Back in Motion teamed up with Vitalant yesterday to b kick off their 2-day blood drive. According to Dianne Scott, Senior Donor Recruiter for Vitalant out Midland, 49 units were collected from donors yesterday.
She also noted that the blood drive scheduled with the City of Big Spring had been recently cancelled. Scott advised that 50 or units need to be collected today to make up recent cancellation.
Back in Motion, located at 1113 S Scurry in Big Spring, will continue their blood drive today from 11 am - 3 pm. Walkins are welcomed and appointments can be made online at vitalant.org.
This week, the City of Big Spring and local organizations have continued to give away free drinking water to anyone who needs it. In addition to the City of Big Spring, Delek Fund for Hope teamed up with The Salvation Army to distribute cases of water away earlier this week.
More cases of water are scheduled to be given away by College Baptist tomorrow from 11 am to 2 PM at the Porter’s grocery store parking lot. They will be giving away 2 cases of water per car and these will be loaded into vehicles by the Big Spring High School Football team.
BIG SPRING, TX — Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Veterans Health Administration vaccinated its 1 millionth Veteran with their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) has administered nearly 2500 first doses of the Moderna vaccine to local Veterans and more than 1,000 second doses. The VA began COVID-19 immunizations in December 2020. As of February 17, VA has vaccinated 329,685 of Veterans with a second dose.
Second doses of the Moderna vaccine are given 28 days after the first dose; the second dose completes the course of vaccination.
VA’s COVID-19 National Summary publishes vaccination data daily on Veterans, including information on employee and federal partner vaccinations. For those reviewing the site, when an individual receives both doses from VA, they have completed their vaccine course; therefore, “second dose” and “completed” are synonymous.
VA follows current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and the VA COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan. During the limited supply phase, VA facilities have made progress through CDC Phase 1a and are offering vaccines to Veterans in Phase 1b, which includes Veterans aged 75 and older. However, some sites are offering vaccine to additional Veterans at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as supply permits.
“VA guidance encourages local flexibility in order to maximize COVID-19 vaccine access and efficiency and limit potential vaccine waste,” said Acting VA Under Secretary for Health Richard Stone, M.D. “In this limited supply phase, our COVID-19 vaccination strategy is balancing site-specific resources, facility needs, vaccine availability, and status of the pandemic locally, as well as strict storage, handling and transportation parameters of available vaccines.”
WTVAHCS Director Jason Cave said, “We are encouraged by the number of Veterans we have been able to vaccinate so far and look forward to meeting VA’s goal of offering vaccines to all eligible Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”
Recently, several blood drives have been canceled due to weather-related issues. According to Dianne Scott, Senior Donor Recruitment Supervisor for Vitalant in Midland, this has resulted in the loss of 200 units.
Beginning today, Feb. 23, 2021, Back in Motion will have a 2-day blood drive. There will be 2 buses, walk-ins and appointments are welcomed, and they'll be giving out t-shirts while supplies last. With various time slots available, you can surely find one that fits your schedule.
2/23 - Tuesday, 1 pm - 5 pm
2/24 - Wednesday, 11 am to 3 pm
Back in Motion is located at 1113 S. Scurry in Big Spring.
To schedule an appointment to donate, visit Vitalant.org
Howard County was designated as a Purple Heart County during today's meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court.
Jim Bracken, Chapter Commander for the Military Order of Purple Heart, Chapter 1919, advised that the purpose of the designation is to encourage people to reflect upon the men and women who have given their lives to serve their country. The designation will entitle the county to petition TXDOT to place the "Purple Heart County" signs along the sides of roads. This will encourage passersby to reflect on the men and women who have given their lives for our freedoms.
"We are so proud of our men and women that have served in the military. This is one more way to honor them by designating Howard County as a purple heart county," said Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman.
"We are just so very proud of our military connection and our military heroes here in Howard County," she continued.
According to Bracken, there are approximately 60-65 counties already designated as Purple Heart Counties in Texas.
The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in present use. It was initially created as a badge of military merit by George Washington in 1782. It is the first American service award or decoration made available to the common soldier; specifically awarded to members of the US armed forces who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat.
Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman declared a local state of disaster for Howard County on Monday morning. The declaration states that the county has suffered widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of property resulting from an unprecedented winter weather event.
Judge Wiseman determined that extraordinary measures must be taken to alleviate the suffering of people and to protect or rehabilitate property.
This declaration activates the Howard County Emergency Management Plan. During Monday’s meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, Commissioners extended the length of declaration, which had originally been for 7 days.
AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that President Biden has partially approved Texas' request for a Major Disaster Declaration. The Governor requested the Major Disaster Declaration on Thursday for Individual Assistance and Public Assistance in all 254 counties. The Biden administration approved the request for Individual Assistance in 77 counties and for Public Assistance (Emergency Protective Measures Only) in all 254 counties.
The Governor and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will continue to work to ensure the federal government provides appropriate assistance to individual Texans as well as to the state and local governments.
"I thank President Biden for his assistance as we respond to impacts of winter weather across our state," said Governor Abbott. "While this partial approval is an important first step, Texas will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure all eligible Texans have access to the relief they need. The funds provided under the Major Disaster Declaration may provide crucial assistance to Texans as they begin to repair their homes and address property damage.”
The Governor requested the Major Disaster Declaration in order to provide Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation for individuals and communities affected by this week’s severe winter weather.
The following counties were approved for Individual Assistance:
Angelina, Aransas, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Collin, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Ellis, Falls, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, and Wise Counties.
Individuals and business owners in counties included in the President’s declaration who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585
ATC Services, a construction company located on FM 700 in Big Spring and owned by Chris Bishop, recently went above and beyond normal duties today by offering a few helping hands to the City of Big Spring. Bishop pulled some of his employees together to create a crew and moved some of his equipment to help the City Utilities department repair water lines in the city.
Bishop and Safety Manager/DOT Chad Averette of ATC are previous employees of the City and have previously worked on water lines. With their combined experience, they knew they could help with the aftermath of the winter storm.
Averette told KBest News, “Big Spring is a caring and giving community. The community is in need and ATC services has the ability to pitch in and lend a hand to help."
This isn’t the first time that Bishop has offered a helping hand to the local community. Last week, Bishop took water to the local jail after finding out they didn't have any drinking water, and ATC continues to go above and beyond to help Big Spring.
EXECUTIVE ORDER ST-05
WHEREAS, On February 20, 2010, I did issue a Declaration of Local Disaster for the City of Big Spring;
WHEREAS, Ongoing repair and restoration efforts of the Big Spring water treatment and distribution system require conservation on the part of all Big Spring residents and businesses;
NOW THEREFORE, I, Shannon D. Thomason, Mayor of the City of Big Spring, do order that:
The following water conservation practices shall be taken by residents of and businesses in the City of Big Spring that rely on water delivered by the City:
Only use water for basic health and hygiene purposes for you and your pets. Do not wash vehicles, water plants or lawns, or use water for any recreational purposes.
All businesses must take steps to maximize water conservation. Again, limit water use to basic health and hygiene purposes
C. Water Reliant Businesses:
Businesses that provide water based services must take immediate steps to limit water consumption. Only those businesses that provide public heath and hygiene services may operate.
1. Laundromats: Limit customers to no more than three loads of laundry per visit.
2. Car Washes: Not permitted at this time.
It is our hope that temporarily taking these steps to minimize the use of treated water will assist in the efforts of the City of Big Spring in repairing and restoring water service to all the residents and businesses of Big Spring as quickly as possible.
SO, ORDERED and SIGNED this 20th day of February, 2021
SHANNON D. THOMASON, MAYOR
AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today convened a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan, and members of the Legislature to discuss the spike in energy bills affecting many Texans following the recent power outages throughout the state.
“We have a responsibility to protect Texans from spikes in their energy bills that are a result of the severe winter weather and power outages," said Governor Abbott. "Today’s meeting was productive, and I applaud Republican and Democrat members of the Legislature for putting aside partisan politics to work together on this challenge. We are moving quickly to alleviate this problem and will continue to work collaboratively throughout this week on solutions to help Texas families and ensure they do not get stuck with skyrocketing energy bills.”
A readout of the meeting can be found below:
Governor Abbott opened the call by discussing financial challenges many Texans will face as a result of the winter storm. He also gave an update on his conversations with the White House and potential federal relief that may be available to Texans. The Governor discussed the need to ensure that Texans are not left with unreasonable utility bills they cannot afford because of the temporary massive spike in the energy market. Senator West stressed the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together on this issue. The Senator noted that this group of legislators and state leaders will not allow politics to get in the way of solving this problem for Texans. Lt. Governor Patrick and Speaker Phelan discussed the need to swiftly develop a solution for Texans. The discussion with legislators focused on the need to quickly calculate the total cost of these energy bills and how the state can help reduce this burden. The call concluded with a discussion about addressing the immediate needs of Texans and how to ensure that Texans are protected long-term.
In addition to the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House, the following legislators attended the meeting:
Senate Jane Nelson – Chair of Senate Finance Committee
Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. – Vice Chair of Senate Finance Committee
Senator Kelly Hancock – Chair of Senate Business and Commerce Committee
Senator Robert Nichols – Vice Chair of Senate Business and Commerce Committee
Senator Royce West - Vice Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee
Representative Greg Bonnen – Chair of House Appropriations Committee
Representative Chris Paddie – Chair of House State Affairs Committee
Representative Ana Hernandez – Vice Chair of House State Affairs Committee
Representative Craig Goldman – Chair of House Energy Resources Committee
4:45pm Saturday 2-20-21:
The City of Big Spring is working around the clock to get the water problems resolved.
CONSERVATION is the #1 priority at the moment. Public Works Director Shane Bowles tells KBest News that anytime there is a freeze, there are going to be numerous pipes leaking, and that is currently the case. “Every drop counts right now. Citizens need to conserve their water.”
Bowles went on to say that in addition to city crews who are on several sites, Big Spring now has a utility contractor in town assisting in the repairs, and another expected to arrive Monday.
The City is currently pumping out as much water as possible, but due to the numerous leaks, there are many residents who aren’t receiving ANY water.
There is currently not an estimated time of repair as more leaks are springing up.
You are asked to please conserve “every drop” today. Please delay laundry, bathing, and anything else that involves using water until this matter can get resolved.
Mayor of Coahoma Warren Wallace has just advised that the water level in his area is critically low at this time and urges those with water to CONSERVE their water.
If the local communities don’t come together to preserve water during this time Howard County may find itself without water.
This is not the time to stockpile water for your household, but to keep your neighbors and community in mind by avoiding using water today. Please do your part to conserve water by putting off washing clothes, washing dishes, and bathing until tomorrow.
MITCHELL COUNTY, TX ---- Colorado City in nearby Mitchell County has seen a lot of attention lately thanks to the viral Facebook post from their former Mayor which stated that “Only the strong will survive and the weak will parish.” [sic] in reference to the recent winter storm. The story was covered by many media outlets, but what hasn’t been told is that the residents and other local officials in Mitchell County don’t share the same sentiments.
Mitchell County Judge Mark Merrell told KBest News that the community has come together during this trying time to help their neighbors. This includes not only local officials and city and county employees, but also businesses and residents.
Some residents have even opened their homes to others in need; businesses have donated drinking water for residents, and local law enforcement has been very proactive in helping the community find the resources they need to get through the power outages and lack of water.
County Sheriff Patrick Toombs has coordinated activities to help the community such as having deputies take water to individual homes. In addition to that, law enforcement has been working to ensure that there’s no one in a home without electricity and if there is, getting them to a warming center. A distribution center was even set up at the local law enforcement center after businesses donated drinking water.
Shelter has been provided for a number of residents in Mitchell County - which includes the communities of Westbrook and Lorraine - through the Samaritan House in Colorado City. Although there is no water in the facility at this time, they can still provide a warm shelter with over 100 beds.
“Some of the senior citizens that were without water and electricity for a number of days were eventually brought there and were allowed to stay. We still have people there today. We’re keeping that open and available for those people in need," said Judge Merrell. "We don’t have any water out there, but the whole community has rallied to help out.”
Judge Merrell said that individuals and businesses have provided meals and snacks for the people staying out there. Plus, stores and restaurants have also helped to provide cooked meals and water throughout the county.
Sheriff Toombs told KBest News that the charitable branch of the Delek Refinery in Big Spring gave them six pallets of water, making them one of their biggest suppliers of water.
“We’ve got a couple of individuals that work at the refinery that live over here that reached out to them and made that possible,” said Toombs.
County Commissioners are providing non-drinkable water pumped out of a well in Precinct 1 of Mitchell County. Residents can fill up their containers with water to flush their toilet or to provide drinking water for their livestock.
Mitchell County has been working with state representatives and senators to try to help their residents, and have even had strangers from out of state offer monetary assistance. Merrell told KBest News that even though electricity has begun to return to the community, water is his large concern.
“We’re still in need of water and drinking water. I’ve got a real concern for that. We thought we were gonna have the water up and running, hopefully, today, but that did not occur. So, I’m anticipating, probably, sometime next week, hopefully. We got a lot of senior citizens out there by themselves [and families with kids]. We just need to make sure they’re taken care of.”
With no water coming in due to the power outages and water freezing inside of the water tanks and wells, Judge Merrell told KBest News that he’s concerned that there will be people throughout the city and county who will be without water until next week.
Anyone wanting to assist those in Mitchell County are encouraged to contact Sheriff Patrick Toombs at the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office at 325-728-5261. They can also contact Judge Mark Merrell's office at 325-242-0643.
Date: February 19, 2021
From: Shannon D. Thomason, Mayor
Re: Water Conservation
The City is diligently working to restore water service to all residents. In order to facilitate this, I am asking all residents and businesses to please conserve water. For the time being, please only use City water for personal health and hygiene purposes. We understand residents are eager to resume their normal routine, however, at this time your normal routine can delay your neighbors water service being restored.
Please observe the following guidelines:
1. Please do not use water for washing vehicles at this time.
2. For the time being, please minimize washing laundry as best you can.
3. Where possible, take showers instead of baths as they use less water. Please keep showers
4. Please report water main leaks to the non-emergency dispatch center at 432-264-2550.
5. If you have a pipe burst in your home, close the water valve at your water meter. If you need assistance or are unable to do so, please call the non-emergency dispatch center at 432-264-2550 to request an emergency water cut off.
Following these simple requests for the next few days will help the City supply water to all the citizens of Big Spring and will alleviate the need for water conservation orders.
We at the City understand that everyone in Big Spring has been affected by this historic winter weather. We simply ask that everyone continues to be good neighbors to those that are still being affected in the aftermath.
During last week’s regular meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees, board members were presented with a possibility to purchase Freightliners to provide safe and reliable transportation to and from events like out-of-town competitions for sports, UIL, and other events. The cost of the Freighliners would come out of a grant the district received and would not affect the current budget.
Board members were given a tour of a Freightliner and had the opportunity to ask questions about wi-fi capabilities and the other options available for customization of the interior. Each seat reclines, power is available for charging phones or chrome books, and the freightliners have ionization in the HVAC units. Ionization has been proven to help prevent the spread of contagious viruses and diseases.
Also during last week's regular meeting, board members also discussed special recognition of the Career & Technical Education (CTE) Program Director Bonnie Anderson. A public hearing was also held regarding the 2019 – 2020 Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR), which includes the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) that encompasses all data requested and received by TEA about public education, including student demographic and academic performance, personnel, financial, and organizational information was also held last week.
Last night, BSISD School Board Members discussed the need for 5 freightliner buses during their special meeting. This would ensure that there were enough buses to be used for activities in the fall and spring seasons. Plus, this would add the newer yellow buses - that are generally in better shape and have less mileage - to the fleet of vehicles used for school bus routes. This would allow the older buses with more mileage to be sold or auctioned off.
Ultimately, Board members approved the purchase of five 2021 M2 Freightliner buses in the total amount of $1,479,500.
Also during the special meeting, Superintendent Jay McWilliams advised that the Texas Education Agency will allow Texas school districts to claim additional bad weather days during this school year in response to the week of school missed by many schools in this area due to the winter storm. The submission of a "Missed School Days Waiver" form would have to be approved by the school board. After TEA approves the form, BSISD students would not be required to make up the missed days. This would also be extended to BSISD teachers since they were unable to work during that time as well.
Requests Major Disaster Declaration For Individual And Public Assistance
AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today provided an update on the state's response to winter weather and power outages. As part of his update, the Governor declared a new emergency item for this legislative session. The Governor is asking the Legislature to mandate the winterization of Texas' power system and for the Legislature to ensure the necessary funding for winterization.
In addition, the Governor announced he is requesting a Major Disaster Declaration — which includes Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program — from the White House. This declaration will allow eligible Texans to apply for assistance to help address broken pipes and related property damage. The Governor previously requested a Federal Emergency Declaration from the White House which was granted on Sunday.
Power has been restored to nearly 2 million homes across Texas since yesterday's briefing. This number continues to climb, and there are no more outages due to a lack of generation. Every available repair truck in Texas has been dispatched to address downed power lines that are causing continued outages. Earlier today, the Governor held calls with power and water providers to develop strategies that will increase access to additional power, as well as restore water and expedite additional clean water in communities across the state.
The state is also working to distribute food, water, generators, and additional supplies to Texas communities. Additionally, more warming centers continue to be established every day. For winter weather resources, including a map of warming centers and ways to help Texans in need, visit: https://open.texas.gov/winter
"The past several days have been beyond challenging, but with every passing hour we are restoring power and water for families across Texas," said Governor Abbott. "We are doing all we can to make it through this challenge, and the state continues to deploy resources and personnel throughout the state. I want to thank the men and women who are working around the clock in harsh conditions to get the power up and running again, and I ask all Texans to keep them in their prayers. Texans should continue to take proper precautions and follow local guidance to stay safe and warm. We will get through this together."
Today is the 13th anniversary of the Refinery Explosion in Big Spring.
On Feb. 18, 2008 at approximately 8:20 a.m. an explosion at the Alon Oil Refinery in Big Spring occurred and could be felt throughout Howard County and beyond. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, initially, the fire was reported to have started in the propylene plant, but it also threatened the alkalyzation plant where hydofluoric acid (HF) is used and stored. A large, black smoke plume rose up to 6500 feet in the atmosphere.
Tim Knox, an Operations Manager and Morning Show Host for KBest Media at the time, told KBest News that when the explosion happened, most people described a loud boom and the vibrations were so strong, it felt like a car had hit the building.
"I walked up front to go walk pass the FM studio. Mike [Henry] is looking at me through the glass with his eyes as big as saucers. No idea what's going on. We look out the front window and there’s this mushroom cloud in the sky.
Of course, like everyone else that day, your thoughts go through a million different things of worst case scenarios. Was it terroristic? Did something happen along those lines out there? It was a very scary situation," said Knox.
Soon after the explosion, then-News Director Mike Henry was enroute to the refinery and KBest staff were on the air offering as much information as they could to keep the public informed. Knox told KBest News that although it was a hectic morning, officials at the refinery were able to quickly get information out about what happened.
"There's no words to describe how good they did their job that day," said Knox of the refinery officials. "Within five minutes of the explosion happening, we're on the air with somebody. We're starting to process infomation [coming] in, and try bring that information to the people as quickly as we could.
Right from the get-go, very terrifying," said Knox of the situation. "Like I said, a million things going through your mind of what it could possibly be, and none of them are good."
During a press conference concerning the explosion, it was announced that there were some injuries, but no deaths on-site. This was in part due to the minimum amount of staff that was on site because it was a President’s Day, a federal holiday.
"At this point it was on major cable networks - CNN, Fox News. They were all live from Big Spring. It was a nationwide ordeal. It was a big news story. We’re there at the news conference - Mike Henry was, I was in the studio. [Mike's] holding the microphone up to the guy, and he mentioned that there was not one casualty, no loss of life - a few injuries but no loss of life.
I remember Mike Henry just stopped in mid-sentence, and [said] ‘Can you repeat that?’ - because we were under the expectation that there were gonna be several casualties. I mean, how could you look at that and not think that.
So, that was very good news. At that point, it was almost celebratory. It’s hard to think about being in the mood to celebrate, or being happy after something like that happens, but to get through it and know that nobody lost their life was pretty amazing.”
Ultimately, there were five people injured as a result of the explosion but none were considered life-threatening. Four occured on-site and one additional injury was sustained by passing motorist who was struck by debris.
Since the incident, it's been refered to as "the miracle on Refinery Road."
Arctic weather conditions that blanketed the state with snow, ice and frigid temperatures is damaging Texas agriculture crops in a historic way, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.
The extent of the damage to Texas agriculture won’t be fully realized for weeks, but farmers, their crops and animals are facing tough conditions.
Juan Anciso, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Weslaco, said the winter conditions rival a historic hit to Texas farmers in December 1989. There were notable freezes that damaged South Texas crops in 2004 and 2011, and a few in prior decades going back to the 1950s, but December 1989 caused severe damage to Texas winter crops, including citrus.
“We’ll know if it ranks with ’89 in a few weeks, but temperatures are well below the threshold for crops and for long periods,” he said. “That’s not a good combination for growers.”
Anciso said the temperature low in Weslaco was 21 degrees. Some crops can tolerate temperatures around 26 degrees for four to five hours, but temperatures were below that for 10-12 hours. A second night of temperatures below the threshold was in the forecast.
The temperatures will affect citrus and cold-season vegetables like leafy greens, onions, beets, parsley and watermelons, Anciso said.
Oranges were frozen solid, and some grapefruits were nearly frozen through, he said.
The good news is that around 80% of the orange crop and two-thirds of the grapefruit crop were harvested before the winter storm, he said. The crop losses will be significant for producers, but the lasting damage could be tree losses.
“A lot of citrus guys are running their sprinklers to insulate their trees,” Anciso said. “They can take the death of limbs up to 1 inch in diameter, but you get into losing 4-inch limbs, you’re effectively crowning the tree. That’s not good.”
Some warm-season crops like potatoes and watermelons and early planted corn and sorghum will also be affected, he said.
Watermelons were being started in high tunnels, which mimic greenhouse conditions, but Anciso said those structures do not provide protection from severe cold. Potatoes could resprout, but yields will be affected. Minimal acres of corn and sorghum have been planted in South Texas, but those acres will require replanting.
Arctic front hits Winter Garden
Texas’ fruit tree and vine crops could also face notable losses.
Larry Stein, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde, said temperatures hadn’t reached 1989 levels yet, but that it was 8-10 degrees Monday night in the Winter Garden region with 4-6 inches of snowfall on the ground. The temperatures likely mean losses for crops like peaches, strawberries, wine grapes, pecans and berries.
Fruit trees and grapevines that had emerged from dormancy would be susceptible to damage, and any active buds or fruit are likely lost, he said.
“Peach trees that had started budding, those buds are going to be toast at 15 degrees,” he said. “Any active growth could be problematic. We could see temperatures pop the wood. We may not see the damage this spring, but eventually those limbs will die back where the tissue is damaged.”
Strawberries are a winter-hardy plant that can take temperatures well below freezing, but the fruit and buds on the plant at freezing will be lost, he said. It will take those plants some time in warmer daytime temperatures to bud again, and about three weeks before fruit is ready to harvest.
“Producers were harvesting all the reds and slightly turned fruit they could,” he said. “The plants will survive, but you’ve lost all the flowers and fruit for one harvest.”
Stein said snow may help insulate strawberry plants, but ice will not insulate plants and trees unless water in continuously applied to prevent freezing. Active buds will be lost, and limbs and vines actively growing will be susceptible.
Snow could also help insulate spinach, but the damage to leaves will only be known in the coming weeks as snow melts and temperatures promote growth, he said. The crop could face freeze burn to leaves and blemishes from sleet pellets, which detracts from the marketability due to aesthetic standards at grocery stores.
“I don’t ever remember a weather winter advisory that covered the whole state,” Stein said. “The good news is that we haven’t gone beyond 1989, but the reality is there will be damages, and it will be a few weeks before we access where this winter storm ranks.”
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
Very cold conditions have livestock producers scrambling to meet increased nutritional requirements. Equipment failures were expected due to extreme temperatures. Corn producers were preparing fields for planting. Winter wheat conditions were sporadic, and conditions depended on soil moisture levels. Some fields were tillering and prime for herbicide sprays. Broadleaf and annual grass weed pressure was high, but windy and rainy conditions delayed herbicide applications. Many winter forages including wheat, rye, oats and triticale were covered in ice, and significant crop damage was expected. Producers were expecting hay demand to push bale prices upward.
Weather conditions were pleasant over the reporting period, but local forecasts reported some dramatic changes over the weekend. Producers were preparing for single-digit temperatures by securing and insulating water sources along with stocking up on feed and hay. Soil moisture levels remained in decline. Winter wheat was still holding on. Livestock were in fair condition as supplemental feeding continued.
Below average temperatures have producers preparing for hard freezes. The small amount of corn that was planted and emerged will likely need to be replanted. Livestock producers were providing supplemental feed, and a few were running low on hay. Extreme cold, wintery conditions made it difficult for producers to protect livestock, and many water supplies were frozen.
Temperatures dropped dramatically and even colder temperatures were predicted. Harrison County reported 8-12 inches of snow. Pasture and rangeland conditions were poor to fair. Subsoil and topsoil conditions were adequate. Producers were going through a lot of hay due to the weather. Winter forages were slow growing. Most livestock were in fair to good condition. Cattle markets were better. Wild pigs continued to be active.
Conditions were extremely cold with negative temperatures and lower wind chills. Conditions were expected to have an enormous impact on all livestock producers. Temperatures were below freezing for six days and will remain below freezing an additional four days. Stock tanks were frozen over, and watering livestock has been difficult.
Subsoil and topsoil moisture were very short in most areas and adequate to short in some areas. Pasture and rangeland conditions were poor to very poor. Winter wheat conditions were fair to poor. Oats were in fair condition. Extreme cold temperatures have cattle producers scrambling to provide more feed and protection for their herds. Body condition scores were expected to decline due to extreme conditions, and losses of cattle and newborn calves were expected.
Topsoil moisture was mostly adequate. Producers were getting ready for the extreme cold. The winter storm delivered below freezing temperatures for more than 100 hours as of Feb. 14. Supplemental feed and hay were in high demand.
Temperatures were in the 70s during the day and the high 30s at night, with highs in the 20s by the end of the reporting period. Oat and wheat conditions were fair to poor. Pasture and rangeland conditions were fair to poor with some reports of good to very poor conditions. Subsoil and topsoil were mostly short with some reports of adequate and very short. Pecan producers were pruning trees. Fields were being prepared for cotton planting, but acres were expected to be down 60%-70% this season. Pecan producers shifted irrigation to alfalfa fields. Hudspeth County reported 4 inches of snow. Livestock were in overall good condition, but the winter weather was expected to impact herds.
Warm weather gave way to freezing temperatures, ice and snow. Single-digit temperatures were reported in some areas. Soil moisture conditions were mostly adequate with some reports of short soil moisture. Pasture, rangeland, winter wheat and oats were in mostly fair condition. Small grain crops were progressing slowly, and frigid conditions could hurt stands. Winter weather was expected to negatively impact livestock producers. Producers prepared fields for spring planting. Producers were expected to pull cattle off of wheat as soon as possible to cash in on high grain prices. Cattle were receiving heavy supplemental feed, and producers in Coleman County were reporting low to dry stock tanks.
Texas Crop and Weather Report – Feb. 17, 2021
Chambers County reported snow and extreme cold weather like most of the state. Weather was expected to damage winter grasses that were already struggling. A mix of winter precipitation was expected to help soil moisture levels. Rangeland and pasture ratings were excellent to very poor with fair ratings being the most common. Soil moisture levels ranged from adequate to surplus with adequate being the most common.
Some rainfall was reported before temperatures dropped dramatically and delivered sleet and snow. Temperatures have not climbed above 30 degrees for four days. Oat and winter wheat conditions were very poor to excellent. Pasture and rangeland conditions were mostly poor with some areas reporting fair to very poor conditions. Soil moisture levels were very short to adequate. Water tanks for cattle were freezing, and supplemental feed was necessary. Travel was difficult to impossible in some areas.
Temperatures were warm and dry before the strong cold front brought extreme cold temperatures and drizzle to the area. Producers were preparing for the growing season. Corn was emerging in Jim Wells County, and the freezing temperatures were expected to damage the crop. Irrigated fields in Hidalgo County were being pre-watered. Citrus and sugarcane harvests were continuing. Pasture and rangeland conditions were improving where rain had fallen in the past few weeks, but still struggling in other areas. Producers were hauling hay and supplemental cubes in several counties in anticipation of the cold weather. Beef cattle conditions were being impacted as the cattle were not use to the inclement weather.
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today declared the reform of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) an emergency item this legislative session. In declaring this item an emergency, the Governor is calling on the legislature to investigate ERCOT and ensure Texans never again experience power outages on the scale they have seen over the past several days.
“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” said Governor Abbott. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable. Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions. I thank my partners in the House and Senate for acting quickly on this challenge, and I will work with them to enhance Texas’ electric grid and ensure that our state never experiences power outages like this again.”
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Re: COVID-19 Communication Scams on the Rise
City of Big Spring officials have been made aware of a phone scam in Big Spring and Howard County. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with the department of health and asking for personal information you should just hang up.
DO NOT give out any information over the phone. The type of information these scammers are asking for is your name, date of birth, address, social security number. When they call, they say they are with the State of Texas doing a follow up call for COVID-19. They then ask for your personal information to verify who you are; Texas DSHS representatives will not ask for this information.
Be advised that:
• Offers to purchase COVID-19 vaccination cards are scams. Valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination can only be provided to individuals by legitimate providers administering vaccines.
• Photos of COVID-19 vaccination cards should not be shared on social media. Posting content
that includes your date of birth, health care details or other personally identifiable information
can be used to steal your identity.
• Be vigilant and protect yourself from potential fraud concerning COVID-19 vaccines. You will
not be asked for money to enhance your ranking for vaccine eligibility. Government and State
officials will not call you to obtain personal information in order to receive the vaccine.
• Beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their personal, medical, and
financial information. Medicare will not call beneficiaries to offer COVID-19 related products,
services, or benefit review.
• Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up immediately.
• Do not respond to, or open hyperlinks in, text messages about COVID-19 from unknown
• Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites. If
you make an appointment for a COVID-19 test online, make sure the location is an official
• Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone claiming to offer HHS grantsrelated to COVID-19.
• Be aware of scammers pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your Medicare number, financial information, or attempt to set up a COVID-19 test for you and collect payment information for the test.
BE AWARE OF SCAMMERS PRETENDING TO BE COVID-19 CONTACT TRACERS.
Today is the last day to file for a place on the ballot for local city and school elections that will take place onMay1, 2021. Offices available for the City of Big Spring are for Councilmembers in Districts 2, 4, and 6. Positions available on the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees are for Districts 2 and 4.
Offices available in the City of Coahoma are for Mayor and 2 City Council at large positions. 3 positions are open for trustees.
3 City of Forsan council positions are available, as well as 2 Board Trustee at large positions for Forsan ISD Board of Trustees.
If you would like to run for any of the positions you must apply with the entity by today @ 5:00 pm.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Robert F. Fitzgibbons, Jr., Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, Place 2 in Howard County, had been arrested by local law enforcement on the felony charges of Misuse of Information and Stalking.
Howard County Judge Katherine Wiseman told KBest News that Fitzgibbons still officially holds office at this time and will continue to do so until he resigns or is removed from office. According to Judge Wiseman, county commissioners have yet to make a decision on what action to take next.
Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet & Business Expo will be held virtually today at 1:30 pm. During the event, Mark Barr and Joan Beil will be recognized as the recipients for Man and Woman of the Year, and Bulldog Steel will be recognized as the recipient of the Russ McEwen Community Award. The 5 under 55 individuals will also be highlighted during the event. This award recognizes 5 individuals under the age of 55 for their community involvement and leadership qualities. This year’s recipients for the 5 under 55 award are Reina Cisneros, Tabitha Clark, Jeff Ward, Leslie Elrod Hobbs, and Shonda Folsom.
In addition to the award recipients who will be recognized, the outgoing Chamber Board President Mark Richardson will ceremoniously pass the gavel to the Incoming Chamber Board President Kristy Tyra.
Again this year’s Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet & Business Expo will be held virtually on Zoom. You can find a link for this event here:
Meeting ID: 859 4545 0159
5 Under 55 Recipient - Jeff Ward
5 Under 55 Recipient - Leslie Elrod Hobbs
5 Under 55 Recipient - Reina Cisneros
5 Under 55 Recipient - Shonda Folsom
5 Under 55 Recipient - Tabitha Clark
2020 Russ McEwen Community Award went to Bulldog Steel.
2020 Man of the Year Mark Barr
2020 Woman of the Year, Joan Beil
Forsan Senior Angel McCafferty signed a letter of intent to join the student trainer program at Howard College on Wednesday. She is a trainer/manager for the Forsan Buffs and has been participating in the sports medicine program for four years.
McCafferty told KBest News that she plans to become a pediatric nurse after college.
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding the public the waiver on expiration dates for driver licenses (DLs) and identification cards (IDs) ends on April 14, 2021. Customers who need to renew are urged to make an appointment or renew online today.
The waiver, granted by Governor Greg Abbott in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, applied to DLs, commercial DLs, commercial learner permits, ID cards and election identification certificates that expired on or after March 13, 2020.
“Driver License employees have worked diligently to help Texans during challenging times and should be commended for their dedication,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “The Driver License Division has innovated to better serve constituents by implementing a new appointment solution to improve services and by providing extended hours at several locations across the state.”
Online renewals still a convenient option
Many Texans are eligible to skip the trip to the office entirely by renewing their DL/ID card or changing their address online at Texas.gov. Customers can also renew by phone at 1-866-DL-RENEW (1-866-357-3639). The requirements and cost for online and phone renewal are the same as in-person transactions.
Expanded office hours
To assist customers needing in-office DL services, designated high-volume offices are offering expanded hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Scheduling an appointment
Services at driver license offices are now conducted by appointment only. To schedule an appointment or check availability, visit the online appointment scheduler. If you are unable to find an appointment at the office of your choice, check back for availability at that office or other locations nearby. Please check often as availability does change.
If you are unable to make your scheduled appointment, please reschedule or cancel it ahead of time. While the department is working to serve as many customers as possible, people with appointments not showing up continues to be a major obstacle. In December 2020, for example, approximately 31% of people were no-shows for their appointments.
The appointment system, which debuted in May 2020, is designed to provide additional convenience, reducing the time Texans wait in line. Customers can book appointments for a specific day and time, up to six months in advance, and show up 30 minutes or less before their scheduled time. Customers can check-in using the kiosk inside the office or from their mobile device.
All offices offer a limited number of same-day appointments. These appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers who book these appointments can leave the DL office until their designated time.
Additionally, most offices also offer customers without an appointment a spot on a “standby” list. These customers are required to wait in the office and are assisted in the event of a cancelation or no-show. The number of standby appointments available is limited to ensure all customers who are placed on the list will be served by the end of the day.
To ensure a safe environment, COVID-19 protocols have been implemented at DL offices.