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Friday, November 30, 2012

STRUCTURE FIRE IN BIG SPRING

The Big Spring Fire Department was called out to a structure fire at approximately 5:00 pm last night. The fire occurred near Robin and Mesa Roads near the old armory. The structure was fully ablaze when firefighters arrived on the scene. According to Big Spring Fire Marshall Carl Condray the structure was pretty much gutted. The roof partially collapsed. Investigators on the scene said they have two people of interest regarding the blaze, an investigation is continuing. More will be known tomorrow when investigators will be able to get closer to the scene. We will pass along any new information they obtain when it becomes available. No injuries were reported to persons or firefighters.

EVADING ARREST AND FELONY
ENDANGERMENT OF A CHILD

Michael Vanderbilt, 38 years old, of Big Spring has been charged with one count of evading arrest and three counts of felony endangerment of a child. Vanderbilt was involved in a domestic dispute last night. When a sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene, he fled in his vehicle with three children in the car who were not restrained properly. After a short chase he was apprehended and booked into the detention center. According to Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker, it was fortunate a sheriff’s deputy was in the area when the call came in. That helped keep the chase to a minimum. The children were not harmed.

HERITAGE MUSEUM – THREE EVENTS ON SATURDAY

The Heritage Museum will have its annual Breakfast with Santa event this Saturday from 8:30 am until 11:00 am. The cost is $3 per child and one canned good which will benefit the First Baptist Church Food Pantry. Parents need to call and schedule your child for breakfast with Santa at (432) 267-8255. Later on that evening, the museum will have its annual Parade Watching Party beginning at 4:30 pm. To make a reservation contact the museum at (432) 267-8255. While you are there, you can walk through the Christmas Tree Forest too.

ANNUAL BIG SPRING HERALD CHRISTMAS PARADE

The annual Big Spring Herald Christmas Parade will begin at 5:30 pm at the intersection of Gregg and 24th Street. It will proceed north on Gregg to Eighth, east on Scurry, north to Fourth then east on Main. There will be awards for Best of Show (best interpretation of the theme) , Publishers Award (best use of lighting) and the Grand Marshals Award  (for best costuming). There will be certificates awarded to the best entries for individual/family, civic/school, commercial, industrial and mounted. Over forty entries are entered in this year’s parade. For more information contact the Herald at (432) 263-7331.

DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION ASSOCIATION HOSTS CHRISTMAS ON MAIN STREET

Christmas on Main Street after the Christmas Parade from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm east of the courthouse between Third and Fourth Street. You can have your kids photo made with Santa for just $5. There will be hot cocoa and popcorn. Train and horse rides will also be available for $1. Santa will have gift for each child. There will be a Christmas musical performance by Cody Carnes. It is all sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Association.

BLOOD DRIVE AT BACK IN MOTION

There will be a blood drive held at the offices of Back in Motion between the hours of 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. You will need to make an appointment to donate and bring your driver’s license. There are plenty of slots open throughout the day. Our receptionist Dori Deering will be donating at 2:00 pm follow her lead and call (432) 267-2225 and schedule your appointment. Gift cards to Serenity Spa will be given to everyone who donates. The United Blood Services will have their truck out front handling everything.

IN SPORTS

Girls

Midland classical 44 - Big Spring 40

Big Spring 31 - Andrews 25

Big Spring plays Odessa High at 10:45 today at Kristen Corbin Classic.

Grady 53 - Monahans 33

Grady plays Snyder today at 4:30 pm at Greenwood Rangerette Shootout.

Stanton 55 - Klondike 21

Boys

Doug McCutchen Memorial Tournament

Bastrop 62 - Big Spring 39

The Steers will play Lubbock Estacado today at 1:00 pm at the Central High School gym. They will play at 3:00 pm or 4:30 pm today against either Euless Trinity or El Paso Del Valle at Central High gym.

Garden City Booster Club Klassic

Coahoma 54 - Garden City 49

Tanner Ruiz 15 pts 12 REBS, Armani Guillama 7 pts 10 REBS, Braxton Iden and Shanen Warneke 8 pts each

The Bulldogs play Grady at 10:30 and Klondike at 4:30 today 

Garden City 54 - Klondike 48

Stanton 71 - Klondike 44

Sands will face Midland Classical today in the first round of the El Ave Classic

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

NEW EARLY CANCER DIAGNOSTIC TESTS AVAILABLE

The West Texas Cancer Center has obtained a new screening tool that will allow them to make earlier diagnose of cancer in patients. With West Texas being known as a heavy tobacco using part of the country, the update has been a blessing. Up until now screening for lung cancer has not been available to the public and when the diagnosis is made the disease was usually very advanced. Even with the updates in treatment, the disease was fatal a majority of the time. With the new equipment, which is a low dose CT scan and less harmful to the body than a traditional ct scan, earlier diagnosis are possible making survival rates much higher. Alan Neff was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2011 but, thanks to the Cancer Center, he has now been cancer free since March 2012. While most insurance providers do not cover the procedure yet, the Center is working with patients to make the treatment affordable. For more information contact West Texas Cancer Center at (432) 335-8275.

25 YEAR SENTENCE FOR HATE CRIME

According to a press release from the Midland County District Attorney’s Office, Drew Nickason has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for a hate crime. Nickason stabbed Levi Drone during an altercation in the parking lot of a Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant in Midland on December 28, 2011. Nickason received the sentence because it was considered a hate crime. According to witnesses, Nickason used racial epithets during the instigation leading up to the altercation. Nickason was indicted on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges committed based on racial bias or prejudice. The jury deliberated for 2-1/2 hours before returning with the verdict. The punishment range was enhanced due to prior convictions Nickason had for aggravated robbery raising the minimum sentence from 5 to 15 years.  

GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER VERDICT

An Odessa jury found a man guilty of manslaughter in the killing of a teenager at an after-hours nightclub. Steven Uresti was found not-guilty on a murder charge but guilty of manslaughter by the jury for the shooting death of 17-year old Martin Blea. Uresti shot Blea in May 2011 at the Pussycat Lounge. Uresti is facing up to 20 years in prison.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH HOSPITALIZED

Former President George H.W. Bush has been hospitalized in Houston for treatment of a lingering cough. Methodist Hospital issued a statement Thursday saying the 88-year old Bush has been in and out of the hospital recently for complications resulting from bronchitis. The hospital says Bush is in stable condition and is expected to be released within 72 hours. Bush's Chief of Staff Jean Becker told the Houston Chronicle the illness was not life-threatening but there had been concerns it could have developed into pneumonia. Becker's office referred questions from the Associated Press to Bush's spokesman, who did not immediately respond to phone messages. Bush's son, former President George W. Bush, has been among his visitors.

PELOTON THERAPEUTICS INC GRANT FUNDING HALTED AND APPLICATION BEING REVIEWED

Texas' embattled $3 billion cancer-fighting agency approved an $11 million grant to a biomedical company even though the proposal wasn't reviewed. The improper funding was uncovered during an internal audit of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The Associated Press on Thursday first reported the audit's findings, which were later announced by the institute. The grant in 2010 to Dallas-based Peloton Therapeutics Inc. was among the agency's first. The company's funding has been halted and its application is now being reviewed. The agency is home to the second largest pot of cancer-research dollars. But it has come under scrutiny after several scientists, including Nobel laureates, resigned claiming it was charting a new politically-driven path putting commercial interests before science.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

EXECUTION DATE SET

Convicted murderer Michael Gonzalez has learned his execution date. Gonzales was convicted in the murder of his two elderly neighbors Manuel and Merced Aguirre. He has been scheduled to be executed on March 21, 2013. Gonzales was able to halt his execution on two previous occasions. The couple he murdered took care of him when he was a child.

PREDATOR WATCH

Parents and authorities are on alert after several junior high female students received text messages from a person claiming to be new in town. Midland Independent School District girls began receiving the message over the Thanksgiving holiday from someone posing as a new junior high student in town wanting to meet people. The requests were sent through an app called Instagram. One parent noticed the texts her daughter had received and became alarmed when the person began to request photos and wanted to set up a meeting. That is when Homeland Security was alerted as was Midland ISD Chief of Operations Dr. Randy Blaza. Homeland Security is working with MISD Police and the Midland Police Department. If you know of your child is receiving any similar messages contact Midland Police at (432) 685-7167.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

EL DIABLO IN COURT TODAY

Jacob Esparza, also known as “El Diablo”, will be in court today before a grand jury at a preliminary hearing. He will also find out if he will receive bond. He is accused of threatening to kill law enforcement officers and members of their families. Esparza has had several run-ins with the law. The threats were made earlier this month on a website. Esparza was taken into custody by Pecos Police early Tuesday morning when he was spotted sleeping in his vehicle at a Flying J truck stop which is near the Pecos Police Department.

GUILTY OF HATE CRIME

A Midland County jury has found Drew Nickason guilty of a hate crime for stabbing Levi Drone in the arm because of biases and prejudices towards the color of Drone’s skin. Nickason is White. Drone is Black. The incident took place in the parking lot of the Midland Buffalo Wild Wings. Both parties were with friends the night of the stabbing. Witnesses testified Nickason and his friends used racial epithets during the instigation of the fight. Nickason will be sentenced today at 1:00 pm at the Midland County Courthouse. He faces 5 to 99 years. The 5 year minimum could become 15 based on prior convictions he holds.

HIGH SPEED CHASE

A Crane juvenile led Crane County Sheriff’s Deputies on a high speed chase last night that ended in Ector County near Pleasant Farms. The youth apparently stole a dump truck from a ranch in Crane yesterday evening. At times the chase reached speeds of 80 mph before Crane County and Ector County deputies were able to stop the vehicle and take the youth into custody.

ARREST FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING 13-YEAR OLD GIRL

According to a press release from the Odessa Police Department, 31-year old Isaac Rocha has been arrested for sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl. The mother of the girl reported to police, in May of this year, that her daughter had been sexually assaulted and an investigation was started by the Odessa Police. During the course of the investigation, a Department of Public Safety lab report was issued saying a match was found for Rocha in the combined DNA Index System, CODIS for short. A search warrant was obtained for a DNA sample for Rocha. On November 19 another lab report from the DPS lab verified “Rocha is the source of the major component from this DNA profile.” An arrest warrant was obtained on November 26 and Rocha was taken into custody the next day by U.S. Marshals.

In State News

BP SUSPENDED FROM NEW CONTRACTS WITH THE U.S. GOVERNMENT

BP is being temporarily suspended from new contracts with the U.S. Government, the Environmental Protection Agency says. Two weeks ago, BP agreed to plead guilty to charges involving the deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig, which exploded and sank in April 2010, setting off the Nation's largest offshore oil spill. BP will also plead guilty to lying to Congress about how much oil was spewing from the blown-out Macondo well. The agency said Wednesday that the suspension is due to BP's "lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company's conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

COAHOMA JUNIOR HIGH PRINCIPAL WILL NOT RETURN

The Coahoma School District will soon start the search for a new principal for their junior high. Brett Ramsey has resigned from that position effective November 19. Ramsey was involved in a domestic disturbance on November 23. He was arrested and booked into the Troy Hogue Law Enforcement Center on charges of assault of a family member by impeding breathing and interfering with an emergency phone call. In speaking with Coahoma ISD Superintendent Amy Jacobs, Ramsey is on administrative leave until December 1 but he will not be allowed back on Coahoma ISD Campuses in a professional capacity. Administrators throughout the school district will cover the duties performed by Ramsey. An administrator will always be on the junior high campus until a replacement is found. The principal and assistant principal at the elementary school will operate the elementary and junior high campuses as one for now.

IN SPORTS

Girls Basketball

Seminole 30 - Big Spring 24

The Lady Steers fell to 3-3 on the season after losing to Seminole In . Yaniera Tuitt led the Lady Steers with 8 points before fouling out. Chelsea Clay added 5. The Lady Steers will play in the Kristen Corbin Classic at Andrews this Thursday.

Coahoma 36 - Klondike 30

The Bulldogettes will next play in the Garden City Bearkat Booster Club Klassic Thursday at 9:00 am against Garden City.

Stanton 40 - Reagan Co. 37

The Lady Buffaloes will next play in the Garden City Bearkat Booster Club Klassic Thursday at 12:30 pm against Klondike.

Forsan 45 - Grape Creek 29

The Lady Buffs improved to 3-2 on the season with their win over Grape Creek. Reagan Haggard led the charge with 15 points. Ashley McDaniel added 11. The Lady Buffs will be playing in the Bearkat Booster Club Klassic in Garden City beginning Thursday.

#25 Grady 43          #5 Garden City 30

The Lady Wildcats upset fifth ranked Garden City last night holding the Lady Bearkats scoreless in the first quarter on their way to the thirteen point win.  Ellyn Avery led the Lady Wildcats with 15 points. Sarah Clay had 11.

Seagraves 54 - Borden County 42

Boys Scores

SA Central 64 - Big Spring 33

A strong Central team was too much for the Steers last night. The Bobcats held the Steers scoreless in the third quarter to seal the win. The Steers were led by Tavaris Walker with 7 points. The Steers will be playing Bastrop at 1:00 pm in the Doug McCutchen Memorial Tournament in San Angelo this Thursday

Coahoma 62 - Klondike 45

The Bulldogs stayed perfect on the season with a 17 point win against Klondike. Namen McCullough led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Tanner Ruiz added 15 and Alex Hill 12 to lead the way. The Bulldogs will play in the Bearkat Booster Club Classic Thursday in Garden City.  

Garden City 60 - Highland 35

Corbin Davis had 28 to lead the Bearkats. Sam Miller added 13 in the win. The Bearkats will host the Bearkat Booster Club Klassic this Thursday.

Stanton 51 - Reagan County 33

Stanton used a big second half to take out Reagan County last night scoring 31 second half points while holding the Owls to just 16 in the win. Cole Schroyer and Scott Smith led the Buffaloes with 16 points each. Stanton will play in the Bearkat Booster Club Klassic beginning Thursday in Garden City.

Sands 51 - Snyder 37

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

MORE ON THREATS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND THEIR FAMILIES

The man making threats against several law enforcement agencies and their families in West Texas has been taken into custody by homeland security. Jacob Esparza, who used the screen name El Diablo, was arrested Monday night in Pecos. Esparza had made threats against Midland Police and Midland Sheriff’s Department and their families, Fort Stockton Police and their families and the Pecos and Big Spring Police Departments. According to reports from CBS 7 Esparza specifically threatened Midland Police Officer Sergeant Ben Chavez and his family. Chavez said it put a tremendous strain on him and his family when the threats were made public. Chavez’s daughter was bullied at school being told by some classmates that she deserved to die because her father was a law enforcement officer. Chavez even went so far as to show his family where he kept the guns in his house in case anyone tried to get in. His wife feared going out at night. Fortunately for Chavez and his family, neighbors and total strangers have shown him and his family great support since then telling him they have his back. Chavez works with Midland Crimestoppers and also works closely with the media.  Jacob Esparza is being held in the Winkler County Jail to separate him from the law enforcement officers he threatened. He has had several run ins with the law including a family violence charge in Ector County, speeding and drug related offenses in Big Spring and Fort Stockton.

REPORT ON CAUSES OF TRAGIC ACCIDENT EXPECT WITHIN WEEKS

The National Transportation Safety Board has completed their investigation into the tragic train crash that left four veterans dead and sixteen people injured. The NTSB has been on scene since the day after the accident and has conducted an extensive investigation into the accident including a complete re-enactment of the crash. A preliminary report on the accident should be released in the next couple of weeks.

WATER AVAILABLE FOR MIDLAND

Midland City Leaders have decided to lower their water rates after two years of increases. The Colorado River Municipal Water District has given the go-ahead to sell as much water as possible after recent rainfall poured into the watershed allowing the CRMWD to deliver more water. The City has decided to remove the multiplier charge for those residents who use less than 25,000 gallons per month which is a majority of users. Mayor Wes Perry thinks this will allow residents to maintain their lawns but will discourage wasteful watering. The new rates will take effect January 1.

FLU SHOTS – EVEN DRIVE-THROUGH SHOT CLINICS

Flu season is upon us once again and it is time for everyone to get their annual flu shot. The shot takes about two weeks to become effective. With the upcoming holiday season and the numerous parties, events and family visits that happen with it there is no better time to protect yourself. Don’t forget you will be doing some holiday shopping too, so the exposure level for everyone is very high right now. Flu shots are available at Leonard’s Pharmacy, HEB and at most doctors offices so be sure to get yours. The West Texas VA Health Care System is having several drive-through shot clinics for veterans. The first one will be December 5 from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm at the Odessa CBOC located at 4241 Tanglewood Lane. Another is scheduled for Friday, December 7 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at the San Angelo CBOC, 2018 Puliam.

TEXAS STUDENTS ARE HAVING A GREAT SUCCESS

Texas and five other states have tied for America's third-best high school graduation rate under a new system that makes nationwide data easier to compare. Preliminary U.S. Department of Education data released Tuesday reported Texas' four-year graduation rate was 86% for the class of 2011. That's the same as Tennessee, New Hampshire, Indiana, Nebraska and North Dakota. It was one percentage point behind Vermont and Wisconsin, while Iowa led the nation with 88%. Texas was No. 1 in the country among on-time graduation rates for White and Asian students, and tied for first with Montana in Black-student graduation rates.  Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams applauded the results. He said they prove "our public schools are delivering a high quality education and our students are having great success."

SKILLS AND REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE TO BE CHANNELED INTO CREDIT

Gov. Rick Perry has announced a new workforce training initiative that aims to fast-track education for people with skills and real-world experience but without formal certification. Perry said Tuesday that the skilled workforce initiative would seek to meet the growing demand for skilled workers in areas such as advanced manufacturing with people who already have some training and experience, including military veterans and displaced workers. Perry says that by assessing those students' skills and giving them credit for what they already know, the time to achieve certification can be cut dramatically. Less time will mean less cost as well. The first classes would begin in September 2013 at Texas State Technical College Campuses in Harlingen and East Williamson County.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hotel Settles

SETTLES HOTEL NEARING OPENING

The long awaited opening of the Settles Hotel is nearing. Plans are to have the historic structure open in January. Brent Ryan took on the renovation and restoration project several years back and, after $30 million and tremendous efforts, the hotel is nearly ready for its unveiling. W.R. Settle originally built the hotel in 1930 at a cost of $550,000. Unfortunately for the Settles, it was completed near the beginning of the Great Depression. It eventually closed and sat dormant for decades until Ryan purchased the hotel in 2006 for $75,000 with the vision to restore the building. During the project, asbestos was removed from the structure along with 700 tons of the interior. Many of the artifacts that had been removed from the hotel have been bought back and restored to the building including an old fashioned telephone booth, registration desk and the centerpiece chandelier. One floor of the hotel has been restored to its 1930’s beauty. The remainder of the hotel has been given a more modern look and will house 65 rooms on the upper floors. The hotel originally had 140 rooms. The hotel will have a lighting ceremony on December 28 when they will light each floor individually, culminating with the lighting of the Hotel Settles sign on top of the building.

POLICE AND SHERIFF PHONES DOWNTIME

This Saturday at approximately 1:00 pm, the phone lines at the Big Spring Police Department and the Howard County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center will be down for approximately thirty minutes. The outage will occur due to work being done on the phone system in preparation for the final move into the law enforcement center. If you need city or county law enforcement, fire or EMS; we ask that you call 9-1-1 as these lines will continue to be operational.

PRECAUTIONS FOR COLDER WEATHER

With the colder temperatures beginning to creep into the weather forecasts, now is the time to ready your house for the winter months. Be sure to check your pipes and make sure they are properly insulated. During the really cold nights, it is best to leave faucets at a slow drip as an extra added precaution to avoiding ruptured pipes and floods. Take some old newspapers and stuff it in and around your water meter. The meter is exposed and can freeze up if left unprotected. As for windows, check to make sure all storm windows are down and secured. Feel for leaks on windy days and add weather stripping where necessary. Also be sure to keep your flue closed on your fireplace if you have one. If you have ceiling fans make sure they are spinning in a counterclockwise direction to keep the house warmer.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

ARRESTED FOR THREATS AGAINST LAW ENFORCEMENT

The FBI has made an arrest in the threats against several police and sheriff’s offices on a website. Jacob Esparza was using the screen name El Diablo to make threats against the Midland Police Department and Sheriff’s Departments and their families along with a Pecos Police Officer and the Fort Stockton Police Department. The threats included bomb attacks throughout the City of Midland on Christmas Day and there would be armed groups using 50 caliber guns, chemical weapons and car bombs in other attacks. Esparza was arrested yesterday evening by ICE agents. He is facing 20 years in prison if tried and convicted for using the internet to make threats against law enforcement.  

SECURITY BREACH DURING SCHOOL BUS TRIP

Parents who have children attending the Culberson County-Allamoore Independent School District will soon receive a letter from School Superintendent Marc Puig documenting new security procedures for the district. On a recent basketball trip, nearly 500 pounds of marijuana was found in duffel bags stashed on a bus carrying athletes from Van Horn. No one has been arrested in connection with the incident. The driver noticed the duffel bags in the cargo area while the bus was stopped at a convenience store for the athletes to get some snacks. The bus had transported the athletes to a game with a school in Presidio. The school district will now keep a closer watch on the vehicles when they are parked at the bus barn and will coordinate safety with neighboring school districts. 

MOVING OIL FROM THE PERMIAN BASIN

One is moving too fast, the other cannot move fast enough. That is the problem with the oil industry in the Permian Basin right now. Production is moving along at a rapid pace but the infrastructure is not there to move it, so it must be trucked to Cushing, Oklahoma. A barrel here in the Basin is $65. In Cushing the same barrel is $87. To get the oil to Cushing, companies incur a $21 per barrel cost. The situation should be alleviated some soon when the Phillips 66 Borger Refinery is back online and the refineries reduce inventory to ease year end taxes. In 2013, the first pipeline project will be finished in the Basin. The Sunoco Logistics Permian Express Pipeline will have an initial transport capacity of 90,000 barrels per day. Magellan and Occidental Petroleum are aiming for a 2014 completion of the Bridge Tex Pipeline that will run from the Basin to Houston and can carry over 275,000 barrels per day. Magellan Midstream Partners Longhorn Pipeline will be reversed by early next year, running from El Paso to Houston, and will carry up to 135,000 barrels per day. Once these things are done, the price of Midland crude should be close to even with Cushing prices.

MILLIONS OF SEEDS FINALLY TO BE USED

After lying on a shelf for nearly 25 years, seeds collected by the Texas A&M Forest Service Tree Improvement Program are finally being put to use. Eleven hundred pounds of Loblolly Pine seeds, drought resistant trees, along with 6,000 more of assorted varieties of the same species have been nurtured into seedlings over the past year by tree experts to plant in the Bastrop Lost Pines ecosystems. Wildfires destroyed nearly 33,000 acres of land including 1,600 houses and 1.5 million trees in 2011 when scientists were planning on tossing the seeds into the local landfill. Now, 200,000 of the seedlings will arrive at Bastrop State Park today. Another 200,000 will arrive on Friday. Another 55,000 will be delivered as needed during the restoration process. The first volunteer planting workday at the park is December 1. Planting on private land begins December 3. Tree experts have plans to grow another 1.5 million seedlings with plans to plant 1.5 million in the next year and another 1 million a year after that. Costs will be covered by the Arbor Day Foundation. There are still enough seeds to produce another 14 million Loblolly seedlings, a number that experts believe will be more than enough to finish the job. However, it will be 25 years before the area is restored to what people remember it to be. 

FARM BILL UPDATE

With the end of the year looming and the Farm Bill still in expired status, more work is being done by some members of Congress on the Farm Bill. According to 19th District Congressman from Texas Randy Neugerbauer, he and his committee are working on closing many of the existing loopholes in the former food stamp program now called Standard Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, to stop abuse of the program. Over 47 million people now take part in SNAP according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture at a cost of $72 billion in 2011. Reports from AGWEB are seeing a wait and see approach to the Farm Bill on Capitol Hill and it is most likely looking at an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill with negotiations for a future bill focusing on revenue assurance safety nets. Also playing into the negotiations will be the Congressional Budget Office with new budget baseline estimates in March. The budget office has been known to take a hard line against revenue assurance programs.  The energy policy portion of the bill has several issues including the renewable fuels standard if the corn yield is below trend again and the Environmental Protection Agency keeps the minimum amount of 40% of corn yield to go to ethanol production. Some believe the 2008 bill will be extended for several months or a year until a new compromised one can be hammered out.

Monday, November 26, 2012

BODY FOUND

The body of a man was found late Friday night in Big Spring. According to Public Information Officer for the Big Spring Police Department Sergeant Tony Everett the body was found in a field off of Barksdale Road. Initial investigation did not reveal any foul play in the death of the man but the investigation is continuing. The body has been sent for an autopsy.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT

The County Commissioners Court will meet this morning, November 26, with another uneventful looking agenda. On the agenda will be a review of invoices, purchase requests, budget amendments and a look at copier leases with Jackie Olson. Personnel considerations will be presented by Teresa Thomas. Brian Klinksiek will present a pipeline crossings and road report. Also on the agenda is discussion of the future of the joint law enforcement center and whether it is necessary to take any action.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

There is still time to make donations for several organizations that are collecting items for the kids and to send to our troops overseas. The Chamber of Commerce will be trying to fill their office with toys by December 14. Items can be dropped off at the Chamber office located at 215 West Third. The angel trees are still up around town too or items can be dropped off at the Salvation Army located at 811 West Fifth Street. You can give items to the Adopt a Military Hero program until December 2. Those items can be dropped at Hardison Appliances on Third Street or contact Debra Burrow at 270-8554.

CYBERMONDAY

First there is Black Friday now it is another day of shopping frenzy with great deals for holiday shoppers, all without having to leave your computer. Cybermonday is now upon us and millions will be online looking for the next greatest bargain. After waiting in long lines just to get into the store, all you have to do now is click “add to cart” and checkout when you are ready by punching in some numbers from your already tired credit card and you are good to go. Businesses have been gearing up too, making sure their website is ready to go. Some creating one in time for the big online shopping day. The Better Business Bureau offers some tips to make sure this is a happy shopping day: Only shop at well known websites, be aware of those “to good to be true” deals, review the return policy, use your credit card, and print off your receipt in case there is a problem. Most important is to be looking for the package to be delivered to your door because tis the season to be stealing too. Be sure you leave specific instructions on where the package is to be sent and make sure you know who will be delivering your items. 

Sports News

HIGH SCHOOL PLAYOFFS

3A

Abilene Wylie 56 - Andrews 0 (Division 1)

Faces Stephenville this weekend

Greenwood 35 - Perryton 0 (Division 2)

Faces Graham this weekend

Monahans 21 - Shallowater 7 (Division 2)

Faces Gatesville this weekend

2A

Colorado City 21 - Sanford Fritch 19 (Division 2)

Faces Abernathy this weekend

6-MAN

Petersburg 70 - Grady 60 (Division 1)

Turkey Valley 53 - Borden County 46 (Division 1)

Petersburg vs Turkey Valley this weekend

Rankin 58 - Ira 38 (Division 1)

Throckmorton 62 - Water Valley 16 (Division 1)

Rankin vs Throckmorton this weekend

Grandfalls-Royalty 34 - Robert Lee 30 (Division 2)

Faces Balmorhea this weekend

The Big Spring Lady Steers and Steers will be in action tomorrow night. The Lady Steers will welcome Seminole to town while the Steers will travel to San Angelo to take on Central. Games are scheduled to begin at 4:30 pm at both sites. 

Coahoma will be in action tomorrow night at home against Klondike. Things will get started at 4:00 pm with JV Girls followed by JV Boys, Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys.

Forsan will be traveling to Grape Creek tomorrow night beginning at 4:00 pm with the JV Girls followed by JV Boys, Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys.

Stanton will be at home against Reagan County beginning with the JV Girls at 4:00 pm followed by JV Boys, Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys.

Borden County will travel to Seagraves tomorrow night beginning with the JV Girls game at 4:00 pm followed by JV Boys, Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys.

Sands is scheduled to travel to Rankin for tomorrow night with JV Boys leading things off followed by Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys.

Garden City will travel to Grady tomorrow night beginning with JV girls at 4:00 pm followed by JV Boys, Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys.

IN JUNIOR HIGH SPORTS

Big Spring’s 7th and 8th grade A and B teams will be in action against Abilene Wylie tonight. The girls will be playing at Wylie. The boys will play at the junior high.

Coahoma’s 7th, 8th and 9th grade girls’ teams will be at home against LaMesa beginning at 4:30 pm. The 7th, 8th and 9th grade boys will be at LaMesa starting at 4:30 pm.

Forsan’s 7th and 8th grade A and B teams for girls and boys will be in action at Seagraves tonight beginning at 5:00 pm.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

MIDLAND:  4B TAX’S FUTURE TO CONSIDER

According to an article in the Midland Reporter Telegram, Midland voters will have a while to think about whether they want to continue the quarter cent 4B sales tax that will expire in 2016. The funds from the tax were used to construct the Scharbauer Sports Complex. Voters approved the proposition in 1999 to build Citibank Ballpark and Grande Communications Stadium after old Christiansen Stadium had fallen below minor league baseball facility standards. According to City Manager Courtney Sharp the complex has never broken even and revenues cannot be used to keep up the facility.  The complex cost slightly more than $38 million to complete and the bonds issued were scheduled to be paid off in 2030. That date was moved up to 2016 to save on interest, thanks to the sales tax exceeding the annual payments. The tax was passed with the caveat the money from the tax would go directly to the debt service. With $400,000 to $600,000 a year needed for maintenance, the tax would need to be extended. Presently that is drawn from the city’s general fund. Recommendations are to extend the tax for capital improvements and to maintain the facility in an effort to use it as a draw for business. Any additional funds would be used for other expenses for parks and recreation projects or other entities as chosen by voters.

TRAFFIC ACCIDENT IN MIDLAND

Alcohol and driving once again did not mix in an accident in Midland. Brandon Peek, 26-years old, was driving a white Chevrolet pickup Sunday afternoon near the 4200 block of Dawn Circle when he plowed into the courtyard area of the home located there. He was observed after the crash trying to hide some beer he had in the vehicle with him. Drug paraphernalia was also found in the truck. Two passengers in the vehicle fled the scene and have not been found. Peek is in stable condition at Midland Memorial Hospital and will be cited for driving while intoxicated. More charges could be coming.

In State News

GROUP OF NINETEEN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Houston police called to an assault case found something else Sunday night.  When police arrived on the scene in southeast Houston, they found 19 suspected illegal immigrants being held against their will.  Police say people in the group were from El Salvador and Honduras, and they ranged in age from 20s to mid-30s.  Investigators say the man, who was apparently assaulted, is currently missing and the search is on to find him.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers are involved in the investigation of this case.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Todays Headline

BIG SPRING CITY COUNCIL MEETING

The Big Spring City Council met Saturday afternoon in council chambers with a lengthy agenda for a special meeting. The council approved changing the name of the Big Spring Family Aquatic Center to the Russ McEwen Family Aquatic Center. McEwen, who passed away recently, was Mayor of Big Spring and was a driving force behind the aquatic center.

The City also held a public hearing and approved a first reading on re-zoning of a plot of land at the corner of Westover and FM 700 from single family dwelling to light commercial. It is thought a retail business or office space will be placed there.

The council also canvassed the votes from the recent election involving Proposition 1 to change the Economic Development Corporation from a Type A to a Type B organization. The proposition was defeated.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for
December 11.

HOWARD COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING

During the Howard College Board of Trustees meeting, the board selected the construction company of Lee Lewis as the construction manager for the district’s building project in San Angelo. The company is presently working on a project for the San Angelo ISD and those in charge already will be living in the San Angelo area. A total of six companies expressed an interest in handling the project. The next step in the process is contract negotiations.

Also during the meeting Executive Vice President Terry Hansen alerted the board to a possible delay in materials delivery for the completion of the G.C. Broughton Ag Complex due to the hurricane on the East Coast. Unfortunately it will mean the college may not be able to host an upcoming stock show in early January.

Sports News

OUTSTANDING VOLLEYBALL TEAM MEMBERS

Big Spring’s Carson Riebe was named Co-Defensive Specialist of the Year in district 4-3A volleyball along with Monahans Katelyn Pittman. Lady Steer sophomore Erin Pollard was named Newcomer of the Year. Haley Dimidjian, Morgan Seaton and Clara Benavides also received first team honors. Ebony Zavala, Julianna Rodriguez and Kelsie Guinn received Second Team All District Honors and Juliette Alvarez received Honorable Mention.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

HUNT FOR HEROES PARADE UPDATE

One victim remains in the hospital from the tragic train wreck in the Hunt for Heroes Parade. The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is continuing. The NTSB planned on recreating the accident soon to help determine the cause of the accident. So far officials have determined the alarm system and the gates functioned as designed, activating twenty seconds before the crash. Attorneys Bob Pottroff, a Kansas based railroad litigator, along with Lubbock Personal Injury Attorney Kevin Glasheen are also investigating the accident scene. Pottroff is claiming if the alarms had gone off ten seconds earlier, the tragedy could have been averted. The crossing is elevated and with the extra time Pottroff is estimating the gates would have come down in front of the driver instead of behind him. The attorneys represent Sergeant First Officer Richard Sanchez and his wife Heather. No lawsuit has been filed as of yet but Glasheen cited the urgency in filing to preserve the evidence. A Midland man who filmed the entire incident spent a night in jail and had his memory card confiscated by the Midland Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department is claiming 39 year old Joe Cobarobio impeded officers and emergency workers during the aftermath in order to film the events of the day. Cobarobio is denying the allegations. He has been released from custody. Cobarobio is claiming the recording he made includes everything leading up to the tragedy. 911 tapes are now being released by authorities detailing the events directly after the incident. During the call, which is about nine-minutes long, emergency responders can be heard calling for every ambulance available and the need to block off the area around the accident scene. The railroad crossing alarms can be heard in the background. Many of the first responders are struggling with the tragedy and the carnage they saw when they arrived on the scene. 

Andrew Dale Hayden has been identified as the driver of the truck towing the floats struck by a union pacific train at the Hunt for Heroes Parade last week. The accident left four people dead and sixteen injured. The San Antonio Express News was the first to reveal his name. The truck is owned by Smith Industries, an oilfield services company. Hayden is a fifty-year old military veteran. Federal investigators will be re-enacting the accident today at the crossing at Garfield and Front Street where the crash occurred. NTSB officials will be looking at several factors including railroad signals, human performance and survival tactics. One person remains in the hospital with injuries from the accident.

The outpouring of support is continuing for those injured in the accident. Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association will donate 20% of all its ticket sales to the families involved in the accident. The rodeo will be held at the Horseshoe Arena on November 24 and 25. During the rodeo, there will be a military rodeo tribute with a performance by the Lone Star Cowgirls Drill Team. Texas Roadhouse Restaurants in Midland and Odessa donated 10% of their sales between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm on Monday to the Hunt for Heroes fund that has been established at Complex Community Federal Credit Union. The Odessa Jackalopes have plans to add to that total at their upcoming Homestand.

MORE ON OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING

More information has been released in the officer involved shooting in Andrews from last Thursday night. It seems a drug transaction was interrupted by police and, when one of those involved attempted to flee the scene in her vehicle, she was shot by officers on the scene. Apparently 26-year old Ashley Grado attempted to run over the officer who fired on the vehicle striking Grado. She is recovering in Medical Center Hospital. Also involved in the incident was 19-year old Eric Carrasco. He has been charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of meth.

JUNIOR HIGH STUDENT ARRESTED FOR WEAPON

The Midland ISD has released information on the weapon a student brought to San Jacinto Junior High yesterday. The weapon was a throwing star which is classified as an illegal knife. The student was taken to Culver Juvenile Detention Center. According to the MISD, no students were ever in any danger and it is illegal to have any type of weapon on campus. Apparently the student had several of the throwing stars in his possession.

POST OFFICES SHORTEN HOURS

Two Martin County post offices will be shortening their hours as the United States Postal Service continues its cutbacks. The Lenorah office will now be open Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Saturday 10:30 to noon. Tarzan Post Office will open from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm Monday thru Friday and Saturday 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. The post office has considered closing smaller offices throughout the country.

EXECUTION DATE TO BE SET

An Odessa man will soon learn his execution date for a murder he committed in the mid-90s. Michael Gonzales robbed and stabbed to death his elderly neighbors Manuel and Mercedes Aguirre in 1994. He has been on death row since being convicted of the crime in 1995. The case was appealed shortly after the conviction and was sent back to court in 2007 because former Chief Psychologist for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Walter Quijano was found to be racially biased in his testimony in other cases. Gonzales was one of six defendants who received a second trial because of the testimony. He was resentenced to death in a 2009 penalty hearing. He has a hearing on November 29 to set a date for his death.

In State News

LIQUIDATION OF HOSTESS ON HOLD

A judge has put the liquidation of Hostess on hold for now. The snack maker and the unions have agreed to meet at the bargaining table. Workers have been on strike in an effort to force the company to sell off parts of its organization in an effort to keep them working. Hostess had started the process of bankruptcy, for the second time, and shut down its plants. The strike was orchestrated by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, the second largest union in the snack makers industry. If the shut down is allowed to occur, 18,000 workers will be out of work. The union is hoping someone will purchase the profitable portion of the hostess organization. The company has been looking for a buyer for several years but according to Hostess Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn “Nobody wants to have anything to do with these old plants or these unions or these contracts.”

WAL-MART FILES INJUNCTION TO STOP UNLAWFUL BUSINESS DISRUPTIONS

Wal-Mart has filed an injunction against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union claiming the labor union has unlawfully disrupted business by staging protests at Wal-Mart stores and warehouses around the country over the past six months. According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart is asking the National Labor Relations Board for an injunction against the rallies and pickets, even flash mobs that have sprung up at stores nationwide. According to reports, the union has planned widespread protests at Wal-Mart stores across the country on Black Friday, considered the biggest shopping day of the year. 

INVESTORS SUE AMERICAN AIRLINE

A trustee for investors owed more than $1.1 billion for notes secured by aircraft is suing American Airlines over the carrier's plan to refinance the debt at lower interest rates. U.S. Bank Trust National Association says Fort Worth-based American is using its bankruptcy filing as a ploy to avoid early repayment charges. The bank made the claim in a lawsuit filed Friday as part of AMR's bankruptcy case in federal court in New York. AMR has said the fees sought by U.S. Bank could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. It contended that in case of a voluntary bankruptcy filing, it must pay principal and earned interest but not the "make-whole" fees. The notes were issued in 2009 and 2011 and carry annual interest rates topping 8.6%.

SETBACK IN TEXAS SCHOOL FINANCE TRIAL

The state judge hearing arguments in the Texas school finance trial denied a motion to allow districts to resubmit evidence after errors were uncovered. Judge John Dietz said Monday he would not allow the schools suing the state to recalculate a study that found Texas needs to spend an additional $7 billion a year to adequately fund public schools. Dietz is now unlikely to use the study when determining his final judgment, a significant setback for the 615 schools which brought the lawsuit. They argue that Texas lawmakers are not providing enough funding to cover the cost of educating the State's children. Attorneys for the State uncovered the errors in the study by William Duncombe during cross examination. The trial is expected to last into January.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NEW NAME FOR AQUATIC CENTER

The Big Spring City Council met Saturday afternoon in Council Chambers with a lengthy agenda for a special meeting. The council approved changing the name of the Big Spring Family Aquatic Center to the Russ McEwen Aquatic Center. McEwen, who passed away recently, was mayor of Big Spring and was a driving force behind the aquatic center.

HOWARD COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING

The Howard College Board of Trustees will meet today in the Tumbleweed Room. The meeting will begin with the board sitting in executive session at 11:00 am. The regular portion of the meeting will get underway at 12:30pm. On the agenda will be the discussion of hiring a risk manager for the pending construction at the San Angelo Campus. The school is planning on building two new structures for the campus. One will house classrooms while the other will be a student union building and will also house classrooms.   The board will also hear updates on the G.C. Broughton Ag Complex and construction progress on the SWCID Campus.

HUNT FOR HEROES PARADE UPDATE

The driver of the truck pulling a group of wounded veterans and their spouses in the Hunt for Heroes Parade will be interviewed by the National Transportation Safety Board today. The driver has not been named but will be questioned as to why he crossed the tracks with the warning signal flashing. The first float of veterans made it across the tracks. The second was struck by an oncoming train. Four were killed and sixteen others were hurt. The area where the accident occurred has been deemed a quiet zone, so the train did not sound its horn as it approached the crossing. The NTSB is checking whether alternative measures to be used in quiet zones were in operation. The investigators will be on scene for the next week. During that time they will conduct a sight test using a similar truck and train to assist in determining what went wrong. One item puzzling the investigators, is the fact the four deceased were on the opposite side of the trailer from impact.

Sports News

The Forsan Buffaloes season came to an end against Quanah in the bi-district round of the playoffs 41-6. The Buffs had numerous turnovers and costly penalties during the game which proved to be their downfall. The buffs finished their season 6-5.

In six-man action Grady beat Ropes 80-56 to advance to the regional’s round where they will face Petersburg on Saturday. Garden City fell to top-ranked Water Valley 64-18. Borden County took out Meadow 60-8 and will face Turkey Valley in the regional’s.

In basketball, the Lady Steers fell to LaMesa 37-36 to fall to 2-2 on the season. They will take on Andrews at home tomorrow night. The Steers fell to San Angelo Lake View 51-47. They are now 1-1 on the season.

OTHER SCORES

GIRLS

Crane 40  - Stanton 37
Garden city 41 - Forsan 21

BOYS

Stanton 48 - Grape Creek 27

TONIGHT

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Lady Hawks vs. Ranger College 5:45 pm
Hawks vs. Ranger College 7:45pm

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

Midland Classical @ Coahoma

     JVG 4:00 pm, JVB 5:15 pm, VG 6:30 pm, VB 8:00 pm 

LAST WEEKEND

JUNIOR HIGH BASKETBALL

The Big Spring Junior High Girls were in action in Sweetwater this past Saturday. The seventh Grade B Team went 3-0 beating Sweetwater 1 48-8, Sweetwater 2 26-13 and Midland Christian 35-23. The 8th Grade B Team went 2-1 falling to Sweetwater 19-17, beating Midland Christian 31-22 and beating Jim Ned 29-26 in triple overtime.

TONIGHT

GIRLS

Forsan 8th vs Plains 5:00 pm
Forsan 7th vs Plains 6:00 pm
Coahoma 7th @ Brownfield 7th  4:30 pm
Coahoma 8th @ Brownfield 8th 5:30 pm
Coahoma 9th @ Brownfield 9th 6:30 pm

BOYS

Forsan 7th vs Plains 5:00 pm
Forsan 8th vs Plains 6:00 pm
Brownfield 7th @ Coahoma 7th 4:30 pm
Brownfield 8th @ Coahoma 8th 5:30 pm
Brownfield 9th @ Coahoma 9th 6:30 pm

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

CORN IN SHORT SUPPLY

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has denied a request by U.S. Ranchers to waive current renewable fuels standards. Seven states had petitioned the EPA to curb the requirements that earmarks 40% of grain be used for renewable fuel research. That and the drought that gripped most of the country have driven corn prices up by 23%. Corn production was forecast to be down by 13% for this year. According to Joe Parker Junior, rancher and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association; the combination of the two will bring higher prices for consumers in the stores as long as corn supplies continue to tighten across the U.S. The current RFS standard will only compound the situation by reducing the already extremely limited amount of corn available for feed. 

UNEMPLOYMENT

The Texas Workforce Commission has released the latest unemployment numbers for October. Another36,600 non-farm jobs were added bringing the annual total up to more than 277,000. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.8% to 6.6%, still well below the national rate of 7.9%. Ten of eleven industries in the State have shown a positive growth. Midland still has the lowest rate in the State at 3.3%. Odessa was at 3.9% and Amarillo was third at 4.3%. 

GAS PRICES

As many Texans start heading out for the Thanksgiving holiday, they're getting a break at the gas pump.  AAA Texas spokesperson Sarah Schimmer says prices are expected to continue to drop through next week.  The statewide average dropped 5-cents/gallon to $3.18.  Drivers in El Paso are paying the most at $3.33/gallon and Beaumont's average is the least in Texas at $3.06 this week.  She urges Texans to check out
                    
fuelcostcalculator.aaa.com
to estimate the amount and cost of gasoline needed for your holiday trip.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SPECIAL MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF BIG SPRING

The City Council of Big Spring will hold a special meeting this Saturday with a full agenda.  It will begin with a public hearing on consideration of re-zoning land at the corner of Westover & FM 700 from single family to light commercial. Several new items will be on the agenda including:  The canvassing of the votes regarding proposition one; An emergency reading of a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute an affidavit for utility owner to be submitted to the Texas Department of Transportation; and authorizing the mayor to act as the City’s executive officer in all matters pertaining to the U.S. Highway 87 improvements.   

There will also be a first reading regarding the renaming of the Big Spring Family Aquatic Center to the Russ McEwen Aquatic Center.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm this Saturday afternoon in council chambers. 

CRMWD RELAXES MANDATORY RESTRICTIONS

The Colorado River Municipal Water District Board of Directors has lifted water restrictions placed on the municipalities of its member cities which include Big Spring.  The rains that fell in our area in September and October added 15 feet to our watershed.  This does not mean the water restrictions for the City of Big Spring have been lifted, but it does mean that the municipalities have been given the capability to do so.  Our three water sources, Lakes Thomas, Spence and Ivey, still remain at a level of approximately 13%. The CRMWD is trusting its member cities to remain conservative and will revisit the issue again this coming spring.

COAHOMA ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING

The Coahoma ISD Board of Trustees will meet this evening for a public hearing on their Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas for the 2010-2011 school year.  The system gauges a school’s financial management practice and achieved improved performance in the management of their financial resources. The school district received a superior achievement rating with 66 out of a possible 70 points.  In addition, the board will consider the purchase of a 72-seat bus and a small vehicle.  The trustees will also go into a closed session to discuss personnel.  Other items on the agenda include the tax report, investment report and the superintendent report.  The meeting begins at 7:00 pm in the Faculty Dining Room at the Coahoma Elementary School.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BOARD MEETING

Terry Wegman, of our Economic Development Corporation, announced that the Big Spring railroad spur is up and running and completed its first delivery recently.  “Transport Handling Specialist” is operating the facility and brought in materials to one of the existing businesses in the industrial park. He also announced that Fort Worth Pipe is continuing to develop their site in the industrial park and will be operational soon.

Tom Erickson of Transport Handling Specialist was also in attendance and spoke very highly of the potential of the railroad.  So far the group has hired three people from Big Spring and as more businesses come to town, they will hire more.  He also informed the board how the existing businesses will become more competitive as the railroad develops because the cost to transport freight by train is less than by truck. Mr. Erickson wants to see the community of Big Spring make an imprint on West Texas as a distribution hub.

Both Wegman and Erickson also spoke highly of a potential development of property east of town owned by the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation. 

RED, WHITE AND YOU!  

The Big Spring Chamber of Commerce met yesterday afternoon in the Chamber Board Room. During the meeting the chamber received several updates on the community including seven employers who are involved in the Red, White and You!  job fair for veterans. Lamun Lusk Sanchez State Veterans Home, the VA Medical Center and Desert Tanks are just a few of those from Big Spring in attendance at the fair in Midland which is one of 28 being put on by the workforce commission across the State today. Texas Workforce Commission offices are operating each job fair but the fairs are sponsored by Governor Rick Perry, Doctor Red Duke, Texas Veterans Commission and the Texas Medical Center. The fair will run from 2:00 until 7:00 pm today at the National Guard Armory located at Midland International Airport. For more information about the job fair, contact
                     Gail Dickenson or Willie Taylor at
                                   (432) 563-5239.

EMPTY BOWLS SIX

There may be tickets still available for Empty Bowls Six today at the Dora Roberts Community Center. The event will happen from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm and will feature a variety of soups to choose from including Jimmy Stewarts Chicken and Dumplings and Melody Rogers Gumbo. Rob Cook will have Settler Stew. Donna Wright will make some Broccoli Cheese Soup. Gayle Pittman will whip up some Potato Soup. KBST’s own Bill Norris will be making some mouth watering Kentucky Burgoo. Vickie Stewart will make some Zuppa. Sylvia Miramontes will have some Hearty Stew for everyone. Walter Brumley will prepare his Delicious Chili and Bill Spiller will bake up some wonderful bread to go along with all of these delicious selections. Bowls were created by local citizens and the program will benefit the United Way and its member agencies.

RELAY FOR LIFE COMMUNITY KICKOFF EVENT

The Relay for Life had their community kickoff event Wednesday night in Garrett Hall at First United Methodist Church. The organization, led by Chairman Manny Negron, set the ambitious goal of $192,000.  They have 35 teams and 175 survivors involved in the event. This past year, 25 teams participated and 165 survivors were at the Relay for Life event. The date for next year’s relay is April 19-20 at Blankenship Field. The group just missed their goal this past year but was once again one of the top fund raisers in the region. If you are interested in registering a team, contact
                   Manny Negron at (432) 816-9464
                  or go to relayforlife.org/bigspringtx

Wednesay, November 14, 2012

TAX CONCERNS AS YEAR NEAR ENDS

With the year nearing its end and Congress running out of time, several items have many watching Washington to see what will happen. Tax cuts and the Farm Bill are two items people are watching very closely. Tax wise, the lowest tax bracket will see their amount rise from 10% to 15%. The highest bracket will see a rise from 35% to 40%. The capital gains tax will go up from 15% to 20% but the biggest item, effecting farmers and ranchers especially, is the changing back of the inheritance tax. As it is now, estates owned by one person are taxed at a rate of 35% for amounts over $5 million in value. It will roll back to 55% for estates over $1 million at the end of the year without any action by congress. Farmers and ranchers have concerns because the value of their estates lies mostly in the assets and cash is not readily available. When the estate is passed from one generation to another, often times portions of the estate are sold off to pay the taxes and this happens with each generation. There has not been any progress on the farm bill, which expired in September, leaving farmers and ranchers in West Texas with an extremely uncomfortable future. The House Agriculture Committee passed a farm bill with reforms and reduced spending, yet it still gave farmers a safety net for bad seasons. Through elimination and consolidation, 35 billion in savings were found and a more efficient market based system of crop support was created. According to an article on agriculture.com, senior member of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson, Democratic Representative from Minnesota, said he believes there are enough Democratic members willing to vote with members of the majority party. However others do not think it will be possible to get it done in time including the Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican, because of all the other tax issues that expire at the end of the year such as the inheritance tax. Of course then it will have to go to conference and have the Senate and House committees iron the differences.

MORE ON THE THREATS AGAINST WEST TEXAS POLICE AND SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES

The investigation continues into threats against West Texas police and their families posted on a discussion forum online. The post appeared under the screen name El Diablo and was traced to an IP address in Juarez, Mexico. The posts named, specifically, the Midland Sheriffs and Police Departments and the Fort Stockton Police Department. It also spoke of pipe bombs placed around Midland to go off on Christmas and men armed with assault weapons to attack the City of Fort Stockton. Homeland Security Office in Alpine has been contacted and along with the FBI are investigating the threats. The motive given was corruption in the police departments and racism.

PETS SUFFER FROM POPULATION INFLOW

Permian Basin veterinarians are seeing more cases of Parvo and Distemper lately, both deady diseases to dogs. Both are contagious and cause vomiting in dogs. A similar increase was seen after Katrina. Now with all of the people moving to the area for the oil and gas boom, more animals are being brought into the area causing another increase. Be sure to have you dog checked and make sure to keep their vaccinations up to date. One precaution to take, is to be sure to clean your dogs feet with a baby wipe when they come in from outside. Another issue has been the increase of pets being dropped off at animal shelters. Again this can be attributed to the boom due to the difficulty of finding rental housing that allows pets. Pet owners have been left with no choice but to drop their pet at the shelters. If you are looking for a pet for your house, check with the animal shelter and adopt a new family member.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to assist with their annual Thanksgiving dinner. Food items are presently being gathered but help is still needed to prepare the food to get it ready to serve on Thanksgiving Day. Turkeys will be cooked on Tuesday. They will prepare a total of twenty with the vegetables and all the other fixings prepared on Wednesday. Many civic groups and families donate their time for a variety of reasons to help prepare the massive feast. Delivery of meals begins around 10:00 am Thanksgiving Day and volunteers are needed for that too as well as to take phone calls and gather an accurate count of how many meals are to be delivered to each home for those who cannot make it in to the Thanksgiving Meal at the Salvation Army building located at 811 West Fifth Street. If you want to volunteer, call the Salvation Army office at 267-8239 or you can just stop by around 9:30 am on Thanksgiving Day.

BREAKFAST BLITZ TOMORROW

The Big Spring Chamber of Commerce will be having a breakfast blitz tomorrow morning at Jake Witzel Gifts and Interiors from 7:30 am until 9:00 am. Jake Witzel is located at 223 South Main Street. The event will have refreshments and is a great chance to network and exchange business cards.

SUCCESSFUL FOOD DRIVE

Thanks to those who went to Crossroads Saloon last Thursday night for the Food Drive Shindig. The total amount of food donated to the Isaiah 58 Food Bank was about 400 pounds and a total of $700 was donated. Isaiah 58 Director Frank Sickles was very appreciative and said the food and money donated will go a long way at the food bank. The food bank served 96 families this past week and has served over 3,200 this year.

Sports News

BIG SPRING LADY STEERS AGAINST ODESSA HIGH

The Big Spring Lady Steers suffered their first loss of the season last night falling to Odessa High 33-30. The Lady Steers were led by Darshae Vanderbilt with 13 points. Yaniera Tuitt added 8. Logan Yarbar added 5 points and 6 assists. The Lady Steers are 2-1 on the season. Their next action will be Friday night at LaMesa with the JV playing at 4:30 pm and the Varsity at 6:00 pm. The 9th Grade Team will be playing in the Abilene Freshmen Tournament on Thursday taking on Cooper at 11:00 am and Abilene at 2:00 pm. Saturday they will take on Sweetwater at 10:30 am and Clyde at 3:00 pm.

FORSAN LADY BUFFS AGAINST GRADY

The Forsan Lady Buffs came up just short of pulling off the upset last night against thirteenth ranked Grady 56-54. Forsan trailed 31-13 at halftime but came out firing in the third quarter outscoring the Lady Wildcats 21-8 to get back in the game. Grady was able to hold them off and get the win. The Lady Buffs were led by Ali Knight and Raegan Haggard with sixteen points each. Mary Ashley McDaniel added 10. Kayley Oppegard led Grady with 22. Ellyn Avery had 20. Grady is 2-1 on the season, Forsan 0-2. Grady will travel to Midland Christian Saturday night for a 6:30 pm game, Forsan will take on Monahans Saturday at home at 2:30 pm. JV will play at 1:00 pm.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

14TH TEXAS EXECUTION SCHEDULE FOR TONIGHT

The State of Texas is set to execute a serial rapist and murderer tonight. Texas Department of Criminal Justice Spokesman Jason Clark says Ramon Hernandez was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2001 murder of Rosa Maria Rosado in San Antonio. Rosada was near a bus stop when the 37-year old was kidnapped and subsequently murdered. DNA evidence also linked him to the 1994 rape and murder of two middle-school girls in San Antonio. He's also suspected of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering several other victims. If his execution is carried out, Hernandez would be the 14th person executed in Texas this year. 

CALLING FOR DRUG SCREENINGS FOR WELFARE AND UNEMPLOYMENT APPLICANTS

Governor Rick Perry is calling for drug screenings for those applying for welfare and unemployment benefits.  State Senator Jane Nelson has pre-filed the bill for the upcoming legislation that will require drug screenings for applicants.  Perry says drug testing will ensure that people will use the benefits for their intended purpose.  He added, yesterday: being on drugs makes it harder to gain independence and keeps people stuck in a cycle of drug abuse and poverty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

HOWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONER COURT ACTIONS

The Howard County Commissioner Court met this morning and has come up with two resolutions regarding a road use agreement. Both were presented by Commissioner Jimmie Long. The first resolution involves right-of-ways entering property: The County will now have the Road and Bridge Department issue permits for use of the right-of-ways with the understanding they will be kept up to specs. The cost of the permit will be $4,500. A neighboring county has issued 933 such permits in the past year. There will also be a $7,500 permit fee for each well drilled in the County by oil and gas companies, however, the companies will not need to have a right of way permit for every well drilled. The issuance of permits would be effective January 1, 2013. All permits would be issued out of the Road and Bridge Department office.

In other news regarding the Road and Bridge Department, the County has agreed to purchase the building materials to replace the fence destroyed at the old Howard County Airport last June in a fire. The County will also purchase gates for the fence to allow access to keep the fire break properly maintained. Property owners will be providing the labor.

The Road and Bridge Department will also be widening Salem Road on the north side of the railroad tracks at the request of the railroad as they are extending tracks back through that area. The railroad will also be placing gates at the crossing when the construction is complete.

The court approved renewing the interlocal agreement with Lubbock County to try any capital cases in Howard County. The cost of the contract is nearly $21,000 but the cost of a capital case can run up to $300,000 to $400,000.

The County renewed an agreement with the City for ambulance service and reappointed Stanley Bogard to the 911 Board at the request of Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Sullivan.

TWO OILFIELD WORKERS JAILED FOR THEFT

Two oilfield workers in Martin County have been jailed for theft. Thirty-year old Joe Pacheco and 27-year old Juan Garcia were caught with the stolen items near FM Road 846. According to Martin County Deputies the two men would leave the rig they were working on, go to the nearest site and steal whatever they could find. They are being held in the Martin County Jail.

ROAD CONSTRUCTION TO CAUSE TRAFFIC DELAYS

Road construction in Martin and Nolan Counties will cause some traffic delays if you are traveling in those areas. In Martin County TXDOT will be making major repairs to the intersection of Highway 137 and Highway 176 east of Lenorah. The intersection will be open but drivers are encouraged to find an alternate route. In Nolan County west of Sweetwater, both lanes of west Interstate 20 will be closed to replace the U.S. 84 overpass damaged in a collision in late September. The inside lane will open in a week or so. The outer lane is closed indefinitely.

FLU SEASON PRECAUTIONS

As cooler weather arrives in West Texas so comes the annual battle with the flu virus. According to Tom Skinner, a media relations officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu virus circulates year round but is most prevalent from November to March. Experts speculate the activity rises due to people spending more time indoors in close proximity to each other allowing the virus to spread more rapidly. Flu vaccines are available at pharmacies here in Big Spring and it is recommended everyone above six months of age gets one. The vaccine will last roughly 90 days and range from $20 to $30 for those without health insurance. You can also ask your doctor. It is estimated 135 million flu vaccines will be produced this flu season. Other precautions to take are to carry hand sanitizer with you at all times, frequently wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. This past flu season set a record for lowest number of incidents and shortest length. The 2009-2010 season, however, contained the first influenza pandemic in 40 years.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT ON SOME TAX CUTS

As Congress muddles through another session, this one a so called lame-duck session; time is running out on some tax cuts that would greatly assist farmers and ranchers if they are kept in place. Foremost among these taxes is the inheritance or death tax. Presently it is set at 35% of any estate owned by one person above $5 million. A hefty amount for sure, but not near as hefty as the 55% tax on any estate over $1 million it will revert to if Congress does not act in this session. This tax is waged each time the estate is passed down to the next generation. Many have to sell off parts or all of the estate to pay the taxes. Cash is not always available in the farm and ranch industry. Assets make up the value. In addition to the inheritance tax rising, the current lowest tax bracket will rise to 15% while the highest bracket will rise to 40%. The capital gains tax will jump from 15% to 20%. There will also be several new taxes added to support the President’s health care law.

EMPTY BOWLS 6 COMING UP THURSDAY

Tickets are still available for Empty Bowls 6 coming up this Thursday at the Dora Roberts Community Center. The event will happen from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm and will feature a variety of soups to choose from including Jimmy Stewart’s Chicken and Dumplings and Melody Rogers Gumbo. Rob Cook will have Settler Stew. Donna Wright will make some Broccoli Cheese Soup. Gayle Pittman will whip up some Potato Soup. Bill Norris will be making some mouth watering Kentucky Burgoo. Vickie Stewart will make some Zuppa. Sylvia Miramontes will have some Hearty Stew for everyone.  Walter Brumley will prepare his delicious Chili and Bill Spiller will bake up some wonderful bread to go along with all of these delicious selections. Tickets can be purchased at the United Way office located at 215 West 3rd Street and are $20 each. You not only get a great meal: You may get a brand new bowl to take home with you as well. Bowls created by local citizens will be there for your use and for you to take home if you choose. There will also be a special selection of bowls to be auctioned off. The program will benefit the United Way and its member agencies.

BIG SPRING STATE HOSPITAL COLLECTING WARM CLOTHING

The Big Spring State Hospital is collecting warm clothing for its patients for the upcoming winter. Often times patients come to the facility with few belongings and usually they do not have enough to keep them warm in the colder winter months. Jackets, coats, jeans and men’s shoes are the biggest need for the hospital right now and can be dropped off at the Community Relations Office at the hospital. You can also donate lightly used clothing. If it is not usable by the patients, it will be sent to the Chalet Resale Shop to sell to raise money for the patients. For more information contact Melissa Adams at the hospital at (432) 268-7730.

Sports News

BIG SPRING STEERS SCHEDULE CHANGE

The Big Spring Steers will be in action against Grape Creek High School tomorrow night to tip off their season. The games will be played at San Angelo with the 9th grade starting at 4:00 pm, JV at 5:15 pm and Varsity at 7:30 pm. This is a change in the schedule which had the Steers playing Fort Stockton at home.

FORSAN SCHEDULE

The Forsan Lady Buffs will be taking on Grady tonight. The JV is scheduled to begin at 5:00 pm the Varsity at 6:00 pm. Saturday, the girls will take on Monahans with the JV at 1:00 pm and the Varsity to follow. Both games are at Forsan High School. The boys’ games scheduled for this week have been cancelled.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

THREATS MADE AGAINST WEST TEXAS POLICE AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS

The FBI and Homeland Security are investigating violent threats made against West Texas Police and their family members. The threats appeared recently on a website under the name El Diablo. Officers in Midland County, Fort Stockton and Pecos have been specifically targeted including Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter, Police Chief Price Robinson and Sgt. Ben Chavez. It also claims no MPD employees or their family members are safe. The person also claims pipe bombs will be placed in public places on Christmas Day causing massive damage. Threats of persons with high caliber weapons being sent to Fort Stockton to wipe out the police department were also made. The motive in the case, according to the person posting the threats, is racism and corruption. Police are investigating the posts and the IP address has been traced to Juarez, Mexico. Police are investigating the posts to see if the threats are valid, due to the violent nature. The threats have been removed from the website.

VETERANS EDUCATION BENEFITS

The Texas Health Institute is offering veterans education benefits through the Benefit Bank of Texas. The benefits provide money for tuition, fees, educational housing, books and tests needed to pursue education and training. Veterans will be provided with assistance in completion of applications for Veterans Education Benefits and eligibility estimates as well as finding the type of assistance that would be best for them depending on the situation. In addition, veterans will be connected with a Veterans County Service Officer for services and support. For more information contact Diana Maldonado, State Director of TBB-TX at (512) 279-3905 or email her at dmaldonado@texashealthinstitute.org.

ONLINE PETITION DRAWS SIGNATURES

Secession being called for by an online petition has the White House responding. The petition is posted on whitehouse.gov and asks the Obama administration to “peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government.” As of this morning, the petition has over 60,000 signatures. It cites the nation’s economic woes as an issue and says the condition of Texas’ budget and economy make it “practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union.”  A majority of states have a similar petition filed on the site but Texas has the highest number of signatures. The creator of the petition is from Arlington and filed the petition on November 9 of this year.

STANDOFF ENDS WITH MOBILE HOME IN FLAMES

Police say a barricaded man has suffered burns over half his body as a West Texas standoff ended with a mobile home in flames. Investigators say Garry Allyn Diltz was alone today at the residence in Merkel, a town of about 2,600 located 15 miles west of Abilene. Police responded to a report of a man threatening suicide. Police say Diltz then pointed a gun at officers. Investigators say Diltz earlier was accused of aggravated assault against a public servant. Further details weren't immediately available. Negotiations failed to get Diltz to surrender and officers fired chemicals into the residence. A fire broke out. Diltz then gave up. Police say Diltz has third-degree burns and was taken to University Medical Center in Lubbock. A hospital spokesman says Diltz was being evaluated.

GEORGE P. BUSH

George P. Bush, who caused a stir when he made a Texas campaign filing last week, will guest-host CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.  The grandson of one former President and nephew of another, Bush is a rising star among Hispanic Republicans. He is the son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his mother is originally from Mexico. Bush Political Strategist Trey Newton said Monday that the appearance was scheduled before Bush filed campaign papers November 7 with the Texas Ethics Commission. Bush has guest-hosted Squawk Box before and appeared on the program with his Father on Father's Day. Newton said Bush will likely run for Texas Attorney General, Land Commissioner or Comptroller in 2014. All posts are held by Republicans likely to seek higher offices, clearing the way for a Bush candidacy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

HOWARD COUNTY GRAND JURY INDICTMENTS

The Howard County Grand Jury handed down indictments late last week. They indicted 32 people on various charges totaling 39 charges including former youth minister Samuel Lyte.

Lyte is in custody at the Howard County Detention Center on one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, both first degree felonies. He was also indicted for tampering with physical evidence, a third degree felony, and two counts of indecency with a child, both second degree felonies. The 70 year old has also worked as a music minister at an Odessa Church and at a San Angelo church. He is facing 5 to 99 years on the first degree felonies, 2 to 20 years on the second degree and 2 to 10 on the third degree, plus $10,000  in fines on each offense.

Also indicted were the four youths who vandalized the all wars memorial in August. Devan Cook, Anthony Lewis, Nicholas Sharp and Kevin Towner have all been charged with criminal mischief of a public monument over $1,500 but less than $20,000, The four had broken out the window of the helicopter on display at the memorial to steal the mannequin inside. They also damaged a display taking a belt and a canteen from World War I. All four are facing State jail felonies of 180 days to two years in State jail and/or a fine of $10,000.

HOWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT

The Howard County Commissioners Court will meet Tuesday morning, November 13, at 10:00 am. On the agenda will be discussion and possible action taken on a road use agreement. County Commissioners Donnie Baker and Jimmie Long have been working with County Attorney Josh Hamby on the agreement. The County obtained a template from Bea County in hopes of tweaking it to meet Howard County’s needs. The Bea County agreement charged oil companies a fee for every new well they drilled in the County with the funds generated going straight to the County Road and Bridge Department. After looking at and working from the agreement, further discussion is needed. According to County Judge Mark Barr the agreement is similar to a gentleman’s agreement. The County is looking for something with a little more “teeth” to it. The County has made efforts to contact gas and oil companies to see what could be worked out and the commissioners have spoken with the companies some but nothing has been put in writing yet. The County is looking at a conservative estimate of more than $22 million in repairs needed to county roads. It will take approximately $500,000 a year just to maintain them as they are now.

Other items on the agenda are renewal of interlocal agreements with Lubbock County for public defender on capital cases and ambulance service with the City. The court will also reappoint Stanley Bogard to the 911 Board. Jackie Olson will present invoices, purchase requests, budget amendments and the monthly financial report. Teresa Thomas will present personnel considerations, payroll report and 2013 retiree medical and prescription renewals. Hollis McCright will present a proposal of a Food for Fines program for the library.

In Sports

CROSS COUNTRY

The Forsan Boys Cross Country Team brought home the 1A State Title this weekend. The Buffaloes has a meet low 68 points to take the title. Jeremy Cervantes finished in 3rd Place with Tyler Evans in 4th. P.J. Horton finished 19th, Justin Goff 35th, Dillon Bagnall 55th, Brady Gartman 77th and Jansen McDonald 97th.

Port Aransas finished in 2nd with 75. Valley View was 3rd with 113 points. Brandon Lucas of Grady finished 17th .  Gustavo Lugo of Big Spring finished in 29th.

In the girls competition, Kamie Halfmann of Garden City finished 11th.

FOOTBALL SCORES FROM FRIDAY NIGHT

Monahans 36 - Big Spring 13
Alpine 53 - Coahoma 25
Forsan 24 - Winters 0
Stanton 29 - Reagan County 20
Sands 66 - Wellman-Union 60
Rankin 88 - Garden City 42
Borden County 50 - O’Donnell 0
Water valley 52 - Sterling City 44
Grady 40 - Klondike 32 (Thursday)

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Big Spring 31 - Abilene Cooper 25
Big Spring JV Defeated Cooper JV
Cooper Freshman defeated Big Spring JV
Grady 70 - Ozona 20

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

SHOOTING IN ODESSA

Police were called to the scene of a shooting in Odessa at 1:00 am Sunday morning. A man was found behind the MCM Elegante Hotel in the 5200 block of East University. Upon arrival, police found 29-year old John Anthony Munroy dead from a gunshot to the head. His body has been sent to the Tarrant County Medical Examiners Office in Fort Worth for an autopsy that was ordered by the Ector County Medical Examiner. Police are investigating the shooting as a homicide. No suspects have been identified at this time.

BILL TO END DISTRACTED DRIVING STATE WIDE

State Representative Tom Craddick is introducing a new bill to end distracted driving State wide. The bill would ban all drivers from writing, sending or reading an electronic message while operating a vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped. Craddick introduced a similar bill in 2011 but it was vetoed by Governor Rick Perry after passing through the Texas House and Senate.

GROUNDBREAKING FOR THE NEW VA PERMIAN BASIN COMMUNITY BASED OUTPATIENT CLINIC

There will be a groundbreaking ceremony today in Odessa for the new VA Permian Basin Community Based Outpatient Clinic. It will be located at the MCH Center for Health and Wellness on Highway 191. Keynote speaker will be Congressman Mike Conaway. It is scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm.

WILDLIFE PRESERVE AND NATURE STUDY CENTER SET TO OPEN SOON

The new I-20 Wildlife Preserve and Jenna Welch Nature Study Center is set to open soon. Handicapped accessible trails have just been finished. The trails lead to a hawk tower and several bird blinds around the property. The latest rains filled the playa which is approximately 30 acres. Native plants are being planted in an old cattle corral that will attract butterflies year round. The project has been in the works for five years. Workers finally broke ground on the project less than a year ago, thanks to a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service. The preserve will be free to the public.

In State News

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CHALLENGE TO VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965

The Supreme Court will consider eliminating the government's most potent weapon against racial discrimination at polling places since the 1960’s. The Court acted three days after a diverse coalition of voters propelled President Barack Obama to a second term in the White House. With a look at affirmative action in higher education already on the agenda, the Court is putting a spotlight on race by re-examining the ongoing necessity of civil rights laws and programs. In an order Friday, the Justices agreed to hear a constitutional challenge to part of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. That part requires all or parts of 16 states with a history of discrimination in voting, including Texas, to get federal approval before making any changes in the way they hold elections.

FIRST MEMORIAL TO HONOR TEXANS WHO FOUGHT IN THE VIETNAM WAR

The first official memorial to honor Texans who fought in the Vietnam War is being readied for a Veterans Day dedication next year on the Texas Capitol grounds in Austin. It's to be a $1.5 million bronze statue funded by a $500,000 State grant and private donations.

Its creator, New Mexico western sculptor Robert "Duke" Sundt, is best-known in Texas for the oversized bronze longhorn outside the Frank Erwin Center on the University of Texas campus.

The Houston Chronicle reports it portrays five U.S. soldiers huddled in the ruins of an ancient temple, weapons at the ready and eyes peering into the distance. The memorial will join previous capitol memorials to veterans of the Texas Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

Friday, November 9, 2012

BIG SPRING ISD BOARD APPROVES LEASE

During the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees meeting last night, the board decided to award a lease to Athlon Energy for a four-acre plat of land they own near Knott. Texas. A school used to occupy the land. The energy company will pay the district $1,600 over the life of the lease plus 25% of the earnings from any oil or gas produced from the property. The lease is for three years.

ACCIDENT NORTH OF BIG SPRING

A two-vehicle accident north of town last night sent four to the hospital. The jaws of life were used to extract three of the victims from the wreckage. The accident happened ten miles north of town on Highway 87. The names and extent of the injuries are not known at this time. 

VETERANS DAY EVENT AT THE HOWARD COLLEGE COLISEUM

Veterans Day offers America an opportunity to honor veterans for their service and sacrifice on behalf of our Country.  This year Big Spring and surrounding communities will host a very special community-wide Veterans Day program on Friday, November 9, 2012, at 11:00 am at The Howard College Coliseum, 1000 Birdwell Lane.  All veterans and their families are invited to attend this program in their honor. Following the program, veterans and their families are invited to lunch.  As a gesture of appreciation to all veterans, lunch has been provided by generous individuals from our community.

PIZZA BUFFET FREE TO VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Pizza Inn will offer all veterans and active military a free pizza buffet this Sunday, November 11.  Show your valid credentials or military identification to receive the complimentary buffet, no purchase is necessary. The Pizza Inn is open from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm weekdays and weekends 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. You can call
(432) 263-1381 for more information. “Our veterans and military serve us every single day,” said Pizza Inn of Big Spring owner Keith Hartley. “This is our small way of showing gratitude and saying thanks to these brave individuals.”

JOB FAIRS FOR VETERANS

Coming up next week on Wednesday, November 15, there will be job fairs throughout the State for veterans sponsored by Governor Rick Perry, Doctor Red Duke, Texas Medical Center and the Texas Veteran’s Commission run by the Texas Workforce Commission. The nearest one to Big Spring will be held at the National Guard Armory at Midland International Airport from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Contact Gail Dickenson or Willie Taylor at (432) 563-5239 for more information.

BRING A VETERAN TO SCHOOL DAY

On Monday, November 12, Goliad Elementary will be having a Bring a Veteran to School Day. The vets will come to school at around 8:00 am and talk to students in their classrooms. Afterwards they will be hosted at a reception put on by the Students at Goliad Elementary.

SIXTH ANNUAL EMPTY BOWLS EVENT

The Sixth Annual Empty Bowls event is coming up next Thursday and tickets are available at the United Way office located at 215 West Third Street. The tickets are $20 and will benefit the United Way. With each ticket purchased, you have the opportunity to take home a bowl created by a Big Spring community member. There will be an auction for a select group of bowls. The event will be held at the Dora Roberts Community Center after outgrowing its previous home at First Christian Church. The event will be held from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm. Over ten types of soups and stews will be available for those with tickets.  Pastor Ken McIntosh brought the empty bowls program to Big Spring. The program was created to draw attention to the thousands of bowls that are left empty around the world. For more information about the event and to purchase tickets contact
                   Sandy Stewart at (432) 267-5201.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

ATTEMPT TO ABDUCT CHILDREN IN ANDREWS COUNTY

An illegal alien was taken into custody in Andrews County after reports of several attempts of a man attempting to abduct children. Reports came in earlier in the week of a man in a white van following children and approaching them. The first call came in on Sunday in a residential area. Wednesday another call came in reporting the same man near Devonian Elementary. Thursday a call came in of a man confronting children near Clearfork Elementary and police were able to apprehend the man. According to police, the man could not answer questions and failed to identify himself. After an investigation, it was determined the man was an illegal alien. Police are still trying to determine if he is the man responsible for all three incidents. 

QUICK VERDICT IN CAPITAL MURDER CASE

A jury found James Burwell guilty of three counts of capital murder in the 2011 killings of Dick and Peggy Glover. The jury took just 35 minutes to return the verdict.  He was automatically sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland stated after the verdict was returned, “This was truly a reprehensible crime and we are glad that James Burwell was held responsible for it. Mr. Burwell will die in prison and he deserves nothing less. I hope that this verdict provides a sense of justice for the family of Dick and Peggy Glover.”

MIDLAND ARMY RECRUITER SENTENCED ON CHILD SEX CHARGES

A Midland Army Recruiter has been sentenced to seven years in prison on child sex charges. Arnold Gonzales, 27-years old, plead guilty to the charges in court. He will also be under ten years of supervised release after he serves his prison term and will have to register as a sex offender. The charges stem from an incident in May when Gonzales was returning from an assignment in Oklahoma where he started a conversation on a social networking site with what he thought was a 12 year old girl. He arranged a meeting to have sex with the girl and film it. He was arrested when he stopped at a decoy house: The 12 year-old was actually a deputy with the Curry County Sheriff’s Internet Crime Unit.

WEST TEXAS FOOD BANK TO BUILD NEW WAREHOUSE

The West Texas Food Bank has expanded its facilities recently due to an overflow of donations. The organization was struggling to keep items on its shelves but after word got out to the community, a flow of donations began to come in. So much so the food bank had to find an overflow warehouse. Now they are purchasing land to build a larger facility. The food bank met with Odessa Development Corporation who will consider a resolution to sell a parcel of land to the food bank for $113,000. When finished, the new location will be about 40,000 sq ft and cost $5 million to $6 million to build.

THIRTEENTH TEXAS EXECUTION

The State of Texas executed Mario Swain last night for murdering a woman when she walked in on him burglarizing her East Texas home.  Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman John Hurt says Swain chose not to make a last statement.  He was pronounced dead at 6:39 pm central time, 30 minutes after the lethal dose was administered, marking the 13th execution in Texas this year.  Swain was sentenced death for beating Lola Nixon over the head with a tire tool at her Longview home and dumping her body in an abandoned car in December 2002.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

BIG SPRING ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING

The Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees will meet this evening, Thursday, November 8. On the agenda are financial issues for the school district including discussion of the district’s recent financial accountability rating and the annual Financial Accountability Management Report for Fiscal Year 2010-2011. The school received a superior achievement rating for the Financial Integrity Rating System Program, just missing out on a perfect score. The district has received a superior achievement rating since the inception of the program. The board will also discuss leasing four acres of land the district owns near Knott for its mineral rights. In addition the district will consider approval of the tax roll for 2012, bids for food service, maintenance and transportation bids and employment recommendations. The meeting is scheduled to begin in the High School Board Room at 5:15 pm Thursday evening.

NEW PUBLISHER FOR THE BIG SPRING HERALD

The Big Spring Herald has named a new publisher. Native Texan Glenn Stifflemire will be the publisher for the Big Spring Herald and the Sweetwater Reporter. Stifflemire brings forty years of newspaper experience to West Texas. He was most recently running a group of newspapers in southern Louisiana. He has also worked for papers in Iowa, North Carolina, California and Texas prior to working in Louisiana. His appointment to the post is immediate.

VETERANS DAY EVENT AT THE HOWARD COLLEGE COLISEUM

Veterans Day offers America an opportunity to honor veterans for their service and sacrifice on behalf of our Country.  This year Big Spring and surrounding communities will host a very special community-wide Veterans Day program on Friday, November 9, 2012, at 11:00 am at The Howard College Coliseum, 1000 Birdwell Lane.  All veterans and their families are invited to attend this program in their honor. Following the program, veterans and their families are invited to lunch.  As a gesture of appreciation to all veterans, lunch has been provided by generous individuals from our community.

PIZZA BUFFET FREE TO VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Pizza Inn will offer all veterans and active military a free pizza buffet this Sunday, November 11.  Show your valid credentials or military identification to receive the complimentary buffet, no purchase is necessary. The Pizza Inn is open from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm weekdays and weekends 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. You can call (432) 263-1381 for more information. “Our veterans and military serve us every single day,” said Pizza Inn of Big Spring owner Keith Hartley. “This is our small way of showing gratitude and saying thanks to these brave individuals.”

JOB FAIRS FOR VETERANS

Coming up next week on Wednesday, November 15, there will be job fairs throughout the State for veterans sponsored by Governor Rick Perry, Doctor Red Duke, Texas Medical Center and the Texas Veteran’s Commission run by the Texas Workforce Commission. The nearest one to Big Spring will be held at the National Guard Armory at Midland International Airport from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Contact Gail Dickenson or Willie Taylor at (432) 563-5239 for more information.

BRING A VETERAN TO SCHOOL DAY

On Monday, November 12, Goliad Elementary will be having a Bring a Veteran to School Day. The vets will come to school at around 8:00 am and talk to students in their classrooms. Afterwards they will be hosted at a reception put on by the Students at Goliad Elementary.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

MOVING FORWARD WITH MISD BOND PROJECT

Both Midland and Ector County ISDs will move on to the planning stages of their voter approved the $163 million school bond project. In Midland the bond will focus on the elementary schools and will start at the next school board meeting. The hopes are construction will begin in January. That is Phase One of the project. Phase Two is the future of secondary schools. MISD is looking at a reorganization of the district, using the middle school model and looking at possible adding a third high school. According to Superintendent Doctor Ryder Warren, Phase Two will move along as Phase One did with community forums and discussion to gauge what the community wants and then a plan will be developed.

ECTOR COUNTY ISD TO ADD AND EXPAND SCHOOLS

In Ector County, the community approved the $129 million bond. Hector Mendez, Ector County ISD Superintendent, was very happy with the passage of the bond and is ready for the school district to move forward with the process. The district will add three new elementary schools and expand both high schools to accommodate ninth grade students as the district is moving to the middle school model. The district will now move to the designing and planning stage of the project. The plans are to show the progress to the public as it moves forward. The district will now start the process of choosing an architectural firm and looking at locations for the schools. The community will have some say in the building designs.

MIDLAND LANDLORD TO EVICT ALL RESIDENTS

A Midland landlord has decided to evict everyone from the 38-unit complex. Main Street Santa Anna LLC owns the Ocotillo Apartment Complex where tenants are on a month-to-month lease. The company has entered into an agreement with a large corporation who plans to use the complex to house its employees and will either make improvements to the interior of the units to ready them for move-in or tear down the structure and rebuild. The present landlord said a majority of the tenants struggle to make their rent each month, if they pay at all, and there is a problem with substance abuse issues. In addition the present landlord said he has not been able to rent to any new tenants for twelve months and he has not raised the rent for nearly three years. Average rent is $400. Tenants deny the late payment and substance abuse claims and worry where they will be able to find a place to live. The present landlord claims he will look into assisting the tenants in finding new housing.

ASTRONAUT TO SPEAK TONIGHT AT CAF MUSEUM

Texas-born Astronaut Mike Mullane will speak tonight, November 8, at the CAF Museum in Midland. Mullane will talk about his NASA missions as part of the museum’s Above and Beyond speaker series. Along with Mullane’s talk there will be an exhibit of NASA and astronaut related items. The cost for the event is $20 and it will be held in O’Brien Hall. Dinner is included and will begin at 6:30 pm. Colonel Mullane will speak at 7:00 pm.

In State News

ON THE HISPANIC VOTE

For the first time in history, the Hispanic vote accounted for more than 10% of the national vote. President Obama received two-thirds of the Hispanic vote. Here in Texas, Obama drew 57% of the Hispanic vote. Also Ted Cruz became the first Hispanic to represent the State of Texas in the U.S. Senate when he won the seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. Both parties have recognized the power of the Hispanic voice. In Texas, the number of Latino voters increased by 38% from the years 2000 to 2010. Presently there are over 4 million eligible Latino voters in Texas.

CHALLENGES DURING THE 2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Texas Republicans will go into the 2013 legislative session tackling government spending, tightening immigration laws and discouraging abortion. But this time they won't have a supermajority in the Texas house. The Republicans won 95 out of 150 seats in the House and 19 out of 31 in the Senate. But, unlike last year, they won't be able to suspend the rules. The next two-year budget will present a big challenge with Medicaid costs expected to increase more than $7 billion. Lawmakers will also need to find cash for increased enrollment in public schools, something they did not pay for last session, resulting in a $5.4 billion reduction in school funding. It was the first such cut since the Great Depression. House Speaker Joe Straus must also fend off a leadership challenge.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ELECTION RESULTS - LOCAL

The Big Spring Economic Development Corporation will remain a Type A organization. Proposition One was defeated by a sound margin last night with 61% of the voters voting against the measure.

More than 50% of registered voters in Howard County cast their ballot in the general election.

Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker will serve another term as he ran unopposed after defeating M.O. Horton for the Republican nomination. Parker had this to say about being Sheriff for Howard County for another four years: “It’s just good its over. I’m excited that it’s over. I have another four years to work on. I have really enjoyed the first four years and I am very, very much looking forward to the next four.”

Hardy Wilkerson ran unopposed for District Attorney as did County Attorney Josh Hamby, Tax Assessor/Collector Diane Carter, County Commissioner Precinct Three Jimmie Long, Justice of the Peace Precinct One Bennie Green and Constable Precinct One Kneel Stallings.

The County Commissioner Precinct One race was the only contested race in Howard County which pitted incumbent Emma Puga Brown against challenger Oscar Garcia. Garcia won the election by a 55% to 45% margin and will replace Brown on the Commissioners Court. He had this to say about being elected: “My impression is Mrs. Brown, the incumbent, has been in office for eighteen years and it shows what the taxpayers have felt about the last eighteen years. I think that many of them have decided that even though I ran as a Republican in a Democratic precinct they felt it was time for change and I hope to be able to bring that change for them.”

Garcia also talked about the challenges ahead of him as County Commissioner for Precinct One: “The challenge of course working as a County Commissioner looking at what lies within the County, looking forward to working for the taxpayers within the County and Precinct One and for everyone in Howard County.”

ELECTION RESULTS - STATE

In State elections voted on here in Howard County: Christi Craddick won one Railroad Commissioner seat defeating Dale Henry by a wide margin 56% to 39%. Barry Smitherman won the other Railroad Commissioner seat taking nearly 74% of the vote in that election.

For Supreme Court Justice Don Willett won in Place 2 taking nearly 79% of the vote. John Devine won 75% of the vote in Place 4 to take that seat and Nathan Hecht Remaines in the Place 6 seat, winning over Michele Petty by a 53% to 41% margin.

For Presiding Judge of Criminal Appeals incumbent Sharon Keller took 55% of the vote to defeat challenger Keith Hampton.

For Court of Criminal Appeals Place 7 incumbent Barbara Parker Hervey took 78% of the vote to retain her seat as did Elsa Alcala in Place 8.

For State Board of Education in District 15: Marty Rowley defeated Steven Schaefersman by a three to one margin.

In other races on our ballot here locally: Randy Neugerbauer ran unopposed for U.S. Representative District 19, Kel Seliger ran unopposed for the District 31 State Senator seat and Drew Darby ran unopposed for State Representative for District 72.

Ted Cruz won the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison defeating Paul Sadler by a 56% to 40% margin.

ELECTION RESULTS - PRESIDENTIAL

In the Presidential race Barack Obama won four more years in office defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Democrats retained their majority in the Senate with two seats still undecided. In the House, Republicans retained their majority there with several races still to be decided.

ELECTION RESULTS - OTHER

The states of Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana use however the drug is still banned under federal law. In Colorado anyone over the age of 21 may possess marijuana and businesses now have the right to sell marijuana. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper stated “The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.” Proponents of the bill believe millions in revenue will be generated for the state government. Washington’s passage is also for those over the age of 21 but only legalizes small amounts. A similar issue in Oregon did not pass. Massachusetts passed legislation approving medicinal marijuana.

In other issues Maine approved same sex marriage by popular vote, Maryland approved it by referendum and Minnesota voted against legalizing same sex marriage. 

BRIGHT STAR ON GAIL MOUNTAIN

Gail will be lit up once again during the upcoming holiday season. The annual lighting of the star on Gail Mountain will occur on November 23rd and preparations are under way. The star is 20’ by 20’ and sits on a 4’ base and will be seen for miles around when it is lit. Over 700 bulbs are on the bright star and everyone is ready to help each year to prepare it for the lighting. The day of the event, the courthouse and the museum open at 5:30 PM with refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus so the kids can get in their Christmas lists early. Residents of the community also are asked to donate gifts to the Buckner’s Children Home for children newborn to 18 years of age can be dropped off at the courthouse until December 10th.

VETERANS DAY EVENT

Veterans Day offers America an opportunity to honor veterans for their service and sacrifice on behalf of our Country.  This year Big Spring and surrounding communities will host a very special community-wide Veterans Day program on Friday, November 9, 2012, at 11:00 AM at the Howard College Coliseum, 1000 Birdwell Lane.  All veterans and their families are invited to attend this program in their honor. Following the program, veterans and their families are invited to lunch.  As a gesture of appreciation to all veterans, lunch has been provided by generous individuals from our community.

JOB FAIRS FOR VETERANS

Coming up next week on Wednesday, November 15, there will be job fairs throughout the State for veterans sponsored by Governor Rick Perry, Doctor Red Duke, Texas Medical Center and the Texas Veteran’s Commission run by the Texas Workforce Commission. The nearest one to Big Spring will be held at the National Guard Armory at Midland International Airport from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Contact Gail Dickenson or Willie Taylor at (432) 563-5239 for more information.

PIZZA BUFFET FREE TO VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Pizza Inn will offer all veterans and active military a free pizza buffet this Sunday, November 11th.  Show your valid credentials or military identification to receive the complimentary buffet, no purchase is necessary. The Pizza Inn is open weekdays from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm and weekends 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. You can call (432) 263-1381 for more information. “Our veterans and military serve us every single day,” said Pizza Inn of Big Spring owner Keith Hartley. “This is our small way of showing gratitude and saying thanks to these brave individuals.”

IN SPORTS

LADY STEERS LAST GAME OF THE SEASON

The Big Spring Lady Steers season came to an end last night at the hands of Lubbock Cooper. In a hard fought five-set match, the Lady Steers never quit but Cooper was able to get the big points when they needed them. Big Spring took game one 25-19, then dropped the next two 25-22 and 26-24, before bouncing back to take game four 25-22 forcing the decisive fifth set. Cooper took the lead at 7-6 and never gave it back winning 15-13 to advance to the regional meet. Big Spring finished their season with a 30-15 record while Cooper improved to 28-8.

LADY STEERS BASKETBALL TEAM

The Big Spring Lady Steers Basketball Team got the season off to a great start with a 47-19 win over San Angelo Lake View. The Lady Steers jumped out to a 22-10 lead at the half and held the Maidens in single digits in the second half in the win. Yaneira Tuitt led the Lady Steers with 14 points. Logan Yarbar had 12.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

CHARGES FILED IN THE CRIME SPREE IN ODESSA

Two men who went on a crime spree in Odessa last weekend have had more charges filed against them. Julian Resendes has three counts of aggravated robbery and evading against him now and his partner, Geno Mendoza, has three aggravated robbery charges and four counts of aggravated assault. One of the men was arrested during the commission of one of the robberies. The other was taken into custody by a State Trooper a short time later. It is believed a third suspect was with Resendes and Mendoza. A stolen truck, believed to be driven by that suspect, was found abandoned on a street in Odessa but police have not been able to locate him yet.

WEST TEXAS FOOD BANK

The West Texas Food Bank is looking for a new place. A few months back, their shelves were nearly empty. But after the public was alerted to the situation, donations have been pouring in. Now the organization is looking for a larger space to store all of the supplies they have. They have opened an overflow warehouse but it is proving too costly. They believe a larger facility would be a more efficient way to go. Food bank representatives will meet with Odessa Development Corporation this week about selling some of their land to the organization.

Friday, November 2, 2012

NOVEMBER 6 ELECTION

Today is the final day of early voting. To date, nearly 30% of the registered voters in Howard County have cast their ballots.

On the ballot for the general election:

  • One contested election here locally for Precinct One County Commissioner: Incumbent Emma Brown is running against Oscar Garcia.

  • Whether to change the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation from a Type A organization to a Type B organization

  • The Presidential Race

  • A U.S. Senate Seat pitting Republican Ted Cruz, Democrat Paul Sadler, Libertarian John Jay Myers and Green Party Candidate David Collins

  • Two Railroad Commissioner Seats are open: One pits Republican Christi Craddick against Democrat Dale Henry, Libertarian Vik Wall and Green Party candidate Chris Kennedy. The other has Republican Barry Smitherman running against Libertarian Jaime Perez and Green Party candidate Josh Wendel

  • Three Supreme Court Justice Seats

  • Two Court of Criminal Appeals Seats

  • Presiding Judge for Court of Criminal Appeals

  • 19th District Congressman Randy Neugebauer is running unopposed for his seat

  • 31st District State Senator Kel Seliger is also running unopposed for his seat. 

POLLING LOCATIONS

Be sure to vote in the November 6 election.  Click the polling locations link for a list of locations by precinct.

ARREST IN SHOOTING CASE

Christopher Daniel Marquez has been booked into the Howard County Detention Center on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges. Marquez was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon in San Angelo. He had an arrest warrant sworn out against him for the aggravated assault charge by Justice of the Peace Kathryn Wiseman. Marquez is the lone suspect in the Saturday night shooting that left one man dead and another wounded.

FORSAN HIGH SCHOOL HONORED

Forsan High School has been honored by the Texas ACT Council for their participation in taking the ACT and SAT College Entrance Exams. Forsan has been ranked in the top 9% of all Texas high schools thanks to their students efforts. The amount of students taking the ACT exam in Texas has increased by 40% since 2008. More than 50% took the ACT at Forsan this past year: up from 40% the previous year. Only 170 high schools received the honor from the Texas ACT Council.

REMINDER TO SUBMIT APPLICATIONS FOR MILITARY ACADEMY NOMINATIONS

19th District U.S. Representative Randy Neugebauer wants to remind students that the deadline to submit applications for military academy nominations to his office is November 15th. Each year Neugebauer nominates candidates from the 19th District of Texas to four U.S. Service Academies: U.S. Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The four academies prepares college-aged Americans to be officers of the United States uniformed services. It is open to high school seniors. If you are interested, contact Mary Whistler in Congressman Neugebauer’s Lubbock Office at (888) 763-1611 to learn about options available. 

HIRING RED, WHITE & YOU!

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has launched the Hiring Red, White & You! campaign to connect veterans with Texas employers that are hiring. Hiring Red, White & You! is a veterans awareness campaign initiated by Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Medical Center Surgeon and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Professor Dr. James H. “Red” Duke, to support the promotion of statewide veterans job fairs on November 15. These statewide veterans job fairs will be taking place in cities throughout Texas and will be hosted by TWC in partnership with 28 local workforce boards and the Texas Veterans Commission in an effort to help our military heroes find employment and successfully transition into the civilian workforce.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

INFORMATION ON MAN-WITH-A-GUN SHOOTING

The name of the man killed in the officer involved shooting in Odessa has been released. Marvin Donald Wilkerson, 66 years old, was shot and killed by an Ector County Deputy, Wednesday evening. Authorities were called to the scene to reports of a man waving a gun and threatening people in the neighborhood where he lived. When officers arrived they found Wilkerson with the gun tucked in his waistband. According to reports he drew his weapon. The deputy on the scene then drew his weapon and fired, striking and killing Wilkerson. Now the family is asking for answers. They are describing Wilkerson as a man who would not take a life. Neighbors are surprised too. Wilkerson was a Vietam Vet who was living with Parkinson’s Disease. He was described as a quiet man who was nice and kept to himself. Deputy Johnny Valderaz was the one who responded to the scene. He has been with the Sheriff’s Office since October of last year. Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting.

GRAND JURY INDICTES MAN FOR AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND CRUELTY TO AN ANIMAL

A man who has been accused of killing a neighbor’s dog and threatening a neighbor was indicted yesterday by the Midland County Grand Jury. Stanley Atnipp is facing aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and cruelty to animal charges. Deputies arrested Atnipp when he shot his neighbors three year-old boxer. The neighbor Atnipp threatened was trying to get the dog out of Atnipp’s yard when Atnipp shot the dog and then threatened to shoot a female neighbor.

LIFE IN PRISON FOR BEATING LARRY WILLSEY TO DEATH WITH BASEBALL BAT

Leroy Alaniz has been sentenced to life in prison for the 1991 murder of Larry Willsey. ALANIZ was arrested two years ago when Dna evidence linked him to the murder. Alaniz beat Willsey to death with a baseball bat while robbing an Odessa bar. A mistrial had been declared in the case a month ago due to an issue with a juror. The death penalty had been taken out of the equation prior to the trying of the case.

AQUITTAL OF CAPITAL MURDER CHARGES

Another Odessa man being tried for capital murder was acquitted of the charges. John Bailey was accused of murdering his five week old step son in 2008. The child died from a blow to the head. Bailey was accused of kicking and throwing the child. The jury took several hours to come back with the not guilty verdict.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

ARRESTS IN BIG SPRING SHOOTINGS

Christopher Daniel Marquez, who had an arrest warrant out for him for aggravated assault for his part in the Saturday morning shooting at the old VFW building off Driver Road, was taken into custody in San Angelo around 4:00 pm yesterday afternoon. Also arrested was Romero Marquez, brother of Christopher, for unlawfully carrying a weapon and Gomezindo Diaz for unlawfully carrying a weapon and possession of marijuana. The three were taken into custody in the 1900 block of Sherwood Way by the San Angelo Police Department who had assistance from U.S. Marshalls and Texas Rangers. All three are being held in the Tom Green County Jail.  

AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT TRIAL DELAYED

The aggravated sexual assault trial of Hector Manuel Gonzales Junior has been postponed due to Defense Attorney Don Richard being ill. The trial has been rescheduled for December 3. The jury that had been impaneled will be dismissed and a new jury will be chosen prior to the new court date. Gonzales will remain in the custody of the Howard County Detention Center under a $2,000 bond.

FREE TREES TO SAVE ENERGY

Oncor Energy will be giving away 12,000 trees to its customers. The Texas based electricity company will be working with its suppliers to give away the trees through Energy Saving Trees, an Arbor Day Foundation program meant to reduce electricity bills through strategic tree planting. Customers can reserve their free trees today by going to arborday.org/oncor. The site will also help customers find the best place to plant the trees and will estimate the annual savings that will result from the trees. Customers can reserve up to two trees per household.

HELP WITH ELECTRIC AND GAS BILLS AVAILABLE

West Texas Opportunities will be in Big Spring next week to assist low income households with their electric and gas bills. The program is called Energy Assistance Blitz and is possible due to additional funds West Texas Opportunities has available. They will be at the Howard County Neighborhood Center located at 2001 Scurry Street, Monday through Wednesday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day and clients will be seen on a first come first served basis. Coordinator Brian Rodriguez from West Texas Opportunities will join us on community calendar Monday morning with more about the program.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

DEPUTY FATALLY WOUNDS ARMED MAN

According to a press release, the Ector County Sheriff’s Department responded to a man with a gun call last night at approximately 7:15 pm. Reports were the man was brandishing the “silver gun” at a crowd of people. When the sheriff and a deputy arrived at the scene on Uranus Avenue they found a man with a gun tucked in his waistband. Shortly after they arrived, the man pulled the gun from his waistband and was subsequently shot and fatally wounded by the responding deputy. DPS Troopers and Texas Rangers were called to the scene per Ector County Sheriff’s Department procedure. The Texas Rangers will take over the investigation.

MONAHANS HOUSING AUTHORITY

The Monahans Housing Authority has a new director who has just one objective which is to turn around the financially troubled organization. The previous director, Ignacio Chaviria Jr., is under investigation for mishandling funds. According to new Director Calvin Carrell records have been lost and rules were not enforced under Chaviria. Carrell has been enforcing the rules which have led to some of those who were being helped by the housing authority to be evicted because rules were not followed. Police started their investigation into Chaviria two years ago and the case is now with the district attorney. Carrell is estimating it will take the housing authority about five months to get back on track. Chaviria had been assigned to the housing authority by the federal government.

SYNTHETIC DRUGS

Even though they have been banned here within the Big Spring city limits synthetic drugs are still available in the Permian Basin and the effect it can have on those who use it are extreme. Synthetic marijuana; sold over the counter at smoke shops, adult bookstores and even in some convenience stores; looks and smells like the real thing but carries much stronger side effects and is highly addictive. Users will often have psychotic fits while under the influence of the drug. Although a majority of the chemicals in the drug are banned by the federal government, manufacturers of the drug continue to change the mix to keep it from being technically illegal.

LATEST ON THE TWO MEN TAKEN INTO CUSTODY BY THE DEA IN ODESSA LAST WEEK

Mario Morena and Reyes Vasquez were captured with a significant amount of cocaine in their possession. Now it has been determined that Moreno is in the country illegally and is a major distributor of the drug in the Permian Basin. An undercover officer had contacted Moreno and set up a purchase of 9 ounces of cocaine. The original location of the buy was a truck stop but the two men were nervous due to a strong police presence and asked to move the buy to the parking lot of the Chili’s in Odessa. Moreno offered to sell the drugs to the undercover agent who then attempted to arrest the two men. Moreno fled the scene but was later captured in a field behind the shopping center where the restaurant was located. The DEA has not been able to connect Moreno to any major drug cartel but the amount of cocaine he was selling to the undercover officer indicates he has a large customer base in the Permian Basin.

HIRING RED, WHITE & YOU!

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has launched the Hiring Red, White & You! campaign to connect veterans with Texas employers that are hiring. Hiring Red, White & You! is a veterans awareness campaign initiated by Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Medical Center Surgeon and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Professor Dr. James H. “Red” Duke, to support the promotion of statewide veterans job fairs on November 15. These statewide veterans job fairs will be taking place in cities throughout Texas and will be hosted by TWC in partnership with 28 local workforce boards and the Texas Veterans Commission in an effort to help our military heroes find employment and successfully transition into the civilian workforce.

TWO KILLED BY DPS TROOPER FIRING ON PICKUP

According to an associated press report, a grand jury will consider a case against a young boy who was driving a pickup truck that contained nine illegal immigrants. During a chase in La Joya, a DPS Trooper fired on the truck in an effort to stop it. The troopers thought the truck was loaded with drugs. Two Guatemalans were killed when they were hit by bullets fired from the helicopter. The boy driving the truck is 14-years old and was released into the custody of his grandmother after the October 25 incident. He did not show up for a court appearance Tuesday. State game wardens were actively searching for him. When asked if any charges would be filed against the trooper who fired on the truck, Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra stated “That is not even under consideration right now.”  Texas Rangers are leading the probe into the shooting as is standard procedure. Guerra said he expects the DPS Director and an oversight committee to look into this incident. Alba Caceres, Guatemalan consul in McAllen, has interviewed the surviving immigrants who were in the truck. They stated the helicopter was 450 to 600 feet away when the shots were fired. All of the immigrants were covered with a bed sheet but Caceres said the troopers should have been able to see what was in the vehicle.

MORE ON MAN WHO BEAT PASTOR TO DEATH

The man who beat a Fort Worth pastor to death with an electric guitar apparently suffered from mental illness according to his widow. Shanellia Harris Birdow has no explanation why her husband attacked Pastor Danny Kirk Sr. Birdow is a member of Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church where Kirk was a minister. Derrick Anthony Birdow rammed his car into the church and then assaulted and killed the pastor. He was tasered by police in order to subdue him. He was later found unresponsive in a patrol car. Birdow’s older brother Glen said he had driven to Fort Worth from San Antonio recently due to his brother’s increasingly bizarre behavior. Derrick Birdow was claiming people were trying to kill him and someone had stuck a needle in his arm. Birdow did have assault and drug possession charges against him in the past and had been sentenced to five years in prison for one of the assaults. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet released Birdow’s cause of death or toxicology report.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

INVESTIGATION CONTINUES

Big Spring Police will continue to investigate the case of Samuel Lyte, the local minister who is being held on indecency with a child and continual sexual abuse of a child along with tampering with evidence charges. Police were alerted by a family member that Lyte may be having an inappropriate relationship with a young girl. He was brought in for questioning, later taken into custody and is being held on $45,000 bond. Big Spring Police are continuing to investigate Lyte, who has worked as a music minister in Odessa and may also be linked to a church in San Angelo. More charges may be forthcoming against Lyte.

MAN HUNT CONTINUES

The Howard County Sheriff’s Department continues the hunt for Chris Daniel Marquez who is the suspected shooter in last Saturday’s shooting that left one man dead and another wounded. Luis Adolfo Pena died that night at Scenic Mountain Medical Center. Raul Mendez was also shot but was treated and released from Scenic Mountain Medical Center. The shooting occurred at the old VFW building off of Driver Road. Marquez is described as a hispanic male, 5’7” tall and weighing 130 pounds. Marquez has had several brushes with the law including theft, possession of a controlled substance and unlawfully carrying a weapon charges in the last two years. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Marquez please contact the Howard County Sheriff’s Office at (432) 264-2244 or Crimestoppers at 263-8477. Tips can be made to Crimestoppers anonymously and there could be a reward of up to $1,000. 

WATER SOURCES

With the Ward County Pipeline nearing completion, the backup water source needed by Colorado River Municipal Water District member cities is about ready. Now the need for the water may not be as strong with the recent rainfall the area has received. According to CRMWD Officials, the three water sources now will be able to supply enough water for 18 months. The Ward County Pipeline will supply winter levels of water for CRMWD Customers, meanwhile the water reclamation plant here in Big Spring is nearing completion and will produce two million gallons of reclaimed water per day with the capability to expand to five million gallons of water a day without expanding the building the facility is housed in.

LOOKING FOR ROBBERY SUSPECT

Odessa Police are on the lookout for a robbery suspect. A Hispanic male entered a subway in Odessa and approached the counter. He claimed he had a weapon but did not show any type of weapon. He demanded cash from the register and the store employee handed over an undetermined amount of cash. He then left the store. He is described as in his mid 30’s, approximately six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was wearing a thick jacket, camouflage cap and jeans.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

ECTOR COUNTY EFFORTS TO FORCE BETTER CARE OF COMPANY VEHICLES

A Monahans petroleum company is denying culpability in a lawsuit brought against them by Ector County. Quell Petroleum services has a lawsuit pending against them for a truck that Ector County claims spilled a large amount of oil on the road that led to several wrecks. An attorney for the company has told the court, the truck in question has been removed from service. The case is one of many Ector County has filed in an effort to force oil and gas companies to better care for their vehicles and to help with the financial burden placed on the County due to damage caused by leaking trucks. 

TWELFTH EXECUTION IN TEXAS THIS YEAR SCHEDULED FOR TONIGHT

The State of Texas is set to execute a death row inmate on Halloween night.  Prison officials say Donnie Roberts is scheduled to die by lethal injection for the robbery and murder of his girlfriend Vickie Ann Bowen in Polk County.  Roberts shot the victim in the head and stole several items from her home, including her son's truck, Texans-Titans football tickets, jewelry and two guns.  Roberts was later arrested with some of the stolen items.  He admitted that he shot her after she refused to give him money for crack cocaine.  If his execution is carried out, he would be the twelfth person executed in Texas this year.

NOVARTIS TO PAY $20 MILLION SETTLEMENT

The drug company Novartis will pay the State of Texas about $7 million for Medicaid fraud allegations.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says today's agreement resolves allegations that the company unlawfully marketed an eczema drug to children even though the treatment had not been approved by the FDA.  Novartis was accused of failing to disclose that Elidel could have harmful effects, including cancer-related risks.  The rest of the nearly $20 million settlement will go to the federal government and the whistleblower who came forward with the allegations.

TWO-MILE AREA NEAR SANTA TERESA EVACUATED DUE TO HAZARDOUS MATERIAL

 New Mexico authorities say an unknown hazardous material release has sickened about 200 people near the Mexican border just northwest of El Paso, Texas. A two-mile area surrounding the industrial park and border-crossing at Santa Teresa was evacuated Tuesday, and the nearby airport was closed. Officials say some people from businesses in the industrial park were taken to Santa Teresa High School after complaining of breathing problems, light-headedness, nausea and dizziness. No serious injuries were reported and no one was hospitalized.  Some people also described a burning sensation on their skin. Dona Ana County spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said officials started getting calls from people about 8:30 a.m.  Emergency officials from Texas and New Mexico responded. People in nearby homes and businesses were told to stay indoors, seal all doors and windows, and turn off air conditioning and heating systems. The evacuation remains in effect while air-quality testing is being done to determine what made the people sick.

FALSE BOMB THREAT AT TEXAS A&M

A man has been charged in a false bomb threat at Texas A&M and a female friend accused in a similar hoax at another university is being investigated in both cases. A&M Police Lt. Allan Baron said Tuesday that Dereon Kelly and Brittany Henderson, both of Bryan, are in a relationship. He declined to elaborate. Kelly and Henderson are jailed on charges of making a terroristic threat. Bond is $150,000 each. Police Allege Kelly, on Oct. 19, emailed a threat to A&M in College Station. Kelly was arrested hours later on unrelated fraud charges. He was charged Monday with the hoax. Henderson was arrested last week over the Oct. 18 threat at Texas State University in San Marcos. Baron says she's a person of interest in the A&M case.

Monday, October 29, 2012

SHOOTING SOUTH OF BIG SPRING LEAVE ONE DEAD, ONE INJURED

The Howard County Sheriff’s Office has filed an arrest warrant for one suspect in the weekend shooting of Luis Pena and Raul Mendez. Pena died from his wounds. Mendez has been treated and released. Sheriff’s deputies are looking for Chris Daniel Marquez, a 19 year old hispanic male. The warrant, issued by Justice of the Peace Kathryn Wiseman, is for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Saturday morning at 2:33 am, the Howard County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the old VFW building located at 500 Driver Road for reports of a possible shooting. When deputies arrived, they found Luis Adolfo Pena suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Scenic Mountain Medical Center by ambulance where he was later pronounced dead. Justice of the Peace Kathrynn Wiseman has ordered an autopsy on Pena. Raul Mendez was also taken to Scenic Mountain Medical Center by a private vehicle with a gunshot wound. He was treated and released. Investigators with the Sheriff’s office are working the case but no arrests have been made at this time. More charges are expected in the case.

ARREST FOR THEFT OF METAL

Another Howard County man has been arrested for theft of metal. Joshua Don Richter was taken into custody of the Howard County Sheriff’s Office Friday night at 11:30 pm. 

CHARGE OF CONTINUED SEXUAL ABUSE OF A CHILD LESS THAN 14 YEARS OF AGE ADDED

As we told you early last week, Samuel Lyte was arrested for indecency with a child and tampering with physical evidence with intent to impair. He was taken into custody Monday, last week. Lyte has had the charge of continual sexual abuse of a child less than 14 years of age added to the charges. Lyte is still in custody at the Howard County Detention Center. He is being held on a total of $45,000 bond. A family member had contacted the Big Spring Police Department about Lyte and he was brought in for questioning. After the interrogation, Lyte was booked into the detention center. It is not known how long the abuse has been going on. Lyte was supposedly serving as a youth minister at Mount Bethel Baptist Church.

HOWARD COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING TODAY

The Howard College Board of Trustees will meet today in the Tumbleweed Room in the Student Union Building beginning at 12:30 pm. Several items are on the agenda, including building updates on each campus. The LaMesa campus will be receiving some building upgrades. San Angelo is going through some major construction and the SWCID campus is developing the village as a housing addition for students. The board will also discuss the recent down turn in enrollment. The largest campus drop was at the San Angelo campus with 239 less students enrolled this semester. The Big Spring Campus had a drop of 1% in enrollment. The college is attributing the drop partially to the new meningitis vaccine requirement and the booming economy. Adding to the woes is the drop in the number of contact hours, which hurts when it comes to funding from the State. Those numbers were down by 4%. The board will announce the certified enrollment numbers during the meeting.  

EARLY VOTING UPDATE

The latest early voting numbers from the Howard County Election Administrators Office show nearly 20% of registered voters have cast their ballots in the general election, an average of 559 voters per day. The polls will remain open this week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with extended hours on Tuesday and Thursday when the polls will remain open until 8:00 pm. Election Day is November 6th. Here locally, the only contested race is for County Commissioner Precinct One where incumbent Emma Brown is facing challenger Oscar Garcia. Also on the ballot is the hot button issue regarding a change to the Economic Development Corporation from a Type A to a Type B Sales and Use Tax Organization. The polls will be open on Election Day from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm.

APP ALLOWS TRACKING OF CHILDREN VIA GPS

If you are looking for a way to keep up with your kids this Halloween there is now an app for it. Parents can download the app and be able to keep up with where their kids are at all times. The app also has settings to allow children make emergency calls, texts and emails with just a quick swipe on their phone. The app has a GPS to pinpoint where your child is at all times. However it is recommended parents still go Trick or Treating with their kids since nothing can replace parental supervision. Other pointers are to wear brightly colored or reflective clothing while Trick or Treating and check all candy before letting your child eat any of it.

BIG SPRING HIGH SCHOOL BAND MAKES THIRD IN COMPETITION

The Big Spring High School Band finished in a three-way tie for third this weekend at the Regional Marching Band Competition. The Pride Drive was tied with Monahans and an El Paso school for the final spot to advance to the State Competition but Monahans was chosen as the final band to advance to State. The Pride Drive was trying to make it to the State Marching Competition for the first time in a decade.

DINE OUT DAYS RESTAURANT IS CHICKEN EXPRESS THIS WEEK

This week’s Dine Out Days restaurant is Chicken Express located on FM 700 next to Higginbotham Bartlett Hardware. A portion of this week’s proceeds will go to United Way of Big Spring and Howard County to help support the sixteen member agencies. Chicken Express will be the dine out days restaurant through this Sunday.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

LUBBOCK MAN ATTACKED BY VANDALS OF POLITICAL SIGNS

A Lubbock man was attacked by vandals who were damaging Democratic and Obama yard signs. The incident happened after an early vote rally in Lubbock County. The Texas Democratic Party reported the incident. According to reports, hundreds of Obama yard signs have been stolen from yards across Lubbock and a half dozen large signs were damaged or stolen. Some signs had racial slurs on them.

MIDLAND GROUP STOP DUI PUSHING FOR MORE TAX ON BEER

The Midland group Stop DUI is pushing the State to add an excise tax to beer sales. The group is presently trying to get the issue on the floor in the Texas House or Senate. The group cites the fact Texas is the largest consumer of beer in the Nation and also has the highest number of vehicle crashes. The group states its recommendation would add approximately a nickel to the cost of each glass of beer and would bring in an additional $315 million in revenue.

Friday, October 26, 2012

TWO ARRESTED

Two Howard Countians were arrested on Wednesday night for theft of two spools of copper wire. The 21 and 17-year olds had stolen the items from a home owned business but were pulled over by Howard County Sheriff’s Deputies. The owner of the items was called to the scene and identified the items. David and Thomas White were taken into custody and booked into the detention center on theft of metal charges. Thomas White was also charged with failure to maintain financial responsibility and disregarding a stop sign.

ANGEL TREE APPLICATIONS

Applications for Angel Tree are due in for area residents who would like to be part of the program. The trees will be placed throughout the city so citizens can make some lucky child’s Christmas a happy one. Applications will be accepted through Friday at the Salvation Army office located at 811 West Fifth Street.  For more information call their office at 267-8239. The office is open 9:00 am to noon and 1:00 to 3:00 pm each day.

STEER BAND COMPETES FOR CHANCE TO MOVE ON TO STATE COMPETITION

The Big Spring Steer Band will be off to Lubbock this weekend to compete for a chance to move on to the State competition. The Pride Drive received all ones this past weekend in the regional competition in Odessa at Ratliff Stadium. This weekend they will march at Lowery Field in an effort to advance to State for the first time in over a decade. There will be sixteen bands competing in the regional event and three will advance to State. Also competing are Andrews, Snyder, Levelland, Monahans and Abilene Wylie among others.

HAILEY DUNN

According to an article in the Odessa American; Billie Dunn, the mother of Hailey Dunn, is disputing the letter recently released by Abilene media outlets. The letter, from a Sonja Callahan who is presently serving time in a Fort Worth prison, was mailed to family members and has been investigated by authorities in the case. In the letter Callahan claimed to have seen a fifteen year-old girl being held in an Odessa home against her will. Captors were drugging the teen to keep her compliant. Unfortunately the teen died of an overdose. Callahan claimed her body was dumped behind the Ector County Coliseum. Police searched the area but found nothing. A private investigator from Houston, Mac Sanford, is working the case for Billie Dunn and has also concluded the letter has no validity. Hailey Dunn has been missing since December of 2010. The only suspect in the case, Shawn Adkins, was the last to see the girl alive. He said she had walked to a friend’s house to spend the night.

IN SPORTS

BIG SPRING LADY STEERS TRAVEL TO ANDREWS

The Big Spring Lady Steers will travel to Andrews this afternoon to take on Monahans in a seeding game. The winner of the match will take on Fabens; the loser will take on Fort Stockton in the first round of the 3A volleyball playoffs. The Lady Steers enter the contest with a 27-14 overall record. Monahans is 23-17. Both teams finished 7-3 in district. Fabens is 19-10, 7-5 in district. Fort Stockton is 21-14, 10-2 in district. You can hear the match on KBEST 95.7 FM beginning at 4:15 pm

GAMES TONIGHT

The Big Spring Steers will welcome the Sweetwater Mustangs to town tonight in a big district matchup. The Steers come into the game 5-2 overall but winless in district. Sweetwater is 3-4 overall and 1-1 in district. You can hear the game on KBEST 95.7 FM beginning at 7:15 pm.

Coahoma will welcome Crane to town. The Bulldogs are 2-5 on the season and 1-1 in district. Crane is 4-2 overall, 2-0 in district. You can hear the game on the Mighty 1490 KBST AM beginning at 7:15pm.

Forsan will welcome top-ranked Stamford to town in a big district matchup. The Buffaloes are 5-2, 1-0 in district. Stamford is 7-1 overall, 2-0 in district.

Stanton looks to bounce back against a strong Alpine team tonight. The Buffaloes are 3-4 overall, 1-1 in district. Alpine 6-1, 2-0 in district. All games are set to kickoff at 7:30pm.

BRUISER BAGS

The Coahoma Band Boosters will have bruiser bags available tonight at the concession stand which includes a hamburger or cheeseburger, chips, 20 ounce drink and a sweet treat for $6.

COMING UP THIS WEEKEND IN COLLEGE AND PRO FOOTBALL

The Texas Longhorns will take on Kansas with pregame beginning at 10:00 am on the Mighty 1490 KBST AM.

Listen to Texas Tech battle Kansas State on KBEST 95.7 FM with pregame starting at 1:30 pm

Texas A&M will travel to Auburn to take on the War Eagles on the Mighty 1490 KBST AM with pregame beginning at 6:00 pm.

Sunday listen to the Cowboys and the Giants in a huge NFC East matchup with pregame starting at 2:00 pm.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

CAPITAL MURDER TRIAL DELAYED

The capital murder trial of 26-year old Ralph Martinez has been delayed. Attorneys for Martinez have asked for more time stating they are not adequately prepared. The trial has been rescheduled for April 29, 2013. Martinez was charged in the death of 5 year-old Zachary Dominguez who was brought into an Odessa hospital with bruises, burns and open sores. The youngster eventually died of cardiac arrest. A 3 year-old sibling of Zachary showed signs of sexual abuse.

FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON IN TEXAS

Former President Bill Clinton was in Texas yesterday stumping for 23rd District Congressional Candidate Pete Gallego. Gallego is going up against Republican incumbent Francisco Canseco. Clinton was also voicing his support for Joaquin Castro, twin brother of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who is running for the 20th District Congressional Seat.

TWO ARRESTS IN ODESSA BY DEA AND FBI

The DEA and FBI made two arrests last night in Odessa. An off-duty officer responded to the scene near the Walmart on 42nd street when he heard on a police scanner of a foot chase in progress where the suspect had a rifle. When he arrived, agents had a man in custody in the parking lot of a Chili’s restaurant.  A DPS helicopter and Odessa police were also searching nearby for another suspect behind the Cinemark Theater on Preston Road. Officers eventually located the man and took him in to custody but did not find a weapon. DEA is investigating the case.

CONVICTED OF WIRE FRAUD

A Midland pipe salesman has been convicted and sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud. According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman, 41 year-old Michael Lafoy plead guilty to negotiating and agreeing to ship $155,000 worth of 4 inch oilfield pipe to Arvine Pipe and Supply in Norman, Oklahoma, while knowing he had no realistic ability to deliver the pipe. Arvine wired the payment to Lafoy at the time of the negotiated sale. Lafoy was ordered to make full restitution to Arvine along with several other companies he defrauded. According to court records Lafoy has been previously convicted of wire fraud in the U.S. District Court for Western District of Midland Odessa in 2005.

SEVERE RENTAL SHORTAGE

The oil boom continues and as it does, so does the rental boom. More and more single parent families are having to take drastic measures to keep a roof over their heads and some are just not able to keep it up. Family Promise in Midland is reporting their shelter is filling up with more and more families. Presently the shelter has one family with five children, another with four and one on their waiting list with five children due to being unable to keep up with rising rent prices. Apartment complexes have started shortening their leases to six months so they can raise the rent more often. Organizations are helping as much as they can but with more people ending up on the streets each day those organizations cannot keep up.

In State News

WOMAN MAY FACE LIFE IN PRISON AFTER LEAVING CHILDREN ALONE

Texas prosecutors say the home day care where a fire erupted and killed four children was run by an irresponsible woman who twice left the children unsupervised that day to go shopping. Jessica Tata is on trial for felony murder in Houston. Investigators have said a fire broke out in the kitchen of her home in Houston after she left the children alone in February 2011 to go shopping at Target. But on Thursday, prosecutors showed jurors surveillance video that they say shows Tata also went shopping alone earlier that day at Walmart. Her attorneys say she never intended to harm the children, who ranged in age from 16 months to 3 years. Three other children were seriously injured. The 24-year-old Tata faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

EARLY VOTING TURNOUT

Early voting continues here in Howard County and throughout the State. The numbers have been huge so far in the fifteen most populous counties including Harris County, setting records with 47,000 voters casting their ballots. The total bested the previous record by 8,000. Here in Howard County, the numbers have been impressive. More voters have cast their ballots than in the primary election earlier this year. Nearly 2,100 voters have cast their ballots, about 12% of the registered voters in Howard County. The polls will be open through November 2: including this Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Polls are open next week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, however, Tuesday and Thursday polls are open until 8:00 pm.

BRIDGE REPAIRS

TXDOT is scheduling repairs to the Interstate 20 bridge passing over FM 700 on the east side of Big Spring. The bridge was damaged last weekend when a truck carrying part of an oil rig became lodged under it. One lane of northbound FM 700 and one lane of eastbound I-20 over FM 700 have been reopened. The remaining lanes will remain closed until repairs are made. Loads wider than ten-feet and over 80,000 pounds will be allowed on the north-bound side of FM 700 or eastbound I-20 at FM 700. The work is expected to take a month to a month-and-a-half to complete.

HAILEY DUNN

The investigation into new information in the Hailey Dunn case has been investigated by authorities for over two months now: A letter sent from a Sonja Renee Callahan, who is presently in a Fort Worth prison, to her family in Abilene. The letter claims a 15-year old girl was being held in a house in Odessa and was drugged to be kept compliant. The girl eventually died of an overdose and her body was dumped behind the Ector County Coliseum. Police searched the area but found nothing. The family immediately showed the letter to authorities who had them and local media keep quiet about it until they had time to investigate it. Authorities recently said the letter was not a breakthrough in the case. A Houston private investigator, Mac Sanford, is now involved in the case and, according to a recent article in the Abilene reporter news, he remains positive the missing Hailey Dunn is still alive. He also had little good to say about the investigation being conducted, saying there are too many different agencies involved and they are not sharing information. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas Rangers, Mitchell County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado City Police and several other agencies are involved in the search. 

HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES

You can bring your Halloween ghosts and goblins to the Howard College campus this Halloween as the campus will be hosting Trick or Treaters Wednesday night from 6pm to 8pm. There will also be a Haunted House at SWCID. The women’s dorm at Howard College will be passing out candy and something else “glowingly” special to Trick or Treaters so be sure to come on over and check out the rooms participating in the event. The SWCID campus will be hosting a Haunted House Friday and Saturday night from 6pm until midnight and again October 29th thru 31st from 6:00 to 10:30 pm. Entrance to the Haunted House is $8 for adults, $3 for children three to twelve; children under two are free. The Haunted House will be at the Diagnostic Center behind the Senior Citizens Center at 3301 Hudgens Memorial. For more information on the Haunted House call (432) 264-3700.

VOLLEYBALL GAME MOVED TO ANDREWS

Apparently, there has been another site change for the Lady Steers Volleyball match with Monahans tomorrow afternoon. It has now been moved to Andrews High School. It will still be played at 4:30 pm.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

EMPLOYMENT COUNTS

The latest numbers from a report from the Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission is showing a big jump in the number of people working. More and more people are moving to West Texas and taking advantage of the need for workers in the area in all types of businesses. In Midland County over 88,000 people are working and in Ector County slightly more than 83,000 workers. Both workforces are just over 3% increases from last year. Midland’s unemployment rate is 3.3% while Ector County is at 3.9% well below the state average of 6.3% and the national average of 7.8%. With all that good news though, the counties of Crane, Dawson, Glasscock, Loving, Pecos, Reeves and Upton have had declines in work force.

FIREWISE COMMUNITIES

The City of Andrews has received a Firewise Communities designation from the Texas A&M Forest Service and the National Fire Protection Association. Andrews received the award by obtaining a wildfire risk assessment and using it to create an action plan, conducting a community cleanup event, investing a minimum of $2 per capita in local firewise actions and submitting an application to their State Firewise Liaison. Andrews is one of 700 sites in forty states to receive the Firewise Designation proving they are committed to taking proactive actions toward preventing wildfires in their areas.

UNDERAGE WORKERS

With the need for workers getting more and more intense every day, a new problem has cropped up in the Permian Basin: Underage Workers. Labor laws restrict the number of hours teens under the age of sixteen can work. They also restrict the type of equipment they can use and work around. With the demand so high and with such a large number to police, some businesses have been ignoring those laws. Teens want to have the funds to purchase clothing and cars so they are willing to work the hours available and with businesses offering such high wages, their options are not limited. Willie Taylor with the Workforce Commission said the fees assessed to businesses in violation of such laws can be as much as $10,000 and misdemeanor charges could be filed but again the problem now is enforcing the laws. The Workforce Commission will be sending out a mass letter reminding businesses of the laws.

In State News

ELECTION OBSERVERS NOT PERMITTED TO INTERFERE

The attorney General of Texas is promising to prosecute any of the United Nations-backed election observers who interfere with the November election.

Greg Abbott says he's especially worried after hearing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe wants to monitor the election over voter id law concerns. He also says OSCE's opinion regarding voter ID laws is "legally irrelevant" because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled voter ID laws are constitutional. OSCE reportedly got a letter from Project Vote, Acorn and other organizations asking them to monitor the U.S. election to protect ballot identity.

TEXAS PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION TO VOTE ON PRICE CAP ON WHOLESALE ELECTRICITY

The Texas Public Utilities Commission will likely double the price cap on wholesale electricity in order to encourage more generation. PUC Chairwoman Donna Nelson told the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday that the commission will vote on the proposal Thursday. She said raising the maximum price that a generator can charge is needed to make sure there is enough electricity available during peak periods. The wholesale price is currently $4,500 a megawatt hour, and that price could go up to $9,000. The Texas electricity market pays only for electricity provided, not on the capacity available. Official say that low prices have kept generators from adding more capacity, and therefore creates the possibility of a shortage if something unexpected happens. Customers experienced outages in 2011 because of cold weather.

CANCER PREVENTION AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF TEXAS

The head of an embattled $3 billion cancer-fighting fund in Texas says the State has learned from a controversy that has shaken one of the nation's biggest troughs of research dollars. Executive Director Bill Gimson on Wednesday opened the annual meeting of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. He said the agency will flourish despite being wracked by an internal uproar.  Nearly three dozen scientists have cut ties with the agency in recent weeks. They were peer reviewers, many of whom were critical of a $20 million award they say was pushed through because of politics. Gimson has denied those accusations. He told attendees the agency has 'listened' in wake of the fallout and is committed to safeguarding the integrity of the fund.

TOXIC CLOUD CAUSES SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDER

The danger has passed and Texas City residents are no longer under a shelter-in-place order due to a hydrochloric acid leak at a storage tank near the port. The "Galveston Daily News" says the incident began about 11 p.m. last night, sending a toxic cloud drifting over parts of the city. The newspaper says at least nine people were taken to Mainland Medical Center for treatment after they were exposed to the chemical release. The shelter-in-place order was lifted about 4:00 this morning.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BIG SPRING CITY COUNCIL MEETING

The Big Spring City Council met last night with a lengthy but routine agenda. During the meeting:

  • The Council approved flying all City flags at half mast today in honor of former Mayor Russ McEwen who passed away early Sunday morning.

  • A negotiated agreement with Atmos Energy regarding a requested rate increase by the energy company: The agreement will not bring an increase to area citizens. The increase will be made up by the cities of Lubbock and Amarillo who have been paying a lower rate for energy delivery

  • The city also awarded annual bids for a small fire engine/pumper, a 30 cubic yard sanitation truck and a type one ambulance.

  • Peggy Hopper was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

  • Debra Wallace was appointed to the Howard County 9-1-1 Communication District

There was also a video from the State Comptroller’s Office regarding the difference between a Type A Organization and a Type B Organization presented. The video may be viewed online at mybigspring.com

FORUM AT THE HALL CENTER FOR THE ARTS

A forum was held at the Hall Center for the Arts last night featuring a presentation by President and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Council Carlton Schwab. Schwab presented information regarding the success of Type A corporations in the State of Texas. The meeting was, at times, contentious as those in favor of changing the local economic development organization from a Type A to a Type B corporation questioned Mr. Schwab about his presentation. Schwab reminded those in attendance the local EDC has brought hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue to the area and that other communities who have changed their economic development organizations from Type A to Type B have suffered when it has come to economic development efforts after the change. He stressed the opportunity to bring industry to the area is strong now and the City should take advantage. The issue will be on the ballot for the upcoming general election.

VOTING DATES AND TIMES

Early voting has already begun in the Election Administrator’s Office on the Third Floor of the Howard County Courthouse and will continue through November 2nd. The polls are open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each weekday and this Saturday from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. The polls will be open for extended hours on Tuesday and Thursday next week from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm. Election Day is November 6th. The polls will be open from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm on that day.

 STATE OF THE COMMUNITY EVENT

The Chamber of Commerce held their final State of the Community event yesterday at the Dora Roberts Community Center. The topic of the day was an industrial update. Representatives from Desert Tanks, Sid Richardson, Super Rod and the McMahon Wrinkle Airpark and Industrial Park spoke at the event. All four organizations touted the potential growth in the area as the reason for their success.

Desert Tanks representative Vincent Delise spoke about the growth his company has had due to the oil and gas boom and with the assistance of the Economic Development Corporation. The company now has two facilities in Big Spring and has grown from 17 employees in 2009 to 125 employees presently and have purchased other companies they previously had subcontracted work to. The company is operating one shift at 80% capacity but, with the anticipated growth, is confident they will be able to add another shift in the future. Dwain Fox of Super Rod, whose company manufactures fiberglass sucker rods for use in drilling, announced Super Rod is projecting total sales of $20 million for this year, their first full year in existence, and sees at least five more years of high production in the area.

Colonel Jim Little, head of the airpark and industrial park, gave an update on the industrial park and the number of companies that have moved in including Transport Handling Specialist. THS is developing the rail spur at the industrial park to bring in more product to the existing businesses. THS has two new locomotives for use in this process. Colonel Little also spoke of the hard work the Economic Development Corporation has done in bringing new industry to the area and in keeping existing industry in Big Spring.

HAILEY DUNN CASE

The latest development in the Hailey Dunn case has authorities investigating a letter from an inmate by the name of Sonja Renee Callahan. In the letter - described as a guilt letter - to the family of Callahan, she describes a 15 year-old girl who had been kidnapped and was being held in a house in Odessa in January of 2011. The girl was being drugged by her kidnappers to keep her compliant. Callahan claims the girl died of an accidental overdose and her body was dumped behind the Ector County Coliseum. A search by police did not turn up any remains. Kelsey Alexander-Rivas, a Colorado City police investigator stated the locations and the description of the girl in the letter were vague and Dunn was not specifically mentioned. Alexander-Rivas also stated they will continue to investigate the letter but the letter is not considered a breakthrough in the case.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

BOBBY RAY RUIZ EXTRADITED TO TEXAS ON MURDER CHARGES

The final person charged in a double homicide in Gaines County will be returned to the State of Texas. Bobby Ray Ruiz was being held in the Lea County Jail while fighting extradition to Texas. The Lea County Judge has decided to grant the Governor’s warrant for the man. Nicomedes Sosa, 34 years old, and Juan Castillo, 32 years old, were also extradited from New Mexico on Governor’s warrants and 25 year old Desiree Mata was extradited from Alabama after being captured there. Mata did not fight her extradition. All four have been charged with capital murder and murder in the shooting deaths of John Allen and Jay Doyal who were found shot to death in a home in Gaines County in May.

TERRABON INC. FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

A fourth Texas high-tech startup that received taxpayer money through Gov. Rick Perry's signature economic development fund has filed for bankruptcy. Bioenergy producer Terrabon Inc.'s bankruptcy filing in a Houston federal court last month raises the possibility that the State's emerging technology fund may be worth less than what taxpayers have invested in it. The venture-capital-like fund invests in Texas-based high-tech startups. Terrabon was backed by big Perry political donors and critics questioned the State's decision to award the company $2.75 million in 2010. Terrabon's bankruptcy marks the biggest loss yet for the tech fund's $194 million portfolio and brings the total amount of failed investments to $5.25 million.

 BIG TURNOUTS FOR EARLY VOTING

Texas turned out in high numbers across the State on the first day of early voting, setting records in some places. The Texas Secretary of State's Office reported Tuesday that more than 378,000 people cast early ballots in the State's 15 most populous counties, either by mail or in person. That's about 4.6% of the registered voters in those counties. Voters in Harris County set a new record. Chief Election Officer Stan Stuart said 47,000 people cast their ballots on the first day compared to 39,000 in 2008. Early voting lasts until Nov. 2. Officials expect more than half of Texans will cast their ballots before election day on Nov. 6. Unlike on Election Day, voters may cast their ballots at any polling station within their home county.

NEW FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS

A new free trade agreement has gone into effect and is the third in line of free trade agreements. The first two agreements were with Korea which took place on March 15th and Colombia on May 15th of this year. The new agreement is with Panama and ends a 5 year push to solidify the three trade agreements. The implementation of the Panama FTA results in the immediate repeal of the 30% tariff prime and choice cuts of U.S. beef and begins to phase out all remaining tariffs. According to U.S. International Trade Commissions numbers the three trade agreements will increase U.S. export by at least 13 billion and adds 10 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product. In addition estimates are 8,000 jobs will be produced for every $1 billion shipped overseas. Beef producers will not be able to rest easy though as there are opportunities to export beef to China, Japan, Taiwan and the European Union.

In Sports

The Lady Steers fell to Monahans last night in volleyball setting up a seeding game for this Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm at Midland Christian School. The game will decide who will be the #2 and #3 seed in District 4-3A. The #2 seed will face Fabens the loser will face Fort Stockton in the first round of the playoffs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BIG SPRING CITY COUNCIL MEETING

The Big Spring City Council will meet tonight, October 23, in Council Chambers at 5:30 pm for their regular meeting. On the agenda will be a video presentation by the Texas Comptroller’s Office with an overview of Type A and Type B Economic Development Corporations. This video can also be viewed online at mybigspring.com. In addition, there will be the final readings regarding authorization for a representative to withdraw funds from the TexPool and TexStar programs and declaration of an effective date to do so. Also on the agenda, will be presentation of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Committee minutes, Big Spring Economic Development Corporation minutes, and Howard County Appraisal Board minutes. In addition, the Council will consider authorizing the Mayor to negotiate a new lease with Western Container, appointment to the Planning and Zoning Commission (Peggy Hopper and Charles Yates are up for the lone position open); appointments to the Howard County 9-1-1 Communication District Board and the City Manager’s reappointment to the Civil Service Commission.

AGREEMENT WITH ATMOS ENERGY

During the City Council meeting tonight, Peggy Walker will present an agreement that has been reached with Atmos Energy regarding a requested rate increase of $11.6 million. The negotiations for this increase had been contentious at times due to the fact the cities of Lubbock and Amarillo have been paying a much lower rate for delivery from Atmos while the remainder of the cities receiving delivery were paying a higher rate even though Atmos admitted the cost to deliver was no different. After numerous meetings, the issue was finally taken before the Texas Railroad Commission which is the final stop for such negotiations. The rate increase will be absorbed by the cities of Lubbock and Amarillo and will be phased in over a one year period. The City of Big Spring will see a small increase in the base rate but will see reductions in other parts of the bill such as the commodity charge. The deal will also net the City $170,000 in revenue for the life of the contract.

MCEWEN FAMILY WILL RECEIVE FRIENDS TONIGHT

The Receiving of Friends will be held tonight at Nalley Pickle and Welch Funeral Home for former Mayor Russ McEwen between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Funeral services will be held tomorrow at 10:00 am at Trinity Baptist Church.

STATE OF THE CITY LUNCHEON

The Chamber of Commerce will host its final State of the City Luncheon today at the Dora Roberts Community Center. The event will get under way at 11:30 am with the serving line opening. Presentations will begin at noon. The topic of the event will be an industrial update.

VISUAL AWARENESS SUPPORT GROUP

Doctor Barbara Matthews will be the guest speaker for the next meeting of the Visual Awareness Support Group here in Big Spring. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 pm at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church located at 1001 South Goliad Street. Doctor Matthews will speak about depression as it relates to vision loss. The VASG Group is designed to help individuals who have poor or deteriorating vision as well as their family, friends and caregivers. The meeting is open to the public. For more information call 432-263-2501 or email eyeassocone@crcom.net.

BOO-FET BY PIZZA INN

Pizza Inn is wanting to make sure all your little ghost and goblins have a fun Trick or Treating experience by offering a free child’s BOO-fet to children 10 and under, with the purchase of every adult BOO-fet. The BOO-fet will be open all day on Halloween. If you need additional information please call 432-263-1381. The Pizza Inn of Big Spring is located at 1702 Gregg Street here in Big Spring.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

FORMER PECOS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER ARRESTED

Former Pecos High School teacher John Quisenberry has been arrested. His Bond Hearing will be held today. Quisenberry resigned from the School District after child pornography was found on a computer he owned. Agents involved in the case say he did admit to sharing child pornography and sexually explicit photos of 12 to 14 year-old girls as was found on his computer. The case is now in the Midland Federal Court System. He is facing from 5 to 20 years in prison if convicted.

MEDICAL CENTER HOSPITAL SIXTH FLOOR

Medical Center Hospital is giving their side of the story regarding the closing of Regency Hospital. MCH was and still is negotiating with the organization but the sticking point was MCH wanted a short term lease and Regency was requesting a long term commitment. MCH cited the changing environment as the reasoning for wanting the short term lease. Regency Hospital is a long term care facility that rents the Sixth Floor of MCH. According to Tony Ruiz MCH Chief Operating Officer, MCH is now exploring launching their own long term care facility or leasing out the space to another specialty hospital. MCH has offered to hire Regency Employees.

GOLDSMITH MAN AWARDED $11 MILLION

According to The Odessa American, a Goldsmith man was awarded $11 million by an Ector County jury yesterday. The accident occurred in September of 2009 when a pipe casing fell from an oilfield elevator and struck Elizar Trevino Junior causing nerve damage to his shoulder and neck. Attorneys for Trevino claimed the elevator was defective. Defense attorneys claimed it was not latched properly by oilfield workers and that Trevino should not have been under the elevator in the first place. The jury found the elevator was defective but any negligence by the company did not directly cause the accident. A final judgment has not been entered in the case.

TROOPER AWARDED THE PURPLE HEART

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper was awarded the Purple Heart recently. Max Honesto was given the award Friday for a gunshot wound he received during a traffic stop in May of 2011. Honesto had stopped Marcus Lott Jr. When Honesto approached Lotts vehicle, Lott shot and wounded Honesto. Honesto returned fire . Lott was eventually captured and was convicted in the incident. He was sentenced to 99 years in State jail.

In Sports

BIG SPRING LADY STEERS IN MONAHANS TONIGHT

The Big Spring Lady Steers will be in action tonight, October 23, traveling to Monahans for their final district meeting of the season. With a win, the Lady Steers would lock up the number two seat in District 4-3A. The Lady Steers beat the Lady Loboes at Steer Gym earlier this season. The Lady Steers have already insured themselves a spot in the playoffs. If they win tonight, they will most likely play Fabens in the first round of the 3A State Playoffs.

BIG SPRING CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS IN SNYDER TODAY

The Big Spring cross country teams will be in action today in Snyder for the district meet. The meet was originally scheduled for yesterday but the storms that passed through the area postponed the event.

Friday, October 19, 2012

PUBLIC FORUM

There will be a public forum held at the Hall Center for the Arts on the Howard College Campus on Tuesday, October 23rd, at 7:00 pm. The forum will feature Carlton Schwab, President and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Council. Schwab will address the importance and future of economic development in our State. He has been in charge of the TEDC since February of 1999 and, during that time, he has developed the organization into a recognized leader in the professional development of its members and a powerful voice for economic development policy in the State of Texas.

FLU SHOTS AT VA

The West Texas VA Health Care System is providing their seasonal flu shot. The VA is continuing its emphasis on the prevention of disease by encouraging all veterans to be vaccinated annually. Veterans currently enrolled in VA health care will be asked to show their VA identification cards in order to receive their shot. Flu shots will be administered in the outpatient clinic at the George H. O’Brien Junior VA Medical Center located at 300 Veterans Boulevard in Big Spring. The shots will be administered from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday. Veterans may also ask to receive their flu shot from their primary care physician during scheduled appointments.

PI TAKES ON HAILY DUNN CASE

A private investigator has taken on the Hailey Dunn case. Mac Sanford out of Houston is working the case pro-bono. He met with Dunn’s mother, Billie, yesterday. Dunn has moved away from the area since the disappearance. Hailey went missing in December of 2010. There has not been a trace of her found since that time despite continuous searches. Shawn Adkins, the boyfriend of Billie Dunn, is still the only named suspect in the case. 

MAKE A DIFFERENCE EVENT THIS WEEKEND

Make a Difference is coming up this weekend. The statewide event is sponsored by Keep Texas Beautiful. Here in Big Spring, Keep Big Spring Beautiful members will be working on 15th Street from Goliad to Birdwell Lane cleaning that area and contacting residents and giving suggestions on how to upgrade their lots and make them more beautiful. If you need more information or want to help out this Saturday, contact Pat Simmons at 263-4607.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

REGENCY HOSPITAL ANNOUNCES CLOSING

Regency Hospital out of Odessa is closing its doors amidst some controversy. The specialty hospital, who cares for acute long term patients, leases the sixth floor of the Medical Center Hospital. The hospital has sent a letter to all its employees stating “It is with great sadness that we announce that Medical Center Hospital has other needs for the space we currently utilize….” However, MCH’s Chief Executive Officer, William Webster, stated MCH is still open to negotiation and no decision has been made. MCH is now working with Regency employees to explore job placement opportunities as they have plenty of openings. Regency has promised its employees that they will have a job with them until December 15 of this year.

FORM CITY OF BALMORHEA EMPLOYEE DENIES ANY WRONGDOING

Former City Secretary for Balmorhea, Able Baeza, is denying any wrongdoing for his part in costing the city $21,000. Baeza issued two checks for $10,500 each to the City’s auditor when the City did not have the money in their account to cover the checks, a felony offense. Baeza said he knew the City did not have the money in the account but it was the City’s responsibility to transfer over the funds to cover the checks. He also wrote a check for $3,700 to himself for comp time. A check he was to wait two weeks to cash, according to the City’s employee handbook. This action caused nine vendors’ checks and one City employee’s paycheck to bounce. Balmorhea Mayor, John Davis, stated checks for those amounts would need approval at a board meeting and Baeza did not notify him of the situation or the fees being charged to the City. Balmorhea City Officials are looking into filing a lawsuit against the former secretary. Baeza is still claiming he did nothing wrong.

TEN YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON

Trevin Rounds, 27-years old, has been sentenced to ten years in federal prison on child pornography and enticement charges. Rounds also received 15 years of supervised release after completing his prison term. Rounds was caught with a 14 year-old girl who had been forced into prostitution by 25 year-old Brian Phea of Amarillo. Phea received a 25 year prison sentence for his actions. Phea had lured the 14 year-old to his mother’s home in Amarillo, had sex with her and then drove her to an Odessa hotel. Phea then advertised the girl online as willing to provide sex for money.

FORMER ODESSA HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER SUSPECTED OF DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

More on the story of former West Texas teacher John Quisenberry who has been charged with distribution of child pornography. He was the sponsor of the Pecos Drill Team while employed there. Quisenberry had been under investigation for over a year by the FBI when they searched his classroom last year. An undercover agent had downloaded child pornography from the computer Quisenberry used in his classroom. The former teacher, who also taught at Odessa High School, has not been arrested or indicted and is now living in Central Texas. If convicted, he is facing a 5 to 25 prison term in a federal prison.

In State News

HASAN TO BE CLEAN SHAVEN

 An Army appeals court has ruled that the Fort Hood shooting suspect can have his facial hair forcibly shaved off before his murder trial. The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals' opinion issued Thursday upheld the military trial judge's decision to order Maj. Nidal Hasan to appear in court clean shaven or be forcibly shaved. It also ruled that Col. Gregory Gross, the judge, properly found that the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act doesn't give Hasan the right to have a beard while in uniform at trial.  Hasan has said the beard is an expression of his Muslim faith. His attorneys say they will appeal the ruling. Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 attack on the Texas Army post that killed 13.

REQUEST FOR FUNDS TO REPAIR THE ALAMO

The new agency over the Alamo says the Texas shrine needs $1 million in State funds for an "extensive list" of repairs that have been put off too long.  Larry Laine, Deputy Commissioner of the State's General Land Office, told lawmakers Thursday that the agency will ask for the one-time appropriation when the Legislature reconvenes in January. Lawmakers put the General Land Office in charge of the Alamo last year after accusations of mismanagement were levied at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The nonprofit has been stewards of the landmark for more than a century. Fundraising for Alamo projects was among the biggest challenges facing the Daughters in recent years. The group remains the Alamo's primary caretaker but now answers to stricter State oversight.

PRICE OF GASOLINE FALLS

The average price of gasoline in Texas has fallen four cents to $3.51. The weekly AAA Texas survey released Thursday shows that drivers in El Paso and Amarillo are paying the highest prices for regular unleaded at an average of $3.55. The least expensive gas is in San Antonio at $3.46. Drivers in Texas are paying 23 cents less than the national average of $3.74.

Monday, October 15, 2012

RECOVERY OF STOLEN MATERIALS AND AN ARREST

On Friday, October 12th, the Howard County Sheriff’s Office discovered several stolen items out of Ector County at 101 Broken Bow Road. They had been called to the location due to reports of a fire. Upon further investigation, Deputies discovered a quantity of methamphetamines. When Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on the scene, they found a large fire burning in a pit and notified the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department who extinguished the fire when they arrived on the scene. It was then Deputies discovered two large spools of copper wire. A search warrant was executed which is when Deputies discovered a 20’ tandem axle trailer, oil field valves and equipment, electrical parts and several spools of copper and aluminum wire reported stolen out of Ector County. Later the methamphetamine and a rifle were discovered. The total value of the items recovered was estimated at over $40,000. Robert Allen Pasquale was arrested at the scene and charged with possession of a controlled substance and theft. The investigation continues and more arrests in this case are expected.

FUEL TRUCK BURNS

The Howard County Volunteer Fire Department was called out early this morning to the intersection of County Road 9 and County Road 846 to reports of a fuel truck being on fire. The call came in at approximately 5:40 am this morning.  According to Howard County Fire Chief, Tommy Sullivan; the truck was carrying approximately 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel when the driver noticed the fire. He abandoned the vehicle and called for the fire department. The fire department was able to extinguish the flames. At 10:00 am fire fighters were still on the scene making sure the tanker stayed cool while they waited on another truck to come and off load the remaining 2,000 gallons of fuel from the truck. The fire began near the rear of the vehicle but the exact caused is not known at this time. No one was injured in the fire.

BUSINESS I-20 THROUGH STANTON SHUT DOWN

A strange incident shut down Business I-20 through Stanton yesterday evening. Apparently a woman climbed a cell phone tower armed with a handgun. Martin County Sheriff’s Department responded to the tower and began a negotiation with the suicidal woman. This was not the first time the Sheriff’s Department has dealt with the woman. She had initiated an earlier incident but she had a phone with her so communication was possible. This time the woman did not have a phone and a majority of the five-hour negotiation was spent trying to establish a safe form of communication which was a bullhorn. The woman eventually came down. No one was injured in the incident. The woman has been taken into custody and will go through a medical examination. Her name is not being released.

ROBBERY IN BIG SPRING

Big Spring Police are still searching for a suspect in the robbery of a local fast food restaurant. The suspect allegedly entered the Chicken Express through an open door the night of October 1st, assaulted an employee counting the receipts for the day and made off with an unknown amount of cash. The suspect is described as a black male, 5’10” tall wearing all black clothing with a bandana over his face. The employee chased the suspect from the restaurant. The restaurant was closed at the time of the robbery and employees were cleaning when the robbery occurred. Big Spring Police interviewed each of the employees but do not suspect any of them were involved in the robbery in any way. If you have any information, please contact the Big Spring Police Department at 264-2550 or Crimestoppers at 264-TIPS.

BIG SPRING ISD NEEDS TEACHERS

The Big Spring ISD is in search of teachers. The Board of Trustees approved the school district asking for a waiver from the Texas Education Agency for the student to teacher ratio for elementary classes. The district has added 121 elementary students since the end of classes last school year and cannot meet the requirement in each class. The district is actively searching for more teachers but may have to wait until December when the new batch of graduates will be certified. The required ratio is 22 students for every teacher. Schools are required to apply for the waiver for elementary level classes but for grades 5 through 12, no waiver is required. The problem has been statewide since January of 2012. Requests have tripled throughout the state, affecting nearly one-third of elementary school classrooms since the end of the past school year.

FLU SHOT CLINICS

The Department of Health Services will be holding Flu Shot Clinics at the following locations on the following dates:

  • Borden County School:
         October 23, 8:00 am to noon

  • Howard College Student Union Building:
         October 24, 1:00 to 5:00 pm

  • Bronte Schools:
         October 25, 10:00 am to noon

  • Robert Lee Courthouse:
        October 25, 1:00 to 3:00 pm

  • Sterling County Community Center:
        November 7, 1:00 to 7:00 pm

All shots are by donation. Everyone age 6 months and older can get one. For more information please call Kimberly at 432-263-9775.

MUSTANG DRAW WOODCARVERS CLUB

The Mustang Draw Woodcarvers Club will be holding their annual show this week at the Dora Roberts Community Center. Each day this week from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, the Woodcarvers Club will be offering different levels and types of woodcarving classes. Tools will be provided to use in the classes. On Friday, the club will display, and have for sale, many of their carvings and will have competitions. On Saturday, the club will have more competitions and will also draw for the decorated Christmas tree and Noah’s Ark giveaway. Tickets are available for $1 each from members of the Woodcarving Club. The Christmas tree includes over 10  hand carved ornaments. The Noahs Ark includes hand carved animals carved by members of the Mustang Draw Woodcarvers Club.

Area News

AT LEAST A DECADE OF GROWTH EXPECTED FOR MIDLAND

According to an article in the Midland Reporter Telegram, oil executives are backing the $163 million bond issue for the Midland ISD. Mitch Mamoulides, Permian Basin Area Manager for Chevron, and Scott Sheffield, Pioneer Resources Chairman and Ceo, believe the boom will continue to make Midland grow for at least the next decade pushing the population to 150,000 to 200,000 people. Mamouilides cited this boom as technology based and not price based. Presently the Basin accounts for 30% of the nation’s oil production and is the number one producing region. Sheffield said he expects the drilling in the Basin’s Wolfcamp Shale to continue for the next 50 to 100 years. The shale is three to five times larger than the Eagle Ford and Bakken Shales and will support Midland’s tax base for a long time. Chevron is planning a $100 million corporate campus near the Sharbauer Sports Complex and Pioneer has announced its intention to build a $50 million office building near Claydesta Plaza. Several other companies have committed to large construction projects.

In State News

COURT REFUSES TO COMPLY WITH PRISONER’S REQUEST FOR SPEEDY EXECUTION

The Texas prisoner who threatened a senator from death row using a smuggled cell phone is renewing his push to drop his appeals and be executed. Richard Tabler says in a letter to the Associated Press, that he is upset that his efforts to die have been blocked in the courts. The convicted killer is also unhappy with 24-hour video monitoring and a ban on nearly all his visitors. Tabler's cell phone calls in 2008 prompted an unprecedented lockdown of the Texas prison system and a contraband sweep. Tabler calls his phone use "idiotic" and blames it for the court's refusal to comply with his request for a speedy execution. He says "It's no longer about justice." But even Tabler's lawyers have refused to support his request and have challenged his competency.

NINE HUMAN ANKLES FOUND

Officials say they may never know the origin of body parts found in a south Texas landfill two weeks ago. Port Arthur Landfill Manager, Micheal Tentrup, says nine human ankles were found in biohazard bags September 28. Only one biomedical company contracts with the landfill. But Biomedical Waste Solutions President, Wes Sonnier, says his company isn't to blame. He says Biomedical Waste is only licensed to handle medical supplies. The Beaumont enterprise reports that the company is not licensed to handle body parts. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says body parts should be incinerated, buried or treated with chemicals or steam, or both, and then dropped off at a sanitary landfill. Port Arthur Police initially said the parts were believed to be from medical practices such as amputations.

KEEPING TEXAS COMPETITIVE 2013

A Texas political think-tank is planning to outline a legislative agenda this week to keep the State competitive.  The Texas Public Policy Foundation says if legislators follow the agenda, they will keep the Lone Star State at the forefront of job creation and economic growth.  "Keeping Texas Competitive 2013" is based on the foundation's years of research on key issues.  The group will outline the recommendations in Austin on Wednesday.

Friday, October 12, 2012

ANNUAL AG APPRECIATION

The 21st Annual Ag Appreciation was a success at the Dora Roberts Community Center, hosted by the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce.  Opening comments at the luncheon came from Jan Foresyth.   Justin Myers introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Joe Outlaw from the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University.   Dr. Outlaw spoke of the upcoming Farm Bill facing our legislature, and he predicts that there will be more cuts to agriculture after the upcoming election.  Dr. Outlaw indicated that he is fond of telling our legislature that, “If you mess with farmers, you mess with Rural America.”

Two annual awards were presented at the luncheon: Ag Producer of the Year and Ag Business of the Year.

Loyd Underwood, who grew up in Luther and has farmed there for more than 50 years, was awarded the Ag Producer of the Year.  He continues farming to this day. Mr. Underwood had this to say upon receiving the award: “Well I’m just a small farmer; I really didn’t think I deserved it”. Loyd is married to Pat Underwood. They have 4 children and 10 grandchildren.

Ag Business of the Year went to Triple Ag whose owner is Bo Spradling.  Mr. Spradling worked extensively with John Deere in Spur, TX;  Stanton;  and Big Spring before opening his own business here in 2000 under the name Triple Ag.   Upon receiving the Award for Ag Business 2012,  Mr. Spradling had this to say: “I just appreciate it very much...it’s an honor.” Bo is married to Melody Spradling, and they have 3 daughters.

Also in attendance at Ag Appreciation Day was Texas State Senator, Kel Seliger.

BIG SPRING MAN ARRESTED FOR IMPERSONATING A POLICE OFFICER

A Big Spring man was arrested for Impersonating a Police Officer. Robert Milgrim was at a local bar last night, acting erratically. Workers at the bar told Milgrim to calm down. When he did not, they asked him to leave. At that point Milgrim pulled out a badge and claimed he was a lawman. Bar employees called the Howard County Sheriff’s Office. When deputies arrived they found out Milgrim was actually not a Law Enforcement Officer. Milgrim, who is originally from Missouri, was taken into custody.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

OIL FIELD TRAFFIC WEARING ON COUNTY ROADS

Ector County is dealing with damage to county roads due to oil field traffic just as Howard County has. Ector County has 300 miles of county roads to take care of and drilling is happening throughout the County. According to Ector County Judge Susan Redford, they have increased their road maintenance fund by $600,000 this year. It will not be enough to fix the problem according to Redford but it will be a gradual process over the next few years. As Howard County has, Ector County is exploring getting help from the oil companies for the repairs. Adding to the problem is the employee shortage in the Street and Highway Department which is slowing the repair process even more.

ODESSA MAN PLEADS GUILT TO DISTRIBUTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

An Odessa man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for Distributing Child Pornography. Ramon Hilario, 59 years-old, plead Guilty to the charge. He also received 15 years of supervised release. With the Guilty Plea, Hilario admitted that, on February 17th of this year, a detective with the New Zealand Police (who was acting in an undercover capacity) accessed and downloaded approximately 30 child pornography images Hilario made available. Hilario further admitted there were more than 600 images of child pornography: Some involved images of sadistic or masochistic nature. The investigation into the case was conducted by the F.B.I. and the New Zealand Police.

ODESSA WOMAN ARRESTED FOR TAMPERING WITH PHYSICAL EVIDENCE

An Odessa woman has been arrested in relation to a Capital Murder. Tisha Burwell was taken into custody yesterday afternoon at Nurses Unlimited. Ector County Sheriffs Office and U.S. Marshalls served her with a warrant for Tampering with Physical Evidence for the murder of Dick and Peggy Glover. James Burwell has been charged with the murders of the Glovers.

DRUGS AND GUN FOUND DURING SEARCH OF TOUR BUS

Another celebrity has been caught with drugs at a West Texas Border Checkpoint. Nelly’s tour bus was stopped near Sierra Blanca, Texas. After an initial search, authorities found small amounts of marijuana, heroin and a gun. A second search turned up ten pounds of marijuana in a duffel bag. An occupant of the bus was arrested after admitting the drugs and the gun were theirs. Nelly and five others on the bus were released.

ACCIDENT LEAVES ONE DEAD AND THREE OTHERS INJURED

One person was killed in an overnight accident in Odessa. Apparently a Honda was headed west on 31st Street. The driver failed to stop at a stop sign and was hit by a B-M-W. The driver of the Honda was pronounced dead at the scene and three others were taken to Medical Center Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. An investigation is still ongoing.

REGISTERED NURSING PROGRAM FACILITY

The City of Andrews has approved a $770,000 bid for the expansion of the Business and Technology Center which will be used to house the new Registered Nursing Program through Odessa College. About 3500 sq ft will be added.  It should be completed by August of 2013.

FIVE INDUCTED INTO TEXAS WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME

Gov. Rick Perry and First Lady Anita Perry today inducted five outstanding Texans into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, which celebrates women’s accomplishments and significant contributions in business, education, philanthropy, and military and public service.

“Perhaps my favorite thing about this Hall of Fame is that it exists right here at Texas Woman’s University,” First Lady Anita Perry said. “The women here today are being honored for what they’ve accomplished so far in their careers, but should also be lauded for what they mean to Texas and to the generations of women who will follow in their footsteps.”

Inductees to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame are native or current Texas residents whose achievements have significant ties to the State. The women were nominated by their peers and selected by an independent panel of judges.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

BIG SPRING ISD BOARD MEETING TONIGHT, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11

The Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees will meet tonight at 5:15 pm in the High School Board Room. One item on the agenda will be a request for a waiver for the District regarding teacher to student ratio. The District has had an increase in enrollment since last year and is presently unable to meet the State mandated ratios. The District is looking for new teachers but competition is stiff. The District is hoping the waiver will give them a chance to hold out until December when the new wave of graduates will be available for hire. The District has also had to transfer several teachers from Moss Elementary to Marcy Elementary due to an increase in enrollment at Marcy. Since last year, 121 new elementary students have been added. The total count is now over 2100. Other items on the agenda are consideration of approval of District and Campus School Improvement Plans, employment recommendations and a donation from Big Spring Ford. The meeting will begin at 5:15 pm in the High School Board Room.

INCIDENT AT FLIGHT LINE PRISON

We have received word back from a spokesperson for Geo Group about yesterday’s incident at the Flight Line Prison. The actions of the guards and local law enforcement did thwart the efforts of the individual to toss contraband into the prisoner area. However they are unable to provide any further information at this time.

CHAMBER BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING NOON ON OCTOBER 17

The Chamber Board of Directors will hold their monthly meeting October 17th in the Chamber Board Room at noon. Please RSVP to the Chamber Office at 263-7641 if you plan on attending the meeting.

BIG SPRING ART ASSOCIATION MEETING 7:00 PM OCTOBER 16

The Big Spring Art Association will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 16th at 7:00 pm in the Community Room at the Howard County Library. The Guest Demonstrator will be Jay Neal from Sweetwater. Mrs. Neal specializes in water colors but also has a great interest in mixed media. She has won several awards in area shows and has held a local show with two other artists last spring. She will demonstrate the use of cold wax and oils on wood at the meeting. Refreshments will be provided by Art Association members. The meeting is open to the public.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

SECTION EIGHT VOUCHER PROGRAM

The housing crisis is hitting the Permian Basin hard and now federal agencies designed to help are having to turn people away. The Section Eight Voucher Program run by the Housing Authority of the City of Odessa has a full waiting list and can no longer take any new families meaning they will have to find other ways to keep a roof over their heads. The waiting list closed in April. Presently more than 80 people are on the list and the Housing Authority is helping more than 800 families. Bernadine Spears of the Housing Authority says the government is working off old information and she is saving articles to update the government and ask for more subsidized funding for the program.

MIDLAND COUNTY EFFORTS TO CONTROL HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS

Midland County is looking for ways to save money on health insurance costs by passing it on to employees. Studies show 80% of Texas Medical Claims stem from tobacco use and obesity. Those employees who use tobacco will be charged a premium. According to Judge Mike Bradford the fee will be about $28 per month but it could rise in the future. Bradford went on to say since it is taxpayer money being used to pay the insurance premiums the County needs to take a more proactive approach to protect the taxpayer. County Tax Assessor-Collector Kathy Reeves feels the approach will make the County less appealing to potential employees. Both agree though the move is a good one to try to contain costs for the County by investing in the front end where costs will be lower. The Judge added the County will do that by offering programs to help employees quit unhealthy habits.

FBI AND HOMELAND SECURITY RAID ODESSA BUSINESS

FBI and Homeland Security Agents raided an Odessa business yesterday afternoon. Divine Fragrance was invaded by agents from both agencies but they would not reveal the reason for being there. Calls to I.C.E. Officials were not returned. Neighboring businesses said the business is rarely open to the public and they only see the owner of the business on occasion.

In State News

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS’ ADMISSION POLICIES CHALLENGED

The Supreme Court is questioning the University of Texas' use of race in college admissions in a case that could lead to new limits on affirmative action. The Justices heard arguments Wednesday in a challenge to the program from a white Texan who claims she was discriminated against when the University did not offer her a spot in 2008. The Court's conservatives cast doubt on the program that uses race as one among many factors in admitting about a quarter of the University's incoming freshmen. Justice Anthony Kennedy at one point said Texas was arguing that race counts "above all." Kennedy's vote could be critical to the outcome. Abigail Fisher, 22 years-old, was among the hundreds of spectators at the arguments. Justice Elena Kagan is not taking part. She worked on the case at the Justice Department.

HASAN TRIAL DELAYED

A hearing today before the Army Court of Criminal Appeals will focus on the Fort Hood shooting suspect's beard.  Major Nidal Hasan has refused to shave the beard he grew after the shootings that killed 13 soldiers and wounded more than 30 nearly three years ago at the Army Base.  The U.S.-born Pyschiatrist told a Military Judge in August that he believes his Muslim faith requires him to wear a beard.  The Army Criminal Court of Appeals is delaying the start of Hasan's trial on murder charges while it determines whether his beard can be forcibly shaved during the trial.  Army regulations ban beards on soldiers in uniform.

Monday, October 8, 2012

COMMISSIONERS COURT

The Howard County Commissioners Court will meet today in the Third Floor Courtroom of The Howard County Courthouse. On the agenda will be a discussion of a proposed Road Use Agreement presented by Josh Hamby. The agreement would allow the County to charge oil companies each time they drill a well within Howard County. The Agreement is similar to an Agreement used by Bea County to offset the cost of road repairs. At present the County is looking at a conservative figure of $22 million to repair county roads. The County will spend, on average, $500,000 just to maintain the roads and keep them in the condition they are in. The funds generated by the agreement would go directly to the County Road and Bridge Department for road repairs. Also on the agenda will be the annual report by the Dispute Resolution Department; presentation of invoices, purchase requests and budget amendments by Jackie Olson; personnel considerations and payroll report by Teresa Thomas; presentation of the monthly report and the end of year financial report by Donna Wright; and Brian Klinksiek will present pipeline crossings and road maintenance. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am.

FORSAN BOARD OF TRUSTEES

The Forsan Board Of Trustees will meet tonight in the Board Room at 7:00 pm. On the agenda will be discussion on proceeding forward with a bond issue for a building project. The School District has had a group audit their facilities to suggest necessary repairs and renovations to the district facilities and the District is wanting to build a new Elbow Elementary to replace the aging structure that presently exists and move it onto the campus with the Junior Senior High School for more efficient use of school personnel. In addition the District will discuss hiring an architectural firm to do preliminary work for the building project. In addition there will be the Principal’s report, Superintendent’s report, discussion and approval of highly qualified teachers and numerous policy updates. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm tonight in the High School Board Room.

BIG SPRING WOMAN ARRESTED LAST WEEK ON MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES

A Big Spring woman was arrested late last week on Manslaughter charges from an auto accident she was involved in back in July of 2009. Crystal Calderon was intoxicated when involved in an accident in Martin County that killed Rosie Hernandez who was a passenger. Calderon was arrested by a Department of Public Safety Trooper on a warrant and booked into the Howard County Detention Center. Calderon was later released on $75,000 bond. Calderon is facing 2 to 10 years in prison on the charge.

TIME RUNNING OUT TO REGISTER TO VOTE

Time is running out if you are not registered to vote. The upcoming General Election is on November 6th with early voting to begin on October 22nd. To register you need to go to the Election Administrator’s Office on the Third Floor of the Howard County Courthouse. You will need a valid Texas Drivers License or ID to register. If you need a mail in ballot, you still have time to request that item by contacting the Election Administrators Office at 264-2273. On the ballot, here locally, is a vote on changing the Economic Development Corporation from a Type A Sales and Use Tax Organization to a Type B Sales and Use Tax Organization. There is one contested race here locally for County Commissioner Precinct One where Incumbent Emma Brown will run against republican Challenger Oscar Garcia. Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker is running uncontested for that office, District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson and County Attorney Josh Hamby are also running uncontested as is Diane Carter for the County Tax Assessor Office. National Elections include the Presidential Election with Republican challenger Mitt Romney facing incumbent Barack Obama, U.S. Senator Seat will pit Republican Ted Cruz against Democratic Candidate Paul Sadler. Randy Neugebauer will run unopposed for the 19th District U.S. Congressional Seat. In State races Kel Seliger will run unopposed for the 31st District State Senate Seat. In addition to two Railroad Commissioner Seats, Republican Christi Craddick, Democrat Dale Henry, Libertarian Candidate Vik Wall and Green Party Candidate Chris Kennedy will vie for one seat; Republican Barry Smitherman will face Libertarian Party Candidate Jaime Perez and Green Party Candidate Josh Wendel. Also on the ballot are three Supreme Court Justice Seats, the Presiding Judge for Court of Criminal Appeals, and two Court of criminal appeals seats. Again, early voting begins on October 22nd with Election Day November 6th.

TEXAS SHUNS REGISTRY

Texas is citing cost concerns as the reason it has joined four other states in shunning a National Sex Offender Registry created in 2006. The Houston Chronicle reported Saturday that Texas Officials say it would take an estimated $38 million to modify the State's existing registry program. Texas is therefore willing to risk losing about $1.4 million in grant money to help local agencies enforce the law. Nearly three dozen states have failed to meet all conditions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act because of concerns about how it works and how much it costs. Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, California and Nebraska have opted out of the National Registry. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says that as of August, about 70,000 sex offenders were registered statewide.

Friday, October 5, 2012

LOCAL MAN SENTENCED SIX YEARS IN PRISON ON THE CHARGE OF ONLINE SOLICITATION OF A MINOR

Kyle Guthrie has received six years in prison on the charge of online solicitation of a minor. As expected, Guthrie entered a Guilty Plea to the charge against him and asked for Community Supervision. The Court worked straight through from 8:00 am this morning to reach a verdict in the Bench Trial. 118th Judge Tim Yeats delivered the sentence after both sides questioned witnesses and presented evidence. The charge stems from contact Guthrie had with a 16 year-old female via electronic communication. Howard County Sheriff’s Department Deputies served a Search Warrant at Guthrie’s home the night of the 7th of February and collected numerous electronic devices but did not find any evidence related to the case. However, they did search the phone of the 16 year-old female when she and her parents came in and told the police of the exchanges. The two had exchanged over 2,000 text messages in a two-week period. During a taped interview with Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker the night he was arrested, Guthrie did admit to the texting and discussing with the 16 year-old victim plans of the two having a sexual encounter. The two did not follow through on the plan. There is no evidence of any physical contact between Guthrie and the victim.

HERITAGE MUSEUM BOOK SIGNING

The Heritage Museum will be hosting a Book Signing this Saturday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm for Deede Cauley. Mrs. Cauley’s book is titled “Reading and Spelling Pure and Simple”.  It is a book on phonics-base lessons for elementary, teen and adult students. The book is being used by classroom teachers, churches and private tutors with great success. Mrs. Cauley has a background as a public school teacher and the book grew from an experience she had, having a short time to teach four students how to read. When she realized the students would have a better shot with a different process, she began rewriting her lesson plans to accommodate them and the book was born from those lessons. The Heritage Museum also has a Classic Halloween Costume Display for everyone to come in and view. The costumes go back as far as the 50’s and bring us up into the 70’s showing a variety of characters and fabrics. The display will give parents a chance to show their kids the costumes that were big in the days when they would go out Trick or Treating. The display will be available up until the end of October and will feature a Trunk or Treat on Halloween Night from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. The Heritage Museum is located at 510 Scurry Street here in Big Spring.

SAINT MARY THE VIRGIN EPISCOPAL CHURCH BOOK SALE

The Episcopal Church Women of Saint Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church is holding a book sale this Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Parish Hall of the Church located at 1001 Goliad Street.

“They came from an extensive library of Charlene Birdwell. The books were donated to the Church when she passed away. Her daughter, Cynthia, very graciously donated hundreds and hundreds of books to the church.” Said Patti Nabors who is secretary of the ECW and Senior Warden of the Vestry at the Church. The books range in topics from cookbooks to reference and art to novels and mysteries. The funds raised will be used to further Church Projects sponsored by the ECW Group including donating to local organizations.

“Part of the funds will be used to benefit groups in the community. We have donated to the Northside Community Center. We support Isaiah as heavily as we can. Promise Camp and Happy Camp are two Episcopal Projects we support.” Said Linda Hill, President of the ECW and Organist at the Church. Promise Camp is a project for children of prisoners. Happy Camp sends children to Camp Quarterman near Amarillo. The group will be having a busy month. In addition to the book sale, another event is coming up sponsored by the ECW according to Nabors: “On October 20th, we are going to have our Courtyard Sale and that will be from 8:00 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon. At that we will have anything, clothing, furniture, household items, kitchen items, knick knacks; just a huge courtyard sale.”

If you need more information about these upcoming events you can contact the
                        
Church at 432-267-8201

BOND ISSUES ON THE BALLOTS IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION

Both the Midland ISD and the Ector County ISD will have Bond Issues on their ballots in the upcoming election. Both are coming at a time when the State Comptroller is asking Local Governments to be more transparent when it comes to local debt. Some, who are against the bond issues, are wanting the same. Local Contractor Jason Moore is one who is not in favor of the bond issue, citing the fact both school districts are already in debt and adding to it will not make the situation any better. Moore cites the fact the schools have announced the Bonds at $129 million for Ector County and $163 million for Midland County but the actual cost will be well above those figures when you add in the interest paid over the 30 year life of the bond: $209 million for Ector County and $263 million for Midland County. Supporters of the bond issues cite the fact the School District has dropped their tax rate by nearly 35 cents per $100 valuation in the past 7 years and now is the time to build with the booming economy. MISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren says the reality of it all is that this is the only way under State Law that the Districts can raise the funds for these large building projects. The Voters will decide on November 6th when they go to the polls.

ANIMAL CRUELTY AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON CHARGES

Animal Cruelty and Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges have been filed against a Midland man for shooting and killing his neighbor’s dog. Stanley Atripp shot Marv Easterly’s dog, Ruger, when the dog came into his yard. A neighbor of Easterly was trying to collect Ruger and another dog from Atripp’s yard. The dogs had run away from their owners when Atripp went into his house and retrieved his shotgun, threatened the person, then shot and killed the 3 year-old dog. According to Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter, the dogs were in Atripp’s yard but they were not posing a threat to Atripp and the shooting was not justified. Sheriff’s Deputies plan on arresting Atripp on the charges.

EXPLOSION IN COLORADO CITY

An explosion at a soon to open restaurant in Colorado City has the owners back at square one. Remodeling of the building located in the 900 block of East Interstate 20 was moving along well according to Police Chief Roy Owens. Today a man was inside the building, working on the dishwasher when a gas leak developed. An ensuing spark ignited the gas and blew out all the windows and did major structural damage to the building. According to Owens the building will now have to be torn down. The restaurant was to open this Monday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

ELECTIONS

With the deadline to register to vote nearing, citizens need to be sure to get registered if they are not so they can vote in the upcoming Presidential Election. You have until 5:00 pm October 9th to register to be eligible to vote in the November 6th election. There is still time to apply for mail-in ballots.

Locally: Incumbent County Commissioner Precinct One, Emma Brown, is running against Republican challenger Oscar Garcia; Precinct Three County Commissioner, Jimmie Long, is running unopposed on the Republican ticket. Running unopposed locally for their respective offices are Sheriff, Stan Parker; District Attorney, Hardy Wilkerson; and County Attorney, Josh Hamby. All are on the republican ticket. Tax Assessor-Collector, Kathy Sayles, is retiring. Diane Carter will run unopposed for that position. Also on the ballot is the vote on changing the Economic Development Corporation from a Type A organization to a Type B organization.

Besides the Presidential Election with Mitt Romney running against Barack Obama: There is the Senatorial Election involving Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler; Railroad Commissioner, Christi Craddick, against Dale Henry. Those are the Republican and Democratic candidates respectively. Randy Neugerbauer will run unopposed for the 19th District Congressional Seat and Kel Seliger will run unopposed for the 31st District State Senators Seat.

Other races we will be voting on: State Supreme Court Justice Places 2,4 and 6; Presiding Judge Court of Criminal Appeals and Judge for Court of Criminal Appeals places 7 and 8. Early voting begins on October 22nd.

AG APPRECIATION DAY

Area farmers and producers will be Guests of Honor at the 21st Annual Ag Appreciation Day on Thursday, October 11, at the Dora Roberts Community Center. The day will begin with a breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at the Dora Roberts Community Center provided by Franklin & Son Tire. Tours of area farms will begin at 8:00, Head back to the center for lunch provided by the 4-H Adult Leaders and featured guest speaker, Joe Outlaw.

Dr. Joe Outlaw, a Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University, was originally from Devine, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science, Masters of Science and PHD from Texas A&M University in Agricultural Economics. He frequently interacts with members of Congress and key agricultural committee staff in order to provide feedback on likely consequences in regards to policy changes. Dr. Outlaw has been involved in conducting research with renewable energy topics, alternative technologies, feed stocks, renewable fuels and co-products and has dealt with the issue of supply and demand relationships. Some of his work led to a book “Agriculture as a Producer and Consumer of Energy”. He has received awards in Excellence for Leading a Team and Supporting Efforts by the American Agricultural Economics Association, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, National Public Policy Education Committee, USDA-FSA and Vice Chancellor in the College of Agriculture and Life Science at Texas A&M University.

During the lunch, we will be presenting the Ag Producer of the Year Award and the Ag Business of the Year Award. Also during the luncheon, we will be paying a special tribute to Marion Newton for all he did, not only as an Ag Committee Member, but for the entire Howard County.

Tickets to the event are available at the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce; Crop Production Services with Ronnie Wood; Lone Star Bank with Bruce Griffith; South Plains Implement Co. with Nate Avey and State National Bank with Justin Myers.

All area producers and farmers can attend the luncheon for free. All others wanting to attend can purchase a ticket for $15 which will include the lunch, guest speaker and program.

Deadline to purchase tickets and reserve a spot is Tuesday, October 9, 3:00 pm.

For more information, call the
                Chamber Office at 432-263-7641

TRAFFIC ACCIDENT

An accident involving two 18-wheelers trapped one person in the wreckage near mile marker 147. The accident occurred around 3:30 am this morning. As of 5:45 this morning ,emergency crews had extracted the injured person from the wreckage and transported them to Midland Memorial Hospital. The accident has blocked the west bound lanes of I-20. Martin County Sheriff’s Department and DPS Troopers are diverting traffic onto the North Service Road.

DEEDE CAULEY BOOK SIGNING

The Heritage Museum will be hosting a Book Signing this Saturday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm for Deede Cauley. Mrs. Cauley’s book is titled “Reading and Spelling Pure and Simple”. It is a book on phonics-base lessons for elementary, teen and adult students. The book is being used by classroom teachers, churches and private tutors with great success. Mrs. Cauley has a background as a public school teacher and the book grew from an experience she had when having a short time to teach four students how to read. When she realized the students would have a better shot with a different process, she began rewriting her lesson plans to accommodate them and the book was born from those lessons. The Heritage Museum is located at 510 Scurry Street here in Big Spring.

2013 SLIM DOWN SHOWDOWN

H-E-B has extended its deadline for potential participants to apply to be a part of the 2013 Slim Down Showdown. The Showdown is a program offered by H-E-B to begin a journey toward a healthy body and new outlook on life. Twenty-five contestants will be chosen for the event and the winner of the contest will receive a $10,000 grand prize. There is also a $5,000 fan favorite prize. The program begins in January and lasts for 12 weeks. It begins with a 5  day wellness program with experts from H-E-B, Methodist Healthcare and Cooper Corporate Solutions. Participants then will receive weekly coaching and will share their journey through media interviews and blogging about their experiences.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MICHELLE WARNER’S MURDER

More details regarding the murder of a 31 year-old Houston woman whose body was found recently in Midland County. The estranged boyfriend of the Michelle Warner has confessed to the crime. He stated that he first drove the couple’s 3  year-old son to his parents’ home in Odessa before returning to Houston to retrieve the body of Warner. He placed the body in a plastic tub and put it into the backseat of his car before returning to Odessa. The body remained in the car for nearly two days while Castellano was at his parents’ home before he dumped it in a ditch off South County Road 1200. Before he confessed to the crime though, Castellano took the time to tape an interview for the Doctor Phil Show. He has been charged with murder.

Monday, October 1, 2012

RAIN

Heavy rains on Friday and Saturday dumped over eight inches of rain here at the KBST Studios with reports of more coming down in the KBST listening area. According to reports from the U.S. Geological Service, the O.H. Ivie Reservoir’s water surface has risen by approximately 15 feet with the recent rains. The E.V. Spence Reservoir’s water surface rose by approximately 4 feet. Lake J.B. Thomas rose by approximately 2 feet.

Howard County Road and Bridge has placed cones and barriers blocking areas of high water, so please find an alternative route if you see these barriers. If traveling, check the TXDOT website txdot.gov for road conditions and for closures.

Also the Road and Bridge Department will be working on 11th Place Extension today. Flag people will be out controlling traffic in that area throughout the day. Road and Bridge is also reporting a large hole has opened up on Moore Field Road. Orange cones have been placed around the hole to mark it.

Cones and barriers are still up blocking areas of high water. If you come upon any of these areas, please find an alternative route. The department will remove the cones and barriers as the water recedes.

DINE OUT DAYS

Dine Out Days continue this week. A portion of a restaurant’s proceeds is donated to the United Way as part of participating in Dine Out Days. This week’s dine out restaurant is Carlo’s restaurant.

Area News From Our Partners at CBS7

BODY FOUND

The body of a missing Houston woman was found late yesterday afternoon in Midland County. Michelle Warmer, 31 years old, had been missing since last week from her Houston apartment. Her estranged boyfriend, Mark Castellano, has confessed to the murder. Midland County Sheriff Department was notified by the Houston Police Department of the area the body was in. After a search involving a DPS helicopter, mounted patrols and officers on foot; a partial grave was found on private property in the 7000 block of South County Road 1200. The body was sent to Houston for autopsy. Warmers’s three year old son is safe in Houston.

IN STATE NEWS

FIREARMS RECOVERED

More guns connected to the failed operation, Fast and Furious, have been recovered.  Univision News reports 57 previously unidentified firearms linked to the operation have been recovered at sites associated with murders and kidnappings.  Univision got its hands on the list of Fast and Furious weapons and a list recording nearly 60,000 recovered firearms which were compiled by the Mexican Government.  Congress, in a report published in late July, said there were "at least 48 recoveries involving 122 weapons" in Mexico connected to the operation.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ran a series of sting operations between 2006 and 2011.  The project was intended to break the flow of firearms into Mexico from the U.S.  The goal of the operation was to allow gun purchases and track the weapons to Mexican Gun Cartel leaders.  Many of those guns got lost and have been found at crime scenes; including the scene of the shooting death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent.

DECAYING CRICKET CARCASSES

Several businesses in the Central Texas town of Waco are dealing with a smelly problem that won't go away: decaying cricket carcasses. A bank, a drugstore and other businesses have been inundated with the odorous onslaught of dead crickets that have been trapped inside walls and have collected on sidewalks.

Jani Rodriguez, the Branch Manager at Synergy Bank, tells the Waco Tribune-Herald Newspaper that scented products have been unable to get rid of the smell. Using air-scrubbing machines hasn't worked either.

Fred Huffman, an entomologist who runs a local pest control business, says the cricket problem has been worse this year because mild winter conditions resulted in the insects appearing earlier than normal. Health officials say the crickets don't pose any direct health risks.

TEACHER ARRESTED

Police say they have arrested a North Texas teacher after she admitted to authorities that she had been using methamphetamine in the mornings before class for about seven years. Vickie Bruce has been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance in a Drug-Free Zone. She is free on a $25,000 bond. According to an Arrest Affidavit, Bruce said she used meth "before going to work for the last seven years ‘off and on’ ". Dallas television station KDFW reports Bruce was placed on Administrative Leave pending the outcome of the investigation. She teaches at an elementary school in Springtown, located about 25 miles northwest of Fort Worth. Jail records did not show an attorney for Bruce.

IN SPORTS

BIG SPRING STEERS

The Big Spring Steers moved to 5-0 on the season with a 29-19 win over the Seminole Indians. In a game played in a heavy downpour throughout, the Steers used a potent ground attack to get the win. Tobyn Tannehill led the way with scoring runs of 83, 60 and 29 yards on the night. He added a scoring toss to Tyral Menefield too. Michael Oliva finished the night with over 150 yards rushing in another strong performance. The Steer Defense gave up the most points it had all year but came up big when it had to. The Steers have the week off before welcoming highly ranked Abilene Wylie to town to start District.

COAHOMA

Coahoma had to move their game to Forsan due to the rains. Ballinger did not let the late field change hinder them as they came away with a 21-0 win. The Bulldogs went into the game with several starters injured and were unable to muster much offense. They kept it close though trailing 7-0 at the half but Ballinger pulled away in the second half for the win. The Bulldogs are now 1-4 on the season and have this week off before starting District against Stanton October 12th. Homecoming festivities will be held at that game.

FORSAN

Forsan had to move their game with Crane to Saturday due to the rains flooding out roads between here and Crane. The Buffaloes were without Brendan Roman and going up against a very good crane team. The Golden Cranes took control early and ran away from the Buffaloes 47-7. The loss was Forsan’s first of the season: they are 4-1. The Buffs will be at home this week against Sundown before starting District next week against Haskell.

STANTON

Stanton had a wet but happy Homecoming with a 25-7 win over Seagraves. The Buffaloes crowned their Homecoming Queen prior to the game where Rachel Billett was crowned Queen. The Buffs then took the field and got back on the winning track.

AREA SCORES

Snyder 20 - SA Lake View 14
Greenwood 77 - Lamesa 34
Brownwood 28 - Sweetwater 13
Wylie 40 - Estacado 18
Ira 56 - Klondike 8
Loraine 45 - Hermleigh 0
Sterling City 32 - Paducah 27
Borden County 52 - Dawson 0

BIG SPRING LADY STEERS

The Big Spring Lady Steers took five games to do it but they were able to get the road win over Sweetwater to move to 2-1 in District and 22-11 overall. The Lady Steers took game one of the match 25-23 but fell in games two and three to the Lady Mustangs. It looked like Sweetwater was going to get the win when they took a 22-18 lead late in game four but the Lady Steers stormed back to take game four 25-23 before finishing off the Lady Mustangs in game five. The Lady Steers will be back in action tomorrow night at 6:00 pm at Steer Gym when they welcome Monahans to town.

CROSS COUNTRY

In Cross Country action the Forsan Buffaloes finished sixth in the 1A Division at this past weekend’s Lubbock Invitational. Jeremy Cervantes was the top finisher for the Buffs: Fourth Place with a time of 18:16 over the three-mile course. Tyler Evans was also in the Top Ten at Eighth with a time of 18:37.6. Raegan Haggard was the Top Girls Finisher for the Lady Buffaloes in 96th with a time of 15:28.6.

Garden City Girls finished in 12th as a team. Kamie Halfmann finished second in the competition with a time of  13:00.5.




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