From Scenic Mountain Medical Center:
Big Spring, Texas— September 18, 2020 – Yesterday, Governor Abbott announced the easing of statewide restrictions on elective procedures, effective immediately. This is good news for patients who had to postpone certain medical procedures due to these precautions.
From serious conditions to aches and pains, the health care needs of the Big Spring community did not stop. Now is the time for individuals and families to get the medical care— from a routine check-up to a medical procedure -- that may have been postponed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our clinics are open, elective procedures are ready to be scheduled, and our emergency room continues to be a safe place to treat ALL emergencies. We’ve are working quickly to reschedule previously cancelled procedures
To ensure the safety of patients and to provide a safe and clean environment for any visit to our facilities, we are intensely focused on new cleaning protocols and personal protection procedures to keep patients safe. We have also implemented new practices to ensure that any COVID-related care is done in an isolated area away from other patients and their families.
SMMC has taken every precaution and made the necessary preparations to care for patients in a safe, controlled and professional way. Thank you for continuing to trust SMMC for your family’s healthcare needs.
For more information on visitor policies or to stay updated with the latest information, visit www.scenicmountainmedicalcenter.org
Announcement from the City of Big Spring, 09/18/2020:
The City of Big Spring will have a Cross Country Meet for Big Spring High School on Saturday, September 19, 2020 beginning at 8 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (estimated). In order to help facilitate a safe running area for all of the youth attending and participating in this event we will temporarily close some of the gates and barricade access to some areas of the Comanche Trail Park during the event. The roads to access DRCC and the Golf Course will remain open. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you travel in this area, please be aware and alert for participants moving in the area!!
City of Big Spring
Tickets are available now for a chance to win one of three prizes: a John Deere Gator, a Pellet Grill, or a $500 Visa Gift Card. Money raised through this raffle will go to benefit the United Way of Big Spring and Howard County. The United Way of Big Spring & Howard County is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the health and human service agencies of Howard and the surrounding counties.
This year’s partnering agencies are the Buffalo Trail Council, Boy Scouts; Spring of Siloam; CASA of West Texas; Council on Aging/Meals on Wheels; Emergency Services Chaplains Corp; Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest; Head Start Readiness Academy; Howard County Children’s Advocacy Center; Howard County Resource Center; The Salvation Army; The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club; Victim Services; West Side Community Day Care; and YMCA of Big Spring.
Volunteers are still being accepted to help out with tomorrow’s 2nd annual Boots and Spurs Equine Event in Ira, approximately 11 miles south of Snyder.
According to Nanette Yanez, the event uses equine therapy to help veterans to help them overcome struggles they might be facing, especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This year, Texas Tech equine therapists will conduct team-building exercises and will provide horseback riding instruction. There will also be trail rides with cowboys and horse trainers along with other fun activities for the veterans.
For more information on how to become a volunteer with tomorrow’s event contact Nanette Yanez at 432-238-5524.
Community Fellowship and a Quilts of Valor presentation will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, for this year’s 7th annual Dove Hunt honorees that will be recognized by the Big Spring D.A.V. Chapter 47.
This year’s honorees are Sgt. Deon R. Mealing of Big Spring; Petty Officer Dustin N. Cripe off Midland; Army veteran Charles Limir; and Thomas Martinez of Georgia.
The presentation begins at 6 PM at Spring Creek Fellowship in the Spring Town Plaza, located at 1801 FM 700 in Big Spring.
Be advised that raffle tickets are still available for a chance to win a custom fire pit created by Gerald King of King Fabrications & Custom Metal. Tickets are $20 and will be available to purchase on Saturday before the presentation begins.
AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference to provide an update on the state's ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. During the press conference, the Governor issued Executive Orders expanding occupancy levels for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries, and re-authorizing elective surgeries for a majority of the state of Texas. The Governor also announced new guidance related to visitations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state.
In addition, the Governor implemented the use of reliable, data driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help guide the state’s ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 and expand occupancy for businesses and services. This metric focuses on areas with high hospitalizations — referring to any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15%, until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15% or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.
Using this metric, 19 of the 22 TSAs in Texas qualify to increase occupancy levels to 75% for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms, exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries beginning September 21st. In addition, these 19 TSAs can also resume elective surgeries. Three of the 22 TSAs (S-Victoria, T-Laredo, and V-Lower Rio Grande Valley) must remain at 50% occupancy and continue postponing elective surgeries until the hospitalization metric requirements are met. These three TSAs contain the following counties: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Victoria, Jim Hogg, Webb, Zapata, Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy.
"With the medical advancements we have made and the personal hygiene practices we have adopted, Texans have shown that we can address both the health and safety concerns of COVID-19 while also taking careful, measured steps to restore the livelihoods that Texans depend on," said Governor Abbott. "Achieving both goals requires safe standards that contain COVID-19, emphasize protecting the most vulnerable, and establish clear metrics that the public can depend on. That is why today we have announced expanded occupancy standards for a variety of services. But, Texans should remember that a steady and significant decline in COVID-19 cases is not a sign to let up in our vigilance against the virus. Instead, Texans must continue to heed the guidance of medical experts by wearing a mask, social distancing, and practicing proper sanitation strategies. By maintaining health and safety standards that are proven to mitigate COVID-19, we can continue to slow the spread while opening up the Texas economy."
The Governor announced new visitation guidance for eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice effective Thursday, September 24th. Under the new rules, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who will be provided necessary training to allow them to safely go inside a facility for a scheduled visit, including in the resident’s room, to help ensure their loved one’s physical, social, and emotional needs are being met. Designated caregivers will not be required to maintain physical distancing, but only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time.
A long-term care facility resident (or legal representative) can designate the essential caregiver, who can be a family member, friend, or other individual. Facilities are required to train essential caregivers on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control measures. Proper PPE must be used at all times during these scheduled visits, and the caregiver must test negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before the initial visit.
For general visitors who are not a designated essential caregiver, these updated emergency rules will allow approved facilities to schedule outdoor no contact visits, open window visits, or indoor visitation with the use of plexiglass safety barriers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical contact between residents and general visitors is not permitted. Facilities also must continue to meet all additional visitation requirements outlined in the emergency rules.
View the Governor's Executive Order related to expanded capacity of certain services.
View the Governor's Executive Order related to hospital capacity.
Encompass Health was welcomed as a new member of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday morning. Encompass Health, a Christian-based company, is a home health service provider that offers skilled nursing, physical therapy, and wound care.
“We have lots of wonderful employees,” said Brooke Grant, RN Branch Director, tells us more about Encompass Health. She went on to say that they have two full-time physical therapy staff, two full-time physical therapy assistants, as well as several Registered Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses.
“We’re all very caring. We love our patients. We want to do everything we can to keep them in the home and safe, and we’re also there to help the families and to help them understand what everything is going through and to keep the patients at home and safe,” continued Grant.
When asked what she thought about becoming a Chamber Member, Grant told KBest News that she loved that Encompass is becoming more involved with the Big Spring community.
For more information, contact them at 432-264-0044.
Online registration is now open for the 2nd annual Bikes Across Big Spring. The purpose of the event is to raise bike awareness and to raise money for CASA of West Texas, a non-profit organization with the mission to recruit, train, and support committed volunteers who are appointed by the court to advocate for the best interest of children in the foster care system.
Bike Across Big Spring will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, and is open to the public. Registration is $20 per person and can be completed from 1-3 PM on the day of the event at Moss Creek Ranch, located at 1601 S. Moss Lake Rd in Big Spring.
Tabitha Clark, organizer for the event, told KBest News that there are seven different stops where participants will pick up a playing card. At the end of the run, they’ll turn their cards in and the participants with the two highest hands will win a prize.
Participants will have 3 hours to complete the bike run around Big Spring.1st place receives a $500 Visa gift card, and 2nd place receives a $250 Visa gift card. Food and craft vendors will be on site from 1-6 PM. Afterwards, there will be an after party with a DJ and karaoke from 6-10 PM.
Online registration can be completed by visiting:
According to The Texas Tribune, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court ordered three Green Party candidates to be restored to the November ballot after Democrats had successfully sued to remove them, over failing to pay filing fees.
Now, county election offices must now update their overseas and military ballots by the Saturday mailing deadline and send new, corrected ballots to replace any that had already been mailed. According to Howard County Elections Administrator Jodi Duck, this will not negatively affect Howard County voters as there have been no ballots mailed out for the local voters.
The three candidates are David Collins for U.S. Senate, Katija “Kat” Gruene for Railroad Commission and Tom Wakely for the 21st Congressional District. It should be noted that since Howard County is in the 19th Congressional District, Wakely will not be listed on the local ballot.
Check out the full story here:
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Highway Patrol Troopers this week rescued their 500th child during traffic stops since the implementation of specialized training that began in 2009. Troopers receive the training as part of the Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) program.
The IPC program training teaches officers to spot indicators that a child is a victim or at risk of becoming a victim, and includes children who are missing, exploited, at-risk or endangered. Troopers receive this training through a two-day, 16-hour course that uses a child-centered approach and assess the totality of circumstances to determine if a child is at risk.
In addition to removing these children from dangerous situations, the training also aids DPS in related child abduction, human trafficking, possession of child pornography and sexual assault investigations.
“This is an outstanding contribution to public safety by our Troopers who identified and rescued children during standard traffic stops, even though the child could not necessarily vocalize they needed help,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “At the same time, it helped us take reprehensible criminals who prey on one of our most vulnerable populations off the streets.”
IPC marked its 10th anniversary in 2019. In addition to child rescues, IPC has trained more than 10,000 people in its methods across the U.S. and other countries, prompting groundbreaking changes in how agencies improve accountability and approach child safety concerns.
IPC uses a multidisciplinary approach to train law enforcement, prosecutors, criminal intelligence analysts, child protective service, victim services and child advocacy center professionals collectively. IPC continues to advocate the message: “Stop waiting for children to ask for your help.”
Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a Thank You for Your Investment presentation this morning for Expedition Royalty to thank them for all they do for the community.
Michelle Hamlin, Office Manager at Expedition Royalty, told KBest News that when the business came into Big Spring, they knew that they wanted to be as active as possible in every aspect of the community and becoming a Chamber Member was a great way to start.
Expedition Royalty Co. is a privately held company focused on the acquisition of mineral rights and royalty interests.
The business was built to help people who have property with viable mineral, surface and water rights get a fair price for their assets.
“We buy minerals. We also do loans on minerals, but more than that, the guys that buy and sell our minerals are very concerned with helping people,” said Hamlin about how Expedition Royalty Co. operates.
“They’re not here to take advantage of anybody. They are here to make sure they give you the best advice possible. Whether it benefits our company or if it just benefits you, they’re gonna make sure that you’re not being taken advantage of and that you understand what you’re getting,” continued Hamlin.
Expedition Royalty is located at 220 S. Main in Big Spring and they’re open from 8 am - 4 pm, Monday - Friday. They can also be reached by calling them at 432-755-7131.
This week, the Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine center is hosting Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Week and they encourage the public to join them in the White Sock Campaign.
“What this is, in simplified terms, is that your veins contract, so you’re not getting the blood flow that you need. Unfortunately, this does lead to ulcerations,” said Tiffany Crawford, Director at Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Center.
“ We spread the awareness of this because it’s something that needs to be noted immediately. This is not something that needs to go on and it kinda be brushed off because then we can get to very complicated issues that are hard to retract from,” she continued.
The white sock symbolizes the many patients with late-stage Peripheral Artery Disease who have had an amputation due to delayed treatment. Approximately 8 - 12 million people in the United States are affected by PAD. People who suffer from PAD, one of the main comorbidities of diabetes, are also at risk for chronic, non-healing wounds of the lower extremities. People who are living with PAD, ESPECIALLY those living with diabetes often do not fully recognize the risk of amputation that comes with the disease.
Through this week of September 14, 2020, the public is encouraged to show their support for patients within our community that PAD is affecting their overall quality of life. To do this, simply rock the white sock, take fun photos with your colleagues and submit photos to Tiffany Crawford, Wound Care Director, at 806-777-7974 or Daniel Moreno, Marketing Coordinator at 432-553-1271. Photos can also be sent by email to Tiffany.Crawford@Steward.Org or Martin.Morenoii@Steward.Org.
The Wound Healing Center is also hosting a donation collection this month of September in order to help patients and the community with items that are easily taken for granted. This can range from socks, toiletries, wound supplies or any new item(s) that you are able or willing to contribute. These items can impact our patients tremendously, especially during these difficult times.
SNYDER, TX - Snyder Police Officers responded to a stabbing incident outside of a restaurant called The Butcher’s Block Eats & Drinks on Friday evening.
According to a news release from the Snyder Police Department, on September 11, 2020 Officers were dispatched at approximately 7:50 PM to 1600 25th Street in the City of Snyder in reference to a stabbing.
When officers arrived at the above location, it was discovered there were two victims that suffered stab wounds.
[One] victim [was] identified as Scott Herrera, [a] 49-year-old male, [who] was transported to Cogdell Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
The second victim will not be identified at this time.
After a preliminary investigation, the suspect was identified as Francisco Lozoya Jr., [a] 34-year-old male. With the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies across West Texas, Lozoya was apprehended in Lubbock County.
Snyder PD advised that there is no threat to the community and no further details will be released at this time, due to this being an ongoing investigation.
(Photo: Francisco Lozoya, Jr.)
Howard County Commissioners voted unanimously to lift the County-wide burn ban for two weeks. This was made under the recommendation of Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Mitchell Hooper to allow residents with brush piles to get them burned during this period of rainy weather.
It was noted that precautions should still be taken, such as having an extinguishing agent nearby, paying attention to windspeeds, and contacting the Howard County Sheriff's Office in advance prior to burning anything.
The topic of the burn ban will be re-evaluated at the next meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court.
First responders, local officials, and community members gathered together on Friday morning at Scenic Mountain Medical Center during the Prayer at the Pole event.
Diane Moore, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer of SMMC, told KBest News that she appreciated everyone who came out for the event.
“It’s just important that we remember what happened,” said Moore. “In today’s day and age, we are now, like someone stated, we’re fighting a new 9/11 - which doesn’t even compare, but the [COVID-19] has been horrible. I think united we can still all come together, even in this time of adversity.”
When asked why the event is important to her, Moore told KBest News that it’s important for people to remember that united we stand strong and can overcome adversity as one people.
Big Spring PD stand with Family Faith Center Pastor Sam Segundo for photo after the Prayer at the Pole event on 9/11/2020 at Scenic Mountain Medical Center.
Bagpipes were played by Albert Cavazos during SMMC's Prayer at the Pole event on 09/11/2020.
In Midland last week, federal authorities filed a criminal complaint charging 36-year-old Juan Carlos Rodriguez and 30-year-old Jose Leonardo Rodriguez-Angeles for a scheme to steal oil in the Andrews County area and transport it to various disposal locations, including one in New Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Luis Quesada, El Paso Field Office.
The complaint charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy; one count of theft of an interstate shipment; and, one count of transportation of stolen property. The complaint alleges that on May 28, 2020, the defendants stole over 500 barrels of oil from at least three production lease locations around Andrews and transported the stolen oil across state lines into New Mexico where it was disposed of at a location near Eunice, New Mexico.
The complaint further alleges that on September 3, 2020, the defendants were responsible for stealing in excess of 100 additional barrels of oil from various production lease locations around Andrews and taking it to a disposal location in Odessa, TX. During the early morning hours of September 4, 2020, state authorities stopped the defendants following their return to Andrews County and arrested them while attempting to steal oil again from a previous (May 28th) victim company.
Both defendants remain in custody at this time. Upon conviction, the defendants face up to ten years in federal prison each for theft of an interstate shipment and interstate transportation of stolen property; and, up to five years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge.
The FBI’s Permian Basin Oilfield Theft Task Force is investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Fedock is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Howard County Commissioners Court will meet this afternoon, 09/14/2020, at 3:30 PM on the third floor of the Howard County Courthouse. In addition to regular agenda items, other topics include discussion and possible action on Absolute Fire Protection - Subscriber Monitoring Agreement Terms & Conditions and re-enrollment for free TAC Cyber Security Training Program, as well as discussion and possible action to lift the burn ban.
View the full agenda below.
The Big Spring Economic Development Corporation will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at 5:15 PM at the 215 W. 3rd St. in Big Spring. Items on the agenda for this meeting include approving the Leading EDG contract, 2019-2020 annual report, the 2020-2021 Plan of Work, and the 2020-2021 Depository bids.
View the full agenda below.
City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of 119 new positive COVID-19 test results for the week of September 7th, 2020. As of Friday, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 403 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. There are 128 active cases, and there have been 249 people who have recovered from COVID-19. Also last week, it was announced that there had been two more COVID-19 related deaths bringing the total fatality count for Howard County to 12. The most recent deaths were noted as being a 66-year-old male and a 59-year-old male, both of which were being treated outside of Howard County.
The dramatic increase in positive cases is attributed to an outbreak at the Federal Correctional Institution. Of the 119 new confirmed positive cases this week in Howard County, 105 are inmates at FCI Big Spring. Of the 128 active cases, 23 are Howard County residents; 105 are inmates at the FCI prison. Emergency Management expects additional positive cases from FCI to be reported in the coming days.
Unfortunately, the increase in the number of active cases has affected Howard County’s attestation of not having more than three confirmed positive active cases per 1000 residents. At this time restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, museums and libraries must limit their capacity to 50%.
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason told KBest News that it was unfortunate that the cases from FCI Big Spring have impacted the county’s allowed occupancy, but he reminded that the number is determined by the Texas Department of State Health and Services, which is the local health authority.
"When we're dealing with a state agency setting these terms for us, unfortunately, sometimes we're kinda stuck. We're all hoping that the Governor will come out with some expanded operating procedures here in the very near future," said Thomason. "That's something else we need to look at is if those numbers come back down to below attestation, that's a question in my mind is to whether or not we can go back up to 75 percent at that point or not."
"I'm not happy about it," continued Thomason, "and I understand that the business owners aren't gonna be happy about it, but, unfortunately, that's the way this was set by the Executive Order from the Governor and those are the numbers we've been given."
County and City officials continue to urge community members to take every precaution to protect yourself and your family members. Please continue to practice social distancing, stay home when possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask while in public areas. These are all things you can do to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill from any respiratory illness including COVID-19.
During Saturday’s Special Session of the Big Spring City Council, Anthony Michelic, with the PACE Group, spoke to Council members about their Executive Search Services for a City Manager.
PACE Group was the executive search firm recently used by the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation to find current Executive Director Mark Willis. During the presentation, Michelic advised that they charge one-third of the first year of the base salary that would be paid to the new City Manager plus expenses. With their service, the PACE Group returns in one year to conduct a performance evaluation and also offers a two-year guarantee. This means that if the candidate found quits or gets fired within 2 years, PACE Group returns to conduct another search free of charge.
After meeting in Executive Session, council members voted to appoint Public Works Director Shane Bowles as the Interim City Manager with a vote of 6-0.
When asked what his thoughts were about becoming Interim City Manager, Bowles told KBest News that he was surprised that he was nominated for the position.
“They’re just looking for someone to hold down the fort, get us through these times until we can find a City Manager that we can hire full-time that’s had more experience and had the opportunity to work for other cities and bring something new to Big Spring,” said Bowles.
According to Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, Bowles is someone who will bring a sense of stability to the staff and someone who has a really good handle on some of the critical areas of the city, such as streets, water, sewer, and sanitation.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Office is advising for citizens to be aware of a current scam in the area.
They say that someone is calling local residents identifying themselves as Deputy Tony Everett with the Howard County Sheriff's Office. The caller is trying to collect fines on warrants. Be aware that THIS IS A SCAM!!
The Howard County Sheriff's Office NEVER calls to collect money on any type of warrant. If you receive one of these calls please hang up. Citizens are urged to NOT GIVE THEM ANY INFORMATION!!
COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Recent rainfall observed across most of the state has significantly
reduced wildfire activity and the potential for large fire growth.
Fire environment—weather, fuels and current conditions
Over the past two weeks, observed rainfall across the state has significantly reduced wildfire potential. A moist fire environment is expected to continue the trend of low fire activity across the majority of the state.
There is a low potential for wildfire activity today through Saturday in portions of the Trans Pecos where rainfall has been scattered. There is a possibility for scattered thunderstorms through Saturday in this same region where lightning could ignite fires in dry fuels and cured grasses.
Any wildfires that do start are expected to spread slowly, as cool temperatures, low wind speed and elevated relative humidity do not produce a conducive fire environment for large fire growth.
For current conditions and wildfire outlook, check out the Texas Fire Potential Outlook:
Since the beginning of September, state and local resources have responded to 31 fires that have burned 2,052 acres. Many of the recent wildfire starts have been attributed to human activities—such as equipment use and debris burning—and are preventable.
So far in 2020, 541 wildfires that have burned 51,637 acres were the result of equipment use—such as welding and tractors or other heavy equipment. This includes three fires that have burned 285 acres so far in September.
Aviation resources continue to assist ground crews with water and retardant drops to slow forward progression of fires and douse hotspots across fire areas. Fire suppression aircraft have logged approximately 75 hours of flight time over the past week.
Efforts involved dropping 3,312 gallons of water and 9,019 gallons of retardant on multiple fires including the Smith Canyon Fire in Pecos County (11,348 acres, 100% contained) and the Sotol Mitchell Fire in Pecos County (69 acres, 100% contained).
Aviation resources currently staged in state include one Type 3 helicopter, three single engine air tankers, and one air attack platform.
Since January 1, 2020, state and local resources have responded to 4,462 fires that have burned a total of 231,582 acres. Aviation resources have flown 2,298 hours, dropping 2,307,821 gallons of water and retardant on Texas wildfires so far this year.
Due to significant fire activity occurring in multiple geographic areas across the country and heavy commitment of shared resources to large fires nationally, the National Multi Agency Coordinating Group has raised the National Preparedness Level to Level 5.
Preparedness Levels are dictated by fuel and weather conditions, fire activity, and fire suppression resource availability throughout the country. Level 5 is the highest level of wildland fire activity and indicates heavy resource commitment to fires nationally. The state of Texas is currently at a Level 3 with increased resource commitment and wildfire activity statewide.
In addition to wildfire response across the state, Texas A&M Forest Service personnel are currently assisting with Hurricane Laura response efforts. Twenty-three personnel are providing planning and logistical support for recovery operations to Texas Division of Emergency Management.
If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.
For frequent wildfire and incident updates, follow the Texas A&M Forest Service incident information Twitter account, https://twitter.com/AllHazardsTFS.
Prevention and Mitigation
Any spark can cause a wildfire. Hot work—such as welding and grinding—can easily ignite fires in or near your work area. Taking a few extra minutes to prepare your work area prior to welding or grinding can reduce the potential for ignition of these fires, and having a spotter or fire watch can help prevent sparks from becoming wildfires.
When welding, grinding or cutting metal outdoors, follow these precautions to reduce the threat of accidentally starting a wildfire:
• Remove vegetation and other flammable materials from your work area.
• Wet the ground around your work area prior to creating any sparks.
• Assign someone as a fire watch.
• Keep water and a fire extinguisher nearby.
• Place a welding/fire blanket under your work area to catch sparks.
• Avoid parking vehicles in dry grass tall enough to touch the vehicle’s exhaust or the underside of the vehicle.
• Avoid welding during Red Flag conditions or on windy days.
Residents should pay attention to county burn bans and avoid all outdoor burning until conditions improve. Burn ban information can be found by contacting local fire departments or by visiting https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/TexasBurnBans/.
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has added additional Saturday appointment availability at select driver license (DL) offices for customers needing to renew or replace their Texas DL or ID cards. Participating DL offices will offer a limited number of appointments on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 to help Texans handle these specific transactions. The offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nearly 700,000 Texas DL/ID cards expired while DL offices were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By offering Saturday service for renewal and replacement appointments only, DPS is working to provide customers with expired cards an additional option to handle their DL transactions. The department anticipates adding more Saturday appointments in the coming months.
Scheduling an appointment
As a reminder, DPS launched an appointment solution in May, and all services at DL offices are now conducted by appointment only. DPS moved to appointments only as part of our efforts to provide additional convenience, reducing the time Texans spend waiting in line. Customers can now book appointments for a specific day and time up to six months in advance. To schedule an appointment or check availability, visit the online appointment scheduler.
Upon arrival at the DL office, customers can check-in using the kiosk inside the office or from their mobile device. Customers can only check-in up to 30 minutes prior to their appointment time. Due to social distancing requirements related to COVID-19, we ask that customers who arrive more than 30 minutes in advance of their appointment wait in their vehicle until it is time to check-in. DL offices have implemented additional protocols to ensure a safe environment for customers; read about these measures here.
Extension Remains in Place
It’s important to remember that the extension for expiration dates that was granted in response to COVID-19 remains in effect. The extension means that if your Texas ID, DL, commercial driver license or election identification certificate card expires on or after March 13, 2020, it falls under the period covered by the State of Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 and will remain valid for 60 days after which time DPS issues a public notice that the extension period for the disaster declaration has been lifted. At this time, this 60-day notice has not been issued, and Texans still have time to conduct their renewal transactions.
BIG SPRING – Emergency Department visits for young people with thoughts of suicide or self-harm increased by 25 percent during the latest CDC report.
The data was culled from emergency room visits from January 2017 through December 2018.
The sharp uptick is especially troubling since this was several years before social isolation from COVID-19, said West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith, LMSW.
“Mental health professionals are especially concerned of the fall-out stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Smith said. “This is uncharted territory for all of us, especially our youth who have been enrolled in online learning and kept away from friends and extended family and sometimes their jobs for significant periods of time.”
“Teen-agers are very social and interactions with their peers, their teachers and clubs and sports are of tantamount importance at this stage of their development. This is one of the most important times for families to be in tune with their child’s mental health development.”
Many organizations, including West Texas Centers is amplifying its mission of suicide prevention for the month of September, which is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
West Texas Centers operates a 24-hour Crisis Line for anyone who needs immediate assistance. The number is 1-800-375-4357.
West Texas Centers also offers information, education, emotional support and links to resources for people affected by COVID-19.
“Everyone should be aware of the warning signs of suicide and how to help someone you believe may be thinking of harming him or herself,” Smith said.
The National Institute of Mental Health suggests contacting social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.
The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide, according to National Institute of Mental Health.
Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves.
Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live.
Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun.
Talking about great guilt or shame.
Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions.
Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
Talking about being a burden to others.
Using alcohol or drugs more often.
Acting anxious or agitated.
Withdrawing from family and friends.
Changing eating and/or sleeping habits.
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast.
Talking or thinking about death often.
Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy.
Giving away important possessions.
Saying goodbye to friends and family.
Putting affairs in order, making a will.
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or recently increased.
If you know of someone in crisis, please call the West Texas Centers Crisis Line or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). The services are free and available 24 hours a day seven days a week.
The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.
West Texas Centers is the Mental Health Authority for 23 counties in rural West Texas.
During Tuesday night’s regular session of the Big Spring City Council, Council members voted 7-0 to table the final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 32 of the Big Spring City Code that would assess an additional twenty percent penalty to defray costs of collecting delinquent property taxes that remain delinquent on July 1 of the year in which they become delinquent.
During discussion, it was stated that this has been the amount that had been agreed upon in the past and has just been carried over each year. City Attorney Andrew Hagen advised the council the current contract is set to automatically renew on October 1, 2020, but did note that council members hadn’t pursued their options yet. Ultimately, council members agreed to speak with a representative from a law firm that collects delinquent property taxes for local governments so they could ask questions to learn about the options they have available to them at this time.
All other consent items, vouchers, and bids were approved with a unanimous vote.
During New Business items, a discussion was held on amending the Big Spring Code of Ordinances to allow for the operation of golf carts, neighborhood electric vehicles, and off-highway vehicles on streets and roads in the City of Big Spring in accordance with HB 1548 as enacted by the 86th Texas Legislature.
Council members also unanimously voted to table the authorization of the City Manager or his Designee to negotiate without contracting authority a Right-of-Way License or Easement within the City of Big Spring to Sinclair Oil or to another Party, with such negotiating authority to expire after 180 Days. Council members agreed to invite a representative from Sinclair Oil to speak at a City Council meeting so that the public would have an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns on the topic.
The item concerning a possible action of agreement with Cap-Rock Holdings, LLC was not removed from the table during Tuesday night’s meeting.
The following people were appointed to the following boards and committees:
- Board of Adjustments & Appeals - Walter Brumley, Jr. (Electrician) was re-appointed for a full term. Another opening for an engineer is still available.
- Convention & Visitors Bureau Board - Jay Patel was reappointed to the Hotel Industry position. Gloria Pierce was reappointed to an At Large position, and Susan McLellan was newly appointed to an At Large position on the board. All were appointed for full terms. No other openings are available at this time.
- McMahon/Wrinkle Airpark Development Board - Willie Rangle, Jr. and Phillip Welch were both reappointed to the board, and Rodney Patridge and JD Smith were newly appointed. Rangel, Welch, and Patridge were appointed for full terms; Smith was appointed to an unexpired term.
- Parks & Recreation Board - Johnny DeLeon was reappointed to serve on this board, and Patsy Garza was newly appointed. Both received full terms. There is still (1) vacant position for an unexpired term on the board.
- Planning & Zoning Commission - Kelly Owens and Kevan Schooler were reappointed to the board for full terms. There are no other vacancies for this board at this time.
- Traffic Commission - Charles Smith and Diana Yanez were reappointed for full terms. There is (1) unexpired term still vacant on this board.
- Zoning Board of Adjustments - Joe Lopez and Thomas Jesse Stewart were newly appointed for full terms to this board. There is still (1) unexpired alternate position on this board that is still available.
All other items listed in New Business were unanimously approved.
While discussing “Personnel Matters,” Council members offered City Manager Todd Darden, City Attorney Andrew Hagen, and Municipal Judge Timothy Green the option to hold their evaluations in open or closed sessions. Darden opted to have his completed in an open session, and was later dismissed immediately with a 4-3 vote.
Hagen and Judge Green opted to have their evaluations completed in closed sessions. When the meeting was reconvened in open session, councilmembers took no action regarding Hagen nor Judge Green.
For more on the dismissal of the Big Spring City Manager, visit:
Today, 09/10/2020, it has been reported by multiple sources that the Federal Correctional Institution in Big Spring has the most COVID-19 cases out of all of the federal prisons in the country – as shown on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
According to the website, 129 prisoners have tested positive, and only one has recovered. Six staff members have also tested positive. No deaths have been reported.
Emery Nelson, with the Office of Public Affairs for the Federal BOP, told KBest News that the number listed as "Inmate Positives" is only the current number of current cases that have not been resolved. According to the website, information is updated by the BOP's Office of Occupational Health and Safety at 11:00 a.m. each day.
Although, FCI Big Spring leads in the number of “Inmate Positives” for 09/10/2020, there are other facilities that lead in other categories for today. Those are shown below:
Category - Total, Facility, Location
Inmate Positives - 129, Big Spring FCI, Big Spring, TX
Staff Positives - 34, Coleman Medium FCI, Sumterville, FL
Inmate Deaths - 16, Butner Low FCI, Butner, NC
Staff Deaths - 1, Butner Low FCI, Butner, NC*
Staff Deaths - 1, Coleman Low FCI, Sumterville, FL*
Inmates recovered - 1320, Seagoville FCI, Seagoville, TX
Staff recovered - 64, Danbury FCI, Danbury, CT
* - tied for most Staff Deaths
To view today's information for all BOP facilities, visit: