Local post open several years
By Jim Steiert
It's a long way from the dripping humidity and limb-gnawing chiggers and ticks of ArkLaTex to the lofty heights of the Llano Estacado. Mount Pleasant native Tanner Campbell, 25, is learning the lay of farms and ranches of the area as the new Texas Game Warden for Deaf Smith, Castro, and Parmer counties.
Campbell came on scene in May. He was among a host of Texas Game Warden cadets who participated in the seven months of intensive training at the 63rd Texas Game Warden Academy in Hamilton, near Brownwood.
Seven members of that class have moved into assigned duty stations in the Amarillo, Lubbock and Abilene districts.
In addition to Campbell, other wardens for the region and their assigned duty stations are: Wesley "Casen" Driskell, Oldham County; Zack Fisher, Childress and Hall Counties; Josue Hernandez, Lamb, Bailey and Cochran Counties; J.D. Cuellar, Borden and Dawson Counties; Trent Walker, Scurry and Garza Counties; and Larry Hampel, King and Knox Counties.
Campbell is filling a much-felt gap that has existed for several years in the Deaf Smith, Castro, and Parmer County post since the departure of Warden T.J. Tweedle, who now serves in Jack County. Driskell steps into the post vacated with the retirement of long-time veteran Oldham County Warden Matt Marshall.
Campbell is learning that good landowner contacts and positive relations with local hunters can come in every bit as handy as high-power binoculars and a spotting scope, which are the standard tools of his trade.
Duties of a Texas Game Warden include enforcement of all state laws as well as hunting, fishing, and water safety regulations. As fully commissioned peace officers, they respond to emergencies, assist other law enforcement agencies, and work to educate the public about conservation issues.
All graduates of the 63rd academy met state-mandated requirements for peace officer certification, including criminal and constitutional law, firearms, self-defense, use of force, defensive driving, arrest, search & seizure, ethics, and first aid.
Campbell and his fellow new wardens join more than 500 game wardens currently in the field and will help enforce Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) regulations and carry the department's high standards statewide.
Fresh off recent training and orientation work at Lake Meredith, Campbell paused to visit August 13th and explained that officer water survival and rescue training at the academy is handy to have in the resume on a daunting water body like Lake Meredith where the wind and waves can come up swiftly.
"This is my first time up here in the Panhandle. When local guys were showing me the ropes they were wading right into tall grass and I was thinking-what are they doing-ticks and chiggers, man-that's a first reaction for somebody from Mount Pleasant," he observed.
A graduate of Mount Pleasant High School-where he dated his wife, Heather, a native of Omaha, in high school, Campbell went on to attend Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, where he received a Bachelors degree in Animal Science.
He worked at "animal science" with a poultry company after college graduation, but admits he was only marking time until he could get into the next Game Warden Academy.
"It was always my dream to pursue a career as a game warden. I graduated college in December of 2017 and had to wait a year to get into the next academy. I'm an avid waterfowl and deer hunter and I just grew up dreaming of this," he said.
"I'm a passable duck caller. We hunted ducks on private sloughs and deer hunted at Rock Springs and on a small ranch at home. Poking around after ducks I find the leaks in my waders most every year. I'm a farm and ranch kid, so I learned how to work growing up."
Campbell will concentrate his local efforts initially on deer and pronghorn and waterfowl regulations enforcement. He said encountering sandhill cranes in this area should prove interesting.
His work toward enforcing mule deer and whitetail regulations is likely to be well appreciated by some local landowners who have had to endure problems with big game poachers in recent years, and flagrant cases of poaching and wanton waste of wildlife relative to mule deer.
"I've been riding with DPS Troopers and Sheriff's Office Deputies learning the country and the landowners, and retired veteran local wardens have been giving me some pointers, too. One thing I've learned is that rural roads can get slick in a hurry when it rains and you can wind up in the ditch pretty easily. Matt Marshall advised me to find the concentrations of water, and that's where I'm going to find the game and the hunters," he said.
Tanner and wife, Heather, are expecting their first child in December-just in time for the busy part of the hunting season locally. They also have a black Labrador Retriever.
Heather works as a labor/delivery nurse at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo.
"I'm enjoying meeting local ranchers and landowners, and look forward to positive encounters with the region's hunters and anglers," he said.
Jim Steiert is an award-winning member of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association and a Certified Texas Master Naturalist.
By Susie Spring - Parmer County Clerk
Due to all of the talk and at times, misinformation, on social media and the broadcast news; I would like to clear up the Texas process for Vote By Mail Ballots. My office has received numerous phone calls asking questions about this subject.
In Texas, the Election Code is set by the Legislature and it is up to the Secretary of State to set guidelines and to conduct all elections. Each County has an Election Administrator or County Clerk in charge of elections for that particular county.
The State of Texas, and thus no county in Texas, mails out universal ballots. In Texas, absentee voting and voting by mail are essentially the same thing. All ballots by mail must be requested by the individual voter. Once requested, they are checked to verify qualification.
You may vote by mail if you are over 65 years of age, have a disability, will be absent from the county on Election Day, in the military and stationed out of county, or in some instances in jail. The Texas Supreme Court has determined that fear of the COVID-19 virus is not a disability.
Once our office receives your application for voting by mail, your name is checked against the Registered Voters in the county. If your name does not appear, you will not be mailed a ballot. If you qualify and a ballot is mailed to you it is reflected in the Secretary of State's software and in our pollbooks. Thus, if you show up to vote in person, you would not be able to vote since you were already sent a ballot. If you bring that mailed ballot to the polling place and turn it in as rejected by you; you could then vote in person.
The last day to register to vote in the upcoming November election is Monday, October 5, 2020. The last day for an application to vote by mail can be received by our office is Friday, October 23, 2020.
I feel very confident in our ability to have one person, one ballot, one vote in the state of Texas.
I do however, worry about the ability to receive our mail quickly as evidenced by some recent phone calls and delays in our receiving other documents.
Your ballot must be received by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4th, the day after Election Day; and MUST be postmarked prior to 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 3rd, Election Day, to be counted.
Please call my office if you have any questions 806-481-3691.
After a 5-month Spring Break, our schools are back in business. Best wishes to the students, teachers, staff, and administration. Be cautious and stay safe!!!
The Cadillac Ranch, or as I prefer, "Stonehenge on the Prairie" has been in the news lately. It is a popular tourist attraction especially in August as families try to squeeze in their vacations before school starts. See comparison below.
Pace Lawson spoke to the Friona Lions Club last Monday about addictions and habits. A "good" habit for everyone to develop is to wear a mask in public, social distance, wash your hands regularly, and stay at home if you are sick. Unfortunately, Pace could not help our club break the habit of being obnoxious. First of all, most of us couldn't spell obnoxious if we were spotted the four consonants. Pat, I would like to buy a vowel.
Pray for rain!!! We are still designated as a "severe drought" area. Just as a "watched pot never boils", a watched radar on your iPhone never brings rain to Friona!
Speaking of prayers, another facet of life that has changed in the COVID-19 era is that the patients in hospitals have no one to visit them. Family members, relatives, friends, and church members are not allowed in for visits. Our prayers for those who are in our hospitals are more important than ever.
Don't forget the Friona Community Blood Drive on Thursday, August 20th.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet high, seven feet wide, and weighing around 25 tons.
Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture two miles west of Amarillo, Texas, USA. It consists of ten Cadillacs (1949-1963) buried nose-first in the ground.
August 20 - Radio Day
August 21 - Senior Citizens Day
August 22 - Tooth Fairy Day
August 23 - Ride The Wind Day
August 24 - Waffle Day
August 25 - Kiss and Make Up Day
August 26 - Cherry Popsicle Day
These Pre-K students are preparing to head home after a successful Day 1. Friona schools reopened on Wednesday, August 19th and held their first day of classes since last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the kids were already looking forward to Day 2.
As of August 18, 2020
9,661 cases, 148 deaths
Armstrong County: 8
Briscoe County: 12
Carson County: 17
Castro County: 209
Childress County: 53
Collingsworth County: 13
Cottle County: 18
Dallam County: 202
Deaf Smith County: 853
Donley County: 49
Gray County: 234
Hall County: 14
Hansford County: 93
Hartley County: 103
Hemphill County: 45
Hutchinson County: 133
Lipscomb County: 22
Moore County: 1,082
Motley County: 6
Ochiltree County: 100
Oldham County: 14
Parmer County: 360
Potter County: 3,866
Randall County: 1,978
Roberts County: 7
Sherman County: 44
Swisher County: 83
Wheeler County: 43
Eastern New Mexico:
852 cases, 7 deaths
Curry County: 597
Quay County: 50
Roosevelt County: 175
Union County: 30
1,128 cases, 7 deaths, 1,090 recoveries
Beaver County: 39
Cimarron County: 11
Texas County: 1,077
Health Protocols for Voters and Elections (English)
County Disaster Declaration (English)
Friona Community Helpline (English)
2-1-1 Texas Social Services Hotline (English)
County Clerk PSA (English)
Chamber of Commerce Letter to Businesses (English)
FISD Emergency Resolution (English)
Covid Risk Chart (English)