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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Happy New Year!

Christmas is over, winter has arrived outside, and tomorrow evening at midnight we’ll be saying goodbye to 2020 and celebrating the arrival of 2021 with high hopes that it will be an improvement over the departing year. But before we do, let’s take one last look at the year we and our community have just been through.


Roscoe and the Coronavirus Pandemic

In years past, this Happy New Year issue has always begun with a review of Roscoe in the previous year, and it has almost always been a pleasure to recall the events, accomplishments, and highlights of the community during that span of time.

However, this year, 2020, has been a clear break from that happy pattern ever since last March, when the country suddenly found itself facing a pandemic, the first in over a century. No one really knew how to deal with it, and the actions that were taken were always controversial, with some calling for immediate action to prevent waves of death happening like those in Spain and Italy, while others regarded those fears as overblown, saying the so-called pandemic was just a stronger form of the flu that would go away with the season.

Everybody agreed, however, that no matter how the country responded, the best personal action was to immediately stock up on toilet paper and certain other items like paper towels, hand sanitizer, batteries, vienna sausages, and beer—just like for a hurricane. And by the time the first day of school was canceled, supermarket shelves all over the country had been stripped of such items. And a couple of weeks later when they did come back, customers were often limited to just one (e.g., one package of pasta, one loaf of bread, one can of beans).

Schools were closed and switched to remote learning with students doing all their schooling online. Roscoe Collegiate held out a week or so longer than the big city schools, but in late March, it, too, made the switch, complying with the governor’s order. Teachers had to learn on the fly how to accomplish their goals with the new method of delivery, and so did the students. And parents had to deal with kids back at home all day.

Roscoe Collegiate’s progress with innovative education initiatives had to take a backseat just to coping effectively with the new situation. Even so, they were able to make useful adaptations, such as Edu-Make It’s project for creating and distributing high-quality medical masks to area hospitals when they were in short supply. And, in May for the first time ever, graduation ceremonies were held outside at Plowboy Field in order to maintain the required social distancing.

2020 graduating seniors file into Plowboy Field on May 22.
Downtown business activity either came to a halt or was curtailed by Governor Abbott’s statewide executive order closing clubs, bars, hair salons, and other non-essential businesses and restricting restaurants to take-out orders. A county judge’s order prohibited visitors in rest homes.

The pandemic orders also effectively shut down Roscoe’s well-earned reputation as a live country music venue, and the absence of the usual stream of country music stars to the Lumberyard made downtown a much less lively place. Sweetwater was lucky to get the Rattlesnake Roundup in before such events were canceled, and there were almost no more after that.


This summer, Roscoe was one of the few places in the state to buck the trend and have its usual July 4th celebration with live music and fireworks. Country recording artist Jason Boland and his band were the headline act for the free concert and street dance, and a sizeable crowd was on hand for the occasion. The Plowboy Mudbog was held at the baseball field as usual, vendors lined the downtown streets, and fireworks followed the music and street dance.


The same was true with the West Texas Wind Festival in October. The size of the crowd may have been a bit less than usual, but all the events proceeded as normal, and those who attended enjoyed the day. Nashville star Mo Pitney was the featured performer, and his traditional country sound was a crowd pleaser. The Plowboy Mudbog went off without a hitch, and the fireworks show was as popular as ever.

During the summer, Texas and a few other states like Arizona and Florida were the country’s pandemic hot spots. Covid-19 raged in certain parts of Texas—the Rio Grande Valley, the coastal area around Corpus Christi, and cities like Dallas and Houston—but it was relatively mild in the Big Country, and there were few masks in public places. There were reports of coronavirus cases in Roscoe as early as March, and a couple more in July, but none were official or confirmed, partly because of the shortage of tests.

By the time August rolled around, everyone was growing weary of the coronavirus restrictions, especially younger people, whose personal danger from the virus is much less than for the older folks. We elderly people with health problems are naturally more willing to comply with precautionary orders, as our personal desires for adventure and romance are less important than taking the risk of catching a disease that may well kill us.  

The Plowboys played Stamford at Plowboy Field.
But even we were happy to see football return in the fall because it represented a return to normal life that had been missing since school sports had ended in the spring. No one knew if a regular season would be possible, and, as it turned out, several games did have to be canceled, but enough were played that district champs were determined and playoffs held.

With mandated precautions in place, regular fall classes also resumed and had to be called off at Roscoe Collegiate only once for a few days shortly before Thanksgiving.  

In early fall, the coronavirus numbers for new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths were down from the July peaks, and many hoped that the worst was over, but since then, the numbers have been rising again, and they are now at levels as high or higher than ever.

Covid-19 has recently become 2020’s leading cause of death in the United States, according to a December 17 article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association),* and there have now been over 320,000 Covid-19 reported deaths in the U. S. since March.  

* Covid-19 had been the third-leading cause in October for people ages 45 to 84 and the leading cause for those over 85, but since then, deaths have tripled from an average of 826 to 2,430 per day, while heart disease and cancer cause approximately 1,700 and 1,600 deaths per day respectively.

Fortunately, a couple of promising vaccines have been developed, and the hope is that their use will be widespread by spring and effective enough that normal group activities can safely be resumed, all businesses re-opened, mask-wearing and other pandemic precautions be discontinued, and life return to normal.

So, keep your fingers crossed, and maybe by this time next year, we can all look back on the 2020 pandemic as an unfortunate temporary disruption that we managed to live through and overcome before getting on with our normal lives.

Collegiate Edu-Nation and the P-TECH Program

The RCISD Higher Education Center on Main and 3rd Streets.
Although the spring STEM Advisory meeting had to be canceled and the fall meeting carried out virtually via Zoom, CEN (Collegiate Edu-Nation), the endeavor to spread Roscoe Collegiate’s P-20 school system to rural schools nationwide, has moved forward and remains a bright spot on the education front.

Along with its partnerships with Western Texas, West Texas A&M, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech and other initiatives, the Edu-Nation movement has continued to develop and grow. Kim Alexander resigned as RCISD Superintendent so that he could devote full-time to running Collegiate Edu-Nation, and Andy Wilson has taken over his former position as Provost of RCISD.

As CEO of CEN, Dr. Alexander now focuses on spreading features of the school’s innovations to rural education nationwide. He, Marsha Alexander and the CEN Team are working full time with five member schools: Roscoe, Hamlin, Throckmorton, Floydada, and Cumby along with Van ISD in West Virginia and with Sunray and Lytle on deck for a total of eight school districts, 20 campuses, and approximately 5,000 students.

All these districts will eventually add the P-TECH program once their graduates are earning associate degrees like Roscoe’s do now, starting with Hamlin and Throckmorton in Summer 2021.

Amanda Sanchez and WTAMU President Walter Wendler.
One visible success of the P-TECH program in Roscoe this year was the conferring of a bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M University to Amanda Sanchez in September. Still only 19 years old and just two years away from receiving her high school diploma, she was the first P-TECH program student to earn her degree while never leaving Roscoe and without accumulating any student debt. West Texas A&M President Walter Wendler and several other WTAMU administrators came down from Canyon to perform the ceremony and celebrate the event.

Amanda was just the first P-TECH student here to complete her degree. Several others, all RCHS grads, are currently enrolled in the program and working to earn their bachelor’s degrees here.

The Cotton Crop and the Weather

The Central Rolling Plains Coop cotton gin.
The weather this year was in some ways pretty much like the rest of the year; i.e., it began on a positive note before going south. In February and March, there was plenty of rainfall for farming and ranching needs with about 6½ inches of precipitation when the average is only about two. But then April, May, and June, which normally total around seven inches, got only a little over two, and none of that when it was needed for planting.

Farmers went ahead and dry planted their cotton, but most of it never came up, and in places where it did, it was so late that when that early ice storm hit in October, the bolls had not matured enough to make, and the plants had to be plowed up. As a result, most of this year’s harvest came from irrigated fields as the dryland crop was either poor or non-existent.  

The Central Rolling Plains Co-op finished ginning this fall’s crop last Monday, December 21, the first time it had finished before Christmas in many years. The final total this year was just 24,687 bales, a number less than half the average, a result that was not unlike just about everything else about 2020.

Other features of the weather for 2020 gleaned from Kenny Landfried’s official records for Roscoe include the following facts: the official amount of precipitation for the year was 18.01 inches, about 4 inches below the average. The hottest day of the year was July 15, when the temperature reached a blistering 110.4°F, the hottest day for at least the last ten years and probably longer. In all, 2020 had a total of 37 days in which the high temperature reached 100° or more (6 days in May, 2 in June, 13 in July, 15 in August, and 1 in September). That was the highest number since 2011, which had a record 81 days.

The coldest day was February 6 with a low of 12°. The last spring freeze was the 31° recording on the morning of April 13. It was the only day in April with a reading that low, and the entire month of March had no readings lower than 35°. Similarly, the first freeze in the fall came in October with a four-day stretch starting on October 26 that had readings below 32°--including October 27 in which the temperature dropped to 24° and October 28, when the high for the day was only 32°. This icy stretch was devastating for late crops including cotton and sunflowers as it came with .4” of icy precipitation. Then, the entire month of November had no readings below freezing until the very last day.  



I didn’t learn about this previously unscheduled game until after last week’s Hard Times was posted, but on the Monday before Christmas, the Plowgirls picked up a game with Highland at Highland and won 55-50 in a contest decided in overtime.

Once again, the Plowgirls started slow but then won with a strong second half, just as they did in the previous game with Miles. Highland led at halftime 31-13.

Jacey Rodriquez led the Plowgirls in scoring with 18, followed by Shauna McCambridge with 14 and Kaidy Ornelas with 12. Carson Greenwood made 8 and Cameron Greenwood 3. McCambridge led in rebounds with 20, followed by Rodriquez with 8, Cr. Greenwood 6, Ornelas 2, Cm. Greenwood 2, and Kirsten Welch 1. McCambridge also had 8 shot blocks.

Scoring by quarters:
                              1         2          3          4         OT      T
Plowgirls             4         9         17        14        11       55
Highland            11       20         6          7         6        50

Yesterday evening, the Plowgirls beat Hermleigh at the Special Events Center 34-23

Jacey Rodriquez once again led the Plowgirls in scoring with 10 points. Carson Greenwood had 8, Cameron Greenwood 6, Kaidy Ornelas 6, and Shauna McCambridge 4. McCambridge had the most rebounds with 12, Rodriquez 6, Cm. Greenwood 2, Ornelas 1, and Cr. Greenwood 1.

Scoring by quarters:
                              1         2         3         4           T
Plowgirls            6        14         6         8         34
Hermleigh         4          8         2         9         23

The Plowgirls’ next game will be on Saturday afternoon at Christoval following the JV game, which starts at 1:00pm.



The Hermleigh Cardinals defeated the Plowboys at the Special Events Center yesterday 46-19.

Antonio Aguayo led the Plowboys in scoring with 9 points. Zackary Jordan had 4, Richie Solis 2, Parker Gleaton 2, and Jax Watts 2.

Scoring by quarters:
                            1          2         3         4         T
Hermleigh       11        13        13        9         46
Plowboys          4          8          3        4         19

The Plowboys’ next game is with Christoval in Christoval on Saturday afternoon.



Cases and deaths remain near record levels in the US, but the explosive growth is leveling off, and many states are improving as hospital staffs begin receiving vaccinations. 

California is the currently the state hardest hit with more than 300,000 new cases last week. Other states where conditions are worsening are Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. Texas is number 26 on numbers of cases per capita.

Texas reported a record number of hospitalizations for Covid-19 on Monday with 11,351 patients, which breaks the old record of 10,893, set on July 22. Counties with the highest infection rates per capita are Lubbock, Collin, Tarrant, Bexar, Denton, Dallas, and El Paso.

In the Big Country, the situation continues to worsen as well. Abilene also set a record for hospitalizations yesterday with 134 Covid-19 patients, 36 more than a week ago. The region’s ICU beds are still full, and Abilene hospitals have now had 198 total Covid-19 deaths with almost half of those (94) coming since Thanksgiving. 88 hospital staff are in quarantine, which is 17 more than last week’s 71. However, the number of active cases, has dropped to 2,141, 226 fewer than the 2,367 of last week.

Also, the Big Country trauma service area has had another week in which over 15% of hospital beds are filled by Covid-19 patients—19.21% yesterday—which means that bars will remain closed for at least another week and other businesses limited to 50% capacity. Our trauma service area is not unusual in this regard as most of the state’s other ones are also currently over the 15% limit.

More locally, in our four-county area, the numbers are mixed. Nolan County now has 305 active cases, which is 34 more than last week’s 271 and 103 more than the 202 of two weeks ago. And, once again, the little chart for Nolan County in the Hard Times’ right-hand column warns of a high infection rate. On the other hand, Mitchell County now has 51 active cases, a drop from the 56 last week but still more than the 31 two weeks ago. Fisher County has only 12 active cases compared to 16 last week. In Scurry County, however, the numbers are back up to 109 active cases, up from the 90 of last week.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with last Tuesday in parentheses): Howard, 2,484 (2,414); Erath, 2,018 (1,910); Scurry, 1,891 (1,812); Jones, 1,811 (1,790); Brown, 1,226 (1,206); Nolan, 1,132 (1,091); Comanche, 783 (736); Eastland, 556 (524); Runnels, 543 (527); Mitchell, 455 (450); Stephens, 363 (370); Callahan 360 (330); Coleman, 245 (230); Coke, 218 (213); Fisher, 212 (210); Haskell, 141 (136); Knox, 132 (132); Shackelford, 75 (74); Stonewall, 38 (37); Throckmorton, 32 (31);Kent, 29 (29).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with last week in parentheses): Lubbock, 41,034 (39,498); Midland, 11,195 (10,022); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 9,852 (9,551); Ector (Odessa), 6,361 (6,360); Tom Green (San Angelo), 3,921 (3,829).

Texas now has had a total of 1,490,479 cases (1,413,684 last week), 284,555 of them active (275,658 last week), and 26,521 total deaths (25,606 last week).



The Central Rolling Plains Coop Gin completed its 2020 ginning season last Monday, December 21, and the final bale was number 24,687. To show how this number compares with those of previous years, here are the totals from every year since the gin had its first season in 2007:

                                             2007            109,991
                                             2008              57,184
                                             2009             39,626
                                             2010              70,379
                                             2011                9,966
                                             2012               66,985
                                             2013               71,849
                                             2014               32,274
                                             2015               75,636
                                             2016               87,827
                                             2017              111,598
                                             2018               23,372
                                             2019               62,284
                                             2020              24,687



Blue sky over Roscoe on Sunday.

This past week had several nice, mild days when it was a pleasure to be outside. The high on Christmas Day was 65°, and several kids took advantage by playing outside with their new gifts from Santa and others. Saturday and Sunday were also very nice days with warm afternoons and light breezes. Saturday’s high was 69° and Sunday’s 71°. Monday was cooler with a high of 56° but sunny and also nice. Yesterday was warm enough with a high of 72°, but the southwest winds were high, about 25mph with gusts over 45mph, so you needed to hang on to your hat while you were outside.

Then last night around 2am, the wind shifted to the north, and when it did, it continued to blow hard, just from a different direction. The cold front has brought moisture with it, and there is a good possibility of some much-needed rainfall in the area. I heard raindrops hitting my metal roof last night, and when I woke up this morning, I found a bit over a tenth of an inch in my rain gauge. Showers, a strong north wind, and cold weather are forecast for today with a high of 39°, and, as the temperature drops, a wintry mix with possible snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, along with a continued strong north breeze.

New Year’s Day will be partly cloudy as the sky clears and the wind shifts to the southwest. Then the weekend should be cool and sunny with highs of 43° Friday, 48° Saturday, 55° Sunday, and 61° Monday and lows above freezing.



Graveside services for Ruby Lenora Robison, 98, of Roscoe were at 2:00 pm Saturday, December 26, at Hillside Memorial Gardens Cemetery at Snyder with Rev. David Draper and Cory Cash officiating. McCoy Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. She passed away at her residence in Roscoe Monday evening, December 21.

Ruby was born September 9, 1922 at Liberty Hill, Texas, to the late Frank and Lula (Morgan) Copeland. She was a homemaker, attended the Methodist Church, and was a babysitter in Big Spring for 30 years. She and Jeff lived at Lake J.B. Thomas for many years and she had been a resident of Roscoe for 20 years.

She is survived by her daughter, Jerry Bruns and husband Truett of Roscoe; grandchildren, Larry Bruns and Tammy of Stony Creek, New York, Misty Reynolds and Russell of Roscoe, Randy Franklin and Marita of Kalispell, Montana, Vicki Cash and Jerry of Wolfforth, Texas, and Melanie Gentry and Earl of Lubbock; eleven great-grandchildren and eighteen great-great grandchildren.

Ruby is preceded in death by her parents, husband Jeff, December 25, 1985, and her daughter Carolyn Yocum in 2012.



Graveside services for Frances Irene Brooks Geron, 98, formerly of Roscoe, are at 10am this morning, December 30, at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Sweetwater with following burial directed by McCoy Funeral Home. She passed away Monday, December 28, at Sterling Hills Nursing Home in Sweetwater.

She was born July 7, 1922, in Loraine to Fye Fernando and Mary Alice (Raney) Brooks. She attended Highland Schools and was a longtime member of the Broadway Baptist Church. She married Arthur Dillard (A.D.) Geron on May 21, 1938, in Loraine. He preceded her in death September 26, 1989. She was a homemaker and loved her family.

She is survived by a daughter-in-law, Linda Geron of Sweetwater; a son-in-law, Arthur Ray Boyd and wife Schylon of Sweetwater; four grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and eleven great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband; a daughter, Joyce Geron Boyd in 2003; a son, Jackie Geron in 2019, and six brothers and sisters.



Military graveside services for Ronnie Wilbert Pietzsch, 68, of Roscoe will be at 2:00pm Monday, January 4, at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene with Billy Joe Jay officiating and military honors performed by the U.S. Air Force. Interment will follow under the direction of McCoy Funeral Home. He passed away on Friday, December 25, at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital.

A visitation will be held 10:00am - 12:00 Monday, January 4, at McCoy Funeral Home.

Ronnie was born on June 11, 1952 in Sweetwater to Wilbert and Mildred Pietzsch. He was raised in Roscoe and was a graduate of 1971. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and stationed in Misawa, Japan, for two years. He worked for the United States Post Office and was a window clerk in Colorado City for many years. He retired after 42 years of service. Ronnie was a member of the American Legion Post 163 and was 4th Division Commander from 2013-2014. He also served on various state and national committees with the American Legion.

Ronnie is survived by his wife of 34 years, Wanda Pietzsch of Roscoe; son, Tommy Pietzsch of Sweetwater; daughters, Cathy Morgan and husband Chad of Sweetwater, Shelli Miller and husband Steven of San Angelo, Staci Cardwell of Sweetwater; four grandchildren, Amy Carver and husband Carey of Sweetwater, Austin Miller and wife Erin of Harrah, OK, Raeven Pietzsch of Chesapeake, VA, and Peyton Morgan of Sweetwater; three great-grandchildren, Devon Ford, Kiersten Williams, and Addy Miller; aunt, Laverne Brooks of Sweetwater; and a niece, cousins, and many other loving family and friends.

Ronnie was a proud veteran, he loved his family, and he will be dearly missed by his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Linda Tidwell.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas!

Well, we’ve finally made it to Christmas, but what a year it’s been! The coronavirus pandemic has messed with our lives since March, and it’s not done yet! Many families have altered their normal Christmas visiting plans this time around while everyone keeps their fingers crossed and hopes for the best as the holiday season begins.

But despite the pandemic, the Christmas spirit is alive and well. Numerous homes around town are decorated for the season, and in downtown Roscoe the sound of Christmas songs has been a constant reminder for the last couple of weeks. And this week, one way or the other, the annual exchange of gifts with family and loved ones will proceed, and, as always, Santa and his reindeer will make their appointed rounds.

So, here’s hoping Santa brings you exactly what you want, and the gifts you chose for others are exactly what they want! And may we all have a happy and healthy holiday season! Merry Christmas!



Jacey Rodriquez shoots a free throw.
The Plowgirls got their first district win in Miles on Friday when they overcame a slow start and rallied to win a thriller, 35-31.

They trailed by as much as 10-2 in the first quarter, held their own in the second, and then exploded in the third to take the lead. However, in the fourth, the game’s outcome was in doubt until the very end as the lead kept changing hands. 

In the last couple of minutes, the Plowgirls took the lead for good and kept it by holding on to the ball, playing good defense, and sinking free throws. In short, it was an exciting game with a successful conclusion. The Plowgirls are now 1-1 in district play.

Carson Greenwood led the Plowgirls in individual scoring with 19 points. Kaidy Ornelas had 9, Cameron Greenwood 3, Mia Lavalais 2, Shauna McCambridge 1, and Jacey Rodriquez 1. McCambridge had the most rebounds with 15, while Carson had 11, Rodriquez 6, Lavalais 4, and Kirsten Welch 1.

Scoring by quarters:
                           1          2          3         4          T
Plowgirls          5          5        15        10        35
Miles               10          2          7        12        31      

The Plowgirls’ next game is with Hermleigh here next Tuesday, December 29, in the Special Events Center at 6:30 following the JV game.



Four Plowboy basketball contests were canceled because of Covid-19. The games with Highland scheduled for last Tuesday and Robert Lee for last Friday were canceled along with the one with Cross Plains for yesterday. 

A make-up game with Rankin, originally scheduled for next Monday, December 28, in Rankin has now also been called off.

So, the Plowboys’ next game is with Hermleigh here in the Special Events Center on Tuesday, December 29, starting at around 8:00, following the varsity Plowgirls’ game.



A major item of pandemic news this week is the new mutant strain of Covid-19 spreading through Britain that is even more highly contagious than the already contagious coronavirus. Some countries are barring British travelers, and some US governors are calling the US to do the same or at least to require negative test results before allowing passengers from Britain to fly to the US.

The pandemic continues to spread, and the US has more reported deaths from Covid-19 than any other country with over 320,000 who have died with the disease. It has also surpassed 18 million confirmed cases just five days after reaching 17 million. Two of the hardest hit states currently are Tennessee and California, and hospitals are at crisis levels in both. Tennessee’s governor refers to his state as “ground zero” for the virus as it averages about 9,000 new cases every day, almost double what it was just two weeks ago. While the Midwest and Mountain West states improve, in others such as Georgia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and South Carolina Covid-19 numbers are spiking and setting records.

Although Texas is not as bad off as many of the other states, it is still seeing increases in numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. It has a daily average of 1,060 more new daily cases compared to a week ago (8,107 yesterday) and over 10,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations for the first time since July. The number of new deaths has also increased by 24 daily compared to a week ago. Counties with the highest infection rates are Lubbock, Tarrant, Denton, Dallas, Collin, Bexar, and El Paso.

In the Big Country, the situation, while still critical, has continued to lower its number of active cases. There are now 2,367 active cases of Covid-19 in Taylor County, down from the 2,481 of last week. Covid-19 hospitalizations are also down to 98 from the 102 of last week. However, the region’s ICU beds are still full, and Abilene hospitals have now had 179 total Covid-19 deaths, 62 of those so far in December.

Also, the Big Country trauma service area had two days below the 15% threshold before going back up over 15% yesterday. The executive order requires 7 consecutive days under 15% before bars can re-open and restaurants and some businesses to exceed 50% capacity, so bars in the area will remain closed for at least another week.  

Locally, the numbers are mixed. Nolan County now has 271 active cases, which is 21 more than last week’s 250 and 69 more than the 202 of two weeks ago. And, once again, the little chart for Nolan County in the Hard Times’ right-hand column warns of a high infection rate. On the other hand, Mitchell County now has 56 active cases, a drop from the 74 last week but still more than the 31 two weeks ago. Fisher County has only 16 active cases compared to 31 last week. In Scurry County, however, the numbers are back up to 90 active cases, up from the 58 of last week.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with last Tuesday in parentheses): Howard, 2,414 (2,260); Erath, 1,910 (1,754); Scurry, 1,812 (1,777); Jones, 1,790 (1,708); Brown, 1,206 (1,135); Nolan, 1,091 (987); Comanche, 736 (675); Runnels, 527 (478); Eastland, 524 (464); Mitchell, 450 (405); Stephens, 370 (364); Callahan 330 (293); Coleman, 230 (218); Coke, 213 (198); Fisher, 210 (199); Haskell, 136 (118); Knox, 132 (139); Shackelford, 74 (68); Stonewall, 37 (34); Kent, 29 (26); Throckmorton, 31 (26);
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with last week in parentheses): Lubbock, 39,498 (36,933); Midland, 10,022 (8,564); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 9,551 (8,795); Ector (Odessa), 6,360  (6,343); Tom Green (San Angelo), 3,829 (3,690).

Texas now has had a total of 1,413,684 cases (1,352,489 last week), 275,658 of them active (259,293 last week), and 25,606 total deaths (24,142 last week).



The southernmost sunrise of the year on Monday, the winter solstice.
It’s official now. Winter has begun. On Monday, we reached the winter solstice, the day of the year in which the length of the night reaches its peak, and the days begin to get longer as the sun comes up just a bit earlier every morning and goes down just a bit later every evening.

And we got an extra treat this year in the Christmas Star, actually the conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, which were so close in the sky on Monday evening that they looked like a single star. They hadn’t appeared so close since 1226, so it was an unusual event.

The weather for the most part was mild for the entire week. Some days were warmer than others and the wind varied from dead calm to pretty brisk, but in general the weather was quite nice without anything drastic, such as ice storms or sleet and high winds, which are also West Texas winter staples—and which we’ll probably get soon enough.

Highs since last Wednesday ranged from 57° on Saturday to 70° on Monday while lows were as low as Thursday’s 31° to yesterday’s 46°. Skies were generally sunny, none were completely overcast, and winds were especially light on Saturday and Sunday, something that doesn’t happen around here too often.

The forecast is for more of the same with sunny skies and highs today and tomorrow of 58° and 59° with a strong northwest wind, changing to cloudy and a little warmer on the weekend with southerly winds and highs of 64°, 68°, and 69° on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Then on Monday a series of cloudy days begins and brings a slight chance of rain, i.e., 20%-25%. Lows will generally be above freezing after tomorrow morning when the forecast low is 26°.

The flags at the Early Childhood Center hung limp on Sunday.



From the Galveston Daily News, December 30, 1894.


Roscoe, Nolan Co., Tex., Dec. 29—W. L. Latham, who had his left leg broken on the 25th instant while firing anvils, died yesterday morning. Doctors amputated his leg, but the shock was too severe for him. He leaves a wife and several children.

Editor’s Note: Anvil firing is the practice of firing an anvil into the air with gunpowder. It was once commonly performed in the southern United States as a substitute for fireworks during celebrations. To see a YouTube video of an anvil firing, click here.


From the Sweetwater Reporter, December 24, 1930.


Booze Taken From Overturned Truck Stolen From Home in Roscoe

ROSCOE, Dec. 24.—Twenty-five gallons of whiskey, salvaged here last Friday by W. A. Chapman, nightwatchman, from a 300-gallon stock which was destroyed when a bootlegger’s truck went into a ditch north of here, was stolen from Mr. Chapman’s home Monday night.

The liquor supply was the only thing disturbed by the thieves who entered Mr. Chapman’s home about 11 o’clock. Twenty-five more gallons of the same stock are being held in Sheriff Jess Lambert’s office.

Editor’s note: Twenty-five gallons? That’s 125 fifths! It sounds like someone had a verrry Merry Christmas and also a very Happy New Year with a haul like that.


by Laura Fay Wilson Duncan

Editor’s note: Some of you may have already read this last summer when my daughter Vanya posted it on her Facebook page. I post it here for those who didn’t as a reminder that 2020 isn’t the first difficult Christmas people have been through. Just a little over a century ago, the Spanish Flu raged across the land, killing more Americans than Covid-19 has so far, and my mother was a little girl growing up in Cisco at the time. I’m guessing the situation here in Roscoe that Christmas was similar.

Christmas had always been the most wonderful time of the year in our home. For weeks beforehand the delightful odors of fruit cake and cranberry jelly filled the house only to give way to pine burrs and cedar burning in the great open fireplace. The closer we came to the eventful day, the young folks approached a frenzy of preparation. Little ones strung popcorn and cranberries and made paper chains. Older ones made lovely arrangements of candles and cedar bows and hung mistletoe in the most obvious places. The house became noisier with the shouting of happy little boys, giggles of the little girls, and whispers of the adults and hurried hiding of gifts as the wrong persons always were appearing at the door.

Then the very day before Christmas our grandfather and the menfolk would drive up with a huge cedar tree, which we all were allowed to help to set up in the bay window of the parlor. Then the doors were locked, and the younger grown folks took charge. No one could go in while the tree was being dressed and the unwrapped gifts were placed on and around it. Even Mother had to knock politely and hand in boxes through the merest cracks.

While the tree was being decorated the kinfolk would begin to arrive. As each family arrived, those already there would rush out and everyone hugged and kissed everyone else, then helped to unload the boxes of gifts and the bowls and pans of foods that was to be added to the already groaning table.

As more little boys arrived, the air became dense with smoke from firecrackers. The little girls all retired to the roomy cellar to set up tiny doll Christmas trees and set little tables. The men folks always sat on the front porch, smoking or chewing tobacco as they visited, but even they were never allowed to be idle, for there was always need for more shelled pecans. Grandfather always whittled a new animal for our manger scene.

This was the usual Christmas at our house—so perhaps you can understand how doubly drab and sad was that Christmas of 1919. During that year 3 of our loved ones had been victims of the dread influenza epidemic—an old aunt, our favorite uncle, and my 20 year old brother—and if that were not enough that we lose these, our baby sister, 5 years old, hovered at death’s door as the Christmas season approached. Halfheartedly and with little cheer did the older ones sew on aprons or knit bright new mittens. The messages had arrived that kinfolks would spend the holidays at home this year. Adults had decided to let this Christmas celebration pass unheeded. We little ones did not quite understand the grief and anxiety of our elders and felt lost, neglected and alone. My brother and one cousin and I very quietly (so as not to disturb the little sister) hunted and began to arrange our manger scene on the table in the hall, but when we got it fixed, it looked as bare and forlorn as our hearts. To liven it up a bit we slipped out and found a branch of a dead peach tree. My brother made a base for it so it would stand up. Then we began making paper chains. When it was finished, it was no beauty, but to 3 kids it was a Christmas tree.

Christmas morning arrived cold and dreary, but in our hearts the sun was bright, for when the doctor came Eileen’s fever had broken and we knew that she would live. Later in the day, the little dead Christmas tree was moved into the sick room and gifts mysteriously appeared, and there was rejoicing in our home that Christmas day.



Holy Mass of Christian Burial for J. Cirilo Chavira-Acevedo, 80, long-time resident of Roscoe, was held at 10am Saturday, December 19, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with Father Nilo Nalugon officiating. Interment followed at Roscoe Cemetery directed by McCoy Funeral Home. He passed away last Wednesday, December 16, at his residence.

He was born February 9, 1940, in Mexico to Abraham and Viviana (Acevedo) Chavira. He married Tecla Hernandez July 9, 1959, in Mexico. He was a farmer and had lived in Roscoe since 1978. He was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

He is survived by his wife, Tecla Chavira-Acevedo of Roscoe; seven sons, Pedro Chavira & wife Josie of Abilene, Jacinto Chavira & wife Mary of Abilene, Tony Chavira of Abilene, Andrew Chavira of Houston, Jose Francisco Chavira and wife Eden of Denton, Martin Chavira of Lubbock, and Javier Chavira of Dallas; two daughters, Rosa Galvan of Roscoe and Lus Pantoja and husband David of Roscoe; two sisters, Lucia and Maria, both of Mexico; twenty-four grandchildren, and twenty-five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Piedad Chavira, and a sister, Victorie Chavira.

Pallbearers were Jacob Arce, Adam Galvan, Joshua Chavira, Vincent Pantoja, Alex Pantoja, and Paul Pantoja.

Honorary pallbearers were Carlos Hernandez, Dionisio Rosas, and Scott Etheredge.



A memorial service will be held at a later date for Delores Ann (Lincoln) Broker, 67, who passed away on Tuesday, December 22, at her residence. Per her wishes, her body will be cremated. Arrangements are under the direction of Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home.

Delores was born on July 15, 1953, in Sweetwater, to Donald and Marian Elizabeth (Smith) Lincoln. She was a Methodist and a longtime member of A.B.W.A. She married Steven E. Broker in Sweetwater and worked as a bookkeeper for many years.

She is survived by her husband, Steven E. Broker of Roscoe; stepchildren, Steven George Broker, Lorinda Elizabeth Lane and husband Rick, and James Edward Colston and wife Lydia, all of Maryland; nine grandchildren; two brothers, Don Lincoln and wife Nancy of Ruidoso, NM, and David Lincoln of Sweetwater; aunts and uncles, Donna and Lewis Smith and Mohee Barnes.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Don & Marian Lincoln.



Services for Ruby Lenora Robison, 98, are pending with McCoy Funeral Home. She passed away at her residence in Roscoe, Monday evening, December 21.

Survivors include a daughter, Jerry Bruns and husband Truett of Roscoe.



A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, December 27, for Cathrene "Cathy" (Underwood) McLaury, 75, of Roscoe, at her home. Per her wishes, her body will be cremated. Arrangements are under the direction of Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home. She passed away on Monday, December 21, at her home.

Cathy was born on June 8, 1945, in Houston to Kenneth and Catharine June (Felter) Underwood. She married Charles Eugene McLaury on December 21, 1963, in Houston. She had been a resident of Roscoe for over seventeen years prior to living in Pasadena/Houston. She was a faithful member of the Sweetwater Lions Club of Sweetwater.  She was a homemaker, and her family was her pride and joy.  

She is survived by her husband, Charles Eugene McLaury; son, John Edward McLaury; daughter, Stephanie Ann Goodman; son-in-law, Keith Goodman; grandchildren, Marissa Goodman, Jadyn Goodman, Luke Goodman, and Caroline McLaury; sisters, Sandy Fisher and Janet Trout; brother, Kevin Underwood; countless nieces, nephews, and other important family members; and many friends.    

Please no flowers or plants. In lieu of these items, the family asks for donations be made to the Lions Camp (Kerrville, Texas) and St. Jude's Childrens' Hospital.  


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Santa Claus Rides in Parade, Talks to Kids

Santa is ready to talk to the kids. (Photo by Vicki Bowen)
Santa Claus was in Roscoe Saturday morning. He rode in the annual Christmas parade on the Roscoe Express shuttle with Mrs. Santa Claus, Miss Snake Charmer 0f 2020, Jacklyn Clinkinbeard, and a couple of others.

After the parade, he and Mrs. Claus went to the Roscoe Community Center, where he spoke with numerous children and took their requests for Christmas presents.

He says he’ll be back on Christmas Eve with his reindeer and plenty of gifts for everybody.  You may not see him, though, because his return will be in the middle of the night when most people are sound asleep.



Antonio Aguayo (20) awaits the ball from Jax Watts (21).
Even though the Plowboys lost their game with Veribest in Roscoe Friday 40-32, it was encouraging in one respect. The Plowboys started off very slowly, and in the first half it appeared they might be blown out. However, they played much better in the second half, outscoring the Falcons 10-0 in the third quarter and 13-10 in the fourth.

Antonio Aguayo led Plowboys in scoring with 12 points, followed by Parker Gleaton and Seth Wilcox with 8 each, and Jax Watts with 4.

Scoring by quarters:
                             1         2          3         4          T
Veribest            17        13         0        10        40
Plowboys           8          1        10        13        32

The Plowboys’ next game is scheduled for Friday with Robert Lee in Robert Lee with tipoff at 8:00pm.



The Plowgirls played two games this past week. On Friday they lost to Snyder in Snyder, and yesterday they dropped their district opener to Coleman in Coleman.

The score in the Snyder game was 45-34. Kaidy Ornelas and Carson Greenwood led the Plowgirls in scoring, both with 10. Cameron Greenwood had 8, Shauna McCambridge 4, and Jacey Rodriquez 2.

McCambridge had 7 rebounds, Carson Greenwood 5, Rodriquez 5, Ornelas 3, Cameron Greenwood 2, and Kirsten Welch 1.

Scoring by quarters:
                             1          2         3          4          T
Snyder              10          6        16         7         45
Plowgirls            7          7          5        15        34

Yesterday evening, the Plowgirls opened district play with a loss to Coleman in Coleman, 40-28.

This year, Roscoe Collegiate is in District 8-2A for basketball with Coleman, Colorado City, Forsan, Miles, and Winters.

Carson Greenwood led the Plowgirls in scoring with 12 points. Kaidy Ornelas had 10, Cameron Greenwood 4, and Jacey Rodriquez 2. Carson Greenwood also led in rebounds with 12. Rodriquez had 6, Shauna McCambridge 5, Cameron Greenwood 5, Mia Lavalais 3, Ornelas 3, and Kirsten Welch 2.

Scoring by quarters:
                             1          2          3         4           T
Coleman            7          14        13        6          40
Plowgirls           4          10         8         6          28

The Plowgirls’ next game on Friday evening is also a district contest, this one with Miles in Miles.



On Saturday, December 12, at about 11am, Roscoe Police responded to a disturbance in the 200 block of Bois d’Arc Street, where they took into custody a 22-year-old white female and charged her with disorderly conduct for yelling obscenities in the public view.

On Saturday evening at around 9pm, a customer at Stripes was forcibly robbed while inside waiting to pay for a purchase. The case is under current investigation, and an arrest is expected soon.

Roscoe Police Chief Felix Pantoja warns residents to be careful of their surroundings because of the possibility of criminal activity.



On Monday, the RCISD sent out a letter to parents with good news about the school’s Covid-19 numbers. Currently, there are only 7 staff members and 6 students with positive cases. As a result, school leaders are optimistic about continuing for another week without going to remote instruction.  

The letter also includes information about which students may receive remote instruction as well as what to do if a parent’s children test positive for Covid-19. So, if you are a parent, you need to read the letter for details. It is available as Covid-19 Update: 12-14-2020 on the school website (click here) or through the RCISD notification app.  



The big news on the Covid-19 front in the U.S. this week is that the F.D.A. has approved Pfizer’s vaccine and is about to approve Moderna’s. Vaccinations will start being administered immediately, giving everyone hope that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, even if it may be the second quarter of next year before everyone who wants to can get vaccinated.

In the meantime, the pandemic continues to rage in the United States with over 3,000 deaths reported on December 9, a new daily record. And health officials are warning that it will get worse before it gets better. Although the northern Midwest is improving, other areas like the Northeast, the South, and the West Coast are seeing escalating outbreaks. Virginia and 19 other states set new records this past week, and California is adding 30,000 new cases a day.

Texas has seen an increase in the number of hospitalizations with 9,304 compared to 8,790 a week ago and number of deaths by an average of 9 more each day over last week. However, Texas is actually doing better than 35 other states in numbers of new cases per capita, as the numbers are generally bad all over.

In the Big Country, the situation, while still critical, has at least lowered its number of active cases. There are now 2,481 active cases of Covid-19 in Taylor County, down from the 2,618 of last week. Covid-19 hospitalizations are also down to 102 from the 116 of last week. However, 64 staff are currently in quarantine, and the region’s ICU beds are still full. Abilene hospitals have now had 165 total Covid-19 deaths, up from 129 last week and 117 two weeks ago.

Also, the Big Country trauma service area has now had 14 straight days in which over 15% of its hospitalizations are Covid-19 patients. The governor’s executive order closes bars and restricts restaurants and other businesses to 50% capacity until the area has seven consecutive days under 15%. It is currently running at a little over 17%. Yesterday. it was 17.25%.  

The good news is that the area expects to receive about 3,500 vaccines tomorrow. About 2,900 of the doses manufactured by Pfizer will go to Hendrick in Abilene while 600 from Moderna will go to Brownwood. The Pfizer vaccine is two-dose with the second dose coming three weeks after the first. The first recipients will be healthcare workers and rest home staff.
Locally, the numbers also continue to increase. Nolan County now has 250 active cases, which is 15 fewer than last week’s 265 but 48 more than the 202 of two weeks ago. Once again, the little chart for Nolan County in the Hard Times’ right-hand column warns of a high infection rate. Mitchell County now has 74 active cases, a drop from the 97 last week but still more than the 31 two weeks ago. Fisher County has 31 active cases compared to 22 last week. In Scurry County, on the other hand, the numbers are still trending in the right direction with 58 active cases reported yesterday compared to 93 last week and 118 two weeks ago. However, they do report 27 total deaths, three more than last week.

On the Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital Facebook page, a letter to the citizens of Nolan County was posted on December 11 saying the current situation here is critical and worse than in El Paso and other counties. It warns that a worsening situation may cause another economic shutdown and implores residents to 1) wear masks, 2) stay home if sick, 3) socially distance, and 4) wash hands frequently. It is signed by all the major county officials including the CEO of the hospital, the County Judge, the Chair of the Hospital Board, the Presidents of First Financial Bank, Roscoe State Bank, and Texas National Bank, the Mayors of Sweetwater, Roscoe, and Blackwell, the Superintendents of the Nolan County schools, the Director of the Chamber of Commerce, and several others. The letter is available here.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with last Tuesday in parentheses): Howard, 2,260 (2,264); Scurry, 1,777 (1,686); Erath, 1,754 (1,514); Jones, 1,708 (1,656); Brown, 1,135 (991); Nolan, 987 (861); Comanche, 675 (563); Runnels, 478 (405); Eastland, 464 (408); Mitchell, 405 (380); Stephens, 364 (343); Callahan 293 (256); Coleman, 218 (192); Fisher, 199 (173); Coke, 198 (199); Knox, 139 (125); Haskell, 118 (105); Shackelford, 68 (59); Stonewall, 34 (31); Kent, 26 (26); Throckmorton, 26 (25);
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with last week in parentheses): Lubbock, 36,933 (34,722); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 8,795 (7,766); Midland, 8,564 (8,109); Ector (Odessa), 6,343  (5,771); Tom Green (San Angelo), 3,690 (3,494).

Texas now has had a total of 1,352,489 cases (1,258,124 last week), 259,293 of them active (200,050 last week), and 24,142 total deaths (22,627 last week).



Yesterday's sunrise.

Winter doesn’t officially arrive until this coming Tuesday, December 21, but the weather these past few days has already been feeling like it’s already here.

Last Wednesday and Thursday were pleasant with sunny skies and afternoon highs of 74°F on Wednesday and 79° on Thursday, but then the wind shifted to the north, and the temperature dropped under cloudy skies to a high of 62° on Friday, 55° on Saturday, and 45° on Sunday. Monday and yesterday were a little warmer at 51° and 53°, but it didn’t really feel that way as the winds were sharp and chilly. Lows ranged from the mid-forties last Thursday and Friday down to freezing or below since then—31° Saturday, 28° Sunday, 26° Monday, 32° yesterday, and 31° this morning. There was a slight bit of misty moisture in the air on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough even to get the sidewalk wet.

The forecast is for more cool weather today. Skies will be sunny with an afternoon high of 54° with a light southwest breeze. Tomorrow will be slightly warmer with a high of 63°, more sunshine and stronger southwest winds. Friday’s high will be 66° with strong southwest winds under partly cloudy skies, and on Saturday both the temperature and the wind will drop with a high of 55° and a light north breeze. Sunday and Monday will climb back into the sixties with highs of 66° and 67° respectively. Then on Tuesday, winter officially begins.

There is no precipitation in the forecast.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

City Council Hears Reports, Approves Actions

City Manager Cody Thompson reports to the City Council.

At its monthly meeting in City Hall yesterday evening, the City Council received updates from the City Manager and Chief of Police and approved one action item while tabling another.

City Manager Cody Thompson reported on City works and updated the Council on water and sewer activity. He said City workers have spent time lately on patching City streets, burning tree limbs and spending time doing cleanup at the Roscoe Cemetery, where they have hauled off excessive dirt and floral debris. They also re-routed a road there. They have also been doing repair work at the main lift station, cleaning and replacing defective parts.

The TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) has certified the liners at the new Sanitary Sewer Plant, and all lagoons are now back in operation. The old Sanitary Sewer Plant has yet to be certified officially closed. The City is waiting on a field visit by the TCEQ, which has been held up by Covid-19, but is now reportedly ready for the visit.

The City has closed on the right of way for the I-20 re-construction. It sold the 1.2 acres of the old Sanitary Sewer Plant to the Texas Department of Transportation for $5,800.

The City has been slow in paying some bills due to slow incoming revenues. The money will increase by the end of the year and in January as citizens pay their property taxes, along with the Franchise Tax, which is paid on the first of February. Sales tax revenues are tracking similar to preceding years.

Police Chief Felix Pantoja then gave the Police Report for the month of November, saying they had received 86 calls and made one felony arrest.

The Council then approved the annual Christmas Parade, which will take place in downtown Roscoe at 10:00 Saturday morning.

It also discussed a Game Room ordinance, but in the end because of legal complications decided to take no action at this time and tabled the motion. At present, there are two game rooms in Roscoe, one on Broadway at the site of the old Dairy Fluff and the other on FM 608 and the I-20 service road at the site of the former Dairy Queen. The one at the 235 Travel Stop has closed.

The Council then approved some routine monthly items and adjourned.



Santa Claus rides in a previous Christmas parade.

Roscoe’s annual Christmas Parade down Broadway will take place this Saturday morning at 10:00. Line-up will be on Broadway and Cedar Street in west Roscoe at 9:30am.

Santa Claus will be in the parade, and after its conclusion will be on hand to talk to children in the Community Center at Broadway and Bois d’Arc. Hot chocolate and cookies will be available there.



Mia Lavalais (23) throws to Kaidy Ornelas (5) while Carson Greenwood (11) and Shauna McCambridge (30) look on.

The Plowgirls are on a roll after winning both their games this past week. Both were played at home in the Special Events Center.

The Plowgirls won their first game of the season Friday evening with a victory over Bronte 56-16. The game’s outcome was never in doubt as the Plowgirls jumped out to a 16-3 lead in the first quarter and then cruised the rest of the way to an easy win.

Shauna McCambridge led the Plowgirls in scoring with 15 points, followed by Mia Lavalais and Kaidy Ornelas both with 12, Cameron Greenwood with 11, Jacey Rodriquez with 4, and Carson Greenwood with 4.

McCambridge also led in rebounds with 15. Lavalais, Jacey Rodriquez, and Carson Greenwood all had 5, Ornelas 3, Cameron Greenwood 1, and Kirsten Welch 1.  

Scoring by quarters:
                             1         2          3          4          T
Plowgirls          16        12        13         15        56
Bronte                3          3          2          8        16

They continued their winning ways last night with a victory over Hamlin 54-34. The Plowgirls built an 18-7 lead over the Lady Pipers in the first quarter and maintained it the rest of the way in racking up their second win.

Carson Greenwood led the Plowgirls in scoring with 22 points. She was followed by Shauna McCambridge with 11, Cameron Greenwood with 8, Jacey Rodriquez with 7, and Kaidy Ornelas with 6.

McCambridge also led in rebounds with 23, followed by Jacey Rodriquez and Carson Greenwood, both with 7. Cameron Greenwood had 4, Ornelas 1, and Jissel Rodriquez 1.

Scoring by quarters:
                            1          2          3          4          T
Plowgirls          18        12        14        10        54
Hamlin               7        10         8          9        34

Lueders-Avoca canceled their games with the Plowgirls and Plowboys scheduled for Friday. So, the Plowgirls travel to Snyder Friday with the JV game starting at 4:30pm, followed by the varsity game at 5:45pm.  



Antonio Aguayo (20) looks to throw the ball as Parker Gleaton  (15) looks on.
The Plowboys won one and lost one this past week with a 36-34 win over Bronte and a 57-30 loss to Hamlin. Both games were played at home in the Special Events Center.

With the score tied in the last minute of the game against Bronte Friday evening, Antonio Aguayo was fouled and sank two free throws to put the Plowboys up 36-34. Bronte was unable to respond before the buzzer sounded, and the Plowboys won a thrilling nail biter.

The Plowboys’ first win of the year was a good game for the last three quarters, but that’s not how it started. In the first period they couldn’t get anything going, and by the end of the quarter were behind 10-2. The second quarter was better, but they were still behind by 9 at halftime, 19-10. The big change came as the Plowboys came out on fire in the third quarter, outscoring the Longhorns by 12 points, and by the end of three, they were ahead 27-24.

The final quarter was exciting as the lead kept changing hands, and the game wasn’t decided until the final buzzer.

Jax Watts led the Plowboys in scoring with 12 points, followed by Aguayo with 8, Seth Wilcox with 7, Zackary Jordan 3, Jake Gonzales 3, and Parker Gleaton 3.

Scoring by quarters:
                             1        2          3         4         T
Plowboys           2        8        17         11        36
Bronte              10        9          5        10        34

The Plowboys were then overpowered by Hamlin last night. The final score was 57-30. Aguayo led the Plowboys in individual scoring with 10 points, Watts and Jordan both had 5, and Gleaton 4, while Wilcox, Gonzalez, and Lupe Leaños had 2 each.

Scoring by quarters:
                            1         2         3          4          T
Hamlin             18       15        12        12        57
Plowboys          12        6          7          5        30

The Plowboys' next game is this Friday against Veribest here in the Special Events Center beginning at 5:00pm.  Then on next Tuesday, they are scheduled to play Highland, also here with tipoff at 6:30pm.



Caleb Boren sees his award on the big screen.
Caleb Boren, a member of the Roscoe FFA Chapter, was awarded the American FFA Degree at the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo, held virtually on October 27-29.

The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. Sponsored by Case IH, Elanco National Health, and Syngenta, the award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agriculture business, production, processing, or service programs.

To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee. Recipients must also complete 50 hours community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities.  Less than one percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree.

Each recipient of the American FFA Degree receives a gold American FFA Degree key and certificate after being recognized at the national convention

Congratulations, Caleb, for all the hard work, and good luck in the future!



Roscoe Collegiate Provost Andy Wilson reports that the school’s Covid-19 numbers have improved since Thanksgiving. Only 8 adults and 3 students have current positive infections.

He also included a recent article that addresses the safety of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic, It contains information which may allay some parents’ concerns about sending their children to school under the present conditions.

The article is accessible by clicking here.



In the United States, the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations are at record levels, including numbers of weekly deaths, which have now exceeded any week from last spring. The country now has over 200,000 new cases daily along with 2,250 daily deaths and over 100,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations, all new records. 

However, vaccinations began yesterday in Britain, and it won’t be long before they also begin here.

In Texas, the numbers remain serious. Hospitals are full all over, and 142 Texas hospitals are currently reporting staff shortages. On Monday, the state had 8,800 Covid-19 hospital patients, and both the numbers of new cases and new deaths have increased compared to last week. Still, the state ranks 27th in new cases per capita, well below the hardest-hit states.

In the Big Country, the situation, while still critical, has at least lowered its number of active cases in the past week. There are now 2,618 active cases in Taylor County, down from the 2,842 of last week. However, Covid-19 hospitalizations are at 116, up from 104 last week. 65 staff are currently in quarantine, and the 22-county region’s ICU beds are still full. Abilene hospitals have now had 129 total Covid-19 deaths, up from 117 last week and 103 two weeks ago.

Also, the 22-county Big Country trauma service area has now had six straight days in which over 15% of its hospitalizations are Covid-19 patients. If that percentage holds today, businesses in the area must cut back to 50% capacity, and bars must close by governor’s executive order. The area is currently running at a little over 16% to 18%, and yesterday was at 18.22%.  

The good news is that Hendrick expects to receive about 3,000 vaccines starting next week. The first recipients will be healthcare workers and rest home staff.

Locally, the numbers also continue to increase. Nolan County now has 265 active cases, which is 63 more than last week’s 202 and 106 more than the 159 of two weeks ago. Once again, the little chart for Nolan County in the Hard Times’ right-hand column warns of a high infection rate. Mitchell County now has 84 active cases, a drop from the 97 last week but still more than the 31 two weeks ago. Fisher County has 22 active cases compared to 18 last week. In Scurry County, on the other hand, the numbers are still trending in the right direction with 93 active cases reported yesterday compared to 118 last week and 140 two weeks ago. However, they do report two new deaths this week.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals for the year as of yesterday (with last Tuesday in parentheses): Howard, 2,264 (2,055); Scurry, 1,686 (1,629); Jones, 1,656 (1,610); Erath, 1,514    (1,339); Brown, 991 (935); Nolan, 861 (780); Comanche, 563 (493); Eastland, 408 (369); Runnels, 405 (361); Mitchell, 380 (349); Stephens, 343 (328); Callahan 256 (223); Coke, 199 (204); Coleman, 192 (179); Fisher, 173 (162); Knox, 125 (122); Haskell, 105 (96); Shackelford, 59 (52); Stonewall, 31 (25); Kent, 26 (25); Throckmorton, 25 (23);
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with last week in parentheses): Lubbock, 34,722 (32,236); Midland, 8,109 (7,276); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 7,766 (6,818); Ector (Odessa), 5,771 (5,150); Tom Green (San Angelo), 3,494 (3,432).

Texas now has had a total of 1,258,124 cases (1,168.111 last week), 200,050 of them active (186,678 last week), and 22,627 total deaths (21,379 last week).



This past week was pretty mild as far as the weather is concerned. We have moved into December, and the weather tends to get cooler as the days get shorter.

Last Wednesday had a high of 47°F and a low of 34° followed by a high on Thursday of only 42° with a low of 31°. But then the wind shifted, and temperatures increased with highs of 57° on Friday and 55° Saturday under cloudy skies. Sunday and Monday were clear and even warmer with sunshine and 60° on Monday and 67° yesterday. Both days were beautiful.

Today and tomorrow should be even warmer with southwest winds. This afternoon’s high should be around 76° with a low tomorrow morning of 46°. Tomorrow should be even warmer with a high of 79° and a low of 52°. Friday will be cooler with a high of 63° and Saturday’s high will drop to 53° as north wind returns. Sunday will be sunny and cool with a high of 47° and a low of 31°. Monday will have sunny skies and a 57° high.

The most likely possibility for rain will be on Sunday when the chance for precipitation rises to 25%.


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