News

Thu
20
Jun
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Stonewall battles road damage with little relief

Stonewall County Road Superintendent Don Nail was at a loss last week, informing commissioners that although numerous resources have been working on County Road 460, the continued rainfall has slowed progress.

A storm brought around five inches of rain during a single evening late last month, which sent a cascade of water down the ravine to the north, and washed out County Road 460, just inside the Stonewall County line northeast of Rotan. As the water carved its way through the road, it also broke a city water line that ran beneath.

Rotan Public Works Director Rodney Denton said on his way to shut the line off he had to drive through water up to the bowtie on his grill due to the heavy downfall. He said grass and debris collected around his engine, which later caught fire and burned the wiring harness.

Thu
20
Jun
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Rotan native Jacob Cox hired as Rotan ISD principal

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Pictured: Jacob Cox with wife Miranda and daughters Hanna and McKenna Cox

In a special-called meeting Monday night, the Rotan ISD Board of Trustees hired Jacob Cox as secondary campus principal, extending a one-year administrative probationary contract. The district also filled its final coaches position, as Gordon Thomas was also offered a dual assignment contract for teacher/coach.

The trustees have been looking to fill the vacancy since Principal Brad Hayhurst tendered his resignation last month. Superintendent Greg Decker expressed concerns about challenges the district has faced in the past with finding qualified administrators.

Decker proposed combining the superintendent’s office with the secondary principal’s and assuming the duties of both positions in a special meeting at the end of May. He said given the size of the campuses and the low student population, he felt a single administrator could serve in both functions and save the district a considerable amount of money.

Thu
20
Jun
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City of Aspermont's battle with Mosquitos

While the city outsourced mosquito spraying services earlier this month, City Administrator Lorenzo Calamaco informed to council members Tuesday, it was at a substantial cost. He explained future plans to see to the needs of local residents while working toward a long-term solution and reducing cost.

As storms continue to bring inches of rain at a time to the region, standing water and high vegetation is creating heightened mosquito populations. Although the decision to hire a professional pest control company to spray areas of the community was a good first step, continuing to contract the service would be far too expensive.

The city was hoping to gain a qualified employee to perform the function, but the individual was unable to acquire the necessary applicator certification.

However, Calamaco informed the council that he reached an agreement with a certified applicator at the City of Rule.

Fri
14
Jun
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Roby CISD considers possible bond for facility upgrades

In a meeting that lasted nearly four hours Monday night, the Roby Board of Trustees were given an assessment of the school’s current facilities, presented with multiple plans for potential district upgrades, and informed of how a successful May bond election could fund the project with a lower tax impact than previously anticipated.

Robb Sidebottom with Gallagher Construction Services and John Blackburn with Live Oak Public Finance LLC gave a series of presentations covering an overview of the what, the why, and the how the school district can capitalize on its unique position. Blackburn spoke to the board back in late 2018 regarding wind energy, the district’s Chapter 313 agreement, and how a possible bond could affect the future.

Fri
14
Jun
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Active Shooter drill in Aspermont

The City of Aspermont and Stonewall County facilities will be the epicenter for a countywide disaster drill on Friday, June 14, beginning around 4 p.m. Officials want to remind members of the public that while the situation is only a simulation, with multiple agencies and resources involved, the scenario will seem quite real, and coordinators hope to avoid public concern.

This is the second disaster drill the county has held that included multiple agencies and jurisdictions. Although, most governmental entities conduct similar drills on a smaller scale, in prior years, a number of reallife situations that occurred, which required the cooperation of a wider multitude of resources.

Fri
14
Jun
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Rotan board accepts resignations and takes no action on dress code

The Rotan ISD met in regular session Monday night, where trustees accepted the resignations of Principal Brad Hayhurst and administrative assistant Liz Hayhurst, as well as Technology Director Bruce Martin. While there was some dialogue that took place regarding aspects of the Student Handbook, no action was taken.

Principal Hayhurst’s resignation came as no surprise to the trustees, as Superintendent Greg Decker informed the board of Hayhurst’s forthcoming departure during a special called meeting last month. Decker proposed the idea of combining the superintendent’s position with that of the secondary principal with the idea of streamlining the administration and saving the district money.

Fri
07
Jun
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Fisher County Hospital has a turnaround year

Deborah Whitley from BKD — CPA an advisory group for the hospital — presented the board with the 2018 financial report Monday, reporting that tough decisions paid off with the hospital breaking even by year’s end.

With financial reports showing an anticipated a $956,000 loss coming into the audit, Whitley said after adjustments were made due to third-party settlements — one of which was for $875,000 alone — the auditors reported a breakeven financial year. Although the administration was expecting a significant hit, the hospital ended the year with about $15,000 in losses.

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Fri
07
Jun
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Employee’s dog shot at Stonewall Memorial

Law enforcement was called out to the Stonewall Memorial Hospital last Friday after receiving reports of an aggressive dog being shot and killed in the facility’s parking lot. Conflicting stories with eyewitness accounts led officers to conduct an investigation into the matter, which is still ongoing at this time.

Friday morning, Bella, a one-and-a-half-year-old, blue healer mix followed her owner to work at Stonewall Memorial Hospital. The dog’s owner, Tessa Gardner, an LVN at the facility, said she was planning to return the dog to her home during the lunch break.

Over the course of the morning, Bella came in contact with a brood of bandy chickens on a lot adjacent to the hospital’s maintenance buildings. At least one chicken was killed, and Bella was observed returning to the parking lot with the dead animal.

Fri
07
Jun
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Fisher County increases it's bottom line

Rick Rodgers from James E. Rodgers & Co. presented Fisher County’s annual financial report during last week’s commissioners meeting, where calculations through the end of September showed a near $600,000 increase to the general fund.

“The county had a very good, positive year last year,” was one of the first things Rodgers had to tell the commissioners last week. Despite the challenging financial environment counties are facing all across the state, Fisher County raised over a halfmillion in fund balance. “And that is a positive thing,” said Rodgers, reporting an increase from $2 million to $2.59 million.

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Fri
07
Jun
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Mud flies over the weekend at the Red Dirt Mud Bog

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"Clifford", driven by Rotan's Smallwood brothers, tears through the mudbog. Photo By: Mark Martinez

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A group of Mud Bog winners modeled their custom made trophies from last weekend's Red Dirt Mud bog. (Photos by Mark Martinez)

The ground shook once again in Rotan last Saturday, as the Red Dirt Mud Bog once again pitted man and machine against West Texas Mud to the tune of high-powered engines unleashing hundreds of horses.

It has become an annual event in recent years, pulling in competitors from hundreds of miles away. However this year, the mud bog was at the center of some controversy that was only worked out days before last weekend’s event.

Although the Fisher County Chamber of Commerce has co-sponsored the mud bog since it relocated to the Sheriff’s Posse...

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