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Friday, September 28, 2012

RAIN

Heavy rains continued this morning and will most likely continue throughout the day today and into the evening. As of noon, we have received 4.3 inches here at the KBST studios.  A majority of the KBST listening area is under a flash flood watch. If you will be traveling in low lying areas be very alert. Cars will hydroplane. Do not drive into water that covers the roadway, as it may be too deep for your vehicle to cross safely. Reports have come in of 4 inches of rain in Hilltop Road area and over 4 inches at Higginbotham Bartlett, Terry Ingram calling those in.  Also 4 inches north of town.

CLOSURES AND CANCELLATIONS

Senior Center is closed for today but plans on delivering scheduled meals for today. The dance for tonight has been cancelled.   
Mobile Meals has been cancelled for today
All big spring youth soccer games are cancelled for tomorrow
all CYFA football games have been cancelled for tomorrow

HOWARD COUNTY FAIR IS OPEN

The Howard County Fair has cancelled the entertainment for tonight. Also the Ranch Rodeo has been cancelled for the weekend. However the vendors will be open tonight in the Fair Barn and the concessionaires will be selling the delicious food. The bouncy house, mechanical bull and the pirate ship will be set up inside the Fair Barns for the kids to play on at no charge. Entrance to the fair will be $3 for adults, $2 for kids 6-12 and free for kids under 6. The rides will only open if the rain stops and the operators feel comfortable running them tonight. Tomorrow the Fair will be open from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm and BFB (Brandon Faulkner Band) is still scheduled to perform at 8:00 pm. All other activities are scheduled to run.

COAHOMA VS BALLINGER GAME LOCATION MOVED

The Coahoma game with Ballinger has been moved to Forsan High School and will begin at 7:30 pm. All Homecoming activities have been postponed until October 12th at Coahoma. That is also the Pink Out Game. You can still order your shirts until October 3rd.

STANTON HIGH SCHOOL HOMECOMING TONIGHT

Stanton High School will hold their Homecoming festivities prior to tonight’s game. Homecoming Coronation will be at 6:30 in the High School Gym.
BIG SPRING VS SEMINOLE AS SCHEDULED
The Big Spring game with Seminole tonight will be played as scheduled.

FLOODING

There is flooding in parts of Big Spring. Reports are coming in of high water on Third Street near the Harley Davidson Dealership and on parts of Gregg Street.

TRAVEL DELAYS

The east and west bound lanes of Interstate 20 in Midland County, one mile east of SL 338 to 2 miles west of FM 1208 is experiencing flooding due to the rain. Detours and scattered closures exist throughout the county. Expect delays if traveling in this area.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

VFW COLLECTING CLOTHING

Often times when a Veteran comes into the VA Hospital for an appointment, they end up staying. Being unprepared for such extended stays can leave them without adequate clothing to wear. The VA here in Big Spring operates solely on donations so it can be difficult to provide the vets with clothing. The Auxiliary VFW of Midland is making an effort to assure each Vet that may be staying at the hospital has at least some sweats to wear. Currently the VA has 70 patients in-house, and the colder winter months are approaching. Donations can be made to the VFW in Odessa at 208 VFW Lane.   Thank you Tatum Guinn of CBS-7 for submitting this report.

ACCOUNT SET UP TO HELP

An account has been set up in the name of Kristen Lasater at Western Bank on Scurry Street. Mrs. LASATER and her family lost her home and all her belongings in a fire earlier this week. Her home was at the corner of Todd and Brandon Road. Mrs. Lasater had been renovating the home and did not have homeowners insurance. Any donations would be greatly appreciated, the account number is 1004597.

BIG SPRING QUACKER CHALLENGE

The First Annual Big Spring Quacker Challenge will be happening at the Big Spring Family Aquatic Center tomorrow at 3:00 pm. Ducks can still be purchased here at KBST, the Fair or by contacting Ken McIntosh at First Christian Church or by calling 432-517-4821. The ducks and the traps were tested yesterday afternoon at the Aquatic Center and worked wonderfully according to McIntosh. Proceeds from the event will benefit the United Way, Isaiah 58, Big Spring Symphony Guild and the Greater Big Spring Rotary Club.

JUNIOR HIGH TEAM VICTORIES

In sports, the Big Spring Junior High was able to get their games in last night and came away with a clean sweep. The 7th Grade B Team won 6-0, 7th Grade A won by the same 6-0 score, 8th Grade B won 14-0 and the 8th Grade A Team won 18-14. Thank you to Eric Tuttle for forwarding the scores to us and congratulations to all the Junior High Teams on their victories.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

IRIS NELIA ARANDA

International deaf artist, Iris Nelia Aranda, will be in Big Spring for a reception and lecture at the Hall Center for the Arts. A grant enables Aranda to be here for the start of Deaf Awareness Week. Assistant Professor of Art, Stacy Slaten, and Graphic Art Technologist, Lisa Westlund, applied for the grant. The program will have an hour of lecture about Aranda’s artwork and how she started in art. Her artwork will be on display at the Hall Center for the Arts until February 1st. Aranda will also participate in several workshops, demonstrations and talks with students at Howard College and SWCID. The event is free and open to the public.

THUNDERSTORMS

Some severe thunderstorms rolled through parts of the KBST listening area late yesterday afternoon and last night. The storms were delivering heavy rain, quarter-sized hail and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour as well as frequent lightning strikes. More scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible throughout today and tomorrow.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

MISTRIAL IN CAPITAL MURDER CASE

A mistrial has been declared in a 20 year-old Capital Murder Case. Leroy Alaniz is being tried in the beating death of Larry Willsey. Alaniz attempted to rob Willsey back in 1991 During the robbery Alaniz beat Willsey with a baseball bat. He eventually died from the injuries. Alaniz was not arrested until DNA testing connected him to the crime two decades later. Now Alaniz will get to wait a little longer due to jury misconduct. Judge Bill McCoy made the announcement yesterday but would not elaborate. The trial has been reset for October 30th.

WRITTEN REPRIMAND TO TEACHER ACCUSED OF VERBAL ABUSE

The Texas Education Association has completed its investigation of a former Andrews special needs teacher. Terri Ragland has been given a Written Reprimand on her Elementary English and Early Education Teaching certificates and has voluntarily surrendered her Special Education Certification to the Texas Education Agency. Ragland was accused of abusing the children in her classroom verbally. Parents came forward with complaints and recordings of the alleged abuse. While the punishment will not prohibit Ragland from teaching again, any district she applies to will have to take into account the actions taken against her by the Texas Education Agency.

EXTENSION OF TIME TO DEFER TAX

The IRS is giving farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to the drought, an extended period of time in which to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales. The farmers and ranchers who sold more stock than they generally do, can defer tax on the extra gains from those sales as long as they replace the stock within a four-year period. The period can be extended if the drought continues. Sale of stock raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes and poultry are not eligible. Drought sales from 2008 forward will be immediately impacted. Additional extensions will be granted if severe drought conditions persist. Details on the relief are available at irs.gov in Notice 2012-62. Details on other farm related tax issues can be found in Publication 225, Farmers Tax Guide which is also available on the IRS website.

SANTA MERTE – PATRON SAINT OF THE DRUG WAR

Santa Muerte, the Patron Saint of the Drug War, is becoming more and more prominent in the Permian Basin. According to Ector County Sheriffs, they are seeing the icon more often and the Mercado El Rancho Store in Odessa has Santa Muerte candles stacked on its shelves with candles of other patron saints. Some prayers ask for protection from the law. U.S. Marshals made a presentation to local law enforcement regarding the patron saints of the Mexican Drug underworld in 2010. The workshop showcased drug and human traffickers and the different kinds of saints and icons they say protect them from law enforcement.

TEXAS-VERMONT LOW LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE COMPACT COMMISSION

The first shipment of low level radioactive waste has been shipped to West Texas from Vermont as part of the Texas-Vermont Low Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission. The agreement was put into place nearly twenty years ago. Licensing in the State of Texas took that twenty years to receive clearance. A thirty-gallon drum containing radiactive wasted from the University of Vermont and Burlingtons Fletcher Allen Health Care Hospital shipped out recently. The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant has also begun making shipments.

IN STATE NEWS

JAN ROBERTO RINCON-RINCON

A man with family ties to the Mexican Gulf Cartel Boss says a Cartel member standing trial in Brownsville acted on several occasions as the leader's bag man picking up and receiving cash payments. Alejandro Jimenez, a 45-year-old with multiple drug convictions, began working for the Cartel in the late 1990s. He testified Wednesday in the trial of Juan Roberto Rincon-Rincon, whom witnesses say was a bodyguard and plaza boss in the gulf Cartel.  Jimenez's brother-in-law was a cousin of Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, who was the Cartel's boss before his capture this month. Jimenez testified that Costilla sent Rincon-Rincon to pick up money from successful smuggling attempts. Authorities allege that large loads of marijuana seized near the border in Texas last year passed through territory controlled by Rincon-Rincon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CITY COUNCIL APPROVALS, APPOINTMENTS, PUBLIC HEARING AND READING

The City Council approved the effective tax rate for the fiscal year 2012-2013 at 86.5043 per $100 valuation. There was one dissenting vote:  Fourth District Councilman Bobby McDonald.

The Council did approve the budget for the upcoming year unanimously.

In addition, during the meeting last night, Tuesday, September 25, a new member was appointed to the Big Spring Economic Development Board.
Frances Hobbs will take over the one open spot.

Other appointments were:
 Jim Deville was reappointed to the McMahon Wrinkle Airpark Development Board
 
Edward Roach and Ron Howell were reappointed to the Board of Adjustment and Appeals
Lupe Dominguez was appointed to re-serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission Board.  There is still an open spot on that Board
Steve Herren and Ken Johnson were re-appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustments, and
Jamey Stegall and Lora Wofford were appointed to the Teen Court Board

During the City Council Meeting last night, the Council did approve an agreement for the Mayor to go to the County for financial assistance in supporting the Senior Citizens Center. The agreement gives the Mayor the authorization to execute any necessary documents.

The Council also approved an agreement that allows the Mayor to execute any necessary documents to provide emergency ambulance service outside the City limits. The City will pro-rate the amount charged to the County while the agreement is negotiated.

The Council also had a Public Hearing and an Emergency Reading regarding a block grant that would assist the City in obtaining funds for replacement of water lines. The deadline to submit the grant request is within the next few weeks, necessitating the emergency reading. According to Mayor Tommy Duncan, if the City is able to obtain the grant, it would be for $350,000. Combined with the $500,000 the City has budgeted for water line repairs, it could mean the City would be able to double the amount of water lines the City could replace.

EDGAR DALE WHITT

There has been a lot of comments about the sentence received by Edgar Dale Whitt, the man arrested in March for two counts of Prohibited Sexual Contact and four counts of Indecency with a Child. In speaking with Assistant District Attorney Robin Orr about the case, I asked why they decided to enter into the plea deal. According to Orr, he and his investigative team looked at the evidence extensively and decided this was the best course of action. As far as the charges that were dismissed: Orr did say if new evidence does come to light, he would have the option of re-filing the charges because they were not dismissed with prejudice. He followed that remark by saying he was unsure whether an investigation was ongoing in the case. Whitt was given a ten year sentence, of which the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will decide how much of that time Whitt will actually serve.

HOWARD COUNTY FAIR

The Howard County Fair will be starting up this Thursday night, September 27, at 5:00 pm with a full schedule of events. There will be rides for the kids, a 45’ pirate ship for smaller kids to play on along with a bouncy house, delicious food including cajun specialties in addition to the traditional corndogs, funnel cakes, smoked turkey legs and so much more.  At 7:00 pm there will be a Gospel Music Festival featuring local groups from Trinity Baptist Church and Spring Creek Fellowship along with Crystal River. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for kids: $1 from each ticket sold will go to the American Heart Association in honor of the late Marion Newton. Mr. Newton was a lifelong Big Spring resident who was a farmer and supported the Ag Expo, Howard County Fair and the Junior Livestock Show, the Farmers Market and any activity related to an antique tractor. He was also named producer of the year in 2005.

HOWARD COUNTY SHERIFFS ADMINISTRATIONS OFFICE MOVING

The Howard County Sheriffs Administrations Office is moving to their new facility off of West Highway 80 today, Wednesday, September 26. This could mean a little disruption for that office for today but operations should be back to normal sometime Thursday. As for the Police Department, there is not a timeline yet for them to make their move but it should happen soon. New furniture for the Police Department is being delivered. When it arrives, the Big Spring Police Department will move into the Law Enforcement Center too.

PINK PEP RALLY AND PINK FOOTBALL GAME

The Big Spring High School Cheerleaders will be selling pink T-shirts this week for their Pink Pep Rally and Pink Football Game on October 12th. The shirts are $20 each and can be purchased at the front office of the High School. All proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. During the Pep Rally on the 12th, there will be a special section for survivors and those still battling as the fight for a cure continues. The Pep Rally is scheduled for October 12th at 9:40 am in the Big Spring High School Gym.

CUSTOM QUILT RAFFLE

The Mobile Meals Organization is holding a raffle of a custom quilt to raise funds for the United Way. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. To purchase tickets, contact Mac Cantu with Mobile Meals at 263-4016.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

PHEA CONVICTED OF FORCING 14 YEAR-OLD GIRL INTO PROSTITUTION

An Amarillo man will spend 26 years in jail for forcing a 14 year-old girl from Houston into prostitution. Brian Phea, 25, lured the girl to his mother’s home in Amarillo, had sex with her, and then drove her to Odessa where he advertised her on the internet as a female who would provide sex for money. When she refused, Phea struck her. Phea later contacted a friend, Trevin Rounds, to take the girl back to Houston. Rounds was stopped in Eden, Texas, with the girl in his car. Upon searching the girl’s cell phone, police found the information regarding the prostitution operation. Phea will also be under 25 years of supervised release after his release from prison.  Trevin Rounds will be sentenced on October 3rd. He was convicted on one count of possession of Child Pornography and one count of Coercion of a Minor. He is facing a minimum mandatory ten years and up to life in prison.

ONCOR.COM WEBSITE

Oncor has launched a new and improved version of its oncor.com website. The website now has two communication channels - text and online outage reporting tools - to help customers find information and provides more outlets to communicate with Oncor.  The homepage offers tips on how to save on your electric bill, how to report an outage and how to get an estimated time of restoration. The Stormcenter portion of the website has options to report streetlight outages and question Oncor experts through the Ask Oncor Program.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BIG SPRING CITY BUDGET

The Big Spring City Council will have the final reading and approval of the tax rate for the 2012-13 fiscal year and the budget for the City will be approved as well. The City Council is confident they will be able to work around a procedural error made by the Appraisal District that led the Council to work on the budget with incorrect figures. When the mistake was discovered, the effective rate which was incorrect had been announced publicly. The rate was determined using appraisal values that were under dispute. In that situation, the previous year’s appraisal should have been used. The amount of property under dispute this year was just short of $57 million. A figure close to $41 million should have been used which would have set the effective rate at 88.8725 per $100 valuation instead of the 86.5043 that was announced. The City could make out lucky though. The high end estimates for the shortage is $130,000 short in the budget or it could be lower depending how the appraisal disputes end up which will not be known until sometime in October, if then. Meanwhile the City will make up any shortage from the General Fund. The City sited there was not enough time to hold the necessary amount of public hearings to go with the true effective rate.

HOWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT SETS TAX RATE

As expected the Howard County Commissioners Court set the tax rate for the fiscal year 2012-2013 at 33 per $100 valuation. The rate is 6.72% increase over last year’s tax rate and 7.48% over the effective rate. However the tax bill for a house valued at $100,000 would decrease by $95.84. The tax levy this year will bring in an additional $750,000 in tax revenue, all of which will go to the Road and Bridge Department for road repair and maintenance.
“What we did this year is, more or less, add $750,000. Five hundred of that is going to road maintenance and that is going to keep them from getting worse than they already are,” that was Howard County Judge Mark Barr.
The Commissioner’s Court is also looking at a road use agreement used by Bea County: “We got a template from Bea County where they have a road use agreement with the different drilling contractors down there, the people who are actually drilling the oil wells. What it basically does is charge them $9,500 to drill the well and that money goes to the Road and Bridge Department to repair the roads,” Barr said. The agreement will need some subtle changes made to make it a better fit for the situation here in Howard County. Commissioners Jimmie Long and Donnie Baker along with Road and Bridge Administrator Brian Klinkseik will meet with County Attorney Josh Hamby about the agreement to make the necessary changes.

EDGAR DALE WHITT

There has been a lot of comments about the sentence received by Edgar Dale Whitt, the man arrested in March for two counts of Prohibited Sexual Contact and four counts of Indecency with a Child. In speaking with Assistant District Attorney Robin Orr about the case, I asked why they decided to enter into the plea deal. According to Orr, he and his investigative team looked at the evidence extensively and decided this was the best course of action. As far as the charges that were dismissed: Orr did say if new evidence does come to light, he would have the option of re-filing the charges because they were not dismissed with prejudice. He followed that remark by saying he was unsure whether an investigation was ongoing in the case. Whitt was given a ten year sentence, of which the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will decide how much of that time Whitt will actually serve.

FIRE ON BRANDON ROAD

Eight Howard County Volunteer Fire Department vehicles and one  Big Spring Fire Department vehicle were on the scene of a house fire last night around 5:15 pm in the 7400 block of Brandon Road. When the firefighters arrived, they observed heavy smoke coming from the back of the home. The blaze quickly moved into the attic area and it took the Fire Department approximately 45 minutes to knock down the blaze. The Fire Department was able to save some of the residents clothing but the home was a total loss. The fire is under investigation at this time.

BIG SPRING FILM SOCIETY UPCOMING EVENT

The Big Spring Film Society is looking for some help for their next viewing which will be the 1989 version of Batman. The movie is planned for an October 13th viewing in downtown Big Spring. Concessions will be available at the screening so all the attendees will need is a chair to sit in and enjoy the show. If you would like to be a part of the screening and help the Film Society with the show, contact Brandon Johnson at 432-213-0758 or, by email, at cruiser1977@gmail.com.

CUSTOM QUILT RAFFLE

The Mobile Meals Organization is holding a raffle of a custom quilt to raise funds for the United Way. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. To purchase tickets, contact Mac Cantu with Mobile Meals at 263-4016.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

STABBINGS IN LENORAH

A Martin County man is in jail on two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Corey Glenn Rodgers went to a barbecue in Lenorah, Sunday night, to visit his children. While there, he was involved in an altercation with another man. After striking the man, Rodgers pulled out a knife and stabbed the man several times including in the throat. According to family members, Rodgers also stabbed another man before fleeing the scene on foot. He was later apprehended by Martin County Sheriffs Deputies and is being held on $20,000 bond.

WEST NILE VIRUS HAS CLAIMED ANOTHER VICTIM IN THE PERMIAN BASIN

A patient being treated in Midland succumbed to the disease over the weekend bringing the total to four for the Permian Basin. Statewide the number is nearing 60 deaths with between 1,300 and 1,500 sickened by the virus. According to experts, the worst month for mosquitoes is October so the worst may be yet to come.

ADVICE FROM THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU

If you use credit cards or owe money on loan, you are considered to be “in debt.” If you fall behind on a payment to your creditors, you may be contacted by a debt collector. Your Better Business Bureau has received close to 50 complaints in the past month against collection agencies and is reminding consumers about their rights. Consumer complaints allege debt collectors used threats to force consumers into paying their alleged debt, did not provide adequate proof of the debt when requested and continuously harassed consumers after they were asked not to or told the debt was incorrect. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors are required to treat consumers fairly and are prohibited from certain methods of debt collection. For example, debt collectors are prohibited from harassing consumers or using false or misleading statements. Collectors may not state that a consumer will be arrested for failing to pay, that their property or wages will be seized, or that they are attorneys or government representatives. Debt collectors may only contact you between the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm.  They must stop contacting you if you write a letter to the collector telling the company to stop.
They must send you a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe, the name of the creditor and what action to take if you do not owe money within five days of initial contact. Also they may not contact you if you send the collection agency a letter stating you do not owe the money within 30 days after you receive the written notice.

IN SPORTS

BIG SPRING LADY STEERS IN ACTION TONIGHT

The Big Spring Lady Steers will be in action tonight against the top ranked Abilene Wylie Lady Bulldogs in Abilene. The Lady Steers come into the match with a 21-10 record and are 1-0 in District. The Lady Steers are coming off a four-game win over Midland Greenwood this past Saturday. The Lady Bulldogs are 18-2 on the season and 1-0 in District after sweeping Snyder at home. The two teams met in the Granbury Tournament earlier this season with the Lady Bulldogs winning two close games for the win.

COAHOMA BAND BOOSTERS TAILGATE DINNER

The Coahoma Band Boosters will have a Tailgate Dinner at Homecoming this Friday, September 28. The group will have brisket sandwich plates available which include potato salad or chips, pinto beans, pickles and onions, a sweet snack and choice of drink. The dinner starts at 6:00 pm.

Monday, September 24, 2012

EDGAR DALE WHITT REACHES PLEA DEAL

Edgar Dale Whitt accused of child abandonment and prohibited sexual conduct reached a plea deal in 118th District Court on Friday, September 21. Whitt received a ten-year prison sentence. He was facing two counts of Prohibited Sexual Contact and four counts of Indecency with a Child: all second degree felonies. As part of his agreement, his daughter Tamara will not be prosecuted on the two counts of abandonment of a child that she was indicted for. The Whitts were arrested in March when one of three children was found riding his bike along Highway 87 early Sunday morning. The boy was seven years old. Upon further investigation by the Howard County Sheriff’s Department, two more children, ages 5 and 2, were found at the Whitt home living in squalid conditions. Later Sheriffs deputies discovered Edgar Whitt had fathered at least one of the children at the home with his daughter Tamara. The three children were removed from the home and placed with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Two of the children were placed in a foster home together and are doing fine. The third child has also been placed in a foster home.

COMMISSIONERS COURT

Howard County Commissioners Court will meet this morning, Monday, September 24, to finalize the County Tax Rate. It is anticipated that the rate will be $0.33 per $100 valuation which is ten cents lower than last year’s rate. But with appraisals rising tremendously, the rate will bring in slightly more than $750,000 to the County this year. All of this is earmarked for the Road and Bridge Department for road repairs. The County is estimating they have $22 million in repairs to county roads. At their last meeting the Court approved the budget which contained raises for all lower level employees. The County Commissioners will approve an Interlocal Agreement between Howard County and the Howard County Water Control and Improvement District. In addition, there will be the renewal of the contract between Howard County and the Texas Department of Family Protective Services. Also on the agenda: Jackie Olson will present invoices, purchase requests and budget amendments; Teresa Thomas will present personnel considerations and Brian Klinksiek will present pipeline crossings and road maintenance requests. The meeting will begin at 10:00 am in the Third Floor Courtroom of the Howard County Courthouse.

 FIRST PLACE AWARD

The Texas Association of Symphony Orchestra has rewarded the Big Spring Symphony Guild for their outstanding efforts in support the Big Spring Symphony. The Guild received a First Place Award for their education program Nutcracker in a Nutshell they put on in December and a Second Place Award for their education event Instrument Petting Zoo in April. The guild also received a First Place Award for their fundraising event Dressed to a Tea.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

POSSIBLE PRIVATE ROCKET LAUCH FACILITY IN SOUTH TEXAS

Spacex is buying land in south Texas where the company is considering building a private rocket launch facility. The Brownsville Herald reported Sunday that the commercial space exploration firm has purchased at least three lots in Cameron County under the name Dogleg Park LLC. Property records show the owner's address is listed as Spacex headquarters in California. Spacex is said to be considering Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and perhaps Georgia as the location for a new launch site. The company did not respond to the Newspaper's requests to comment on the land purchases. Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos, the County's Top Elected Official, says the purchase doesn’t guarantee that Spacex has made its choice but called it a good sign. Spacex already has a rocket factory near Waco.

CAUSE OF FIRE BEING INVESTIGATED

A suspicious house fire in Midland has fire investigators concerned. The fire is the third one at the residence in the past week. This one started in the living room. No one was injured in the recent fire. Apparently the homeowner was in the shower when the fire started. She was also able to save the family pet. Fire Marshals are now investigating the fires.

MISSING RADIOACTIVE ROD

The search is continuing for the missing radioactive rod lost somewhere between well sites in Pecos and Odessa. Halliburton used the device at the site near Pecos but when the truck transporting the cylinder arrived at the well site near Odessa, the rod was not in the compartment where it is kept under lock and key. Agencies from across the State have been searching the route the truck took from one well site to another but have not found anything yet. The device is dangerous and will cause radiation sickness if in contact for more than two hours. A reward is being offered by Halliburton for anyone who finds the missing device. If found, authorities recommend staying at least 25 feet away from the item and to contact authorities immediately.

IN SPORTS

BIG SPRING 51 - ANDREWS 14

A strong defensive showing and a Tobyn Tannehill led offense led the Steers to a huge Homecoming win. Tannehill totaled over 400 yard of total offense and ran for three TD’S and threw for three more in the win. The Steers Defense kept the Mustang Offense in check most of the night allowing only one score. The other Mustang scored came on a fake punt. Up next for the Steers is Seminole in the final pre-district matchup of the season.

FORSAN 25 - JIM NED 21

The Buffaloes fell behind early to Jim Ned 21-0, before the offense got untracked scoring 25 straight points in the comeback win for Forsan. The Buffaloes are now 4-0 on the season with another road game coming this week at Crane before finishing up their pre-district season with Homecoming against Sundown.

DENVER CTIY 26 - COAHOMA 0

The Bulldogs could not get into any offensive rhythm against a strong Denver City squad Friday night. The mustangs are now 2-2 on the season, while Coahoma fell to 1-3. The Bulldogs will return home this week to take on Ballinger for Homecoming.

MCCAMEY 42 - STANTON 21

AREA SCORES

6-MAN

Borden County 60 - Hermleigh 0
Ira 45 - Garden City 0
Grady 68 - Midland Trinity 48
Robert Lee 66 - Sterling City 20
Highland 86 - Sands 44

3A

Monahans 47 - Fort Stockton 0
Greenwood 42 - SA Lake View 7
Wall 43 - Sweetwater 20
Abilene Wylie 38 - Brownwood 14
Snyder 25 - Estacado 22
Midland Christian 63 - Seminole 14

5A

Abilene 44 - Permian 14
Midland 14  - Tascosa 7
SA Central 49 - Odessa 7

VOLLEYBALL

In volleyball action, the Lady Steers got their first district victory of the season with a four game win over Midland Greenwood. The Lady Steers took game one 25-21; dropped game two 25-21; and looked to be in trouble in game three as the Rangerettes took a 14-7 lead, but the Lady Steers roared back to take a 20-18 lead before finishing off Greenwood 25-20 and 25-15 in game four. The Lady Steers are now 21-11 on the season and 1-0 in district. They will travel to Abilene Tuesday, September 25, for a matchup with Wylie on Tuesday night.

CROSS COUNTRY

MONAHANS INVITATIONAL

GIRLS

Karina Alvarado Big Spring 7th Place 12:48 (2miles)

BOYS

Gustavo Lugo Big Spring 1st Place 16:25.46 (3 Miles)
Thomas King Big Spring 4th Place 17:10.43
Joshua Means Big Spring 6th Place 17:21.40

COWBOY INVITATIONAL

HIGH SCHOOL

VARSITY

Tyler Evans 3rd Place 17:00.31
Justin Goff 12th 17:50.07
Brady Gartman 41st 19:49.63

JUNIOR VARSITY

Ian Park 14th 20:48.66

JUNIOR HIGH

Bryce Hergert 50th 14:02.41
Garrett Evans 52nd 14:07.40
Kolby Watson 55th 14:11.61
Nathan Vidal 58th 14:51.15
Robert Stevenson 67th 14:33.20
Andy Kirkland 68th 14:34.12
Josh Evans 74th 14:48.87
Team Finished 7th

GIRLS

Chasity Grantham 48th 15:07.28
Leah Yanez 58th 15:23.63
M’Kenna Hopper 72th 15:33.98
Sterling Freeman 90th 16:12.68
Cayla Rosenbaum 91st 16:13.58
Bree Franklin 93rd 16:16.32
D’Amberly Baldwin 125th 17:08.91
Megan Munsell 158th 17:53.27
Mckenzie Lane 172nd 18:27.23
Skylar Smith 173rd 18:30.90
Genesis Caldwell 176th 18:50.76
Team Finished 13th

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DOWNTOWN TRAFFIC DIFFICULTIES

Construction on Third and Fourth Street here in Big Spring is affecting traffic in the downtown area. From Gregg Street to Highway 350 construction crews have begun repaving work and work on sidewalks. Along with the work, has come lane closures and narrower lanes to travel in. Also heavy equipment is making its way through the downtown streets along with the construction workers. Drivers in that area need to be alert especially in the early morning hours.

REDUCTION IN ENROLLMENT OF COLLEGES

Howard College recently announced a downturn in enrollment for their Big Spring and San Angelo Campuses: A trend that is becoming common throughout community colleges in the Basin. Odessa and Midland College have had drop offs in enrollment as well as many students are taking to the oilfields to chase the big dollars the industry is paying right now. Some though are making the sacrifice to get their degree and, for another reason, housing. Some have been lucky enough to get into dorm rooms on campus which solves a problem many are having with the shortage of housing. Rent prices are skyrocketing throughout the Basin due to the high demand with the influx of people moving into the area looking for work.

SCHOOL TOURS SATURDAY

The Big Spring ISD will be offering tours of Washington Elementary School this Saturday, September 22, from 10:00 to 11:00 am. The school is located at 1207 South Birdwell Lane. From 11:00 am until noon the School District will be offering tours of the new science labs at the High School located at 707   11th Place.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

RENTAL COSTS NEARLY DOUBLE – PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLE SOLUTION

A mother and daughter are living in their van in Odessa after their rent nearly doubled for the one bedroom apartment they were living in. Nena and Aline Flanagin suffer from health problems and between the two of them bring home approximately $1,500 a month. Their rent was $1,295 dollars a month but last month is went up to $2,400 and the women had no choice but to walk away. They have been in the van for a week now. The mother sleeps in the van and the daughter sleeps outside, as they look for a place to call home. They do have calls in to local nursing homes in search of vacancy but have not had any luck so far.

An Odessa woman has started a petition asking City Leaders in Odessa to do something to control the rising rent prices but City Leaders say they have no control. Now the woman is calling them out. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has gone to the Governor’s Office and the Office of State Senator Kel Seliger with her plight and has found out City Leaders do have the capability to regulate rent. City Government can declare a local Manmade Disaster, under which this situation falls, and, upon approval by the Governor, the City would be able to implement rent control.

MISSING RADIOACTIVE CYLINDER DANGEROUS

The FBI is now involved in the search for the missing radioactive cylinder. Initially the FBI became involved to see if the rod had been stolen but, after questioning Halliburton employees, they have determined that this not the case. Now their concern is public safety. The rod is marked clearly in red lettering “Danger Radioactive” but that does not guarantee someone will not pick up the item and keep it on their person. Prolonged exposure will cause radiation sickness. Another concern is that someone will find the cylinder and sell it to a scrap yard. Midland Police have contacted all scrap yards in the area about the item and they have been assured they will be alerted. The question now is: How long will the rod be a danger? According to experts, the rod has a half-life of 483 years.

PRESIDIO-OJINAGA RAILROAD CROSSING

Texas Pacifico Transportation is just waiting on approval of TXDOT and the Governors Office so they can begin work on the Presidio-Ojinaga Railroad Crossing. The Crossing once carried cargo back and forth across the border generating income for both cities’ economies. According to Brad Newton, of the Presidio Economic Development Center, the crossing would bring 50 jobs to the City if the crossing is rebuilt. The crossing was destroyed in an arson related fire a few years back. Since then it has been a railroad track to nowhere. Of concern though, is the crime rate which was much higher when the crossing was open, according to Presidio Chief of Police, Marco Baeza. When the crossing was open, Baeza said, there were more burglaries and drug trafficking than there is now. Baeza did add that Border Security is much tighter now, so the problem could be a different story this time around. The Mexican side of the railroad is already complete. The American side will cost about $10 million to finish and, if approved, is projected to be completed by 2014.

STRANDED CONSTRUCTION WORKERS HAVE HELP GETTING HOME

The construction workers who were recently stranded in Midland by Above and Beyond Construction are now able to return home. The general contractor, EBCO, has given them money to make it back home to Alabama. The group was also helped out by a local pastor and an Odessa woman who made breakfast for the group and donated some money to the men to assist them in getting home. The men thanked everyone for the help and hope to return to the area in the future for more work.

WATER RECLAMATION PLANT

Midland College is looking at a water reclamation plant of their own. The College and the City of Midland are constructing a plant that will take sewage water and treat it, then use it for irrigation on campus. The project, the first of its kind in the State, will serve as a pilot for similar projects in the future.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WATER SUPPLY UPDATE

The pipeline running in from the well fields in Ward County is coming along at a rapid pace. The project is approximately 75% to 85% complete at this time and will soon be delivering water to Colorado River Municipal Water District customers in Big Spring, Odessa, Snyder, Stanton, Pyote, San Angelo, Midland, Abilene and Robert Lee. The three water sources are nearly dry with two of the source -- Lake J.B. Thomas and the E.V. Spence Reservoir -- no longer having water drawn from them and the O.H. IVIE RESERVOIR will be dry by May or June of next year unless significant rains come before then. The CRMWD has drilled 42 wells in the Ward County fields and the pipeline will deliver winter usage levels of approximately 30 million gallons of water a day.

FIRE DEPARTMENT CALL OUTS

The Big Spring Fire Department went out on a few calls yesterday: The first of which was a call of a gas leak in the 1000 block of Goliad; the situation was brought under control. Later in the evening, they received a call of a vehicle fire in the 1400 block of Nolan. The fire department was able to extinguish that fire.

TAILGATE PARTY FUNDRAISER

The Junior Class of Big Spring High School will be having a tailgate party at Memorial Stadium this Friday night, Sept. 21, to raise money for the Junior/Senior Prom. There will be a hamburger plate,  roasted corns and soft drinks for everyone. The party begins at 5:30 pm on the north side of Memorial Stadium.

COWBOY’S SUPPORTS UNITED WAY

Dine Out Days are continuing in Big Spring this week. Cowboy’s Restaurant is the place to go. Cowboy’s will be donating a portion of their proceeds for the week to the United Way of Big Spring and Howard County. The program is a big part of the fundraising efforts for the United Way as they try to attain their goal of $300,000. The funds go to help support 15 agencies in the Big Spring and Howard County Area.

AMERICA’S CUTEST KID IS FROM COAHOMA

Kobi Olivas was voted America’s Cutest Kid on the Live with Kelly and Michael Show last week. The youngster is the son of Misti Muller of Coahoma.  Misti submitted a photo of Kobi several months ago and had almost forgotten about the contest when the call came that Kobi was a finalist. For winning the contest the family will get to go on a cruise and receive a new car which will arrive sometime this week.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS ABANDONED UNPAID

Once again, Above and Beyond Construction is being accused of not paying their workers. The subcontractor was in the news several weeks back when it was learned that workers from the El Paso area had been living in a storage container while putting in 12-hour days working on a hotel in the Midland area: Work they never received payment for doing. They eventually went home and several of the workers have sued the company for back pay. Now a group from Alabama is making the same claims for work they were doing on the Hilton Garden Inn; even saying they paid for some of the building materials out of their own pocket. Now they have been told their services have been terminated and they had to leave the hotel where they had been staying. The owner of Above and Beyond, Terry Davis, is claiming another subcontractor, Heavenly Body, is responsible for paying the crews. Davis is currently in jail on a warrant out of Lubbock unrelated to these incidents.

VOLUNTEERS AND HOUSING NEEDED

The Midland Red Cross is looking for some help from the community. Right now they are looking for housing for victims. A majority of the hotels in the area are full due to the oil boom and there are few alternatives for the organization to use. In addition, there is an immediate need for 20 to 30 volunteers for the Disaster Relief Program. With winter approaching, there is a need to provide care for more victims. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact:
             Midland Red Cross at 432-563-2267

HEALTH CARE CLINIC

Oil companies are stepping up in their care for employees and their families. Endeavor Energy and Pioneer Natural Resources have opened a health care clinic. The clinic is exclusively for workers and their families, and is seen as a proactive step towards Obamacare which requires companies to provide health care for their employees and health insurance for their companies’ employees. The clinic guarantees access to care: oil industry experts say it is a great way for companies to retain employees. Many of these types of clinics are non-profit and are funded completely by the companies themselves.

Wednesday, September 6, 2012

BIG SPRING REMEMBERS 9/11

The Disabled Veterans Group here in Big Spring will be holding a memorial service for those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack. The event is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm Tuesday evening in front of the memorial at the Big Spring Mall. The event was started back in 2007 and has grown each year with attendance at 250 people last year. In addition to the ceremony the event will feature guest speaker Army National Guard Major General Eddy Spurgin, and a POW/MIA table. Local veteran Mike Tarpley heads up the ceremony and has been involved since its inception in 2007. Tarpley recently received the Patriot of the Year Award for the State of Texas.

5TH REGIONAL COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

Air Evac Lifeteam Base has received the 5th Region Community Service Award. The local base was chosen from amongst 21 bases in the region for their tremendous work within the community, both in showing off what they do and for their efforts to keep the community informed of their services. The base has been out in the community visiting with children in the area to show off their equipment and how they go about doing their work. The award has also put the base into the running for the National Community Service Award that will be presented on November 17th in O’Fallon, Missouri.

NEW HELIPAD AT MIDLAND MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

In a related story Midland Memorial Hospital will be opening a new helipad within the next week. This will allow the transfer of patients directly to the hospital during an emergency rather than landing at midland international airport and then being taken by ambulance to the hospital. It will also make the transfer of patients from the hospital to hospitals in Lubbock and Dallas much quicker and easier. Staff is being trained presently on how to use the helipad and landscaping is being installed. Hospital leaders also stress it will get patients into care much quicker since they will be taken directly into the hospital. The helipad will also bring more patients to Midland Memorial. The hospital was being passed up often due to the lack of a landing pad onsite.

ERIC HERM BOOK SIGNING

The Heritage Museum will be holding a book signing from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Saturday, September 8. Eric Herm will be signing his newest book “Surviving Ourselves: The Evolution of Community, Education and Agriculture in the 21st Century”. Herm is a local farmer who grew up on the family farm in Ackerly. As he traveled, Herm met numerous interesting people who had made the effort to rebuild small communities and learned of the sacrifices they made. The book also includes poetry at the end of each chapter. This is the second book for Herm; his first is titled “Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth.”

H-E-B EMPLOYEES SERVE AND SUPPORT RESCUE TEAMS

H-E-B employees from across the State will be visiting  and lending a helping hand to firefighters across Texas today. H-E-B will adopt 532 stations across the State and partners from the grocery store chain will be on hand to serve meals to firefighters and to help out around the station during the day. The community service projects honors September 11th as a national day of service and remembrance that pays tribute to the men and women rescue teams who risked and lost their lives at the World Trade Center.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

HOUSING CRUNCH LEADS TO UNUSUAL TRADE OFFERS

A booming economy and a housing crunch in the Permian Basin has some people trying anything to get to West Texas and try to cash in. Jerry Werth, who owns a drilling and well services company in Costa Rica, is offering a trade: his estate in Costa Rica for your house here in the Basin. Werth’s business is booming here in West Texas but he has been unable to find housing, leading to him post the trade offer on Craigslist. So far he has not had any takers on the offer. Tyler Patton of the Better Business in the Permian Basin believes people will begin to see more and more of this type of thing as the boom continues. He recommends you do research if you are considering any such offer and be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true. Gather as much contact information as possible about the person and their relationship with the owner and the real estate company involved in the transaction.

BRINGING SOLAR POWER TO WEST TEXAS

Fort Stockton is looking at bringing solar power to West Texas. The Economic Development Corporation is in talks with a solar energy company about leasing 640 acres of land in the City. City Manager Raul Rodriguez says the City and the company are in talks right now on how the solar energy company will plug into the power grid to deliver the power it generates. Right now the land is sitting empty.

NEW FIRE STATION FOR ANDREWS

The City of Andrews is moving forward with plans to build a new fire station. The City will be sending out for bids for the $750,000 building next week, according to Andrews City Manager Glen Heckler. The new station will be in the Business Park South and is expected to be completed sometime in June of 2013.

IN STATE NEWS

GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR AFFORDABLE RENTAL FARM WORKER HOUSING

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is accepting applications for Technical Assistance Grants to develop domestic and migrant farm labor housing. Grants are available to organizations that will help Housing Authorities, State and local governments, Indian Tribes, non-profit organizations, and community- and faith-based groups apply for loans and grants to build farmworker housing.  Vilsack announced on July 18 the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for loans and grants to build or preserve affordable rental farm worker housing.  This technical assistance funding is available to organizations that assist potential borrowers under that NOFA. Technical Assistance Grantees must have the knowledge, ability, expertise or practical experience necessary to develop and package farm labor housing loan and grant applications. They also will be required to submit a minimum number of applications to the USDA, based on their location. Go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rdsuccessstories.html

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BIG SPRING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION SPECIAL MEETING

The Big Spring Economic Development Corporation will hold a special meeting today, September 5, at noon in the Chamber Board Room. During the meeting the Board will discuss a Memorandum of Understanding with Express Midstream Services, LLC. The company will be given until mid-December to develop and present a Business Development Plan for 300 acres of land owned by the E-D-C east of town. The E-D-C recently released information regarding the development of the rail spur located at the McMahon Wrinkle Airport. Transport Handling Specialist has just received a new locomotive that will be used to move rail cars with materials for existing businesses within the Airpark. The E-D-C is hoping to bring more industry to the industrial section of the Airpark with the development of the rail spur and the larger capacity it will bring to the area.

INVESTIGATION OF THE VANDALISM AT THE ALL WARS MEMORIAL

The Big Spring Police Department is following some leads they have received in relation to the vandalism that occurred at the All Wars Memorial in August. Residents are still being questioned as to whether they saw anything the weekend the vandalism occurred. There is a substantial reward being offered to anyone who may have information leading to an arrest in the case. There is also a fund that has been set up at State National Bank on Main Street if you would like to donate to help restore the memorial. If you have information for the Police please contact them at 264-2550.

DISCOUNT ON GASOLINE THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR

H-E-B is trying to save their customers some money by lowering the cost at the pump. Now through the end of the year the grocery store will be offering a 12 cents per gallon discount on fuel if you purchase an H-E-B Gift Card and use it for gas. Stores in Midland, Odessa and Big Spring along with stores across the State are participating in the promotion. The cards are re-loadable and, again, the promotion runs through the end of the year.

CAUSE OF DEATHS OF DOVES STILL UNKNOWN

The latest finding of dead doves has led to some caution in the hunting community. The mysterious deaths have not been explained as of yet. According to a report in the Midland Reporter Telegram the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, has performed a necropsy on samples of the birds found and have not been able to determine a conclusive cause of death. With dove season having just started, it is recommended that hunters not consume any birds that appear to be diseased or behaving oddly or that they have not shot themselves. One pet owner reported their dog died after eating some of the dead doves while others say their pets have not suffered any ill effects. Caution is urged and hunters are reminded that all birds killed count towards their limit. Officials do expect to have more results in the next few days and the information will be posted online the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

AT&T REQUIRED TO PROVIDE REDUNDANCY TO PREVENT RECURRANCE OF COMMUNICATION FAILURE ISOLATING BREWSTER COUNTY

AT&T has to answer some questions from leaders in a west Texas county after services for Cabel, internet and 9-1-1 services were cut off recently. Brewster County officials are wanting to hear about a back-up plan the company has in the case of a cut cable that literally cuts off the area from the outside world. According to Brewster County Public Information Officer, Beste Esparza, the County has been disconnected four times since December when construction crews in Midland and Odessa accidentally cut the lines leaving the County without any means of communications including cell service. Leaders are asking for some redundancy in the lines to avoid the situation happening in the future.  If AT&T cannot come up with an acceptable plan, the County is ready to find another service who can.

COACH TO RECEIVE REPRIMAND FOR HARSH PUNISHMENT

Monahans Volleyball Coach, Candace Swarb, is in hot water after punishing her players for a recent loss in the Seminole Invitational Tournament. Several parents are complaining because Swarb had her team run 20 laps on a hot tennis court barefoot. Several of the players received blisters during the run and still had to particpate in games later in the day. The parents said they understood the need for discipline but disagreed with the form of punishment that was doled out that day due to the injuries suffered by some of the players on the team. Superintendent Keith Richardson of Monahans-Wyckett-Pyote School District released the following statement about the incident, “She (Swarb) is an excellent Coach, has had no other incidents on her record, and would never do anything to intentionally hurt one of her players. She has apologized to the volleyball players and parents. Our Coach will receive a Discipline Reprimand.”

MIDLAND COUNTY FRESH WATER DISTRICT NUMBER ONE BONDS

According to an article in the Midland Reporter Telegram the bonds for the T-Bar Ranch Pipeline Project will be going on sale soon for Midland residents wanting to invest in the project. So far a consortium of local banks has already promised the Midland County Fresh Water District Number One $70 million in interim financing. However $69 million of that money has already been spent and the project will need a fresh infusion of funding if it wants to stay on time and meet its projected completion date of May 31, 2013. The Fresh Water District voted in August to authorize the issuance of the bonds. The District now is waiting for the completion of the mandatory 23 day waiting period before acting. That will end on September 11, but financial experts have advised the District to release the bonds on September 17 or 18. The total cost of the project will be around $200 million.

UTPB MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DEPARMENT NOW ACCREDITED

The University of Texas Permian Basin Mechanical Engineering Department has received accreditation. The announcement was made yesterday morning, September 4, at a press conference at the College. UTPB received the accreditation after proving their quality of education and that it is constantly improving. The School feels the latest news will help them bring in more students and will also help recent graduates of the school to find engineering jobs. Next up for UTPB is to receive accreditation for the Petroleum Engineering Program.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

OCTOBER OPENING FOR THE SETTLES HOTEL

The Settles Hotel is inching closer to opening to the public. The downtown structure has taken longer than anticipated to complete and, at last estimate, had run up to $30 million in renovations so far. But when the Hotel Settles sign went up on top of the building this summer, it brought tremendous excitement to the area as a symbol of finality. The plan now is for an October opening when the Grand Unveiling will occur and ownership will be able to show off the work and effort they have put in. When completed, the lower three levels of the hotel will look historically similar to the original structure and will have amenities travelers have come to expect in an old time feel. The remainder of the building will show off a modern world feel. The hotel will feature a spa, parlor and bar (where the pharmacy used to be), a full service restaurant, a fitness center and a ballroom for parties.

HOWARD COUNTY FAIR

The Howard County Fair is coming up September 27th through 29th and booths are available for profit and nonprofit groups at the fair both inside and outside for the fun filled weekend. The cost is $175 for an indoor booth and $250 for an outdoor booth. The fair had over fifty booths last year and is hoping to increase that number this year. Memberships are also available for the fair. The proceeds from booth sales and membership sales goes towards improvements to the fair grounds to make the fair bigger and better each year. For more information go to their website at http://www.howardcountyfairoftexas.com/

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

WOMEN’S HEALTH PROGRAM TO CONTINUE AFTER LOSING FUNDING IN NOVEMBER

Texas is holding a public hearing on what its Women's Health Program may look like after the Federal Government pulls funding amid a battle over planned parenthood. A 2011 State law barred funding to clinics affiliated with abortion providers. The Women's Health Program provides services to about 130,000 low-income women. It had been 90% sponsored by the Federal Government but Washington says Texas' Law violates Federal rules and plans to stop funding the program in November. Planned Parenthood provided care to about half of the program's participants. It sued, but an Appeals Court ruled that Texas can continue with plans to freeze funding to all its clinics. Texas has vowed to pay for the program on its own. Tuesday's hearing may provide clues of how it will do that.

RECORD NUMBER OF DEATHS IN TEXAS PRISONS

Texas prisons have had a record year of deaths within their walls and there are still four months remaining. Ten homicides have been reported this year: up from only 3 a year ago and the highest since 1997. The 111 prison system has not seen a year like this in quite some time. The system being used in choosing cellmates was originated in the 1980’s and has been successful up until now. The systems takes a look at the reason for confinement, their background, their age and various other factors. Most of the deaths have occurred between cell mates inside their cells where guards do not have as much control over the prisoners. None of the deaths though have occurred in facilities where there was a shortage of guards.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will be the keynote speaker at tonight's (September 4) Democratic National Convention.  He will be joined at the convention by Representative Charlie Gonzalez and Actress Eva Longoria.  The three San Antonio residents were named Texas Co-Chairs of Obama's Re-Election Campaign this year.  Mayor Castro says he's trying to avoid getting caught up in all the talk about how he's so much of a rising star that he could one day land in the white house.

“I would be lying to say that is not flattering. Of course it’s flattering to anybody, but the biggest mistake I could make, or anybody could make, would be to believe the Press, believe the hype,” Castro said.

Mayor Castro fills the same keynote spot that then Senator Barack Obama had back in 2004.  While Texas has not voted to put a Democrat in the oval office since 1976, the growing Latino population is expected to change that trend in the coming years.

OPTION TO PREPAY KIDS COLLEGE TUITIONS

The State of Texas is offering parents a way to pre-pay for their kids' college tuition.  The cost for a public four-year school in Texas is about $83 per unit, and a unit is about $21  for a two-year school.  The unit includes tuition and fees at current prices, and 100 of them make up one academic year.  Enrollment runs through next February.  You can get more information at www.texastuitionpromisefund.com or at 1-800-445-grad.

DEEP FRIED JAMBALAYA

Deep Fried Jambalaya is the best tasting new food at the State Fair of Texas.  Judges chose the fried concoction as one of the Big Tex Choice Awards Winners yesterday.  The creator coats shrimp, cajun sausage and seasonings in flour and then fries it to serve with a spicy ranch sauce.  The most creative award goes to the Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll.  The State Fair kicks off September 28th in Dallas.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

RAIL SPUR PROGRESS AT THE AIR PARK

The Big Spring Economic Development Corporation is beginning to see their vision at the Airpark begin to come into focus. The group has entered into an agreement with Transport Handling Specialist to develop the rail spur at the Park to enable it to handle more loading and offloading of equipment and supplies for existing businesses and to draw in new business. The development of the spur will hopefully bring more industrial type business to Big Spring. With the location on the Ports to Plains Corridor and along Interstate 20 combined with the Union Pacific Line that runs through the City, the location is ideal for companies as a transportation and distribution hub. The latest addition to the project has arrived in the form of a locomotive that will assist in moving the railcars full of product about the Park. The tracks are anticipated to be ready in the next four to six weeks.

SPRING ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES SPECIAL MEETING TONIGHT

The Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting tonight, Thursday, August 30, at 5:15 pm in the High School Board Room. During the meeting the Board will consider approval of the Final Amended Budget for the 2011-2012 School Year and the budget for the upcoming 2012-2013 fiscal year along with setting the tax rate for 2012. It is looking like the tax rate will be 1.36 cents per $100 valuation for the upcoming year which is eight cents lower than last year. That thanks to a conservative approach that brought in more revenue than anticipated last year. The School District is expecting to have expenditures in the $31 - $31.5 million range for the upcoming fiscal year which will include a 3% raise for employees of the district. The meeting will be held in the High School Board Room beginning at 5:15pm tonight.

NONINSURABLE CROP DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM DEADLINE

The County USDA Farm Service Agency wants to remind all producers they have until Tuesday to purchase coverage through the Noninsurable Crop Disaster Assistance Program. NAP provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occur due to normal disasters. The following crops all have a NAP closing date of September 4: all small grains, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, canola, cauliflower, garlic, sod grass, greens, herbs, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, radishes, strawberries, turnips and value loss crops. If Risk Management Agency offers coverage for a crop in the county, then coverage is not available for that crop. NAP covers the amount of loss greater than 50% of the expected production based on the approved yield and reported acreage. For more information call the Howard County FSA Office at 432-267-2557.

HOWARD COUNTY FAIR

The Howard County Fair is back and will be looking for its next Queen. Sign ups for the contest are going on right now and Howard College is offering a scholarship for the Queen and the First and Second Runners Up. Potential contestants can go to http://www.howardcountyfairoftexas.com/. The fair is scheduled for the weekend of September 27th thru 29th at the Howard County Fair Barns with Crabtree Carnival bringing the rides to town. Musically there will be a Gospel Night Thursday beginning at 7:00 pm and Noel Olivas performing on Friday night from 8:00 to 10:00 pm. Ann Gann and friends are performing Saturday night from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Also scheduled for the weekend is a Ranch Rodeo as well as  Cooking and Square Dance Demonstrations, a Domino Tournament and a Lawn Tractor Pull. For a full schedule and more information on the fair go to Howard County Fair of Texas .com.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

ANOTHER DEATH IN THE PERMIAN BASIN ATTRIBUTED TO WEST NILE VIRUS

A second death in the Permian Basin has been attributed to the West Nile Virus. This one occurred in Midland County. A total of 14 cases have been reported in the Basin with 5 in Midland and Ector County and 9  in Andrews County. The first death in West Texas happened in Andrews County. Andrews has been spraying and fogging the County in an effort to keep mosquitoes out.  They are also placing tablets in streams and wetland areas to kill mosquito larvae but to no avail as the cases still are popping up. Over 20 victims in the State of Texas have succumbed to the virus. A majority were in the Dallas Fort Worth and Houston areas where hundreds have also been sickened. Protect yourself when outside by wearing long sleeve light colored clothing, applying insect repellant with DEET, and avoid going out from dusk until dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

EXTREME OVERCROWDING IN ECTOR COUNTY SCHOOLS

Extreme overcrowding is quickly becoming an issue in Ector County Schools. To date there are close to 2,000 more students enrolled this year compared to last year which is enough to fill three elementary schools. Parents are becoming concerned with the number of students that are placed in each classroom and whether the teachers can provide the education to their children they are wanting. Adding to the problem is how to make everything work in a school that may have been built for 650 students but is having to house over nine hundred now. Pick up and drop off and lunches are becoming extremely difficult to keep on schedule. The physical plant is also struggling to keep up with the demand of so many more students. On the horizon approximately 450 houses are planned in the west part of Odessa where the overcrowding is at the worst right now. Fortunately the recent bond issue by the ISD is focusing on building three new elementaries in that area. The ECISD is currently pushing 30,000 students and counting.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT IN CUSTODY AFTER THREATENING THE HIGH SCHOOL

An Odessa High student is in the custody of ECISD Police after making a terroristic threat against the High School. Police surrounded the building after the threat was found on Facebook and began searching for the 16 year old; the student was taken into custody shortly before 9:00 am. Police determined that no immediate threat was apparent to the High School and the school day went on without disruption. The student could be charged with a third degree felony. The School has indicated no further charges are forthcoming.

ARSON

An Odessa man has been charged with Arson for his part in several fires he set last year. Jimmie Doyle Farris, 64 years old, was sentenced to 6 years in a Federal prison for a series of unexplained fires started in the Permian Basin. Farris was also ordered to repay nearly $4,000 in restitution and placed under supervised release for a period of three years after his prison term. Farris was present at more than a dozen roadside fires in Midland, Ector, Winkler, Crane and Andrews Counties. County Fire Marshals became suspicious of Farris when he was the one common fact at the fires. Either Farris phoned in the 911 call to report the fire or was spotted at the scene (without any reason to be there) by farmers and ranchers at remote areas when they arrived. He was placed under surveillance and on June 15th he was observed going directly from his house to a rural oilfield south of Midland County where there had been multiple fire starts. Officers noticed smoke coming from that area a short time later and took Farris into custody. He pled guilty to one count of Maliciously Damaging Real Property by Means of Fire.

August 24, 2012

HOWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT

The Howard County Commissioners Court will meet this Monday morning, August 27th, in their regular meeting. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am in the Third Floor Courtroom of the Howard County Courthouse. On the agenda is a proposal to rescind the Howard County burn ban which was enacted just last month by the Commissioners Court. Also on the agenda will be a report from Mouton and Mouton on delinquent taxes in the County and consideration of a secretary for County Agent. Other items on the agenda will be the appointment of Election Judges by Saundra Bloom; approval of contracts with Scenic Mountain Medical Center and Howard County Community Healthcare with Irene Dominguez and personnel considerations with Teresa Thomas along with purchase requests, invoices, budget amendments and a budget work session with Jackie Olson.

MEET THE TEACHER EVENTS

Meet the Teacher Events scheduled for today, August 24, are at Goliad and Washington Elementaries beginning at 5:00 pm. Washington Elementary will be having a Hot Dog Supper in their cafeteria for $3 a plate and kids can bring their school supplies to the classroom tonight if they wish. Kentwood will have their Meet the Teacher from 4:00 pm until 6:30 pm tonight. Coahoma Elementary will have their Meet the Teacher from 5:30 pm until 6:30 pm tonight. New Student Registration will be from 8:00 am until 2:30 pm today at all school campuses.

SALVATION ARMY BACK-TO-SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE

Today is the final day to apply for school supplies from the Salvation Army through their Back-To-School Supply Drive. So far 136 children have received supplies for this year which is down from last year. To apply you need to bring a birth certificate or Medicaid card for each child, know what school and grade the child will be in; bring proof of income and expenses and a picture ID for the person applying for the program. Applications are being accepted today from 9:00 am until noon at the Salvation Army Offices located at 811 West 5th Street. For more information, call the Salvation Army Offices at 432-267-8239.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

ILLEGAL DUMP IN ECTOR COUNTY

More on the story of the illegal dump in Ector County where high levels of dangerous chemicals were found. Ector County has been using the illegal landfill to dispose of items there. The County has, for over a year, been dumping items from right of ways they have cleaned up on the site. According to County Officials the items they have been dumping are allowable in unregulated pits. The items include rocks, dirt, sand and other items from the side of the road. Ted Yelley with the Ector County Enviromental Enforcement has inspected the site and has not seen anything illegal in the area where the County has been dumping. The County has a lawsuit against the owners of the illegal dump. The family is in the process of hiring a lawyer out of Austin to defend them. They have stated they do plan on cleaning up the site.

ROMNEY IS PLEDGING TO INCREASE OFFSHORE DRILLING AND PLACE MORE CONTROL OF ENERGY PRODUCTION IN THE HANDS OF THE STATES

Reaction to Mitt Romney’s plans for the oil and gas industry has been favorable among local oil experts. Romney is pledging to increase offshore drilling and place more control in the hands of the States when it comes to energy production on federal land in an effort to make the United States energy independent by 2020. He is also hoping to create over three million jobs and $1 trillion in revenue. The experts also feel the plan will help keep other countries, like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, from driving up the price of oil and allow the U.S. To produce 23 to 28 million barrels of oil per day, meaning no buying of oil from those countries. The topic is expected to be hotly debated as President Obama has already labeled the plan as “irresponsible” and that it will only line the pockets of big oil.

FOUL PLAY NOT SUSPECTED

Foul play is not suspected in the discovery of a dead body inside a garage in Odessa Thursday morning. 41 year old William Wade Green was found by family members inside a home located in the 1700 block of Rosebud Drive. There was an unknown substance found inside the home but it has not yet been determined what that substance is. Green’s body has been sent for an autopsy to determine a cause of death.

WATER PIPELINE

Ground was broken on the water pipeline from the T-Bar Ranch that will bring water from wells in Winkler and Loving Counties to Midland. The wells will help to solve the water woes Midland could be suffering from in the future when water sources run dry in the next six to eight months as predicted by the Colorado River Municipal Water District. Right now the three main water sources the CRMWD draws from are down to six percent levels. The pipeline from the T-Bar Ranch consists of 48” diameter pipes that will bring the water 76 miles to a two-million gallon holding tank near Highway 191 and FM 1788. That tank will hook into the City’s distribution system. The cost of the project will be around $200 million and is expected to be completed by the end of May of 2013.

IN STATE NEWS

GAS PRICES

Texans are once again paying higher prices at the gas pump.  Triple-A Texas spokesman Doug Shupe says gas prices will likely continue to climb through at least Labor Day weekend.  Prices should begin to drop once the summer driving season comes to an end.  The statewide average is up two cents this week to $3.55 per gallon.

Dallas and Fort Worth drivers are paying the highest gas price average in Texas this week at $3.58, up four cents in Dallas and a nickel in Fort Worth.  El Paso motorists are paying the least at $3.32, up four-cents a gallon.  Houston's average stayed the same this week at $3.54, while Austin's average increased two cents to $3.56 a gallon.  San Antonio drivers are paying four cents more at $3.53.  Texans are paying 17 cents less than the national average, which is at $3.72 per gallon.

POLICE SEARCH FOR THOSE SUSPECTED OF TOSSING HOMEMADE BOMBS FROM A MOVING VEHICLE

Police are on the search for suspects in an incident at Fort Hood today. The suspects tossed what are being called homemade bombs out of a moving vehicle near the entrance to the Army Base. Police had been called to a highway overpass at Highway 190 and Fort Hood Street around 8:30 pm Thursday night, August 23, to reports of a suspicious package which was determined to be not dangerous. But a short time later the call came in about three plastic bottles tossed at the entrance to Fort Hood. The bottles were filled with aluminum and chlorine and were shaken up before being tossed from the vehicle. Each one made a loud noise like a gun shot. Killeen police are still investigating.

SHOOTINGS AT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

Reports are coming in from New York that several people have been shot at the Empire State Building. The gunman is dead along with one other and nine more have been shot. A Fire Department spokesman says they received the call around 9:00 am and emergency crews were on the scene within minutes. It is rumored now that the shooter had been fired from his job a year ago and returned to the building and killed a fellow employee, then began firing into the crowd injuring several others. The shooter was 53 year-old Jeffrey Johnson who worked in a shop in the building. He was shot by police.

August 23, 2012

NEW BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB FACILITY UNVEILED

The Salvation Army unveiled the new Boys and Girls Club Facility today, August 23, in Big Spring. They have been operating the facility since 2005 and received its Official Charter from the Boys and Girls Club of America in December of last year. The Salvation Army has built up the program in the seven years it has operated the Boys and Girls Club and will now be able to offer a new range of activities to the youth of Big Spring in sports, arts, information technology and health and fitness programs. During the Dedication Ceremony, Alon Refinery, made a very generous donation of $200,000 to the Major Orville Chambless of the Salvation Army,

Alon Refinery makes generous donation to Boys and Girls Club

“Oh it is always wonderful to get that kind of donation from the Community to the Community. That not only shows that the company of Alon believes in the ministries of the Salvation Army but believes in the youth of our Community.”

The gymnasium at the Boys and Girls Club will be named after the Refinery for their donation according to Executive Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Refining, Jessica Rivera.

“Ok, well today we are involved with the naming and dedication of the ribbon cutting of the new Boys and Girls Club. The gymnasium is going to be named after us. It is going to be the Alon USA Big Spring Refinery Gymnasium.”

The employees at the Refinery became involved with the youth at the Boys and Girls Club some time back when they purchased gifts for them off of two angel trees; but the employees wanted to do more and this was one of the ways they were able to give more to the youth at the Club who are very appreciative.

Thank You!

“Thank you Alon”

Club membership is now over 150 and 75 to 80 kids a day used the Club during the summer. Sonnet Hildebrand, Club Director, and her staff will begin an exciting new after school program in the new Boys and Girls Club building. You can see more photos of the dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting on our KBEST Facebook Page.

ASSAULT TRIAL OF BRIAN LEWIS ENDS IN HUNG JURY

It is back to square one in the Assault Trial of Brian Lewis, it ended yesterday, August 22, with a hung jury. Lewis was facing Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon among other charges. If he had been convicted he was facing a prison term of anywhere from 5 to 99 years and up to a $10,000 fine. He was indicted in February and has been in custody since December 14th when he was apprehended in a drug raid.  The charges stem from an incident in August of 2011 when Lewis and another person chased 32 year-old Lonnie Gray through a home on State Street firing several shots at Gray while he ran through the house. Attorneys will discuss setting a new trial date.

COAHOMA ISD BUDGET

Coahoma Independent School District has approved their budget for the upcoming school year. The total comes to $7.79 million and the tax rate remained the same at $1.27 per $100 valuation. The School District will see about $80 million more in tax revenue with the tax levy but a decrease in money from the State will still leave the School District a little short in the budget. Teachers will receive a pay raise this year in the form of step raises along with an additional amount above the State base. The District will be working with fewer staff this year as one teaching position was phased out and two support staff positions were done away with as well. The responsibilities of those positions were reassigned. The shortage in budget funds will be made up from reserve funds this year.

MEET THE TEACHER SESSIONS

Marcy and Moss Elementary Schools will have their Meet the Teacher Sessions today, August 23. Marcy’s will run from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The children will be able to bring their school supplies if they want to and there will be refreshments served.

Moss Elementary will begin theirs at 5:00 pm with a Hot Dog Supper. Orientation for the Junior High will begin with 6th Grade at 5:00 pm in the main gymnasium followed by the 7th Grade at 6:00 pm and the 8th Grade at 7:00 pm.  At the High School, Sophomores pick up their schedules from 9:00 am until noon, Freshman orientation is at 6:30 pm in the High School Auditorium.

Coahoma will have New Student Registration from 8:30 am until 2:00 pm today, August 23, and tomorrow at all school campuses. Elementary school Meet the Teacher is from 5:30 pm until 6:30 pm tomorrow night.

6th Grade Orientation for Forsan students is today, August 23, from 2:30pm until 5:00 pm.

The Elbow New Year Party is tonight, August 23. Pre-K thru 2nd Grade is from 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm, 3rd thru 5th is from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

ILLEGAL LANDFILL

Illegal dumping has long been a problem. Now an illegal landfill has been found in Ector County and it has tested positive for high levels of arsenic, lead, chromium and butanone. The dump is over an area where three aquifers meet, the Ogallala, Edwards Trinity and Dockum. Ector County and the Texas Commission on Enviromental Quality has filed a lawsuit against the company operating the illegal dump, Basin Disposal Inc. and its owner and employee. The employee was recently caught dumping items illegally and admitted to it but said he did not know it was illegal to do so. The dump was immediately shut down. Multiple violations are shown in the lawsuit including the mishandling of asbestos and trash debris and records from former clients were found in the trash. Midland Christian School and Live Oak Village Apartments were among the clients who were still using Basin Disposal. The company is facing fines between $25,000 and $12.5 million. Unfortunately, this is not the largest illegal operation in the county. There are more and the biggest danger is there is nothing between the trash and the soil so anything leaking from a barrel goes directly into the soil. The Ector County Health Department will be testing the soil beneath the Basin Disposal illegal landfill to see if it is contaminated and if there is the possibility it will reach the water sources below.

UTPB PLANNING NAME CHANGE

University Texas Permian Basin is planning a name change. The Center for Energy and Economic Development Campus will now be known as the UTPB Midland Campus. The name change was approved at the Wednesday meeting of the Board of Trustees. Plans call for additions to be made to the campus between 2013 and 2022 and, by that time, the University expects student enrollment to grow from its present numbers of 3,562 students to 8,400 students and to be a national leader in the energy industry. The University will add to its number of available housing units, increase its enrollment of minority students by 10%, increase graduation rates and increase the number of students who earn degrees in the science, technology, engineering and math fields during that time as well. Funding will come from the State Legislators and from the Univeristy of Texas Permanent University Funds.

MORE CASES OF SEX OFFENDERS IN YOUTH DETENTION CENTER THAN BEFORE

A Midland youth detention center has been seeing more sex offenders in recent months than in the past. Most of the offenses they usually see are shoplifters, drug possession or burglary. In the past two years though, more serious offenses have been seen. The Center has seen eight sex offenders over the last three months and according to facilities Administrator, Thomas Morris, the center is seeing more youth caught with drugs like methamphetamines and marijuana from Mexico in amounts up to 500 pounds. The center is working with County Commissioners to bring in more guidance counselors to work with the youth to address the problems.

IN STATE NEWS

ASU RATED IN THE TOP 15%

Angelo State University has been rated among the top 377 colleges in the Princeton Review for the fourth year on a row. The honor goes to only 15% of the more than 2,500 four-year institutions in the United States and is based on eight categories for each school. ASU was also one of 121 institutions in 15 western states to make the reviews Best in the West Section of the guide’s 2013 Best Colleges Region by Region. The listings are based on surveys by 122,000 students or about 325 per campus attending colleges. It is based on an 80 question survey asking students to rate their own school on several topics and report on their campus experiences ranging from assessments of their professors to opinions about their financial aid and campus food to their political leanings.




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