News

Fri
02
Aug
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Fisher County Masons donate to local organizations

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Freddy Rasberry, Carter Edmondson, and Norman Matthies

The Fisher County Masonic Lodge recently gave out contribution checks to a number of organizations in the county. Worshipful Master Kim Pease said it was the most money the lodge has been able to donate at one time.

Although the Masons assist several local community groups throughout the county in a numerous ways, each year, the lodge donates funds raised through fundraising efforts. Much of those funds are generated through the sale of raffle tickets for a Henry .22 rifle.

Lodge members sell tickets for the raffle at the annual Rattlesnake Roundup held annually in Sweetwater. This year was exceptionally good for the organization, and the raffle raised more money than in years past, providing the opportunity for the lodge to donate $2,000 this year.

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Fri
02
Aug
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Fisher County Hospital reacts to Hamlin Hospital closure

On the heels of the Hamlin hospital’s announcement it would close its doors at the end of July, Fisher County Hospital CEO Leanne Martinez discussed with the board last week about promoting the Fisher County facility to community members.

As ongoing changes continue to ripple through the healthcare industry and more and more hospitals are being forced to close their doors, Martinez said the news the Hamlin hospital would also soon close hits close to home. She went on to explain to the board how she thought it would be a good time to reach out to community members about how important it is to keep the FCH open for business.

Martinez explained that it’s more than just the jobs the hospital brings to Fisher County; it is about the services the facility extends to the community. She said that it is easy to take the hospital for granted because it is an institution that has always been in the community.

Fri
02
Aug
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Stonewall Hospital nursing home construction over budget $400K

As the nursing home construction project more than two years in the making nears completion, due to numerous obstacles, setbacks, and delays, Stonewall hospital administrators are projecting a $400,000 shortfall in the $4.13 million budget set last year.

Built in 1974 and opened in 1976, the hospital district’s board and administration began looking to replace the aging nursing home facility over two years ago. The district acquisitioned almost 10.5 acres north of the current hospital to construct a new building in April 2017.

SMH was able to gain the Attorney General’s approval for a $4 million bond, due to the hospital district’s solid financial status. This allowed the board to finance the construction without any additional burden to the taxpayers, as the district would repay the bond purely out of pocket.

Contractors officially broke ground last July on what was anticipated to be an estimated 12-month construction project.

Fri
26
Jul
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No arrest in shooting death of Roby man

Early Tuesday Morning, the Fisher County Sherriff’s Department responded to a trespassing call that ended with a Roby man losing his life in a shooting.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 23, the Fisher County Sheriff's office received a call about an unwanted individual who was trespassing at a Roby residence and refused to leave. A deputy responded to the home but the suspect, Hector Castillo from Roby, had fled the scene.

Deputies began a search the neighborhood. Castillo returned to the home and confronted a resident outside the home’s back door. During the confrontation, the suspect suffered a gunshot wound to the upper torso.

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Fri
26
Jul
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Holiday Celebrations lead to vandalism at Stonewall County Airport

Stonewall County Judge Ronnie Moorhead told commissioners Monday that based on evidence left at the county airport, he believes after shooting off fireworks in the parking lot, perpetrators came through the gate and destroyed a number of airstrip lamps, scattering broken glass across the runway.

With spring months bringing higher amounts of rainfall than seen in years, between water-damaged roads and rapidly growing vegetation requiring almost continuous mowing, county vehicles have taken a toll. As some repairs have been costly, commissioners approved applying herbicide to the high growth at the county’s airport.

Moorhead told the court that he recently went out to check the results from the spraying, and while he thinks they should probably cut the vegetation away from the runway and taxiways, as some weeds have grown up high enough to brush aircraft wings. However, Moorhead said his immediate concern was the damage he discovered at the facility.

Fri
26
Jul
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City of Roby continues to address dilapidated structures

In the continuation of the efforts started over a year ago to address dilapidated buildings and homes in Roby, the city council approved the order to demolish two structures in upcoming weeks.

City Manager Jack Brown explained that once the council approves the order, it would be forwarded to the attorney along with the council’s decision to remove, repair, or demolish a structure, who in turn, will notify the property owner of the order's execution date. In this case, each of the two properties is to be demolished.

Last year the Roby City Council entered into an agreement with the Texas Community Group, LLC (TCG), who has been working with the city to provide code enforcement services. The tax form has a great powerful tool for tax foreclosure, but with many properties, nothing has happened in those tax sales.

Fri
19
Jul
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Representative Drew Springer hosts townhall meeting in Stonewall

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Texas Congressman Drew Springer passed through Aspermont the week, speaking to local citizens on topics ranging from immigration to EMS and air evacuation services to changes in agricultural education. Springer even took time to field a few questions from the audience about civic responsibility and anticipated changes with Texas voting procedures. Springer assured citizens he would be returning to the area this next fall.

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Fri
19
Jul
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Tensions escalate between Rotan ISD trustees and administrators

While changes to teacher salary schedules have become a hot-button topic as the effect of House Bill 3 ripple across the state, it was deciding upon a superintendent evaluation tool that caused debates to escalate between board members and administrators Monday night. Lines were drawn and accusations made in open session, and opinions were vigorously expressed once the board convened behind closed doors as raised voices spilled into the otherwise quiet corridors of the Rotan ISD Administration Building.

Monday night’s meeting began like many other straightforward meetings, even though trustees, Hunter Helms and Rodney Denton were absent. The board reviewed reports on cash flows, investments, taxes, etc. Business continued as the board approved the student and faculty handbooks and codes of conduct, which had minimal changes.

Fri
19
Jul
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Aspermont man indicated for shooting dog

The Stonewall County Grand Jury met last Wednesday, July 13, where they indicted Cody Hicks on the charge of Cruelty to Non-livestock Animals — a third-degree felony—regarding the shooting death of a dog in the parking lot of Stonewall Memorial Hospital.

A subsequent warrant was issued, and the Stonewall County Sheriff’s Department arrested Hicks at his residence on Thursday, July 11. Hicks commended the deputies and law enforcement staff on the professional manner they carried out the procedure.

Bail was set at $5,000, which was covered by legal representation upon his arrest, and Hicks was released. Hicks is a member of US & Texas LawShield, a multi-faceted organization based out of Houston that specializes in legal defense for self-defense.

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Fri
12
Jul
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Stonewall officials learn reasons for millions lost in appraised values

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Stonewall Commissioners listen as Prichard and Abbott reps try to explain the million dollar drop in values for Stonewall County.

Doug Sahli with Prichard & Abbot Inc. — a property valuation firm out of Amarillo that works with the county appraisal district — explained to Stonewall County officials the almost $21 million drop in property values from the initial preliminary figures to those anticipated to be later this month.

Stonewall County Judge Ronnie Moorhead explained how the court has been in a quandary lately regarding the county budget, especially after the bottom seemed to have dropped out of the anticipated property values in the county. He explained that while the county typically anticipates some decrease, as last year the county saw about a $1.6 million drop in values compared to the $20.8 million drop in values expected this year.

Moorhead said the county started preparing the budget, anticipating a revenue increase from taxes based on preliminary values, “and then all of a sudden, we are looking at a $21 million reduction from what [county officials] were assuming.”

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