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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Plowgirls Win Bi-District, Lose Area Game

Plowgirls celebrate after the McCamey game.
The Plowgirls had a busy weekend. After several postponements, they won their bi-district playoff game with McCamey on Friday, but then they lost the next day to New Home. Both games were played in Big Spring.

So now, their season is over, but as with all playoff games, you play until you lose (unless you become the state champ, that is).

Of course, that final loss, while disappointing, does not mean that it hasn’t been a successful season for the Plowgirls, because it has. They started a little slow but kept improving as the season progressed, and by the end they were a talented and scrappy team that was always fun to watch, no matter who they played.

The game with McCamey wasn’t close. The Plowgirls started strong and jumped out to an early lead, which they never were in any danger of relinquishing. By the end of the first quarter, they led 16-7 and were clearly the better team. They had an excellent second quarter, hitting several three-pointers, and by halftime had a commanding 36-11 lead. They then cruised through the second half to win the game 57-26.

Jacey Rodriquez and Kaidy Ornelas led in individual scoring with 14 points each, while Carson Greenwood had 12, Cameron Greenwood 8, Shauna McCambridge 7, and Jissel Rodriquez 2. McCambridge dominated the backboards with 18 rebounds, followed by Carson with 7, Cameron with 3, Jacey with 2, Jaden Amador 1, and Mia Lavalais 1. McCambridge also blocked 6 shots.

Scoring by quarters:
                           1          2          3         4          T
Plowgirls         16        20        9         12        57
McCamey         7          4         7          8         26

The game on Saturday was also not close, but this time the Plowgirls were on the other end of the score, as they were outclassed by a New Home team that played like they will go deep in the playoffs.

New Home jumped out to an early lead, and those 3-point buckets that were so easy for the Plowgirls the day before just wouldn’t fall against the Lady Leopards. By halftime, New Home was ahead, 37-22, and the game’s outcome was no longer in doubt. They went on to win by a score of 76-32, and the Plowgirls’ season was ended.

Carson Greenwood led the individual scoring with 10 points, followed by McCambridge with 9, Ornelas 6, Jacey 4, and Cameron 3. McCambridge once again dominated in the paint with 12 rebounds and 9 blocks. Carson had 3 rebounds, while Ornelas, Jacey, and Lavalais had 1 each.

Scoring by quarters:
                            1          2          3          4           T
New Home      20        17        10        20        76
Plowgirls           8         14         0         10        32

Basketball season is now over, and the Plowgirls move on to track. However, they deserve our congratulations for giving us Roscoe fans something to cheer and feel good about during this endless pandemic and miserable weather we’ve all endured. Thanks to you all, coaches and players! You’ve been a bright spot for us all, and we do appreciate it!



Plowgirl sophomore Carson Greenwood has been selected as District 8-2A’s Impact Player of the Year, and junior Shauna McCambridge is Co-Defensive MVP along with Abbi Allen from Coleman. Offensive MVP was Rylee Evans from Forsan, Newcomer was Madi Shield of Colorado City, and Coach was Seth Johnson of Forsan.

Plowgirl soph Cameron Greenwood made the First Team, and on the Second Team were freshman Kaidy Ornelas and junior Jacey Rodriquez.

On the Academic All-District team from Roscoe were Carson and Cameron Greenwood, Mia Lavalais, Kaidy Ornelas, Shauna McCambridge, Jacey Rodriquez, Jissel Rodriquez, and Kirsten Welch.

Congratulations, Plowgirls!



Those interested in running in a special election on May 1 for one of the three two-year positions on the RCISD School Board are reminded that the last day to submit an application is this coming Monday, March 1.

Election information on the school website is here.

Six candidates are running for the four regular four-year positions, which will also be part of the May 1 election. On Monday, they drew for their positions on the ballot. Here are their names in the order they will appear on the ballot:

James Arnwine
Kenny Hope
David Pantoja
Eloy Herrera
Allen Richburg
Jose Ortega



Mike Ryan
The historic winter storm has come and gone, and what better way to celebrate the change than to hear some good, live music this weekend at the Lumberyard? Mike Ryan will be in town Friday night, and Dallas Moore brings his performance on Saturday.

Singer/songwriter Mike Ryan grew up in San Antonio and honed his skills at clubs and venues in the Metroplex, including shows at Billy Bob’s. In 2018 he was invited to play at the 4th of July celebration at the White House in Washington, DC.

He released his first full-length album, Night Comes Falling in 2012, and since then has produced three more—Bad Reputation in 2014, Mill & Music City in 2016, and Blink You’ll Miss It in 2017. He typically writes or co-writes all his songs as well as singing them.

Notable singles of his include “New Hometown,” “Dancing All Around It,” “Wasting No More Whiskey,” “Damn Good Goodbye,” "When I Drink Beer," and “Red Eye Flight.”

Dallas Moore
Singer/songwriter Dallas Moore, “Mr. Honky Tonk,” a poster boy and cult hero for Outlaw Country, brings his show to the Lumberyard Saturday night. A long-haired, Harley-riding singer from Cincinnati, he plays a hard rockin’ brand of country topped off by gruff vocals. He has released seven albums over a long career, including Can’t Tame a Wildcat

Top singles include “Outlaw Country,” “Blessed Be the Bad Ones,” and “Raisin' Hell and Slingin’ Gravel.”

Both performances will be on the smaller stage in a controlled heated environment. Tickets to Mike Ryan Friday evening are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the show. There is no cover charge for Dallas Moore on Saturday night.

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



The US reached a grim milestone this week with the passing of 500,000 total deaths attributed to Covid-19, but it did so with all the other current pandemic numbers in steady, rapid decline. Workers in hospital ICUs were reported to be smiling as their number of patients dwindled. New infections, active cases, and hospitalizations have all been falling since the holiday peak of mid-January. Those numbers have dropped now to the level they were at the beginning of November. Currently, the hardest-hit states are on the east coast with New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Rhode Island the worst off.

In Texas, new cases and hospitalizations continue to fall as they have for over a month now. On Monday, the state was down to 6,964 hospitalized Covid-19 patients, compared to 7,824 a week earlier with the worst spots being the El Paso and Laredo areas. Deaths were down to 1,048 for the week and falling daily.

The winter storm in Texas has delayed the vaccination program, but with the change in weather should gear back up this week. The state had vaccinated at least 4.5 million doses as of Sunday, February 21, with about 4.7% Texans having received both doses.  

Positive trends continue in the Big Country. The number of active cases in Taylor County has fallen to 818 from 1,278 last week and 2,502 four weeks ago. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in Abilene are now at 27 compared to 39 two weeks ago. and 127 five weeks ago.  There were two more deaths to bring the total to 342, which was a drop from the deaths of last week.

In the Big Country’s 16-county trauma service area, the percentage of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients also continues to drop. On Monday, it was down to 4.36% compared to last week’s 5.82% and 7.55% two weeks ago. The number of hospital staff in quarantine is now at 9, compared to 14 last week and 44 four weeks ago.

In our four-county area, the numbers are also improving. Nolan County has dropped to just 26 active cases from last week’s 98, and Fisher County has dropped to o active cases from 1 last week. Mitchell County still has 6, up 2 from 4 last week, and Scurry County has an estimated 53 active cases, the same as last week. Nolan County had 1 more death to bring its total to 30; Mitchell County and Fisher County had no deaths to remain at a total of 8 and 12 respectively. but Scurry County had 5 more deaths to bring its total to 61.

RCISD reports good news again this week with no active cases among students or staff.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals since the pandemic began as of yesterday (with last Tuesday in parentheses): Scurry, 3,379 (3,380); Howard, 2,966 (2,963); Erath, 2,692 (2,662); Jones, 2,076 (2,072); Brown, 1,902 (1,893); Nolan, 1,489 (1,483); Comanche, 1,040 (1,027); Eastland, 870 (861); Runnels, 764 (761); Callahan 585 (580); Mitchell, 575 (575); Coleman, 4721 (471); Stephens, 414 (412); Fisher, 290 (290); Coke, 215 (212); Haskell, 194 (193); Knox, 170 (170); Shackelford, 126 (125); Throckmorton, 49 (49); Stonewall, 48 (48); Kent, 35 (35).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with last week in parentheses): Lubbock, 47,788 (47,788); Midland, 16,140 (16,140); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 14,358 (14,358); Ector (Odessa), 8,161 (8,161); Tom Green (San Angelo), 4,548 (4,548).

Texas now has had a total of 2,259,407 cases (2,225,399 last week), 192,883 active cases (246,542 last week) and 41,641 total deaths (40,593 last week).



The west wind and school flags yesterday.
The big, bad winter storm is now history. After nine days of the most godawful weather ever seen around here, including snow, ice, overcast skies, strong north winds, and below zero temperatures, the sun finally broke through on Friday. That turned out to be the day of transition between cold and warm as the mercury finally rose above freezing, the sky cleared, and the thaw began. The 47°F it got up to that day felt almost balmy after all the cold of the preceding days.

Saturday was even warmer with a high of 63° accompanied by a strong southwest wind, and it was amazing how fast all the snow and icicles melted and disappeared. By sundown, all the storm’s remnants were gone except for a few puddles. Since then, the weather has been windy but warm and sunny. Sunday’s high was 63°, Monday’s was 70°, and yesterday’s got all the way up to 78°, quite a contrast from the 11° last Thursday morning.

Yesterday’s heat won’t be repeated, however, as a front moved in this morning, and the wind has shifted back to the north, which will cool everything down. Today’s high is expected to be no more than 62°, and tomorrow’s may never make it out of the thirties with the high predicted to be 39°. The front also brings a 30% possibility of rain tomorrow evening or night. On Friday, the wind will shift back to the southwest and the high will climb back to 62°. Saturday and Sunday will be more of the same with highs of 68° and 71° respectively. And then Monday is the first of March, which will come in like a lion with a north wind, clouds, a high of 54°, and a 45% chance of rain.

Let’s hope we get it. We could use a little rain.



Virginia Jeanette Freyer Drollinger was born January 27, 1945, and passed away on December 10, 2020.

She graduated from Roscoe High School in 1963 and attended Texas Technological Collage (Texas Tech). While there, she met her husband to be, John Drollinger, living as a roommate to her brother, Theo. After graduating from Texas Tech with a degree in Elementary Education, she moved to Dallas and taught there. She and John married on November 28, 1968. They lived in Plano TX, Kansas City MO, Plano TX (where their first son, John Matthew was born), Atlanta GA, New Orleans LA, Wichita KS (where their second son, Jacob Martin was born), Atlanta GA and finally Kennesaw GA. She and the boys traveled on trips around the world with John’s work at Coca Cola Worldwide. They went to numerous Olympics (Summer and Winter), Super Bowls, and Braves Training camp (where she acquired her love for the Atlanta Braves).

She was busy keeping up with the boys and their activities: John Matthew/Tennis and Jacob Martin/Gymnastics, but still found time to play tennis with the “Park Manor Ladies.” She became a “Card Lady” for Hallmark Cards servicing several stores and then became a T.A., supervising 14 stores. After 22 years, she once again retired but met monthly with the “Card Ladies” for lunch.

She was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2019 with additional lesions in her brain and on her spine. After receiving radiation and then chemo treatments, she was in remission. Later, she developed focal seizures in her brain during the Covid-19 lockdown. She passed on December 10th, 2020.

She is survived by her son, John Matthew; sister, Shirley (Byrd) Freyer Kaltwasser (Don); brother, Ted (Theo) Freyer (Nancy); sister-in-law, Etta Lu Humphries (Don); sister-in-law, Gayla Drollinger; nieces Sara, Luetta, Donna, Danielle, Dayna, Katherine; and nephews John Mark and Chris.

She was predeceased by her parents, Ernest and Wilma Freyer; husband, John Drollinger; son, Jacob Martin Drollinger; and brother-in-law, Benny Drollinger. She was a Georgia peach but never lost her West Texas roots.



Graveside services at Roscoe Cemetery for Donna Shuler Barfield, 89, of Kerrville are this morning, February 24, at 11am with Rev. David Draper officiating and arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home. She passed away Friday, February 12.

The fifth of seven children, she was born April 13, 1931, in Johnson County to Henryetta and Ernest Shuler. The family moved to Nolan County where Donna attended Roscoe schools. She married Charles Lloyd with whom she had her daughter, Donnie Marie and son, David Lynn. In 1958 she married Henry Barfield. They moved to Odessa, where she worked for Safeway for many years. Donna and Henry pursued their dream to live in the Texas hill country and bought property outside of London, where they loved to hunt and fish. They eventually moved into London, where Donna remained until Henry’s death. Donna moved to Kerrville in 2005. She loved playing cards and soon found a new circle of friends when she joined the Dietert Center to play bridge. She enjoyed travel and took trips to Alaska and the Caribbean. She was a member of Sunrise Baptist Church.

Donna is survived by her children, Donnie Marie Cearley and husband Jon of Kerrville; David Lloyd and wife Regena of Stephenville; grandsons, Wes Lloyd and wife Kristie of Waco; Jonathan Cearley and wife, Carole of Kyle; Britt Lloyd and wife Brooke of Caldwell; great-grandchildren, Taylor, Calista and Trey Lloyd; Jameson and Sawyer Fields; Liam Cearley; Rylie, Jackson and Deni Lloyd; a sister, Doris Shuler and sisters-in-law Brenda Shuler of London, Texas; and Genevieve Shuler of Ft. Worth; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Donna was preceded in death by her parents, Henryetta and Ernest Shuler; husband, Henry Barfield; brothers Ernest, Harvey, James and Louis Shuler; and sister, Dorothy Shuler Heath.

The family wishes to thank Embrace Hospice and nurses and staff at Hilltop Village for their care and support during our mother’s illness.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Donna’s honor or memory can be made to Sunrise Baptist Church or the Dietert Center, both in Kerrville, Texas.



Graveside services for Carolyn Flozel Meredith Sims, 74, will be at 11:00am, Saturday, February 27, at Roscoe Cemetery, with Rev. Juanelle Jordan officiating. Interment will follow under the direction of McCoy Funeral Home.  She passed away in Fort Worth on Wednesday, February 17.

She was born October 4, 1946, in Odessa. She grew up and attended high school in Roscoe. While in school in Roscoe, she loved being a majorette while twirling the baton at many football games. Her life was spent with good friends and family while taking care of her beloved poodle. Following graduation from high school, Carolyn attended Texas Tech University. Her dream job was to be a flight attendant, and following completion of flight attendant school in California, she went to work for Continental Airlines while living in California. Throughout the Vietnam War, she flew military air transports to many places overseas including Okinawa, Guam, and Vietnam. Carolyn met Horace Clifton Sims during her travels abroad and they were married. From their marriage, she had two children: a daughter and son, Susan Meredith Sims (1976) and Steven Thomas Sims (1982).

After retiring from Continental Airlines, she went on to Real Estate school and received her license. Carolyn also spent many years teaching special-needs students at Arlington Heights High School and Burton Hill Elementary in Fort Worth. She was a selfless person who put the needs of others at the forefront of her mind. She was a fun-loving, humorous, and energetic woman. She loved to take frequent trips to Ruidoso with her daughter and other family members. She was an avid tennis player and spent many days on the courts at Ridglea Country Club. She enjoyed dinner parties and times spent with friends. Later in life, Carolyn would spend her time with her granddaughter that she loved immensely. She also received the blessing of a new grandson in her final days.

She is survived by her daughter, Susan Sims Dinsdale and son-in-law, Brent Dinsdale of Fort Worth; granddaughter, Logan Victoria Cain; son, Steven Thomas Sims of Fort Worth; grandson, Steven Shannon Sims Jr.; brothers, Tommy Meredith of Wastella and David Meredith of Sweetwater.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Marshall and Frankie Pearl Williams Meredith.

Donations in her honor may be made to Vitas Community Connection or First United Methodist Church of Roscoe.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Winter Storm Worst in Years

Bitter cold on Sunday afternoon.
I hate to say this, but that groundhog up in Pennsylvania is looking smarter all the time. And those meteorologists with their six-figure salaries who predicted hotter and drier weather not only for Texas, but a great swath of the US, have some explaining to do.

We’ve had a week for the weather that beats anything we’ve had for at least a decade. The last storm we had with similar intensity was in the first week of February in 2011—almost exactly ten years ago—and even that one was not as bad as this one. It lasted only about four days, and the coldest it got here that year was 6°F. 

This year’s stretch has proven both colder and longer. It has lasted for over a week now and is predicted to continue for at least two more days. And Monday morning, Roscoe weatherman Kenny Landfried recorded an official -3°F temperature. I don’t know when there’s been a cold spell that was worse, but it wasn’t in this century.

This was the first time since the National Weather Service has been issuing weather bulletins that the entire state of Texas, all 254 counties, were under a winter storm warning at the same time. All the counties in Oklahoma were also under the same warning. The storm is huge and has followed the jet stream all the way down into Mexico. When it’s 25°F in Brownsville, you know there’s a problem.

And of course, it could be worse. I know this may be small consolation for those who’ve been dealing with broken pipes and no running water, but in some ways local folks have fared better than people in other places. In Abilene, for example, the entire city was out of water as electricity to the water treatment plants went down, and
reports this morning say that over 3 million Texans are without electricity. Also, many Texas cities are experiencing rolling blackouts that give their residents multiple extended periods of no electricity. 

The blackouts are bad enough that a friend who lives in the Metroplex texted me yesterday to find out our local situation because he was thinking about driving to Sweetwater to stay in a motel until conditions improve in Fort Worth.

The cold spell really began last Wednesday when the second day of heavy fog accompanied the arrival of an Arctic front with an afternoon high of 26°F, and Thursday’s high was 28° with a sharp north breeze. The fog turned to frost that covered all the trees, which stayed that way because the temperature never got above freezing. On Friday, a second wave of cold hit with a high that day of 20° and a low of 13°. Saturday was similar with a high of 18° and low of 12°. 

Then on Sunday, the storm really intensified with a sharp north wind, about four inches of snow, and a high of 12°. It dropped into the single digits that night with wind chills well below zero, and at dawn Monday morning the temperature had dropped below zero to  -3°. Monday was in the single digits most of the day, and yesterday climbed back into the teens with some more afternoon snow.

At RCISD, regular classes have not met yet this week, but these are not the happy snow holidays that many of us remember from yesteryear. This time there are no snowmen or snowball fights. Classes are still in session with virtual learning, and students have work to do on their laptops and tablets. Besides, it's too cold to play outside.

Today’s high is projected to climb to 23° with a low tonight of 13°, and tomorrow will have an afternoon high of around 28°.

Then on Friday, we should finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Skies will be sunny and the afternoon high will reach a balmy 46°!
Another big storm is due Friday from Weatherford or Fort Worth east, but we'll thankfully miss that one.  So, if we can just hang on for a couple more days, this miserable stretch will finally be history, and maybe we can start having some normal weather again.

Weekend highs here will be 56° on Saturday, 50° on Sunday, and 56° on Monday, all under sunny skies. And starting on Tuesday, highs will climb into the mid-sixties and stay that way all the rest of next week. 

I can’t wait.  



The Plowgirls begin the playoffs today with a game against McCamey in Sterling City with tipoff at 4:00pm.

Roscoe Edu-Cast plans to stream the game on Facebook for those unable to make the trip. If you haven’t caught any of the games there so far, all you have to do is go to Roscoe Edu-Cast in Facebook at 4:00 and click on the livecast. Then click the double arrows in the bottom right-hand corner below the image to get full-screen coverage.

Go, Plowgirls!



RCISD Press Release.--On Monday, February 15th, 2021, the Roscoe Collegiate ISD board of trustees voted unanimously to hold a special board election for the three seats that were up for election in 2019.

RCISD did not hold a board election in 2019; therefore, they will hold a special election for those seats in May 2021. Those three seats will be up for election again in 2023.  After the 2023 election, those same three seats will be back on four-year terms.

These seats should not be confused with the four seats that were already up for regular election in May 2021. The application period for the regular election ended on February 12th; however, the application period for the special election is now open through March 1st.

You can find general election information in the school website:



The Covid-19 numbers continue to fall across the country. The number of new cases has dropped 41% in the last two weeks and hospitalizations are down 28%. Deaths continue to be high, but in the past two weeks, even they have fallen by 12%. States with the highest infection rates are South Carolina, New York, and New Jersey.

Vaccinations are now being given at the rate of over 1.7 million per day. And despite problems in certain states and areas, the CDC says 40 million have now received at least one dose, and 15 million are fully vaccinated. No one knows when the US will achieve herd immunity because the new variant strains are complicating the prediction.

In Texas, the number of new cases and hospitalizations also continues to drop, although not as fast as many other states. We are now tenth in number of new cases per capita. Covid-19 hospitalizations fell to fewer than 10,000 statewide a week ago and on Monday had dropped to 7,824. Unfortunately, the number of deaths remains high for people who were infected during the peak. Over 40,000 Texans have now died of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Similar trends continue in the Big Country. The number of active cases in Taylor county has fallen to 1,278 from 1,662 last week and 2,502 three weeks ago. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in Abilene are now down to 25 from last week’s 39 and 127 five weeks ago.  Deaths, however, are still high. There have now been 340 Taylor county deaths from Covid-19 including 14 on Monday, compared to 290 last week, although some of this new count includes Taylor County residents who died elsewhere.

In the Big Country’s 16-county trauma service area, the percentage of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients is also dropping. It has been below 15% for two weeks and on Monday was down to 5.82% compared to last week’s 7.55%. The number of hospital staff in quarantine has also dropped to 14 from 15 last week and 44 three weeks ago. However, there are still no ICU beds available.

In our four-county area, the numbers are generally improving. Nolan County has dropped to 98 active cases from last week’s 144, and Fisher County has dropped to 1 active case from 2 last week. Mitchell County still has just 4, the same as last week, and Scurry has an estimated 53 active cases up slightly from last week’s 47. Nolan County had 2 more deaths to bring its total to 29; Mitchell County and Fisher County had no deaths to remain at a total of 8 and 12 respectively. but Scurry County had 4 more deaths to bring its total to 56.

RCISD reports good news again this week with no active cases among students or staff.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals since the pandemic began as of yesterday (with last Tuesday in parentheses): Scurry, 3,380 (2,445); Howard, 2,963 (2,956); Erath, 2,662 (2,631); Jones, 2,072 (2,044); Brown, 1,893 (1,824); Nolan, 1,483 (1,462); Comanche, 1,027 (992); Eastland, 861 (846); Runnels, 761 (753); Mitchell, 575 (571); Callahan 580 (570); Coleman, 471 (470); Stephens, 412 (418); Fisher, 290 (290); Coke, 212 (211); Haskell, 193 (193); Knox, 170 (170); Shackelford, 125 (123); Throckmorton, 49 (49); Stonewall, 48 (48); Kent, 35 (35).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with last week in parentheses): Lubbock, 47,788 (47,474); Midland, 16,140 (15,687); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 14,358 (14,226); Ector (Odessa), 8,161 (7,847); Tom Green (San Angelo), 4,548 (4,525).

Texas now has had a total of 2,225,399 cases (2,177,572 last week), 246,542 active cases (322,929 last week) and 40,593 total deaths (39,001 last week).



William Earl Erwin and Bill Rhea in front of the Boys Club hall in 1957.
Editor's note: Most Roscoe boys who grew up in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s will have happy memories of the Boys Club hall, a daily center of Boys Club activities for over thirty years. The description I give here is the one I remember from the 1950s, but the hall was pretty much the same in the 1960s and ‘70s with minor changes.

The Boys Club hall was in the back of the grey, cinder-block City Hall building built in 1952. It was the successor to the old Troop 37 Boy Scout Hall, which had been in the old wooden City Hall building that was torn down to make way for the new one.*

Located on the ground floor in the back of the new building, the Boys Club Hall was beneath the Masonic Lodge Hall upstairs and next to the Fire Department office. Boys wanting to open it up for the day first had to sweep it out with floor-sweep obtained at the Times Office. In the evenings, the last boys who left had to lock it up.

The hall itself was a big room with a concrete floor full of games and recreational equipment. These included a regulation pool table, which could be played only by boys of 12 years or older, a ping-pong table, tumbling mats, a TV (one of the city's first) with several metal lawn chairs arranged around it, and a couple of card tables with folding chairs where cards, chess, checkers, dominoes, Monopoly, and other table games could be played. 

Against the far wall was a pinball machine someone had donated to the club. George had it fixed so that you could play it for free. Along the west wall next to the restroom were two soft drink machines (Dr. Pepper and Orange Crush, both a nickel a bottle) and just inside the side door a small refrigerator with milk, both white and chocolate, that boys bought on the honor system by putting money in a pint Mason jar--3¢ a half pint, 6¢ a pint.

Against the back wall was a pile of tumbling mats and a mini-tramp, which could be pulled out for use when needed. Outside the back door was an area for the trampoline and, after about 1956, a circular metal swimming pool (about twenty feet in diameter and about two feet deep when filled), where boys could cool off in the summer and where many learned to swim.

Shooting pool in the Boys Club hall, 1962. L to R: Andy Duvall, Danny Pitts,  Joe Coplen, Evan Shelan, Charles Shelan. (Photo from Abilene Reporter-News)
On the north side of the hall was the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railway office building. On the side of its brick wall was a basketball goal and backboard (and sometimes a net). There was a light out there so basketball and trampoline jumping could take place at night.

Just south of the hall was the downtown city park, where the Roscoe State Bank is now. About half of it was an open, grassy area where outdoor activities were held and games played. In the summer during the day, baseball players often played catch there, and pitchers got their daily throwing practice. Archers could practice their aim by shooting at targets on stacks of hay bales next to the corrugated metal city storage building. 

In the fall during football season, impromptu pass-touch games were a favorite activity, and in summertime, when the weekly meetings were held there instead of at the high school gym, the park was also where games pitting patrols against one another sometimes took place and where watermelon, homemade ice cream, and bean feeds were held. And on Tuesday afternoons, the Little Boys Club (i.e., boys aged 7-10) met there for games and refreshments.

During the time that boys were in the Club, they learned several sports and skills: archery (with bows they made themselves from bois d’arc posts), rifle marksmanship, swimming, table tennis, pool (eight ball and scratch), trampolining, tumbling, chess, checkers, auction bridge, monopoly, basketball, and other odd and assorted games.

One year, Karl Driggers, a college student who had taken courses in fencing at Texas Tech, offered to be our fencing instructor, so George bought about a half dozen fencing outfits with masks, epees, and sabers. Every Tuesday night thereafter for about eight weeks a group of us took fencing lessons, learning the basic techniques of parrying and thrusting and yelling “En garde!” and “Touché!” Not too long after that Karl got a job and moved away, but the swords and masks remained in the Boys Club hall, and wild sword fights, although forbidden, occasionally took place when George wasn’t around.

There were also other skills taught at the hall. One was semaphore signaling, a system of using hand-held flags to communicate with others from a distance such as had been done on ships in the second world war and earlier. Another was learning to send and read morse code.

There was a big closet over by the pool table, and once George got a ham radio and put it in there. Boys could earn a ham radio license, and some did. But even those of us who didn’t would often go into the closet to put on the headphones and search for others to communicate with. Once we talked to a pilot flying his plane somewhere in Alaska.

In those years before the Super Bowl, baseball was “the national pastime,” and the biggest sporting event of the year was the World Series. When it was played in October, the Boys Club Hall was open to anyone who wanted to come in there and watch it on the Boys Club television since not many people had TVs back then. Many of the old men who normally hung out in the pool hall or domino parlors took George up on the invitation and filled up all the lawn chairs around the TV set. I remember sitting and watching the games with maybe fifteen or twenty people in there and as many old men as boys cheering for or against the Yankees, who always seemed to be one of the teams.

In the summer, some of the Tuesday evenings were Girls’ Night at the hall, and when that happened, boys were not allowed. In those years, most non-school activities for kids were for either boys or girls. The girls had the Girl Scouts, and the boys the Boys Club.

There were also times when the hall was used for other activities, one of which was the Turkey Shoot, an annual fund raiser for the Boys Club. It was held shortly before Thanksgiving and was open to anyone who thought they were a good shot with a .22 rifle. Turkeys were not actually shot but were frozen ones awarded to the winners. The targets were official National Rifle Association bullseyes affixed to stacked crossties against one of the hall’s walls. Entrants paid a dollar for ten shots to try their skill against others, and for every ten contestants, a turkey was awarded to the one who made the highest score on his or her bullseye. Shooting had to be done standing behind a table about 20 feet from the target.

In those years, the Texas Boys Clubs got together every year in a different city for the Games Room Tournament. The Roscoe club always went with entries for each of several contests, and boys who represented the club did their practicing beforehand in the Boys Club hall. The competitions included table tennis, both singles and doubles, checkers, chess, and trampolining, and there were always Roscoe boys who were good enough to compete and sometimes win.

But the best feature of the Boys Club hall was just that it was always there, and there was always something to do with the other boys who happened to be there—jumping on the trampoline, playing a game of ping pong, shooting pool, taking a swim in the little pool, shooting baskets, or challenging someone to a game of chess or dominoes. Parents who came to town often dropped off their boy or boys while they shopped or took care of other business and then came back to pick them up when they were done. It was a happy solution for both parents and kids, and it was such a normal part of daily life back then that we never really realized until we were grown what an advantage it had been for us.

* Edgar Nance remembers the old Scout Hall well since he spent a lot of time there as a boy. He says that in the front was one long room entered through the old building’s front door, where there was a well-used table-tennis table. Then there was an L-shaped room with a library and bow-making equipment with bows and arrows, paints, feathers, etc., with some narrow lockers on the wall. There was also a library, where boys could borrow books to read. Out back were hay bales and target for archery.



Bernice Norma (Hackfeld) Patterson, 95, of Sweetwater and formerly of Roscoe, passed away Tuesday, February 16, at Sweetwater Healthcare.

Services are pending with McCoy Funeral Home in Sweetwater.

Local survivors include a niece, Glenda Soules and husband Jay of Sweetwater, and a nephew, David Green and wife Karen of Sweetwater.


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Plowgirls Stop Sterling City, 36-31

The Plowgirls prepared for the playoffs with a 36-31 win over Sterling City in Sterling City Friday evening. After a close first quarter, the Plowgirls pulled away in the second and led at halftime by 8, 20-12.

Shauna McCambridge led the Plowgirl scoring with 14 points, followed by Kaidy Ornelas with 10, Carson Greenwood with 9, and Cameron Greenwood with 3. McCambridge had 11 rebounds, followed by Ornelas with 3, Jacey Rodriquez 3, and Kirsten Welch 3.

Scoring by quarters:
                            1           2          3         4          T
Plowgirls           8         12        10         6         36
Sterling City     8          4          7         12         31

The Plowgirls will play a bi-district playoff game at Sterling City on Friday evening with tipoff at 7:30. The opponent is yet to be determined.



This Friday, February 12, is the last day to apply to run for the school board. Four seats are in play in this year’s election, i.e., those currently held by Jason Freeman, Jerad Alford, Cheyenne Smith, and Steve Anthony. The other three held by Kenny Hope, James Arnwine, and David Pantoja will expire in 2023 and be up for election then. These terms are for four years.

Applications are available at the RCISD office on 7th and Ash or may be downloaded from the school website here, which also includes more information for candidates. The election is on Saturday, May 1.



City Manager Cody Thompson addresses the City Council.
At its monthly meeting yesterday evening in City Hall, the City Council received updates from the City Manager and Chief of Police. They also discussed renewing the cemetery maintenance contract.

City Manager Cody Thompson reported that the TWDB (Texas Water Development Board) and the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) have still not given the City permission to proceed with the proposed water line project. They are blaming the pandemic for the delay, but nothing can be done until the City gets a go-ahead from them.

City workers have been patching streets, trimming trees, and hauling recycled asphalt and putting it on the road. They will analyze the City Swimming Pool operation and assess necessary repairs in March.

City Accountant Ricky Bowman is gathering information and documents and preparing the annual City Audit.

Thompson and Carl Childers of Young Farm Estates met with Burt Shields and partners in Fort Worth Saturday a week ago about the possibility of putting in a Maverick Travel Center on the city’s north side at FM 608 and US 84. Shields has expressed some interest and will make an on-site visit soon.

City equipment is being winterized in preparation for the upcoming cold spell.

The Council discussed the City’s annual cemetery contract with Skeet Kimbrell, who has maintained the Roscoe Cemetery in recent years. Kimbrell wanted to begin work now rather than in March as has been the case in years past. The Council tabled the issue until next month's meeting.

City Police Chief Felix Pantoja said that an interested party is in the process of opening a game room in the old Dairy Queen building at the intersection of I-20 and FM 608 south. In reference to the strict measures recently taken by the City Council to control game rooms, the new owner is vowing to follow all the regulations and has already paid the necessary fees to open and operate the business in the City of Roscoe.

Pantoja said that the pickup stolen from a local game room parking lot in December was found in southwestern Midland County.



A new Edu-Nation website has been created to reach out and support adults who would like to pursue a degree without leaving home or running up a big student loan debt. Those living in rural communities served by the program currently include Hamlin, Throckmorton, Cumby, Floydada, Lytle, and Sunray as well as Roscoe.

Program coordinator is Morgan Martin, who is working with three universities that offer degree plans. Anyone interested in getting involved is invited to look over the websites and contact her for more information.

The websites are these:


PTECH Academic Onboarding

Adult Academic Onboarding

Morgan Martin
Director of Continuing Education
Roscoe Collegiate ISD



Plans are underway for a new tunnel for the Plowboys to enter the field at football games. Allen Richburg and Linda Hatcher are accepting contributions from Plowboy fans.

If interested in giving to the cause, please send contributions to

Linda Hatcher
Roscoe Collegiate High School Secretary
P.O. Box 10, 700 Elm St.
Roscoe, Texas 79545



The Plowboys played their final district game in Miles Friday, losing 80-24. Ethan Raney led the Plowboys scoring with 8 points, followed by Jake Gonzales and Dayton Heaps with 4 each, Parker Gleaton with 3, Seth Wilcox 2, Antonio Aguayo 2, and Jax Watts 2.

Scoring by quarters:
                             1         2          3          4          T
Miles                 16        17        21        20        80
Plowboys            3         7          9          6         24

Plowboys will now put their basketball shoes away and exchange them for track shoes.



Date            Meet                                       City      Start     Teams
Feb. 25        TBD                                       TBD      3:00     VB, VG, JVB
Mar.  4        Colorado City Relays          C-City   3:00     VB, VG, JVB
Mar. 11        Blackland Divide Relays    Roscoe 2:30     VB, VG
Mar. 25       Lone Wolf Relays                C-City   3:00     VB, VG
Apr.  1         District 8-2A Meet               Roscoe 8:30     VB, VG, JVB
Apr. 12        Dist. 7-2A & 8-2A Meet      Wink     8:30    VB, VG
Apr. 23-4    Region 2A Meet                   Canyon 8:30    VB, VG
May 7-8      State 2A Meet                       Austin   TBA     VB, VG

VB = Varsity Plowboys   VG = Varsity Plowgirls   JVB = Junior Varsity Plowboys


Feb. 26    JH C-City Relays                    C-City  3:30      JHB, JHG
Mar. 2     JH Dragon Relays                  Bangs   3:30      JHB, JHG
Mar. 9     JH Blackland Divide Relays Roscoe 4:00     JHB, JHG
Mar. 26   JH Lone Wolf Relays             C-City  3:30      JHB, JHG
Apr.  3     JH 8-2A District Meet           Winters 8:30    JHB, JHG



Another week has gone by, and the numbers of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to fall almost everywhere in the country. Forty-four states are reporting declines and the other six have numbers that are mostly flat. Deaths continue to be high from people infected during the holiday peak, but even those numbers have now begun to decline. In the past two weeks the average daily deaths have fallen by 12%. States with the lowest infection rates are Hawaii, North Dakota, and Washington state. States with the highest infection rates are South Carolina, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Vaccinations are now being given at the rate of almost 1.5 million per day. The hope is to have at least half the population either vaccinated or immune because of past infection by July. The rollout continues to be chaotic in places, but for a project of a scale this size, that’s not surprising. A troublesome concern is the vaccine’s effectiveness against some of the new strains coming from overseas and now spreading in the US. We will have to wait and see how successful our vaccines are against them.

In Texas, the number of new cases and hospitalizations also continues to drop. Covid-19 hospitalizations have now fallen to fewer than 10,000 statewide, the first time that’s happened since before Christmas.  Unfortunately, the number of deaths remains high for people who were infected during the peak, but these also should drop in the near future.

Similar trends continue in the Big Country. The number of active cases in Taylor county is now 1,662, a substantial drop from last week’s 2052 and 2,502 two weeks ago. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in Abilene are now down to 39. Last week it was 58 and four weeks ago 127. Deaths have also fallen to 5 from last week’s 15 and 24 two weeks ago. There have now been 290 total Covid-19 deaths in Abilene hospitals.

In the Big Country’s 16-county trauma service area, the percentage of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients is also dropping. It has been below 15% since last Thursday, so bars have re-opened and restaurants increased their allowed capacity. By Monday it was down to 7.55%. The number of hospital staff in quarantine has also dropped to 15 from 19 last week and 44 two weeks ago. However, there are still no ICU beds available.

In our four-county area, the numbers are generally improving. Nolan County has dropped to 144 active cases from last week’s 217, and Fisher County has dropped to 2 active cases from 6 last week. Mitchell County now has just 4, the same as last week, and Scurry has an estimated 53 active cases up slightly from last week’s 47. Nolan County had 2 more deaths to bring its total to 29; Mitchell County and Fisher County had no deaths to remain at a total of 8 and 12 respectively. but Scurry County had 4 more deaths to bring its total to 56.

RCISD reports good news again this week with no active cases among students or staff.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals since the pandemic began as of yesterday (with last Tuesday in parentheses): Howard, 2,956 (2,929); Erath, 2,631 (2,525); Scurry, 2,445 (2,407); Jones, 2,044 (2,059); Brown, 1,824 (1,822); Nolan, 1,474 (1,462); Comanche, 992 (954); Eastland, 846 (794); Runnels, 753 (736); Mitchell, 571 (565); Callahan 570 (560); Coleman, 470 (463); Stephens, 418 (412); Fisher, 290 (287); Coke, 211 (209); Haskell, 193 (185); Knox, 170 (167); Shackelford, 123 (121); Throckmorton, 49 (46); Stonewall, 48 (48); Kent, 35 (35).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with last week in parentheses): Lubbock, 47,474 (47,020); Midland, 15,687 (15,687); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 14,226 (13,973); Ector (Odessa), 7,847 (7,101); Tom Green (San Angelo), 4,525 (4,480).

Texas now has had a total of 2,177,572 cases (2,106,729 last week), 322,929 active cases (367,152 last week) and 39,001 total deaths (36,870 last week).



Yesterday's fog.

If you think the weather was bad yesterday, you ain’t seen nothing yet! At least that’s the warning we’re getting from meteorologists as weather conditions deteriorate moving into the weekend.

The National Weather Service in San Angelo has issued a special weather statement that an air mass from the Arctic is on the way and will bring frigid temperatures and high winds to West Central Texas this weekend. Saturday’s high is forecast to be in the mid-20s with indications that it could be considerably colder with the low in single digits. Big Country highs on Sunday will be in the mid-teens and possibly even colder. Monday will also be very cold with warming not beginning until Tuesday.

The advisory warns that low temperatures and wind chills can cause frostbite, burst pipes, and cause harm to cold-sensitive livestock and pets left outside. People who must travel should check the forecast and take an extra blanket or two in case they get stranded by icy roads. Before the big chill hits this weekend, freezing drizzle and a wintry mix are possible, although accumulations may be light.

With that said, today’s high should be only around 34°F with a 30% chance of rain and freezing rain with winds from the north at 10-20mph. The chance of light, freezing drizzle or rain increases to 40% tonight. Tomorrow will be similar with light, freezing rain in the morning along with a sharp north breeze. Friday will be cloudy with a high of 39° before temperatures drop as the main storm moves in. Saturday’s high is currently predicted to be around 25°, Sunday’s 18°, and Monday’s 24°, all with strong northeast winds.

So, get prepared for some serious winter weather this weekend. It’s coming.



Patricia Nan Powell 82, of Roscoe passed away Thursday, February 4, at Sweetwater Healthcare.

Nan’s wishes were to be cremated and no services are planned at this time.



Private graveside services for Morris Leach, 77, of Odessa, were held at 3:00pm on Monday, February 8, in Odessa with Sunset Memorial Garden and Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. He passed away on Monday, February 1, after a brief illness.

He was born in Colorado City on February 16, 1943, to Floyd and Nell Leach. He grew up in Roscoe and was a former Plowboy and a member of the RHS class of 1962, He was a long-time employee of the state, starting with the Texas Department of Agriculture and retiring from the Texas Department of Transportation. He was proud of his service with the state and made some dear friends along the way.

Morris loved the Lord with all of his heart, and he wanted his family to know and understand how much Jesus loves us. He talked to us about his faith, but more than that, he lived it. He was always quick with a smile or a kind word, and he showed selfless love when his first wife, Margie, became ill. He spent endless days taking care of her and always did it with gentleness and love. He never complained. He loved her unconditionally, just as he's loved the rest of us.

We will miss him greatly but have peace in knowing he went home to Jesus and heard, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

He is preceded in death by his father, Floyd Leach; mother, Nell Leach, and first wife, Margie Leach, the former Marjorie Byars of Roscoe.

He is survived by his wife, Tana Leach; daughter, Marcy Dyer and husband Dennis and son Eric; sisters Karen Bechard and husband Paul, Janice Herrera and husband Carlos, sister-in-law, Sue Graves and husband Don; nieces, Heather Escobedo and husband Alex and her daughters Kristen and Devon; Aimee Dumans and husband Micheal and son Joey; Melanie Orona and husband Javier; Kerry Herrera and daughter Destiny; nephew, Tim McNurlen and wife Celeste and children Stephanie and Barron.

He is also survived by the bonus family he gained when he married Tana. He loved his bonus family dearly. His bonus daughter: Wende Ramos and husband Martin; bonus son, Bert Frost and wife Debbie; bonus grandchildren, Benjamin Ramos and wife Alexis, Dean Ramos; Rachel Ramos; Ashley Hampton and husband Micheal; Meaghin Villalobos and husband Joe. bonus great-grandchildren: Garland and William Ramos and Dillion and Samantha Hampton.

Memorial donations may be made to Oak Street Baptist Church in Colorado City  or a charity of your choosing.



Holy Mass of Christian Burial for Martina (Santiago) Quintana, 89, formerly of Roscoe, was held at 10am yesterday, February 9, at Holy Spirit Catholic Parish with Father Nilo Nalugon officiating. Burial followed at Roscoe Cemetery with arrangements directed by Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home. She passed away Sunday, February 7, at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital.

Martina was born on October 24, 1931, in Midland to Francisco and Maria (Delgado) Santiago.  She married Jose (Joe) Quintana on November 24, 1946, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Loraine.  She was a homemaker and a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Parish.  

She is survived by her children, Teresa Carrillo of Abilene, Daniel Quintana and companion Paddy Dickens of Burnet, and Alicia Tavarez of Snyder; grandchildren, David Quintana, Jennifer Carrillo, and Daniel Gutierrez; great-grandchildren, Ashley Quintana, Zachary Quintana, Cayden Quintana, Luke Quintana, Octavia Carrillo, Jaryn Talmadge, Jasyn Talmadge, and Arianna Padilla; great-great-grandchildren, Esme Alonzo, Jayden Alonzo, Braiden Gutierrez,  Makayla Gutierrez, and Caitlin Terry; sister, Carmen Herrera of Coahoma, and several nieces and nephews.  

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jose (Joe) Quintana; parents, Francisco and Maria Santiago; brothers, Ralph Santiago, Vincente Santiago, Manuel Santiago, and Raymond Santiago; and sister, Cecilia Quintana.  

Pallbearers were David Quintana, Daniel Gutierrez, Zachary Quintana, Jaryn Talmadge, Jasyn Talmadge, and Luke Quintana.  


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Plowgirls Fall to Colorado City in Overtime

Shauna McCambridge shoots a free throw.

They were so close. With less than two minutes to go in Friday’s game in Colorado City, the Plowgirls had the 8-1 district champs on the ropes with a four-point lead, and all they needed was the knockout blow to win the game.

Unfortunately, it never came. The Lady Wolves narrowed the lead to two and with only six seconds to go called a time out. When play resumed, they somehow managed to make a layup at the buzzer to tie the game 35-35. That sent it into overtime, where they went on to outscore the Plowgirls and win their ninth out of ten district games.

That was a tough way to end the regular season for the Plowgirls. On the positive side, however, they now know that they are good enough to beat our district champs and can carry that confidence into the playoffs. Here’s hoping they do well there!

Shauna McCambridge and Carson Greenwood led the Plowgirl scoring with 11 points each, followed by Kaidy Ornelas with 8, Cameron Greenwood with 4, and Kirsten Welch with 3. McCambridge also had a great defensive game with 23 rebounds along with a couple of blocked shots. Ornelas had 6 rebounds, Mia Lavalais 3, Carson 3, Cameron 1, and Jacey Rodriquez 1.

Scoring by quarters:
                           1           2           3           4         OT        F
Colorado          6          11          8          10        12        47
Plowgirls          4          10         11         10         2         37

The Plowgirls now have a week before playoffs begin, and to keep in practice they scheduled a scrimmage yesterday evening with Colorado City, and on Friday they will go to Sterling City for a practice game with the Lady Eagles that starts at 8:00pm.

Their playoff opponent has not yet been determined, but possibilities are Ozona, McCamey, Eldorado, and Wink. The game is scheduled to be in Sterling City on Friday, February 12, with tipoff at 7:00pm.



Plowgirl basketball star Shauna McCambridge was selected on Thursday as the KTXS Big Country Student Athlete of the Week. The video and a short photo gallery are available on the KTXS website available here.



People interested in running for the school board in this year’s election must submit their applications by February 12. Applications are available at the RCISD office on 7th and Ash, or they may be downloaded from the school website here, which also includes more School Board information.

This year, there are three four-year term places open. The election will be held Saturday, May 1, at the RCHS School Cafetorium.



The documentary film about cutting horses, which was previewed in a video that ran in the Hard Times last year, has now been completed. Entitled The Cut, its central figure is Roscoe’s “legendary horseman and rancher Buster Welch,” now 92. In the film, Welch provides perspective and insight from his lifetime as a rancher, trainer, and rider of championship cutting horses.

An article, “Shaping the Herd,” about the making of the film is in the latest issue of Western Horseman magazine. For more information, click here.



The Plowboys lost two more district games this week, one to Colorado City Friday and the other to Coleman last night.

The Wolves defeated the Plowboys 82-21 in Colorado City. Individual scoring by the Plowboys was led by Antonio Aguayo with 7 points, followed by Seth Wilcox with 5, Jax Watts with 4, Jake Gonzalez 2, Richie Solis 2, and Lupe Leaños with 1.  

Scoring by quarters:
                            1           2          3         4          T
Colorado          23        10        28        16        82
Plowboys          4           7          3           7         21

The Bluecats beat the Plowboys in Coleman 68-26 yesterday evening. Individual scoring by the Plowboys was led by Aguayo with 14 points, followed by Raney with 5, Jordan 3, and Watts 3.

Scoring by quarters:
                              1         2         3          4          T
Coleman            20       22       18        8         68
Plowboys            6        10         2         8         26

The Plowboys complete their basketball season with Miles in Miles on Friday.



The trend of the last couple of weeks continues as new cases and hospitalizations fall from their holiday peak. However, deaths remain high, but the falling numbers of new cases indicate they too should begin to fall soon. The decrease is cause for optimism as is the increasing availability of vaccines. However, some of the new strains of Covid-19 in Africa and Britain may make the current vaccines less effective.

In the US, the number of new daily cases has fallen almost 30% from a little over 200,000 two weeks ago to 140,000 on Monday. Numbers are declining in 47 of the 50 states, and the other three were basically flat. About 1.3 million people per day are now getting vaccinated, but still fewer than 2% of the population have completed both shots. Hardest hit states are Rhode Island, Alabama, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington. 

In Texas, the good news is that the number of hospitalizations continues to drop after the record highs in January. The number of new cases, however, is about the same as a week ago, in fact, slightly higher. The number of new deaths, though, is also down a little with only 48 new deaths statewide being reported Monday. Hardest-hit counties are along the border near Laredo.

Similar trends are continuing in the Big Country. The number of active cases in Taylor county is now 2,052, a substantial drop from last week’s 2,502, and the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has dropped to 58 from last week’s 84. Still, the number of Covid-19 deaths remains high with 15 this past week, but even that is a significant drop from last week’s 24.  There have now been 285 total Covid-19 deaths in Abilene hospitals.

In the Big Country’s 16-county trauma service area, the percentage of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients is also dropping. Last week, it was 16.4% but yesterday only 12.04%, the fifth day in a row that it has been under 15%. If it stays below 15% today and tomorrow, it will have been below for a week, the threshold for allowing bars to re-open and restaurants to increase their seating capacity. The number of hospital staff in quarantine has also dropped to 19 from 44 last week.

In our four-county area, the numbers are also improving. Nolan County has dropped to 217 active cases from last week’s 262, and Fisher County has dropped to 6 active cases from 12 last week. Mitchell County now has just 4, down from last week’s 21, and Scurry is down to 43 active cases from last week’s 51. Nolan County had 1 more death to bring its total to 27; Mitchell County also had 1 death for a total of 8. Fisher had 2 more deaths for a total now of 12, and Scurry had 3 more deaths to bring its total to 52.

RCISD reports good news again this week with no active cases among students or staff. In fact, Provost Andy Wilson reports that the school has had to test only 8 people since returning to school, and only one of those (in early January) was positive.

Here are the Big Country’s county totals since the pandemic began as of yesterday (with last Tuesday in parentheses): Howard, 2,929 (2,766); Erath, 2,525 (2,454); Scurry, 2,407 (2,350); Jones, 2,059 (2,053); Brown, 1,822 (1,750); Nolan, 1,462 (1,447); Comanche, 954 (932); Eastland, 794 (759); Runnels, 736 (717); Mitchell, 565 (552); Callahan 560 (538); Coleman, 463 (454); Stephens, 412 (415); Fisher, 287 (276); Coke, 209 (235); Haskell, 185 (179); Knox, 167(152); Shackelford, 121 (116); Stonewall, 48 (48); Throckmorton, 46 (45); Kent, 35 (34).
Selected west Texas counties yesterday (with last week in parentheses): Lubbock, 47,020 (46,329); Midland, 15,687 (15,197); Wichita (Wichita Falls), 13,973 (13,687); Ector (Odessa), 7,101 (6,929); Tom Green (San Angelo), 4,480 (4,440).

Texas now has had a total of 2,106,729 cases (1,998,063 last week), 367,152 active cases (376,862 last week) and 36,870 total deaths (34,701 last week).



Punxsatawney Phil
Groundhog Day was yesterday, and up in Pennsylvania, the legendary groundhog, Punxsatawney Phil, saw his shadow when the sun came up, which according to the lore means six more weeks of winter—at least for Pennsylvania.

Bee Caves Bob

Here in Texas, Groundhog Day is usually Armadillo Day instead with Austin armadillo Bee Caves Bob doing the honors of making the prediction. But not this year. For the first time in years, he made no forecast. Bee Caves Bob’s little party was just the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic as the sponsors thought it better not to hold the ceremony this time around.

I know of no groundhogs or armadillos making predictions about how soon spring will arrive in west Texas, but, just for the record, if there had been some critter looking for its shadow when the sun came up yesterday morning, it sure would have found it. There were some clouds in the east but not enough to block the rising sun, so if seeing your shadow at sunrise on February 2 foretells six more weeks of winter, then that’s what we’ll have.

On the other hand, that’s not what the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting for this part of the world, as its weather maps indicate for the next three months:

The map on the left is the precipitation prediction for February, March, and April. Brown means below normal, and the darkness of the shade indicates its intensity. So, far west Texas, southern New Mexico, Arizona, and California should be the most below normal, while our area, the Texas Panhandle, northern New Mexico, and Arizona will also be below but not quite as much below as the darker area. On the same map, the shades of green indicate predictions for above normal precipitation, and the white area indicates equal chances for above or below normal.

The map on the right is the three-month outlook for temperature. The outlook for the entire southern half of the country, including us, is for temperatures well above the normal average. If that’s the case, then winter should be over pretty quickly for all but the northwestern part of the country, despite the groundhog seeing his shadow at sunup yesterday.

So, who will be right—the critters or the meteorologists? Time will tell.



Sunrise yesterday on Groundhog Day.

The past week was characterized by mild temperatures, partly cloudy skies, strong winds on the weekend, and an absence of any precipitation. North wind kept the temperatures down on Wednesday and Thursday, which had highs of 47° and 55° respectively, but the temperatures rose with strong south and southwest winds on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday, the sky was red from all the dust in the air. Highs were 64° on Friday, 65° Saturday, and 59° Sunday. Monday was nice with a high of 62° and only a light wind. Yesterday was beautiful with sunny skies and a high of 71°.

Since Thursday, there have been no days in which the low fell below freezing, and there has been no precipitation.

The forecast is for a springlike 80° this afternoon along with partly cloudy skies and a strong southwest wind. Tomorrow the wind will shift to the northwest but still be strong with sustained winds of 20mph. The high will be around 69° with the low falling into the mid-thirties. Friday will be sunny with a high of 64°, and Saturday’s high will be 59° with a stiff north breeze. The low will drop below freezing down to 28°. Sunday will be pretty much the same with a high of 55° and a low of 35°.

There is no precipitation in the forecast.



Holy Mass of Christian burial was held for Teddy Lynn Vrubel, 63, of Sweetwater and Roscoe area, at 10:00am on Friday, January 29, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with Father Nilo Nalugon officiating. Interment followed at Roscoe Cemetery. He passed away Tuesday, January 26, at his home.

Teddy was born on August 27, 1957, in Littlefield to parents Joe and Mable Vrubel. He attended and graduated Highland High School in 1977. He worked for National Rail Car and Crane Services. He loved old cars and listening to old classic music and spending time with his grandchildren.

Teddy was survived by his wife, Alicia Vrubel; sons, Christopher Ramirez and fiancée Marina Ortega of Sweetwater, Kyle Hernandez of Sweetwater; daughters, Corey Vrubel and boyfriend Harold Perrigo of Sweetwater, Kelsi Vrubel of Sweetwater; grandchildren, Elijah Martinez, Evan Ortega, Connor West, Maevali Duran, Avaya Resendiz, Kolden Vrubel-Perrigo; sister, Kathy Bollinger and husband Todd of Roscoe; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.  

He was preceded in death by his parents, stepdad Harry Jenkins; Mable Jenkins; aunt, Rosie Vasak and husband Joe; nephew, Kenny Jenkins; cousin, Gary Hodges.

Pallbearers were Kyle Hernandez, Chris Ramirez, Dominique Hernandez, Jeffery Wemken, Harold Perrigo, Steve Hernandez. Honorary pallbearers were Lewis Muñoz and Jesse Hernandez.



Editor's note: Roscoe is a member of Texas Rural Funders, which promotes rural broadband for Texas. This is their press release.

AUSTIN, TX - Texas Rural Funders just released Broadband Stories from Rural Texas, a report that examines the impact of rural Texans’ lack of broadband access and how local communities are responding to the challenges they face.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposes gaps across health care, technology, education, working from home, and all aspects of our everyday lives,” said Dr. Wynn Rosser, President, T.L.L, Foundation and a member of Texas Rural Funder

“For rural communities trying to access high-speed Internet, these broadband gaps are not cracks but canyons. Texas Rural Funders is shining a light on the progress being made in local communities and the need for a statewide broadband plan to address access and equity,” Dr. Rosser added.

In this latest edition of the report, Texas Rural Funders finds that rural Texans are the state’s most disconnected residents:

●      Texas is one of only six states without a statewide broadband plan.
●      Texas is 35th in broadband adoption among U.S. states
●      90% of Texans who are disconnected are in rural areas.

The report includes a compilation of real-world examples from Bastrop, Jasper, Ward, and Walker counties of how lack of broadband access impacts rural communities all across Texas and the extraordinary efforts of those communities to respond to the challenge.

“We’re bringing the overlooked needs of rural Texans to the forefront of ongoing policy discussions,” said Dr. Rosser. “As only one of six states without a statewide broadband plan, it’s time for Texas to get everyone connected.”

Rosser noted that an independent analysis by the 12-county Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) shows that rural East Texans pay 400% more per megabit for broadband service that is less reliable and lower-speed than residents of Dallas-Fort Worth. The same analysis shows that there are significant economic gains to be realized by expanding affordable access to broadband, projecting an economic impact across the East Texas counties of more than 10,000 new jobs and $1.4 billion in added GDP over a 10-year period.

“Texas families and businesses can not only survive but thrive if connectivity improves,” added Dr. Rosser..
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About Texas Rural Funders
Texas Rural Funders is a coalition of funding organizations that believe the future of Texas depends on strong, successful rural communities. We are dedicated to working with rural communities to develop and implement solutions to their unique challenges. Learn more at

About Digital Texas
Digital Texas is a statewide coalition of advocates, employers, and non-profit organizations working to improve digital connectivity access for all Texans. To accomplish this, Digital Texas seeks to engage with private industry, nonprofit leaders, the public, and legislators. For more information, visit

Copyright © 2021 Texas Rural Funders, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Texas Rural Funders
1606 San Antonio St.
Austin, TX 78701



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