Archive for June, 2013

Bob Durham

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Bob Durham, 76, died Friday, June 28, 2013 in Hamilton, Ill.

Mr. Durham was born on Nov. 16, 1936 to Edith and Lee Durham. He was a graduate of Panhandle High School.

No services have been planned.

Reverend Joseph Alvis Cooley

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Reverend Joseph Alvis Cooley went to be with our Lord and Savior, June 26, 2013.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Margilee (Ryan) Cooley; two daughters, Ruth (Cooley) Phillips and husband Dennis Phillips and Reba (Cooley) Hilgers and husband John Hilgers; seven grandchildren and eight almost nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Romelus Hays Cooley and Madie Victoria (Jones) Cooley and nine siblings and their spouses.

Reverend Cooley served in the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church for over 40 years. He served churches in Tuscola, Lubbock, White Deer, Rotan, Merkel, Panhandle, Denver City, Sweetwater, Lamesa, Seymour and Abilene. He loved to tell stories of his Lord and Savior. He never saw a stranger and loved to talk and joke with anyone. He loved his family andhis grandkids brought a smile even to the end.

At the time of his death, Rev. Cooley was living at Regent Care Center in San Marcos, Texas. He and Margilee moved to the San Marcos area in 1997 to be closer to their daughters and their families.

Visitation will be Tuesday, July 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Pennington Funeral Home, 323 N. Comanche, San Marcos 78666. Services will be Wednesday, July 3 at 2:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 129 W. Hutchison St., in San Marcos. Interment will follow at Memory Lawn Memorial Park, Hwy 80, San Marcos.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent to the First United Methodist Church Foundation Fund, 129 W. Hutchison St., San Marcos, TX 78666

Celeste Bichsel Installed As Secretary

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

celeste-1The County and District Clerks’ Association held its 118th Annual Conference in San Antonio last week. The Conference was hosted by the Honorable Donna Kay McKinney, District Clerk of Bexar County and the Honorable Gerard Rickhoff, County Clerk of Bexar County. The Conference is held every June and offers the County Clerks an opportunity to earn continuing education units. The Association also elects new officers during the Conference.

Every fifth year, one of the Combination Clerks may run for the Office of Secretary. There are only 65 out of approximately 430 Clerks in the State of Texas that are Combination Clerks. A Combination Clerk serves as the County and the District Clerk in a county with a population fewer than 8,000.

On June 17, Celeste Bichsel was nominated as Secretary on the floor by the Honorable Becky Groneman, County District Clerk of Oldham County. On June 19 at the Annual Banquet, the Honorable Sheri Woodfin, President of the Association and District Clerk of Tom Green County, witnessed the Oath of Office of Mrs. Bichsel. She has served as Carson County Clerk and District Clerk since 2003 and has been employed in the Carson County Clerk’s Office since 1994.

Accepting the position requires a five year commitment to the Association. Mrs. Bichsel will serve on the Executive Board as Secretary 2013-2014. She also served on the Legislative Committee from 2009-2010. The Honorable Heather Hawthrone, County Clerk of Chambers County, was sworn in as Treasurer, the Honorable Diane Hoefling, District Clerk of Moore County, was sworn in as Vice President, and the Honorable Teresa Keil, County Clerk of Guadelupe County was sworn in as President of the Association.

“If no Combination Clerk took on this responsibility, the opportunity to run would pass to a District Clerk. I want to represent our County and other small counties in the state on the Board and bring our prospective to the table,” said Mrs. Bichsel.

Robert Earl Parker

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Robert Earl Parker 1931-2013

Robert Earl Parker

Robert Earl Parker of Amarillo passed away on Sunday, June 23, 2013.

A Memorial Service was held on Wednesday, June 26, at Grace Church of Amarillo.

Bob was born in Bastrop, La. on Aug. 14, 1931 and was preceded in death by his mother, Essie Rebecca Cantwell Parker; his father, O.J. Parker Sr.; his brother, O.J. Parker, Jr.; and his granddaughter, Kelli Renee Seal.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ruth Wilkinson Parker along with his three children and their families, Bobby and his wife Anne, Becky Seal and her husband Bing, and Patti Parker. Bob was grandfather to five surviving grandchildren including Matthew Parker, Melissa Parker Edwards, Kenneth Seal, Lyndi Williams and Clinton Williams. He was also survived by one great grandson, Bryce Hilton Edwards.

Bob held a Master’s degree in Education and in his earlier work life, he was a successful coach and educator in several Louisiana and Mississippi high schools. After entering the sports equipment business, Bob relocated to the Texas panhandle. In 1979, he entered full time ministry, received a Doctorate in Theology and pursued his passion of equipping Christians for life in a secular world.

In addition to his ministry work, Bob was an accomplished musician and enjoyed playing piano with his friends and family. He loved sports, particularly football.

Over the past 30 plus years, Bob was pastor of Amarillo’s Village Park Church, authored several Christian books and teaching aids, and ministered in area prisons.

After retirement, Bob continued to be active in service at Grace Church. Throughout his life, he touched the lives of many and will be greatly missed. Bob was true and faithful in proclaiming the good news of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s honor should be made to Grace Church.

County-Wide Burn Ban Expires

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Carson County Commissioners did not take action on the expired county-wide burn ban at its June 24 meeting. The motion passed stated that (the County would) “not take action but to reconsider the burn ban on July 8 during the next general session of the Commissioners Court.”

Recent rains throughout Carson County have greened the area and decreased the fire index. Some areas of the county received general rain with some gauges showing more than the 2.4 inches of rain inside the city limits of Panhandle.

Judge Lewis Powers, Commissioners Mike Britten, James Martin and Mike Jennings were present for the July 24 meeting with Commissioner Kevin Howell absent.

No one appeared for citizens comments.

The minutes of the June 10, 2013 meeting were reviewed and approved as well as all claims, invoices and commissary.

Tax Assessor/Collector Jackie Moore reported that as of May 31, 2013 a total of 98.08% of current taxes has been collected. Commissioners took no action.

County and District Clerk Celeste Bichsel asked the Court to approve a new contract with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Licensing and allow her to sign the agreement. The agreement allows the Clerk’s Office to issue Hunt and Fishing Licenses. Commissioner Jennings moved to approve the new contract and allow Mrs. Bichsel to sign the agreement; with the Court in agreement the motion passed.

Sheriff Loren Brand told the Court that the Sheriff’s Department has accepted the resignations of Melissa Spencer and Amber Fuqua. He has hired three new officers. Sheriff Brand said that Terry Atchley was hired as Deputy Sheriff and asked that his salary be set at $34,797; and Christina Johnson and Kim Thomas were hired as Jailer/Dispatchers. Brand asked that both Jailer/Dispatchers’ salary be set at $25,887. Brand so told Commissioners that he promoted Zach Majors and asked that his salary be set at $27,958. Commissioner Martin moved to approve the requests. The motion carried.

Sheriff Brand talked to the Court about some ideas on how to secure the Justice of the Peace Offices in Groom, the County Attorney’s Office and the County Courthouse. Approximately $150,000 are currently in the Courthouse Security Fund which are collected on cases filed in the Clerk’s and JP offices and by law can only be used for Courthouse security. The funds may only be used for security within the Courthouse as in security equipment or officer’s salary. Brand said that there is a need to get the equipment installed first because of the type of offenders and returning offenders who are back in Court and being transported to prison. A proposal has been prepared by Ricoh and Brand said that he would like the court to view the presentation. No action was taken by the Court.

Following the discussion of the expired burn ban, the Court adjorned.

Carson County Sheriff’s Report

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

By Loren Brand, Carson County Sheriff

Spring and summer bring several things to Carson County. We get rattlesnakes and traveling “gypsy” contractors. Both can leave you with regrets.

The Better Business Bureau provides the following information to avoid getting “bit” by the contractors:

It happens often, a knock on the door and a contractor who just happened to be a few doors down or a street over notices you may need work done or repairs. The BBB urges consumers to ask for local references and verify that the contractor is in compliance with all local licensing, bonding and insuring requirements. Ask for identification and note the license plate number on the contractor’s vehicle. Solicit two or three different bids for the work you are planning but don't automatically accept the lowest offer. Make sure all bids are based on the same set of specifications and materials. As with any business transaction, be sure to read all agreements and guarantees before signing. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you understand all terms and conditions.

Make sure all oral promises are put into writing. Be wary of vaguely worded provisions, exclusions or limitations which could pose a problem later. Never sign a contract with sections left blank. When you choose a paving contractor, do not pay for the work in advance. Pay by check when the work is completed to your satisfaction.

The Federal Trade Commission's Three Day Cooling Off Rule gives you three (3) business days to cancel your contract with a full refund.

The contractor must give you a separate cancellation form with your contract. Be sure the contract has the date of sale recorded on it. To cancel the sale, sign and date the cancellation form and mail it so that you are sure it reaches the address given on it for cancellation by midnight of the third business day after the date of the sale.

When in doubt, call us at (806) 537-3511.

Local High Plains All Star Team Advances To State Tournament

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

High Plains West All Stars of Panhandle

High Plains West All Stars of Panhandle

By Ann Metcalf

The High Plains West 10 and under All-Stars, composed of all Panhandle players are state-bound. In a qualifying tournament held in Plainview last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the little All Stars lost to Plainview 10 year olds 11-1, and then defeated Dumas 10-4, therefore facing Plainview again. Plainview won the second game against the High Plains West team 18-0. The State Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken Division, Tournament will begin July 6, 2013 in Muleshoe, Texas. In the first game, the High Plains All Stars played good defense behind the pitching of Wyatt Conway, but could not get the bats going. Tyler Whitt caught two fly balls in left field and Wes Jones caught two flies playing short stop.

Panhandle/High Plains West (HPW) won the coin toss for the second game and Dumas batted first. The first batter grounded out to Jones, the pitcher, who threw to Conway at first base. The second batter got on, on an error and the next batter singled. Batter number four struck out and the fifth batter hit a ground ball that was fielded by the second baseman, Ethan Crawford, who threw the runner out at first to retire the side. Marcus Barker led off with a walk. Two outs followed, and then Jones got on from an error. Logan McCoid, Cash Bixby, and Caden Rocha all walked to score Barker, Jones and McCoid before the third out was made.

In the second inning, the leadoff batter hit the ball to first baseman, Conway, who threw to Jones for the out. The next batter flew out to Crawford. Batter three singled and four walked. Batter five struck out to end the top half of the inning. Alex Thompson led off with a single and Barker drew another walk. Crawford sacrificed the runners on second and third then Conway got a single. Jones made an out, and then McCoid got a double to drive in Barker and Conway. Thompson had already scored. Bixby was hit by a pitch to reach first, but the second inning ended when the next batter made an out. Score after second inning HPW 6-Dumas 0.

Dumas’ leadoff batter was out, short stop (Barker) to first (Conway). Then the second batter struck out. Two singles followed with one run scoring before Jones recorded his third strike out. The All-Stars were three up and three down in the bottom of the third!

Dumas scored three runs in the top of the fourth to make the score 6-4. However, the All Stars came back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 10-4 lead. Crawford led off with a walk, Wyatt Conway singled, and Jones got on, on an error. McCoid also got on from an error driving in a run. Battle made an out, then Rocha walked, driving in a run. Whitt got on, on a fielder’s choice as Rocha was out at third.

Dumas was three up, three down in the top of the fifth as the first batter grounded out Crawford to Conway and the next two struck out. HPW was also three up, three down.

In the top of the sixth, the first batter struck out, and then the second singled. The third struck out and the fourth grounded out to first to end the game.

Jones pitched the entire game and had 10 strikeouts. He gave up one walk and eight hits. Wyatt Conway was two for four at the plate and Logan McCoid hit a double. Alex Thompson also had a hit. The Dumas pitcher gave up seven walks and had six strike outs.

In their first game, the All Stars went three up and three down in the first three innings. Marcus Barker hit a single to start the fourth inning and Crawford drew a walk. The next three batters made outs to end the game. Wyatt Conway, Luke Battle, and Marcus Barker all saw action on the mound.

After the final game, the umpire, William Sheppard, who worked behind the plate in all three of the All-Stars’ games, presented the team with the game ball to acknowledge good sportsmanship and enthusiasm displayed throughout the whole tournament.

Wyatt Conway was identified as his uncle, Wade Conway, in last week’s Herald. We apologize for the error.

Minutes of the May 30, 2013 Meeting of the Panhandle City Council

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following minutes for the City Council have not been approved. The minutes have only been reformatted to fit the Herald’s space requirements. The Council will meet tonight, June 27 at 7 p.m.

The Panhandle City Council met in special session on Thursday, May 30, 2013 with the following members present: Mayor Dan Looten, Council Members Karrie Smith, Bill McLeod, Brad Maples, Brady Shadid, and Alvin Stamps. Also present were City Manager Rob Roach, Chief of Police Sace Hardman, Public Works Director Shawn Watson and City Secretary Veronica Willburn.

Item 1. Call Meeting to Order. With a quorum present, the meeting was called to order by Mayor Dan Looten.

Item 2. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America and the State of Texas.

After the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America and the State of Texas Pledge were led by Sace Hardman, the Invocation was led by Council Member Brad Maples.

Item 3. Minutes. Review with possible consideration the minutes of the April 25, 2013 Council Meeting.

A motion was made by Council Member Brad Maples and seconded by Council Member Alvin Stamps to approve the Minutes of the April 25, 2013 City Council Meeting with each member voting aye, the minutes were approved.

Item 4. Citizens Comments. There were no citizen comments.

Item 5. Ordinance 571 (Final Reading). Review and consider an Ordinance approving a settlement agreement between the alliance of Xcel Municipalities (“AXM”) and Southwestern Public Service Company (“SPS” or “Company”).

City Manager Rob Roach explained the settlement agreement and recommended adopting Ordinance 571.
A motion was made by Council Member Brad Maples and seconded by Council Member Brady Shadid to pass Ordinance 571 with each member voting AYE, the Ordinance was passed.

Item 6. CCAD Preliminary Appraisals and Mass Appraisal Report. Review report from Carson County Appraisal District on City of Panhandle Preliminary Appraisal Values and Mass Appraisal Report.
The CCAD appraisals and report were reviewed by City Manager Rob Roach. This item being information only, no action was taken.

Item 7. Panhandle Inn Foundation. Review and consider request from the Panhandle Inn Foundation exempting the Panhandle Inn from Property Tax in accordance with current state law.
Council Member Brady Shadid recused himself from voting due to his position on the board of the Panhandle Inn Foundation. A motion was made by Council Member Karrie Smith and seconded by Council Member Alvin Stamps to approve a property tax exemption on a year by year basis for the Panhandle Inn Foundation with all other members voting aye, the exemption was approved.

Item 8. Atmos Energy Request. Review with possible consideration a request from Atmos Energy to either sell or lease land to their company for construction of an equipment barn and office for field personnel.

Different property options were discussed by City Manager, Mayor, and Council Members. Mayor Dan Looten would like to explore more options to keep the construction of this in the City of Panhandle. No action was taken as this is information only at this time.

Item 9. Panhandle Swimming Pool Fees. Review and consider amendment to current ordinance increasing the current season pass rate; defining family size in consideration to season pass; increasing pool party fees; and setting limit to pool party duration at two hours.

City Manager Rob Roach explained the need to amend the current ordinance on Panhandle Swimming Pool fees in order to cover costs. The current fees were set by Ordinance 452 in 1997.

Recommendations and discussion on new fees and guidelines to be set as follows: Daily Gate Fee - $2; Season Pass Individual - $75; Season Pass Family of 4 - $125 + each additional household member - $25– Family Passes are per household; Private Party up to 50 people - $100; Private Party 50-100 people – $150.00, Private Party 2 hour maximum; Swim Lesson fee per individual - $45. A motion was made by Council Member Brady Shadid and seconded by Council Member Bill McLeod to approve and set the new Swimming Pool Fees and guidelines with each member voting aye, the amendments were approved.

Item 10. Consent Agenda. All consent agenda items listed are considered routine in nature by the City Council and will be enacted by one motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless a Council Member so requests, in which event the item will be removed from the consent agenda and considered in its normal sequence on the agenda: Police; Building Permits; Fire; Code Enforcement; Recycling Report; Emergency Medical Service; Municipal Court; and Work Orders/Pumpages.

After discussion of consent items, a motion was made by Council Member Karrie Smith and seconded by Council Member Brad Maples to approve all consent items with each member voting aye, the motion was approved.

Operations and Information: (1) Progress report on pool and park project; (2) Street Sweeper Delivery Status; (3) Tour progress on Panhandle Swimming Pool Building.
These items being information only, no action was taken.

The next City Council Meeting is scheduled for June 13, 2013.

There being no further business on the Agenda, the meeting was adjourned to tour the new Pool Building by Mayor Looten at 8 p.m.

Weinheimer Named To Honor List

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Garden City Community College released its honor list for the recent spring semester. Todd Weinheimer, 2011 PHS graduate, was named Honorable Mention. To be named Honorable Mention, a student must earn a GPA ranging from 3.0 to 3.199 and be enrolled in eight or more credit house.

Local Farmers Battle High Heat; Others In Texas Have Battle Grasshopper Invasion

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

By Betty Biggs

June is leaving 2013 in a scorching manner with triple-digit heat in the local area while others areas of Texas are battling the affects of a grasshopper infestation. After a dry winter, as expected, grasshoppers are becoming a problem in some parts of the Lone Star State, but they are not as severe or profuse as they were during the 2011 drought, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent.

“It’s mid-summer and the grasshoppers have gotten bigger. They’re now winged, so they’re moving into other crops and orchards,” said a Dallas entomologist. "As they were in 2011, this year's grasshopper outbreaks are connected to drought conditions," he said. From July through the fall, grasshoppers deposit their eggs 0.5 to 2 inches below the soil surface. On an average year, fungus and other diseases take a toll on egg survival, thereby reducing the first generation grasshoppers that hatch in the spring. But most of the fungi and diseases affecting egg survival depend upon moist conditions, so during a drought year outbreaks are expected. But the outbreaks this year -- at least so far -- have been spotty.

Locally, high daily heat reports have been the condition. This week’s lowest high reading was 80 registered on Thursday, June 19, and made a gradual climb to the highest reading of 103 a week later. Overnight low readings bottomed out at 61, recorded on Wednesday night of that the week of temperatures.

No additional local moisture has been measured since the 2.4" reported on Wednesday morning, June 19, which the most received from one day’s rain in “longer than I can remember” reports.

Recently reports of “anvil clouds” have been noticed during the moisture-laden days of some weeks in June. Anvil clouds are common sights during spring and summer thunderstorms and can occur almost all over the world, according to Brent McRoberts at Texas A&M University.

“When a thunderstorm starts developing, the large cumulus clouds reach heights where the moisture in them condenses into ice crystals and spray,” he explains “This air and spray spreads and expand as it bumps against the bottom of the stratosphere, and it often forms an anvil-shaped cloud as it expands. The central portion of an anvil cloud usually contains snow, but this melts as it falls into the very warm air below.”

McRoberts says airline pilots, who try to avoid such strong clouds, often report them at levels of 60,000 feet or higher. “The rule of thumb is, the higher these anvil clouds get, the more severe the storm is that they contain,” McRogers says. “They often produce heavy rain and strong winds. Strong or severe storms often have a thicker anvil appearance and you can often see a sort of boiling appearance in the lower portions of them.”