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KBST News Archives for 2020-05

BLOOD DONORS NEEDED: 2-Day Blood Drive in Big Spring, June 1-2, 2020 at SMMC.


Vitalant will be back in Big Spring with their 2-day blood drive, which begins Monday, June 1, 2020. The bus will be located at Scenic Mountain Medical Center, 1601 W. 11th Pl.. They'll be there on Monday, June 1st, from 9am to 3pm, and Tuesday, June 2nd, from 9am to 1pm.

 

Be advised that all donors must have face masks on. All donors will receive a free COVID-19 antibodies test and results will be received within 10 days. 

 

According to Dianne Scott, Donor Recruitment Supervisor for Vitalant, they’ll be social distancing and will check donors’ temperatures before they get on the bus.

 

Scott told KBest News that during April and May, they only had 8 blood drives. During a normal year, they would have had around 60 blood drives in that amount of time.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the local blood bank hard, and now they have to work to get as much blood as possible. 

 

Walk-ins are welcomed, but if you’d prefer to register in advance for an appointment, visit bloodhero.com 

 

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PUBLIC NOTICE - HOWARD COUNTY COURTHOUSE OPENING


PUBLIC NOTICE
RE: COURTHOUSE OPENING


Beginning June 1, 2020 Howard County Offices will open all doors to the public.

 

We urge people to follow social distancing and other health guidelines. Wearing a face mask while conducting business in any building is strongly recommended.


We ask that only those directly involved in conducting business enter the given building.

 

Please stay safe!

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Big Spring City Council meeting highlights, 05/26/20


During Tuesday’s Big Spring City Council meeting, City Manager Todd Darden advised the council that board applications were still needed for the following boards:

  • Engineer or Architect Board of Adjustments & Appeals

  • Alternate for Zoning Board of Adjustments

  • Animal Control & Rescue Committee

  • Convention & Visitors Bureau Board

  • CRMWD

  • Citizens Advisory Board

 

The bid for the trickling filter upgrades at the Water Treatment Plant was awarded to Raschig USA. Council members also approved an engineering services agreement with Jacob and Martin for testing materials for the Airpark Street Improvement project, as well as an agreement with the YMCA for lifeguards at the Russ McEwen Aquatic Center.

 

Council members also approved a motion to direct the City of Big Spring City Manager and staff to develop a program of development incentives for infill lots in established subdivisions. Council members Raul Marquez, District 1 Councilman; Terry McDaniel, District 3 Councilman, and Jim DePauw, District 6 Councilman, were appointed to give input to the City Manager in developing the program. 

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Howard County Commissioners Court Highlights, 05/26/2020


During Tuesday’s meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, a resolution was passed concerning the 2020 Helping America Vote Act Cares sub-act grant to Texas Counties. The TAC HEBP Insurance Renewal for 2020-2021 was also approved. Commissioners also granted the Howard County Auditor’s Office the legal authority to apply for grants, including FEMA, CARES, HAVA, or any other grants related to COVID-19. Also during the meeting, the ban of fireworks with fins and sticks was approved by Commissioners. 

 

Russell Gallahan, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, with the Data Analysis and Transparency Division, delivered a presentation on creating a County Assistance District for Howard County. Commissioners discussed the possibility of creating a county sales tax in the unincorporated areas of the county.

 

 

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Pops Fireworks Postponed to 2021


Date: May 27, 2020
From: Pops in the Park Committee
Re: Pops in the Park 2020

 

With great sorrow and disappointment, the Pops in the Park Committee has made the difficult decision to cancel the planned fireworks display for the 23rd annual Pops in the Park due to ongoing concerns related to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

There were numerous concerns leading to this decision. First, the last few months have financially impacted many of our potential sponsors; the committee wants to be sensitive in asking for major financial commitments for the event. Second, we planned to proceed with just the public fireworks display in an alternative location; however, with the current burn ban in effect for Howard County, safety is our primary concern. While we have done Pops in the Park during burn bans in previous years, those events were in Comanche Trail Park which is an area that can be controlled. Third, state permits for fireworks displays are very specific and take many weeks for approval. This process is currently delayed by the state due to the quarantine, therefore rescheduling of the fireworks later in the year does not guarantee a permit…and we do not want to plan for the event later only to have it cancelled again. Lastly, and most importantly, we are concerned about the safety of attendees, first responders, volunteers, and our committee in an environment where social distancing would be difficult to manage. Despite exploring many options, the committee was unable to find any way to proceed safely with the fireworks display as planned.

 

The Pops in the Park Committee looks forward to this event every year; we are extremely saddened and disappointed, but the health and safety of our community while respecting our sponsors are our priorities in reaching this difficult decision. We look forward to the return of this celebratory and captivating event in 2021!

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7th and 8th COVID-19 cases confirmed in Howard County


From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

Re: COVID-19


On May 28, 2020 at approximately 8:00 AM, City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of two (2) positive test result for COVID-19. Patient #1 is 26-year-old female. This patient is currently isolated at home and is expected to recover. The second patient is a 59-year-old female who is also isolated at home. Both are health care workers and it has been determined they contracted by community spread.


This is the seventh and eighth confirmed case in Big Spring/Howard County.

 

Local officials continue to ask all members of the community to remain cautious through this time and take precautions to protect themselves and their family.

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RESCIND BOIL WATER NOTICE 5/27/2020


On May 22, 2020, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the City of Big Spring public water system, (PWS ID #1140001), to issue a Boil Water Notice to inform customers, individuals, or employees that due to conditions which occurred recently in the public water system, the water from this public water system was required to be boiled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes.


The public water system has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore the quality of the water distributed by this public water system used for drinking water or human consumption purposes and has provided TCEQ with laboratory test results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling prior to use as of May 27, 2020.

 

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact Shane Bowles, Public Works Director at 432-264-2501.

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87th annual Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo - Cancelled for 2020


With the 87th annual Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo being scheduled for late June, many Howard County residents had hoped that the event would mark the beginning of life returning to normal. Unfortunately, Friday evening, the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo board members announced that this year’s event would not be taking place. 

 

According to a statement posted on their Facebook page, board members worked tirelessly to work through the logistics of continuing with the event in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the guidelines came out from Governor Greg Abbott’s office with the 25 percent occupancy, they decided that those numbers would make it near impossible to operate the 87th annual rodeo. 

 

Cash Berry, President of the Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo Board, told KBest News that they were up against many other factors as well, such as policing social distancing. He also said that PRCA guidelines required that contestants and committee members be medically screened, and requiring everyone to wear face masks.

 

"We felt like with the heat indexes that we face with a rodeo in June, that's a lot to put on your volunteers. To ask them to take tickets and sell tickets, be on the gate, doing all the cleaning chores, and do everything that comes with it while wearing a mask, that's a lot to ask," said Berry.  

 

Berry told KBest New that everyone on the board wanted to find a way to continue with the rodeo, but in the end there were too many obstacles to overcome. 

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Local Government Meetings, 05/26/2020


HOWARD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT
There will be a budget workshop today at the Howard County Courthouse beginning at 2:30 PM. The workshop will be streamed on the Facebook page for Howard County Info Tech. Afterward, there will be a regular meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court that will begin at 3:30 PM.

 

View the full agenda here:
http://www.co.howard.tx.us/…/2020%20Age…/CCM%205-26-2020.PDF

 

BIG SPRING CITY COUNCIL
The City of Big Spring will meet for a regular session tonight at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers, located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring. It should be noted that the public is still able to attend the meetings in person if they choose to do so. The meeting can also be viewed by a live broadcast on Suddenlink Channel 17 or through the Media Center on the city website at mybigspring.com. Those wishing to make a public comment can do so by calling 432-264-2411 during the meeting.

 

View the full agenda here:
http://mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/…/_05262020-398

 

Watch tonight's meeting online through this link:
http://mybigspring.com/224/Channel-17-Live

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Rodman presented with Quilt of Valor, 05/23/2020


On Saturday morning, 05/23/2020, Cross Roads Young Marines Unit Commander Roger Rodman was presented with the Quilt of Valor by Mike Tarpley, local presenter of the Quilts of Valor. The local Young Marines and staff also assisted in the presentation. The Quilt of Valor is given to Veterans in recognition of service and sacrifice for this Nation.

 

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

 

Photo: Roger Rodman (center) is presented with the Quilt of Valor by Mike Tarpley (right), while Young Marines (right) look on. Photo taken from the Cross Roads Young Marines Facebook page.

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Governor Abbott Announces Extensions To Payment Deadlines For Certain Employers


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has extended payment deadlines for designated reimbursing employers that are required to pay a share of unemployment benefits. Designated reimbursing employers include non-profits, local governments, school districts and other qualifying employers who reimburse TWC for the full amount of unemployment benefits to be paid to eligible former employees. 

 

TWC’s action delays the due date for the June 1 payment to December 31, 2020.  This action also waives interest and penalty charges during the same time period, and does not reduce or eliminate this payment for reimbursing employers. Instead, it provides more time for these employers to secure resources to meet these and other liabilities as they deal with the implications of COVID-19. This extension also does not delay or prevent Texans who qualify for unemployment benefits from receiving these resources.

 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic challenges, and the State of Texas is committed to helping both employers and Texans who have lost their jobs through this challenge,” said Governor Abbott. “This payment extension will help these employers address financial setbacks due to COVID-19 and provide them more time to pay their share of unemployment benefits. As Texas continues to respond to COVID-19, we are committed to ensuring employers across the state have the resources they need to recover." 

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Howard County and City of Big Spring offices to close for Memorial Day, May 25, 2020.


Howard County will close all offices on Monday, May 25, 2020 in observance of Memorial Day. County Offices will open again for business on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

 

Sheriff’s Administrative Offices will be closed but Law Enforcement Services will operate as normal.

 

All City of Big Spring offices, including Sanitation and the Landfill, will be closed on Monday, May 25, 2020, for Memorial Day. The City Landfill will be open on Saturday, May 23, 2020, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. All City offices will reopen Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at 8:00 AM.

 

There will be no sanitation pick-up on Memorial Day. The Sanitation pick-up schedule for the week of May 25, 2020, will be as follows:

 

Normal Monday pick-ups will be collected on Tuesday. Normal Tuesday pick-ups will be collected on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday pick-ups will be normal.

 

Emergency services (Police, Fire, and EMS) will continue normal operations. The Emergency Utilities Department will also be available and can be reached at 432-264-2392.

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Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Suspending In-Person Visitations In County And Municipal Jails


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order suspending in-person visitations in all county and municipal jails in the state of Texas. This restriction does not apply to visitation by an attorney meeting with a client or a religious leader or member of the clergy. The Governor previously directed state prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities to restrict visitation upon issuing his COVID-19 disaster declaration. This executive order adds another layer of defense to contain COVID-19 hot spots, prevent community spread, and protect staff and inmates.

 

"Jails have shown to be highly susceptible to COVID-19 surges which is why we are focused on containing any potential hot spots and preventing spread both within jails and the community," said Governor Abbott. "I encourage jails to utilize virtual visitation strategies to allow for visitations in a way that protects both staff and the inmate population. The State of Texas is committed to keeping all Texans safe, protecting our most vulnerable populations, and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Lone Star State."

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BOIL WATER NOTICE for BIG SPRING, 05/22/2020


On Friday, May 22, 2020, City crews replaced several water valves in the area of East 24th Street from Scurry Street to Runnels Street. This required water service to be shut down over a large portion of Big Spring.

 

Due to the valve replacement, water had to be drained from a portion of the City’s water system for an extended period of time, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required the City of Big Spring (PWS ID #1140001) public water system to notify all customers in Big Spring to boil their water prior to consumption (e.g., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc.). Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all impacted customers should follow these directions.

 

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

 

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes. When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the public water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

 

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, the public water system will issue a rescind notice to customers that cancels the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice.

 

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

 

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact Shane Bowles, Public Works Director at 432-264-2501.

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Area News: After Storms Hit Lubbock and San Angelo, Residents Must Prepare For Roofing Scams


Today, the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT) issued a warning to the residents of Lubbock and San Angelo to beware of fraudulent contractors after wind and hail storms hit the area. 

"After this week's storms in the Lubbock and San Angelo areas, consumers need to take extra precautions to avoid falling for a roofing scam," said Sarah Ramon, director of the RCAT. "Fortunately, there are a few simple steps residents can take to protect themselves."

When hiring a roofing contractor, make sure you:

  • Get more than one bid

  • Hire local and check references

  • Require a written contract and proof of insurance

  • Do NOT provide payment upfront 

As one of the few states that does not require roofers to obtain licenses or register their businesses, Texans can be particularly vulnerable to roofing scams. Fraudulent contractors typically flock to storm-ridden areas and offer fast, cheap repairs for a high down payment, but leave before any work is completed. Unfortunately, scammers often target vulnerable populations including low-income and elderly Texans.

"Especially given the high unemployment rates and many strapped wallets, these scams could mean financial disaster for many struggling Texans," said Ramon. "We're doing everything in our power to help homeowners protect against losing money to scammers."

Leading up to the 2021 Legislative Session, RCAT will look to pass legislation providing consumer protections in this completely unregulated industry. Although RCAT made historic progress in this type of legislation during the 2019 session, the legislation was ultimately defeated on the House floor. For now, it is up to Texans to spot and send scammers packing. 

To learn more about how you can protect against falling for a roofing scam, review our tips for hiring a roofer and join the fight to establish consumer protections at www.saferoofsovertexas.com

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Trinity Memorial Park hosts "Avenue of Flags" for Memorial Day, 05/25/2020


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trinity Memorial Park will be hosting a special event in place of their traditional Memorial Day Remembrance ceremony. 

 

On Monday, May 25, Trinity Memorial Park will transform into an "Avenue of Flags" - and they invite the public to take a drive of remembrance, any time between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., in honor of those who died serving our country. American flags will line their roads, and local Boy Scouts will mark each veteran's gravesite as a tribute to these fallen heroes.

 

Patriotic music will be aired on The Mighty 1490 AM and 103.9 FM from 10 AM to 2 PM so that listeners can listen to a patriotic playlist while visiting the Avenue of Flags on Memorial Day. 

 

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Area News: Scurry County Health Unit Director Warns of Widespread COVID-19 Exposure


SNYDER, TX (Snyder Daily News) - After announcing Scurry County's five most recent positive COVID-19 test results, Scurry County Health Unit director Dana Hartman posted online that at least one of the individuals who tested positive had been "EVERYWHERE IN SCURRY COUNTY."

 

In a Thursday press release, Scurry County Judge Dan Hicks announced that one of the positive tests had been administered to a county employee stationed at the Scurry County Law Enforcement Center.

 

The only other information released about the individuals that tested positive was that four were female and one was male.

 

Two females were between the ages of 35 and 45, one was between 15 and 25 years old and one was between 55 and 65 years old.

 

The male was between 55 and 65 years old.

 

Hicks said in a Thursday press release employees and inmates would be tested over the next 48-96 hours.

 

“Those tests will be administered by both Cogdell (Memorial) Hospital as well as a State Testing Team,” Hicks wrote. He said approximately 140 tests would be administered.

 

Hartman confirmed two state teams will be in Scurry County.

 

Responding to a suggestion about asking the state's mobile testing units to return to Scurry County she wrote, "Excellent idea, I wish we would have thought of that.”

 

Hartman also suggested that anyone concerned about their health or safety, “might consider moving to a different county where you will feel safe.”

 

Hartman also encouraged people to take proper precautions.

 

Hicks said he did not plan to expand the disaster declaration or take additional action.

 

“Scurry County will not add new orders. Governor’s orders supersede any orders we would (put) into place,” he said.

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Surge teams conduct COVID-19 testing at Big Spring nursing home facilities.


During the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas, it has been discovered that hot spots for the state center around food processing facilities, jails and prisons, and nursing homes. Earlier this month, Governor Greg Abbott issued an order to conduct COVID-19 tests on 100 percent of staff and residents at nursing homes. In order to get this accomplished, he announced that there would be a partnership with the local fire departments.

 

In Big Spring and Howard County, there are 3 nursing home facilities that total in approximately 600 residents and staff and require testing. The state-mandated testing only applies to licensed nursing homes, such as Big Spring for Skilled Care, Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and Lamen-Lusk-Sanchez Texas State Veterans Home.

 

According to Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, other than being provided with testing, there were no additional resources offered to get testing completed before the state’s deadline of May 25, 2020. Thomason advised that the Big Spring Fire Department had 4-5 off-duty personnel available to conduct 600 tests in a matter of days. Since the personnel had no training in conducting the tests, the city coordinated with the Texas Department of Emergency Management to bring in a surge team of approximately 20 people to complete the testing. 

 

Two of the three nursing home facilities in Big Spring have been tested and testing at the last facility begins today, Friday. 

 

As of Thursday afternoon, this brought the total number of COVID-19 tests conducted in Howard County to 731. 251have tested negative, 473 test results are still pending, and there have been 6 confirmed cases in the county. 5 of the 6 have recovered and there has been 1 death.

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Governor Abbott, DPS Announce Limited Reopening Of Driver License Offices


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin a phased opening of driver license offices starting May 26th with limited service offerings. As part of this opening plan, DPS will launch a statewide driver license (DL) appointment system that allows customers to book appointments up to six months in advance. The limited services being offered will be by appointment only. 

 

"This phased opening of our driver license offices and the launch of DPS' online appointment system prioritizes the health and safety of our communities and ensures Texans have access to the services they need at their local driver license offices," said Governor Abbott. "I thank DPS for developing this safe and strategic plan to open their offices and for launching a new appointment system to streamline our driver license services."

 

The four-phase plan for the opening of driver license offices is as follows:

 

Phase 1: Offices in DPS’ Northwest and West Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning May 26, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these two regions on May 22 at 1 p.m. 

 

Phase 2: Offices in DPS’ South and Central Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning May 29, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these two regions on May 26 at 1 p.m.

 

Phase 3: Offices in DPS’ North and Southeast Texas regions will reopen with limited services beginning June 3, 2020. Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a drive test, can begin scheduling appointments in these two regions on May 29 at 1 p.m.

 

Phase 4 will allow customers to schedule an appointment for all DL office transactions anywhere in the state and is expected to begin midsummer. DPS will announce details on this phase at a later date. Extension for expiration dates will remain in effect until phase 4 is implemented.

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Area News: Fatal Crash in Scurry County Crash, 05/20/2020


On Wednesday evening at approximately 6:15 PM, DPS Troopers responded to a fatal crash in Scurry County on US Why-180, less than 5 miles east of Snyder. 

 

According to the crash report, Charles Surgin Gardner, male, 48, of Glenn Heights, was traveling west on US-180 in a 2017 Polaris Slingshot while in the rain with wet road conditions. The vehicle hydroplaned and slid off the south side of the roadway, through a barrow ditch, and fence. Gardner was pronounced dead on scene. The crash is under investigation.

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Governor Abbott Waives Late Fees For TABC License And Permit Renewals


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott has allowed Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) license and permit renewals to occur after the current 30 day grace period after an expiration date without any late fees. This waiver applies to renewals with an expiration date on or after March 13, 2020.

 

"As we continue to safely and strategically open the state of Texas, we want to ensure financial barriers are removed for businesses that plan to open up to the public," said Governor Abbott. "By granting an extended renewal period and waiving license and permit renewal late fees, we are ensuring Texas entrepreneurs and business owners are supported as we kick-start our economy and continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic." 

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Sales Tax Holidays for Water-Efficient and ENERGY STAR® Products Set for May 23-25


 

(AUSTIN) — As Texas businesses slowly reopen their doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is reminding families and businesses that they can save on the purchase of certain water- and energy-efficient products during the state’s Water-Efficient Products and ENERGY STAR® sales tax holidays.

 

The holidays, created by the Texas Legislature, both take place Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25.

 

“Inefficient appliances and outdated water systems put a tremendous strain on our power grids and water supplies,” Hegar said. “Even in these uncertain times, Texans can take advantage of this sales tax holiday to buy more energy-efficient items, support local businesses and save money. You can practice social distancing and other precautionary measures when shopping in person or shop online. Qualifying products are tax free.”

 

This is the fifth year for the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday. Products displaying a WaterSense® label or logo can be purchased tax free for personal or business use. These include showerheads, bathroom sink faucets and accessories, toilets, urinals and landscape irrigation controls.

 

The sales tax holiday also applies to lawn and garden products that help conserve water outdoors. Items qualifying for the exemption include soaker or drip-irrigation hoses; moisture controls for sprinkler or irrigation systems; mulch; and plants, trees and grasses. These items can be purchased tax free for residential use only.

 

There’s no limit to the number of water-efficient or water-conserving products you can purchase tax free. For more information on the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday, visit the Comptroller’s website. 

 

During the ENERGY STAR Sales Tax Holiday, certain energy-efficient products displaying the ENERGY STAR logo can be purchased tax free, including air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less, refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less, ceiling fans, fluorescent light bulbs, dishwashers, dehumidifiers and clothes washing machines.

 

Visit the Comptroller’s website for more ENERGY STAR Sales Tax Holiday details

Estimated annual energy and water savings for eligible products are listed below.
 

ENERGY STAR® Appliance vs. Conventional
Appliance Type Energy Savings Water Savings
Central Air Conditioners 8%  
Room/Window Air Conditioners 10%  
Refrigerators 10%  
Freezers 10%  
Ceiling Fans/Light Combination Units 60%  
ENERGY STAR Certified Light Bulbs 90%  
ENERGY STAR Certified Fixtures 90%  
ENERGY STAR Certified Decorative Light Strings 75%  
Clothes Washers 40%-50% 55%
Dishwashers 12% 30%
Dehumidifiers 15%  
WaterSense Products - Showerheads   2 gallons/minute max
WaterSense Label - Toilets   20%-60%
 

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BSPD arrest two for Aggravated Robbery, 05/20/2020


The following is a news release from Big Spring Police Department:

 

On the 19th of May 2020 at approximately 7:43 P.M., officers of the Big Spring Police Department were dispatched to a Robbery in the 1500 block of Chickasaw. Upon arrival it was reported that the victim, a 35 years of age Hispanic/Male, was walking to a friend’s house when a vehicle occupied by two males pulled up to him. The victim reported one of the males pointed a pistol at him while the other began going through the victims pockets. It was reported that while the two suspects were stealing property from the victim, he attempted to grab the pistol and the pistol was fired causing the victim to run away. The victim was found to have suffered non-life threatening injuries during the altercation. Officers later located the suspect vehicle and suspects in the 1600 block of Avion and Detectives with the Big Spring Police Department responded. After conducting the preliminary investigation an adult male identified as Marcus Diago Pena Black/Male 17 years of age and a 16 year old juvenile male were arrested and charged with the Felony 1 offense Aggravated Robbery.

 

This continues to be an ongoing criminal investigation and no further information is available at this time.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams
Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon
CID Sergeant John Haynes

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Area News: Sands CISD seniors graduate on visitor's side of the football field, 05/15/2020


Earlier this month, the Texas Education Agency issued guidance for Class of 2020 graduation ceremonies in the state of Texas. As part of Governor Greg Abbott’s Strike Force to Open Texas, TEA advised that schools had four different pathways to celebrate their graduating seniors:

 

  • Completely virtual ceremonies

  • Hybrid ceremonies, 

  • Vehicle ceremonies, or 

  •  Outdoor in-person ceremonies.

 

Rural counties with five or less cases of COVID-19 could participate in outdoor in-person ceremonies from May 15 - 31st. All counties that did not meet that qualification, would have to wait to hold their outdoor ceremonies until at least June 1, 2020.

 

Thanks to the guidance issued by TEA, many school districts were able to form plans for graduation ceremonies. For Sands CISD, a consolidated school district located in Ackerly, Texas that sits both in Dawson and Martin Counties, this was a little more complicated. While Martin County did meet the requirement of having less than 5 confirmed cases, Dawson County had over 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

 

Instead of waiting until June 1st to hold an outdoor graduation ceremony for their 7 graduating seniors, Sands CISD obtained approval from the Martin County Judge and held their ceremony last Friday, May 15, 2020, on the visiting side of their football field; the side of the field that sits in Martin County. 

 

 

 

 

For more on this story, visit: https://www.kcbd.com/2020/05/18/football-field-split-between-two-counties-forces-graduation-visitors-side/?fbclid=IwAR3Zdl9LM7RuHh9mnLM1oqfSmlIwO1frZNQNfnpa2gPefhb61AFrNN3y1I4

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FHS Senior Celebration Parade, 05/21/2020 at 7 PM


Forsan High School seniors will be celebrated with a parade tomorrow evening, 05/21/2020, in Forsan. The parade begins at 7 PM at 1st and Ave. H. The procession will travel north on Ave. H toward the high school, then move west behind the elementary school, and travel south back to 1st St.

Spectators are encouraged to line-up along the parade route between 6:30 - 6:45 PM, and are encouraged to stay in their vehicles.

 

Seniors participating in the drive-thru celebration will receive their diploma, scholarship information, and more goodies. The best decorated vehicle in the parade will also receive a $50 gift card from Sonic.

 

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St. Vincent de Paul offers variety of assistance to the Big Spring community.


Last Thursday, St. Vincent de Paul, part of Trinity Catholic Parish in Big Spring, distributed groceries to people in need through a drive-thru set up process. Although several organizations have been conducting grocery distributions to assist families during the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Vincent de Paul distributes boxes of groceries regularly for many years, that’s according to Rosario Medrano, President of St. Vincent de Paul. Food box distribution for the organization takes place every 2nd Thursday of the month from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

 

In addition to that, every 3rd Thursday of the month St. Vincent de Paul offers utility and rent assistance. They’ll be available this tomorrow, May 21, 2020, to visit with applicants who request assistance from 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM, at 1009 Hearn Street, next to Trinity Catholic Parish. 

 

Those requesting rent/utility assistance must bring documentation with them such as a bill with termination notice, if possible, an eviction notice with a copy of the lease, medical bill, or proof of an upcoming medical appointment if the request is for a gas voucher.

 

Be advised that their office is not open to the public at this time, but visitors are encouraged to ring the doorbell and return to their vehicle and staff members will come out to assist them.

 

For more information, contact 432-606-5000.

 

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2020 Valedictorians and Salutatorians for CHS, FHS, and BSHS.


Graduation is right around the corner for Big Spring area students. Coahoma High School’s graduation is scheduled for Thursday, May 21st, at 4 PM at Bill Easterling Memorial Stadium. This year’s valedictorian is Sydney Rinard and salutatorian is Marcus Martinez.

 

Forsan High School will have their virtual graduation ceremony this week. Their video will be posted to their Forsan ISD website at 6 PM on Friday, May 22nd. This year’s valedictorian for Forsan High School is Taylyn Still and salutatorian is Chloe Igneczi.

 

Big Spring High School will have an outdoor graduation ceremony on Friday, June 5th, at 9 PM at Memorial Stadium. This year’s valedictorian for Big Spring High School is Anthony Sarmiento and salutatorian is Corey Rogers.

 

Congratulations to everyone for their hard work!

 

 

 

 

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CHS announces this year's Valedictorian and Salutatorian


COAHOMA — The top two students of the Coahoma High School Class of 2020 are Sydney Rinard and Marcus Martinez.

 

Sydney, the daughter of Jim and Tasha Rinard, has been named the class valedictorian and will further her education at Angelo State University. She plans to major in kinesiology. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Sydney plans to earn her doctorate at Parker University located in Dallas.

 

“In the future I plan on becoming a chiropractor and eventually someday opening up my own clinic,” Sydney said. “It has always been really important to me that whatever I do for the rest of my life has something to do with science and giving back to the community. Since my freshman year of high school, I have been set on becoming a chiropractor and that is exactly what I plan to do within the next five or six years.”

 

Marcus, the son of Levi Burchett and Isaac Martinez, is the class salutatorian and will head to Waco after graduation to attend Baylor University and pursue a career in dentistry. 

 

During their years at CHS, both Sydney and Marcus have participated in band, athletics and the National Honor Society. Sydney has been a member of the FFA and student council and some of her non-school activities include First Priority and the Midway Baptist Church youth group.

 

“I always take my responsibilities seriously and have done my best in any leadership role I was given the honor of serving,” Sydney said. “These roles included being a drumline captain, FFA chapter officer, NHS president, Student Council officer, leader of First Priority, and also the leadership that just comes with being a senior in athletics and in my youth group.” 

 

Both Marcus and Sydney were named a CHS top ten scholer. Sydney received the Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Award of Excellence and is a member of the Texas FFA Lone Star Degree National Honor Society.

 

The soon-to-be graduates offered the following advice to Coahoma students.

 

“If I could give a younger student advice, I would tell them to focus on what makes them happy, regardless of what anyone says,” Marcus said.

 

“My advice to any younger student at Coahoma is that you will definitely have more fun and enjoy your life so much more if you just be yourself and find confidence in your own personality,” Sydney said. “If you don’t think you’re ‘normal, that’s a good thing, and you will just live a better life if you stop trying to be someone that you’re not!”

 

Sydney also shared one of her favorite Bible verses.

 

“My favorite verse for a while now has been Psalm 16:8 and it says ‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken,” she said. “This verse has really spoken to me personally because I have been through quite a lot in my few years on this planet and sometimes it can be hard to stay happy and focused.

 

“In my head, this verse told me that it doesn’t matter how much we may think we are falling apart or how much we think we can handle, God will always have our backs as long as we don’t forget about Him,” she continued. “We, as people, have to remember that we need to allow God full control of our burdens because He knows what’s best for us, and as long as we do that, we will make it through whatever troubles are hovering over us.”

 

Graduation ceremonies for the CHS Class of 2020 are set for 4 p.m., Thursday, at the Bill Easterling Memorial Stadium. “

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Governor Abbott Announces Phase Two To Open Texas, 05/18/2020


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced the second phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase II, restaurants may increase their occupancy to 50% and additional services and activities that remained closed under Phase I may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

 

Additionally, the Governor announced that public schools in Texas have the option to provide in-person summer school so long as they follow social distancing practices and health protocols laid out by DSHS. These classes may begin as soon as June 1st.

 

"Today, tomorrow, and every day going forward is one step closer to medical discoveries that can treat and protect people from COVID-19—but until that day comes, our focus is keeping Texans safe while restoring their ability to get back to work, open their businesses, pay their bills, and put food on their tables," said Governor Abbott. "By continuing to use safe practices, we are slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our most vulnerable. Now more than ever, we need to work together as one Texas. I ask all Texans to continue heeding the guidance of our state and federal medical experts and do their part to protect public health. If we all unite in our resolve, we will overcome this challenge."

 

Via Executive Order, the following services and activities may open under Phase II.

  • Child Care Centers (May 18)
  • Massage and Personal-Care Centers  - includes tattoo and piercing studios (May 18)
  • Youth Clubs (May 18)
  • Rodeo and Equestrian Events (May 22)
  • Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, and Skating Rinks (May 22)
  • Bars (May 22)
  • Aquariums and Natural Caverns (May 22)
  • Zoos (May 29)
  • Day Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Overnight Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Youth Sports (May 31)
  • Certain professional sports without in-person spectators (May 31)

 

All sporting and camp activities are required to adhere by special safety standards, and minimum standard health protocols have been established for all newly-announced opened services and activities. Businesses located in office buildings may also open but must limit their occupancy to the greater of 10 employees or 25% of their workforce.

 

Additionally, restaurants may expand their occupancy to 50% beginning May 22. Bars—including wine tasting rooms, craft breweries, and similar businesses—may open at 25% occupancy but like restaurants, these occupancy limits do not apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distancing among parties.

 

Opened services and activities under Phase II are subject to certain occupancy limits and health and safety protocols. For details and a full list of guidelines, openings, and relevant dates, visit www.gov.texas.gov/opentexas.

 

Certain counties experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases will have their beginning date of Phase II delayed until May 29. These counties include El Paso, Randall, Potter, Moore, and Deaf Smith. Surge Response Teams are actively working in these areas to increase testing, maintain hospital capacity, and ensure that COVID-19 is contained and mitigated.


During his remarks, the Governor also presented information on the state's hospitalization and positivity rates—two metrics the Governor and his team of medical experts have used to inform the state's ongoing plan to safely and strategically open. Details on these metrics can be found in presentation slides here and here.

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Area News: Two Pedestrian fatalities recorded in Ector County, hours apart 


Two separate pedestrian-vehicle accidents resulted in death in Ector County this week.

 

The first occurred on Sunday evening, 05/17/2020, on US Highway 385, 5 miles south of Odessa. DPS troopers arrived on the scene at 6:41 PM to find pedestrian Patricia Munoz, 37 of Odessa, had been struck by a vehicle. According to the DPS report, James Comeaux, 20 of Odessa, had been traveling north on US Hwy 385, when he observed Munoz in the center of the roadway. Comeaux swerved in an attempt to avoid collision. Munoz was struck by the vehicle and was later pronounced dead at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.  

 

The second pedestrian death occurred early Monday, 05/18/2020, at approximately 12:33 AM, 7 miles west of Odessa on Knox Avenue. According to the report from DPS, Cristian Baeza, 18 of Odessa, was traveling south on Knox Avenue. The pedestrian, identified as Reyna Rodriguez, 16 of Midland, was walking in the center of the roadway and was struck by Baeza’s vehicle. Rodriguez was pronounced dead on scene and the crash is still under investigation.

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BSISD Board of Trustees approve purchase of 1,350 Chromebooks, new wireless networks for elementary schools, and a resolution regarding GPA calculations for BSHS students.


During last week’s regular meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees, the school board approved a budget amendment and expenditure of over $150,000 for the purchase of 1,350 Chromebooks and related carts. The purchase is part of BSISD’s 5-year technology plan that would help them to update security measures at BSISD campuses and have a set of Chromebooks or iPads for classrooms. 

 

Instead of waiting for the new budget year to begin, administrators believed that it would be in the best of the district to make the purchase now so they could have those devices in the hands of the students as soon as possible. This would allow time to train teachers on programs such as Google Classroom and give students the opportunity to become more familiar with using the devices on a regular basis.

Plus, it would also ensure that if schools were to be closed again due to an unforeseen circumstance, the district would be able to supply students with a take-home device. 

 

The approximate cost of $450,000 was taken from the General Fund Balance and, according to BSISD Jay McWilliams, the funds will be replaced after the 2020-2021 budget year begins on September 1, 2020.

 

The board also approved a budget amendment and expenditure of over $150,000 for a new wireless network at each elementary school. McWilliams told KBest News that Kindergarten - 2nd grade students will be using iPads in the classroom, and 3rd grade and up will be using Chromebooks during the next school year. The wifi upgrade at the schools would ensure that the bandwidth would be able to support the devices in use.

 

A resolution regarding class rank calculations for Big Spring High School students was also approved on Thursday by the BSISD Board of Trustees. The resolution states that although students would be receiving credit for work completed, their grade point averages would be calculated up through the 4th 6-week cycle.

 

According to McWilliams, GPAs are usually calculated using semester grades, but BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams advised that the district would not factor grades into the GPA for the 5th and 6th weeks cycles because the students were not actually in front of a teacher since March 6, 2020. McWilliams stated that it was the best solution they came up with to ensure that they created an even playing field for all students. During the meeting it was also stated that dual credit classes also would not factor into calculating GPAs. The resolution will only affect GPA calculations for the 2019-2020 school year.

 

The next regular meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 5:15 PM.

 

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Cave announced as new Medical Center Director of West Texas VA Health Care System, 05/15/2020


BIG SPRING, TX — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Jason N. Cave as the new Medical Center Director of the West Texas VA Health Care System.

 

“We are excited to bring Mr. Jason Cave on board as the new Medical Center Director of the West Texas VA Health Care System,” said Mr. Jeffery L. Milligan, Network Director, Heart of Texas Health Care Network. “His sound leadership qualities and proven experience will be valuable assets for the health care system, the employees, volunteers and most importantly, for the Veterans we are honored to serve.”

 

Since reporting as the Interim Director in July 2019, Cave has overseen the opening of the new San Angelo, TX Community Based Outpatient Clinic, the opening of the first of four Small House – Community Living Centers, the reduction of vacant positions by nearly 50%, and has established an aggressive Veteran Outreach campaign designed to take VA health care to where Veterans live, work and play.

 

“We anticipate he will assume his new duties within the next 45 – 60 days as the medical center Director,” said Milligan.

 

Cave joined VA six years ago as a Presidential Management Fellow and has served in VA Medical Centers as an Assistant Director, Health Systems Specialist, Financial Manager and has served in other assignments including General Attorney, Public Affairs Officer, and Emergency Manager.

 

Cave is a graduate of the University of New Mexico with an undergraduate degree in Accounting, and the University of Akron School of Law with a Juris Doctor in trial advocacy and dispute resolution, and he continues to maintain an active legal license. Additionally, Cave is a graduate of VA’s Leadership Development Institute and the VA’s Leadership VA Class of 2016.

 

West Texas VA Health Care System is a Joint Commission accredited, complexity level 3 facility serving Veterans across two states.

 

The George H. O’Brien, Jr. VA Medical Center is located in Big Spring, TX, with Community Based Outpatient Clinics in; Abilene, TX; San Angelo, TX; Midland/Odessa, TX; and Hobbs, NM. An Outreach Clinic is located in Fort Stockton, TX.

 

Health care is provided for nearly 40,000 Veterans through primary care, cardiology, audiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, ophthalmology, dentistry and extended care.

West Texas VA Health Care System has specialized programs including Behavioral Health, Health Care for Homeless Veterans, Compensated Work Therapy, Telehealth Care Coordination, Home Based Primary Care, Community Living Center and Domiciliary.

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CHS graduation scheduled for Thursday, May 21, 2020.


COAHOMA — Coahoma High School will hold graduation ceremonies at 4 p.m, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at the Bill Easterling Memorial Stadium, if weather permits. Alternate plans have been made in case of changes in weather or Covid-19 restrictions. 

 

“Graduation is an important milestone in a person’s life, and we want our students to have their moment in the spotlight,” said CHS Principal John-Michael Leggett. “We believe this plan is a good balance that will allow students to create a special memory while still following the recommended safety measures for the pandemic.”

 

Seating will be limited.Graduates and their invited guests, who must present a ticket and a completed Covid-19 form to attend the ceremony, will  sit together by a cluster of five people per designated seating area. District officials request families follow CDC guidelines, wear a facemask, and continue to practice social distancing. 

 

“Our parents and students have been very understanding, and we ask everyone who attends the ceremony to continue to take precautions,” Leggett said. “If you feel unwell, please stay home. KBST is broadcasting the ceremony live, and we will also have a live broadcast via our Facebook page.

 

“Please wear a facemask, and remember to keep six feet apart from other households. Graduation is an exciting, special time, but let us all do our best to continue to put safety first,” Leggett continued.

 

Seating will begin at 3:15 p.m. and families are strongly encouraged to come early. The Covid-19 screening form must be completed and a ticket present in order to gain admittance. Spectators will park on the home side. Gates will close at 3:55 p.m. and no one will be let in after this time.

 

Seniors will need to be at the stadium 45 minutes before the ceremony begins on Thursday, and they need to park in front of the high school.

 

“Once we begin conferring of degrees, each student will be escorted onto the stage, receive their diploma and then escorted off stage,” Leggett explained. “Then they will head directly to their cars to prepare for the senior parade.”

 

After the last senior receives her diploma and walks off the football field, family members should exit the stadium and return to their cars for the senior parade, which will begin shortly after the end of the ceremony. 

 

Once the parade begins, seniors will drive through the stadium parking lot, exit by the school marque, and turn left on First Street. The parade will continue south on First Street and end by city hall. 

 

“We are grateful for the support from our parents, students, and community to help make this a unique ceremony for a special group of seniors,” Leggett said.

 

Alternate plans have been made if bad weather moves into the area to prevent an outside ceremony or if there are changes in Covid-19 restrictions.

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Permian Basin Oilfield and Energy Ministry teams up with First Baptist Coahoma for Pop-Up Food Distribution on 05/16/2020. ve


Permian Basin Oilfield and Energy Ministry, a ministry with Nazarene Church, focuses on outreach to oilfield and energy workers disconnected from their families. Tomorrow morning, they’ll be teaming up with First Baptist Coahoma to host a pop-up food distribution site in Coahoma. 

 

This will take place from 8-10 AM at First Baptist Coahoma, located at 201 South Avenue. They’ll be providing baby items and non-perishable items for anyone in need of assistance. The only thing they’ll be asked to provide is their name, address, and the number of people in their household to ensure that they receive an adequate amount of supply boxes. 

 

According to Josh Cisneros, Ministry Coordinator for the Permian Basin Oilfield and Energy Ministries and Pastor at The Bridge Church of the Nazarene, the event is made possible with help from Daily Bread, the food ministry from Spring Creek Fellowship in Big Spring and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and the district.

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Stolen property recovered by the Howard County Sheriff's Office.


The Howard County Sheriff's Office recently executed a search at 1701 Todd Rd in Howard County and recovered a substantial amount of stolen property from the residence. This has been connected to some of the local and surrounding area thefts and burglaries.

 

The public is asked to call Investigators with the Sheriff's Office at 432-264-2231 ext. 4106 or 4107 if they have had property stolen. The Howard County Sheriff’s Office wants to get the property back to its owners, but you must be able to name or describe the property.

 

At this time, 56-year-old Timothy Sipes has been arrested and charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle. More charges are coming and more persons will be charged and arrested in this investigation.

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Area News: FORMER MONAHANS POLICE OFFICER SENTENCED TO 87 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE


In Midland this week, a federal judge sentenced former Monahans police officer Marshal Lacy Hobbs to 87 months in federal prison on a child pornography charge, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw.

 

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Counts ordered that Hobbs, age 36 of Andrews, TX, pay a $30,000 fine; a $5,000 assessment under the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act; and, a $5,000 assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. Judge Counts also ordered that Hobbs be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term. Hobbs, who had been on bond during this litigation, was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service following the hearing in order to begin serving his prison term.

 

On December 19, 2019, Hobbs pleaded guilty to one count receipt of child pornography. Court records reveal that in November 2019, Hobbs knowingly engaged in social media communications on his cell phone with a female he knew to be under 18 and that he received multiple videos and images of that minor female engaged in sexually explicit activity.

 

“When an officer who has sworn to protect his community instead decides to target a child for exploitation, we will be relentless in seeking justice. I am pleased with the sentence imposed today,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.

 

The Texas Rangers investigated this case along with the Andrews Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shane Chriesman prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

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Russ McEwen Family Aquatic Center expected to reopen this summer.


An update on the Russ McEwen Family Aquatic Center was recently discussed among city staff and council members. According to Hayley Herrera, Community Services Director for City of Big Spring, the construction of the pool area at the aquatic center is scheduled to be completed on June 1, 2020, but the splash pad area is not yet ready. The construction on that area is expected to completed by mid-June. According to Governor Greg Abbott’s executive orders, the public pool is allowed to reopen -ith government authority but only at 25 percent capacity. The tentative date of re-opening the facility is Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

 

There will be modified hours for the aquatic center and it will be opened for 2 sessions during the day. The first session will run from 1-3:30 PM and the second session will run from 4:30-7 PM. During the break between the sessions, staff will be sanitizing the entire facility. It was also stated that the pavilions will not be open for use, nor will there be locker rentals, nor private facility rentals on Monday. Instead, Mondays will be used as a deep cleaning day for the aquatic center. Concession purchases will be available, however, it will be limited to prepackaged items. There will also not be any pool furniture available for use, but patrons will be able to bring in their own chairs, as long as it does not have a cooler attached. 

 

The aquatic center usually results in a $280,000 deficit in a normal year. With the facility operating at only 25 percent, there is a concern that the deficit would increase. Herrera told KBest News that the increased deficit is an expense that is expected by the city.

 

During Tuesday’s meeting there had also been discussion of adding other restrictions such as prohibiting children under the age of 18 to enter the pool without a signed consent form from their parent, and restricting the use of the facility to Howard County residents only. In the end, those suggestions were not acting upon. 

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Big Spring City Council Meeting, 05/12/2020


The Big Spring City Council met for a regular session on Tuesday evening, and here are some of the highlights.

 

Lt. Abel Solis with the Big Spring Fire Department was recognized for his 20 years of service and congratulated on his retirement. This is his last week with the department.

 

An update on the Russ McEwen Family Aquatic Center was discussed among city staff and council members. According to Hayley Herrera, Community Services Director for City of Big Spring, the construction of the pool area at the aquatic center is scheduled to be completed on June 1, 2020, but the splash pad area is not yet ready. The construction on that area is expected to completed by mid-June. According to Governor Greg Abbott’s executive orders, the public pool is allowed to reopen -ith government authority but only at 25 percent capacity. The tentative date of re-opening the facility is Tuesday, June 16th.

 

There will be modified hours for the aquatic center, and it will be opened for 2 sessions during the day. The first session will run from 1-3:30 PM and the second session will run from 4:30-7 PM. During the break between the sessions, staff will be sanitizing the entire facility. It was also stated that the pavilions would not be open for use, nor will there be locker rentals, nor private facility rentals on Monday. Instead, Mondays will be used as a deep cleaning day for the aquatic center.

 

Concession purchases will be available; however, it will be limited to prepackaged items. There will also not be any pool furniture available for use, but patrons will be able to bring in their own chairs, as long as it does not have a cooler attached. 

 

During Tuesday’s meeting there had been talks of adding other restrictions such as prohibiting children under the age of 18 to enter the pool without a signed consent form from their parent, and restricting the use of the facility to Howard County residents only. In the end, those suggestions were not acting upon. 

 

District 1 councilmember Raul Marquez, voiced his concern about whether it would be a wise business decision to reopen the aquatic center when it usually results in a $280,000 deficit in a normal year. With the facility operating at only 25 percent, there is a concern that the deficit would increase. 

 

Council members Gloria McDonald, District 4, and Camilla Strande, District 5, voiced their support for re-opening the pool and getting back some level of normalcy for kids. 

 

Hayley Herrera, Community Services Director for the City of Big Spring, later told KBest News that the deficit is expected so that quality of life facilities can reopen.

The Hang Glider competition scheduled for later this year has been postponed until 2022. 

 

Darden advised council members on the possible property agreement with Howard County. He stated that if the Polly Mays Annex building agreement was made, then it would go to Howard County Elections. If taken over by the county, the city would repair the water leak, and when the county is not using it, it would revert to the city. 

 

Large item pick-up for District 5 is scheduled for May 20th.

 

As of Tuesday, May 12, 2020, there have been 238 COVID-19 tests conducted in Howard County. Of those tested, 226 tested negative, and 5 are pending. 6 cases have been confirmed for the county. There have been 3 recoveries, 1 death, and 2 active cases. The 2 active cases are expected to recover by the end of the week. 

National Guard conducted 71 tests in Big Spring on May 3, 2020. All 71 tested negative.  

 

Did 71 tests by National Guard, all 71 tests negative.

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Howard County Commissioners Court Highlights, 05/11/2020


During Monday’s meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, a

county-wide burn ban was placed in effect until Aug. 10, 2020. 

 

A Justice of the Peace Clerk seminar for July has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date. 

 

Commissioners approved the retainer agreement from Allison, Bass, and Magee, LLP.

 

The Master’s Touch, LLC Mailing service contract was approved for use by the County Tax Assessor Collector's office. During the discussion, it was noted that although it would require a $1,000 set up fee, it would ultimately save the county $3,000 compared to what is being paid now with the current vendor.

 

Brian Gordon, Administrative Lieutenant with Big Spring Police Department, has agreed to temporarily take over the position of Emergency Management Coordinator for Howard County. He is currently the EMC for the City of Big Spring and refuses to accept payment for the additional duties at this time. 

 

County Judge Kathryn Wiseman announced that the current process of screening individuals prior to entering the Howard County Courthouse. The issue of wearing face masks would be at the discretion of the department head, but masks would be needed to enter the building. This will remain in effect until June 1, 2020. 

 

Jodi Duck, County Elections Administrator, requested 33 new voting machines and their components to be used for three additional polling locations that will be added for the upcoming November 2020 election. The Commissioners approved the purchase of 20 new machines and their components. The exact location of the three additional polling locations is yet to be determined. 

 

Duck also requested that the Commissioners consider allowing her to accept a deed to the recently closed Polly Mays Annex building, previously the Water Office Building, in order to use it as a new location for the Howard County Elections Office. She advised that her current office was running out of space, and she has documents scattered throughout the courthouse on different floors. Duck also advised that she has limited space to conduct public training courses when needed, and it currently causes a safety issue to election security because the equipment is not stored in a single location and she has to constantly check on it and ensure that the equipment has not been breached. 

 

If able to accept the deed for building, Duck advised that she would be able to make use of every part of the first floor and have record keeping on the second floor. She advised that the city would repair the water leak, but noted there is mold and repairs would also need to be made. The cost of the internal cosmetic repairs was estimated by Duck to be approximately $15,000 to bring the building to a workable condition. She also advised Commisisoners that after reviewing the cost of the upkeep of the Polly Mays Annex building, it would average out to $850/month on having a building strictly for elections. This item was tabled by the commisoners and will be reviewed again at the next meeting.

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Governor Abbott, Texas National Guard Launch Disinfection Mission For Nursing Facilities


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas National Guard has activated Facilities Disinfection Teams to support Texans in nursing homes and to help limit the spread of COVID-19. These Facilities Disinfection Teams, formed in coordination with Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), provide a major boost to protecting Texans and limiting the spread of COVID-19. Six teams have already been mobilized to facilities across the state with more coming online.  

 

"The Texas National Guard plays a crucial role in our ongoing response to COVID-19, and I am grateful for their work to address the unique challenges our nursing homes face during this pandemic," said Governor Abbott. "The training these Guardsmen have received will equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to provide this crucial assistance to these facilities." 

 

"The Texas National Guard readily accepts this newest mission assignment," said Major General Tracy Norris. "We take our charge of protecting all Texans, especially our most vulnerable populations, extremely seriously. Our service members have proactively trained for this mission alongside the Health and Human Services Commission and other partner agencies. We stand ready to continue to serve both here at home and abroad in the war fight."

 

These Facilities Disinfection Teams consist of Guardsmen from Joint Task Force 176, and each team is equipped with unique supplies such as advanced personal protective equipment, ionized sprayers, and vital oxide. The teams received training from the Texas Military Department 6th Civil Support Team, who specialize in man-made and natural disaster assessment and rapid response in hazardous environments.  

 

The Texas National Guard is currently supporting the fight against COVID-19 in Texas by providing personal protective equipment manufacturing support, food bank support, mobile COVID-19 testing, and points of distribution for essential items.

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Governor Abbott Waives License Renewal Late Fees For Certain Occupational Licenses In Texas


AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott has waived license renewal late fees that accrued between March 13 and June 15, 2020 for occupational licenses issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). This waiver applies to licenses associated with a variety of occupations such as barbers, cosmetologists, electricians, speech-language pathologists, and dyslexia therapists.

 

"This waiver removes financial barriers that could prevent Texans from getting back to work as we safely and strategically open the economy," said Governor Abbott. "The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for the Texas workforce, and we are committed to restoring these hardworking Texans' livelihoods while protecting public health."

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CRMWD PARK OVERNIGHT CAMPING CHANGES, 05/13/2020


BIG SPRING, Texas – May 13, 2020

Beginning Monday, May 18th, the Colorado River Municipal Water District’s park and recreation areas at J.B Thomas, E.V Spence and O.H. Ivie will be open to the public for overnight camping. Group shelter pavilions remain closed.

 

Following is a list of the status of each of the parks.


Lake J.B. Thomas
Bull Creek Park – Closed
Sandy Beach Park – Open, some permanent tables closed to maintain social distancing
South Side Park – Open, boat ramp open, group shelter closed, some permanent tables closed to maintain social distancing
Rocky Point Park - Closed
White Island Park - Open, group shelter closed, boat ramp closed

 

E.V Spence Reservoir
Observation Point – Open, day use only
Lake View Park – Open
South Side Park – Open
Wildcat Park – Open, boat ramp open, group shelter closed
Paint Creek Park – Open, boat ramp open

 

O.H. Ivie Reservoir
Concho Park – Open, boat ramp open, group shelter closed
Kennedy Park – Open, boat ramp open, group shelter closed
Padgett Park – Open, boat ramp open
Observation Point – Open, day use only

 

All District camp sites are primitive camping only (no electricity or water hook-ups). Camping is limited to a maximum of seven days. Some of the privately operated concessionaires located at E.V. Spence and O.H. Ivie Reservoirs have a limited number of non-primitive camp sites (contact concessionaires for details).


CRMWD is following the directives issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in an effort to promote public and staff health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Park visitors shall follow Federal, State and Local guidelines, recommendations and restrictions regarding gatherings of people and cleanliness standards while in public spaces. Select picnic shelters will be closed to provide separation distance.


Park concessionaires located at E.V. Spence and O.H. Ivie Reservoirs remain open at their discretion. Each concessionaire should be contacted for their operating hours and services provided. Concessionaire contact information is available on the CRMWD website at www.crmwd.org/recreation.


CRMWD will continue to monitor Federal, State and Local directives to promote public health and safety for outdoor recreation activities and will announce any changes or modifications.


For more information, please go to www.crmwd.org or contact them at 432-267-6341.

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Isaiah 58 receives donations to continue to help local residents through tough times


Isaiah 58, a food pantry in Big Spring, continues to serve Big Spring and Howard County with weekly grocery boxes, and, with the help of various donations, they’ll soon be able to assist with medications and utilities for a limited time.

 

Nancy Stinson, CEO and President of Isaiah 58, told KBest News thanks to various amounts of monetary donations from individuals and organizations like Gunsight Mountain Wind Energy, A&M Energy, Edward Jones, the Community Foundation of Texas, and Texas Farmer’s Group, they’ll be able to begin offering additional assistance in June 2020. Stinson advised that although clients don’t have to provide much information to pick up groceries for their household, they will have to qualify for assistance with utilities and medications. 

 

Clients can begin setting up their appointments now by calling Isaiah 58 and leaving a message. In order to qualify, Stinson stated that clients will have to show documentation such as a final bill notice, proof of the number of people living in their household, etc. For more information, contact Isaiah 58 at 432-263-4758.

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Results from National Guard COVID-19 testing on May 3, 2020.


On Sunday May 3, 2020 Texas DSHS and the National Guard conducted community wide COVID testing in Big Spring. Seventy-one (71) people were tested.

 

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Howard County Emergency Management was notified of the results of those tested. All 71 individuals tested were negative for COVID-19.

 

As of yesterday, 05/12/2020, there have been 238 COVID-19 tests conducted in Howard County, 226 of those tested negative, and 5 tests are still pending results. There have been 6 confirmed cases of COVID-19 that have been documented in Howard County - 3 recoveries, 1 death, and 2 active cases. The two active cases are still in isolation and, according to Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, are expected to recover by the end of the week.

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PSA: Water Valve Replacement, 05/14/2020


Beginning tomorrow, May 14th, City crews will perform water valve replacements in the area of East 24th Street from Scurry Street to Runnels Street that could possibly interrupt water service.

Customers could possibly experience low water pressure and/or total water interruption while replacements are made. Be advised that the work will begin after 5:00 PM and continue until complete.

 

The City of Big Spring apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and ask for the public’s patience while this project is completed. Please direct any questions or concerns to the office of Shane Bowles, Public Works Director, at 432-264-2501.

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Scam Alert from Howard County Sheriff's Office


Yesterday, 05/12/2020, the Howard County Sheriff’s Office advised the public of a scam that has surfaced recently. 

 

They advised residents that if they receive a letter from Homestead Designation Services to be aware that it is a scam. They urged the public to NOT send them money, as there is no cost to have your home designated as a Homestead and you can do it yourself. 

 

In an article by the Better Business Bureau, official-looking letters from Homestead Designation Services have a  format that is similar to that of a homestead exemption application. 

 

Although these letters appear to be from a government agency, it is really a craftily designed solicitation. It should be noted that Homestead Recording Service is not a government agency, nor is it associated with any taxing authority.

 

The Howard County Sheriff’s Office advises that if anyone receives one of these letters, they should throw it away.

 

To read the complete article from the Better Business Bureau, visit: https://www.bbb.org/abilene/news-events/news-releases/2017/06/NewHomeownersWatchYourMail/


 

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BSPD helps to make birthday memories for children during this time of social distancing.


The Big Spring Police Department continues to help celebrate children’s birthdays throughout the community Birthday Drive-Bys. 

 

BSPD Chief Chad Williams told KBest News that it was noticed that other agencies were taking part in those celebrations and a few officers had requested to be able to participate. 

 

“I thought it was a great idea especially during this time when kiddos aren’t able to have birthday parties due to the restrictions of social distancing and all that. So, we thought we could do our part and help them celebrate their birthday,” said Chief Williams.

 

The Birthday Drive-bys are for children under 17 years old, and it comes with police lights and sirens to bring attention to the child celebrating. 

 

Chief Williams advised that the department has gotten a great response from the community and have gotten many more requests than what they had anticipated. He also went on to advise that they will continue to conduct birthday drive-bys through the end of May.

 

Requests can be emailed to the Big Spring Police Department at crivera@bigspringpd.net or to the Howard County Sheriff’s Office at stanparker@howardcountytx.gov.

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PSA: Snyder Field Road to close to thru-traffic beginning Wednesday, May 13, 2020


Tomorrow, 05/13/2020, Howard County Road & Bridge will be closing Snyder Field Road to thru traffic From McGregor Road to FM 821 with a Road Closed at an unnamed draw approximately 0.21 miles west of FM 821.

 

The closure is expected to last for 3 weeks. During this time, County forces will replace a culvert at the draw.

 

Road closed to thru traffic is meant as an advanced warning that the road will be closed ahead while allowing local traffic access to homes, businesses, etcetera. The Road Closed Segment is closed to all traffic, including first responders. This segment will have extreme hazards including construction materials, equipment, and up to 8 feet of excavation for replacing the culvert.

 

For additional information please contact the Howard County Road & Bridge Engineer, Brian Klinksiek at (432) 264-2208.

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Big Spring City Council Meeting Tonight at 5:30 PM, 05/12/2020


The City of Big Spring will meet for a regular session tonight at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers, located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring. It should be noted that the public is still able to attend the meetings in person if they choose to do so. The meeting can also be viewed by a live broadcast on Suddenlink Channel 17 or through the Media Center on the city website at mybigspring.com. Those wishing to make a public comment can do so by calling 432-264-2411 during the meeting. 

 

Items on tonight’s agenda include recognition of the retirement of Lieutenant Abel Solis for his 20 years of service, and during the City Manager’s Report there will be an update and discussion of the Aquatic Center, landfill, distribution lines and sealcoat, and Airpark projects and events. There will also be a discussion on a possible property agreement with Howard County Elections. 

 

During New Business items, there will also be discussion and possible action regarding employee telecommuting policy, and discussion and consideration authorizing the City Manager to appoint a Medical Advisor.

 

The full agenda can be viewed online at:

http://www.mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_05122020-397?fbclid=IwAR2byNrrQPIlsybrYOx-XaQT78upxrDlVf_K6zvEeVS-QMMmG6xAz48aOLg

 

The meeting can also be viewed online beginning at 5:30 PM tonight, 05/12/2020, at:

https://www.mybigspring.com/224/Channel-17-Live

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Area News: Federal officials recommend storage of nuclear waste in West Texas


WEST TEXAS (KOSA) -- The federal government has taken another step toward storing the nation’s nuclear waste in West Texas.

 

Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a report recommending the approval for radioactive waste to be transported across Texas and stored in Andrews County.

 

The existing facility near the Texas-New Mexico Border is operated by Waste Control Specialists, and a joint venture called Interim Storage Partners hopes to bring the nation’s high-level nuclear waste to the facility.

 

“The employees of WCS live here and are part of this community,” Elicia Sanchez with Interim Storage Partners said. “We are very confident in the safety of our facility, and very excited about the opportunity that it will bring the community of Andrews.”

 

If approved, the company would receive a 40-year license to bring about 5000 metric tons of nuclear waste to West Texas.

 

And while the company and its website swear by the safety of the storage process, Andrews County residents are still worried.

 

“Very dangerous,” Elizabeth Padilla with the group ‘Save Andrews County’ said.

 

“We’re talking about the nation’s spent fuel from nuclear reactors across the country. The waste that nobody wants. The high radioactive waste.”

 

Those against the storage of waste say that people in Andrews aren’t the only ones who should be concerned.

 

To get to the facility, nuclear waste must travel by truck or train through Texas cities.

 

“Midland in particular it would definitely come right through the downtown area,” Karen Hadden with SEED Coalition said. “This material has to be isolated from living things for a million years, and there is no way that a facility in Texas, the one that’s being looked at, could do that.”

 

The public is now allowed to comment on the draft and attend meetings held by the NRC.

 

The final environmental impact statement is scheduled to be released in May of 2021.

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Vehicle registration in Texas is waived during current state of emergency.


If your vehicle registration expires this month, you have one less thing to worry about this month.

 

Due to the state of emergency, Governor Greg Abbott issued a waiver from the requirement to renew registration on March 16, 2020. Renewing your registration is not required while this waiver is in effect.

 

The waiver was issued to avoid having large crowds in the county tax assessor collector offices. You may choose to take no action during the waiver period. If you take no action, when the state of emergency has passed the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will make an announcement when the waiver is no longer in effect, and you will have 60 days to have your vehicle inspected and complete the registration process.

 

Be advised, if you have already obtained a passing vehicle inspection, you may renew your registration online at https://renew.txdmv.gov/.

 

For more information, visit the Facebook page for Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Howard County Commissioners Meeting, 05/11/2020


Howard County Commissioners will hold a budget workshop today at the Howard County Courthouse beginning at 2:30 PM. The workshop will be streamed on the Facebook page for Howard County Info and Tech. Afterward, there will be a regular meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court that will begin at 3:30 PM.

 

The Emergency Management position will be discussed during the budget workshop, as well as designating an officer or employee to calculate a no-new-revenue tax rate, a voter approval tax rate, and certify accuracy of the tax rate calculations form.

 

Items on today’s agenda include discussion and possible action on burn ban order for the county, a Justice of the Peace Clark Seminar. They’ll also be discussing screening and masks at the Courthouse.

 

The full agenda can be viewed here:

http://www.co.howard.tx.us/upload/template/1880/2020%20Agendas/CCM%20Agenda%205-11-2020.pdf

 

Minutes from previous meetings can be viewed here:

http://www.co.howard.tx.us/page/howard.Minutes

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Coahoma City Council declines proposed ordinance to become a Right to Life Sanctuary City.


On Thursday, 05/07/2020, Coahoma City Council members voted against a proposed ordinance to make Coahoma a Right To Life Sanctuary City. According to city officials, the ordinance was declined because they did not feel it was in the best interest of the community to approve it as written.

 

Coahoma Mayor Warren Wallace stated that the decision was made because the council did not want to leave Coahoma vulnerable to lawsuits. Back in February of this year, the ACLU filed lawsuits against seven other Texas towns that voted for similar sanctuary city ordinances.

 

The vote for the proposed ordinance was 3 against, 1 abstained, and 1 absent. Those voting against were Councilmembers Brandy Manning, Jay Holt, and Cody Ditto. David Alaman abstained from the vote, and Sharon Dotson was absent from the meeting. Mayor Wallace did not vote on the item because the position only votes in the event of a tie. 

 

Councilmember Manning told KBest News that councilmembers were invited to react emotionally. Instead, they thoughtfully considered the ramifications, both good and bad for their community, and made the decision that they thought was in the best interest of the city. 

 

According to city officials, it is believed that there is already an ordinance in place that would give the Coahoma City Council the ability to prevent an abortion clinic from setting up inside of their city limits. That ordinance is set to be reviewed at their next city council meeting. At this time, the date of that meeting is yet to be determined.

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United Way of Big Spring and Howard County to distribute 300 grocery care packages to Howard County residents, 05/09/2020


The United Way of Big Spring and Howard County invites the public to “Wash Your Hands and Fill Your Trunk” with them on Saturday, May 9th, at the Blankenship Field parking lot next to Big Spring High School, located at 707 E. 11th Place in Big Spring.

 

Saturday morning, the local United Way organization will be distributing 300 grocery care packages, beginning at 10 AM. The public will enter through the entrance on 10th street, pop their trunk or cargo area, stay in their vehicle, and United Way volunteers will load the groceries into your vehicle. United Way Board Members and volunteers helping will be wearing masks and practicing social distancing.  

 

Be advised, you must show proof of Howard County residency, drivers license, utility bill or report card. Only one care package per vehicle will be distributed, so be sure to have a space cleared in your trunk or cargo area for the package. Once you have your groceries you will exit onto 11th place. 

 

According to Christian Fair, Executive Director for the United Way of Big Spring and Howard County, the organization was able to fund the event through their “Wash Your Hands” t-shirt campaign where they made approximately $3,000 to add to their COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Fair stated that in addition to that, they also received grants and donations from community partners, plus added funds from their “rainy day fund”.

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CHS Class of 2020 Graduation Update, 05/07/2020


In response to the latest information released by Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, Coahoma Independent School District will hold graduation ceremonies on the Bill Easterling Memorial Stadium football field. Details will be released in the coming week. 

 

Be advised that Coahoma ISD trustees and administration will continue to make adjustments to reflect changes in COVID-19 restrictions and weather. CISD appreciates the patience and understanding of their students and parents as they navigate through these unprecedented times.

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Funeral Homes.


Now that the State of Texas is in Phase 1 of reopening, many people still have questions of how this affects public gatherings, such as funerals.

 

According to Kasi Welch Baker, Owner of Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home, one of the most common misconceptions that people have is if a person passes away with COVID-19, family members or friends won’t be able to see the body.

Baker told Kbest News that Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home is still handling services and giving families the options that they’ve always had.

 

“We don’t want to take anything away from them getting to have all of those options and choices because it's a very difficult time. Sometimes, these families have not been able to see their loved ones. Because of [COVID-19], they’re not allowing a lot of visitors, they’re not allowing a lot of people in nursing homes and hospitals. So, they haven’t had that opportunity to say goodbye, and so we want to try to give them all of those options and time that they need to be able to grieve, just like we always have,” said Baker. 

 

Baker stated that the funeral home is following the guidelines put in place by Governor Greg Abbott and those from the CDC for everyone’s safety. She stated that their staff is equipped with safety equipment, consistently sanitizing the facilities throughout the day, and finding ways to be flexible to let families have viewings while also practicing social distancing.

 

According to Baker, the funeral home is able to spread people out and bring them into the area with grouping so that there’s very few people at a time. By doing this, everyone still gets to do all of the things that they’re used to doing, and having all of those aspects of a traditional service but all within the parameters that have been set for COVID-19 to keep everyone safe. 

 

Baker advised that if someone passes with COVID-19, precautions are taken, but they are the same precautions that they take with every person that they care for. She advised that whether the death is COVID-19 related or not, they want every family to have the same choices and be treated exactly the same. 

 

Baker told KBest News that Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home plans to continue adhering to the social distancing guidelines currently in place until Governor Greg Abbott has given the state the full release to go back to normal operations. 

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PSA: Road Closure on Snyder Field Road, 05/06/2020


Howard County Road & Bridge will be closing Snyder Field Road to thru traffic From McGregor Road to FM 821 with a Road Closed at an unnamed draw (32°13'47.96"N, 101°13'52.16"W) approximately 0.21 miles west of FM 821.

 

The closure will begin on Wednesday May 13, 2020 and is expected to last for 3 weeks. The closure is to allow County forces to replace a culvert at the draw.

 

Road closed to thru traffic is meant as advanced warning that the road will be closed ahead while allowing local traffic access to homes, businesses, etcetera. The Road Closed Segment is closed to all traffic, including first responders. This segment will have extreme hazards including construction materials, equipment, and up to 8 feet of excavation for replacing the culvert.

 

For additional information please contact the Howard County Road & Bridge Engineer, Brian Klinksiek @ (432) 264-2208 or brian.klinksiek@howardcountytx.gov

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Parts of West Texas affected by a significant drying trend that could lead to rapidly growing wildfires, 05/06/2020


SAN ANGELO, Texas —Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire departments are advising the public to be aware of the continued drying conditions in the western Trans Pecos Region that can contribute to rapidly growing wildfires.

 

While most of the state remains drought free, parts of the Trans Pecos Region are experiencing a drying trend of the grasses, brush and other vegetation as we move into pre-monsoon conditions for the area.   These conditions can produce afternoon thunderstorms with little to no rain, dry lightning and downburst winds.

 

The public is encouraged to be careful of their outdoor activities such as barbecuing, debris burning and use of campfires. Any activity that can cause a spark or ember may have the potential to cause a wildfire.

 

“Dry conditions and abundance of grass, brush and other ground cover can quickly turn an unattended spark into a wildfire,” said Bruce Woods, Texas A&M Forest Service mitigation and prevention department head.

 

Residents are encouraged to follow the below recommendations to help prevent wildfires.

Safe Equipment Use:

  • Grinders, welders, mowers, shredders, balers and other heavy equipment all produce heat and have the potential to start a wildfire.
  • Exercise caution when using equipment on hot, dry, and windy days.
  • Keep the machinery free of debris build-up and in good repair. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case a fire starts.
  • Residents should avoid driving in tall, dry grass where the hot catalytic converter can start wildfires – catalytic converters operate between 550-1,600° F and can reach 2,000° F if the engine is not running properly.

 

Safe Debris Burning:

  • Before burning, check with officials to make sure your county is not under a burn ban.
  • Choose a day to burn with winds under 10 mph and high relative humidity for your area.
  • Keep the debris pile small and only add more material as it burns down. Clear the area around the pile down to mineral soil.
  • Always stay with your fire and have equipment on hand in case it gets out of the designated area.

 

Residents are also encouraged to follow all local burn regulations. In Texas, county burn bans restrict outdoor burning for public safety and are determined by county judges and county commissioners. When considering a burn ban, county judges and county commissioners analyze wildfire danger ratings and current wildfire ignition data provided by the Texas A&M Forest Service.

 

Texas county burn ban information is reported to Texas A&M Forest Service and can be found at http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/TexasBurnBans/.

 

For more information on current wildfire conditions, please visit the Texas Interagency Coordination Center website at https://ticc.tamu.edu.

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Governor's Updated Executive Order on May 5th:


•Governor Abbott Expands Business Openings In Texas, Announces Surge Response Teams To Combat COVID-19

 

•Issues Guidance For Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremonies

 

Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference May 5th where he announced that he will be issuing an Executive Order to expand openings of certain businesses and activities. The Governor also announced new guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on graduation ceremonies and the creation of Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare ups in Texas.

 

"Texas is in a position to continue opening parts of our economy because of the efforts and determination of the people of Texas," said Governor Abbott. "Over the past month, Texans have worked together to contain the spread of COVID-19 by following social distancing practices and staying at home whenever possible. As we move forward, I urge all Texans to continue following these social distancing guidelines and the health standards we have provided. With every Texan doing their part, we will contain COVID-19, we will unleash our entrepreneurs, and we will make it through this challenge together."

 

Per the Governor’s announcement, wedding venues and services required to conduct weddings may immediately open. Weddings held indoors other than at a church, congregation, or house of worship must limit occupancy to 25%. Wedding reception services may also resume, but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25% of the total listed occupancy. These occupancy limits do not apply to the outdoor areas of a wedding reception or to outdoor wedding receptions.

 

Beginning May 8, cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade, may open, but all such salons, shops, and establishments must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations. Tanning salons may also reopen under the same limitation. Also starting May 8, swimming pools may open subject to certain limitations, including on their occupancy or operating levels.

 

Beginning May 18, office buildings may open with the greater of five or less individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. These individuals must maintain appropriate social distancing. Gyms, exercise facilities, and exercise classes may also open on May 18, but must operate at 25% occupancy. Locker rooms and shower facilities will remain closed, but restrooms may open. Non-essential manufacturing services may also open on May 18 but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25%.

 

These newly opened services are subject to recommended minimum standard health protocols outlined by DSHS. These protocols will be available on the Open Texas webpage.

As for bars, Governor Abbott advised that those establishments will not be able to reopen at this time. He stated that they are still working on safe ways to establish safe distancing at bars. Although it would seem that bars could reopen with the same strategies as restaurants with limitations on the number of people who sit together with safe distancing, Abbott stated that the very nature of a bar brings people together in a closed space that promotes the transmission of infectious diseases. He went on to say that they want to hear from bar owners about the types of strategies they could use to reopen and ensure the prevention of the transmission of COVID-19 so that they can work rapidly to finding a solution that can be used.

 

During the press conference, Chief Kidd and Commissioner Wilson provided details on the newly formed Surge Response Teams. These teams are led by TDEM and HHSC and include representatives from the the Texas Military Department, DSHS, the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force, and BCFS Health and Human Services. Surge Response Teams will serve nursing homes, prisons, packing plants, and other facilities that experience flare ups of COVID-19 by providing personal protective equipment, testing supplies, onsite staffing, and assessment assistance. These teams will also work with local officials to establish health and social distancing standards to contain these flare ups. Several Surge Response Teams have already been deployed to locations across the state.

 

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath also provided new guidance on class of 2020 graduation ceremonies for Texas school districts. The TEA is providing four different pathways for schools to celebrate their graduating seniors, and each district is at liberty to determine if any of these options best serve the needs and desires of their community:

 

•Completely virtual ceremonies that take place entirely online, with the use of videoconference or other technologies.

 

•Hybrid ceremonies, which consist of a compilation of videos of students being recognized in person as they celebrate graduation in small groups.

 

•Vehicle ceremonies, in which students and their families wait in their cars while other graduates are recognized one at time with their families alongside them.

 

•Outdoor in-person ceremonies, which are currently permitted for counties as follows:

Between May 15 and May 31, an outdoor ceremony may take place in a rural county that has an attestation as described in the Governor’s Report to Open Texas that remains in effect 7 days prior to the ceremony.


An outdoor ceremony may take place in any Texas county on or after June 1.

 

Full details of the TEA's graduation ceremony guidance can be found on the TEA website.

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Howard College to hold Drive-Through Graduation in Big Spring, 05/08/2020


Howard College has announced that they will carry on with plans to have a graduation ceremony while continuing to practice social distancing by having a drive-through graduation. 

 

On Friday, May 8th, their graduating sophomores will have their ceremony in the parking lot of Memorial Stadium in Big Spring at 7 PM. The ceremony will also be broadcasted live on The Mighty 1490 AM, and streamed on the KBest Media Facebook page and on our mobile app for The Mighty 1490 AM.                                                        

 

Be advised that they will not have anyone getting out of their car during the event.  Dr. Cheryl Sparks, President of Howard College, will be wearing a mask and gloves and each diploma will be cleaned with Clorox wipes prior to being handed to the student. Howard College faculty and staff will be lining the parking lot in their cars to celebrate and support the students.

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Annual National Day of Prayer gathering postponed in Howard County.


Tomorrow, 05/07/2020, is National Day of Prayer and the annual gathering of Howard County and Big Spring leading officials coming together to pray over the city and county has been postponed. 

 

Event coordinator Sam Segundo, Lead Pastor at Family Faith Center in Big Spring, told KBest News that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been postponed until next month. He advised that the specific date in June is still yet to be determined.

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Howard County confirms the 6th case of COVID-19, 05/05/2020


From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On May 5, 2020, at approximately 8:30 AM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a positive test result for COVID-19. The patient is a 20-year-old male.

 

This patient is currently isolated at home and is expected to recover. It has been determined that the patient acquired it from his place of employment outside of our jurisdiction.

 

This is the sixth positive result that Howard County and Big Spring have recorded. Local officials continue to ask all members of the community to remain cautious and continue to take the necessary precaution to protect yourself and your family.

 

As of Tuesday, May 5th, there have been 197 COVID-19 tests conducted in Big Spring and Howard County. Of those tested, there have been 120 negative results, and 73 tests pending results. Although Howard County has been recorded as having 6 confirmed cases, it should be noted that there are 2 active cases, 3 recoveries, and 1 death.

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Governor Abbott gives an update on reopening barbershops, hair salons, gyms, and bars.


Today, 05/05/2020, Governor Greg Abbott announced that cosmetology salons, barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, and tanning salons will be allowed to reopen on Friday, 05/08/2020, with limits.

 

Those recommended limits include maintaining only 1 customer per stylist unless the individual is waiting for service. The individual can only wait inside if able to maintain 6-feet separation away from others. An appointment system only is recommended, but if walk-ins are allowed customers should only be able to wait inside if 6 feet of separation is possible, or customers can wait outside or in vehicles. It is recommended that both customers and stylists wear masks for customers and stylists. Similar to the malls and restaurants, salons are allowed to open but not required.

 

Governor Abbott also announced that gyms and fitness facilities would be allowed to reopen on May 18th, also with conditions. On top of maintaining the adequate percent capacity, six feet of social distancing, disinfecting surfaces after each use, the closure of gym showers and locker rooms are required. Customers should also wear gloves that cover their whole hands and fingers. If individuals bring in items such as a yoga mat for use, it must be disinfected before and after use.

 

As for bars, Governor Abbott advised that those establishments will not be able to reopen at this time. He stated that they are still working on safe ways to establish safe distancing at bars. Although it would seem that bars could reopen with the same strategies as restaurants with limitations on the number of people who sit together with safe distancing, Abbott stated that the very nature of a bar brings people together in a closed space that promotes the transmission of infectious diseases. He went on to say that they want to hear from bars about the types of strategies they could use to reopen and ensure the prevention of the transmission of COVID-19 so that they can work rapidly to finding a solution that can be used.

 

 

To watch the news conference with Governor Greg Abbott from 05/05/2020, visit:

https://www.cbs7.com/content/news/Governor-Abbott-to-hold-news-conference-on-the-latest-on-COVID-19-Watch-on-CBS7-and-online-at-230-pm-570204521.html

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BSISD Kindergarten Roundup


Due to Big Spring ISD campuses being closed at this time, the school district is asking parents of next year's BSISD Kindergarten students to complete an online pre-enrollment form. This pre-enrollment form will provide them with necessary student information along with guardian contact information. A child is eligible for enrollment in BSISD Kindergarten if he or she is 5 years of age by September 1, 2020. BSISD will be reaching out within the next few weeks and will let parents know how to submit any required documentation.

 

Be advised that you must be prepared to provide the following documents at a later date:

- Child's birth certificate

- Child's Social Security card

- Child's current shot record

- Parent/guardian's driver's license

- Proof of residency (current utility bill or lease agreement; must show physical address; cell phone bill not accepted)

 

To complete the an online pre-enrollment form, visit: 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc_6UCT76Bqm4o4_HkiEQ1vVLdqtTt_V1eYyVjHQv0p_OPryg/viewform

 

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The Life Center in Big Spring offers diapers and wipes to moms and dads in need.


The Life Center in Big Spring continues to serve Big Spring and Howard County by offering free diapers and wipes to moms and dads in the community who need them.

Those in need of those items should contact The Life Center by calling 432-606-5041 for a 5-minute phone appointment. Afterwards, arrangements will be made for mothers or fathers to pick up the diapers and wipes.

 

The Life Center is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 am -4 pm, and they are closed 12-1 pm for lunch.

 

The Life Center is located at 1801 S. Main in Big Spring, and this service is being offered through the month of May.

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5th COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Howard County:


On May 4, 2020, at approximately 3:30 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a positive test result for COVID-19. The patient is 27-year-old female. This patient is currently quarantined at home and is expected to recover. It has been determined that the patient acquired it from a health care situation outside of our jurisdiction.

 

This is the fifth positive result that Howard County and Big Spring have recorded. Local officials continue to ask all members of the community to remain cautious and continue to take the necessary precaution to protect yourself and your family.

 

From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman,
Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

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Local residents urge Big Spring and Howard County small businesses to reopen, 05/04/2020


Monday morning, a group of approximately 30 people came together for a peaceful gathering in downtown Big Spring at the Heart of the City Pavillion to show their support for reopening local small businesses.

 

During the event, speakers Daniele Owens and local business owner Edward Roach spoke out about their frustrations that not all businesses were allowed to reopen at this time. During her speech, Owens stated that she believed that it was unconstitutional for the government to close private businesses. She and Roach emphasized that they believed that all businesses were essential businesses, and urged local businesses to reopen their doors so employees could get back to work and provide for their families. 

 

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason also spoke to the crowd and advised that he never wanted to close any businesses in the first place, and pointed out that the only restrictions that had been imposed were on city facilities only. The order to close local businesses came from Governor Greg Abbott, but Mayor Thomason made it clear that he was in support of seeing all businesses reopened. 

 

Roach urged people to stand together, stay strong, and not give up in doing what needs to be done to get all local businesses up and running. 

 

Owens told KBest News she’s had to watch friends and family with small businesses struggle, while other big corporations continue to sustain during the shutdown. 

 

“Some of these small businesses applied for loans that still have not been processed. Pretty soon, these businesses will be lost for good,” said Owens. 

 

She went on to advise, “I just want the people that didn’t show today to know that we did not come out here for any reason other than just to say we have a constitutional right to run a business, and we want it open today.”

 

After the gathering, Roach advised that he would be reopening his bar today under the same guidelines that other businesses have been able to re-open. 

 

Roach stated that he believed they have to be careful with the virus, just like the flu and everything else that has come along. 

 

“We don’t want to be stupid. We want to use common sense. We want to use precautions, but at the same time, we cannot live in fear. We cannot shut our country down. We cannot shut our economy down,” said Roach.

 

Mayor Thomason told KBest News that the government is a government of the citizens and it's important that when citizens feel put upon, that they do stand up and protest like what they did today.

 

"I agree with their concerns whole heartedly, and I want to see our businesses open back up,” said Thomason. “We are in a very different situation, here in Big Spring and the Permian Basin, than they are along the I-35 corridor where a bulk of the cases in Texas are. The West Texas Mayors submitted a plan to the Governor a couple of weeks ago, and to my knowledge, we haven't gotten a response to that. I definitely think we need to support our businesses and also push their message that they're ready to reopen and they're all willing to take steps to reduce the spread. I agree with them, every business is essential, every single one. If it wasn't, it wouldn't stay in business very long."

 

When asked if there were any repercussions of non-essential businesses opening at this time, Mayor Thomason told KBest News that the only one that he had heard of was there was a possibility of any business that is licensed by the state facing possible license action.

 

Thomason went on to remind that the price of freedom is constant vigilance.

 

“People need to be sitting up and taking stock of what's going on now. Definitely, freedoms have been affected and it's up to us as the citizens to hold fast to the U.S. Constitution, to the State Constitution, and hold our elected officials to task, as well," said Thomason.

 

KBest News reviewed the governor’s announcement from last week to re-open Texas in which he stated that his executive order supersedes any local orders. Governor Abbott also stated that $1,000 fines and 180 days in jail applies to violating his executive orders, and that primary enforcement would happen at the local and regulatory levels.  To read the governor’s executive orders, go to www.gov.texas.gov and select Office of the Governor.

 

KBest News reached out to Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman for a comment on the reopening of bars in Howard County. She stated that if bars want to gamble with their liquor license, that's on them. 

 

According to Judge Wiseman, the Howard County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission are currently investigating four bars in Howard County with complaints against them. 

 

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FUMC Pastor Derrell Patterson to retire to in June 2020.


Recently, Pastor Daryl Patterson, with First United Methodist Church in Big Spring, announced that he would be retiring within in the next few weeks. Recently, Pastor Patterson was surprised to see a parade of church members driving outside of the church, complete with a police escort.

 

Pastor Patterson told KBest News that it was a wonderful parade.

 

"This is a great, great surprise. We just love all the folks here and appreciate their love for us," said Patterson.

 

With the recent social distancing guidelines, many pastors had been preaching to empty churches and streaming their service online or broadcasting over the radio. The drive-by of FUMC parishioners was held as a way to show appreciation for Pastor Patterson and his time with the church.

 

Gabe Martinez, organist for FUMC, told KBest News that they had a great turnout.

 

"The Methodists are a rowdy bunch, and we forgot to bring out the offering plate. So, dang it," laughed Martinez.

 

Pastor Patterson will be retiring in Mid-June.

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Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman addresses public about responsibilities of re-opening the state.


Phase 1 of Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen the State of Texas took effect on Friday, May 1st. During this phase, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, libraries, and non-interactive museums were permitted to reopen with limited capacity. Since Howard County has had less than 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19, these businesses are able to open at 50 percent capacity. 

 

Last week, Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman addressed the public through a video posted to the Howard County Info Tech Facebook page. In it, she reminded them that there are several guidelines that still need to be followed during this time, and that businesses can require employees and customers to wear face masks. She also advised that businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone who does not comply.

 

Judge Wiseman went on to explain that shoppers have requirements to follow as well, such as self-screening, staying home if sick, or if they’ve been around someone who may have been exposed to COVID-19. It was also advised that the Governor had requested that citizens over the age of 65 or with health concerns to stay home. 

 

According to Judge Wiseman, all of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Howard County had been contracted in different counties, with most of them being healthcare workers. She urged the public to continue wearing their face masks and be considerate of others.

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CRMWD Park and Picnic Area Open at Lakes


On Friday, the Colorado River Municipal Water District ‘s park and recreation areas at Lake J.B. Thomas, E.V. Spence Reservoir and O.H. Ivie will be open to the public for day use only. No overnight camping is allowed at this time. Group shelter pavilions remain closed.

 

Boat ramps are open at Southside Park, Lake Thomas; Paint Creek and Wildcat Parks at Lake Spence; and Padgitt, Kennedy and Concho Parks at Lake Ivie. Bank fishing is allowed within all park boundaries. 

 

CRMWD is following the directives issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in an effort to promote public and staff health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Park visitors shall follow all Federal, State, and Local guidelines, recommendations and restrictions regarding gatherings of people and and cleanliness standards while in public spaces. 

 

Park concessionaires located at E.V. Spence and O.H. Ivie Reservoirs remain open at their discretion. Each concessionaire should be contacted for their operating hours and services provided. Concessionaire contact information is available on the CRMWD website at www.crmwd.org/recreation.

 

The CRMWD will continue to monitor Federal, State and Local directives to promote public health and safety for outdoor recreation activities.

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 CDC adds 6 new COVID-19 symptoms to its online list


Be advised, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added six new COVID-19 symptoms to its online list.

 

The expanded list brings the total number of symptoms to nine. Here are the six new symptoms.

 

Chills

 

Repeated shaking with chills

 

Muscle pain

 

Headache

 

Sore throat

 

New loss of taste or smell

 

The previous symptoms listed on the CDC’s website were fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the new coronavirus.

 

The CDC says the emergency warning signs for the virus are trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face. If you have any of those symptoms, you are asked to get medical attention immediately.

 

The agency noted that the list of emergency warning signs is not all inclusive and advised people to consult a medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

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