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KBST News Archives for 2020-07

Libertarian Party of Texas to hold 2020 State Convention in Big Spring, July 31 - August 2, 2020


The Libertarian Party of Texas State Convention will be in Big Spring this weekend, July 31st - August 2nd, 2020, at the Big Spring Municipal Auditorium. According to members of the Big Spring CVB Board, $6,000 was given to the Libertarian Party of Texas to hold their State Convention in Big Spring.

 

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, who’s also the Senate District Representative for District 31 for the political party, told KBest News that when plans to hold the convention in McAllen, TX fell through the idea was proposed to hold it in Big Spring. Working together with city staff, the Big Spring Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Libertarian Party of Texas, Thomason stated that they were able to plan the event in less than 2 weeks, something that usually takes months to accomplish.

 

Thomason advised that convention is expected to bring in approximately 150 people to the area. These are people who will be staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, and shopping at local businesses. KBest News confirmed that there had been 40 rooms blocked off at Hotel Settles, just for this weekend’s convention. Plus, several more at Towneplace Suites.

 

According to the new Convention Schedule posted on the website for the Libertarian Party of Texas, Registration for the event will take place tomorrow, July 31st, at the Big Spring Municipal Auditorium from 3-7 PM. The only meeting held on Friday will be Delegate Meeting: Bylaws, which will be held from 3-4 PM at the Municipal Auditorium. Although there are still lunch packages available for the event, anyone is welcome to attend the convention as a spectator, without purchasing a package, and they’ll have access to the business session.

 

Tomorrow evening there will be a Liberty Champions Cocktail Hour at the Pharmacy Parlor to thank VIP Package holders for their event.  An “Unofficial Kick-Off Block Party” at 2nd & Main St. in downtown Big Spring is also listed on the schedule of events, however, time is not listed.

 

 

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Recall Petitions Requested for Big Spring Mayor:


Petitions to recall Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason were requested yesterday of the City of Big Spring. The resident making the request, Linda Burchett, stated in her letter to the City Secretary (not pictured) the reason for requesting the recall petition is dereliction of duty, threatening city personnel, and cussing at city personnel. She also stated that the mayor threatened her business permits in retaliation for a family member filing a lawsuit against the City.

 

The letter went on to say, “The Mayor [obstructed] council members on Dec. 16 and April 3rd the ability to seek legal advice on a legal matter with a proposed ordinance when new information was brought to the council in a meeting.

 

The Mayor personally rented the pavilion after he signed an emergency declaration closing all parks and pavilions and then allowed people to use it for a protest during the shut down.”

 

The petitioner has 30 calendar days to collect the signatures of 35% of the 2135 votes during the mayoral runoff election, which was held on June 8th of last year. Once the petition is certified, the mayor will have five days to resign. Should he not choose resignation, the city council shall order a recall election.

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Renovations on the Way for old Hall-Bennett Hospital in Big Spring!


If you’ve been near 9th & Goliad lately, you’ve probably seen activity going on at the old Hall-Bennett Hospital in Big Spring. That’s because Big Spring native Brint Ryan purchased the property a few months ago with plans to renovate it into an office building.

 

Project Manager Kris Ryan told KBest News that asbestos abatement has been taking place over the last couple of weeks. The west side of the abandoned hospital building, which was badly damaged by fire a few years ago, was demolished yesterday. The east side of the historical building, which bears the sign “Big Spring Hospital Corp” will undergo a substantial renovation that will include modern day requirements while preserving the historical integrity of the building that holds memories for so many. 

 

The target date of completion is not yet known, but KBest will provide updates on the project as they are made available.

 

 

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Hot Topic at Last Night's City Council Meeting --7/28/2020


While discussing a new resolution that would establish standards for relations between the Big Spring City Council and city staff, it was revealed that the resolution was actually a way to protect city staff from Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason. 

 

The proposed resolution would amend Chapter IX of the Big Spring Personnel Policy entitled “Conduct,” to add a new Section 7 entitled “Relations with Mayor and City Council,” in order to establish standards for relations between city council and staff. In it, the resolution addresses council requests for information and questions to staff, noting “Requests for information or answers to questions that may contain Unofficial Council Information that could lead to a walking quorum must be approved by the City Attorney or the City's officially authorized outside legal counsel prior to release and cannot be released if such a release would violate any law.” The resolution also prohibits council members from attending regular city staff meetings, and states that minutes are required to be kept for unofficial meetings with one or more council members and three or more city employees.  It was noted that failure to have a resolution of this type could lead to a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

 

When Mayor Thomason questioned why this resolution would be necessary, District 5 Councilmember Camilla Strande, in the interest of transparency, revealed that the mayor had gone through the City Attorney Andrew Hagen’s emails and text messages for months, in order to observe the communication between council members and Mr. Hagen.  Strande suggested that the same standard of requesting communication should apply to the rest of the councilmembers, and for everyone to be copied on the information as well as who made the request.  KBest News was informed that Mr. Hagen had no knowledge that the mayor had read his emails until after the fact.

 

Strande stated the mayor was regularly “coming unglued” on staff members. According to Strande, Thomason practically threatened staff members at the last staff meeting a week ago.

 

During the meeting, she went on to state, “I’d like the record to reflect that the mayor has gone through Mr. Hagen’s emails. I need the record to reflect that he is coming unglued at staff meetings.”

 

She also stated that the mayor was also sending out emails with curse words in them. Strande advised that she was even copied by Thomason on an email where he cursed at an employee while telling them that they did wrong.

 

“This kind of behavior is unacceptable,” exclaimed Strande. “This is the reason why we’re having to discuss conduct and what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable,” she continued.

 

“Let’s quit playing here,” said Strande. “This is not because we need to protect the Open Meetings Act,” she said of the resolution. “That may or may not be an issue that we’re trying to solve. What we’re really trying to do is protect staff from the mayor threatening them and intimidating their behavior and limiting the city staff’s ability to perform their jobs, which hurts you as a citizen. You as a citizen can’t get anything done because our staff is afraid that the next thing they know, [the] mayor is going to kick them out of their office and take over!”

 

When the mayor questioned whose office she was referring to, Strande answered that he had taken over City Manager Todd Darden’s office. Shortly after her comment, the City Attorney interrupted them and suggested that conversation be held at a later time.

 

Before the meeting ended, Thomason admitted to requesting the City Attorney's emails back when District 6 Councilman Jim DePauw suggested the termination of Darden as the City Manager. He also stated that he did not kick Darden out of his office, but he did say that he swapped offices with the City Manager because of Darden’s recent injury that prevents him from getting to his office. He also admitted that he had cursed in an email.  He stated that he was frustrated about not getting a straight answer from certain city staff members.

 

“When people lie to me, yeah, I might come unhinged a little bit, get a little upset about that. I’m human. It happens,” said Thomason.

 

Although he addressed most of the items that Strande had brought up, Thomason did not address the allegations of threatening staff members during the meeting.

 

When asked why she felt it was necessary to bring these comments during the meeting, Strande stated that she felt that the mayor, in general, behaves in an unprofessional manner.

 

She also alleged that the mayor had told someone that if they ever did something again, it would not be good for them and he was turning red in the face and pointing at them.

 

“Those sort of things are borderline threats,” said Strande. “You start to wonder, what would he do? What would he do when he doesn’t have authority to be saying those sort of things?”

 

Strande told KBest News that it was important for people to understand this dynamic and that the mayor is at City Hall, every day, behaving in that way.

 

Strande stated that the threatening behavior from the mayor had been reported to her by city staff members. She also said that she had been witness to other instances of unprofessional behavior. 

 

“He’s called me names. I’ve been witness to plenty of things where he’s said unprofessional things to others. That’s part of what we’re trying to do by saying that there would need to be minutes if someone was going to be present at a meeting with more than one or two [council members] to try to protect staff from that kind of behavior,” said Strande.

 

KBest News offered Mayor Thomason an opportunity to provide a statement in regards to comments made by Strande, however, he stated that he had no comment.

 

 

Other highlights from the 7/28/2020 Big Spring City Council Meeting included:

 

  •          A brief discussion was held about a possible property agreement with West Texas Community Mediation Center. Their mission is to provide conflict management education/services and other socially necessary services to the community; as well as for at-risk youth, adults and families that have been court-ordered or referred for services by assisting and collaborating with the courts, school districts, students, parents and state agencies.
  •          A unanimous approval of the final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 12 of the Code of Ordinances entitled “Miscellaneous,” to add new Sections 12-56 entitled “Removal of the Mental State Element for Offenses Punishable by a $500 Fine or Less” and Administrative Search Warrants. According to a discussion from the last council meeting, this ordinance will assist Code Enforcement in being able to issue fines for code violations. Citizens will still receive warning letters prior to being issued fines. It also allows administrative search warrants to be issued to determine the presence of a fire, health hazard, unsafe building condition or violation of any fire, health, or building regulation, statute, or ordinance.
  •          The first reading of a resolution asserting that the two legal memoranda on the interpretation of the Charter with regard to recall of officers are no longer subject to confidentiality, privilege, or work product immunity was approved by a 6-1 vote, with District 2 Councilman Doug Hartman voting against. 
  •          City Secretary Donald Moore certified that the adequate number of signatures on a recall petition for District 6 Councilman Jim DePauw were obtained. He stated that DePauw ran uncontested and the Charter states that 100 signatures were needed. Moore stated that he was present and witnessed when the Howard County Election Administrator’s Office validated the signatures. He noted that 135 signatures received, and 111 signatures were determined to be valid. DePauw was officially notified of the recall.
  •          According to the City Charter, the Councilman has 5 days from the date of notification, 07/28/2020, to resign. If he does not resign, then the city council shall order a recall election to be held 10-20 days from the day of the expiration of the 5-day period. The Emergency Reading of an Ordinance Calling for a Special Election for the purpose of voting for or against the recall of Councilmember DePauw was withdrawn from last night’s agenda by the mayor, and noted that it would return in 5 days.
  •          The first reading of ordinance amending Chapter 1 of Code of Ordinances entitled “Administration,” Section 1-170 “City Council,” subsection C “Parliamentary Standard” to allow the City Attorney to participate in City Council discussions but not granting the City Attorney the right to vote was announced to be out of order by the mayor. Councilman DePauw appealed the decision of the Chair and Councilwoman Strande seconded the motion. A vote was called for to sustain the decision of the Chair and councilmembers voted against the motion, 6-1, with only Thomason voting to sustain the decision. Councilmembers then voted on the first reading of the ordinance and approved it by a 6-1 vote with Thomason voting against.
  •          The resolution amending Chapter IX of the Big Spring Personnel Policy entitled “Conduct,” to add a new Section 7 entitled “Relations with Mayor and City Council,” in order to establish standards for relations between City Council and staff was approved by councilmembers by a 5-2 vote with Thomason and Hartman voting against.
  •          An ordinance authorizing the City Manager to direct placement of traffic control signs at various uncontrolled intersections and designating a crosswalk was unanimously approved by city council.
  •          A motion to rezone all of Block 9, Bauer Addition, Kate Morrison School, Blk/Track 9, 4.132 acres in Big Spring, Howard County, Texas located at the NE corner of N. Aylesford St. and N.W. 7th St., from Single-Family Dwelling SF-3 to Single-Family Dwelling SF-4 did not receive a second and died on the floor.
  •          First reading of an ordinance adopting and enacting a new code for the City of Big Spring, Texas; providing for the repeal of certain ordinances not included therein; providing for penalty for the violation thereof; providing for the manner amending such code; providing for publication; and providing for an effective date was unanimously approved by city council.
  •          First reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 13 of the Big Spring Code of Ordinances entitled “Health, Safety, and Nuisances,” article 3 “Abandoned, Inoperative, or Junked Vehicles” to re-align the subject regulations with State Law and ensure due process was also unanimously approved by councilmembers.
  •          During Council Input, Mayor Thomason advised that the city is in the process of addressing the lack of air conditioning in the city animal shelter. It was a topic that was brought up during last night’s public comments.

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Area News: Pedestrian killed in Ector County Crash, 07/27/2020


A pedestrian on the side of the road in Ector County was killed early Monday morning.

 

On July 27, 2020 at approximately 2:28 AM, DPS Troopers responded to a 3-vehicle - pedestrian fatality 1 mile west of Odessa, TX. According to the preliminary investigation, 25-year-old Emilee Attwood of Odessa, TX, and Cody Harrison, 24 of Odessa, TX, were standing outside of their parked vehicles along the right shoulder of FM 2020 when they were both struck by an eastbound 2015 Ford Mustang driven by 20-year-old Andres Ramirez-Fernandez, also of Odessa.

 

Attwood was pronounced dead on scene. Harrison was transported to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa with non-incapicitating injuries. Ramirez was not injured. According to DPS, the crash is still under investigation.

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Secretary DeVos Awards More than $180 Million to States Rethinking K-12 Education to Better Meet Students' Needs During Coronavirus Disruption


WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today more than $180 million in new grant funding will be awarded to 11 states rethinking education to better serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant will support states’ efforts to create new, innovative ways for students to continue learning in ways that meet their needs. Awardees include Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. The awards range from $6 million to $20 million.

 

“Ensuring every student can continue to learn during the coronavirus pandemic requires innovation from local education leaders and a laser-like focus on doing what’s right for students,” said Secretary DeVos. “This grant will help states adapt and overcome challenges to strengthen education both now and for the longer term. If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that the antiquated one-size-fits-all approach to education is no longer tenable and education going forward must be more adaptable and student-centered. I want to congratulate today’s awardees for making the needed effort to rethink education on behalf of their students.”

 

Congress set aside 1% of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for grants to states with the highest coronavirus burden. The Department of Education announced the Rethink K-12 Education Models (REM) grant competition in April 2020, inviting any state educational agency to apply. The program supports new, innovative ways to access education with an emphasis on meeting students’ needs during the coronavirus national emergency. Specifically, it called for projects to provide families with:

 

  • Microgrants, so that states can ensure families have access to the technology and services to advance learning remotely (absolute priority 1);
  • Statewide virtual learning and course access programs, so that students can access a full range of subjects, even those not taught in their assigned setting (absolute priority 2); or
  • New, field-initiated models for providing remote education to ensure that every child is learning and preparing for successful careers and lives (absolute priority 3).

 

REM table

 

Key highlights from some of the awardees include:

  • Texas will invest in developing new statewide virtual courses as part of its Texas Home Learning program, including the creation of new open resources for English Learners in reading and math, with a goal of reaching over one million English Learner students and providing professional development to more than 300,000 teachers.
  • New York will provide over 190,000 teachers and educational leaders with a combined 450,000 hours of professional support to implement effective practices in remote/hybrid teaching and learning, which, in turn, will reach an estimated two million students.
  • Louisiana will provide over 75,000 students access to microgrants for remote learning resources, including at least 12,000 who will receive devices or hotspots through the program.
  • Rhode Island will enhance its virtual Advanced Course Access program so that middle and high school students have access to a richer, more diverse set of course offerings, and elementary school students can access the program as well.
  • South Carolina will provide all students access to a robust virtual education ecosystem, including the use of “datacasting,” an innovative concept that can help provide instructional content to students without internet access.

 

Applications were evaluated by a panel of independent peer reviewers, and the highest-scoring applications received funding. Given the nature of the national emergency, states with the highest coronavirus burden were prioritized.

 

The Department continues to update www.ed.gov/coronavirus with information for students, parents, educators and local leaders about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

For additional resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about COVID-19, please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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Juvenile accidentally shot on 07/28/2020 expected to recover


From the Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker:

 

July 29, 2020

 

On Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at approximately 2:31 pm Deputies were dispatch to Scenic Mt. Medical Center ER in reference to a gunshot victim. Upon arrival Deputies discovered that a Male Juvenile had been shot with a shotgun.

 

After conducting an investigation it was discovered that 2 male juveniles were shooting sporting clays on private land. It is believed that one juvenile accidentally entered into an area that was in the line of fire when the second juvenile a shot, striking the victim.

 

The preliminary investigation indicates this to be an accident.

 

At this time the juvenile victim is undergoing treatment in a Lubbock hospital and is expected to recover.

 

 

Sheriff Stan Parker

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Mystery Seeds Arrive in Texas - Recipients advised to report unsolicited seed shipments


 

Texas residents are now among those across the nation receiving mysterious seeds delivered by mail in tiny bags marked as jewelry. U.S. Department of Agriculture officials are on alert because these seeds are unsolicited and are arriving in packages with Chinese writing and a return address in China.

 

Kevin Ong, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist and director of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, said the concern arises because these packages have seeds in them instead of what is listed, and there is no information on what type of seeds they might be.

 

“We don’t know what kind of seeds they are,” Ong said. “Not knowing what the seeds are could potentially open our agriculture industry up to noxious weeds. If that proves to be the case, if they take hold, they could impact agriculture negatively.”

 

According to USDA-Animal, Plant Health Inspection Service, APHIS, the Plant Protection and Quarantine, PPQ, regulates the importation of plants and plant products under the authority of the Plant Protection Act. PPQ maintains its import program to safeguard U.S. agriculture and natural resources from the risks associated with the entry, establishment or spread of animal and plant pests and noxious weeds. These regulations prohibit or restrict the importation of living plants, plant parts and seeds for propagation.

 

“Seeds for planting can be produced all over the world and some you buy may come from other countries,” Ong said. “Companies that sell these seeds have the necessary permits. In this situation, the source is not readily known. What USDA wants to know is why are people getting these and are they noxious weeds.”

What to do with mystery seeds

Do not simply discard these seeds as they can potentially germinate and escape into nature, Ong said. All cases should be reported to USDA and all packages should be kept secure until USDA gives further instructions.

 

All incidences of receipt of these unrequested seeds should be reported to USDA-APHIS by sending an email to Carol Motloch, USDA-APHIS’ Texas PPQ state operations coordinator, at carol.m.motloch@usda.gov. The email should include a contact email and phone number as well as a description of package information. Sending a photo of the label and material would also be helpful.

 

“First, if you didn’t order it, we don’t want anyone planting these seeds or even opening the packages,” said Larry Stein, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist, Uvalde. “It could be a scam, or it very well could be dangerous.”

 

“We recommend anyone receiving the seeds send an email to USDA and then wait to see if they are asked to send them in,” Stein said. “We would not advise throwing them away until more information is known because they might contaminate the landfill.”

 

To date, packages containing these mystery seeds have also been received in Washington, Virginia, Utah, Kansas, Louisiana and Arizona.

 

Advice from Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is that anyone receiving a foreign package containing seeds should not open it. Keep contents contained in their original sealed package.

“I am urging folks to take this matter seriously,” Miller said in a press release. “An invasive plant species might not sound threatening, but these small invaders could destroy Texas agriculture. TDA has been working closely with USDA to analyze these unknown seeds so we can protect Texas residents.”

 

An invasive species is an organism that is not native to a particular region. The introduction of this “alien species” can cause economic or environmental harm. In agriculture, an invasive species can destroy native crops, introduce disease to native plants and may be dangerous for livestock.

 

(Photo - Mystery seeds with labeling from China. (Source: Washington State Department of Agriculture)

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Governor Abbott, HHSC Extend Deadline For Pandemic Food Benefits For Families Affected By COVID-19 School Closures


AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is extending the application deadline for the federal Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer program (P-EBT) to August 21 to ensure eligible families have more time to apply for this one-time food benefit.

 

P-EBT is a one-time benefit of $285 per eligible child and can be used in the same way Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits pay for groceries. Eligible families include those with children who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) due to school closures.

 

"The P-EBT program helps ensure that families continue to have access to healthy food as some schools, and subsequently school lunch programs, remain closed due to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "I encourage eligible Texans to apply for these benefits so they can continue to provide food for their families during these challenging times."

 

"If your family is eligible, we want you to apply for this one-time benefit because we don’t want to leave federal lunch money on the table," said HHS Access and Eligibility Services Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter. "We’re pleased with how many families have so far received this benefit, but there are still thousands of eligible families in our communities that can apply for assistance.”

 

HHSC partnered with the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Education Agency to launch the $1 billion federal program on June 1 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than three million children in Texas were certified to receive free or reduced-price meals at school during the 2019-2020 school year. To date, nearly $790 million in P-EBT has been issued to families, benefiting more than 2.8 million children. Families who are eligible for P-EBT were notified by their school districts in May. After completing the online application, families receive their benefits on a new Texas P-EBT card in the mail.

 

Families who have been denied but think they are eligible should contact HHSC within 15 days of receiving their denial notice. They can either call the P-EBT Call Center at 833-613-6220 or send an email to AES_PEBT_Complaints@hhsc.state.tx.us with proof of free or reduced-priced meals. Proof includes the award letter that is sent to parents when their children become eligible for the National School Lunch Program.

 

Visit hhs.texas.gov/pebt to learn more about P-EBT and other types of proof acceptable. For questions regarding eligibility or to learn more, Texans may also contact the P-EBT Call Center at 833-613-6220, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Standard Time. When applying, it is especially important to include a valid phone number on their application. HHSC staff may need to call families to get additional information to approve P-EBT benefits. The deadline to apply has been extended to Aug. 21.

 

Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits.

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Big Spring YMCA to host Teen Mask-querade Ball on Friday, July 31, 2020


Big Spring YMCA, located at 801 Owens, will be hosting their first Teen Mask-querade Ball this Friday, July 31st, from 9 PM - midnight.

 

Admission is $5 per person and it is open to junior high and high school students. Be advised that masks are required for the event, and can be purchased at the event if needed. A King and Queen will be crowned and there will be a couple’s dances contest, and a most creative mask design contest!

 

Dathan Jones, CEO for the YMCA of Big Spring, told KBest News that the Mask-querade Ball is an opportunity to give teens something to do and to give them a creative outlet using face masks. Winners of the contests can win cash and/or gift cards.

 

For more information contact Dathan Jones at (432) 254-9949.

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"Certification of Signatures on Recall Petition" listed on tonight's agenda for Big Spring City Council meeting, 07/28/2020


Big Spring City Council members will meet in regular session this evening, beginning at 5:30 PM at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring.

 

During tonight’s meeting, the certification of signatures on a recall position for Councilman Jim DePauw, District 6, is listed on the agenda.

 

Last month, Council members DePauw, along with Camila Strande, District 5, Terry McDaniel, District 3, and Raul Marquez, District 1 walked out during a Big Spring City Council meeting on June 23, 2020, after a heated disagreement on Robert’s Rules that resulted from Mayor Shannon Thomason announcing that a motion made by Marquez was out of order. Since then, a petition, citing dereliction of duty, has been filed to recall Councilman DePauw.

 

There will also be an emergency reading of an ordinance calling for a special election to be held not less than ten (10) nor more than twenty (20) days from today's date for the purpose of voting for or against the recall of City District 6 Council member DePauw.

 

Other items listed on tonight's agenda are a first reading of a resolution asserting tht two legal memoranda on interpretation of the Charter with regard to Recall of Officers are no longer subject to confidentiality, privilege, or work product immunity.

 

There will also be first reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 1 of the Code of Ordinances entitled "Administration" Section 1-170 "City Council," subsection C "Parliamentary Standard" to allow the City Attorney to participate in City Council discussions but not granting the City Attorney the right to vote.

 

A first reading of a resolution amending Chapter IX of the Big spring Personnel Policy entitled "Conduct," to add a new section 7 entitled "Relations with Mayor and City Council," in order to establish standards for relations between City Council and staff.

 

In addition to these items, there will also be a first reading of the following ordinances:

  • authorizing the City Manager to direct the placement of traffic control signs at various uncontrolled intersections; designating a crosswalk
  • authorizing Z20-04, amending the Big Spring Zoning Ordinance by rezoning all of Block 9, Bauer Addition, Kate Morrison School, blk/track 9, 4.132 acres in Big Spring, Howard County, TX and N.W. 7th St., from Single-Family Dwelling SF-3 to Single Family Dwelling SF-4
  • amending Ch. 13 of the Big Spring Code of ordinances entitled "Health, Safety, and Nuisances," article 3 "Abandoned, Inoperative, or Junked Vehicles" to re-align the subject regulations with State law and due process

 

Tonight's meeting can be viewed on our KBest Media Faceook page, on Suddenlink Channel 17, or through the city's live stream at:
http://mybigspring.com/224/Channel-17-Live

 

To view more on tonight's agenda, visit:
http://mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/…/_07282020-405

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Governor Abbott Waives Grade Promotion Requirements For 2020-2021 STAAR Testing


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the grade promotion requirement related to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test for students in grades 5 and 8 has been waived for the upcoming school year. Typically, school systems must take into account a student’s score on the STAAR test to determine whether the student can be promoted to the next grade level. The traditional A-F rating system will remain in place, albeit with certain adjustments due to COVID-19.

 

Typically, students enrolled in grades 5 and 8 are required to re-take a STAAR test late in the school year, and sometimes again in the summer, if they do not meet grade level when taken during the spring. With this waiver, there will only be one administration of the STAAR grades 5 and 8 mathematics and reading assessments for the 2020–21 school year. The test will be administered in May to coincide with the administration of other STAAR grades 3-8 assessments. 

 

"As always, our goal is to provide a high quality education for every Texas student," said Governor Abbott. "This will be a uniquely challenging school year, therefore, this year is about providing students every opportunity to overcome the disruptions caused by COVID-19. By waiving these promotion requirements, we are providing greater flexibility for students and teachers, while at the same time ensuring that Texas students continue to receive a great education — which we will continue to measure with high quality assessments."

 

"Parents deserve to know how well their children have learned grade level knowledge and skills in reading and math, especially in a time when education has been substantially disrupted," said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. "And educators use this valuable information to make adjustments to support students the following year. But there is no benefit to our children by requiring them to repeat a year based on a single test score given the disruptions of COVID, so we are waiving the grade promotion requirements from STAAR this year for our students."

 

"Parents rightfully expect our schools to continue to meet a high bar and it is critically important that teachers and parents know how each child is progressing and whether or not they need additional help. A-F ratings will provide us with important information about school performance and, while we won’t use the STAAR test to determine promotions, it will continue to provide us with assessment data that we need. We face some unprecedented challenges in the upcoming year, but we must continue to keep our schools accountable and on track," said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. 

 

"During a time of great uncertainty, one thing is indisputable — we cannot allow an entire generation of Texas students to be disadvantaged by the unprecedented disruptions this pandemic has caused in our education system. Not only will this approach do a great deal to reduce the ‘high-stakes’ burden of testing in a school year already complicated by this pandemic, it will hold schools accountable for providing a high quality education while equipping teachers and parents with the information they need to make certain students are learning and remain on the path to educational success," said House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

 

"During these unprecedented times, with the State’s support, our schools should do everything they can to provide a quality education for our students.  I also agree with Governor Abbott that our students should not be penalized by circumstances beyond their control, while recognizing the assessment itself provides important insight to grade level achievement in a new learning environment," said Senator Larry Taylor.

 

"With this waiver, we are ensuring that the success of Texas students remains the focus of this school year. These unprecedented times have brought much upheaval to these students’ lives and this is one thing we can do at the State level to help ease them back into their educational routines while still ensuring the institutions of education remain accountable," stated Chairman of the House Public Education Committee, Dan Huberty.

 

To learn more, visit TEA’s FAQ guide on the Texas Assessment Program.

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Howard County Commissioners introduce new Emergency Management Coordinator, 07/27/2020


Howard County’s new Emergency Management Coordinator Emily McCann was introduced to the public during this afternoon’s Howard County Commissioners Court.

 

Also during the meeting, a quorum of Commissioners approved COVID-19 Testing and Returning to Work Guidelines for Howard County employees. It was stated that the guidelines are similar to those passed by Smith County, but they would allow flexibility to modify as needed.

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SMMC holds drive-by Back to School Health Splash, 8/06/2020


Scenic Mountain Medical Center will have their 7th Annual Back to School Health Splash on August 6th from 4:30-7:00 PM. The event assists children from Kindergarten through 12th grade in Howard County from Big Spring, Coahoma, and Forsan.

 

Due to COVID-19, SMMC will be hosting a contactless pick up drive thru and will be distributing school supplies while the parents and children stay in their vehicle. It should be noted that children must be present in vehicle.

 

"We are calling it the the Back to School Health Splash because we're gonna do it the health way," said Mitzi Knight, Sr. Practice Manager for SMMG. "We're gonna have a drive-by Back to School Bash and that way it'll be a lot cooler. You get to be in your car. You don't have to go booth to booth outside which we always had so much fun with that. We're sad but we want to still offer it," said Knight of the event.

 

Knight went on to say that to make the event possible, they need to collect donations of school supplies or money.

 

For those wanting to make monetary or supply donation only, donations can be mailed to:

 

Scenic Mountain Medical Center

1601 W. 11th Place

Big Spring, Texas 79720

Attn: Back to School Health Splash (April Arms)

 

For those wanting to make monetary or supply donations, contact April Arms at 432-268-4907 or Daniel Moreno at 432-553-1271 or by email April.Arms@Steward.Org or Martin.Morenoii@Steward.Org

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Salvation Army continues to assist Big Spring community, but donations are needed.


Although the summer meals program ended on June 30th, the Salvation Army has announced that they will continue to provide free meals for kids. To pick up a free meal, just contact them at 432-267-8239. 

 

The Salvation Army of Big Spring continues to serve the community by providing resources to those in need by providing food, toiletries, and hygiene kits. 

 

According to Lt. Charlsie Godwin with the Salvation Army, the organization now also provides delivery for food boxes every Thursday. She advised that over the last few months, they’ve seen an increase in the number of people who need food pantry or other social services. 

 

In order to continue to provide services for those in need for the community, the organization is requesting donations of the following items: 

 

Beans/Lentils

Mac & Cheese

Peanut Butter

Shelf stable milk

Cereal/ Oatmeal

Bread

Crackers

Instant Potatoes

Canned Meats

 

Donations can be dropped off at 811 W. 5th St. in Big Spring, or mailed to:

 

Salvation Army

P.O. Box 1248

Big Spring, TX 79721

 

Credit and debit cards can also be used to make a donation by visiting sarmytx.org/covid-19.

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"Settled In" Summer Market at Hotel Settles


Hotel Settles will host the “Settled In” Summer Market this Sunday, July 26th, from 11 AM - 2 PM at the Hotel Settles Courtyard, located on the corner of 3rd St. and Johnson.

There will be a variety of items available including smoothies, mimosa, bloody marys, local farm fresh fruits and vegetables, jams, salsas, and baked goods. There will also be food trucks and more. Vendors will also have giveaways.

 

The “Settled In” Summer Market is free to attend. Those attending are asked to maintain 6 feet of social distancing and wear a mask when they are not eating or drinking.

 

Friday, July 24, 2020, is the last day to sign up as a vendor. Call Hotel Settles at 432-267-7500 or email emaan@hotelsettles.com for more information.

 

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Texas Sales Tax Holiday is Aug. 7-9, 2020


(AUSTIN) — With the Texas economy slowly awakening from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Comptroller Glenn Hegar reminds shoppers they can save money on clothes and school supplies during the state’s sales tax holiday on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7-9.

 

The law exempts sales tax on qualified items — such as clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks — priced below $100, saving shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend. The date of the sales tax holiday and list of tax-exempt items are set by the Texas Legislature.

 

“Even though significant uncertainty remains for our public and private schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sales tax holiday is a perfect opportunity to save money on school supplies and other tax-free items at a time when many Texans are carefully monitoring their family finances,” Hegar said. “Online shopping is covered, so I encourage all Texans to shop online or practice social distancing when making in-store purchases. We want folks to stay safe while saving money.”

 

Apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax-free are listed on the Comptroller’s website at TexasTaxHoliday.org.

 

To promote social distancing, the Comptroller’s office wants all taxpayers to know that during the annual sales tax holiday, qualifying items can be purchased online or by telephone, mail, custom order or any other means (including in-store purchases) tax free, when either:

 

  • the item is both delivered to, and paid for by, the customer during the exemption period; or

  • the customer orders and pays for the item, and the seller accepts the order during the exemption period for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period ends.

 

Texas’ sales tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999, allowing Texans to save millions of dollars in state and local sales taxes each year.

 

Uncertainty surrounding consumer activity in the retail sector coupled with a lack of clarity regarding the timing and nature of schools reopening prevents the agency from producing an estimate for dollars saved by taxpayers during this year’s holiday. Last year’s holiday generated an estimated $102.2 million in savings for Texas taxpayers.

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Area News: Odessa Man Indicted on Possession of a Destructive Device


In Midland on Wednesday, 07/22/20, a federal grand jury indicted 44-year-old Jeffrey Allen Smerud on one count of possession of a destructive device, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Luis M. Quesada, El Paso Division.


According to court documents, on March 10, 2020, Odessa police officers responded to reports of a suspicious person at a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center. A Lowe’s employee observed the suspicious person (later identified as Jeffery Allen Smerud) placing an unknown object under a pallet of mulch and then leaving the area. Shortly thereafter, the employee observed an explosion coming from the pallet.


Using the vehicle description and surveillance footage, law enforcement officers determined the suspect to be Jeffrey Allen Smerud. On March 13, Smerud was arrested. Smerud admitted to law enforcement officers to planting the explosive device at Lowe’s. Smerud also admitted he manufactured the explosive device.


Smerud is scheduled for an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Ronald C. Griffen later this month. If convicted, Smerud faces up to ten years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine. Smerud has remained in federal custody since his arrest on March 13.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with assistance from the Odessa Police Department, is investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shane Chriesman is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.


An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Big Spring ISD discusses Reopening Plan at BSISD Board of Trustees special meeting on Thursday, 07/23/2020


The Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees met last night for a special meeting to discuss the school’s reopening plan. During the discussion, board members sounded off on the pros and cons of the proposed plan and made suggestions that they thought would be beneficial for the students.

 

“I’m very happy with what we came up with for Big Spring ISD. I think it’s a great plan. A lot of people put in a lot of work into this," said BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams. 

 

"Could it be adjusted throughout the year? Of course. Why? Because if March has taught us anything, it’s that if we have some things we might have to adjust to. This is also uncharted waters in terms of trying to do a remote learning at the same time as a face-to-face learning. We feel like we’re very prepared to do it, but we also know there will be some hurdles to jump. I feel like when those do come, we’ll make those changes needed. We’ll adapt and we’ll overcome,” he continued.

 

Board members also approved a Standard Form Owner/Contractor Agreement with Javine West Texas LLC, dba Varitec Solutions, for contractor services relating to the HVAC system upgrades at Kentwood Elementary. They also approved a budget amendment and expenditures over $150,000 for the project. A resolution approving the terms and conditions of an interlocal agreement with Region 10 Retirement Asset Management Services Cooperative was also approved. 

 

Big Spring ISD will begin registration on Monday, July 27, 2020 at respective campuses. During this time, parents will need to decide whether their student will participate in face-to-face instruction, or participate in remote learning. Be advised that students participating in remote learning, will not be able to participate in extracurricular activities. It should also be noted that changes can be made later in the school year. Those in face-to-face instruction can be moved into remote instruction if needed, as long as there is parent/guardian notification to the school; however, students who are remote learning will have to wait until the end of the grading cycle to re-enter into face-to-face instruction. 

 

“Meet the Teacher Nights” will begin August 10, 2020 at respective campuses. 

BSISD will begin school on August 19, 2020. On this day, grades Pre-K - 8th will distribute school supplies for students. Parents will only be responsible for a backpack. This is made possible by district employees working through federal grant processes.

 

Further information on the BSISD Reopening Plan can be found at:

https://www.bsisd.esc18.net/domain/427?fbclid=IwAR1kw18CoSvzU9yRq4rUILo0BOS94ZAUtByhn4ywFiXaMq0QZI13QFY1Wfg

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9 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed for Howard County, 7/23/20


Press Release 7-23-2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

 

Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 23, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of nine (9) new positive test results for COVID-19. These individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms, such as headache, low-grade fever and a cough. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

 

The demographic information of the infected individuals is as follows:

 

77-year-old male
26-year-old female
46-year-old male
32-year-old male
13-year-old female
53-year-old female
63-year-old female
54-year-old male
8-year-old male

 

With the recent and rapid increase in the number of positive cases, County and City officials urge community members to take every precaution to protect yourself and your family members. Please continue to practice social distancing, stay home when possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask while in public areas. These are all things you can do to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill from any respiratory illness including COVID-19.

 

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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BSISD to provide FREE school supplies for ALL Pre-K - 8th Grade kids for 2020-2021 school year.


BSISD Board of Trustees hold Special Meeting on 07/23/2020

On Wednesday afternoon, Jay McWilliams, Superintendent of Big Spring Independent School District, announced that all school supplies for kids Pre-K through 8th Grade would be provided for by Big Spring ISD. The only things parents will be responsible for is obtaining a backpack for their child. This is made possible by BSISD employees working through federal grant processes.

 

School supplies will be distributed on the first day of school, which will be August 19, 2020. "Meet the Teacher" nights will begin on August 10th. Registration for BSISD will begin on Monday, July 27, 2020 at respective campuses.

 

Further details regarding the district's reopening plan will be revealed on Friday, July 24, 2020.

 

 

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3 More Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed for Howard County, 7/22/2020


Press Release 7-22-2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

 

Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 22, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of three (3) new positive test results for COVID-19. These individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms, such as headache, low-grade fever and a cough. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

 

The demographic information of the individuals for these new cases is not currently available.

With the recent and rapid increase in the number of positive cases, County and City officials urge community members to take every precaution to protect yourself and your family members. Please continue to practice social distancing, stay home when possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask while in public areas. These are all things you can do to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill from any respiratory illness including COVID-19.

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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"T-Shirt Fundraiser" Scammers are at it again.


Big Spring High School reminds the public that “T-shirt Fundraisers” scammers are at it again. They noted that these deceptive people pretend to be in Big Spring, but they are usually located out-of-town.

 

Big Spring High School reminds local businesses to NOT donate money to help "sponsor" a club or organization affiliated with BSHS until you can confirm with a district employee at the high school that the fundraiser/sponsorship is a legitimate event.

 

If contacted, let the caller know you will call the high school first in order to confirm it is a school-sponsored fundraiser and that students at BSHS will actually benefit from the monies collected.

 

If you have any other questions, you are encouraged to call Big Spring High School at 432-264-3641.

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Kindred at Home of Big Spring is Named as a 'Superior Performer' in 2019 SHP Patient Satisfaction Ranking


Big Spring, Texas, July, 22nd, 2020 – Kindred at Home Big Spring is a leading provider of home health care services, was recently named a recipient of a Superior Performer award as
part of the Strategic Healthcare Programs’ (SHP) annual rankings. Only programs in the top 20 percent of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) HHCAHPS (Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) patient satisfaction scores
compiled by SHP in 2019 received this honor.


“We are honored to be recognized by Strategic Healthcare Programs for this achievement,” said Jill Estes, RN, Branch Director of Kindred at Home of Big Spring .“This award reflects our
patients’ appreciation for our services and our team’s commitment to providing compassionate, high-quality, patient-centered care.”


Kindred at Home’s therapists, nurses and aids provide in-home healthcare services to individuals recovering from illness or with chronic conditions. Kindred at Home serves patients and families in Howard and surrounding counties.

 

The annual SHPBest™ program was created to acknowledge home health agencies that consistently provide high quality service to their patients. With the largest HHCAHPS benchmark in the nation, SHP is in a unique position to identify and recognize organizations that have made patient satisfaction a priority and have been rewarded for their efforts with high marks on the HHCAHPS survey.


About Kindred at Home
Kindred at Home is the nation’s largest provider of community care, personal home care, home health, palliative and hospice care. For more than 35 years, Kindred at Home has offered skilled nursing, physical, occupational, and speech therapies, social work, disease management education, hospice and palliative care services as well as help with daily living activities. Kindred at Home’s proprietary specialty programs help patients manage medical conditions and enables them to remain in their homes as they receive medical or rehabilitative care. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Kindred at Home’s 45,000+ employees deliver high-quality care in nearly 800 locations throughout 40 states. For more information,
visit www.kindredathome.com

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Crime Stoppers ask for the public's help to identify a possible Burglary suspect.


Big Spring /Howard County Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in locating and identifying a possible Burglary suspect. On July 3rd, 2020 at approximately 8:30 AM deputies with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to Elite Cabins & RV Park located at 118 Texas Rd. in reference to a burglary of a habitation. Upon arrival, deputies learned an unknown male suspect entered the residence and stole property valued at $850.00. Crime Stoppers is offering UP TO $1000.00 to the FIRST person who can provide information that identifies the actor.

 

You can submit your information by calling the TIPS line at 432-263-8477 (TIPS), where you will remain anonymous and no caller ID is ever used. You can also use P3tips.com software and you can submit your tip online anonymously. 

 

Please reference case # 20-0605 in your tip.

 

Web Tip Link: https://www.p3tips.com/1277

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Howard County announces 3rd death due to COVID-19; 9 new cases confirmed, 7/21/2020


On July 21, 2020, Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman and Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason were notified that a 62-year-old female patient had succumbed to her illness and passed away. This is the third death in Howard County/Big Spring due to COVID-19. Both County and City officials are saddened by this news and extend their deepest condolences to her family members. The public is asked to keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

 

Also yesterday, Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of nine (9) new positive test results for COVID-19. These individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms, such as headache, low-grade fever and a cough. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

The demographic information of the infected individuals is as follows:

 

66-year-old male

51-year-old female

22-year-old female

84-year-old female

47-year-old female

59-year-old male

58-year-old male

26-year-old male

22-year-old female

 

With the recent and rapid increase in the number of positive cases, County and City officials urge community members to take every precaution to protect themselves and their family members. The public is urged to continue to practice social distancing, stay home when possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask while in public areas. These are all things you can do to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill from any respiratory illness including COVID-19.

 

 

 

 

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CISD continues to work on school plan; says 6th - 12th grade students may bring personal devices for use to school


Coahoma Independent School District has announced that they are still working on the 2020-2021 school plan, but they did advise that all 6th-12th students will be allowed to bring their own device for this school year. It must have a connected keyboard and screen, tablets and cell phones will not be allowed to be used as a device. It should be noted that CISD will not be liable for damages, and students must also adhere to the CISD digital use agreement.

 

To review this information, visit the Facebook page for Coahoma ISD.

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BSISD Board of Trustees hold Special Meeting on 07/23/2020


Big Spring Independent School District's Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Thursday, July 23rd, in the Big Spring High School Board Room, located at 707 11th Place in Big Spring, at 5:15 PM.

 

During the meeting, the board will discuss the school reopening plan. There will also be consideration and possible action taken on a Standard Form Owner/Contractor Agreement with Javine West Texas LLC, dba Varitec Solutions, for contractor services relating to the HVAC system upgrades at Kentwood Elementary, and other Action related thereto.

 

Board members will also consider the approval of a budget amendment and expenditures over $150,000; as well as consider passing a resolution approving the terms and conditions of an interlocal agreement with Region 10 Retirement Asset Management Services Cooperative.

 

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Area News: Fatal Crash in Midland County, 7/16/2020


The driver killed in a Midland County crash last week has been identified by Texas DPS.

 

On Thursday, July 16, 2020 at approximately 8:26 AM, DPS Troopers responded to a two-vehicle crash that occurred on State Highway 158, just 7 miles east of Midland, TX.

 

The preliminary investigation revealed that Cody Gibbs, 34 of Hico, TX, had been traveling east on State Highway 158 in a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado when he failed to control his speed and crashed into the vehicle in front of him. Gibbs was pronounced dead on scene. According to the DPS report, he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver of the second vehicle was not injured.

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Thank you for your investment - Klassic Kleaners


The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce resumed their “Thank You for Your Investment” presentations today with a visit to Klassic Kleaners to thank them for all that they do for the community. 

 

Kristen Nichols, Owner and Operator of Klassic Kleaners, told KBest News that she was happy to have her business recognized by the Chamber. She went on to say that they do their best to serve the community by supporting local events and the economy.

 

Klassic Kleaners, located at 2107 S Gregg, is open 7 AM - 6:30 PM and offers same day service. Contact them at 432-263-7004.

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Spivey arrested after Vehicle Pursuit, 7/20/2020


From Big Spring Police Department:

 

On the 20th of July 2020 at approximately 10:00 A.M., a Green in color 1994 Jeep Cherokee and a 12’ Silver single axel Tractor Supply trailer containing wood panels were reported stolen from the 1800 block of Donley. At approximately 11:20 A.M., the complainant had located his trailer and wood panels abandoned in the 900 block of E. 9th.

 

On the 20th of July 2020 at approximately 2:45 P.M., a Howard County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed the stolen vehicle travelling northbound in the 1200 block of N. FM 700. The deputy turned behind the vehicle and followed it to S. Anderson Rd. where the vehicle turned eastbound. The deputy then attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver refused at which time a pursuit was initiated.

 

Howard County deputies and Department of Public Safety troopers pursued the vehicle on multiple roads north east of Big Spring.


The vehicle entered into the city limits southbound from north Highway 87. Big Spring Police Department officers then assisted with the pursuit in an attempt to stop the driver of the stolen Jeep. The pursuit continued through several streets in the city limits. The driver of the stolen Jeep made his way to E. FM 700 travelling northbound and turning eastbound onto the south service road of IH-20. Officers pursued the driver and stolen vehicle to Sand Springs where the driver finally crashed the stolen vehicle into a small chain length fence in the 100 block of Croze Rd.

 

The driver was taken into custody and was identified as Joshua Nathaniel Spivey White/Male 24 years of age. Spivey has been charged with Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Evading Arrest/Detention with a vehicle and a warrant for Parole Violation original charge Possession of a Controlled Substance.


Chief of Police, Chad Williams
Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

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BSHS graduate April Farris recently honored as Rising Star by Law360.


Big Spring High School graduate April L. Farris is one of five appellate attorneys under 40 recently honored as Rising Stars by Law360, a subscription-based legal news service.

 

In 2019, Farris, helped IBM, the American international technology company, avoid paying an extra $26 million in damages in a contract dispute with Jewelry Television by persuading the Sixth Circuit to accept her interpretation of a confusing set of jury notes. 

 

Farris took concurrent Howard college courses while at BSHS and graduated in 2002. She went on to graduate from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2006 and later graduated from Harvard Law in 2009.

 

Initially, Farris had planned to become a journalist. She told KBest News that while in high school, she spent a summer working for the Big Spring Herald and fell in love with telling other people's stories. She was also the editor-in-chief of the BSHS school newspaper.

 

"Back in the day, it was so different. We used to have to print out our stories. Then we would use little X-ACTO knives [to] cut the text, [then] glue it down and actually send it off somewhere to have hardcopies made of the newspaper," laughed Farris. "It was a very different era even though that was less than 20 years ago," she continued.

 

Later, Farris found she could still tell other people's stories while practicing law.

 

"In law you go through the same process," she said. "You do your research and then you sit down with your pencil and paper and you start to tell your client's story. Instead of an audience of, maybe, thousands of readers, you're focusing on one judge in the trial courts or maybe a panel of three or nine judges in a court of appeals. You're doing the same thing, telling a story, it's just in front of a different audience."

 

When asked how she felt to be recognized as one of the five Rising Stars by Law360, Farris stated that she was humbled and grateful for the recognition. 

 

"It was a really special thing to get to see and I'm just honored to get to serve my clients and be a part of a wonderful law firm," answered Farris.

 

Currently, Farris is a partner with Yetter Coleman LLP in Houston, Texas. She's been with the law firm for an approximate combined total of seven years. 

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4 News Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed for Big Spring / Howard County, 7/20/2020


Press Release 7-20-2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

 

Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 20, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of four (4) new positive test results for COVID-19 over the weekend. The individuals are from one family and are all isolated at home. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

 

The demographic information of infected individuals are not available currently. The Texas DSHS website is reporting the following numbers as of Monday July 20, 2020. Total cases for Howard County 90. Recoveries 38. Active cases 50. Howard County and Big Spring emergency management has not received information from DSHS about these numbers.

 

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

Image may contain: text

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Isaiah 58 announces changes for food distribution beginning Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Be advised that beginning tomorrow, those receiving food distribution from Isaiah 58 will have to use a new entrance. Drivers will have to enter from 9th Street into the Isaiah 58 parking lot and exit onto Scurry.

 

Everyone is asked to wear face coverings, and drivers are now required to load their own boxes into their own vehicle. This will assist in social distancing by limiting the amount of interaction between clients and volunteers.

 

Clients should also be aware that they will have to provide identification in order to pick up items and clients may only attend one distribution every 30 days.

 

For more information, contact Nancy Stinson, Isaiah 58 President, at 432-263-4758 or 432-256-0592.

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Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, Speaker Bonnen, Senate Finance, House Appropriations Committee Chairs Announce eLearning Funding For Texas Students


AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, Vice Chair Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, and House Appropriations Committee Chair Giovanni Capriglione and Vice Chair Oscar Longoria announced on Friday, July 17, 2020 that the State of Texas will allocate $200 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for the purchase of eLearning devices and home internet solutions to enable remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic for Texas students that lack connectivity.

 

With this funding, the TEA will purchase and distribute devices, hotspots, routers, and more based on specific needs identified by local education agencies (LEAs). The funding would be used to establish a reimbursement program with a matching fund component tied to locally controlled Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) or LEA local funding. This funding is in addition to a previously announced distribution of up to $400 million of CRF to reimburse districts for COVID-19 expenses incurred during the 2019-2020 school year. This funding will also establish a reimbursement program for devices and home internet costs incurred by LEAs from May 21st through September 1st. 

 

"As school districts delay the start of in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19, it is essential that we work to provide Texas students with the devices they need to connect and communicate online for classroom instruction," said Governor Abbott. "As we continue to combat COVID-19 in Texas, we are committed to providing reliable and effective solutions that will help students academically succeed while protecting public health."

 

"While getting our students back to school is our top priority, many local districts are also developing a variety of virtual learning plans to ensure that students do not lose valuable learning time as we continue to fight COVID-19. This funding is an essential step in closing the digital gap for students by making access to technology available to every child who needs it," said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

 

"The onset of COVID-19 has yielded unprecedented educational challenges in the State of Texas, and the embrace of new technologies and virtual learning methods will be instrumental in our effort to provide quality instructional continuity for all students. This funding will go a long way to close existing technology gaps and improve connectivity statewide, and in doing so, our students will be equipped with the tools needed for success in the upcoming school year," said Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

 

"Virtual learning works when students have access to the proper wi-fi and electronic devices. These funds help bridge the digital divide and prevent students who lack access to technology from falling behind," said Senator Jane Nelson.

 

"No child should ever be denied the ability to achieve his/her dreams simply because he/she does not have technological devices or internet access. Education is the great equalizer and while that will look different in the near term, a move to distance learning to protect students and teachers can only be effective for all learners if they all are able to actively learn and participate. Today's actions by the Governor and TEA will move us toward this goal of ensuring every child has equal access to the tools and resources necessary to achieve a high-quality education," said Senator Juan Hinojosa.

 

"So many of our students across Texas will be starting the school year by continuing their remote education. With all of the challenges that remote learning presents, having adequate access to a computer and reliable internet shouldn’t be one of them.  I’m proud to have worked with Governor Abbott, my legislative colleagues, and Commissioner Mike Morath to secure the needed funds to begin the process of bridging this digital divide," said Representative Giovanni Capriglione.

 

"Our public education system is facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. Operation Connectivity ensures all Texas students have the resources needed to connect and learn online," said Representative Oscar Longoria. 

 

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Steward Health Care Announces Stacey Brown as New President of Scenic Mountain Medical Center


Press Release from Steward Health Care on 07/17/2020:

 

BIG SPRING, TEXAS – Steward Health Care is pleased to welcome Stacey Brown as the new president of Scenic Mountain Medical Center. Brown will oversee operations and leadership at Scenic Mountain Medical Center, which has served the Big Spring Community for 35 years and continues to be the only full-service health care facility in Howard County.

Brown will maintain her current position as the president of Odessa Regional Medical Center (ORMC), also a Steward family hospital. Her expanded role as the president of Scenic Mountain will facilitate synergies between the two sister hospitals and communities, leading to greater success of both facilities and more integrated patient care.

 

“Stacey’s experience improving performance and outcomes in health systems spans decades, and I am confident she has the vision to lead Scenic Mountain Medical Center into the future,” said Sanjay Shetty, MD, President of Steward’s South Region. “Her business acumen, leadership skills, and proven track record in the industry and at Steward make her an exceptional fit for the Big Spring Community.”

 

“I am excited to expand my leadership role to include the Big Spring community,” said Brown. “With my depth of experience in healthcare administration, I am confident I can contribute to Scenic Mountain Medical Center’s continued success. I will work in conjunction with the Board of Directors to carry out their vision for addressing the healthcare needs of the citizens of Big Spring and the surrounding areas. I look forward to building lasting relationships with the Board as well as the staff, the physicians, and the community at large as part of ensuring continued access to quality healthcare in Big Spring.”

 

A native of West Texas, Brown graduated from Permian High School and then Texas Tech University with a BBA in Accounting. As a CPA who started in public accounting, her last 29 years of experience have been in health care, with 25 of those at ORMC. She has held administrative roles since 1994 including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and served the last 10 years as Chief Executive Officer/President. She has successfully recruited more than 30 physicians spanning Primary Care, General Surgery, Nephrology, Orthopedics, Hospitalists, OB/Gyn, Pediatrics, Maternal Fetal Medicine, and other healthcare talent to the Permian Basin. She has been instrumental in launching new service lines, managing facility expansions and leading ORMC through quality achievements including Chest Pain Accreditation, Stroke Certification, ISO 9001 Certification, NICU Level III Designation, and currently working towards a Maternity Level III Designation.

 

Brown has served the community on several nonprofit boards including Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center, March of Dimes, the Permian Basin Area Foundation, Grow Odessa, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, and more. She is the recipient of two Tenet Healthcare Outstanding CFO awards as well as Outstanding Board Member for Harmony Home and Volunteer of the Year for the March of Dimes. She was a recipient of the Women of Distinction award from the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest and the Athena Leadership Award from the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. Stacey is a Community Pillar for the United Way of Odessa and is currently Chair-Elect of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She is most proud of her recent participation in the Dancing with the West Texas Stars fundraiser benefitting the Permian Basin Crisis Center where she raised over $80,000 to support the Crisis Center’s operations. Stacey is married to Michael and together they have 3 daughters and 2 sons, ranging from 15 to 26 years of age.

 

Brown replaces Emma Krabill who announced that she would be leaving her position to accept a new opportunity as CEO of Doctors Hospital of Laredo in Laredo, Texas. SMMC and Steward Health Care would like to thank Emma Krabill for her leadership and dedication to SMMC and the Big Spring community over the course of five years.

 

About Scenic Mountain Medical Center 


At Scenic Mountain Medical Center, we are committed to caring for patients as we would our own families. We are a full service, acute care, 146-bed community hospital for adults and children, and we understand the importance of delivering world class health care along with the latest advances in technology and treatment options. Our specialized services include cardiology, orthopedics, maternity, diagnostic imaging, emergency care with a 24/7 Level IV Trauma Center, wound care, and women's health and breast care services.

 

About Steward Health Care System 


Steward Health Care is the largest private, tax-paying physician-led health care network in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Steward operates 35 hospitals in the United States and the country of Malta that regularly receive top awards for quality and safety. The company employs approximately 42,000 health care professionals. The Steward network includes multiple urgent care centers and skilled nursing facilities, substantial behavioral health services, over 7,900 beds under management, and approximately 2.2 million full risk covered lives through the company's managed care and health insurance services.

 

The Steward Health Care Network includes 5,000 physicians across 800 communities who help to provide more than 12 million patient encounters per year. Steward Medical Group, the company's employed physician group, provides more than six million patient encounters per year. The Steward Hospital Group operates hospitals in Malta and nine states across the U.S., including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.

 

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Texas County Agricultural Agents Association recognizes Man/Woman of the Year recipients, AgriLife Extension agents


 

The Texas County Agricultural Agents Association, TCAAA, recently recognized outstanding Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service professionals and those who support their efforts at the Professional Excellence Awards Luncheon and Man/Woman of the Year Banquet in Amarillo.

 

During the luncheon, Tommy Yeater, of Howard County, was one of the AgriLife Extension personnel who received the Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, NACAA. It is the highest award a county extension agent can receive from the national association. Recipients must be with the agency for at least 10 years and are selected based upon outstanding professional growth, program effectiveness, leadership ability, loyalty to work, and community involvement.

 

All Distinguished Service Award recipients will be honored at the NACAA Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

 

Tanner Hash of Martin County was also recognized as a recipient of an Early Career Award, which recognizes and encourages professional excellence for members with less than five years of service.

 

Greg Gruben of Scurry County was also recognized with an Outstanding County Agriculture Agent award from the Texas Association of Dairymen. 

 

For more on this story, visit: 

https://agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2020/07/15/texas-county-agricultural-agents-association-recognizes-man-of-the-year-recipients-agrilife-extension-agents/

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Four new cases of COVID-19 confirmed for Howard County, 7-17-20


Press Release 7-17-2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management

 

Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 17, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of four (4) new positive test results for COVID-19 since yesterday. Three of the individuals are isolated at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms, such as headache, low-grade fever and a cough. These new cases have been determined to be community spread. Unfortunately, the fourth case passed away from his illness.

 

The demographic information of infected individuals is:

62-year-old male
90-year-old male
31-year-old male
85-year-old male

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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2nd death due to COVID-19 confirmed in Howard County, 7/17/2020


Press Release 7/17/2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management


Re: COVID-19 Patient Update

 

On July 16, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified a 90-year-old male patient positive for COVID-19 had been admitted to the hospital. The patient was a resident of Howard County.

 

On July 17, 2020, Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman and Mayor Shannon Thomason were notified this patient had succumbed to the illness and passed away. This is the second death in Big Spring/Howard County due to COVID-19. Both County and City officials are saddened by this news and extend our deepest condolences to his family members. We ask the community to keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

 

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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The State of Texas and USDA Forest Service join forces to conserve and protect natural resources, lives and property


AUSTIN, Texas - Today, the State of Texas and USDA Forest Service signed a historic agreement that formalizes the framework for a collaborative response between state and federal agencies responding to wildfires, natural resource concerns and ecological challenges in Texas.

 

The Shared Stewardship Agreement was signed into effect at the Texas State Capitol by Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Texas is the 15th state to implement a Shared Stewardship response framework.

 

The agreement focuses on how federal entities and state forestry agencies collectively approach land and fire management and proposes how to cooperatively set landscape-scale forest restoration activities that protect at-risk communities and watersheds across the state. 

 

“Shared stewardship may be a new name for cooperative partnerships, but in Texas, we’ve been doing shared stewardship a long time,” said Texas State Forester and Director of Texas A&M Forest Service Tom Boggus. “Texas A&M Forest Service has a call to serve, a duty to protect, and, most of all, a practice of building partnerships and coalitions with other organizations that share our agency’s mission because we know we are stronger together.”

 

Fulfilling the service component of the Texas A&M University land-grant system, Texas A&M Forest Service enters into this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USDA Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

 

“Today’s a good day,” said Boggus. “This MOU will help strengthen the partnerships in this state most vital to protecting lives and property from wildfire and ensuring the health, resiliency and productivity of Texas’ forests.”

 

Read the full news release here https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-hosts-ceremonial-signing-of-shared-stewardship-agreement-with-secretary-of-agriculture-sonny-perdue.

 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Shared Stewardship Strategy https://www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/toward-shared-stewardship.pdf.

 

Toward Shared Stewardship Strategy (state complement to the federal plan) https://www.stateforesters.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/NASF_SSCD_final-spreads.pdf.

 

Examples of U.S. South state forestry agencies practicing the foundational concepts of Shared Stewardship https://www.southernforests.org/fire/implementing-shared-stewardship-a-collection-of-cohesive-strategy-success-stories-from-across-the-south/?searchterm=shared.  

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Robbery Suspects Shot


On Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at approximately 8:42pm, Deputies were dispatched to the 1500 Blk of East Hwy 350 in reference to two subjects being shot. Upon arrival, Deputies contacted the complainant, a 73yo male who advised that he heard noises at the back of his property. The complainant was armed with a handgun when he went to investigate the suspicious activity. Complainant advised that he saw two men, later identified as Rocky Zarraga 39yoa and Julian Rodriguez Jr 27yoa both from Big Spring, removing parts from a vehicle the complainant owned. The complainant advised that he confronted both suspects at gunpoint and told them to show their hands. Both suspects rushed toward the complainant and the complainant fired shots at, and hit both suspects out of fear for his life. One suspect then fled on foot and was later transported to Scenic Mountain Medical Center by private vehicle for a gunshot wound. The second subject was transported by ambulance to Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

 

Rocky Zarraga was treated and released from the hospital and currently resides in the Howard County Jail, charged with Aggravated Robbery.

 

Julian Rodriguez Jr. was airlifted to a Lubbock Hospital and is in Critical Condition.

 

Investigators with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office are investigating this case.

 

At this time we have no further information.

 

Sheriff Stan Parker

 

(Photo of Rocky Zarraga courtesy photo from HCSO)

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8 New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in Big Spring/ Howard County, 7/15/2020


Press Release 7-15-2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 15, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of eight (8) new positive test results for COVID-19 over the weekend. The individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms, such as headache, low-grade fever and a cough. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

The demographic information of infected individuals is:

 

27-year-old female
62-year-old female
36-year-old female
64-year-old female
32-year-old female
55-year-old female
54-year-old female
28-year-old female

 

These cases have been reported by local clinics only and the daily report from emergency management reflects those local reports. The Texas DSHS website at this time is reporting a total of 71 cases for Howard County, they show 36 active cases and 30 people recovered.

 

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

 

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Big Spring City Council meeting highlights, 07/14/2020


During last night’s Big Spring City Council meeting, council members unanimously approved an amended resolution authorizing the creation of a new infill development incentive program designed to facilitate private investment toward the construction of single-family housing within the city limits of Big Spring. 

 

A resolution asserting the two legal memoranda on interpretation of the charter with regard to recall of officers are no longer subject to confidentiality, privilege, or work product immunity wastabled after the first reading with a 6-1 vote with Councilman Jim DePauw, District 6, voting against. 

 

The first reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 12 of the Code of Ordinances Entitled “Miscellaneous” to add new sections 12-56 entitled “Removal of Mental State Element for Offenses punishable by a $500 fine or less” and Administrative Search Warrants:” was unanimously passed. During discussion on the item, it was noted that ordinance would assist Code Enforcement in being able to issue fines for code violations. During discussion on the item, Councilmember Camilla Strande, District 5, advised that citizens would still receive warning letters, prior to being issued fines. The amendment would also allow for code enforcement officials, fire marshal, and building official to apply and execute an administrative search warrant to determine the presence of a fire or health hazard or unsafe building condition or violation of any fire, health, or building regulation, statute, or ordinance.

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CASA of West Texas in dire need for Volunteers


CASA of West Texas supports volunteers who advocate for child abuse victims in their 7-county coverage area that includes Howard County and surrounding areas. When severe child abuse and neglect occurs in a home, foster care may be the only option to keep a child safe.  When a child enters foster care, a judge will appoint a CASA Volunteer to advocate for that child's best interest in court and in the community.  

 

Howard County is documented as their second largest service area, only behind Midland County. Last year, CASA of West Texas served approximately 130 children in Howard County. In this new fiscal year that began on April 1, 2020, the organization has already seen 97 children removed from their homes, all in Howard County. 

 

Hope Stalder, Volunteer Recruitment and Marketing Specialist for the organization, told KBest News that the organization expected a slight influx of cases during the pandemic, but they did not expect the increase to be as dramatic as it has been.

 

"It's been a pretty drastic increase, and we fear it's only going to get worse once these children start coming back out into the community [and] they start being seen more. That's really our great fear and we really just do not have the volunteer numbers to sustain that type of influx," said Stalder.

 

Currently there are 18 CASA volunteers who advocate for children in Howard County, but, unfortunately, this isn’t enough to carry the caseload that is expected. Stalder explained that if there aren't enough volunteers to accept the case, the child will not have a Court-Appointed Special Advocate to speak for them while in foster care until one can be found. 

 

Stalder advised that 20-25 more volunteers are needed for Howard County at this time. A Zoom information session will be hosted tomorrow at noon by CASA of West Texas (https://www.facebook.com/events/573739409978577/). The next virtual training session will be held on July 28, 2020. For more information, contact Hope Stalder at 432-683-1114, 432-934-6656, or visit casawtx.org.

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CRASHES TAKE HEAVY TOLL ON STATE'S MOTORCYLISTS


Last year 412 motorcyclists died and 1,812 were seriously injured on Texas roads

 

July 13, 2020
ABILENE – On average, one motorcyclist dies every day on Texas roads, and transportation officials are urging Texans to exercise caution and limit distractions while on the road, as traffic increases during the summer months.


The Texas Department of Transportation’s annual “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign, which begins this month, aims to alert drivers to the risks that motorcyclists face and suggests safety precautions motorists can take to protect motorcyclists and themselves. The campaign reminds drivers that motorcycles are small and can be hard to see. In 2019, 412 motorcyclists were killed in Texas, and more than 1,800 were seriously injured.


“The six-month period from May through October is the deadliest for motorcycle riders and accounted for 61 percent of motorcycle fatalities in Texas last year,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “That’s why we are urging drivers to Look Twice for Motorcycles-there’s a life riding on it.”


Safety experts say that crashes between motorcyclists and drivers often occur when drivers make left turns in front of an oncoming motorcyclist, misjudging the distance and speed of the motorcycle. Last year, 30 percent of Texas motorcycle fatalities occurred in an intersection or were intersection-related.


TxDOT wants drivers to follow these safety tips to prevent vehicle/motorcycle crashes:

 

• Take extra care when making a left turn. It’s easy to misjudge the speed and proximity of an oncoming motorcycle. It’s safest to let the motorcycle pass to avoid turning in front of the rider.


• Pay special attention at intersections. Close to one-third of motorcycle fatalities happen at roadway intersections.

 

• Give driving your full attention. Even a momentary distraction, such as answering a phone call or changing the radio station, can have deadly consequences.


• Look twice when changing lanes. Check mirrors, check blind spots and always use turn signals.


• Give motorcyclists room when passing them. Move over to the passing lane and don’t crowd the motorcyclist’s full lane.


• Stay back. If you are behind a motorcycle, always maintain a safe following distance. When a motorcyclist downshifts instead of applying the brake to slow down, it can catch drivers off guard since there are no brake lights to signal that they are reducing their speed.


• Slow down. As always, please obey the posted speed limit.

 

The highest numbers of fatal motorcycle crashes last year occurred in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Lubbock and Odessa.

 

The “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.


#EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.

The information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Report (CR-3). This information was received and processed by the department as of June 6, 2020.

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Fatal Accident reported at Comanche Trail Park in Big Spring, 07/13/2020


On the 13 th of July 2020 at approximately 5:35 P.M., Big Spring Police Department officers were sent to the Comanche Trail Park in regards to a major accident. Upon arrival it was determined that Aaron Rodriguez Hispanic/Male 40 years of age, had been driving a White 2001 GMC Sierra Pickup southbound on Golf Course Rd. from Belvedere with no other occupants in the vehicle. The preliminary investigation indicates Rodriguez to have traveled off of the main roadway and while his head was out of the driver’s side window, struck a tree causing significant head trauma. Unfortunately Rodriguez succumbed to the injuries sustained. Officers requested the assistance of the Department of Public Safety for scaling the accident scene. This is an ongoing investigation and there is no further information available at this time.

 

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

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Nine New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed for Big Spring/Howard County, 07/13/2020


Press Release 7-13-2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 13, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of nine (9) new positive test results for COVID-19 over the weekend. The individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms, such as headache and low-grade fever. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

 

The demographic information of infected individuals is:
32-year-old male
66-year-old male
33-year-old female
60-year-old male
88-year-old female
18-year-old female
22-year-old male
63-year-old female
33-year-old female

 

These cases have been reported by local clinics only and the daily report from emergency management reflects those local reports. The Texas DSHS website at this time is reporting a total of 67 cases for Howard County, they show 37 active cases and 29 people recovered.

 

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

 

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Joe Bright Basketball Training to expand into JB Sports Academy


Local sports program Joe Bright Basketball Training in Big Spring, founded by former Howard College Hawk Joe Bright, recently announced plans to expand into JB Sports Academy. In addition to teaching sports skills, the academy will also strive to teach life lessons. 

 

"It's a special environment," said Coach Bright. "It's not just training. It's actually a program where they're actually learning life lessons and experiencing different things." 

 

After purchasing a 2-acre lot at 1317 E. 6th Street, Bright’s goal now is to secure $90,000 in funds to build the JB Sports Academy facility and get it off the ground. He also has a GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/f/jb-sports-academy) set up for anyone interested in making a donation.

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6 New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in Big Spring / Howard County, 7/10/2020


Press Release 7-10-2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 10, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of six (6) new positive test results for COVID-19. The individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms, such as headache and low-grade fever. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

 

The demographic information of infected individuals is:
20-year-old male
30-year-old male
38-year-old female
60-year-old male
4-year-old female
7-year-old female

 

These cases have been reported by local clinics only and the daily report from emergency management reflects those local reports. The Texas DSHS website at this time is reporting a total of 64 cases for Howard County, they show 33 active cases and 26 people recovered.

 

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

 

 

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BSISD School Board meeting highlights, 07/09/2020


During Thursday night’s regular session the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees, board members discussed possible wage increases for district staff. 

 

According to BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams, board members discussed looking into a four percent raise across the board for all staff.

 

"I'm excited our board wants to do it. I think what it shows, without a doubt, is that we have a board that knows how much work we put on these teachers, the parents, and the administrators," said McWilliams.

 

Also during the meeting, board members unanimously approved a Standard Form Owner/Contractor Agreement with Javine West Texas LLC, DBA Varitec Solutions, for Contractor Services Relating to the HVAC system upgrades at Moss, Washington, and Goliad Elementary schools, as well as at Big Spring Intermediate, and Big Spring Junior High. They also approved a budget amendment and expenditures for the HVAC system upgrades for a total of $922,000. Several of the schools receiving these upgrades are in dire need of updated HVAC systems considering the hot weather has been experienced lately. 

 

An Emergency Operations plan was approved and the Anderson Turn Around Plan,  which was approved by the TEA, was also approved. It will be in place for two years. The board also approved the Howard County Appraisal District budget. 

 

Board members also recognized this year’s recipients of the Mexican American School Board Association Scholarship. Recipients are Abel Magana, also known as Abel Clark, and Kayleigh Rodriguez. Clark received $125 and Rodriguez received $250. Jayden Torres was also recognized as the recipient of the Gexa Energy Scholarship in the amount of $750.00. 

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BSISD Scholarship Recipients Recognized at Board of Trustees meeting on 07/09/2020


The Big Spring Independent School District’s Board of Trustees held a regular session on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Several items were discussed including the recipients of the Mexican American School Board Association Scholarship and the Gexa Energy Scholarship.

 

MASBA is a voluntary, non-profit, statewide education association that has served local Texas school boards since 1970. MASBA is focused on closing gaps in our Texas public schools, particularly for the Latino students who comprise the majority in our Texas public schools. This year’s recipients of the MASBA Scholarship are Abel Magana, also known as Abel Clark, and Kayleigh Rodriguez. Clark received $125 and Rodriguez received $250.

 

The recipient of the Gexa Energy Scholarship was Jayden Torres in the amount of $750.00. 

 

 

Photo: BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams (left) with Abel Magana/Abel Clark (right).

 

Photo: BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams (left) with Kayleigh Rodriguez (right).

 

Photo: BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams with the family of Jayden Torres. Jayden was not available for the photo.

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Governor Abbott Extends Statewide COVID-19 Disaster Declaration


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation extending his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a number of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

 

"Extending this Disaster Declaration helps ensure that Texas has the resources and flexibility needed to effectively respond to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "To further mitigate the spread of the virus and overcome this challenge, Texans should continue to do their part by wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home if possible."

 

View the Governor's proclamation.

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TEA Issues Comprehensive Guidelines for a Safe Return to On-Campus Instruction for the 2020-21 School Year


 

AUSTIN, Texas – July 7, 2020 – The Texas Education Agency today announced comprehensive guidelines for students to return to school, prioritizing their health and safety while ensuring that students receive quality instruction, whether they choose to learn in a safe on-campus environment or remotely.    

 

“Both as Commissioner and as a public school parent, my number one priority is the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “That is why the guidance laid out today will provide flexibility to both parents and districts to make decisions based on the ever-changing conditions of this public health crisis. The state is and remains committed to providing a high-quality education to all Texas students, while ensuring the health and safety of students, teachers, staff, and families.”

 

Morath added that, despite what will be a challenging budget year, Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and other legislative leaders are committed to fully funding in-class and remote instruction for every child in the upcoming school year. As a result, parents will have more choices than normal this year as they decide which school setting is best for their children, including:  

 

  • Daily on-campus learning will be available to all parents who would like their students to learn in school each day. 
    • In addition, all parents will have the option to choose remote learning for their children, initially, or at any point as the year progresses. Parents who choose remote instruction for their students may be asked to commit to remote instruction for a full grading period (e.g. 6 or 9 weeks), but will not have to make that commitment more than two weeks in advance, so they can make a decision based on the latest public health information. 
       
  • Health and safety procedures will be in place to support student and teacher safety.
    • Some health procedures are mandated for every school in the state. For example, all students, teachers, staff, and visitors coming to campus must be screened before being allowed on campus. Consistent with the Governor’s most recent executive order, and assuming that order is still in place, masks will be required while in school buildings, with certain exceptions made, as noted in the order. Schools will also be required to follow any forthcoming executive orders issued by the Governor.
    • Additional health procedures are recommended for every school that can reasonably implement those procedures. 
    • Districts have the option to establish a phased-in return to on-campus instruction for up to the first three weeks of the school year, to ensure all appropriate health and safety procedures are fully in place. 
       
  • TEA is providing school systems with resources to ensure a strong start. This includes:
    • Reimbursement for extra COVID-19-related expenses incurred during the 2019-20 school year;
    • Tens of millions of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies provided to school systems at no cost to Texas schools;
    • Free online, TEKS-aligned learning tools to deliver remote instruction;
    • Teacher training provided at no cost to the school system; and Statewide efforts to help bridge the digital divide for students at home, along with other ongoing support.

For more information, please visit TEA’s Coronavirus website: https://tea.texas.gov/coronavirus

 

A link to the Texas Education Agency’s comprehensive public health guidance can be found here.

 

This framework was developed based on the most current science with input from: Governor Greg Abbott’s Coronavirus Medical Advisory Team; the Governor’s Strike Force to Reopen Texas; Texas school system leaders; ongoing global analysis of school operational practices; ongoing global analysis of research on viral spread in schools; and the latest peer-reviewed viral research studies.

 

Due to the nature of this pandemic, parents and educators should expect to see some campuses close for brief periods during the upcoming school year. If there are significant changes to the public health situation, there may need to be additional changes to the framework as well.

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Forsan families choose options for education


In preparation for the upcoming school year, Forsan ISD is actively assessing the current situation regarding COVID-19. As a result, two learning options will be made available for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

 

The first option, Option A, will be the traditional, face-to-face model. According to FISD, this is the preferred option, as the district believes that this is the most effective way to educate students. The district is currently in a planning and preparation phase to create a safe environment for students and staff based on TEA (Texas Education Agency) guidance. This includes additional safety equipment, modified scheduling, and intensive cleaning practices.

 

The second option, Option B, will be fully remote education. This will include a curriculum of the same scope and rigor as students will receive on campus. In Option B, that student is committed to full-time remote instruction until at least the end of the current grading period. Students who are enrolled in remote learning may not be able to participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities such as music, band and athletics. The UIL has not finalized rules yet.

 

Parents will choose which option they would like for their student(s) at registration on July 27th and 28th.

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9 New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed for Big Spring/ Howard County, 07/09/2020


Press Release 7-9-2020
From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 9, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of nine (9) new positive test results for COVID-19. The individuals are isolating at home and some are currently exhibiting mild symptoms. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

The demographic information of infected individuals has not been determined as of yet. This information is being source from DSHS, and they will release it to us when they gather the information.

 

Big Spring and Howard County have had 26 people recover as of today (7/09/2020).

Testing is going on in Big Spring/Howard County at several different facilities every day.

 

Emergency management is coordinating with each of these clinics to gather up to date information for Big Spring/ Howard County. We have been reporting those numbers to the public everyday as we get them. We realize there is a discrepancy between the numbers we report to you and what DSHS has on their website. That difference in numbers comes from Howard County/Big Spring residents going to another jurisdiction to get tested.

 

When that happens those clinics report to DSHS and then the positive result gets attributed to Howard county. It is impossible for local emergency management to get this information from clinics and doctors outside of our city. We work hard to ensure that our citizens have the best information possible so you can stay as safe as possible.

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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Governor Abbott Issues Proclamation Expanding Hospital Capacity In 11 Trauma Service Areas


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued a Proclamation suspending elective surgeries in hospitals in all counties located within 11 Trauma Service Areas (TSAs) in Texas. Previously, Governor Abbott suspended elective surgeries at hospitals in the counties of Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, Hidalgo, Nueces, Travis, and Webb.

 

"The State of Texas continues to implement strategies to help ensure ample supply of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients," said Governor Abbott. "By expanding this directive to include the counties within these 11 TSAs, we are freeing up more resources to address upticks in COVID-19 related cases. The State of Texas will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of this virus and support our hospitals and health care professionals as they care for their fellow Texans. We must all come together and continue to practice social distancing, wear a face covering in public, and stay home when possible."

 

Under his Proclamation, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician. Through proclamation, the Governor can add or subtract from the list of counties included in his original Executive Order and subsequent Proclamations to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state.

 

The following counties are included in the Governor's Proclamation:

 

All counties within TSA J—Andrews, Brewster, Crane, Ector, Glasscock, Howard, Jeff Davis, Loving, Martin, Midland, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler counties;

 

All counties within TSA K—Coke, Concho, Crockett, Irion, Kimble, Mason, McCulloch, Menard, Reagan, Runnels, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, and Tom Green counties;

 

All counties within TSA M—Bosque, Falls, Hill, Limestone, and McLennan counties;

 

All counties within TSA O that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, San Saba, and Williamson counties;

 

All counties within TSA P that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, La Salle, Maverick, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde, Wilson, and Zavala counties;

 

All counties within TSA Q that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties;

 

All counties within TSA R—Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Newton, and Orange counties;

 

All counties within TSA S—Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, and Victoria counties;

 

All counties within TSA T that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Jim Hogg and Zapata counties;

 

All counties within TSA U that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, McMullen, Refugio, and San Patricio counties; and

 

All counties within TSA V that are not already covered by Executive Order GA-27—Starr and Willacy counties.

 

Texas is divided into twenty-two regions called trauma service areas (TSAs), provided for the formation of a regional advisory council (RAC) in each region to develop and implement a regional trauma system plan, delineated the trauma facility designation process, and provided for the development of a state trauma registry. For more information about TSAs, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website. 

 

View the Governor's Proclamation.

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Two-Vehicle Crash in Ector County results in One Fatality, 07/07/2020


A 2-vehicle crash earlier this week in Ector County results in one fatality.

 

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the wreck occurred on Tuesday evening, July 7, 2020, at 8:28 PM at State Loop 338 & Yukon Road,  just 2 miles west of Odessa, TX.

The preliminary investigation stated that a 2019 Chevrolet Spark was traveling west on Yukon Road when it failed to yield to the right of way at a stop intersection and was struck by a 2018 GMC Sierra pick-up that was traveling north on State Loop 338. 

 

The driver of the Chevrolet Spark was identified as 17-year-old Rayanne Severson of Odessa. She was transported to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa where she was later pronounced dead. The driver of the GMC Sierra, identified as Billy Finnerty, 28 of Odessa, sustained no injuri

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Annual Fundraiser for Permian Basin Volunteer Fire Departments canceled due to COVID-19 concerns


Yesterday, it was announced that the Board of Directors of the Bad Boy Blast unanimously decided to cancel this year’s Bad Boy Blast Sporting Clay Event due to COVID-19 concerns. 

 

According to a statement from the Board of Directors, “The safety and welfare of our participants is of the utmost importance and with the current risks related to Covid-19, we feel this is the best option moving forward.

 

Those who have submitted entry forms and payment will be contacted soon regarding their transactions.

 

We look forward to a strong return in 2021 and appreciate your continued support.”

 

The Bad Boy Blast Sporting Clay Event is sponsored annually by ConocoPhillips to raise money for volunteer fire departments in the Permian Basin, including the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department.

 

According to HCVFD Fire Chief Mitchell Hooper, raffle tickets are still being sold by the local volunteer fire department for a Polaris Ranger. The drawing will be held in October. He advised that this is the only money that they will be getting this year from the organization. Funds raised will go to help pay off the final yearly payment of $55,000 for Pumper 10, which was purchased in 2015.   

 

Tickets are $10 each, or $100 for a book of 10 tickets. To purchase, text Bracy Bacon at 432-816-2413.

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4 New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed for Howard County/Big Spring, 07/07/2020


Press Release 7-7-2020

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

Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On Monday, July 6, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of four (4) new positive test results for COVID-19. The individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms. Three of these new cases have been determined to be community spread; the fourth case was travel related.

 

The affected individuals are a 26-year-old male, a 27-year-old female, a 26-year-old male, and a 44-year-old male.

 

These are the 39th through 43rd cases of COVID-19 in Big Spring/Howard County. To date, we have had forty-three (43) confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Big Spring and Howard County. We currently have twenty (20) active cases. Big Spring and Howard County have had twenty-two (22) people recover as of today.

 

Officials take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of continuing to take proper precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 remains a major concern in our community and we urge citizens to wash their hands, wear a mask, social distance and avoid travel when

possible.

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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BSISD Board of Trustees to discuss possible wage increases at 07-09-2020 meeting.


There will be a meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees on Thursday, July 9, 2020, at 5:15 PM in the High School Board Room, located at 707 11th Place in Big Spring. 

 

Items on this week’s agenda include special recognition of MASBA Scholarship winners and the Gexa Energy Scholarship. During the Report Items portion of the meeting, there will be a discussion on possible wage increases. 

 

Action Items for Thursday’s meeting include consideration of approval for the following items: an Emergency Operations Plan, the Anderson Turnaround Plan, the Howard County Appraisal District Budget, and budget amendment and expenditures of over $150,000. There will also be consideration and possible action on a Standard Form Owner/Contractor Agreement with Javine West Texas LLC, dba Varitec Solutions, for Contractor Services Relating to the HVAC system upgrades at Moss, Marcy, Washington, and Goliad Elementary Schools, as well as Big Spring Intermediate, Big Spring Junior High and Big Spring High School. 

 

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Applications for Prescribed Fire Grant now open


COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M Forest Service is now accepting grant applications for the State Fire Assistance for Mitigation – Plains Prescribed Fire Grant through August 15. The grant will provide $81,000 in total funding for prescribed burns.

 

Funding will be provided to landowners and communities that have been, or may be threatened by wildland fire to reduce hazardous fuels. Properties in the panhandle, west and northwest Texas at high risk for loss during a Southern Plains Wildfire Outbreak are eligible.

Grant recipients will be reimbursed actual per acre costs associated with conducting the prescribed burn up to $30 per acre with a limit of 500 acres per recipient.

 

“Historically, fire has been a necessary tool to improve forage quality for grazing, enhance wildlife habitat and preserve soil nutrients on the rangelands of Texas,” said Jake Gosschalk, Texas A&M Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface Specialist.

 

Wildfires can be destructive when they occur at the wrong time or near a community that is unprepared. To plan ahead and mitigate these impacts, Texas A&M Forest Service works with landowners and local and county governments through Community Wildfire Protection Plans and the Texas Ranch Wildfire Program.

 

“Currently, conditions across Texas are dry, but landowners are already planning for prescribed fire treatments this upcoming fall during the cooler season,” said Gosschalk. “These prescribed fires reduce hazardous fuel loads and mitigate the threat of wildfire.”

Landowners located within two miles of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan or a Texas Ranch Wildfire Program will receive priority funding. Both programs enhance awareness of wildfire risk and empower individual landowners and the overall community to act to reduce the risk of wildfire in their areas. For more information on these programs visit: https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/TRWP/ and https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/ProtectYourCommunity/.

To check eligibility and complete the online application, visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/PrescribedFireGrantsApplication/.

 

Learn more about prescribed fire by visiting TFS Prescribed Burns or the TDA Prescribed Burning Board.

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DPS Arrests Two More Suspects for Crimes Related to Capitol Protests


AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrested two more suspects in connection with rioting and vandalism that occurred during protests near the Texas State Capitol in May.

 

Last weekend, DPS Special Agents executed arrest warrants for Joe Paul Mitchell, 56, of Austin, Texas, as well as a 16-year-old male.

The first arrest occurred on the evening of Friday, July 3, 2020, when DPS Special Agents obtained multiple arrest warrants for Mitchell that included rioting, resisting arrest and evading arrest. Video posted on social media shows Mitchell attacking and kicking a DPS patrol vehicle during the protest at the Texas State Capitol on May 30, 2020.

 

 

When confronted by Troopers, Mitchell first resisted arrest, then tried to escape. As Troopers tried to arrest him, a group of protestors surrounded them, attempting to free Mitchell. Troopers were able to move Mitchell to a safe location, confirm his identity and release him. 

 

On July 3, 2020, DPS Special Agents obtained arrest warrants for Mitchell and he was taken into custody without incident.

 

The second arrest occurred on Sunday, July 5, 2020, after DPS Special Agents received arrest warrants for a 16-year-old male for resisting arrest, criminal mischief, evading arrest and two counts of riot. Surveillance from May 30, 2020, shows the teen, and 18-year-old Gerald Govan Brown, who has already been charged, spray painting the Texas State Capitol. (Read more about Brown’s arrest in a press release here.) At that time, Troopers attempted to stop and arrest the teen, who resisted and fled. Additional surveillance from May 31, 2020, shows the teen again involved with a group of people spray painting several locations including the Governor’s Mansion and the Texas State Capitol.

 

On Sunday, July 5, 2020, DPS Special Agents coordinated with the teen’s family, and he was taken into custody without incident.

 

Both of these arrests are the result of ongoing investigations conducted by DPS Special Agents and Crime Analysts who have reviewed hundreds of hours of videos from various media platforms, surveillance camera footage, law enforcement databases and open source information over the last several weeks. The investigation into additional suspects continues.

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20 active COVID-19 cases reported in Howard County / Big Spring, 07/06/2020


Press Release 7-6-2020

 

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

 

As of July 6, 2020, Howard County and the City of Big Spring have twenty (20) active cases of COVID-19. Based on the provisions of Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-29, we are subject to the statewide requirement to wear a face mask or facial covering while in public. This includes retail establishments as well as outdoor public areas where it is not possible to social distance. We understand some members of the community feel face coverings are an inconvenience or unnecessary, but by using them in public, we are saving lives and we are saving our economy by doing our part to help our local businesses, big and small, to remain open.

 

Howard County Emergency Management also calls on all residents and visitors to avoid social gatherings due to the danger of spreading COVID-19. Our community is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of positive cases and emergency management is working diligently to contain the spread. We are concerned the number of positive cases will continue to rise if residents do not adhere to the recommended safety guidelines. Everyone has a part to
play in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of the disease.

 

The simple actions of wearing required face coverings, maintaining social distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying home can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. These extraordinary times call for even more extraordinary efforts. We hope residents take our message to heart and follow the necessary steps to protect their families and our community. Working together we can reverse this trend and keep Big Spring and Howard county citizens safe.

 

Executive Order GA-29 does make allowances for certain exceptions to wearing a face covering or mask. While Howard County and the City of Big Spring encourages everyone to wear a face covering, anyone not wearing a face covering will be assumed to be exercising one or more of the exceptions to the Order.

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VA launches COVID-19 screening tool; Pre-screening expedites Veteran access to facilities for care


 

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced last week the launching of a digital COVID-19 screening tool to streamline Veteran access to medical care during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The tool, designed with Veteran and staff input, enables the screening of more than 10,000 people each day.

 

Veterans, their caregivers and VA health care employees can use this tool on their mobile phones before entering facilities. It takes less than a minute to complete and helps reduce wait times, lowers exposure risk and eases patient stress. It also helps Veterans gain confidence with increased digital interactions as part of their VA health care experience.  

 

“This screening tool emphasizes the ongoing importance of VA’s investment in digital modernization, as it went from initial concept to national availability in less than two weeks,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “In addition to providing a broad range of innovations and improvements that significantly benefit the Veterans we serve; our culture of innovation allows us to respond quickly to urgent and evolving needs.”

 

To protect patients and staff, VA screens everyone for coronavirus symptoms and exposure each time they enter a health facility. VA staff uses the information received to direct people to either enter the building or go to a designated area for additional screening.

 

Veterans, caregivers and staff can use the tool by texting the word “SCREEN” to 53079 or scan a dedicated QR code with their mobile phone to get a link to the tool. They then answer a series of simple questions and share their results at the VA facility entrance.

 

For more about VA efforts to meet Veteran and staff needs during the coronavirus pandemic, visit VA.gov coronavirus FAQs and VA’s public health response.

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Parades & Gatherings Allowed:


As reported yesterday, face masks are now required in certain areas within the state of Texas, including Howard County. Additionally, Governor Abbott is allowing mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people.

KBest News spoke with Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman who stated that the restriction of gatherings of more than 10 people will NOT be imposed at this time. The parades and gatherings that are currently scheduled will be allowed to continue in Howard County, however, people are required to wear face masks.

 

Judge Wiseman stated that she personally does not like wearing a face mask, nor does she like the spread of COVID-19, but these are unfortunate realities.

 

“Me? No, I don’t like wearing a face mask either, but I will do it in compliance with the Governor’s order, and I expect our citizens to do the same,” stated Wiseman. “If we honor the Governor’s orders, it won’t be necessary for me to impose further restrictions.”

 

Yesterday’s Executive Order from Governor Abbot defines the penalty for non-compliance:

 

“Following a verbal or written warning for a first-time violator of this face-covering requirement, a person’s second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.”

 

The complete Proclamation, Executive Order, as well as the Governor’s statement and video can be found here:

 

https://gov.texas.gov/…/governor-abbott-establishes-statewi…

Parades that are scheduled include:

 

Saturday, July 4th:

—Highland South 4th of July Parade: 10am. Starts at Robb Drive, heads west on Highland Drive—ends at Goliad Street.

 

—Coahoma Freedom Parade:
10AM. Starts at Coahoma High School and heads south on Main Street.

Both parades will be posted here on the KBest Media Facebook page.

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Face Masks Required in Howard County per Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order 29.


Press Release 7-2-2020

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

 

On July 2, 2020, Texas Governor Abbott issued Executive Order 29, a wear mask order for the state of Texas. The order says:

 

Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; provided, however, that this face-covering requirement does not apply to the following:

 

1. Any person younger than 10 years of age;

 

2. Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;

 

3. Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;

 

4. Any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household;

5. Any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;

 

6. Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal;

 

7. Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water;

 

8. Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;

 

9. Any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;

 

10. Any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience.
Failure to follow this order MAY result in a fine of up to $250.00.

 

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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Governor Abbott Establishes Statewide Face Covering Requirement, Issues Proclamation To Limit Gatherings


AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

 

"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”

 

Additionally, the Governor released a new video message to coincide with his Executive Order, encouraging Texans to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep their communities safe. The video can be downloaded at this link and can also be viewed on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/uRZdTKxeAvE

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Heat Wave in Howard County - Tips to beat the heat.


 

Outside temperatures have already made their way into the 100s this week, and they’ll continue to remain in the range of high 90s to mid-100s for the next few days. 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high temperatures kill hundreds of people every year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet more than 600 people die from extreme heat every year.

 

To prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and death during hot weather, everyone should take the following steps:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.

  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.

  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.

    • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.

    • Pace yourself.

  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.

  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

  • Never leave children or pets in cars.

  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.

 

For more infomation on how to avoid heat illness, visit: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/heat

 

or https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat

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5 New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed for Howard County/Big Spring, 07/01/2020


Press Release 7-1-2020

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

Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 1, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of five (5) new positive test results for COVID-19. The individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

The affected individuals are a 24-year-old male, a 23-month old female, a 26-year-old female, a 71-year-old male, and a 68-year-old male.

 

These are the 35th through 39th cases of COVID-19 in Big Spring/Howard County. To date, we have had thirty-nine (39) confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Big Spring and Howard County. We currently have sixteen (16) active cases. Big Spring and Howard County have had twenty-two (22) people recover as of today.

 

Officials take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of continuing to take proper precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 remains a major concern in our community and we urge citizens to wash their hands, wear a mask, social distance and avoid travel when possible.

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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Howard County Volunteer Fire Department expects to see increase in calls over Fourth of July weekend due to dry conditions.


Howard County is currently in a burn ban and Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Mitchell Hooper is reminding the public to celebrate responsibly. 

 

Hooper told KBest News that the volunteer fire department is usually pretty busy during this time of the year, but, with the cancellation of the annual celebratory event Pops in the Park and the extreme dry conditions, the department is expecting to see an increase in calls.

 

According to Chief Hooper, the HCVFD will be staging trucks on the south and north sides of the county. 

 

“All the south trucks will cover the south and west part of the county. Then the trucks on the north end will cover north and the east end of the county. Hopefully, we can keep up with everything.”

 

During this time, it’s important to remember that it is illegal to shoot fireworks off of any state or county road way. If you are going to shoot fireworks off in the county, you have to have the landowners permission and you need to have an extinguishing agent in case a fire starts.

 

“If you do start a fire on someone else’s property and something happens to their house, or an outbuilding, they could press charges or sue you. It could be a bad deal,” explained Chief Hooper.

 

Additional fireworks safety tips include: 

  • Don’t pop fireworks at each other.

  • Always read the instructions.

  • Always have adult supervision.

  • Have some kind of extinguishing agent nearby, such as a water hose, bucket of water, shovel, or fire extinguisher to slow the fire down before the HCVFD gets there.

  • Always shoot fireworks outdoors. If you can get in a dirt field, that’s even better. 

  • Try to keep grass as short as you can in the area where the fireworks will be used. 

 

For more fireworks safety tips, visit: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/fireworks

 

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Kelly Seales Sworn in as new Justice of the Peace of Pct. 2, place 1 for Coahoma


Yesterday afternoon, Kelly Seales was sworn in as the new Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Place 1 by Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman. She is replacing former JP Connie Shaw, who retired yesterday after 21 years of service. 

 

When asked what her feelings were on leaving the position, Shaw stated "I'm really looking forward to the future! Kelly's gonna do a great job and I'm leaving it in good hands."

 

Shaw told KBest News that she plans to do a lot of traveling now that she’s retired to see kids and grandkids, and helping out her parents a little bit more.  

 

Seales will complete Shaw’s term that is set to expire in December 2021.

 

"I am just completely humbled and honored," said Seales of taking on the position. "I hope that I do a wonderful job for the citizens of Howard County and I appreciate the opportunity."

 

Seales has already began shadowing another Justice of the Peace to prepare for her new position. Seales told KBest News that she’s looking forward to learning more about the legal processes of Howard County.

 

"I think it's just a whole other facet of life here in the community that people are generally not aware of and I find it very interesting," said Seales.

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Back in Motion Blood Drive on Thursday, July 2, 2020


The Battle of the Blood Drives, a competition between Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Big Spring with Kindred at Home and Back in Motion, began this past Saturday with the Star-Spangled Blood Drive at Star CDJR in Big Spring.

 

Back in Motion, located at 1111 Scurry, will have their annual blood drive tomorrow, from 11 AM - 3:30 PM. Donors for that blood drive will receive a free Independence Day t-shirt and free ice cream. Donors will also receive free COVID-19 antibodies testing.


Be advised that at this time, both staff and donors are required to wear a face covering when donating blood. For more information and to make appointments in advance, visit bloodhero.com.

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