Tarleton State University has announced a series of name and organizational changes of colleges and departments within the Division of Academic Affairs… all said to be part of the university’s strategic planning process. Taking effect July 1, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences becomes the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Department of Social Work will be recast as the Department of Social Work and Communication Disorders. The School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies within the College of Liberal and Fine Arts becomes the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Public Administration. Also, the College of Education becomes the College of Education and Human Development. As of Aug. 1, the bachelor of science degree in environmental science from the new Department of Wildlife and Natural Resources becomes the bachelor of science degree in environmental science from the Department of Chemistry, Geoscience and Physics. On Sept. 1, the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication becomes the Division of Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Department of Public Administration becomes part of the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Public Administration in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. Also Sept. 1, the Department of Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Science and Technology will split into the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and the Department of Mechanical, Environmental and Civil Engineering.
The Graham Street/Washington Street intersection in Stephenville is now closed to traffic, and will continue to be shut down until the fall for brick pavement construction. The work is of course, weather permitting. Motorists will be directed through a signed detour. State Highway 108 will also remain closed between College and Washington streets for a local beautification project consisting of brick pavement installation. Local through traffic should follow the local signed detour on College to Belknap Street and return to US 108 on Blair Street. Commercial vehicles should follow the signed detour on US 377 to US 281 and return to SH 108 on FM 8.
During this closure, the hospital will be accessible to northbound traffic from Belknap or Blair streets.
Ryan Hess of Stephenville has been elected Area IV FFA vice president… and is now officially one of the 12 Texas FFA State Officers. He will serve the Texas FFA Association for the next year as the Area IV vice president. Hess underwent an extensive seven-day election process. Hess grew up in Stephenville, where he raised and showed a herd of Santa Gertrudis cattle. He served on the board of directors for the National Junior Santa Gertrudis Association, and served as the national president his senior year of high school. As such, he is a highly decorated FFA member, being a five-time state champion and two-time national champion of agriculture. Hess has competed on many FFA teams, and has placed in the top 10 in the state six times. Hess was chosen as one of 10 San Antonio Livestock Show Scholarship recipients, and received $20,000 from the SALE organization. He has served as the Stephenville FFA Chaplin, first vice president and president, Pecan Valley District president and Area IV first vice president, as well as on numerous committees. He is a 2021 graduate of Stephenville High School, was a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council and on the A honor roll. He is the son of Robbie and Cindy Hess.
Market conditions are causing a spike in beef prices, meaning consumers can expect higher beef prices at grocery stores despite a recent dip after the typical seasonal peak, which took place around Memorial Day. High demand, tight supplies and high production costs mean prices are likely to remain higher than normal. Choice average beef prices have increased from $6.41 to $6.96 per pound since the first of the year. Experts say the price hikes are consistent with historic seasonal peaks and valleys, but prices still remain above the five-year average of $5.82 per pound. They also say market conditions most likely will keep prices up. Meanwhile, demand for beef at grocery stores has not waned, and in fact, is seen as extraordinary right now.
Just twenty-four hours after Texas Democratic lawmakers fled to Washington, D.C., the remaining members of the Texas House passed a motion ordering authorities to track down their absent colleagues under what is called “a Motion for Call of the House.” It directed the House’s sergeant-at-arms to dispatch state police to find and return the missing members, using the power of arrest if necessary. Governor Greg Abbott pledged to arrest the Texas Democrats upon their return to the state. But as long as they remain beyond the reach of Texas police in Washington, for now most legal observers say they are probably safe from forced attendance. However, it is pretty unrealistic to believe the Democrats can stay outside of Texas forever. The governor doubled down on Friday, saying state authorities will await their return, and just as soon as they come back to Texas, they will be arrested, and then cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done.
Stephenville ISD Superintendent Matt Underwood is calling it quits… He is leaving for Ranger College. Underwood’s last day is August 31. His new challenge will involve taking on an administrative role at Ranger College, where he will become the next senior vice president of Erath and Brown counties. He says it is an opportunity to do something that he has always wanted to do. Officially, Underwood wrote a letter to his staff, saying he plans to submit his formal letter of resignation to the board of trustees tonight. Now the board will be tasked with finding a path forward in the fall semester, which means at least for the short term, they will need to find an interim superintendent, superintendent search firms and a timeline for seating a new superintendent. Underwood said the time he and his family have spent in Stephenville has been by far the best… both personally and professionally.
Happy anniversary to a Stephenville couple who recently celebrated 75 years of marriage. Charles and Sue Williams of Stephenville celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on Sunday, June 27th. The anniversary event was fittingly held at the Graham Street Church of Christ Family Center, where they have been members since they were teenagers. Charles Williams is 98, and his wife Sue is 96. They have two grown children, son Damon who was born in 1952, and daughter Susan, born in 1954, and they are grandparents to four grandchildren and the can boast of five great-grandchildren. The Williams couple married on June 24, 1946, after they met when they were attending church services at the Graham Street Church of Christ in Stephenville. Charles started working at the Stephenville Post Office in 1947 as a dispatcher. He had also previously been a part of the ROTC at Tarleton State for three semesters before being drafted at the age of 19. From there, he pursued his career in the military. After his military duty was complete, the Williams moved back to Stephenville in 1953. Sue began working at the local Cox’s Department Store. When asked how they have been happily married for so many years, Sue said it was because they have been willing to talk about all their differences.
The suspect in that armed robbery of Wrangler’s back on June 27th is now under arrest and behind bars. Jeffrey Sylvester Harper was caught hiding in Metroplex apartment, where he was quickly taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Tuesday night. Stephenville Police say Harper is expected to be brought back to Erath County, where he will be charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and possible additional charges. The investigation is still active, and police say there could be additonal arrests pending. Harper… an Erath County resident… has a very extensive criminal history spanning multiple states, including armed robbery, burglary, felon in possession of a firearm, and escape from custody. Erath County sheriff’s deputy Cameron Chance, who was recently sworn in as a liaison for the U.S. Marshals Service, was tracking Harper’s whereabouts since he came on the radar screen as a suspect, and Chance was there on Tuesday when Harper was nabbed.
A Stephenville woman was killed in an accident around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon on Hwy. 67 about a mile past Three Way towards Glen Rose. The victim’s name as not yet been officially released, but according to published reports, she was a foster parent for Foster’s Home for Children in Stephenville. The woman was traveling to Glen Rose with two children in the vehicle when the accident happened. The children were taken to a hospital. There has been no update on their injuries or conditions.
Whataburger’s new restaurant on Washington Street in Stephenville will open later this month, and already they are giving a big Texas tip of the hat to Tarleton State University. While the building is still under construction, there is now a big sign on the front of it, acknowledging Tarleton State University’s importance to the city of Stephenville. The grand opening is still planned for the end of July, although it would have probably been a little sooner if not for the weather delays. We will keep you posted on the exact opening date as soon as we get the official word.