Big Spring volunteer Beverly Grant, a volunteer with Relay for Life of Howard and Glasscock Counties, was recently announced as this year’s winner of the Spirit of Relay Award for the South Texas Region volunteer groups/committees for the Relay for Life!
The Spirit of Relay Awards honor and recognize those who have gone above and beyond to help the American Cancer Society lead the fight for a world without cancer through the Relay For Life movement.
According to Tammy Merwin, Community Development Manager for this area for the American Cancer Society, due to the pandemic, their events were cancelled, volunteers scattered and fundraising became one of the most difficult challenges to overcome.
Merwin advised that never once did Grant’s drive or passion take a back seat. Not once did she detour from making sure her mission to bring awareness and funding for the Big Spring area stayed top of mind. Grant, with the help of her Event Leadership Team, transitioned an in person event to a virtual event within WEEKS. She visited local hospitals and rallied troops to gather all necessary information to make sure as many people as possible would know WHY the American Cancer Society is so important to each and every one of this.
Merwin stated that Grant had done all of this all while being in and out of the hospital herself battling her own health issues. She is the true definition of a warrior and a hero, which ironically was the theme for this year’s event.
Grant told KBest News that she is honored to receive the award.
"I just do my job and I don't think anything about anybody noticing or caring that we do so much in Howard County. I mean, we've always had a huge Relay, and this year being virtual we still had a good amount of people. With the oil down like it is and jobs hard to find we didn't get the financing that we normally get but we still brought in enough money to show that Big Spring is still in the running for the events," said Grant.
Right now, Grant says that the local organization is still working on collecting money from this year's Relay for Life. She went on to say that Relay for Life for Howard and Glasscock Counties has began working on next year's Relay for Life event, hoping that they'll get to return to an in-person event in 2021.
KBest News has submitted multiple Open Records Requests to the City of Big Spring, Texas Rangers/DPS, and the Texas Attorney General. “Just the Facts” is a series of news reports resulting from months of fact-checking, research, and Open Records Requests made by KBest News to address the issues and questions that have arisen in the Big Spring city government regarding upcoming elections and petitions for recall.
Yesterday, KBest News reported on the local contested races for Big Spring and Howard County. In addition to these contested races, there will be a special election held for the purpose of voting for or against the recall of multiple Big Spring City Council members. Those listed on the ballot will be Camilla Strande, District 5, Jim DePauw, District 6, and Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason.
A recall election is a procedure in which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before that official's term has ended. This type of election isn’t something that occurs regularly, in fact, the last recall election was in 2007 when Russ McEwen was listed on a recall ballot during his term as Mayor of Big Spring. In the end McEwen won the election and remained in office. According to Jodi Duck, Elections Administrator for Howard County, the recall request of Mayor Russ McEwen was initiated by Shannon Thomason.
So, what catapulted the triad of recall elections in Big Spring? The walk out of four councilmembers from the Big Spring City Council meeting on June 23, 2020 seems to be the impetus...
JUNE 23, 2020
During the council meeting on this date, District 1 Councilman Raul Marquez, Jr. made a motion to approve a 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, thus encouraging economic development for the community. The resolution had been a combined effort between City Staff and councilmembers Marquez, DePauw, and Terry McDaniel, District 3. In fact, they had been appointed by Mayor Shannon Thomason to work on the resolution during the City Council meeting on May 26, 2020. 1
Thomason ended up ruling the resolution to be out of order because it did not follow the specific direction of the Council to create a program for infill development incentives on existing subdivisions. Instead, the resolution could also be used for new developments and remodeling.
Shocked, Marquez immediately expressed his frustration with the ruling; DePauw attempted to appeal the decision of the chair but because it wasn’t done immediately after Thomason made his decision the Mayor determined that it was not possible and that both DePauw and Marquez had missed their opportunity to do so.
After the disagreement on the procedures of Robert’s Rules, four of the five council district representatives that were present at the meeting walked out. Since a majority of the councilmembers had walked out, the meeting was adjourned and the items left on the agenda had to be addressed in a special meeting.
The four council members who walked out during the meeting were Marquez, District 1; McDaniel, District 3; Strande, District 5; and DePauw, District 6. Later it was revealed to KBest News that council members who had walked out stated that they were tired of Thomason’s inconsistency on Robert’s Rules and when to enforce them. 2
JUNE 25, 2020
Big Spring resident Dylan Archer-Pauchet, a resident in District 3, submitted a request for recall petitions to the Big Spring City Secretary for Strande and DePauw, citing “unprofessionalism and derelict in their duties as city councilmembers by abandoning their post during an active city council meeting on 6-23-2020 [June 23, 2020].” In his letter to the City Secretary, he noted that since Marquez and McDaniel would be ending their term in November, he would not request recall petitions for their removal.
(In order to enlarge images, right click on image and choose "Open image in new tab".)
Later that day a “Public Service Announcement” was emailed to Big Spring media outlets from a city email address advising that recall petitions had been requested for Strande and DePauw. The document itself, showed to be from Donald Moore, City Secretary/Finance Director, and stated that Moore should be contacted for more information.
KBest News reached out to Moore for further information, and was advised “The issue is currently under review by the City’s legal department.”
JUNE 26, 2020
City Attorney Andrew Hagen sends a legal memorandum advising Moore to decertify the affidavit submitted by Archer-Pauchet because he did not reside in either District 5 or District 6.
JUNE 27, 2020
The city issued the following statement to KBest Media concerning the recall PSA:
“On advice of the City Attorney, the City Secretary has de-certified the two affidavits requesting the recall as the Charter with other law requires them to be filed by someone who lives in the District for that Council member, and the person who submitted them does not live in either District.”
JULY 1, 2020
The recall process for the District 6 councilman DePauw was initiated by Michael Rye, District 6 resident. Rye’s affidavit requesting recall petitions for DePauw cited “unprofessionalism and derelict in their duties as city councilmembers by abandoning their post during an active and ongoing council meeting on 6-23-2020.”
JULY 7, 2020
The recall process for the District 5 councilwoman Strande was initiated by Devvy Kidd. The affidavit requesting recall petitions cited that Strande had “Left city council meeting in protest while city business left unaddressed.” The meeting that Kidd references occurred on June 23, 2020.
JULY 28, 2020
City Secretary Donald Moore certified that the adequate number of signatures on a recall petition for District 6 Councilman Jim DePauw were obtained. 3
JULY 29, 2020
The affidavit requesting recall petitions for Mayor Thomason was initiated by Linda Burchett. Her affidavit cited dereliction of duty, threatening city personnel, and cussing at city personnel. She also stated that Thomason had obstructed councilmembers from seeking advice from the City Attorney during council meetings.
AUGUST 2, 2020
During a special meeting of the Big Spring City Council, an emergency reading of an ordinance calling for a special election was approved by a quorum of council members with a vote of 4-0. The purpose of the special election will give voters an opportunity to vote for or against the recall of Councilman Jim DePauw, District 6. 4
AUGUST 11, 2020
Big Spring City Council members approve an emergency reading of an ordinance calling for a special election to be held on November 3, 2020, for the purpose of voting for or against the recall of Councilmember Camilla Strande, District 5. 5
AUGUST 13, 2020
During a special meeting held by the Big Spring City Council, councilmembers approve an emergency reading of an ordinance calling for a special election to be held on November 3, 2020, for the purpose of voting for or against the recall of Mayor Shannon Thomason, representing the City of Big Spring. 6
Now, all three council members are up for recall in the November 3, 2020 General Election. A majority vote AGAINST the recall will result in the elected official remaining in office, while a majority vote FOR the recall will remove the elected official from their position for the remainder of their term.
1 - Big Spring City Council meeting on 05/26/20, video, approx. 30:00; also mentioned in minutes on 06/09/20 agenda on pg. 7 of 28 - both can be found at https://www.mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/City-Council-2
2 - “Council Members Walkout of Big Spring City Council Meeting, 06/23/2020”, published 06/24/2020, https://kbestmedia.com/kbest-station-updates/514951
3 - “Hot Topic at Last Night’s City Council Meeting -- 7/28/2020”, published 07/29/2020, https://kbestmedia.com/kbest-station-updates/521092
4 - “Special Election approved to Vote For or Against the Recall of Big Spring District 6 Councilman Jim DePauw.”, published 08/03/2020, https://kbestmedia.com/kbest-station-updates/521779
5 - “Highlights from Big Spring City Council meeting, 08/11/2020”, published 08/12/2020, https://kbestmedia.com/kbest-station-updates/523726
6 - “Special Meeting of the Big Spring City Council Recap, 08/13/2020”, published 08/14/2020, https://kbestmedia.com/kbest-station-updates/524070
There’s no doubt that the upcoming election in November is an important one nationally, but it’s also carrying a lot of significance for local residents in Howard County.
The contested races for Howard County Commissioners are as follows:
Howard County Commissioner Oscar Garcia, Precinct 1, will end his term in November. His position will be filled by either Republican candidate Eddilisa Saldivar Ray or Democratic candidate Milton Perkins.
(Photo: Eddilisa Saldivar Ray, Republican candidate, running for Howard County Commissioner, Pct. 1)
(Photo: Milton Perkins, Democratic candidate, running for Howard County Commissioner, Pct. 1)
Incumbent Jimmie Long, Republican, and Democratic candidate Shiloh Creswell Salazar are both running for County Commissioner, Precinct 3.
(Photo: Incumbent Jimmie Long, Republican, running for Howard County Commissioner, Pct. 3)
(Photo: Shiloh Creswell Salazar, Democratic candidate, running for Howard County Commissioner, Pct. 3)
There is also an election for Big Spring ISD Board of Trustee member, District 1. Incumbent for that race is Tom J. Olague, Jr. and opponent is Enchantra M. Solis.
(Photo: Incumbent Tom J. Olague, running for BSISD School Board Trustee, District 1)
(Photo: Enchantra M. Solis, running for BSISD School Board Trustee, District 1)
Councilmen Raul Marquez, District 1, and Terry McDaniel, District 3, will both conclude their extended term in November after new councilmembers for those districts are voted in. Candidates for District 1 representative are Nadine Reyes and Nick Hilario Ornelas.
(Photo: Nadine Reyes, running for Big Spring City Councilmember, District 1)
(Photo: Nick Hilario Ornelas, running for Big Spring City Councilmember, District 1)
Candidates for District 3 representative are Roger M. Rodman and Cody Hughes.
(Photo: Roger M. Rodman, running for Big Spring City Councilmember, District 3)
(Photo: Cody Hughes, running for Big Spring City Councilmember, District 3)
In addition to these contested races, there will be a special election held for the purpose of voting for or against the recall of multiple Big Spring City Council members. Those listed on the ballot will be Camilla Strande, District 5, Jim DePauw, District 6, and Big Spring Mayor Shannon D. Thomason.
There will be a Town Hall Meeting this evening from 6-7 PM at the 3rd Floor of the Howard County Courthouse, located at 300 S. Main in Big Spring. During this meeting, County Commissioners will provide information concerning the possibility of creating a County Assistance District, an item that will be listed on the November 3, 2020 election ballot for eligible voters.
Residents who live in the unincorporated areas of the county - meaning outside of the city limits of Big Spring, Coahoma, and Forsan - will get to vote whether or not to create the County Assistance District, which would increase sales tax in these unincorporated areas by two percent, thus matching the sales tax rate inside the city limits. It should be noted that the increase would not affect anyone who is tax exempt, such as farmers and ranchers, but it would affect oil industries.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, county assistance district funds can be used for construction, maintenance or improvement of roads or highways; provision of law enforcement and detention services; maintenance or improvement of libraries, museums, parks or other recreational facilities; promotion of economic development and tourism; firefighting and fire prevention services and provision of services that benefit the public welfare.
Again, tonight’s town hall meeting will begin at 6 PM tonight and you can catch a live stream of that meeting on our KBest Media Facebook page.
During yesterday’s meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, Sandy Smith and Dwain Fox were selected as the Court’s nominees for the Howard County Appraisal District’s Board of Directors.
New Howard County Emergency Management Coordinator Emily McCann requested funding in the amount of approximately $800 for travel and lodging to attend a free training session on pipeline training that is scheduled for May 2021. Commissioner Craig Bailey advised that he had unused training money that had accumulated over the last two years and it was recommended that it be transferred to McCann so that she may attend the recommended pipeline training for this district.
Commissioners also approved to reinstate the burn ban for Howard County, based on the recommendation of Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Mitchell Hooper.
The Comanche Trail Festival of Lights has announced an exciting new change to the 2020 Festival of Lights. This year the dates for the festival will be Tuesday, December 1st - December 25th! They are excited to bring 25 days of Christmas to Big Spring!
If you would like to be involved in this year’s event please contact Vicki Stewart at 432-935-0572 or Pat Simmons at 432-263-4607 for information on Adopt a Spot availability.
If you would like to work the greeters both please contact Hayley Herrera at 432-264- 2516.
An Andrews woman was killed in a 1-vehicle crash on early Friday morning.
DPS Troopers responded to the crash located at NW County Road 2001, 6 miles north of Andrews, at 12:42 AM.
Preliminary investigation indicates a 2013, Dodge, Charger, driven by Michelle M. Deleon, 39 of Andrews, was traveling north on NW 2001. Deleon’s vehicle entered a curve at an unsafe speed, lost control and rolled. She was pronounced dead on scene.
Press Release – September 25th, 2020
From: Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason, and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update for the Week of September 21st, 2020
City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of 263 new positive COVID-19 test results for the week of September 21st, 2020. To date, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 724 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. The number of active cases increased from 130 to 377, an increase of 247 cases from last week. The total number of people recovered from COVID-19 also increased; we have 316 patients recovered, an increase of 14. There were no COVID-19 related fatalities this week.
The dramatic increase in positive cases is attributed to an outbreak at the Federal Correctional Institution. Of the 377 active cases this week in Howard County, 359 are inmates at FCI Big Spring. Only 18 cases are Howard County/Big Spring residents, an increase of two community cases from last week.
Big Spring and Howard County continue to improve; however, County and City officials still 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
From Big Spring Police Department on 09/24/2020:
9-24-2020, just before 5:00 PM, Big Spring Police Department officers responded to the 3600 block of Calvin in reference to a gun shot victim. Upon arrival officers secured the scene and immediately tended to the needs of the victim a 25 year old male. The victim was immediately transported to SMMC by Big Spring Emergency Medical Services but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries sustained. The Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division was notified and is currently conducting an investigation into this shooting. At this time investigators have reason to believe this is a homicide and are currently following leads.
There is no further information available at this time.
Early this morning, Big Spring/Howard County Crime Stoppers announced that they were requesting the public's help in locating Marcus Pena. They stated that investigators with the Big Spring Police Department developed probable cause that Marcus Pena was directly involved with the MURDER.
Crime Stoppers is offering UP TO $1000.00 to the FIRST person who can provide information that leads to the arrest of Marcus Pena. To submit your tip, call them at 432-263-8477, or online at https://www.p3tips.com/1277
Please Submit your tip online first if possible. You Can have a Dialog with Crime Stoppers and be updated on any reward information. DO NOT LOOSE YOUR TIP NUMBER, YOU WILL NEED IT TO CLAIM YOUR REWARD. Please Reference Case # 2-20-03140.
**UPDATED at 10:35 AM, 09/25/2020**
From Big Spring Police Department on 09/25/2020:
On the 24th of September 2020 at approximately 4:46 P.M., Big Spring Police Department officers responded to a residence in the 3600 block of Calvin in reference to a gunshot victim. Upon arrival officers found Richard Lopez III Hispanic/Male 25 years of age had been shot in the upper torso. Officers found Lopez to be unresponsive and immediately began life saving measures. The scene was cleared and Big Spring Emergency Medical Services arrived. EMS immediately transported Lopez to Scenic Mountain Medical Center for treatment but unfortunately Lopez succumbed to his injuries. The Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division was notified and responded. Following the preliminary investigation, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Marcus Pena Hispanic/Male 17 years of age for the offense of Murder. There is no further information available at this time.
CrimeStoppers is offering up to $1,000.00 to the FIRST person who can provide information that leads to the arrest of Marcus Pena. If you have any information regarding this investigation please call the Criminal Investigations Division Sergeant at (432)264-2558 or you can call CrimeStoppers at (432)263-TIPS (8477). You can also use the CrimeStoppers P3tips.com software to submit your tip online https://www.p3tips.com/1277 . Remember no
caller ID is ever used and all tips are anonymous.
Chief of Police, Chad Williams
Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon
CID Sergeant John Haynes
Today is Disabled American Veterans Day in Big Spring as proclaimed by Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason earlier this week in honor of the DAV’s 100th anniversary.
The organization Disabled American Veterans was founded by WWI veterans on Sept. 25, 1920 and was chartered by an Act of Congress on June 17, 1932. Today the DAV celebrates 100 years of serving veterans of the Armed Forces, their families and survivors, and communities. The organization is dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. They accomplish this by ensuring that veterans and their families have access to the full range of benefits available to them, by fighting for the interest of America’s injured heroes, and by educating the public about the needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
Their mission is carried forward by providing free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs and other agencies. They also provide outreach concerning its program services to the American people generally, and to disabled veterans and their families specifically; and represent the interests of the disabled veterans, their families, their widowed spouses and their orphans before Congress, the White House, and the Judicial Branch, as well as state and local government. The DAV’s mission of hope is extended into the communities where these veterans and their families live through a network of state-level departments and local chapters; and providing a structure through which disabled veterans can express their compassion for their fellow veterans through a variety of volunteer programs.
Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a Thank You for Your Investment Presentation for Family Faith Center, located at 810 E. 11th Pl. in Big Spring on Tuesday morning.
When asked why it’s important for Family Faith Center to be a member of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, Pastor Christina Segundo stated, "I believe because we need to show that we are unified and we are one. I believe that when we stand together we can accomplish a lot of great thing in our community."
Michelle Cervantes also told KBest News that it’s wonderful that the Chamber would allow them to become a member and to come out and be a part of what they are and what they stand for, noting that when they’re together they can do more.
From Forsan ISD Superintendent Randy Johnson on 09/24/2020:
Forsan Junior/Senior High School will transition to virtual learning for the week of September 28 through October 2. Students at the Junior/Senior High only will not have school on Friday, September 25 while the teachers of that campus work to prepare for the transition.
Elementary students will not be impacted and will have school as normal throughout this time period. That includes buses and cafeteria services for the elementary students. Buses will not run for the jr/sr high students since they will not be on campus. Meals will be available as grab-and-go meals for all junior/senior high students during the week of virtual learning from 11 AM to 1 PM at the jr/sr high cafeteria doors.
FISD is making this transition in response to the number of students and staff who are currently out of school due to COVID-19 related issues as well as strep throat, stomach bug, etc. We currently only have four COVID-19 positive cases but have a larger number of students and staff who are in isolation due to off-campus "close contact" with a COVID-19 positive person.
Although it is believed that none of the COVID-19 cases have spread on campus, we will undertake a vigilant cleaning process during this time of virtual learning.
All extra-curricular in-person activities are canceled starting Thursday, September 24 and continuing through October 4. We highly encourage the students, parents and Forsan community to follow all the COVID-19 protocols. The cancelations do include the scheduled football games against Reagan County on Thursday and Friday nights as well as volleyball and cross country competitions scheduled for the days mentioned.
It is our hope that this reset will allow students to heal up while we continue to educate via the virtual learning process.
The students of Coahoma High School have recently selected their 2020 Homecoming Court.
The five seniors selected are Kenzi Canales, Julia Cox, Providence Dickson, Katy Manning, and MaKynlee Overton.
Kenzi Canales is the daughter of Jessica Canales and Rudy Avalos. She is an active member of the Coahoma softball, basketball, and track teams. As a freshman, Kenzi was named the newcomer of the year for the All-District 5-3A softball team. She serves as a team captain for the Bulldogette softball team. She was also named the Defensive Player of the Year for her basketball team which last year qualified for playoffs for the first time in a number of years. In the fall, Kenzi will attend McPherson College and study for a career in the nursing field.
Julia Cox is the daughter of Brad and Christina Cox. She serves on the student council and is an active member of the Coahoma FFA chapter and the National Honor Society. Julia is a four-year varsity member of the Bulldogettes volleyball and basketball teams. She also participates in track and golf. During her freshman year, Julia won the FFA Greenhand Creed state championship and qualified for the FFA national competition. Following graduation, Julia plans to attend the University of Texas to study business.
Providence Dickson is the daughter of Steven and Amanda Dickson and Robert and Sydney Rister. Providence has been a member of the varsity cheerleader squad for three years and is a three time All-American Cheerleader. She is an active member of the varsity golf team and was named MVP. She has participated in softball and track. Providence plans to enlist in the US Coast Guard after high school and later attend Tarleton State University to study US history.
Katy Manning is the daughter of Jimmy and Brandy Manning. She serves on the student council and is a class officer. She is a member of the FCCLA and National Honor Society. For the past three years, Manning has been active on the Coahoma cheerleading squad and was named an All-American Cheerleader. She also participates in academic UIL and track. After high school, Manning will study communication sciences and disorders at Oklahoma State University.
MaKynlee Overton is the daughter of John and Amy Overton. MaKynlee is a standout athlete at CHS. A pitcher for the past four years on the varsity softball team, MaKynlee helped lead her team to two Bi-District championships. She was named Athlete of the Year for her freshman and junior years. She also holds the school record in girls shot put. MaKynlee is a member of the National Honor Society. After high school, she plans to attend Texas Tech University and study business.
The Homecoming Court will be presented during the community pep rally on Friday at the Bill Easterling Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 5:15 p.m. and the event begins at 6 p.m. Face coverings are required.
Big Spring City Council members met in a regular session on 09/22/2020.
Interim City Manager’s Report
Good results from District 3 large item pick up. Next large item pickup is scheduled on 10/21/2020 for District 4.
City is falling behind on open holes, due to working on the seal coat project.
Public encouraged to complete the 2020 Census.
New Code Officer will be hired to focus on illegal dumping. New position will be funded through sanitation fund.
Seizure of abandon property update: 28 properties are ready to be seized and will go to auction. Sale is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.
Northern reliever route is temporarily closed by TXDoT until the proper signage can be posted.
Consent Items (all unanimously approved)
Minutes from regular meeting of 09/08/2020 and special meeting on 09/12/2020
Resolution amending Chapter IX of the Big Spring Personnel Policy entitled “Conduct,” Section 3 “Political Activity” to reduce political activity restrictions on non-firefighter city employees to the same level as firefighter city employees; to allow employees to run for office.*
Resolution amending Section 9 of the Purchasing Policy entitled “Purchasing Orders” to limit purchases for council member use of computer hardware and related goods and services by requiring City Council to approve such purchases in advance; cancelling orders of such goods and services currently in effect; and declaring equipment purchased without such approval surplus property and ordering it to be sold.*
Resolution approving a negotiated settlement between the Executive Committee of Cities served by Atmos West Texas and Atmos Energy Corp., West Texas Division regarding the company’s 2020 Rate Review Mechanism filing; declaring existing rates unreasonable; adopting tariffs that reflect rate adjustments consistent with the negotiated settlement; finding rates to be set by the attached settlement tariffs to be just and reasonable in the public interest; approving an attached exhibit establishing a benchmark for pensions and retiree medical benefits; approving an attached exhibit regarding amortization of regulatory liability; requiring the company to reimburse cities’ reasonable ratemaking expenses; determining that this resolution was passed in accordance with the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act; adopting a Savings Clause; declaring an effective date; and requiring delivery of this resolution to the company and the cities’ legal counsel.*
Ordinance amending Chapter 32 of the Big spring City Code entitled “Licenses, Taxation and Miscellaneous Business Regulations,” Article II “Taxation,” Section 32-24 “Homestead Exemption for individuals 65 and over and codifying a permanent Homestead Exemption for persons who are disabled.*
(*- final reading)
During a presentation on delinquent tax collection from Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott LLP, W. Tracy Crites, Jr. pointed out that the negotiating on the fee may be a moot point because of the interlocal agreement with the county. According to Crites, Howard County passed a resolution back in 2004 passing on the 20 percent attorney fee. He also stated that their services for the city are free and the fees are passed on to the delinquent taxpayers, not the current taxpayers.
Final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 32 of the Big Spring Code entitled “Licenses, Taxation and Miscellaneous Business Regulation,” Article II “Taxation to assess an additional twenty percent penalty to defray costs of collecting delinquent property taxes was removed from the table, City Attorney Andrew Hagen advised council that the interlocal agreement with the city can be terminated, but the soonest that could be done would be in May 2021. At that point, it would impact taxes for 2022.
Crites advised that their recent notices for delinquent taxes advised that every homestead owner is entitled to a pay-out agreement options, and that was also extended to non-homestead owners, as well.
Ultimately, Councilmembers approved the final reading of the ordinance with a final vote of 6-1, with Mayor Shannon Thomason voting against.
A presentation on the Right-of-Way License or Easement with Sinclair Oil was given by a Sinclair representative.
After removing this item from being tabled, councilmembers unanimously approved authorization for the Interim City Manager or his designee to negotiate without contracting authority a Right-of-Way License or easement within the City of Big Spring to Sinclair Oil or another party, with such negotiating authority expiring after 180 days.
The agreement with Cap-Rock Holdings, LLC was removed from the agenda by Mayor Thomason.
Vouchers were approved 7-0.
Municipal Judge Timothy Green was reappointed to another 2-year term.
Councilmembers also approved a first reading of a resolution authorizing the City Manager and City Attorney to jointly negotiate with and retain outside legal counsel for the purpose of representing the City in an eminent domain proceeding relating to 1505 E. Second St.; declaring that this action is necessary as the property will be used for a valid purpose.
During discussion on this item, City Attorney Andrew Hagen described eminent domain, also known as "condemnation", as "when the government takes back property involuntarily against the owner." He also advised that it is a serious endeavor, and not to be taken lightly.
It should be noted that through this process, Texas Law requires that all known owners receive adequate compensation. This amount is determined by three special commissioners appointed by a court.
Hagen went on to advise councilmembers that the property in question is an empty lot, approximately 1.417 acre, and has always been an empty lot in a floodplain. It has been found that there are many unknown heirs to the property in question. The amount of delinquent taxes for this property is approximately $1,500 and the appraised value for the property is $3,625. The estimated cost to the city of pursuing the eminent domain option is approximately $15,000 - $20,000.
The city is trying to acquire the property in order to build a new lift station.
After looking at several options on how to obtain the property, from making contact with over 20 heirs, to seizing the property for delinquent taxes, it was determined that eminent domain may be the best route in terms of saving time and money for the city. Ultimately, the item passed with a vote of 6-1 with Mayor Shannon Thomason voting against.
Unanimous approval for both the Howard County 9-1-1 Communications District’s proposed budget for 2020-2021, and the Big Spring EDC Board of Director’s minutes for meeting of 8/18/2020.
Unanimous approval of first reading of an ordinance amendment that would increase the General Fund Budget to purchase additional equipment for the Specialty Built Infectious Disease Ambulance.
The first reding of an ordinance amending the ordinance declaring the City of Big Spring a Sanctuary City for the Unborn by amending the title of the ordinance to “Safe Haven for the Unborn”; amending the ordinance for clarity; and amending Section C, Subsection 2 to provide an affirmative defense for abortions that are medically necessary was removed from the agenda by Council Member Gloria McDonald, District 4.
Unanimous approval for the first reading of a resolution amending the Big Spring Personnel Policies and Procedures Chapter VII entitled “Compensation,” section 2 “Administration of Range/Step Salary Schedules,” subsection C to remove Employee Merit Raises; and amending Chapter XII entitled “Non-Disciplinary Separation,” by repealing section 4 “Retirement” in it’s entirety in order to remove mandatory retirement of employees at age 70.
Under this resolution, employee merit raises were removed. Now individual increases are given at the 5-year anniversary date in the increment of 2.5% of the base hourly rate for retention purposes. Also, employees must physically work more than their scheduled work week to earn compensatory time. The entire section of “Retirement” that calls for employees to retire at the age 70 was removed.
Unanimous approval of a resolution amending Chapter IX of the Big Spring Personnel Policies and Procedures entitled “Conduct,” Section 7 “Relations with Mayor/Council” to limit the definition of the term “information”.
Unanimous approval of an amended item and approved the motion directing the Mayor to seek outside legal counsel for the purpose of reviewing potential changes to the City Attorney’s employment contract.
Unanimous approval of an agreement with Area Agency on Aging for the provision of congregate and home-delivered meals.
Unanimous approval on an engineering agreement with Jacob & Martin, LLC for water line replacements under the city’s 2020 Texas Community Development Block Grant administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture and authorizing the City manager or his designee to execute any necessary documents.
The Texas Community Development Block Grant was applied for by the city in the amount of $350,000 to replace waterlines near Austin and 15th. If the city is awarded the grant then this agreement will be carried out. If the city does not receive the grant, then this agreement with Jacob & Martin is null.
Unanimous approval to delegate authority to City Manager to conclude an agreement with Maxar/Digital Globe for an extended lease of up to 20 years at the Big Spring McMahon Wrinkle Airpark or other city-owned property.
There is a satellite target on the airpark that has been there for 20 years. It is a 2-acre fenced-in gated property. Maxar/Digital Globe is the current owner. The lease is a 5-year lease with the option to renew up to 3 times.
Appointments to Boards & Committees
Nolan Dominguez was appointed to the single opening for an unexpired term on the Parks & Recreation Board.
AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will be launching a new conservation license plate to raise money to help conserve monarch butterflies and other native Texas, non-game, at-risk species. The public is invited to vote for their favorite design for the new monarch butterfly license plate through an online survey that is open until Oct.3.
The public will be able to choose from three images of monarch butterflies to be featured on the license plate. Results from the survey will help the agency decide which of three colorful designs should be featured on the new specialty plate.The license plate designs appeal to those who garden, enjoy wildlife watching or simply appreciate the beauty of monarch butterflies.
“The monarch butterfly is a species that is beautiful and iconic in that it is one of nature’s great migration stories,” said John Davis, TPWD’s Wildlife Diversity Program Director. “This species migrates through Texas from Mexico in the spring making its way to the northern extremes of the U.S. and into Canada, then reverses that feat in the fall to overwinter in Mexico. This great migratory story is in jeopardy with the overwintering population experiencing precipitous declines in the last decade. By adding the monarch to our family of plates, we hope to increase support for this beautiful migration event and through our conservation efforts, brighten the future for this, and many other species.”
The TPWD Conservation License Plate Program has raised around $10 million in the last 20 years for wildlife and habitat conservation in Texas. The 10 conservation plate designs include a horned lizard, largemouth bass, hummingbird, white-tailed deer, bluebonnet, desert bighorn sheep, and others. These plates benefit Texas rivers, state parks, big game research and management and non-game wildlife species management. All TPWD conservation specialty plates cost $30 a year, with $22 going to TPWD to support various programs and efforts. Plates can be purchased for vehicles, RVs/travel trailers, trailers and motorcycles.
“TPWD uses conservation license plate funds to conduct research and management activities benefitting the state’s most at-risk species,” Davis added. “The conservation license plate program creates license plates that people enjoy and want to buy while also knowing their plate fee goes to the worthy cause of helping wildlife and plants in Texas.”
Learn more about monarch butterflies and other native, non-game species on the TPWD website. For more information on TPWD’s conservation licenses plates, visit www.conservationplate.org.
During last night’s Big Spring City Council meeting, Interim City Manager Shane Bowles advised councilmembers that the city would be creating a new position for an additional Code Officer who would primarily focus on illegal dumping. The funding for this position would be funded through Sanitation.
During a presentation on delinquent tax collection from Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott LLP, W. Tracy Crites, Jr. pointed out that the negotiating on the fee may be a moot point because of the interlocal agreement with the county. According to Crites, Howard County passed a resolution back in 2004 passing on the 20 percent attorney fee. He also stated that their services for the city are free and the fees are passed on to the delinquent taxpayers, not the current taxpayers.
After the final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 32 of the Big Spring Code entitled “Licenses, Taxation and Miscellaneous Business Regulation,” Article II “Taxation to assess an additional twenty percent penalty to defray costs of collecting delinquent property taxes was removed from the table, City Attorney Andrew Hagen advised council that the interlocal agreement with the city can be terminated, but the soonest that could be done would be in May 2021. At that point, it would impact taxes for 2022.
Crites advised that their recent notices for delinquent taxes advised that every homestead owner is entitled to a pay-out agreement options, and that was also extended to non-homestead owners, as well.
Ultimately, Councilmembers approved the final reading of the ordinance with a final vote of 6-1, with Mayor Shannon Thomason voting against.
Judge Timothy Green was re-appointed to another 2-year term as Municipal Judge.
Councilmembers also approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment increasing the General Fund Budget to purchase additional equipment for the Specialty Built Infectious Disease Ambulance.
BIG SPRING, TX — The West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) will begin holding drive-thru flu clinics for area Veterans, beginning with the San Angelo Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC). West Texas Veterans will be able to talk to a nurse, fill out the appropriate paperwork and get their immunization right from their vehicle.
“Considering social distancing guidelines and WTVAHCS’s efforts to manage foot-traffic in our facilities,” says Traci Taylor, WTVAHCS Nurse Manger for Health Promotions and Disease Prevention. “We’re working hard to make it as easy and safe as possible for every Veteran to receive the flu vaccination.”
The drive-thru clinics are a new effort by WTVAHCS to make it as convenient as possible for Veterans to receive the immunization. WTVAHCS will conduct drive-thru clinics at the San Angelo, Abilene, Wilson & Young Medal of Honor and George H. O’Brien, Jr. locations over the coming weeks. The schedule can be found on the WTVAHCS Facebook page.
An alternative to the drive-thru clinics, the VA has partnered with more than 60,000 community locations in the new Community Care Network (CCN) and urgent care centers to provide flu vaccinations for our Veterans. Veterans can use the VA Facility Locator to find information on hours and locations for your local VAMC, and to find an in?network retail pharmacy or urgent care facility.
To check eligibility, contact your local VA medical facility OR call 844-MyVA311 (844-698-2311), select option 1, and then select option 1 again.
Clinic dates (all times 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.:
San Angelo CBOC – Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020
George H. O’Brien, Jr. VAMC – Monday, Oct. 5, 2020
Abilene CBOC – Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020
Wilson & Young Medal of Honor CBOC – Monday, Oct. 19, 2020
BIG SPRING - West Texas Centers observes September as National Recovery Month - a national observance held every year to educate the public that substance use treatment and mental health services help people with addictions lead healthy and rewarding lives.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, better known as SAMHSA spearheads the charge by assisting others in calling attention to the gains made by those living in recovery.
West Texas Centers, the designated local authority for mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities for 23 counties in rural West Texas provides support and the tools to assist consumers on their road to recovery.
Substance Use Disorder is a condition in which recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs significantly impairs a person’s life, said West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith, LMSW.
The chronic and relapsing brain disease affects more than 20 million Americans, age 12 and older, according to research provided by the Texas Council of Community Centers.
“Substance Abuse is devastating,” Smith said. “It affects relationships, the national economy and the health care system.”
According to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs Americans more than $700 billion a year in increased health care costs, crimes and lost productivity.
More than half of those receiving care in the public mental system live with substance use disorders, Smith said. Without receiving proper treatment, many of these people will visit emergency rooms, and subsequently be admitted for psychiatric services and inpatient care.
“Our goal is to get them in for services and get them in early,” Smith said.
More than 2,300 consumers and their families receive services each month in West Texas Centers 15 mental health clinics located in Howard, Andrews, Dawson, Gaines, Garza, Mitchell, Nolan, Reeves, Runnels, Scurry, Terry, Upton, Ward and Winkler counties.
In addition to the 15 mental health clinics, West Texas Centers also operates a 24-hour Crisis Hotline for anyone needing immediate assistance or just needs to ask a question or needs emotional support.
“The Crisis Line is a strong first step that provides information, support and guidance to people who may be in crisis or just need to receive services,” Smith said. “It’s available at anytime and anywhere a phone is available.”
Recovery Month promotes three key messages:
Treatment is effective.
People can and do recover.
People living with mental health issues or problems with substance abuse often find difficulty in starting the road to recovery, Smith said. And once they reach out for help, many find it difficult to maneuver.
“We strongly believe in treatment and recovery,” Smith said. “Our entire philosophy at West Texas Centers is creating a superior system to meet the individualized needs through the provision of quality services shaped by partnerships, such as the one we have with SAMHSA and built upon integrity, mutual respect and compassion for those we serve.”
It's also important for us to remember to be kind to everyone, Smith said. “We never know who is in recovery. Everyone can benefit from a word of encouragement whether it’s a friend, family member, neighbor or coworker.”
“Behavioral health is essential to overall health,” Smith said. “Prevention works and treatment in many forms is effective. We see so many people recover. We know at times it’s difficult work through, but that’s what our dedicated staff are here for - to help people live their best lives.”
Smith advocates sharing resources and building networks across the West Texas region to outlying counties to support recovery.
“Mental and substance use disorders affect all of us and we need to be part of the solution,” Smith said
West Texas Centers serves the citizens of Andrews, Borden, Crane, Dawson, Fisher, Gaines, Garza, Glasscock, Howard, Kent, Loving, Martin, Mitchell, Nolan, Reeves, Runnels, Scurry, Terrell, Terry, Upton, Ward, Winkler and Yoakum counties.
West Texas Centers 24-hour Crisis hotline is 1-800-375-4357.
Today is National Voter Registration Day! It’s celebrated the fourth Tuesday of September.
Every year millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don’t update their registration, or aren’t sure how to register.
You are eligible to register to vote if:
You are a United States citizen;
You are a resident of the county where you submit the application;
You are at least 17 years and 10 months old, and you are 18 years of age on
You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole); and
You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.
To register to vote in Texas, simply complete a voter registration application and return it to your county election office at least 30 days before the upcoming election date. To complete an application, you can do so at votetexas.gov, print it out and mail it in to the County Elections Office; or contact the Howard County Elections Office at 432-264-2273 to request a voter registration application, or stop in and fill out an application in person at their office located on the first floor of the Howard County Courthouse.
The deadline to register to vote in the November 3rd, 2020 election is October 5, 2020.
Last week, a new sound system was installed at the Coahoma ISD’s Competition Gym. The gym is located on the Coahoma Elementary campus and is the centralized location for pep rallies, volleyball games, their annual kindergarten rodeo, and basketball games.
According to Coahoma ISD Athletic Director Chris Joslin, the new sound system was the brainchild of Mark Richardson, Operations Manager for KBest Media. He told KBest News that he believed it was spurred on from Richardson and KBest attending their pep rallies and people in the stands not able to understand what’s being said.
Coach Joslin pointed out that in other gyms you can understand the names being announced, but due to the blown out speakers that were in need of replacement, it made it difficult to hear and when music was added the sound became distorted.
“Mark is a big reason of how this thing got started and he went to Mr. Abusaab. [They] understand the importance of getting recognition for the kids,” said Joslin. ).
Thanks to a donation from Mike and Sheila Abusaab, Owners of KBest Media and local Sonics, the new sound system, along with installation, was fully funded.
When asked what kind of importance this project holds for Coahoma ISD, Coach Joslin stated that this is, probably, the one of the most awesome things he’s seen happen at a school like this.
“The environment in basketball games, volleyball games, and rodeos and everything else that takes place in here is a real live atmosphere. This is gonna be a lot better where people can actually hear what’s being said. In the past at pep rallies, people who got up here and spoke, you couldn’t understand what they were saying,” said Joslin.
“This place is fixin’ to be rockin’ and it’s gonna be pretty neat to see,” he continued.
The next opportunity to check out the new sound system in person will be on Saturday, September 26th, 2020, when the Bulldogettes volleyball team hosts Reagan County for their District Opener. JV White plays at 10 a.m.; JV Red plays at 11 a.m.; and varsity plays at noon.
Beginning at 10 AM tomorrow morning, 09/22/2020, Big Spring City Council members will have a City Council Agenda Work Session at the City Council Chambers located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring. Although the public is welcomed to the Open Session, public comments will not be allowed since no action will be taken during this session. KBest Media will share a live stream of the work session on our KBest Media Facebook page.
Later that evening, council members will meet again for a regular session at 5:30 PM. Items on this evening’s agenda include discussion on hiring a new Code Officer and an update on the seizure of abandoned property during the Interim City Manager’s Report. A presentation on delinquent property tax collection from Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collis & Mott LLP will be made, as well as a presentation on the Right-of-Way License or Easement with Sinclair Oil.
New business items on tonight’s agenda include consideration and possible action on appointment of Municipal Judge, a first reading of an ordinance to amend the adopted annual budget for the City of Big Spring by increasing the General Fund budget to purchase additional equipment for the Specialty Built Infectious Disease Ambulance.
There will also be a first reading of an ordinance amending the title of the ordinance declaring the City of Big Spring as a Sanctuary City for the Unborn to a “Safe Haven for the Unborn”, and amending the ordinance for clarity, and to provide an affirmative defense for abortions that are medically necessary.
In addition to this, there will be a first reading of a resolution amending the Big Spring Personnel Policies and Procedures to remove employee merit raises, and repealing Section 4 “Retirement” in its entirety in order to remove mandatory retirement of employees at age 70. Plus, there will also be a first reading on a resolution directing the Mayor to seek outside legal counsel for the purpose of reviewing potential changes to the City Attorney’s Employment contract.
The public is welcomed to attend the meeting, or watch a live broadcast on local channel 17 on Suddenlink, or online at the website for the City of Big Spring. You can also find a live stream on our KBest Media Facebook page.
To view the full agenda for Tuesday's meeting, visit:
To view the agenda for the Tuesday morning work session, visit:
Over the weekend, the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 47, of Big Spring invited four military servicemen for a weekend of dove hunting. A closing ceremony was held for this year’s honorees at Spring Creek Fellowship in Big Spring, during which they were showered with gifts of appreciation and also presented with a Quilt of Valor.
This year’s honorees are Sgt. Deon R. Mealing of Big Spring; Petty Officer Dustin N. Cripe of Midland; Army veteran Charles Limir; and Tomas Martinez of Georgia.
City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of 58 new positive COVID-19 test results for the week of September 14th, 2020. As of Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 461 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. 302 patients have recovered. There are 130 active cases, and there have been 2 more fatalities added since last week.
The first patient was a 75-year-old male who was being treated outside of our jurisdiction; the second patient was an 86-year-old male who was also being treated by a doctor at an outside facility. This brings the fatality count for Howard County to 14.
The increase in positive cases is once again attributed to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Federal Correctional Institution. Of the 130 active cases this week in Howard County, 114 are inmates at FCI Big Spring, and only sixteen cases are Howard County/Big Spring residents. It should be noted that this is a decrease in the number of community cases for the second week in a row.
On Thursday, September 17th, the governor of Texas announced that all restaurants, retail establishments, gyms and office buildings can start operating at 75% capacity. Additionally, nursing home facilities may, under certain circumstances, allow visitors into their facilities. Unfortunately, bars are still closed under the governor’s current order.
AUSTIN – Texans may think they know how to correctly install and use their children’s car seats, but nearly 60 percent of the time they’re used incorrectly. That’s why TxDOT is helping drivers keep their children safe on the road.
TxDOT’s annual “Save Me With a Seat” campaign is hitting Texas airways and roadways as the nation recognizes National Child Passenger Safety week from Sept. 20-26. The campaign highlights the fact that an alarming number of car seats are being installed and used incorrectly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 59% of all child car seats are being misused. This is even more alarming given that vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the nation.
“When child car seats are installed correctly they keep children as safe as possible during a crash,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said. “We urge parents and caregivers to ensure they are securing their children properly in a vehicle and using the appropriate child car seat for their child’s age and size.”
TxDOT is continuing its free safety seat inspections throughout the year, but this year they’ve gone virtual. Starting this month, we will be rolling out virtual car seat checks to enable us to maintain the same level of service and provide education to families while following social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19. For a one-on-one TxDOT virtual car seat check, families can visit SaveMeWithaSeat.org and enter their zip code to email the nearest TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist to set up an appointment. Families will need a mobile electronic device with video and audio capabilities, like a cellphone, laptop or tablet. Parents and caregivers can also learn if a child should be in a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat, and get other car seat safety tips by visiting the website.
This year’s “Save Me With a Seat” campaign features a branded truck that will traverse Texas, covering more than 3,000 miles and visiting six cities to bring the car seat safety message to communities across the state. The truck will be a no-contact experience with the driver utilizing COVID-19 safety precautions including a mask and gloves. The awareness effort will be supported by radio ads, billboards, digital media and social media.
In 2019, 77 children younger than 8 years old died in traffic crashes in Texas, and 26 of those were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Among children ages 8-12 in 2019, 42 died in traffic crashes, with 18 of them unrestrained at the time of the crash.
According to NHTSA, child car seats in passenger vehicles can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers.
TxDOT reminds drivers that Texas law requires all children under 8 — unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches — to be in a car seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250. Children under age 13 should ride in the back seat, properly secured in a seat belt or safety seat.
“Save Me With a Seat” 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.
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is pleased to recognize the hardworking men and women of the DPS Crime Laboratory Service during National Forensic Science Week, which takes place from Sept. 20-26. The week is designed to highlight forensic science work at labs across the country.
There are 16 DPS crime labs that serve the state of Texas criminal justice system.
“We are extremely proud of our 621 forensic science professionals, and the work they do for law enforcement and the residents of Texas,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Their efforts help convict criminals and eliminate people as suspects, using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.”
Over the past year, there were several legislatively-mandated crime lab developments, including:
- A program (HB 1399) was implemented to assist with unsolved cases through the collection of DNA samples from people arrested for certain felonies. These samples are then run through the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) database to check for possible DNA matches to identify suspects.
- Additional money was allocated to help improve turnaround times for processing sexual assault kits. Furthermore, the sexual assault evidence-tracking program, which allows sexual assault survivors to anonymously track or receive updates on the status of evidence, was brought online.
- DPS received funding to purchase DNA equipment, and equipment for other forensic disciplines.
- DPS helped develop a new process for determining the THC content in plant-based material in order to differentiate between legal hemp and illegal marijuana.
- DPS labs now conduct fire debris analysis. Evidence is brought to the lab and tested to determine if traces of accelerants are present.
- Funding was approved to hire 20 forensic scientists to specifically work on blood alcohol toxicology for DWI cases at eight labs across the state.
Due to COVID-19, DPS crime labs will not be open for tours this year; please watch the DPS Facebook and Twitter pages for features and photos throughout the week. Additional photos are also available on our website.
From Scenic Mountain Medical Center:
Big Spring, Texas— September 18, 2020 – Yesterday, Governor Abbott announced the easing of statewide restrictions on elective procedures, effective immediately. This is good news for patients who had to postpone certain medical procedures due to these precautions.
From serious conditions to aches and pains, the health care needs of the Big Spring community did not stop. Now is the time for individuals and families to get the medical care— from a routine check-up to a medical procedure -- that may have been postponed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our clinics are open, elective procedures are ready to be scheduled, and our emergency room continues to be a safe place to treat ALL emergencies. We’ve are working quickly to reschedule previously cancelled procedures
To ensure the safety of patients and to provide a safe and clean environment for any visit to our facilities, we are intensely focused on new cleaning protocols and personal protection procedures to keep patients safe. We have also implemented new practices to ensure that any COVID-related care is done in an isolated area away from other patients and their families.
SMMC has taken every precaution and made the necessary preparations to care for patients in a safe, controlled and professional way. Thank you for continuing to trust SMMC for your family’s healthcare needs.
For more information on visitor policies or to stay updated with the latest information, visit www.scenicmountainmedicalcenter.org
Announcement from the City of Big Spring, 09/18/2020:
The City of Big Spring will have a Cross Country Meet for Big Spring High School on Saturday, September 19, 2020 beginning at 8 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (estimated). In order to help facilitate a safe running area for all of the youth attending and participating in this event we will temporarily close some of the gates and barricade access to some areas of the Comanche Trail Park during the event. The roads to access DRCC and the Golf Course will remain open. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you travel in this area, please be aware and alert for participants moving in the area!!
City of Big Spring
Tickets are available now for a chance to win one of three prizes: a John Deere Gator, a Pellet Grill, or a $500 Visa Gift Card. Money raised through this raffle will go to benefit the United Way of Big Spring and Howard County. The United Way of Big Spring & Howard County is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the health and human service agencies of Howard and the surrounding counties.
This year’s partnering agencies are the Buffalo Trail Council, Boy Scouts; Spring of Siloam; CASA of West Texas; Council on Aging/Meals on Wheels; Emergency Services Chaplains Corp; Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest; Head Start Readiness Academy; Howard County Children’s Advocacy Center; Howard County Resource Center; The Salvation Army; The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club; Victim Services; West Side Community Day Care; and YMCA of Big Spring.
Volunteers are still being accepted to help out with tomorrow’s 2nd annual Boots and Spurs Equine Event in Ira, approximately 11 miles south of Snyder.
According to Nanette Yanez, the event uses equine therapy to help veterans to help them overcome struggles they might be facing, especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This year, Texas Tech equine therapists will conduct team-building exercises and will provide horseback riding instruction. There will also be trail rides with cowboys and horse trainers along with other fun activities for the veterans.
For more information on how to become a volunteer with tomorrow’s event contact Nanette Yanez at 432-238-5524.
Community Fellowship and a Quilts of Valor presentation will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, for this year’s 7th annual Dove Hunt honorees that will be recognized by the Big Spring D.A.V. Chapter 47.
This year’s honorees are Sgt. Deon R. Mealing of Big Spring; Petty Officer Dustin N. Cripe off Midland; Army veteran Charles Limir; and Thomas Martinez of Georgia.
The presentation begins at 6 PM at Spring Creek Fellowship in the Spring Town Plaza, located at 1801 FM 700 in Big Spring.
Be advised that raffle tickets are still available for a chance to win a custom fire pit created by Gerald King of King Fabrications & Custom Metal. Tickets are $20 and will be available to purchase on Saturday before the presentation begins.
AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference to provide an update on the state's ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. During the press conference, the Governor issued Executive Orders expanding occupancy levels for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries, and re-authorizing elective surgeries for a majority of the state of Texas. The Governor also announced new guidance related to visitations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state.
In addition, the Governor implemented the use of reliable, data driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help guide the state’s ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 and expand occupancy for businesses and services. This metric focuses on areas with high hospitalizations — referring to any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15%, until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15% or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.
Using this metric, 19 of the 22 TSAs in Texas qualify to increase occupancy levels to 75% for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms, exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries beginning September 21st. In addition, these 19 TSAs can also resume elective surgeries. Three of the 22 TSAs (S-Victoria, T-Laredo, and V-Lower Rio Grande Valley) must remain at 50% occupancy and continue postponing elective surgeries until the hospitalization metric requirements are met. These three TSAs contain the following counties: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Victoria, Jim Hogg, Webb, Zapata, Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy.
"With the medical advancements we have made and the personal hygiene practices we have adopted, Texans have shown that we can address both the health and safety concerns of COVID-19 while also taking careful, measured steps to restore the livelihoods that Texans depend on," said Governor Abbott. "Achieving both goals requires safe standards that contain COVID-19, emphasize protecting the most vulnerable, and establish clear metrics that the public can depend on. That is why today we have announced expanded occupancy standards for a variety of services. But, Texans should remember that a steady and significant decline in COVID-19 cases is not a sign to let up in our vigilance against the virus. Instead, Texans must continue to heed the guidance of medical experts by wearing a mask, social distancing, and practicing proper sanitation strategies. By maintaining health and safety standards that are proven to mitigate COVID-19, we can continue to slow the spread while opening up the Texas economy."
The Governor announced new visitation guidance for eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice effective Thursday, September 24th. Under the new rules, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who will be provided necessary training to allow them to safely go inside a facility for a scheduled visit, including in the resident’s room, to help ensure their loved one’s physical, social, and emotional needs are being met. Designated caregivers will not be required to maintain physical distancing, but only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time.
A long-term care facility resident (or legal representative) can designate the essential caregiver, who can be a family member, friend, or other individual. Facilities are required to train essential caregivers on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control measures. Proper PPE must be used at all times during these scheduled visits, and the caregiver must test negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before the initial visit.
For general visitors who are not a designated essential caregiver, these updated emergency rules will allow approved facilities to schedule outdoor no contact visits, open window visits, or indoor visitation with the use of plexiglass safety barriers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical contact between residents and general visitors is not permitted. Facilities also must continue to meet all additional visitation requirements outlined in the emergency rules.
View the Governor's Executive Order related to expanded capacity of certain services.
View the Governor's Executive Order related to hospital capacity.
Encompass Health was welcomed as a new member of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday morning. Encompass Health, a Christian-based company, is a home health service provider that offers skilled nursing, physical therapy, and wound care.
“We have lots of wonderful employees,” said Brooke Grant, RN Branch Director, tells us more about Encompass Health. She went on to say that they have two full-time physical therapy staff, two full-time physical therapy assistants, as well as several Registered Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses.
“We’re all very caring. We love our patients. We want to do everything we can to keep them in the home and safe, and we’re also there to help the families and to help them understand what everything is going through and to keep the patients at home and safe,” continued Grant.
When asked what she thought about becoming a Chamber Member, Grant told KBest News that she loved that Encompass is becoming more involved with the Big Spring community.
For more information, contact them at 432-264-0044.
Online registration is now open for the 2nd annual Bikes Across Big Spring. The purpose of the event is to raise bike awareness and to raise money for CASA of West Texas, a non-profit organization with the mission to recruit, train, and support committed volunteers who are appointed by the court to advocate for the best interest of children in the foster care system.
Bike Across Big Spring will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, and is open to the public. Registration is $20 per person and can be completed from 1-3 PM on the day of the event at Moss Creek Ranch, located at 1601 S. Moss Lake Rd in Big Spring.
Tabitha Clark, organizer for the event, told KBest News that there are seven different stops where participants will pick up a playing card. At the end of the run, they’ll turn their cards in and the participants with the two highest hands will win a prize.
Participants will have 3 hours to complete the bike run around Big Spring.1st place receives a $500 Visa gift card, and 2nd place receives a $250 Visa gift card. Food and craft vendors will be on site from 1-6 PM. Afterwards, there will be an after party with a DJ and karaoke from 6-10 PM.
Online registration can be completed by visiting:
According to The Texas Tribune, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court ordered three Green Party candidates to be restored to the November ballot after Democrats had successfully sued to remove them, over failing to pay filing fees.
Now, county election offices must now update their overseas and military ballots by the Saturday mailing deadline and send new, corrected ballots to replace any that had already been mailed. According to Howard County Elections Administrator Jodi Duck, this will not negatively affect Howard County voters as there have been no ballots mailed out for the local voters.
The three candidates are David Collins for U.S. Senate, Katija “Kat” Gruene for Railroad Commission and Tom Wakely for the 21st Congressional District. It should be noted that since Howard County is in the 19th Congressional District, Wakely will not be listed on the local ballot.
Check out the full story here:
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Highway Patrol Troopers this week rescued their 500th child during traffic stops since the implementation of specialized training that began in 2009. Troopers receive the training as part of the Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) program.
The IPC program training teaches officers to spot indicators that a child is a victim or at risk of becoming a victim, and includes children who are missing, exploited, at-risk or endangered. Troopers receive this training through a two-day, 16-hour course that uses a child-centered approach and assess the totality of circumstances to determine if a child is at risk.
In addition to removing these children from dangerous situations, the training also aids DPS in related child abduction, human trafficking, possession of child pornography and sexual assault investigations.
“This is an outstanding contribution to public safety by our Troopers who identified and rescued children during standard traffic stops, even though the child could not necessarily vocalize they needed help,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “At the same time, it helped us take reprehensible criminals who prey on one of our most vulnerable populations off the streets.”
IPC marked its 10th anniversary in 2019. In addition to child rescues, IPC has trained more than 10,000 people in its methods across the U.S. and other countries, prompting groundbreaking changes in how agencies improve accountability and approach child safety concerns.
IPC uses a multidisciplinary approach to train law enforcement, prosecutors, criminal intelligence analysts, child protective service, victim services and child advocacy center professionals collectively. IPC continues to advocate the message: “Stop waiting for children to ask for your help.”
Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a Thank You for Your Investment presentation this morning for Expedition Royalty to thank them for all they do for the community.
Michelle Hamlin, Office Manager at Expedition Royalty, told KBest News that when the business came into Big Spring, they knew that they wanted to be as active as possible in every aspect of the community and becoming a Chamber Member was a great way to start.
Expedition Royalty Co. is a privately held company focused on the acquisition of mineral rights and royalty interests.
The business was built to help people who have property with viable mineral, surface and water rights get a fair price for their assets.
“We buy minerals. We also do loans on minerals, but more than that, the guys that buy and sell our minerals are very concerned with helping people,” said Hamlin about how Expedition Royalty Co. operates.
“They’re not here to take advantage of anybody. They are here to make sure they give you the best advice possible. Whether it benefits our company or if it just benefits you, they’re gonna make sure that you’re not being taken advantage of and that you understand what you’re getting,” continued Hamlin.
Expedition Royalty is located at 220 S. Main in Big Spring and they’re open from 8 am - 4 pm, Monday - Friday. They can also be reached by calling them at 432-755-7131.
This week, the Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine center is hosting Peripheral Artery Disease Awareness Week and they encourage the public to join them in the White Sock Campaign.
“What this is, in simplified terms, is that your veins contract, so you’re not getting the blood flow that you need. Unfortunately, this does lead to ulcerations,” said Tiffany Crawford, Director at Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Center.
“ We spread the awareness of this because it’s something that needs to be noted immediately. This is not something that needs to go on and it kinda be brushed off because then we can get to very complicated issues that are hard to retract from,” she continued.
The white sock symbolizes the many patients with late-stage Peripheral Artery Disease who have had an amputation due to delayed treatment. Approximately 8 - 12 million people in the United States are affected by PAD. People who suffer from PAD, one of the main comorbidities of diabetes, are also at risk for chronic, non-healing wounds of the lower extremities. People who are living with PAD, ESPECIALLY those living with diabetes often do not fully recognize the risk of amputation that comes with the disease.
Through this week of September 14, 2020, the public is encouraged to show their support for patients within our community that PAD is affecting their overall quality of life. To do this, simply rock the white sock, take fun photos with your colleagues and submit photos to Tiffany Crawford, Wound Care Director, at 806-777-7974 or Daniel Moreno, Marketing Coordinator at 432-553-1271. Photos can also be sent by email to Tiffany.Crawford@Steward.Org or Martin.Morenoii@Steward.Org.
The Wound Healing Center is also hosting a donation collection this month of September in order to help patients and the community with items that are easily taken for granted. This can range from socks, toiletries, wound supplies or any new item(s) that you are able or willing to contribute. These items can impact our patients tremendously, especially during these difficult times.
SNYDER, TX - Snyder Police Officers responded to a stabbing incident outside of a restaurant called The Butcher’s Block Eats & Drinks on Friday evening.
According to a news release from the Snyder Police Department, on September 11, 2020 Officers were dispatched at approximately 7:50 PM to 1600 25th Street in the City of Snyder in reference to a stabbing.
When officers arrived at the above location, it was discovered there were two victims that suffered stab wounds.
[One] victim [was] identified as Scott Herrera, [a] 49-year-old male, [who] was transported to Cogdell Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
The second victim will not be identified at this time.
After a preliminary investigation, the suspect was identified as Francisco Lozoya Jr., [a] 34-year-old male. With the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies across West Texas, Lozoya was apprehended in Lubbock County.
Snyder PD advised that there is no threat to the community and no further details will be released at this time, due to this being an ongoing investigation.
(Photo: Francisco Lozoya, Jr.)
Howard County Commissioners voted unanimously to lift the County-wide burn ban for two weeks. This was made under the recommendation of Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Mitchell Hooper to allow residents with brush piles to get them burned during this period of rainy weather.
It was noted that precautions should still be taken, such as having an extinguishing agent nearby, paying attention to windspeeds, and contacting the Howard County Sheriff's Office in advance prior to burning anything.
The topic of the burn ban will be re-evaluated at the next meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court.
First responders, local officials, and community members gathered together on Friday morning at Scenic Mountain Medical Center during the Prayer at the Pole event.
Diane Moore, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer of SMMC, told KBest News that she appreciated everyone who came out for the event.
“It’s just important that we remember what happened,” said Moore. “In today’s day and age, we are now, like someone stated, we’re fighting a new 9/11 - which doesn’t even compare, but the [COVID-19] has been horrible. I think united we can still all come together, even in this time of adversity.”
When asked why the event is important to her, Moore told KBest News that it’s important for people to remember that united we stand strong and can overcome adversity as one people.
Big Spring PD stand with Family Faith Center Pastor Sam Segundo for photo after the Prayer at the Pole event on 9/11/2020 at Scenic Mountain Medical Center.
Bagpipes were played by Albert Cavazos during SMMC's Prayer at the Pole event on 09/11/2020.
In Midland last week, federal authorities filed a criminal complaint charging 36-year-old Juan Carlos Rodriguez and 30-year-old Jose Leonardo Rodriguez-Angeles for a scheme to steal oil in the Andrews County area and transport it to various disposal locations, including one in New Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Luis Quesada, El Paso Field Office.
The complaint charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy; one count of theft of an interstate shipment; and, one count of transportation of stolen property. The complaint alleges that on May 28, 2020, the defendants stole over 500 barrels of oil from at least three production lease locations around Andrews and transported the stolen oil across state lines into New Mexico where it was disposed of at a location near Eunice, New Mexico.
The complaint further alleges that on September 3, 2020, the defendants were responsible for stealing in excess of 100 additional barrels of oil from various production lease locations around Andrews and taking it to a disposal location in Odessa, TX. During the early morning hours of September 4, 2020, state authorities stopped the defendants following their return to Andrews County and arrested them while attempting to steal oil again from a previous (May 28th) victim company.
Both defendants remain in custody at this time. Upon conviction, the defendants face up to ten years in federal prison each for theft of an interstate shipment and interstate transportation of stolen property; and, up to five years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge.
The FBI’s Permian Basin Oilfield Theft Task Force is investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Fedock is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Howard County Commissioners Court will meet this afternoon, 09/14/2020, at 3:30 PM on the third floor of the Howard County Courthouse. In addition to regular agenda items, other topics include discussion and possible action on Absolute Fire Protection - Subscriber Monitoring Agreement Terms & Conditions and re-enrollment for free TAC Cyber Security Training Program, as well as discussion and possible action to lift the burn ban.
View the full agenda below.
The Big Spring Economic Development Corporation will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at 5:15 PM at the 215 W. 3rd St. in Big Spring. Items on the agenda for this meeting include approving the Leading EDG contract, 2019-2020 annual report, the 2020-2021 Plan of Work, and the 2020-2021 Depository bids.
View the full agenda below.
City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of 119 new positive COVID-19 test results for the week of September 7th, 2020. As of Friday, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 403 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. There are 128 active cases, and there have been 249 people who have recovered from COVID-19. Also last week, it was announced that there had been two more COVID-19 related deaths bringing the total fatality count for Howard County to 12. The most recent deaths were noted as being a 66-year-old male and a 59-year-old male, both of which were being treated outside of Howard County.
The dramatic increase in positive cases is attributed to an outbreak at the Federal Correctional Institution. Of the 119 new confirmed positive cases this week in Howard County, 105 are inmates at FCI Big Spring. Of the 128 active cases, 23 are Howard County residents; 105 are inmates at the FCI prison. Emergency Management expects additional positive cases from FCI to be reported in the coming days.
Unfortunately, the increase in the number of active cases has affected Howard County’s attestation of not having more than three confirmed positive active cases per 1000 residents. At this time restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, museums and libraries must limit their capacity to 50%.
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason told KBest News that it was unfortunate that the cases from FCI Big Spring have impacted the county’s allowed occupancy, but he reminded that the number is determined by the Texas Department of State Health and Services, which is the local health authority.
"When we're dealing with a state agency setting these terms for us, unfortunately, sometimes we're kinda stuck. We're all hoping that the Governor will come out with some expanded operating procedures here in the very near future," said Thomason. "That's something else we need to look at is if those numbers come back down to below attestation, that's a question in my mind is to whether or not we can go back up to 75 percent at that point or not."
"I'm not happy about it," continued Thomason, "and I understand that the business owners aren't gonna be happy about it, but, unfortunately, that's the way this was set by the Executive Order from the Governor and those are the numbers we've been given."
County and City officials continue to urge community members to take every precaution to protect yourself and your family members. Please continue to practice social distancing, stay home when possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask while in public areas. These are all things you can do to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill from any respiratory illness including COVID-19.
During Saturday’s Special Session of the Big Spring City Council, Anthony Michelic, with the PACE Group, spoke to Council members about their Executive Search Services for a City Manager.
PACE Group was the executive search firm recently used by the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation to find current Executive Director Mark Willis. During the presentation, Michelic advised that they charge one-third of the first year of the base salary that would be paid to the new City Manager plus expenses. With their service, the PACE Group returns in one year to conduct a performance evaluation and also offers a two-year guarantee. This means that if the candidate found quits or gets fired within 2 years, PACE Group returns to conduct another search free of charge.
After meeting in Executive Session, council members voted to appoint Public Works Director Shane Bowles as the Interim City Manager with a vote of 6-0.
When asked what his thoughts were about becoming Interim City Manager, Bowles told KBest News that he was surprised that he was nominated for the position.
“They’re just looking for someone to hold down the fort, get us through these times until we can find a City Manager that we can hire full-time that’s had more experience and had the opportunity to work for other cities and bring something new to Big Spring,” said Bowles.
According to Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, Bowles is someone who will bring a sense of stability to the staff and someone who has a really good handle on some of the critical areas of the city, such as streets, water, sewer, and sanitation.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Office is advising for citizens to be aware of a current scam in the area.
They say that someone is calling local residents identifying themselves as Deputy Tony Everett with the Howard County Sheriff's Office. The caller is trying to collect fines on warrants. Be aware that THIS IS A SCAM!!
The Howard County Sheriff's Office NEVER calls to collect money on any type of warrant. If you receive one of these calls please hang up. Citizens are urged to NOT GIVE THEM ANY INFORMATION!!
COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Recent rainfall observed across most of the state has significantly
reduced wildfire activity and the potential for large fire growth.
Fire environment—weather, fuels and current conditions
Over the past two weeks, observed rainfall across the state has significantly reduced wildfire potential. A moist fire environment is expected to continue the trend of low fire activity across the majority of the state.
There is a low potential for wildfire activity today through Saturday in portions of the Trans Pecos where rainfall has been scattered. There is a possibility for scattered thunderstorms through Saturday in this same region where lightning could ignite fires in dry fuels and cured grasses.
Any wildfires that do start are expected to spread slowly, as cool temperatures, low wind speed and elevated relative humidity do not produce a conducive fire environment for large fire growth.
For current conditions and wildfire outlook, check out the Texas Fire Potential Outlook:
Since the beginning of September, state and local resources have responded to 31 fires that have burned 2,052 acres. Many of the recent wildfire starts have been attributed to human activities—such as equipment use and debris burning—and are preventable.
So far in 2020, 541 wildfires that have burned 51,637 acres were the result of equipment use—such as welding and tractors or other heavy equipment. This includes three fires that have burned 285 acres so far in September.
Aviation resources continue to assist ground crews with water and retardant drops to slow forward progression of fires and douse hotspots across fire areas. Fire suppression aircraft have logged approximately 75 hours of flight time over the past week.
Efforts involved dropping 3,312 gallons of water and 9,019 gallons of retardant on multiple fires including the Smith Canyon Fire in Pecos County (11,348 acres, 100% contained) and the Sotol Mitchell Fire in Pecos County (69 acres, 100% contained).
Aviation resources currently staged in state include one Type 3 helicopter, three single engine air tankers, and one air attack platform.
Since January 1, 2020, state and local resources have responded to 4,462 fires that have burned a total of 231,582 acres. Aviation resources have flown 2,298 hours, dropping 2,307,821 gallons of water and retardant on Texas wildfires so far this year.
Due to significant fire activity occurring in multiple geographic areas across the country and heavy commitment of shared resources to large fires nationally, the National Multi Agency Coordinating Group has raised the National Preparedness Level to Level 5.
Preparedness Levels are dictated by fuel and weather conditions, fire activity, and fire suppression resource availability throughout the country. Level 5 is the highest level of wildland fire activity and indicates heavy resource commitment to fires nationally. The state of Texas is currently at a Level 3 with increased resource commitment and wildfire activity statewide.
In addition to wildfire response across the state, Texas A&M Forest Service personnel are currently assisting with Hurricane Laura response efforts. Twenty-three personnel are providing planning and logistical support for recovery operations to Texas Division of Emergency Management.
If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.
For frequent wildfire and incident updates, follow the Texas A&M Forest Service incident information Twitter account, https://twitter.com/AllHazardsTFS.
Prevention and Mitigation
Any spark can cause a wildfire. Hot work—such as welding and grinding—can easily ignite fires in or near your work area. Taking a few extra minutes to prepare your work area prior to welding or grinding can reduce the potential for ignition of these fires, and having a spotter or fire watch can help prevent sparks from becoming wildfires.
When welding, grinding or cutting metal outdoors, follow these precautions to reduce the threat of accidentally starting a wildfire:
• Remove vegetation and other flammable materials from your work area.
• Wet the ground around your work area prior to creating any sparks.
• Assign someone as a fire watch.
• Keep water and a fire extinguisher nearby.
• Place a welding/fire blanket under your work area to catch sparks.
• Avoid parking vehicles in dry grass tall enough to touch the vehicle’s exhaust or the underside of the vehicle.
• Avoid welding during Red Flag conditions or on windy days.
Residents should pay attention to county burn bans and avoid all outdoor burning until conditions improve. Burn ban information can be found by contacting local fire departments or by visiting https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/TexasBurnBans/.
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has added additional Saturday appointment availability at select driver license (DL) offices for customers needing to renew or replace their Texas DL or ID cards. Participating DL offices will offer a limited number of appointments on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 to help Texans handle these specific transactions. The offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nearly 700,000 Texas DL/ID cards expired while DL offices were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By offering Saturday service for renewal and replacement appointments only, DPS is working to provide customers with expired cards an additional option to handle their DL transactions. The department anticipates adding more Saturday appointments in the coming months.
Scheduling an appointment
As a reminder, DPS launched an appointment solution in May, and all services at DL offices are now conducted by appointment only. DPS moved to appointments only as part of our efforts to provide additional convenience, reducing the time Texans spend waiting in line. Customers can now book appointments for a specific day and time up to six months in advance. To schedule an appointment or check availability, visit the online appointment scheduler.
Upon arrival at the DL office, customers can check-in using the kiosk inside the office or from their mobile device. Customers can only check-in up to 30 minutes prior to their appointment time. Due to social distancing requirements related to COVID-19, we ask that customers who arrive more than 30 minutes in advance of their appointment wait in their vehicle until it is time to check-in. DL offices have implemented additional protocols to ensure a safe environment for customers; read about these measures here.
Extension Remains in Place
It’s important to remember that the extension for expiration dates that was granted in response to COVID-19 remains in effect. The extension means that if your Texas ID, DL, commercial driver license or election identification certificate card expires on or after March 13, 2020, it falls under the period covered by the State of Disaster Declaration related to COVID-19 and will remain valid for 60 days after which time DPS issues a public notice that the extension period for the disaster declaration has been lifted. At this time, this 60-day notice has not been issued, and Texans still have time to conduct their renewal transactions.
BIG SPRING – Emergency Department visits for young people with thoughts of suicide or self-harm increased by 25 percent during the latest CDC report.
The data was culled from emergency room visits from January 2017 through December 2018.
The sharp uptick is especially troubling since this was several years before social isolation from COVID-19, said West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith, LMSW.
“Mental health professionals are especially concerned of the fall-out stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Smith said. “This is uncharted territory for all of us, especially our youth who have been enrolled in online learning and kept away from friends and extended family and sometimes their jobs for significant periods of time.”
“Teen-agers are very social and interactions with their peers, their teachers and clubs and sports are of tantamount importance at this stage of their development. This is one of the most important times for families to be in tune with their child’s mental health development.”
Many organizations, including West Texas Centers is amplifying its mission of suicide prevention for the month of September, which is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
West Texas Centers operates a 24-hour Crisis Line for anyone who needs immediate assistance. The number is 1-800-375-4357.
West Texas Centers also offers information, education, emotional support and links to resources for people affected by COVID-19.
“Everyone should be aware of the warning signs of suicide and how to help someone you believe may be thinking of harming him or herself,” Smith said.
The National Institute of Mental Health suggests contacting social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.
The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide, according to National Institute of Mental Health.
Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves.
Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live.
Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun.
Talking about great guilt or shame.
Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions.
Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
Talking about being a burden to others.
Using alcohol or drugs more often.
Acting anxious or agitated.
Withdrawing from family and friends.
Changing eating and/or sleeping habits.
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast.
Talking or thinking about death often.
Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy.
Giving away important possessions.
Saying goodbye to friends and family.
Putting affairs in order, making a will.
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or recently increased.
If you know of someone in crisis, please call the West Texas Centers Crisis Line or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). The services are free and available 24 hours a day seven days a week.
The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.
West Texas Centers is the Mental Health Authority for 23 counties in rural West Texas.
During Tuesday night’s regular session of the Big Spring City Council, Council members voted 7-0 to table the final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 32 of the Big Spring City Code that would assess an additional twenty percent penalty to defray costs of collecting delinquent property taxes that remain delinquent on July 1 of the year in which they become delinquent.
During discussion, it was stated that this has been the amount that had been agreed upon in the past and has just been carried over each year. City Attorney Andrew Hagen advised the council the current contract is set to automatically renew on October 1, 2020, but did note that council members hadn’t pursued their options yet. Ultimately, council members agreed to speak with a representative from a law firm that collects delinquent property taxes for local governments so they could ask questions to learn about the options they have available to them at this time.
All other consent items, vouchers, and bids were approved with a unanimous vote.
During New Business items, a discussion was held on amending the Big Spring Code of Ordinances to allow for the operation of golf carts, neighborhood electric vehicles, and off-highway vehicles on streets and roads in the City of Big Spring in accordance with HB 1548 as enacted by the 86th Texas Legislature.
Council members also unanimously voted to table the authorization of the City Manager or his Designee to negotiate without contracting authority a Right-of-Way License or Easement within the City of Big Spring to Sinclair Oil or to another Party, with such negotiating authority to expire after 180 Days. Council members agreed to invite a representative from Sinclair Oil to speak at a City Council meeting so that the public would have an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns on the topic.
The item concerning a possible action of agreement with Cap-Rock Holdings, LLC was not removed from the table during Tuesday night’s meeting.
The following people were appointed to the following boards and committees:
- Board of Adjustments & Appeals - Walter Brumley, Jr. (Electrician) was re-appointed for a full term. Another opening for an engineer is still available.
- Convention & Visitors Bureau Board - Jay Patel was reappointed to the Hotel Industry position. Gloria Pierce was reappointed to an At Large position, and Susan McLellan was newly appointed to an At Large position on the board. All were appointed for full terms. No other openings are available at this time.
- McMahon/Wrinkle Airpark Development Board - Willie Rangle, Jr. and Phillip Welch were both reappointed to the board, and Rodney Patridge and JD Smith were newly appointed. Rangel, Welch, and Patridge were appointed for full terms; Smith was appointed to an unexpired term.
- Parks & Recreation Board - Johnny DeLeon was reappointed to serve on this board, and Patsy Garza was newly appointed. Both received full terms. There is still (1) vacant position for an unexpired term on the board.
- Planning & Zoning Commission - Kelly Owens and Kevan Schooler were reappointed to the board for full terms. There are no other vacancies for this board at this time.
- Traffic Commission - Charles Smith and Diana Yanez were reappointed for full terms. There is (1) unexpired term still vacant on this board.
- Zoning Board of Adjustments - Joe Lopez and Thomas Jesse Stewart were newly appointed for full terms to this board. There is still (1) unexpired alternate position on this board that is still available.
All other items listed in New Business were unanimously approved.
While discussing “Personnel Matters,” Council members offered City Manager Todd Darden, City Attorney Andrew Hagen, and Municipal Judge Timothy Green the option to hold their evaluations in open or closed sessions. Darden opted to have his completed in an open session, and was later dismissed immediately with a 4-3 vote.
Hagen and Judge Green opted to have their evaluations completed in closed sessions. When the meeting was reconvened in open session, councilmembers took no action regarding Hagen nor Judge Green.
For more on the dismissal of the Big Spring City Manager, visit:
Today, 09/10/2020, it has been reported by multiple sources that the Federal Correctional Institution in Big Spring has the most COVID-19 cases out of all of the federal prisons in the country – as shown on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
According to the website, 129 prisoners have tested positive, and only one has recovered. Six staff members have also tested positive. No deaths have been reported.
Emery Nelson, with the Office of Public Affairs for the Federal BOP, told KBest News that the number listed as "Inmate Positives" is only the current number of current cases that have not been resolved. According to the website, information is updated by the BOP's Office of Occupational Health and Safety at 11:00 a.m. each day.
Although, FCI Big Spring leads in the number of “Inmate Positives” for 09/10/2020, there are other facilities that lead in other categories for today. Those are shown below:
Category - Total, Facility, Location
Inmate Positives - 129, Big Spring FCI, Big Spring, TX
Staff Positives - 34, Coleman Medium FCI, Sumterville, FL
Inmate Deaths - 16, Butner Low FCI, Butner, NC
Staff Deaths - 1, Butner Low FCI, Butner, NC*
Staff Deaths - 1, Coleman Low FCI, Sumterville, FL*
Inmates recovered - 1320, Seagoville FCI, Seagoville, TX
Staff recovered - 64, Danbury FCI, Danbury, CT
* - tied for most Staff Deaths
To view today's information for all BOP facilities, visit:
BIG SPRING – The FMH Foundation of Midland recently awarded West Texas Centers with a substantial grant to improve patient care for their consumers in West Texas Centers 23-county service area.
West Texas Centers serves as the mental health authority with 15 mental health clinics across the region.
West Texas Centers serves more than 6,000 people each year who live with behavioral health issues and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Little Lives Early Childhood Intervention or ECI program also is managed by West Texas Centers through their offices in Sweetwater.
“This grant from the FMH Foundation will enable us to improve our Electronic Patient Care Solution,” said West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith, LMSW.
“Their philanthropy will assist us in caring for the many people in rural West Texas and will help us streamline care across our vast rural region.”
The Electronic Patient Care Solution is the software that will be utilized for West Texas Centers new patient portal.
The $140,000 grant was funded by the FMH Foundation which provides funding for programs that impact the state of Texas with a focus on the Permian Basin. The FMH Foundation was founded by Philanthropist and Big Spring native Florence Marie Hall, who set forth specific goals for the FMH Foundation.
The FMH Foundation was established in 2011 by Hall to continue her legacy of giving back to her beloved West Texas, according to the FMH Foundation website.
The FMH Foundation strives to incubate supporting programs, projects and activities in areas of interest that demonstrate excellence, innovation, collaboration and multi-disciplinary approaches by making grants to public charitable organizations.
The FMH Foundation was created to “foster collaboration, innovation, creativity, excellence, synergy, and development” with the focus on health, performing and visual arts, and community and cultural endeavors.
“We know the FMH Foundation is asked to fund many important endeavors in the Permian Basin and we could not be more humbled that they chose to provide West Texas Centers with such a generous gift that will help so many of our consumers and their families,” Smith said.
“The Electronic Patient Care Solution will help the people we care for have access to all their appointments, medical care and be able to ask questions and provide feedback,” she said. “With all the precautions in place with COVID-19, this patient care portal is of the utmost importance at this time.”
“We need to utilize systems where we can do much of the required paperwork prior to in-person appointments. This keeps everyone safe. We could not complete our mission to serve the thousands of people in West Texas without the generous support of our beloved West Texans.”
West Texas Centers serves people in: Andrews, Borden, Crane, Dawson, Fisher, Gaines, Garza, Glasscock, Howard, Kent, Loving, Martin, Mitchell, Nolan, Reeves, Runnels, Scurry, Terrell, Terry, Upton, Ward, Winkler and Yoakum counties.
West Texas Centers also operates a 24-hour Crisis Hotline. The number is 1-800-375-4357.
Big Spring City Council members will meet in a Special Session on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 at noon in the City Council Chambers, located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring.
Items on this agenda include a presentation by the PACE Group on Executive Search Services for a City Manager.
The council will then meet in an Executive Session to deliberate the appointment, employment, and duties of an Interim City Manager.
Afterwards, they will reconvene in Open Session and take possible action regarding the appointment, the employment and duties of an Interim City Manager.
The meeting can be viewed on our KBest Media Facebook page, local Suddenlink Channel 17, or through the city website at: https://www.mybigspring.com/224/Channel-17-Live
To view the full agenda for Saturday's Special Session, visit:
ALSA, a local car club in Big Spring, is hosting a benefit for Ernie Villalva, a Big Spring native currently living in Odessa who still has family living in Big Spring.
According to Emily McCann, a friend of the family, Villalva recent had a stroke and is now in a rehabilitation facility in Lubbock, TX. He's a father of two children, and grandfather to three children he's helping to raise.
The benefit will be this Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, at the ALSA Club House, located at 803 N. Lamesa HWY in Big Spring. Beginning at 11 AM, they’ll begin serving $10 brisket plates that include sausage, potato salad, beans, dessert, and drink. Plus, delivery is also available by calling:
Pete Carrillo at 432-816-4840
John De Los Santos at 432-213-6485
Michael Duthover at 432-413-5695.
There will also be a cornhole tournament that afternoon, as well. Cost is $40 per team with prizes awarded for 1st - 3rd. Sign-ups begin at 12:30 PM and game play begins at 1 PM. For more information on the tournament, contact:
Jesse Rios at 432-213-0827
Charlie Garcia at 432-213-2081
Be advised that raffle tickets are also available for a chance to win a Vizio 65” Class V-series 4K HDR Smart TV - V655. Tickets are on sale now at $5 each or 5 for $20, and can be purchased now by contacting Emily at 432-816-5450.
WASHINGTON – The Office of Justice Programs’ Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has received multiple reports that individuals claiming to represent the Department of Justice are calling members of the public as part of an imposter scam. The department strongly encourages the public to remain vigilant and not to provide personal information during these calls, which appear to target the elderly.
Reports to the National Elder Fraud Hotline indicate these scammers falsely represent themselves as Department of Justice investigators or employees and attempt to obtain personal information from the call recipient, or they leave a voicemail with a return phone number. The return phone number directs users to a recorded menu that matches the recorded menu for the department’s main phone number. Eventually, the user reaches an “operator” who steers the user to someone claiming to be an investigator. That “investigator” then attempts to gain the user’s personal information.
“Phone scams are an ugly and pervasive act of victimization. The scams being reported to our National Elder Fraud Hotline are especially heinous because they show the perpetrators are preying upon one of the most vulnerable segments of our society – the elderly,” said OVC Director Jessica Hart. “As if this were not despicable enough, the scammers do so posing as employees of the Justice Department, usurping public trust in the agency that serves as a bastion of fairness and lawfulness while these scams exploit the elderly for financial gain. The first step to identifying these criminals is to have their crimes reported.”
Those who receive these calls are encouraged not to provide personal information and to report these scams to the FTC via their website or by calling 877–FTC–HELP (877-382-4357). Fraud can also be reported to the FBI for law enforcement action at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/report-fraud.
The National Elder Fraud Hotline is a resource created by OVC for people to report fraud against anyone age 60 or older. Reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible, and within the first 2–3 days, can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is open seven days a week. For more information about the hotline, please visit https://stopelderfraud.ovc.ojp.gov/.
Big Spring Independent School District’s Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow evening at 5:15 PM in the High School Board Room, located at 707 11th Place in Big Spring.
Items on tomorrow’s agenda include considering approval of expedited and general state waivers, considering approval of employment recommendations, and school board trustee notice of Election for the November 3, 2020 election. Board members will also consider approval of the synchronous and asynchronous attestation and plan. This will be followed by the Superintendent's Report that will include resignations and retirements, TASA/TASB Convention information, and an enrollment report for the district.
This Friday is Patriot Day, a day when America remembers those lost in the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Virginia, as well as those who died in the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. In Big Spring, Texas, this is a day that is also used to honor local fallen heroes, both military and first responders.
On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, Scenic Mountain Medical Center will host their annual Prayer at the Pole event that invites the public to join them for a morning prayer that honors first responders and military heroes in remembrance. This will begin at 8 AM at their SMMC Flag Pole.
Bagpipes will be played by Albert Cavazos. Prayer will be led by Pastor Samuel Segundo. Continental Breakfast will be available, compliments of The Yellow Rose Cafe.
Later that day, the 14th annual 9/11 Memorial Service will be held at Spring Creek Fellowship, inside of the Spring Town Plaza, in Big Spirng at 6 PM. It is sponsored by the O’Neal-Kunkle Disabled American Veterans Chapter 47 & the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department.
The public is invited to join the DAV Chapter 47 and the HCVFD in remembering those lost in the 9/11 attacks and honoring our own local fallen heroes and first responders.
If you’re unable to attend, check out our Facebook Live stream on our KBest Media Facebook page, sponsored by the Guardians Of the Children Wildcat Chapter of Big Spring, the American Legion Post 506, Los Intocables Motorcycle Club, and the Cossacks Motorcycle Club.
Again, the public is invited to join these organizations as they remember those lost in the 9/11 attacks and honor our local fallen heroes.
Big Spring City Manager Todd Darden was immediately dismissed at last night’s meeting of the Big Spring City Council with a vote of 4-3. The motion was made by District 3 Councilman Terry McDaniel and seconded by District 4 Councilwoman Gloria McDonald. Mayor Shannon Thomason, District 1 Councilman Raul Marquez, and District 2 Councilman Doug Hartman voted against.
Before making his motion, McDaniel stated that there had been a recent Open Records Request that brought to light $2.2 million in collections that can never be collected. McDaniel stated that there may have been a void in procedure, but, ultimately, Darden had cost the city $2.2 million dollars.
During discussion before the vote, McDonald stated that she had warmth for Darden but agreed with the motion to dismiss him. Councilwoman Camilla Strande said she echoed McDonald’s sentiments. District 6 Councilman Jim DePauw agreed with the motion to dismiss Darden but also appreciated good service to the city. Mayor Thomason advised that he had brought up the $2.2 million during a budget session and believed that Darden did not have the information needed to correct those issues.
Although Marquez and Hartman had nothing but good things to say about Darden, he was immediately dismissed from his position as City Manager.
Darden had been an employee of the City of Big Spring for approximately 35 years.
When asked if he would still be able to keep his retirement and benefits, McDaniel advised that Darden automatically receives a 1-year retirement.
"He's gonna get a year of pay. That is written in his contract," said McDaniel. "No matter if he is dismissed for fraud or criminal activity, he still gets it."
When asked why he chose to dismiss him immediately as opposed to not renewing his contract, McDaniel told KBest News that it was because of the various things that he had done recently.
"Consequently, I felt it should be immediate rather than hanging on for another year. If we only said that he got a, so to speak, 'bad' employment rating, he'd still was in office for another year," said McDaniel.
Soon the City of Big Spring will have an interim city manager and a new one will be appointed at a later date. That discussion is expected to take place at the next City Council Meeting scheduled for Sept. 22, 2020.
During Forsan High School's first home football game of the season, Forsan ISD dedicated their recently re-turfed football field to former Forsan Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Roger Hudgins.
Roger Hudgins and his wife Pat Hudgins had served the Forsan community in a plethora of ways over the years. After retiring from twenty years of being the Head Football Coach, Roger became Mayor of Forsan for ten years, and Pat became the City Secretary. They influenced the community and led it in numerous ways such as their involvement with Forsan Baptist Church.
During the presentation of the plaque during Friday's field dedication, Pat was joined by numerous past coaches and even some athletes.
"Coach Hudgins was more than a Mayor and Coach. He was a father figure," said former Forsan athlete, Adam Dunlap.
When asked how she felt about the field dedication to her late husband Roger, Pat said that she was grateful for all that made this opportunity possible, and she felt that "thank you" were small words for the great honor.
Everyone who knew Roger hopes that his love for the game and others will be instilled upon everyone who plays on the field.
The United Way of Big Spring and Howard County, in partnership with Sarah Farms and Southwest Dairy Farmers, will host a drive-thru milk distribution on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, while supplies last. This is available for everyone, and no questions will be asked. Pick-up for the milk distribution will be at Memorial Stadium, located at 2195 Kentucky Way in Big Spring.
There will be a Regular Session of the Big Spring City Council tonight at 5:30 pm at the City Council Chambers located at 307 East 4th Street in Big Spring, Texas.
New Business items on tonight’s agenda include a first reading of a Resolution amending Chapter IX of the Big Spring Personnel Policy to reduce political activity restrictions on non-firefighter City employees to the same level as firefighter City employees; to allow employees to run for office. There will also be a first reading of a Resolution amending Section 9 of the Purchasing Policy to limit purchases for council member use of computer hardware and related goods and services by requiring City Council to approve such purchases in advance; cancelling orders of such goods and services currently in effect; and declaring equipment purchased without such approval surplus property and ordering it be sold.
There will also be a discussion on amending the Big Spring Code of Ordinances to allow for the operation of golf carts, neighborhood electric Vehicles, and Off-Highway Vehicles on Streets and Roads in the City of Big Spring in Accordance with HB 1548 as Enacted by the 86th Texas Legislature.
Be advised that the public is welcomed to attend the meeting and can also watch a live broadcast on local Suddenlink Channel 17, through our live stream on the KBest Media Facebook page, or through the city website at:
The full agenda for the 09/08/2020 meeting can be found at:
From the Howard County Sheriff's Office, 09/08/2020:
September 8, 2020
On Sunday, September 6, 2020 at approximately 12:30 pm, Deputies with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the 1000 Blk of Driver Rd in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival Deputies made contact with the home owner who advised that he entered his residence and was confronted by a male subject, who had illegally entered the residence, later identified as Zachary Williams, 38 years old. The complainant advised the male was armed with a handgun, as was the complainant. After a brief struggle, the suspect was shot once and fled the scene.
The suspect later arrived at Scenic Mountain Medical Center ER where he was treated and released for a single gunshot wound to the arm.
Upon release from the ER, Williams was taken into custody by the Howard County Sheriff’s Office and charged with the following:
Burglary of a Habitation w/intent to commit other Felony
Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Warrant: Possession of a Controlled Substance
Williams is currently being held in the Howard County Detention Center.
Investigators with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office are continuing the Investigation.
No Further information is available at this time.
Sheriff Stan Parker
On Thursday, September 3, 2020, Howard County officials were notified that two more residents had succumbed to COVID-19 and passed away. The first patient was a 70-year-old male who was being treated outside of our jurisdiction; the second patient was a 58-year-old male.
For the week of August 31, 2020, City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of seventeen (17) new positive COVID-19 test results. As of Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 284 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. The number of active cases has decreased to 53, the total number of people recovered from COVID-19 has increased to 208, and there have been 10 fatalities.
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.
Texas Governor, Greg Abbott has designated the second Saturday in the month of September as Quanah Parker Day. This day has been designed for communities in the Texas Plains Trail Region to commemorate the life of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker. The Texas Plains Trail Region is one of the ten regions that make up the Texas Heritage Trails Program of the Texas Historical Commission. Big Spring is one of 52 counties within the Texas Plains Trail Region.
In 2010, volunteers launched the Quanah Parker Trail. The Trail consists of over 70 22 ft arrows that mark the sites where the Comanches, and their last chief, Quanah Parker, hunted, traded, lived, traveled, and fought.
The Big Spring Convention and Visitors Bureau is inviting residents to celebrate Quanah Parker Day by taking a photo of yourself in front of the 22 ft arrow that is placed at the entrance to the Historic Spring in Comanche Trail Park. Residents are encouraged to submit their photos to be placed on the Visit Big Spring Facebook page on Quanah Parker Day, September 12th.
Pictures can be submitted by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from September 5th -11th. All those that submit a picture will be entered into a drawing to win a gift certificate for an item at the Big Spring Visitor’s Center. The winner will be announced on Monday, September 14th.
For more information about Quanah Parker Day please visit https://texasplainstrail.com/events/quanah-parker-day-2020. For more information about how Big Spring will celebrate Quanah Parker Day please email email@example.com or call 432-263-8235.
Joe Bright, with Joe Bright Basketball Training, invites the public to join him for a fundraiser event tomorrow evening from 5-9 PM for their JB Sports Academy. The event will be raising funds that will go towards the construction of JB Sports Academy, a place that will teach not only sports skills but will also strive to teach life lessons.
"Right now we're just in the process of getting funding for the actual building process," said Coach Bright. "I'm just hoping with the event that I'm doing now and in the next couple events that we do, that we can at least get the foundation down as soon as possible."
Coach Bright told KBest News that although he's eager to start laying a foundation for the facility, there's no rush to see this dream come to fruition.
"I'm not in a rush at all. I've been doing this for about 3-4 years now and if it takes another year or two, that's alright. Me, my boys and girls with Joe Bright Basketball Training have been doing great things and they understand the process," said Bright.
There will be a bouncy house, an obstacle course, great food, and great company. Food and drinks will be available and donations are accepted. For more information, contact Joe Bright at (763) 237-4800.
Volunteer Deputy Registrar Training will be held by the Howard County Elections Office on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 5:30 PM. Training will be 2-3 hours long. These volunteers will assist the public with voter registration in Howard County. Sign-up by contacting their office at (432) 264-2273.
Also, be advised that volunteers are still being accepted to work polling locations on Election Day, November 3, 2020. According to Howard County Elections Administrator Jodi Duck, students are welcomed to work the election. Students must be at least 16 years old and have, both, parent and principal approval to do so as they’ll be missing a day of school. For more information, contact the Howard County Elections Office as soon as possible.
Closure Announcement from the City of Big Spring:
The City of Big Spring will have a Cross Country Practice Meet for Big Spring High School on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, beginning at 10 a.m. until noon and again from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
In order to facilitate a safe running area for all of the youth attending & participating in this event, we will temporarily close some of the gates and barricade access to some areas of the Comanche Trail Park during the event.
The roads to access the Dora Roberts Community Center and the Comanche Trail Golf Course will remain open. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you travel in this area, please be aware and alert for participants moving in the area!!
The Forsan Buffs will host their first home football game of the season tonight against the Post Antelopes. During half-time Forsan ISD will have a field dedication.
FISD Superintendent Randy Johnson told KBest News that Roger Hudgins was the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach for many years at Forsan ISD.
"After his education career ended, he became the Mayor of Forsan for 10 years and had a close tie to the community for an extended period of time," said Superintendent Johnson.
According to Johnson, Hudgins has passed away but his widow Pat Hudgins will return to Forsan for the field dedication. From here on out, the field will be named Roger Hudgins Field at Buffalo Stadium.
In addition to dedicating the field to Roger Hudgins, tonight is also a big reveal of the new surface of the field, that includes recent turf replacement, a new Texas Buffalo emblem, and the addition of an e-layer under the turf.
Johnson advised that the e-layer is approximately 2-3 inches of soft, spongy material beneath the turf that will offer an additional protection for athletes against concussions, and is a little easier on joints.
"We're looking forward to that and the board felt it was something that was worth the investment to protect our kids while they are out there participating in football," said Johnson of the new e-layer beneath the replaced turf.
When asked about the cost of the project, Johnson stated that the decision was made by the school board about a year ago and he did not have an accurate figure to offer at the time of the interview. He did say that the first time that a turf field is installed, it can be expensive with the dirt work and getting a water run-off system embedded. Now, replacing the turf nine years later is a lot less expensive.
Johnson told KBest News that the track around the football field is also being replaced this year. Right now it appears as just asphalt, but Johnson explained that after football season is over the soft-spongy material will be sprayed onto the top part of the track and the lines will be painted to get it ready for track season. The Home side ticket booth is also in the process of being replaced, as well as the fencing around the ticket booth.
(Photo: Forsan Football Field before the turf replacement. - Photo by Dylan Lowery)
While there may be less traffic on the roads this Labor Day weekend, TxDOT is urging those who choose to go out and celebrate to plan ahead for a sober ride before any drinking begins.
“We encourage people to enjoy the long weekend, but to do so responsibly,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “If you plan to drink alcohol and go out, make the plan for a sober ride. It’s an easy decision that can prevent senseless tragedies and save lives.”
During last year’s Labor Day holiday weekend* in Texas, there were 382 crashes involving drivers under the influence of alcohol. Those crashes killed 12 people and seriously injured another 55.
The “Plan While You Can” campaign aims to save lives and reduce preventable crashes by reminding drivers to make a plan for a sober ride if they are drinking alcohol. Leading up to the Labor Day holiday, the campaign shares this message through TV and radio public service announcements, social media, digital ads and billboards.
Driving under the influence of alcohol risks death or serious injuries. It can also be costly. Drivers can face up to $17,000 in fines and fees, jail time and loss of their driver’s license. Instead of getting behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking, here are some other options:
• Designate a sober driver.
• Contact a cab or ride-share service.
• Use mass transit.
• Spend the night.
In addition to having a sober ride, if you plan to go out this holiday weekend, follow the guidance of health officials, and maintain social distance, wear a mask and remember to wash your hands.
“Plan While You Can” 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.
Wright’s Amusements will continue their Back to School Carnival this weekend, beginning this afternoon. The carnival will remain open through Sunday, September 6, 2020 at the Roy Anderson Sports Complex located at 1700 I-20, Big Spring, TX.
The carnival will feature three classes of rides for children, teens, and adults. Food trailers will also be available to provide traditional carnival food. There will also be a wide variety of games that are available with a chance to win prizes.
Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the grounds, carnival attractions are sanitized regularly throughout the day, and attendees are encouraged to wear masks or face coverings.
The carnival is open to the public from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Ride-All-Day wristbands are available for $25. Individual tickets can be purchased for $1 each.
A man killed in a one-vehicle crash in Mitchell County has been identified as Norman Eugene Corbell, 73, of Big Spring.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Troopers responded to the crash site located along Interstate Highway-20, just 2.8 miles west of Westbrook at 2:49 AM on Thursday morning. The preliminary report states that Corbell, driver of a 1990 Ford Ranger, had been traveling West in the IH-20 rest area where the vehicle swerved into the bar ditch. The vehicle spun out of control, rolled over, and struck a light pole. Corbell was ejected and died at the scene.
According to the report, Corbell was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. He was pronounced dead on scene and his body was taken to Kiker-Seale Funeral Home in Colorado City.
The crash is still under investigation.
Jodi Duck, Elections Administrator for Howard County, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting of the Big Spring Rotary Club. During her presentation, she advised there are several things of which voters should be aware.
Voters will get an extra week of early voting for the November 3, 2020 election. The three weeks of early voting begins on October 13th. It should be noted that early voting will move to the 3rd floor of the Howard County Courthouse to allow for social distancing. It should also be noted that while social distancing is encouraged, face masks and face coverings will not be required to vote. Duck also advised that there will be curbside voting on the north side of the courthouse for anyone not able to enter the building to vote.
Mail-in ballots are also available for anyone 65 years or older, disabled, or anyone who are expected to be out of the county during early voting and on election day. Be advised that mail-in voters must reapply every year, as they are not automatically renewed. Deadline to apply is October 23, 2020.
Sample ballots will be available at the Howard County Elections Office by mid-September.
Check out Frequently Asked Questions about early voting and voting voting by mail at:
BIG SPRING, TX – September is Suicide Prevention Month and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wants to remind Veterans and their loved ones through the Be There campaign that small actions can make a big difference to Veterans experiencing difficult times.
During this and every month West Texas VA Health Care System remains committed to spreading awareness of suicide prevention to Veterans and their supporters and connecting them to the resources they need.
“We all know that Suicide Prevention is VHA’s top clinical priority,” said Jason Cave, Director West Texas VA Health Care System. “What I would like to share with our Veterans, staff and community partners is that we are here – 24/7/365 - we will always be here for our Veterans and those who support our Veterans.”
WTVAHCS offers same-day behavioral health services at all its facilities. If a Veteran is in crisis and does not have an appointment, WTVAHCS has trained staff at every outpatient clinic to provide the needed care.
Be There suggests several simple actions that can help make a difference for a Veteran to include:
Learning about the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website .
Watching the free S.A.V.E. training video to learn how to respond with care and compassion if someone indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
Contacting VA’s Coaching Into Care program where a licensed psychologist or social worker will provide loved ones with guidance for motivating Veterans to seek support.
Sharing stories of hope and recovery from VA’s Make the Connection.
Reaching out to the Veterans in your life to show them you care by sending a check-in text, cook them dinner or simply asking, “How are you?”
In addition to the walk-in care, WTVAHCS offers the Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) team as part of every Patient Aligned Care Team.
For more information and resources visit BeThereForVeterans.com .
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1- 800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat .
Mekason Pharmacy celebrated their Grand Opening in Big Spring with the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday morning!
According to CEO Emeka Onyemetu, Mekason Pharmacy is ready to serve the community. They can take any prescription, have trained pharmacists, and accept all insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare. Mekason Pharmacy also provides free delivery service for nursing homes, elderly seniors, and home health. Plus, they have a drive-thru service for convenient pick-up.
When asked how he felt about having the opening of his fifth location in Big Spring, Onyemetu stated that it was great to have the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce come there.
"I really appreciate everyone that came out here today for the ribbon cutting. It signifies that Big Spring is a great city and that they love their people and they love local business. We’re happy to be here to give them the best,” said Onyemetu.
Mekason Pharmacy is located at 2606 S. Gregg, across from Walmart, and is open Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 6 PM. Other locations include Greenwood, Midland, Odessa, and Lamesa.
For more information, call them at 432-517-4480, or find them on Facebook at Mekason Pharmacy In Big Spring Texas.
Last week, the Big Spring community was saddened to learn of the passing of their favorite Pizza Inn waitress Valerie Hernandez. After working for Pizza Inn for the past 14 years, she was described as being a cherished and dedicated employee. In the days that followed her death, the Big Spring community came together to show their love and appreciation of Valerie in multiple ways.
Valerie passed away on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. According to Dondee Zamora-Vela, Valerie’s best friend of 17 years, donations had been requested in her obituary and by Thursday afternoon, August 27, 2020, the funeral had been paid for through community donations that totaled approximately $6,000. She also stated that Valerie’s headstone had also been paid off, and that funds to pay for the reception had also been donated by the community.
After the Pizza Inn fundraiser that was held on Monday evening, an additional $3,843 was raised for the Hernandez Family.
"It was amazing! We had people waiting at the door at 4:30 in the afternoon. We had so many people come out. We had so many people come out. It was just so much fun to see how much everybody loved Valerie," said Zamora-Vela of the fundraiser.
Kaleb Herrley, an Owner of Pizza Inn, told KBest News that they were glad to help and that Valerie was like family to them.
Zamora told KBest News that the response from Pizza Inn in Big Spring has been amazing. From donating pizza for the abundant family gatherings, to collecting donations, and letting the family use the restaurant to gather after the funeral, Zamora stated that Pizza Inn has really stepped up to show the family how much Valerie meant to them.
"Her Pizza Inn family was amazing! Valerie was pretty much their family, just like she was ours, and they have stepped up just like everybody else. They have been amazing."
She went on to say that Pizza Inn had also called everyday, checked on the family, and sent food and flowers.
"The love is overwhelming, and we feel it," said Zamora-Vela. "We really, really feel it,"
(Courtesy Photo: Valerie Hernandez's family and friends who worked during the Pizza Inn Fundraiser on Monday, August 31, 2020, shown with a photoshopped image of Valerie in the bottom left corner.)
(Courtesy Photo: Valerie's husband Rey, daughter Elisa, and Zach.)
(Courtesy photo: Coahoma High School took up a donation and brought in a $420 tip for the Pizza Inn fundraiser on Monday night.)
(Courtesy photos from the Monday night fundraiser at Pizza Inn on August 31, 2020 to collect donations for the family of Valerie Hernandez.)
(Courtesy photos from the Monday night fundraiser at Pizza Inn on August 31, 2020 to collect donations for the family of Valerie Hernandez.)
(Courtesy photos from the Monday night fundraiser at Pizza Inn on August 31, 2020 to collect donations for the family of Valerie Hernandez.)
(Courtesy photo: Valerie's husband Rey with their grandson Keanu.)
The Howard College Board of Trustees discussed a three percent raise in the Maintenance and Operations rate at Thursday evening’s meeting, but today they voted 6-1 to approve a two percent increase to the M&O rate instead with Mike Flores voting against.
The proposed total tax rate that had been proposed by the Howard County Junior College District had been $0.218525 per $100 valuation with the three percent increase to the M&O rate. By approving the two percent rate increase instead, the total tax rate, that combines M&O with the Interest & Sinking rate, or debt rate, is $0.216675 per $100 valuation.
According to Dr. Cheryl Sparks, President of Howard College, the two percent increase in the M&O rate will be used for deferred maintenance such as painting, mortar work, and HVAC work for a building.
The 6th annual Coahoma Lion’s Club Trade Day will be on Saturday, September 26th, in downtown Coahoma near City Hall.
This event will run conjunction with Coahoma Lion’s Club City Wide Garage Sale that will also run from 8 AM to 5 PM. Cheryl Chevalier with the Coahoma Lions Club told KBest News that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unsure what kind of vendors will be at the event this year but she did state that they usually get a couple of food trucks who attend the event. She also advised that the Coahoma Trade Day and City-Wide Garage Sale attracts several people from areas outside of Howard County, like Snyder and Colorado City.
There’s still time to reserve your booth space. Prices are $25 for a 10x10, or $40 for a 10x20. You can also list your September 26th garage sale on the Coahoma city-wide map for $15.
For more information, contact Lisa at Coahoma City Hall at 432-394-4287.