UIL moving football state championships back to AT&T Stadium

Yoe Marching Band performing at the 2014 state football championship.

All University Interscholastic League football state championship games will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington for the next two years, the UIL announced today. 

The 11-man and six-man football championship games will be played at AT&T Stadium, with a new schedule placing all 12 games in a four-day span. The 2016 championship games will take place Dec.14-17.

“The UIL Football State Championships will be bigger and better than ever this year at AT&T Stadium, with all 12 games in the same week in one location,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “The UIL is excited to showcase the best high school football in Texas at AT&T Stadium during the football finals for an outstanding championship experience.” 


County commissioners vote to abandon ‘paper alleys’ in Minerva

By Curtis Chubb 

The Milam County Commissioners Court was again asked to abandon some platted but never-developed streets and alleys in an unincorporated town at their meeting on Monday.

This time a real estate transaction in Minerva could not be completed because the undeveloped streets and alleys are still listed as being owned by the county. One of the people requesting action by the court referred to the undeveloped roadways as “paper alleys.” 

The commissioners approved the abandonment of the designated streets and alleys at Monday’s meeting.

The Minerva agenda item highlighted one of Minerva’s pioneers: F.W.R. Hubert. Hubert had platted an addition to the Town of Minerva sometime in the 1920s and 1930s – it was named the F.W.R. Hubert Addition to the Town of Minerva. The Addition incorporates the undeveloped roadways discussed on Monday.


Cameron council takes no action against police chief

After two hours and ten minutes in executive session Monday night “to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of Police Chief Randy Dixon,” Cameron Mayor Connie Anderle announced “no action taken.”

The special called session was held at City Hall with a large crowd of police department employees and other supporters waiting outside the closed-door session. The meeting started at 5:30 p.m. and the council came back into open session at 7:40 p.m., when the mayor made the announcement and adjourned the meeting. She and other council members did not make statements to the press.

Noel Johnson, one of three representatives for Dixon from the Texas Municipal Police Officers Association, said the mayor’s statement meant that Dixon is still employed as chief of police in Cameron.


Driver in high speed chase sentenced to 50 years for death of pedestrian

John Fitzgerald Page, Jr.

John Fitzgerald Page, Jr., 26, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to first degree murder in the death of Guadalupe (Wally) Rodriguez of Buckholts during a high speed chase on March 15, 2015.

Page entered the guilty on Jan. 11, according to District Attorney Bill Torrey. Page was sentenced by Judge John Youngblood in a hearing Friday in 20th Judicial District Court.

Under the current Texas parole guidelines, Page will be required to serve a minimum of 25 years before becoming eligible – but not entitled to – parole, Torrey said.

When stopped by Caldwell officers investigating a domestic violence report May 15, 2015, Page fled, leading officers on a 38-mile, high-speed chase on U.S. Highway 36 through Cameron and into Buckholts. During the chase, speeds topped 100 miles per hour, according to officials.


Capital murder conviction upheld

The 14th Court of Appeals has affirmed the 2014 capital murder conviction of Sherill Small, who is now serving life in prison for the 2013 death of  a foster child in her care, Alexandra Hill.

The 20th Judicial District Court and District Attorney Bill Torrey were notified of the appeals court decision rendered Wednesday.

Small, 57, of Rockdale, was found guilty by a Milam County jury following more than a week of testimony and four hours of jury deliberation. The verdict automatically sentenced Small to life in prison without parole because the prosecution did not seek the death penalty in the case.

Small was indicted in August 2013 after the child’s death on July 31, 2013 at McLane Children’s Hospital, where she had been treated for blunt force trauma head injuries and internal injuries.

Small’s attorney filed the appeal in December 2014, about a month after the trial.


Buckholts ISD in the market for a new superintendent

Former Buckholts ISD Superintendent Dr. Dirk D. Dykstra speaking in a program on school safety during a Milam County Emergency Management exercise.

Buckholts ISD Superintendent Dr. Dirk D. Dykstra announced his departure after four years with the district.

Dykstra cited personal reasons for his decision in a letter to the community released Wednesday evening.

“Living over three hours away from my wife has become more and more difficult for me ... and it is time for us to be together daily again,” he said.

Dykstra noted the district has “improved academically on all the Indexes that TEA measures us on.” 

“I did not want to leave a job undone and decided to stay until the testing was complete so we would not lose the momentum we had built,” he said. “This year, we have brought together all the available resources the district had in order to give the staff and students the best chance possible to meet standard. The early results are encouraging.”


A tale of modern-day cattle rustling

Last Friday, a Milam County jury found William James Crenan, 59, Burlington, guilty of theft of $100,000 to $200,000 from an elderly person after he stole over 100 head of cattle from an El Paso rancher who was running cattle on Crenan’s pasture in northern Milam County. 

By Curtis Chubb

It was daybreak on a day in May 2013 when Milam County cowboy Ruben Wood and his crew from the Milano Livestock Exchange were rounding-up about 300 cattle and their calves at the Crenan Ranch in northern Milam County. When Wood rode up to the waiting double-decker cattle trucks, he realized that it wasn’t a normal roundup: he saw Milam County Sheriff David Greene and Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Marvin Wills sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck.

The men with the badges were there to provide protection and to count the cattle carrying the Double U brand.

That cattle roundup in May 2013 marked a turning point in this story about modern-day cattle theft that took place in Milam County. The cattle, however, were not stolen by the usual methods. This time the cattle were stolen after their owner delivered them to the thief’s ranch as part of a grazing-lease arrangement. 


Commissioners approve relocating historic calaboose, Rockdale polling place

The historic calaboose currently located at Burlington.

A restored calaboose is part of the Milam County Jail Museum complex adjacent to the courthouse in downtown Cameron.

By Curtis Chubb

Rockdale is fast becoming the hotbed for preservation of Milam County history. Last year, they asked for and received the Milam County Commissioners Court’s help in moving the Sheckels Bridge and the Galbreath Crossing Bridge to their new resting place east of downtown Rockdale. 

On Monday, they were back asking the court’s help in moving a ‘calaboose’ to Rockdale. The word ‘calaboose’ is from the Spanish term ‘calabozo’ which means dungeon. Calabooses were small jails used to incarcerate those accused of crimes prior to the advent of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards since they could not meet the standards. The calabooses were bare of any amenities and consisted of a cell or two with a window full of iron bars. Some were concrete while others were wooden.


Cameron voters pass liquor option, Milano voters re-elect mayor who resigned

According to unofficial results released by the City of Cameron, the local option liquor election passed by a large margin. Only 263 votes were cast in early and election day voting - with 218 votes or 82.89 percent in favor of allowing the sale of mixed drinks in the city limits and 45 votes (17.11 percent) against. The measure was supported by the Cameron Chamber of Commerce, which took the lead in collecting signatures and filing a petition with the city council to get the measure on the ballot in today's special election.

Milano voters appear to have re-elected the mayor who resigned almost a month ago, according to unofficial results of Saturday’s election.


Cameron Funfest success

Kenny Stone and members of the Smokin’ Hot BBQ team accepted the overall championship award from CPD Shootout BBQ officials Daniel Willie, Julie Sulak and Sam Berry.


Laura Guel of the Dixie Smoke Rollers team accepted the reserve championship award from CPD Shootout BBQ officials Daniel Willie, Julie Sulak and Sam Berry.


Another successful CPD Shootout BBQ sanctioned cook-off was joined by a new festival at Wilson-Ledbetter Park this past weekend.

Organizers were grateful for beautiful, cooler weather Saturday after lightning and thunder lit up the area Friday night. For the most part, the worst of the storms missed Milam County and there was little rain to dampen the opening evenings events, organizer Daniel Willie said.

The new festival revived several events previously held in conjunction with the Dewberry Festival and other events previously sponsored by the chamber.

“A new non-profit organization, For Cameron, was formed to organize and create the new Cameron Funfest as a component with the CPD Shootout BBQ,” Willie said. In addition to Willie, directors are Julie Sulak, Bobbie Wiesman and Sam Berry. They recruited volunteers and other organizations, such at the VFW Post 2010 Auxiliary to help with the various events.


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