According to a press release sent by Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman and Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomson, on September 17, 2020, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott issued GA-31 which outlines the guidelines for Texas counties to follow for COVID-19 response. GA-31 includes the governor’s mandate stating if a region’s hospitalization rate exceeds 15% for seven consecutive days, that region must impose stricter COVID-19 guidelines.
Howard County is a part of region J for the state of Texas; on November 15, 2020, region J went above the 15% hospitalization rate for COVID-19 patients. On November 23, 2020, region J remained above a 15% hospitalization rate. Pursuant to GA-31 and by order of Governor Greg Abbott, Big Spring and Howard County must reduce the occupancy rate for non-exempt businesses from 75 percent capacity to 50 percent capacity.
Bars and similar establishments that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and are not restaurants may offer on-premises services at up to 50 percent of the establishments total listed occupancy. Patrons at bars and similar establishments operating under these guidelines may eat or drink only while seated.
Staff members are not included when determining operating levels with the exception of manufacturing services and office workers. The Governor’s Order GA-32 provides more specific instruction about this change.
These guidelines took effect in Howard County as of 12:00 AM this morning.
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During last week’s Special Meeting of the Big Spring City Council on 11/17/2020, Mayor Shannon Thomason spoke of a spike in COVID-19 cases in West Texas, and stated that Scenic Mountain Medical Center in Big Spring had reached out to the City to help mitigate the spread.
Thomason stated that it was unfortunate that they had to recognize the need for restrictions, but they legally could not do it and he was diametrically opposed to putting limits on businesses and citizens. However, he did say that he is not opposed to reminding people to social distance, wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, and wash their hands.
Thomason advised citizens of the passing of Street Supervisor Robert Diaz, who had succumbed to COVID-19 on Nov. 2, 2020. Diaz had been employed by the City of Big Spring since 1994. His family will join Council in the next meeting to receive Diaz’s retirement plaque.
Mayor Thomason advised that Trauma Service Area (TSA) J - which includes Howard County - was near 15 percent in COVID-19 hospitalizations in relation to hospital capacity. He stated if that percentage surpassed 15 percent for seven consecutive days, then businesses would have to return to 50 percent capacity and bars would have to close.
As per Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 which took effect on Oct. 14, 2020, these orders would be in place until the COVID-19 hospitalization percentage had decreased to or below 15 percent for seven consecutive days.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of 11/22/2020 at 12:50 PM, TSA J had the following percentages since Nov. 16, 2020:
Nov. 16, 2020 - 14.54%
Nov. 17, 2020 - 16.08%
Nov. 18, 2020 - 16.65%
Nov. 19, 2020 - 15.7 %
Nov. 20, 2020 - 17%
Nov. 21, 2020 - 16.87%
Nov. 22, 2020 - 16.68%
**NOTE** - According to DSHS, "The formula for this metric is: Lab Confirmed COVID-19 Patients Currently in the Hospital divided by Total Hospital Capacity.
- Lab Confirmed COVID-19 Patients Currently in the Hospital is the total number of patients in the hospital who have tested positive for COVID-19 by molecular test. This includes pediatric and adult COVID-19 patients.
- Total Hospital Capacity is the number of staffed available and occupied beds. This includes pediatric and adult hospital patients, general and ICU beds, inpatient and outpatient beds, emergency department beds, and telemetry and psychiatric beds."
Texas Trauma Service Area Hospital Data can be found at:
Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32 can be found at:
Free COVID-19 testing will be held in Big Spring today and tomorrow from 9 AM to 4 PM at Trinity Baptist Church. It’ll take place on the north side of their gym, located at 1701 E. FM 700.
Tests that will be administered will be the molecular oral swab tests. These are available for ages 5 and up with or without symptoms. Results will be emailed within 2 - 3 days, no appointment is needed to be tested.
A fatal two-vehicle crash occurred on Thursday morning in Howard County.
DPS Troopers responded to the crash on November 19, 2020 at 7:34 AM, at U.S. Hwy 87 and FM 846, 11 miles north of Big Spring, TX. The crash involved a 2006 Toyota Scion, driven by Trudy L. Sherrill, 58-year-old female of Coahoma, TX, and a 2007 Nissan Altima, driven by Tawnya A. Archuleta, 35-year-old female of Ackerly, TX, was the driver of the Altima.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Sherrill was traveling west on FM 846, approaching a stop sign at the intersection of U.S. Highway 87, when she failed to yield the right of way at the stop intersection and collided with Archuleta’s vehicle.
Sherrill was pronounced dead on scene. Archuleta sustained non-incapacitating injuries, and was treated on scene and released.
- Thanksgiving meal kit Giveaway@ St. Mary Episcopal Church on sat. 11/20/20
- Thank yous for Dl-Marquez
Election results from General Election on Nov. 3, 2020 declare Nick Hilario Ornelas as winner for District l Councilperson, and Cody Hughes as winner for District 3 Councilperson. Oaths are administered by Mayor Shannon Thomason.
Outgoing Councilmembers - Raul Marquez, District 1, and Terry McDaniel, District 3 - recognized for their service to the city.
Doug Hartman, District 2, is appointed as temporary Presiding Officer for the Emergency reading of an ordinance canvassing the returns and declaring the results of the Special Election held on November 3, 2020.
District 5 Camilla Strande- Recalled
District 6 Jim DePauw- Recalled
Mayor Shannon Thomason- Recall Failed, Mayor remains in office
Special Election to be held March 6, 2021 to feet fill vacancies for unexpired terms of District 5 and District 6 Councilpersons.
Hartman voted as new May ore Pro-Term
City Manager Report
Texas Communities Group, LLC was the company that the City of Big Spring went with to work with delinquent properties. They worked with a total of 28 properties, 8 properties were “struck off”, and 20 properties sold for $196,781.87.
Nov. 24, 2020 Big Spring City Council meeting cancelled.
Consent Items – all approved
Vouchers – all approved
Bid awarded to Northern Tool, based in Midland, TX, for purchase of Sullair Compressor for Distribution and Collections Dept. Cost was $21, 479.
Bid awarded to Home Depot of Midland, TX for portable LED light towers, also for Distribution and Collections Dept. Cost was $6,552.42.
Bid awarded Northern Tool of Midland, TX for 6-inch trailer-mounted pump, also for Distribution and Collections Dept. Cost was $9,534.
Bid awarded to Eggerneyer Land Clearing, LLC, based in New Braunfels, TX, for wood chipping & yard waste mulching services, which were needed for landfill management. Cost was $40, 000.
EMERGENCY reading for a budget amendment was approved, 5-0. This allows the city to accept the SAFER Grant to be used for the additional expenses of hiring 10 new firefighters. Chief Craig Ferguson advised that a New Hire Test would be held on Dec. 3, 2020. He also advised that City staff were able to make contact with the FEMA representative and the city is currently in good standing with FEMA; no money is owed at this time to FEMA for not hiring the 10 new firefighters sooner.
Discussion was held about the formation of committee with the intent to review and recommend amendments to the Charter of City of Big Spring. Councilmembers will each select a constituent from their district for the committee. They will return for a Special Meeting on Nov. 30, 2020 to name the committee and to select candidates for District 5 and District 6 since there are no representatives for those districts at this time. City Attorney Andrew Hagen advised that although there is a Special Election on March 6, 2021 to select new councilmembers for Districts 5 and 6, the amendments for the City Charter can only be voted on during General Elections in May and November.
Compute North is a Bitcoin Mining company housed at the Big Spring Air Park. Their current contract is set to expire at the end of November. They are requesting that their contract be changed to a month-to-month basis. Council amended item #24 to state, “Consideration and Possible Action Regarding a First Amendment to a Lease Agreement with Compute North and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Negotiate and Execute any Necessary Documents”. This amendment was approved.
Texas Communities Group, LLC is the company that replaced Moughton & Moughton when collecting on delinquent property taxes. TCG offered the COBS their services for 6 months free. After auctioning 20 properties, they received over $196,000 and the City will receive approximately $70,000. Councilmembers approved to extend contract with TCG.
Mayor Shannon Thomason was delegated authority to negotiate, conclude, and execute a Pipeline Right-of-Way Agreement with Caruth Energy and an Indemnity agreement with Sinclair Oil and Gas Company. During consideration of this item, it was noted that Caruth needs the agreement to be expedited soon so they can begin production in the first quarter of 2021. If not completed soon, then large trucks and emergency flares would need to be brought into city to transfer the crude. This is in regards to the easements at Parkway and Hearn, and 25th St.
Mayor Thomason advises that COVID-19 cases have spiked. He advised that he will not order businesses to act in anyway besides what is requested by Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Orders. He did, however, encourage all citizens to protect themselves.
COBS is down in workforce by 20 percent due to budgetary constraints, hiring freezes, COVID-19, and quarantines.
Thomason advised that on Nov. 2nd, Robert Diaz Street Supervisor, who had been employed by the City of Big Spring since 1994, had succumbed to COVID-19. His family will join Council in next meeting to receive Diaz’s retirement plaque.
Mayor Thomason also advised that Trauma Service Area J, which includes Howard County, was near 15 percent. If that percentage is surpassed, then, per Governor Abbott, local businesses will have to return to 50 percent capacity and the bars will close again.
He also advised that Senior Center will not be open for in-person dinning, but take out will continue. Also, rentable indoor COBS facilities will remain closed until Jan. 1, 2021 so that the COVID-19 situation can be re-evaluated.
Council approved to rehire Russell Todd Darden as City Manager for City of Big Spring. Mayor will negotiate the terms of the contract. No action taken on personnel matters with the City Attorney.
On Thursday morning, Interim Healthcare Hospice was welcomed as a new member of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Danielle Guidry, Director of Healthcare Services, told KBest News that Interim Healthcare Hospice works to provide comfort and support at the end of life for not just the patient, but also the family. They also offer nursing services and aide services. Interim Healthcare Hospice also has a social worker and chaplain who help to provide extra spiritual and psychosocial support.
Interim Healthcare Hospice is located at 1900 S. Gregg St. in Big Spring. For more information on their services, visit their website at www.interimhealthcare.com or call the local office at 432-263-5999.
After canvassing the General Election results from November 3, 2020, newly elected Big Spring City Councilmembers Nick Hilario Ornelas, District 1, and Cody Hughes, District 3, were administered the Oath of Office during tonight’s special session. Tonight was their first meeting on the council.
Outgoing councilmembers Raul J. Marquez and Terry McDaniel were also recognized tonight for service on the council.
Doug Hartman, District 2, was elected as the new Mayor Pro Tem.
As a result of the Recall Election Camilla Strande, District 5 Councilwoman, and Jim DePauw, District 6 Councilman, were officially removed from their positions tonight. Mayor Shannon Thomson remained in office.
A Special Election will be held on March 6, 2021 for the purpose of filling those vacancies. There term for Councilperson District 5 expires in May 2022 and the term for Councilperson District 6 expires in May 2021.
(Photo: District 1 Councilman Nick Hilario Ornelas and District 3 Councilman Cody Hughes, 11/17/2020)
Date: November 13, 2020
To: Media Outlets
From: Shane Bowles, Interim City Manager
Re: Mandatory Notice for Maximum Contaminant Level Violation MCL, LRAA/TTHM
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has notified the CITY OF BIG SPRING TX1140001 that the drinking water being supplied to customers had exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for total trihalomethanes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has established the MCL for total trihalomethanes to be 0.080 milligrams per liter (mg/L) based on locational running annual average (LRAA) and has determined that it is a health concern at levels above the MCL. Analysis of drinking water in your community for total trihalomethanes indicates a compliance value in quarter four 2020 of 0.082 mg/L for DBP2-01 and 0.082 mg/L for DBP2-02.
Trihalomethanes are a group of volatile organic compounds that are formed when chlorine, added to the water during the treatment process for disinfection, reacts with naturally occurring organic matter in the water.
Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidney, or central nervous systems, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.
You do not need to use an alternative water supply. However, if you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor to get more information about how this may affect you.
We are taking the following actions to address this issue:
Frequent flushing and reduction of chlorine in the water distribution system.
Please share this information with all people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (i.e. people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.
If you have questions regarding this matter, you may contact Shane Bowles, Interim City Manager, at 432-264-2500.
Posted/Delivered on November 13, 2020
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Big Spring City Council Representative Camilla Strande was arrested by Big Spring Police Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 4:21a.m. and charged with Public Intoxication.
KBest News spoke with Ms. Strande who said that she believes she had been unwillingly drugged while at a bar in downtown Big Spring last Friday night, November 6, 2020.
Strande said she had a couple of drinks at the Desert Flower Art Bar located at 2nd and Main Street in downtown Big Spring before walking back to her place of business, The Train Car Cigar Bar, at 1st and Main Street. At 2:00 a.m, “My employee and I were locking up The Train Car when we were approached by a man asking for help to find his friend,” Strande said. “We told him that we had not seen her, but he said that his GPS was showing that she was inside The Train Car. So, I unlocked the building to search for the woman’s phone while my employee went on home. No one was inside The Train Car, nor was the woman’s phone, so I came out, locked up again and sat down to talk to the man. I recall feeling strange, then I remember absolutely nothing after that. I have no idea what happened or where I was taken. I was later told that the police were called at 4:00a.m. because I was standing in the middle of Main Street yelling. I have no memory of this whatsoever. I have bruises all over my body. I had to have been drugged.”
Ms. Strande went on to say that she has since filed a report with the Big Spring Police Department stating that she believes she had been illegally drugged on the night of the arrest. Big Spring Police Chief Chad Williams confirmed that a report has been filed by Ms. Strande, and that the incident is now under investigation.
The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for The Big Spring Area Foundation on Thursday morning to welcome them as a new member of the Chamber of Commerce.
The Big Spring Area Foundation administers permanent and pass through funds for over 29 local individuals and families. These funds can make grants for education, health and human services, arts and culture, community development, as well as other nonprofit purposes that fit the donors wish. The Foundation is governed by an 11 member volunteer Board of Trustees that bring extensive credentials and varied backgrounds to the Foundation. The Big Spring Area Foundation will celebrate their 20th Anniversary in February of 2021.
The Big Spring Area Foundation is located at 707 Scurry Street and can be contacted at 432-714-4316.
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the State of Texas has prepared allocation plans to swiftly distribute medicines and vaccines that are now becoming available to treat COVID-19.
Yesterday was the first day of what will be many announcements in the coming weeks about the availability of medicines and vaccines to combat COVID-19.
• On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the immediate use of the first medical treatment developed for people who contract COVID-19. An antibody drug by Eli Lilly & Co., called bamlanivimab, has been shown to improve the symptoms of people who contract the virus and prevent hospitalizations.
o The FDA said the drug is authorized for patients at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19, including people 65 and older, or who have certain pre-existing medical conditions.
o Lilly is expected to immediately ship approximately 80,000 doses across the country, including Texas, at no cost to the states. Lilly should have up to one million doses by the end of the year.
• Similar to the Lilly antibody treatment, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. also has requested FDA emergency use authorization of its own COVID-19 antibody medical treatment to treat patients before they become seriously ill and aid in reducing hospitalizations, with an announcement of the FDA’s decision expected soon. This is the same antibody drug that President Donald Trump took to quickly recover from COVID-19 last month.
• The federal government has agreed to buy hundreds of thousands of doses of the two new treatment drugs and will be in charge of allocating supplies to the states, which will in turn determine distribution to hospitals and healthcare facilities. It is likely that the doses will be allocated to states and U.S. territories based on their share of hospitalized and infected patients.
• These medical treatments are in addition to the announcement yesterday by Pfizer that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate achieved incredible success in an early analysis — demonstrating over 90% efficacy in preventing COVID-19. It is expected to become available as soon as late November.
The State of Texas has already prepared to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines and medical treatments.
• The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has already developed a Vaccine Distribution Plan and is working with health care providers to enroll in their Immunization Program to be eligible to administer these vaccines once available. Over 2,500 providers have already enrolled in the program. DSHS formed an Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel to develop vaccine allocation strategies.
• The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is prepared to assist the swift distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. In late October, TDEM hosted the State of
Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Tabletop Exercise – over 1,000 local, state, federal, and non-governmental organization partners came together to test the state’s vaccine support plan, understand its operational procedures, and examine their roles and responsibilities.
"Swift distribution of vaccines and medical treatments will begin to heal those suffering from COVID-19, slow the spread of the virus, and aid in reducing hospitalizations of Texans," said Governor Abbott. "As we anticipate the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, the State of Texas is prepared to quickly distribute those medicines to Texans who voluntarily choose to use them."
From Coahoma Athletic Department:
Howard County Residents:
Coahoma Athletic Department is sponsoring a fundraiser for the family of Katy Manning. Katy is a Sr at Coahoma HS who was just diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. We are collecting gift cards to restaurants (her favorite is chick fil A), Visa gift cards?, and money all to help with food, gas, and travel to and from many Dr appointments. Our community has really bought into Gold Out and helping kids, now it is time to take care of one of our own. All four of the Manning kids have been, or currently in, the CISD athletic department. Mr and Mrs Manning are some of the first people who stepped up to help anyone in need, so it is our turn to help this wonderful family get through this time!
We will collect these donations through Monday November 16 at the end of the school day. If you would like to help we have multiple places to drop off your items: Coach Joslin’s office at the athletic facility, Mr Leggett at the high school office, Mrs Stovall at the JH office, Mrs Alvarez at the Elementary office, Kara Daniels at her house 6102 S service Rd, Kristen Joslin at Washington Elementary office, Brad Daniels at the Trinity Baptist Church in Big Spring, or 2 venmo accounts @Kristen-Joslin-1 or @Kara-Daniels-11 (please put the family’s name in the comments so we know what it is for).
Thanks for all the help and let’s lift up this family in prayer as well!!
HOWARD COUNTY, Texas (KOSA) - DPS has identified a man who was killed in a crash north of Big Spring on Sunday.
The victim has been identified as Ramamurthy Hariharan, 64, of Big Spring.
According to DPS, troopers responded to a crash on State Highway 350 and FM 700 at 7:15 p.m.
When the troopers arrived at the scene, they found a crash involving an 18-wheeler and a Toyota Camry.
The driver of the Camry, identified as Hariharan, died at the scene. The driver of the 18-wheeler and the passenger of the Camry were taken to the hospital with injuries.
A preliminary investigation of the crash revealed that the 18-wheeler was traveling north on SH 350 while the Camry was traveling west on FM 700.
According to DPS, the Camry failed to yield the right of way at the intersection and crashed into the 18-wheeler.
DPS says that the driver of the 18-wheeler was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
(orginal article at: https://www.cbs7.com/2020/11/09/big-spring-man-dies-in-crash-on-state-highway-350/?fbclid=IwAR2F_9HHkdH5qIDjDI6145iGFK5YCBYRHH3YZqXXDaCVW0c5q5L9Okay0GQ)
TxDOT’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign reminds driver and passengers about the
importance of wearing seat belts
Nov. 6, 2020
ABILENE – With health and safety a top priority for millions of Texans, TxDOT reminds motorists of one of the simplest and easiest precautions everyone can take to protect themselves and their loved ones: buckling up.
Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by 45% for people in the front seat of passenger cars. For those in pickups, seat belts reduce the risk of dying by 60% since pickups are more likely to roll over than passenger vehicles.
“Our annual Click It or Ticket campaign is about saving lives,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “While almost 91% of Texans have gotten into the habit of using seat belts, there are still far too many motorists who are taking unnecessary chances by not buckling up. Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, wearing a seat belt—day and night—is the single most effective way to protect yourself from serious injury or death in a crash.”
TxDOT officials report that in 2019 there were 925 traffic fatalities involving an unbuckled driver or passenger, a 6% drop over the previous year. Although around 9% of Texans do not wear a seat belt, the lack of seat belt usage was reported in 42% of traffic fatalities for those people who had the option to use a seat belt (excluding pedestrian, bicycle and motorcycle fatalities).
In addition, a 2019 Texas A&M Transportation Institute survey noted that drivers and passengers in 18 Texas cities buckle up less at night (between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.) than during the day. In Texas last year, of crashes in which an unbuckled driver or passenger was killed, 59% happened during nighttime hours (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.). Seat belt use among pickup drivers and passengers also continues to lag behind that of other motorists. Almost 46% of the 499 pickup drivers killed in crashes last year weren’t buckled up.
From November 16 to November 29, as we approach and celebrate Thanksgiving and more drivers take to the road, state troopers, police officers and sheriffs’ deputies statewide will step up enforcement of the state’s seat belt and child car seat laws. Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be properly secured in the front or back seat or face fines and fees up to $200. Children younger than 8 years must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If a child isn’t secured, the driver faces fines of up to $250.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Click It or Ticket initiative in Texas is estimated to have saved more than 6,234 lives, prevented more than 100,000 serious injuries, and resulted in $23.6 billion in economic savings since the campaign began in 2002.
The Click It or Ticket campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving, and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. November 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.
Date: November 6, 2020
To: Media Outlets
From: Mayor Shannon Thomason
Re: November 17, 2020 City Council Meeting
On October 30, 2020, in Executive Order ST-01 and in my official capacity as Mayor and Emergency Management Director for the City of Big Spring, I ordered that the pertinent sections of Article II, Sections 2-20 and 2-23 of the Big Spring City Code regarding the setting of Council meetings are hereby suspended.
Due to the fact that the complete election results have not been received by the City Secretary as of 5 pm on Friday, November 6, 2020 the City Council Meeting for November will be held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 5:30 pm.
AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott has sent a letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) opposing construction of a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas. The facility, proposed by Interim Storage Partners (ISP), would take spent nuclear fuel from around the country and store it on the surface of the Permian Basin. The Governor urges the NRC to deny ISP’s license application, highlighting the unique environmental risk of a terrorist attack that could shut down the world’s largest producing oilfield through a major radioactive release.
“The proposed ISP facility imperils America’s energy security because it would be a prime target for attacks by terrorists, saboteurs, and other enemies,” reads the letter. “This location could not be worse for storing ultra-hazardous radioactive waste. Having consulted with numerous state agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Texas Department of Transportation, I urge the NRC to deny ISP’s license application.”
Press Release – November 6th, 2020
From: Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason, and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update for the Week of November 2nd, 2020
To date, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 1,996 positive cases of COVID-19. We currently have 200 active cases and have 1,676 citizens that have recovered from COVID-19. There are 97 positive cases pending follow up investigation by DSHS.
Unfortunately, we had three COVID-19 related fatalities this week, an 88-year-old male, a 96-year-old male and a 58-year-old male. These are the 21st, 22nd and 23rd COVID-19 related deaths in our community.
County and City officials extend our deepest condolences to his family members. We ask that you keep his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. County and City officials still urge community members to take every precaution to protect yourself and your family members, especially when celebrating the upcoming holidays. Please continue to practice social distancing, stay home when possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask while in public areas. These are all things you can do to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill from any respiratory illness including COVID-19.
Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason
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The United Way of Big Spring and Howard County has made a few changes to their annual fundraising event Empty Bowls, but the event will continue. The Empty Bowls Drive-Thru will be held on Thursday, November 19th, from 11:30 AM to 1 PM, at the Dora Roberts Community Center in Comanche Trail Park.
Attendees will stay in their vehicles and have their soup choices delivered curbside. Tickets are $20 each and include 3 soups and dessert. Purchase your tickets now at Dazzling Decor - 1304 Scurry St., the Big Spring Herald - 710 Scurry St., or Expedition Royalty at 220 S. Main.
Money raised from the event will be added to this year’s fundraising campaign for their 14 partnering agencies. These partnering agencies are non-profit organizations that offer health and human services to Howard County for many people. They include organizations that provide a variety of services, such as the Salvation Army of Big Spring, Victim Services, Big Spring YMCA, CASA of West Texas, the Howard County Children’s Advocacy Center, and Meals on Wheels - just to name a few.
Date: November 5, 2020
To: Media Outlets
From: Donald Moore, City Secretary
Re: Majority Requirement for Recalls, Filling positions, and Special Election
The City has received some questions recently on election result rules and procedures after recalls.
Each election of two or fewer candidates or “Yes” or “No” question is determined by a majority vote. The majority is of the votes cast on that specific election item.
In the case of District 6 elected official being recalled with a short amount of term left, the seat will be filled by a special election as with District 5.
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From Scenic Mountain Medical Center:
BIG SPRING, Texas—The health and safety of our patients, visitors, employees, and our communities remain our top priority at Scenic Mountain Medical Center (SMMC). Therefore, in line with the latest guidance provided by the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health related to COVID-19, we maintain a no visitor policy with the following exceptions:
? End-of-life patients:
- o There may be 1 visitor at a time, limited to immediate family only
- o Other visitors must remain outside the facility until rotated in
? Pediatric patients:
- o No more than 2 designated visitors per hospital stay
- o Laboring or Post-partum patients:
- o 1 designated visitor/labor partner per hospital stay
All patients who enter the hospital through available access points will be screened immediately upon arrival.
Points of entrance will be limited to:
- Hospital main entrance
- Emergency Department Entrance
SMMC has taken every precaution and made the necessary preparations to care for patients in a safe, controlled and professional way. For more information on visitor policies or to stay updated with the latest information, visit www.scenicmountainmedical.org
About Scenic Mountain Medical Center
At Scenic Mountain Medical Center, we are committed to caring for patients as we would our own families. We are a full service, acute care, 146-bed community hospital for adults and children, and we understand the importance of delivering world class health care along with the latest advances in technology and treatment options. Our specialized services include cardiology, orthopedics, maternity, diagnostic imaging, emergency care with a 24/7 Level IV Trauma Center, wound care, and women's health and breast care services.
About Steward Health Care
Steward Health Care is the largest private, tax-paying physician-led health care network in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Steward operates 37 hospitals in the United States and the country of Malta that regularly receive top awards for quality and safety. The company employs approximately 42,000 health care professionals. The Steward network includes multiple urgent care centers and skilled nursing facilities, substantial behavioral health services, over 7,900 beds under management, and approximately 2.2 million full risk covered lives through the company's managed care and health insurance services.
The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a “Thank You for Your Investment” presentation for Faye’s Flowers on Tuesday morning to thank them for all that they do for the community.
When asked how she felt about the presentation, Heather Schafer, Owner, stated she thought it was a great service that the Chamber does.
In addition to being a full-service flower shop, Faye’s Flowers also has a large store front.
In addition to being a full-service flower shop, Faye’s Flowers also has a large store front. Heather Schafer told KBest News that they have lots of gift and holiday items. She also advised that they make all of their silk arrangements in-house and can customize anything.
Faye’s Flowers is located at 1013 Gregg St. in Big Spring. They can be contacted at 432-267-2571. For more information you can also visit their website at fayes.com.
Last week, inclement weather resulted in the Big Spring City Council meeting being postponed until later in the week. Here are the highlights from that meeting.
Announcements, Presentations and Public Hearings
Proclamation – Municipal Court Week, Nov. 2-6, 2020
City Manager’s Report
Large Item Pickup for District 5 is November 18, 2020.
Award of Texas Dept. of Agriculture (TDA) Community Development Fund (CD) of $400k in support of water improvements. This will save the city approximately $180k to their existing project.
All consent items were approved.
#21 concerning the final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 36 of the Big Spring City Code entitled “Nuisances,” by renaming Article I to “Property Maintenance Code” and adding new Sections 36-11 entitled “Timely Repair of Broken Windows,” and 36-12 entitled “Graffiti Removal” to establish Maintenance Standards for the Repair of Broken Windows in the downtown area and removal of graffiti within city limits was unanimously approved. During discussion on the item, it was stated that the “downtown area” referred to the area enclosed from Goliad to Gregg St. and 1st to 6th St. in Big Spring. Under this ordinance, broken windows in the downtown area shall be fixed and boarded up windows may only be temporary, effective Jan. 5, 2022. Also, property owners within the area will have to remove graffiti from the owner’s property upon receipt of notice from the City.
The final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 34 of the Big spring City Code entitled “Municipal Court” by adding a new Section 34-5 entitled “Attorneys Representing the State in Criminal Prosecutions” authorizing the City Council to appoint a Deputy Prosecutor and the Municipal Judge to appoint an Attorney Pro Tem in cases in which the City Attorney has a conflict was approved by a 6-1 vote with Mayor Shannon Thomason voting against.
The ordinance amending the Structural Standards Ordinance of the City of Big Spring in its entirety was amended during the final reading. It was later approved with a 6-1 vote with Thomason voting against.
For more highlights from the meeting, visit our website KBST.com.
Discussion on the viability of exploring a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) in the downtown area. No action taken.
Discussion on City of Big Spring policies and procedures regarding accepting, handling, and responding to Information Requests under the Texas Public Information Act. Ultimately, it was noted by interim City Manager Shane Bowles that the city could adopt a more effective process to ensure that requests are being answered.
Discussion on the possible termination of the SAFER Grant from FEMA and the reimbursement of monies received to date. In September 2019 it was announced that the City of Big Spring had received the SAFER Grant that would allow the City of Big Spring to hire 10 additional firefighters. In December 2019, City Council approved the hiring of 10 additional firefighters. As of Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, the City had received $22,000 in federal grant money, but the 10 firefighters had not yet been hired. According to City Attorney Andrew Hagen, this puts the City in violation of federal grant rules.
In an email sent by Hagen to City staff and Council Members – which was read by District 6 Council Member Jim DePauw- he advised that the council should resolve this issue either by adopting a budget amendment or canceling the SAFER Grant.
Originally, it was believed that the grant would fully fund the salaries for the 10 firefighters. Later, Councilmembers were advised that the grant fund 75 percent of salary and benefits in the first two years, 35 percent in third year, and 0 percent in fourth year. 10 personnel would cost the city $878,871 in salary and benefits over 3 years, not counting equipment. A first reading of a budget amendment ordinance was unanimously approved at the time. The second reading was scheduled for Jan. 28, 2020 meeting but minutes show that it was removed from the agenda.
It was noted that the former City Manager Todd Darden had removed the item because he wanted to research more on funding with Fire Chief Craig Ferguson. It was revealed that the item was never rescheduled to return on the agenda for a second reading and Darden failed to include the funding for the additional firefighters in this year’s budget.
DePauw pointed out during the meeting that approving the SAFER grant would require, roughly, a 3 cent raise to the tax rate in the first 3 years, then a 7.1 cents increase in the fourth year and every subsequent year.
During discussion on the matter, Hagen stressed that the city was in violation of federal grant rules and it was important for those funds to be repaid. Failure to do so could result in the city not receiving future grants.
Ultimately, Thomson made a motion that city staff bring back a resolution to the next meeting in November to fully fund the SAFER Grant. It was seconded by Strande and unanimously approved.
It was ordered that city staff would get together and address the possible repayment of the $22,000 back to FEMA.
Upon Hagen’s recommendation, DePauw motioned that the Fire Chief and city staff get with FEMA officials and find how much needs to be paid back and remit that amount to FEMA, however, the motion died due to lack of second.
Bowles advised that city staff would contact FEMA and if immediate reimbursement was requested, they would make council aware and ratify it at the next meeting.
Emergency reading of a resolution declaring the official intent of the City of Big Spring (lessee) to be reimbursed for certain capital expenditures from proceeds of a lease purchase agreement was unanimously approved.
All other new business items were unanimously approved.
As reported by our news partners at CBS 7:
BIG SPRING, Texas (KOSA) - The Martin County Sheriff’s Office arrested one person and seized drugs and guns from a home on Monday.
According to Sheriff Brad Ingram, an ongoing investigation led to a search warrant being executed at a home on FM 700 in Big Spring.
Authorities arrested one person inside the home and found the following:
-10 pounds of methamphetamine
-22 grams of black tar heroin
-1 pound of marijuana
-Assorted pills and other drug paraphernalia
-$77,000 in cash
-A Harley Davidson motorcycle
-Four long guns
-Other various gun parts and ammunition
All of the above items were seized by authorities. The drugs have an estimated street value of around $500,000.
Sheriff Ingram says that the suspect’s identity will be released once the investigation is complete.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA Drug Task Force helped MCSO with its investigation.
(Photo courtesy of CBS 7)
This week is Municipal Court Week, as declared by proclamation at last week’s Big Spring City Council meeting. According to the proclamation, more people come in personal contact with municipal courts more than all other Texas Courts combined.
The Big Spring Municipal Court is presided over by the Honorable Timothy Green. He is charged to provide a neutral, courteous, and fair forum for the trial of all Class C misdemeanor offenses arising under Texas civil and criminal statutes and City of Big Spring ordinances.
The judge of this Court is appointed by the City Council of the City of Big Spring to preserve, protect and defend the United States Constitution, the Texas Constitution, and the laws of this state.
"It is the responsibility of Municipal Court to represent the judicial system well. So, we want when people come in to the Municipal Court, they're treated fairly and they leave with a sense that they did receive justice," said Judge Green.
"Win, lose, or draw, the emphasis is treating a person with respect when they walk inot our doors; and also making decision according to the laws of the State of Texas or the ordinances of the City of Big Spring without the court interjecting itself into those things," he continued.
This Court and its officers are dedicated to the principles of impartiality, fairness, integrity, separation of powers, and judicial independence. These are the principles upon which our country was founded and to which the Court is committed in its role as the Judicial Branch of local government.
In recognition of Municipal Court Week, the video “The Role of Municipal Court” will be aired periodically on local Suddenlink Channel 17 over the next couple of weeks, and mini versions of the U.S. Constitution will be distributed to various city departments on Friday.
Although COVID-19 precautions have limited the types of activities that can be done with the public at this time, Judge Green hopes to be able to interact with other entities next year to help educate the public on the role of the municipal court. In the meantime, he advised that his door is always open for anyone with general questions on the court or becoming a judge.
Over 10,000 ballots were cast in Howard County for this year’s Joint General Election, that’s according to the Unofficial Results for Election Night in Howard County.
According to Jodi Duck, Howard County Elections Administrator, there are still provisional ballots and overseas ballots that they are waiting for - as of Tuesday night - from the ballot board.
Unofficial results are as follows:
LOCAL CONTESTED RACES
Howard County Commissioner, Precinct 1
Rep. - Eddilisa Saldivar: 59.69%
Dem. - Milton Perkins: 33.13%
RESULT: Eddilisa Saldivar [Ray] elected
Howard County Commissioner, Precinct 3
Jimmie Long: 73.80%
Shiloh Creswell Salazar: 21.60%
RESULT: Jimmie Long re-elected
Big Spring City Council member, District 1
Nadine Reyes: 36.03%
Nick Hilario Ornelas: 48.16%
RESULT: Nick Hilario Ornelas elected
*Percentage subject to interpretation by city
Big Spring City Council member, District 3
Roger M. Rodman: 40.37%
Cody Hughes: 40.87%
RESULT: Cody Hughes elected
*Percentage subject to interpretation by city
Big Spring ISD Board Trustee, District 1
Enchantra M. Solis: 33.24%
Tom J. Olague, Jr: 49.44%
NOTE: In candidate races where the front runner received less than 50.1 percent of the votes the city will have to make an interpretation of the rules before a decision is final.
Mayor Recall Shannon Thomason:
RESULT: Shall continue in office. Term runs through May 2022. Not subject to recall until the expiration of at least 3 months from 11/03/2020.
City Council Member Recall District 5 Camilla Strande:
RESULT: Will be removed from position. Special election to be called to fill the unexpired term, which is set to expire in May 2022.
City Council Member Recall District 6 Jim DePauw:
RESULT: Will be removed from position. Special election to be called to fill the unexpired term, which is set to expire in May 2021.
NOTE: Local results will not become official and effective until the results are canvassed by the corresponding entity - Howard County Commissioners Court, Big Spring City Council, and Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees - at their next meetings that will be held later this month.
On Friday morning, Sabrina Flores Photography was welcomed as a new member of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony!
When asked how she felt about the ribbon cutting, Owner Sabrina Flores told KBest News that she was excited to have something like this for the community.
"I'm gonna be offering a bunch of stuff for families [and] kids throughout the year. I have three kids myself, and I wanted something for the kids to come out and do," said Flores.
She went on to say that in addition to offering different types of specials, she’s also working towards having a small kids boutique that can be made available to her clients for photoshoots.
Sabrina Flores Photography is located at 219 S. Main in downtown Big Spring. She can be contacted at 432-466-4362 and can be reached through her Facebook page for Sabrina Flores Photography.
Today is Election Day, and it’s the last day to cast your vote for this year’s election. Voters will have the opportunity to vote on a variety of races that range from the national presidential election to the election of our local county commissioners and city council members.
Polling locations will be open today from 7 am to 7 pm. Registered voters can vote at any of the seven locations throughout Howard County.
The locations in Big Spring are:
Prairie View Baptist Church, 1004 W. FM 2230
Ryan Hall/St. Thomas Church, 605 N. Main St.
First Baptist Church, 705 W. FM 700
Dorothy Garrett Coliseum, 1001 Birdwell Ln.
Salem Baptist Church, 7505 Old Colorado City Hwy
Voters can also vote in Coahoma at the Coahoma Community Center, 306 North Ave.,
and in Forsan at Forsan Baptist Church, 201 Main St.
Voters are advised to not wear campaigning or electioneering items during early voting or on Election Day - this includes Hats, shirts, buttons, etc. that endorse candidates, messages, and/or political parties.
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2020 Angel Tree sign-ups continue through next Friday, November 13, 2020. Walk-in registration is welcomed at the Salvation Army, located at 811 W. 5th St. in Big Spring, from 9 AM to 3 PM. Be advised that appointments can also be made by calling 432-267-8239.
This Christmas assistance program helps families with children from newborns to 13 years old, or seniors aged 60 and up.
Be advised you must bring the following information to complete your Angel Tree Registration:
Valid Photo ID
Proof of residency
Proof of Guardianship
Be advised that only one parent or legal guardian may sign up a child. No children are allowed at registration.
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On Friday, Big Spring ISD announced that beginning today that all students across the district will eat lunch for free. BSISD students from Pre-K through 6th grade have already been receiving free lunch, now that will be extended to all students throughout the district.
The district’s child nutrition program has changed to SSO (Seamless Summer Option). This allows all students and community kids to eat free until May 2021. This program allows the district to students and community members on Saturday and Sunday.
Students will need to notify cafeteria staff by the end of Wednesday if a weekend meal is needed. Weekend meals will be handed out from 3:30 - 4:30 PM on Friday afternoon. Grab and go meals for the community can be picked up curbside at Moss, Marcy, and Goliad. Breakfast can be picked up from 9:30-10:30 AM and lunch will be distributed from 3:30-4:30 PM.
Check out the full letter below for further information.
(Photo: Letter from BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams, dated Oct. 30, 2020, announcing that all students and community kids will be provided with free meals through the end of the school year. - To enlarge, right click and select "Open image in new tab".)
Date: October 20, 2020
From: Mayor Shannon Thomason
Re: November/December City Council Meetings
On October 30, 2020, in my official capacity as Mayor and Emergency Management Director for the City of Big Spring, I ordered that the pertinent sections of Article II, Sections 2-20 and 2-23 of the Big Spring City Code regarding the setting of Council meetings are hereby suspended.
The Big Spring City Council will meet only once each month in November and December 2020.
The November City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at 5:30 PM, provided that complete election results have been received by the City Secretary prior to 5 PM on Friday, November 6, 2020. If the election results have not been received by that date, the City Council meeting will be held on November 17, 2020, at 5:30 PM.
The December City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 5:30 PM.
The Big Spring City Council will resume the regular meeting schedule in January 2021.
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(To enlarge, right click and select "Open image in new tab".)
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