Archives for December 2016

Jan. 2 Closures

With New Year’s Day falling on Sunday this year, virtually all Stephenville-area restaurants and businesses that are normally open on Sundays are expected to be open on New Year’s Day– perhaps because they’re open on the weekend anyway.
But Monday, Jan. 2, is a state and federal holiday, and some major entities like government offices – county and city, except for emergency personnel such as fire and police – will be closed on Monday. The Stephenville ISD, Dublin and Lingleville ISD, Tarleton and Ranger Colleges will be closed. Closings include local banks and local post offices are closed on Monday.

STAR Council Winter Camp

Kids on Christmas break got together at the Foster’s Home for Children gym for some New Year’s fun this week, as part of the STAR Council’s annual Winter Camp. Not only is the camp free and beneficial for the kids, but it serves as a place parents can take their children while they work and school is out for the holiday break.
STAR Council’s Director of Prevention Services Rhyland Ramirez said it gives parents a safe place to take their kids, with lots of games and healthy snacks, while forming relationships. It’s been going on for several years with new games and activities put into place each year. STAR Council offers other camps throughout the year, primarily in the summer, and more information can be found by visiting

Old Opry New Year

You can ring in the new year with a night of entertainment, food and fun– all for a great cause– at the New Year’s Eve Musical Extravaganza event from 8:30 p.m.-midnight on Saturday at the old opry on Hwy. 377 across from Twisted J Apparel. The event will benefit the Dublin High School senior class of 2017 Project Graduation.
Denise Weems said the cost is $12 per person, which includes a brisket supper, complete with black-eyed peas, and numerous live entertainers and a silent auction. Tickets will be available at the door. Items for the silent auction are still being accepted and the event will feature a balloon drop to celebrate the new year.

THR, Providers Have Not Reached Agreement

Texas Health Resources has reportedly not yet reached an agreement that will allow patients insured through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to remain in-network when receiving care at Texas Health facilities, including the Stephenville hospital and more than two dozen other hospitals across the region. The failed negotiations could mean a search for new doctors, specialists and mental health care providers outside of the local area beginning January 1. Texas Health Resources said its hospitals and physician groups will continue to provide services to existing patients, but out-of-pocket expenses will most likely increase for those who receive care out of network. Several health care providers who have privileges at the Stephenville hospital are not a part of Texas Health Physicians Group.

Patterson Helps Lingleville Library

Bestselling author James Patterson has presented a $1000 grant to Lingleville ISD to support the school library. In addition, the Scholastic Reading Club will match each dollar of Patterson’s donation with “bonus points” that teachers can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms.
After Elaine Carpenter applied for the grant last spring, Lingleville was selected among thousands of applicants.
Patterson announced this past spring that he would donate $1.75 million to save school libraries nationwide as part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a number one priority in the United States.
The grants range from $1,000-$10,000 and since the program’s launch in 2015, Patterson has personally donated $3.5 million to school libraries.

Water Main Break on Hwy. 377

Holiday spirits were dampened– literally– on Tuesday morning, following a water main break to the 16-inch pipe that runs parallel to Hwy. 377 right next to Campbell’s Auto Body.
In an email at about 8:45 a.m., Director of Public Works Nick Williams alerted the Empire Tribune of the situation, saying [quote]
“There is a city water crew preparing now (as soon as the last locates are performed) to address a water main break on 377 across from Peach Orchard Road,” [end quote] The “locates” he was referring to are performed by fiber-optic cable that runs along the path of the water main. At about 11 a.m. a crew member said they didn’t know how long it would take.

TSU Student Deals With Anxiety With Animal Therapy

Tarleton State University student Ashley Perkins is speaking out about the importance of addressing stress, anxiety and depression– the kinds of things that over 75 percent of young adults in college feel, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In a survey by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 12.9 percent of students took prescribed medication for mental health since they started college.
Ashley tells the Empire Tribune that college is filled with pressure and many young adults end up in a dark place as a result. Sometimes medication is taken. But Ashley says that she and other students benefit from animal therapy as a solution. Read her story at

Grand Jury Indictments Include Indecency with a Child

An Erath County grand jury has indicted 12 individuals, including one man for indecency with a child by exposure; a third degree felony. 53-year-old Curtis Lee Dudley, Jr. was arrested in October after he allegedly committed the offense. The father of an 8-year-old boy referred to in court documents as “John” met with authorities at the Stephenville Police Department in reference to John possibly having been sexually assaulted.
The defendant accidentally called John’s mother, and the conversation alarmed her so she went and picked him up at the defendant’s house. John said the defendant had exposed himself to the child. Dudley is being held in the Erath County Jail on a $50,000 bond. See additional indictments at

Memorial for Sheriff Bryant

The memorial service for the late Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant was officiated by Rev. Curt Norman on Thursday afternoon at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Stephenville.
Bryant was found dead inside his home late Monday night of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. During his almost 20 years in office, Bryant became a popular figure with a long list of accomplishments including an inmate work program that saved taxpayers thousands of dollars by cleaning up city parks, painting schools and churches and cleaning cemeteries in the county. Bryant said recently one of his proudest moments was when the Texas Legislature passed a bill that he backed, allowing law enforcement to charge parents who use and manufacture drugs in their child’s presence.

TSU Explores Parking Options

A much higher than expected price tag is prompting Tarleton State University to consider parking area alternatives to the pecan grove off Washington Street near the Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex. The cost to fix the extensive pecan grove drainage issues has delayed the project as options are considered, including a different design or different location, according to Dr. Tye Minckler, vice president for finance and administration.
Minckler said they’re investigating other options and putting the bidding for the grove project on hold.
Dr. Minckler also appreciated expressions of community concern about cutting down some of the pecan trees.
The university will look at extending current parking lots and other options.