeling of freedom to be out in the country swimming nude in the hot summer sun. Of course, we always neglected to inform our mothers of this aspect of our swims. After a long swim there were sometimes cookouts, but more often than not, just a trip back to town, where hungry boys went home to supper.  



Sunrise on Monday.
The area got two cooling showers this past week. Neither amounted to much in terms of rainfall, both about a tenth of an inch, but both brought some welcome cool winds to counter the heat.

The shower on Thursday followed an afternoon high of 101°F, and the one on Sunday evening came after a high of 97°. Both were leading edges of cold fronts that lowered the temperatures for the following day. Friday’s high was a pleasant 88° and Monday’s was 89°. However, yesterday’s high was back to 100°.

The forecast is for more continued heat. Today’s and tomorrow's highs should be around 101°,  and Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s all 99°, followed by Monday’s 100°. Morning lows will be in the mid-seventies. After tomorrow is partly cloudy, the following ten days will all be sunny with light south winds throughout.

Unfortunately, rain is not a part of the forecast.


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