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KBST News Archives for 2020-12

Local Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign comes up short on funding for next year's operations.


The Salvation Army of Big Spring is a non-profit organization that serves the community by providing resources to those in need. This may be by providing affordable after-school child care, providing food through their food pantry, by offering holiday meals, or through their Christmas assistance program. 

 

This year, the Salvation Army was able to provide almost 800 meals to the local community. The organization also hit a new record this year in their Christmas Assistance program. According to Lt. Ben Godwin with the Salvation Army, over 200 families received assistance and overall there were 502 angels that were provided for. 

 

Lt. Godwin explained that modifications were made in order to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

 

"This year, with [COVID-19] we had to change it up and make some different changes. We did a drive-thru, where [clients] would just pull up in their car. We had people go and speak to them to figure out what their number was, pray with them, and be able to speak God into them, and then we were able to give them their gifts again for Christmas. 

 

It was an amazing success this year, and we're just so thankful that the community was able to step up and help us take care of those in need," said Lt. Godwin.

 

This year, the Salvation Army was able to begin their Red Kettle Season earlier than normal. Lt. Godwin told KBest News that even though they anticipated a rough fundraising season this year due to the pandemic, he advised that they were still $15,000 behind their goal. The funds raised during the Red Kettle Campaign are used to fund their various programs all year long. 

 

After being able to coordinate with partners, he advised that Sabalo Energy LLC was able to offer $10,000 to the local Salvation Army, and the Greater Big Spring Rotary Club was able to donate $3,000 to help close the gap in funding. Now the Salvation Army is only $2,000 short of their goal.

 

If you’d like to donate any amount of money to the Salvation Army in Big Spring, you can contact Lt. Godwin at 432-352-2005.

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Road Closures in Big Spring beginning on Jan. 4, 2021


The City of Big Spring has announced that beginning on January 4, 2021, work crews will be in the following areas and require partial closure of Willard and Hearn Streets as follows:

 

• The south lane of Willard Street will be closed.

• The south lane of Hearn Street will be closed.

 

Work crews will be excavating the roads and will place a steel plate over the excavation until after the work is completed, then make permanent repairs. Barricades and proper signage of construction will be installed, and flagging crews will be utilized during construction. Please notify anyone that may be affected by this closure. If you must travel in this area, please do so with caution.

 

Please contact the Public Works office at 432-264-2501 with any questions or concerns.

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Big Spring City to Close Offices for New Year Holiday


City of Big Spring offices will be closed tomorrow, January 1, 2021, for the New Year holiday.

 

There will be no sanitation pickup on New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1st. Those who are scheduled for Thursday trash collection had their trash picked up yesterday. Those who are scheduled for Friday trash collection will have their trash picked up today. 

The City Landfill will be open on Saturday, January 2, 2021, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

 

All other City offices will reopen on Monday, January 4, 2021.

 

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

 

Anyone with questions can contact the Public Works office at 432-264-2501.

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COVID-19 Update for Dec. 28, 2020:


According to the City of Big Spring, as of Dec. 28, 2020, there have been a total of 3,865 positive cases COVID-19. 3500 cases have been closed and there are still 304 active cases. There have been 15,640 tests performed and there are 3 tests pending results. 

 

There have been 61 patient fatalities as a result of COVID-19 in Howard County.

 

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Crime Stoppers requests public's help in locating and identifying criminal mischief suspect(s).


Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in locating and identifying criminal mischief suspect(s). On Saturday, December 26, 2020, at approximately 10:15 AM, Officers with the Big Spring Police Department were dispatched to the Comanche Trail Park located in the 100 block Whipkey Drive in reference to criminal mischief to the Comanche Trail Festival of Lights decorations.  Upon arrival, officers learned that an unknown actor(s) used a knife of similar cutting instrument to damage or destroy four 10’x10’ banners.  The damage to the decorations was estimated at approximately $1,000.00.

 

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000.00 for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) involved in this case. Remember no caller ID is ever used and all tips are anonymous.

 

Call your tips in to the TIPS line at 432-263-8477 (TIPS). You will remain anonymous and no caller ID is ever used.  You can also use the P3tips.com software to submit your tip online and it is also completely anonymous. 

 

Please reference case # 2-20-04126 in your tip.

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

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First Meeting of the Big Spring City Charter Review Committee, 12/23/2020 - Highlights


The Big Spring City Charter Review Committee held their first meeting on Dec. 23, 2020.

 

The scope of the committee is to review the Charter for the City of Big Spring and to recommend changes to the Charter to the City Council for possible submission to the qualified electors of the City of Big Spring. 

 

According to City Attorney Andrew Hagen, the Big Spring City Charter was adopted by voters in 1926. Over the years, amendments were made to the Charter in 1951, 1973, 1995, and 2011. 

 

The committee consists of local Big Spring residents: Elias Gamboa from District 1, Nati Saldivar from District 2, John Scott from District 3, Pat Chesworth from District 4, Troy Thompkins from District 5, AJ Weaver from District 6, and Roger Rodman who was appointed by Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason. The committee also includes Mayor Thomason, City Manager Todd Darden, and City Attorney Hagen who act as ex-officio members; as well as Charles E. Zech, who will act as a resource for the committee. Zech has been working with municipal law for 20 years and has recently helped other cities with their city charter amendments. 

 

During the meeting, Scott was voted as Committee Chairman, Rodman was nominated and unopposed as Chairman Pro Tempore, and Thompkins was voted as Secretary for the committee.

 

District 2 committee member Nati Saldivar and City Manager Todd Darden were not present for the meeting. 

 

The next meeting dates that include Zech will be Jan. 13, 2021 and Jan. 27, 2021.

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TxDOT ABILENE CREWS PREPARE FOR WINTER WEATHER


Wintry precipitation, sub-freezing temps expected Wednesday night

 

ABILENE – TxDOT crews started pre-treating roadways in the Abilene District Monday morning in preparation for winter weather that will impact the area Wednesday night.

 

Crews across the 13-county district are treating Tier 1 and Tier 2 roadways, which include high-traffic corridors such as I-20, US 84 from Roscoe to the Garza County line, US 83/84, and US 277, among others.

 

The brine mixture will discourage ice from bonding to the roadways and structures as wintry precipitation begins to fall.

 

The Abilene District is working closely with the National Weather Service to monitor weather conditions.

 

Safety of the traveling public is TxDOT’s priority and crews will be working in shifts around the clock to prepare for and respond to any wintry weather that moves into the district, monitoring and treating roadways as needed.

 

Motorists can also do their part by driving carefully and following these guidelines:

• Use caution when driving over bridges and overpasses, as temperatures can be colder on elevated surfaces.

 

• Reduce speed and drive with caution. A vehicle needs more distance to stop on a slick roadway. Do not apply the brakes suddenly and do not use cruise control, so that you can better maintain control if you encounter slippery roads.

 

• Slow down when approaching emergency or maintenance vehicles, especially when their flashing lights are on. The law requires you to maintain a distance of at least 200 feet when approaching a snow plow, and never pass on the right. Visibility can also be reduced during winter weather conditions.

 

• Be patient. Your trip time – including short commutes to work – could increase when adverse weather conditions exist. Also, keep to the main roads and avoid taking roads that may not have been plowed.

 

• Winterize vehicles before traveling during adverse weather. Check fuel, tire conditions, oil and antifreeze levels. Make sure heater, brakes and windshield wipers are working properly.

 

• Check area weather conditions on radio or television before starting a trip.

For real-time roadway conditions, check DriveTexas.org or follow @TxDOTABILENE.

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TxDOT SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT ON MOBILITY OPTIONS FOR SENIORS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES


TxDOT is holding virtual public workshops statewide in December and January

 

WHEN: January 7, 2021
WHAT: Virtual Public Workshop
WHERE: Online

 

AUSTIN — TxDOT is hosting a series of virtual public workshops to help connect organizations providing lifeline transportation services with their most vulnerable customers: seniors and people with disabilities.

 

The agency is seeking input from seniors; individuals with disabilities; representatives of public, private, and nonprofit transportation and human service providers; and other members of the public who share TxDOT’s goal of improving local mobility services for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

 

On Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, the Abilene District will hold their virtual workshop at 1 PM to seek input from citizens in their district, which includes the counties of: Borden, Callahan, Fisher, Haskell, Howard, Jones, Kent, Mitchell, Nolan, Scurry, Shackelford, Stonewall and Taylor.


Information on the program, more meeting dates and how to connect virtually can be found here: 

https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/projects/studies/statewide/fta-5310.html 

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Enjoy Miles of Fun in 2021 on a First Day Hike at a Texas State Park


AUSTIN— Start the new year in nature with a First Day Hike at a Texas State Park.

 

This New Year’s Day, walk, bike or paddle your way into 2021 on a First Day Hike at 89 Texas State Parks.

 

First Day Hikes at Texas’ state parks and natural areas aim to help visitors commit to their New Year’s resolutions to get healthy. Last year, 5,242 visitors ushered in 2020 by hiking, biking and riding a total of 9,564 miles statewide. Find a list of this year’s First Day Hikes on the TPWD calendar page. To help with social distancing, many hikes will be self-guided while guided hikes may limit the number of participants.

 

“If nothing else, 2020 has shown us the value of getting outdoors,” said Rodney Franklin, Director of Texas State Parks. “Personally, I am looking forward to saying goodbye to 2020, having some black-eyed peas and starting out the new year with a First Day Hike.  Spending time outdoors is a great way to connect with friends and family in a healthy way.  While we must still recreate responsibly, I hope that everyone will join us in ushering in 2021 with a First Day Hike at your favorite state park.”

 

Trails at Texas State Parks range in length and difficulty levels across the state. Some short, easy trails are perfect for family-friendly scenic strolls, while others are more strenuous for experienced hikers. Trail maps for all Texas State Parks can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) website and individual park webpages.

 

Anyone planning a trip to a Texas State Park should keep in mind that parks are operating at a limited capacity. Reserving a day pass in advance is highly recommended since some parks are expected to reach their capacity limit. Reserve day passes online through the TPWD reservation website or by calling (512) 389-8900.

 

We encourage our visitors to practice responsible recreation and follow posted rules including wearing a mask when inside buildings or when social distancing may not be possible. Local and statewide limitations and restrictions apply and can change rapidly, so we recommend checking social media or calling the park directly for updates before traveling.

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West Texas VA Health Care System begins COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution with Moderna


BIG SPRING, TX — West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) will begin COVID-19 vaccination with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 23, 2020, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization for this vaccine.

 

“West Texas VA Health Care System is eager to offer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to our staff and Veterans in line with CDC and VA priority guidelines,” said Jason Cave, Director, WTVAHCS. “As vaccine supplies increase, our ultimate goal is to offer COVID- 19 vaccination to all veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

 

WTVAHCS is one of 113 VA Medical Centers across the country to receive the first limited supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Sites were identified based on need for the vaccine according to CDC’s 1A prioritization and capacity to store the vaccine at -20 ? C. 

 

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was 94 percent effective in clinical trials in preventing COVID-19 disease. The vaccine is administered in two doses, 28 days apart. The side effects appear similar to those of other vaccines and are short-lived.

Thirty-seven medical centers began offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to health care personnel and Veterans Dec 14. Fifteen additional VA facilities will receive an allocation of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine the week of December 21.

 

Even after receiving COVID-19 vaccination, employees and Veterans should continue wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing and washing hands often.

 

As vaccines become available for more groups of Veterans, VA care teams will reach out to eligible Veterans to schedule vaccinations. There is no need to preregister or go to a facility to sign up.

 

Veterans can get up-to-date information on VA’s VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, which launched on December 11, 2020, and sign up to receive regular updates on the vaccine on the VA’s Stay Informed page.

 

 

(Photo: Army Veteran James Oldham receives West Texas VA Health Care System’s first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Phoebe Evans. Oldham is a resident in the Community Living Center. He says getting the vaccine was very important to him. Photo courtesy of WTVAHCS.)

 

 

(Photo: Pharmacy technician Esthela Villarreal unpacks West Texas VA Health Care System’s (WTVAHCS) first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. WTVAHCS started giving the vaccine to its Veteran residents in the Community Living Center (CLC), as well as health care workers in the CLC. Photo courtesy of WTVAHCS.)

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Festival of Lights Donations in Honor of Vicki Stewart:


Vicki Stewart, a longtime community volunteer and pivotal person in the

Comanche Trail Festival of Lights, passed away December 26th, 2020, due to Covid-19.

 

Mrs. Stewart volunteered her time and skills to many causes in Big Spring. She worked for over 12 years making the Festival of Lights in the park bigger and better for all to enjoy.

 

Due to the Covid precautions this year, there were no greeters at the 2020 Festival of Lights, therefore no donations given during the event. If you had the opportunity to enjoy the Festival of Lights, please consider making a donation to honor Mrs. Stewart.

 

Donations can be mailed to:

Comanche Trail Festival of Lights,

P. O. Box 2464,

Big Spring, Texas 79721-2464.

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DPS releases information on fatal crash in Howard County that occurred on 12/04/2020


The Texas Department of Public Safety has released information on a fatal crash that occurred earlier this month in Howard County.

 

According to the DPS report, on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, a 2-vehicle collision occurred at FM 1584 and FM 846 in Howard County at approximately 9:13 AM. The crash involved a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pickup towed semi trailer, and a 2019 Ford F-250 pickup. 

 

The report stated that 27-year-old Jesus Montoya of Lamesa, driver of the F-250 pickup, had been traveling eastbound on FM 846 when he failed to yield right-of-way at a stop sign. This resulted in Montoya’s vehicle colliding with a Silverado pickup truck, driven by 37-year-old John Stewart Murray III of Big Spring and his passenger 19-year-old Ryan Liam Fite. 

 

According to DPS, neither Murray nor Fite were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Murray was airlifted to UMC Lubbock with incapacitating injuries. Fite was pronounced dead on scene.

 

Montoya was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and sustained non-incapacitating injuries and he was transported to Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

 

 

 

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Texas Launches Get Parenting Tips Campaign


 

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is offering a new website filled with free tips and expert advice to help parents navigate the many challenges of child rearing – from pregnancy through the teen years.

 

GetParentingTips.com contains 30 original articles, authored by experts in a variety of fields as well as in-house articles based on authoritative sources and the latest research. Articles are grouped by child age, parents, and popular topics. DFPS will publish new articles every month to explore additional topics. The website and the campaign’s You Tube channel also feature many videos, including some that share the perspectives of other parents on issues like managing parenting stress.

 

“Never have parents needed support more than they do now due to COVID-19,” said Sasha Rasco, DFPS Associate Commissioner for Prevention and Early Intervention. “While several articles are specific to the pandemic, all the information on the website can help reduce the stress that parents are experiencing – now and in future years as well.”

 

GetParentingTips.com is not about getting kids to eat their vegetables. It focuses on information, coping tips, and strategies that help parents navigate both common and difficult situations. It tries to answer the question, “I’ve tried that, now what?

For parents who need more than information, the website also directs them to local programs that can support them.

 

To help parents find the website, DFPS is investing $52,000 a month in online advertising from now through August 31, 2020, which is the end of the state fiscal year. The campaign also has a Facebook page (Facebook.com/GetParentingTips) and will use social media to spread the word and share tips and resources.

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Governor Abbott Appoints Farris To First Court of Appeals


 

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed 2002 Big Spring High School graduate April Farris to the First Court of Appeals, effective January 1, 2021, for a term set to expire on December 31, 2022, or until her successor shall be duly elected and qualified. The First Court of Appeals in Houston serves Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Waller and Washington counties. 

 

April Farris of Houston is an appellate litigation partner at Yetter Coleman LLP. She previously served as an assistant solicitor general for the Texas Solicitor General’s Office. She is a member of the Texas State Bar and committee chair of its Appellate Section and president and former board member of the Federalist Society Houston Lawyers Chapter. Additionally, she is a member of the Houston Bar Association, the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society, the Garland R. Walker Inn of Court, and the Women’s Energy Network and a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. She is a volunteer for Girl Scouts and Tallowood Baptist Church. Farris received a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Abilene Christian University and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.  

 

Earlier this year, Farris was named as one of five appellate attorneys under 40 honored as Rising Stars by Law360, a subscription-based legal news service. She is the daughter of Dr. David and Ann Ward of Big Spring. 

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Three Promoted to Leadership Positions Within DPS


AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently announced the promotion of three employees to leadership positions. The promotions include Brady Mills and Michelle Farris to newly-created chief positions — Chief of the Crime Laboratory Division and Chief of the Crime Records Division, respectively — and Ron Zilkha to Assistant Chief of Innovation and Application Services within the Information Technology Division.

 

The promotions were approved at the December meeting of the Public Safety Commission (PSC). The new chiefs and assistant chief will be stationed at DPS’ Austin headquarters.

 

“We are pleased to be able to recognize talented DPS employees for their hard work and contributions to the department,” said PSC Chairman Steven Mach. “These three individuals have shown tremendous dedication to the state of Texas during their exemplary careers, and I’m confident they will continue with that same commitment to excellence in their new roles within DPS.”

 

DPS Director Steven McCraw also commended the promotions.

 

“The department is fortunate to have outstanding employees within our ranks to fill vital leadership positions, and I look forward to each of these individuals taking on their new roles,” McCraw said. “Through their leadership, I know they will lead their divisions forward and help DPS continue to serve as a model for other law enforcement agencies to follow.”

 

DPS’ Law Enforcement Support Division (LESD) will be split into two separate divisions at the end of the year, following the retirement of the current LESD chief, Mike Lesko. The promotions of Mills and Farris come following approval by the PSC to create the two new divisions — the Crime Laboratory Division and the Crime Records Division — with new chief positions for Mills and Farris, respectively.

 

Brady Mills, Chief of the Crime Laboratory Division

Mills most recently served as an assistant chief within LESD, overseeing the department’s Crime Laboratory Service since 2014. Mills has more than 24 years of service with DPS. From 1996 through 2014, he served in various positions within the Crime Laboratory Service, including assistant crime laboratory director, quality assurance, forensic scientist, CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) analyst and DNA section manager of the Austin Laboratory. During his time with DPS, Mills served as the vice chair of the Association of Forensic DNA Analysts and Administrators and president of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. In addition, Mills has served on the National Commission on Forensic Science Accreditation and Proficiency Testing Subcommittee, the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies Forensic Science Committee and the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) Forensic Science Committee. Mills graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology in 1994. In 2010, he graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Master of Science in Biology. Mills’ promotion is effective Jan. 1, 2021.

 

Michelle Farris, Chief of the Crime Records Division

Farris most recently served as an assistant chief within LESD, overseeing the Crime Records Service since 2018. Farris first joined DPS in 1996 and began her career in the criminal histories section. Since then, she has been promoted into various leadership roles within the Criminal Histories and Texas Data Exchange areas of Crime Records, and she became manager of the Crime Information Bureau in 2010. In 2014, Farris was promoted to a deputy administrator position. In 2018, she became assistant chief of Crime Records, overseeing Criminal Justice Information Systems and Services (CJIS), including the Computerized Criminal History database, Multi-Modal Biometric Information System, Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST), the Sex Offender Registry, TxGang, Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (TLETS), the Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC) and the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. In addition to her career with DPS, Farris is the state representative for the International Justice and Public Safety Network, serving as a regional chair. She also serves on the International Justice and Public Safety Network Board of Directors and participates in its finance and management committee and the Brodie Assistance Fund committee. She also serves as the vice chair of the FBI Advisory Policy Board’s National Data Exchange subcommittee and as a member of the task force for the next generation of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Farris earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Texas in Austin. Farris’ promotion is effective Jan. 1, 2021.

 

Ron Zilkha, Assistant Chief of Innovation and Application Services

Zilkha began working for DPS in 2018, serving as the director of IT Performance Management. The following year, he was promoted to Enterprise Data Officer, where he stayed until his current promotion. Zilkha began his state service in 2012 with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services as a Lead Systems Analyst, where he led application development projects and support teams for CAPPS Financials. Upon earning his Project Management Professional certification, Zilkha took a position at the Texas Department of Transportation. In 2016, after becoming a Certified Scrum Master, Zilkha moved to the TIERS group at Texas Health and Human Services, helping to lead a team through a major organizational change. Zilkha has also earned his Amazon Web Services Certified Cloud Practitioner certification. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and earned his Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona. Zilkha’s promotion was effective Dec. 14, 2020.

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Area News: Sheriff Brad Ingram Presents Letter of Commendation and  Life Saving Award to Deputy Colin Porto.


On 12/17/2020 at approximately 9:00PM emergency responders were notified of a major motor vehicle accident on I-20 at the 159 mile marker.  Martin County Deputy Sheriff Colin Porto was one of the first responders to arrive on scene. Upon his arrival he observed an 18-wheeler on fire and was informed there were several people trapped inside the burning rig. 

 

Deputy Porto grabbed his fire extinguisher and ran towards the burning rig. He was able to beat back the fire enough to enter the burning cab. Deputy Porto cut the cab seatbelts and extracted two (2) people from the burning semi. He was assisted by a citizen named Tony Stewart from Dallas. On 12/19/2020 Deputy Porto was presented a Letter of Commendation and a Life Saving Award by Martin County Sheriff Brad Ingram. 

 

According to Sheriff Ingram, he’ll also be reaching out to Mr. Stewart to express his gratitude for his assistance.

 

(Photo above: Martin County Sheriff Brad Ingram and Deputy Sheriff Colin Porto on Dec. 19, 2020. Photo courtesy of Brad Ingram Martin County Sheriff Facebook page.)

 

 

(Photo: 18-wheeler on fire from the multi-vehicle crash on Dec. 17, 2020. Photo courtesy of Brad Ingram Martin County Sheriff Facebook page.)

 

 

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Citizens urged to use caution when using heat lamps.


Citizens urged to use caution when using heat lamps when keeping animals warm.

Beginning today, Howard County will be expecting night time freezing temperatures for a couple of days. Many pet owners will use heat lamps to help keep their outside pets warm, and Big Spring Fire Chief Craig Ferguson reminds the public to use caution when using heat lamps.

 

“In the middle of the night, you know, your animal may be up moving around and they knock it over and it gets down into the straw, the hay, or whatever you have there, or the blankets and it catches fire. Then people have them up on their porches, on their patios, in their garages, and it catches their house on fire. We see that way more often than we should," said Chief Ferguson.

 

He told KBest News that he recommends that people follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, read the instructions, and try to place in a way that pets can’t knock them over. 


“Those are big time fire hazards,” said Chief Craig Ferguson of knocked over heat lamps. “Rarely are they covered or protected in a way that they won’t cause a fire if they do come in contact with the blankets, the hay, or the straw, or whatever you have down. So, please, please, I urge you to be careful with your heat lamps.” 

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Practice fire safety this holiday season


COLLEGE STATION, Texas— Increased wildfire potential is expected across much of the state early this week due to approaching dry cold fronts and high temperatures. Dry fuel conditions will expand north from the southern Hill Country into the Rolling Plains, southern High Plains, eastern Hill Country and Cross Timbers regions this week, aligning with the pre- and post-frontal winds to create an increase in potential wildfire activity.

 

“Most wildland fires this time of year occur just before or just after a frontal passage,” said Brad Smith, Texas A&M Forest Service Predictive Services Department Head. “These fronts often pass through with little precipitation, but they do bring increased wind before and after the front passes. These increased winds can help to spread fire in a landscape that is full of freeze-cured grasses.”

Recent precipitation has favored east Texas and the High Plains, leaving widespread rainfall deficits in much of the western two-thirds of the state. Residents should stay current with local fire weather forecasts due to the rapidly changing fire environments this week.

 

Texas A&M Forest Service urges everyone to be careful when participating in activities that may start a wildfire or house fire and practice fire safety this holiday season. One spark can ruin a holiday.

 

Wrapping paper and tree recycling

The danger doesn’t end just because the holidays are over. In Texas, careless debris burning causes the largest number of human-caused wildfires. Unsafe burning of wrapping paper, gift boxes and Christmas trees after the holidays could spark outdoor fires. There are several alternatives for safe disposal.

 

Chip the tree and use the material as mulch in landscaping beds. Cut the trunk of the tree into small pieces to use as pathway edging. Composting is a great way to dispose of your tree and tissue paper. Remove tape, ribbons, and bows and recycle the wrapping paper, or save it to use again. Repurpose other items such as newspaper or pillow cases to wrap presents.

 

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/.

 

Firewood safety

Another fire hazard during the holidays is firewood stacked too close to buildings. Firewood is often cured, or dried, so it is easier to light in a fireplace. This drying process does not just make it easier to start a fire in the chimney—it makes it easier to light everywhere. When firewood is stacked too close to a home, it can lead a wildfire right up to the structure. Keep firewood stacked at least 30 feet away from all structures.

 

Fireworks safety

Fireworks are often used to mark special events and holidays. When using fireworks during the holidays, don’t let your fun turn into flames. Check for local restrictions on fireworks and burn bans before use. Fireworks should be used outdoors on flat, smooth surfaces away from dry grass and flammable materials. Always have a water source nearby in case a fire ignites while using fireworks.

 

Practice fire safety while enjoying the outdoors

Campfires can be a great source of warmth and fuel for cooking, but be sure to keep these safety tips in mind. Locate a safe spot for your campfire, away from anything flammable and far from overhead hazards. Pile up rocks around your fire to help keep the wind out and fire embers in. When you are done with your campfire, fully extinguish it. Drown, stir and feel the area for heat. Hold your hand just above the wet ashes--if you feel any residual heat, continue to add water and stir. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

 

When hunting, be aware of any action that could cause a wildfire. Hot exhaust systems could ignite dry grass. Park only in designated areas or in areas free of anything that can catch fire. Your ammunition type matters when hunting; steel core and full metal jacket ammunition have the highest potential to start wildfires.

 

People and their activities cause more than 90% of wildfires in Texas.

 

The National Weather Service has issued a La Nina Advisory which states there is a 95% chance La Nina conditions will be present through February and a 65% chance La Nina will persist through April. Typically, the La Nina pattern brings warmer and dryer than normal conditions to Texas during the winter and spring. This translates to less rain (increased drought) and warm temperatures leading to dry vegetation for large areas of the state creating an increased risk for wildfires.

 

“An active winter and spring wildfire season is anticipated across Texas,” said Karen Stafford, Texas A&M Forest Service Prevention Program Coordinator. “Residents can take steps now to protect their homes and loved ones. Texas A&M Forest Service encourages residents to be mindful of any outdoor activity that may cause a spark.”

 

If a wildfire is spotted, immediately contact local authorities. A quick response can help save lives and property.

 

For information on wildfire prevention, please visit the Texas A&M Forest Service website at 
http://tfsweb.tamu.edu

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KBST 95.7 in Big Spring Nominated for Texas Regional Radio Awards


Once again, KBST 95.7 in Big Spring continues to make its mark on Texas Radio with their recent Texas Regional Radio Award nominations for "Radio Station of the Year - Medium Market". Plus, Kris Moore, On-Air Talent with KBST 95.7, has also been nominated for "On Air Personality of the Year - Medium Market".

 

Although voting is only open to TRR members, it’s easy to sign up online and it’s free. Then members are able to cast votes and submit their ballots. Deadline to cast your votes in the semi-final round of nominations is December 28th. 

 

The top 5 nominees will move onto the final round of voting beginning Jan. 3, 2021.  

 

The winners will be announced at the 2021 awards show.  The 11th annual T3R Music awards show will take place on March 22, 2021 in Arlington, TX.

 

 

Here's how to vote!

1.) Visit https://trrma.net and hover on the "Membership" tab, then click "Sign-Up".

 

2.) Fill out the information to sign up for a FREE membership with T3R. This will allow you to cast your vote.

 

3.) Complete the ballot and submit your votes!!

 

If you already have a membership, follow step one and click on the blue link at the top of the page, then complete your ballot. It's that easy!!

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DPS to Increase Enforcement for the Holidays


AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced today its annual Christmas and New Year’s holiday traffic enforcement campaigns will kick off on Wednesday, Dec. 23. DPS is reminding drivers to celebrate the holiday season responsibly by practicing safe driving habits and obeying all traffic laws.

 

“Another year is drawing to a close, and while there are many reasons to celebrate, we must all remember to do so responsibly to help keep our roadways safe,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS Troopers will increase patrols over the holidays, as will many of our fellow law enforcement partners across the state, and we will be on the lookout for drivers not obeying the law and endangering others. Public safety is our top priority, and we encourage all drivers to put safety first as you celebrate this holiday season.”

 

As part of two Operation Holiday initiatives, DPS Troopers will be increasing enforcement beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 23, through Saturday, Dec. 26, as well as Thursday, Dec. 31, through Friday, Jan. 1. Simultaneously, the nationwide Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) initiative will run from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3.

 

The goal of these efforts is to increase safety on Texas roads. DPS Troopers will be looking for drivers who violate the law, including those who are speeding, driving while intoxicated, failing to wear a seat belt, driving without insurance and not complying with the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law, among other traffic violations.

 

During DPS’ 2019 Christmas and New Year’s holiday enforcement efforts combined, a total of more than 169,000 warnings and citations were issued, including 15,786 speeding citations; 2,105 seat belt and child seat violations; 3,465 citations for driving without insurance; and 1,300 for violations of Move Over, Slow Down. Last year’s enforcement efforts also resulted in 787 DWI arrests, 609 felony arrests and 555 fugitive arrests.

 

DPS offers the following safety tips for the holiday season:

 

  • Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you are consuming alcohol.

  • Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers who are stopped on the side of the road. This year alone, between Jan. 1 and Dec. 8, DPS issued 12,457 warnings and citations for violations of this law.

  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.

  • Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction zones.

  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. Also, if you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it, so you can keep your eyes on the road.

  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel can present additional challenges.

  • Don’t drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

  • On multi-lane roadways, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous driving and avoids impeding traffic, Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to use the left lane for passing only (when posted).

  • If you can Steer It, Clear It: If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes to minimize traffic impact. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm or a secondary wreck. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, it’s against the law.

  • Check your vehicle to make sure it is properly maintained and always ensure your cargo is secure.

  • Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.

  • Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.

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Broughton Foundation Continues to Invest in the Community


 

BIG SPRING – Christmas came a little early this year for Howard College nursing students and their program thanks to a recent gift from the G.C Broughton, Jr. Foundation (Foundation).

 

            The $250,000 gift will fund full tuition, fees, and books for current nursing program students on the Big Spring campus as well as the purchase of a new Demo Dose Med Dispenser system that will be utilized in the simulation lab.

 

            “This is such a wonderful gift of education for our nursing students,” said Dr. Cheryl T. Sparks, President. “We are so grateful to the G.C. Broughton, Jr. Foundation for their support of our students as well as their investment in the success of our college and community. When Jim Weaver, Secretary-Treasurer called to share this benevolent action on behalf of the Foundation for our students and faculty, it was overwhelming knowing what these students and faculty have experienced.”

 

            With the current demand on the healthcare industry in the midst of the pandemic, the Foundation saw this as an opportunity to help the nursing students which in turn will make it easier for them to finish their degrees and certificates and enter the workforce. The waves of benefit from the gift will be far reaching as it touches the students, the college, the healthcare industry and the Howard County community at large.

 

            The donation will provide the full tuition, fees, and books for approximately 52 nursing students that are currently enrolled in the Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) program that will be graduating in May 2021, enrolled in the LVN to Associate Degree Nursing (AND/RN) Transition nursing program that will graduate in October 2021, and enrolled in the first and second year AND/RN program that will be graduating in May 2021 and May 2022, respectively.

 

            “Our nursing students have shown a lot of grit and determination as they have been getting their education and preparing to enter the healthcare industry during the middle of a global pandemic” added Sparks. “Assisting them with the cost of their education and helping relieve a little of their stress through this generous donation was the impetus of the Foundation’s gift and is a real game changer for them. Our students and faculty have courageously battled through clinicals while watching our stellar health care professionals in their art and science of serving others.”

 

The Demo Dose Med Dispenser system that will be purchased with some of the donated funds is a piece of simulation equipment that better prepares students for medication administration when they enter the workforce. 

 

            “Howard College is always looking for innovative ways to improve the way we educate our students,” said Sparks. “It is a constant challenge to have updated, cutting-edge equipment for the learning experience. This new medication dispensing simulation equipment mimics what is actually used in the hospital setting and will aide in the transition from the classroom learning to actual practice in the field.”

 

The G.C. Broughton, Jr. Foundation is a longtime friend and partner of the college, having provided donations for the construction of the G.C. Broughton Jr. Ag Complex supporting the agriculture education program as well as area agriculture programs and projects.

 

G.C. Broughton, Jr. was born and raised in Big Spring and led a life dedicated to the agriculture industry. He also served as a member of the Howard College Foundation Board. In 1983, he established his foundation to continue service to the Howard County community.

Following his death in 2001, his wife, Jean Broughton-Powell, retained leadership of the foundation and has carried out his original mission while expanding the reach to other areas of interest which includes support of the healthcare industry as well. A previous donation for renovation of the college library will soon be implemented as another gesture of benevolence to the future growth of the community.

 

President of the Foundation, Jean Broughton-Powell, is fondly remembered as a master teacher and school administrator in the community for her lasting influence in the lives of many young people. Through the years, she has given multiple scholarships. She understands the value and impact of education and continues to do her part to invest in the futures of others as well as the community.

 

“I can’t think of a better way to head into our winter break,” added Sparks. “Being able to share this information with our nursing program students and provide them some financial relief right here at the holidays has been somewhat of a Christmas miracle playing out before our eyes.”

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Region J "No Longer Under High Hospitalization Rate Restriction" - Howard County businesses return to 75% capacity, bars return to 50%.


Press Release - December 18, 2020

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

 

Re: Region J “No Longer Under High Hospitalization Rate Restriction”

 

On November 15, 2020, hospitalization rates for Region J, which includes Howard County, went above 15% for seven consecutive days triggering additional restrictions under Governor Abbott’s order GA-32. As of today, December 18, 2020, those hospitalization rates have fallen below 15% for seven consecutive days. As a result of this, Region J is no longer under “high hospitalization rates” status and the additional restrictions under GA-32 are no longer in effect.

 

Effective immediately:

• All business establishments, except bars, may return to 75% occupancy.

• Bars may reopen at 50% occupancy and only in accordance with Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulations.

• All other business establishments may operate at 75% capacity.

• Howard County and the City of Big Spring establishments are able to operate at the 75% capacity due to filing of the required attestation form with DSHS.

We strongly recommend that citizens continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, and wear a mask when in public areas. Citizens should also simply stay home when possible and don’t make unnecessary trips into public.

 

We Texans are each called upon to act responsibly and continue following all health precautions and sanitizing guidelines. Anyone with questions regarding the specific guidelines for each business may visit Governor Abbott’s website at https://gov.texas.gov/.

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

 

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Bill Myers presented with a Quilt of Valor, 12/19/2020


On Saturday, December 19, 2020, Bill Myers was presented with a Quilt of Valor by Mike Tarpley, local presenter of the Quilts of Valor. The Quilt of Valor is given to Veterans in recognition of service and sacrifice for this Nation. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

 

Myers, a Vietnam Veteran who served in 1968 and 1969 as a combat medic. He told KBest News that they had arrived just a few days after the Tet Offensive.

 

"The unit was the 1st battalion 5th mechanized infantry, and we were attached to the 25th infantry division. We were in an area west of Saigon over to Cambodia. We did sweeps in the day. We did ambush patrols at night. We ran convoys. We saw a lot of action. There was a lot of combat. We lost a lot of men. We had a lot of men that came home injured for life, and, of course, some hurt not so bad. I was very blessed I was never inured," said Myers.

 

He went on to say, "[It was an] incredible expeience. Would not take for it. Wouldn't want to do it again. It's kinda like we say 'If a division of Chinese infantry was coming up Highway 87, the Vietnam Vets would be the first to go meet'em, and I think I can safely say that. 

 

When asked how he felt to receive a Quilt of Valor, Myers stated, "I can't say what this means to me. I thought I was gonna cry, and I don't cry." He went on to say that he was overwhelmed by the honor of receiving the quilt.

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Winners Announced for 4th annual KBest Christmas Lights Contest, presented by Big Mike's Farm Store


Four years ago, KBest Media set out to spread Christmas cheer by encouraging local residents to hang Christmas lights outside of their homes. 

 

What began as a city-wide contest later grew into a contest that included all of Howard County. With over 100 entries in this year's competition, it's safe to say that the 4th Annual KBest Christmas Lights Contest, presented by Big Mike’s Farm Store is the largest yet!

 

Over $10,000 in cash and prizes were awarded on Friday at Big Mike’s Farm Store, the title sponsor of the 4th Annual KBest Christmas Lights Contest.

 

This year’s Grand Champion for the 3rd year in a row was Brian and Barbara Averette. The Averettes told KBest News that there were many great entries to compete against this year and didn’t think they’d be winning again. When asked why they put so much effort into their decorations, Barbara said that she did it for the kids. 

 

"My grandson absolutely loves it. He loves to get out there and dress up like an elf. He has autism and it's just something he's kinda attached to," said Barbara. She also went on to say that she loves to see eveyone driving by cheering for them. 

 

Here is the complete list of this year's winners: 

 

District 1

1st---712 Lorilla St

2nd---1619 Harding St

3rd---608 S. Aylesford

 

District 2

1st---1005 Howell St.

2nd---1006 Stadium

3rd TIE---623 State St

3rd TIE---407 S. Benton

 

District 3

1st---3621 Dixon

2nd---2904 Parkway

3rd---4213 Hamilton

 

District 4

1st---609 W. 17th

2nd---1610 Pennsylvania

3rd---1602 S. Main St

 

District 5

1st---707 Colgate

2nd---916 Baylor

3rd---2610 Lynn Sr

 

District 6

1st---1113 Lloyd

2nd---1609 E. 6th St.

3rd---1308 Mt. Vernon

 

District Highland South

1st---705 Oak Glen Dr

2nd---704 Highland Dr.

3rd---702 Highland Dr.

 

Howard County Precinct 1

1st---1102 Hwy 176, Lot 4

2nd---1302 Hwy 176

3rd---4910 Blagrave Rd

 

Howard County Precinct 2

1st---101 N. 2nd St----Coahoma

2nd---500 Todd Road

3rd---7713 E. Midway Rd

 

Howard County Precinct 3

1st---6701 Ranch Road 33

2nd---5207 W. FM 818

3rd---4300 Connally

 

Howard County Precinct 4

1st---7405 North I-20 Service Rd

2nd---4609 North County Road 25

3rd---117 Miller A Road

 

????GRAND CHAMPION:  707 Colgate Ave!????

 

1st place winners received $500.

2nd place winners received  $250.

3rd place winners received  $125.

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City of Big Spring Offices to close for Holidays, 12/24 - 12/25/2020


City of Big Spring offices will be closed on Thursday, December 24th and Friday, December 25th, 2020, in observance of the Christmas holiday.

 

There will be no sanitation pickup on Friday, December 25th. Thursday’s normal sanitation routes will be picked up on Wednesday, December 23rd. Friday’s normal sanitation routes will be picked up on Thursday, December 24th.

 

The City Landfill will be open on Saturday, December 26, 2020, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. All other City offices will reopen on Monday, December 28, 2020.

 

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

 

Anyone with questions can contact the Public Works office at 264-2501. T

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Thank You for Your Investment - Big Spring Area Community Foundation


On Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a “Thank You” presentation for the Big Spring Area Community Foundation to thank them for all that they have done for the community.

 

"This Thank You presentation was for the Foundation and the 66 small business relief grants that we gave back in the Spring to help the businesses try to overcome this pandemic. You know, we just try to do what we can for the community and we feel very fortunate that the foundation and Board decided to do this for the small businesses in Big Spring," said Greg Henry, Executive Director for the organization.

 

Since 2001, the Big Spring Area Community Foundation has been helping individuals and families create personal, permanent and powerful legacies with charitable funds customized to meet their philanthropic goals.


The Big Spring Area Community Foundation serves Howard County and surrounding Counties so people with philanthropic interests can support the agencies or issues important to them, both now and through their estates. The Community Foundation allows individuals, families and businesses to establish charitable funds which make grants to nonprofit groups that meet the donor’s charitable goals. The Big Spring Area Community 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 wishes.

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Big Spring Council - Special Session, 12/15/2020 - Highlights


Big Spring City Council met in a Special Session on Tuesday afternoon to consider an agreement with Dude Solutions for the purchase of Smartgov Software. According to Shane Bowles, Public Works Director for the City of Big Spring, the current software in use has become tedious for the city to use and the Smartgov Software would increase efficiency and productivity.

 

“[The current software] involves multiple softwares we’re trying to use together to achieve one goal. That’s usually with our permitting. With our code enforcement software, we’re having to use that program to do our work orders. However, when we do any mail outs or any notifications, we’re just using Word and if we ever need to look up any property owners or verify anybody working on the property we have to use another software," said Bowles. 

 

"So what we’re hoping to do with this new software is get a program that takes all of those components, puts it into one and makes it 100 percent more efficient for the city to do what we need to do.” 

 

Councilmembers approved the agreement, 3-1 with Councilman Nick Ornelas, District 1 voting against. Ornelas stated that he was in favor of the software, but didn’t agree that a special meeting had to be held in order to discuss the matter.

 

Councilmembers unanimously agreed to approve the emergency reading of an ordinance that would increase the General Fund Budget for the purchase of the new software system to assist Code Enforcement and applying for reimbursement for the Coronavirus Relief Fund from the State of Texas Care Act. 

 

According to Assistant Finance Director Adam Czajkowski, the CARES Grant is based on a reimbursement basis and the city had no reason to believe that the reimbursement request would be denied. Plus, other cities have been able to use the CARES Grant to specifically purchase the software because it meets the criteria to do so. Using this software will create an online portal that avoids person-to-person contact. It also will allow the city to increase efficiency in that even if offices are required to be shut down due to a Mayor’s Order or Governor’s Order city services can still be offered through telework.

 

The initial cost is $65,000 and the annual fee is $24,480 per year that includes unlimited users and all the services that come with it.

 

The expenditure was listed as an emergency item because it had to be turned in by December 31, 2020 in order to qualify for reimbursement, otherwise the city would have to finance it on their own.

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DPS Announces Temporary Waiver for DL/ID Expirations Ending in April 2021


AUSTIN – This week, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that the waiver on expiration dates for driver licenses (DLs) and identification cards (IDs) ends on April 14, 2021. Customers who need to renew are urged to make an appointment today.

 

The waiver, granted by Governor Greg Abbott in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, applied to DLs, commercial DLs, commercial learner permits, ID cards and election identification certificates that expired on or after March 13, 2020.

 

Expanded office hours

To assist customers needing DL services, designated offices will be offering expanded hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, starting on Jan. 4. Appointments are already being accepted for the additional hours. The participating offices were selected based on the volume of customer transactions.

 

In addition, this Saturday, Dec. 19, is the last day for Saturday appointments, which are still available at many locations across the state.

 

Online renewals still a convenient option

Many Texans are eligible to skip the trip to the office entirely by renewing their DL/ID card or changing their address online at Texas.gov. Customers can also renew by phone at 1-866-357-3639 (1-866-DL-RENEW). The requirements and cost for online and phone renewal are the same as in-person transactions.

 

Scheduling an appointment

DPS launched a new appointment solution when DL offices reopened in May, and all services are now conducted by appointment only. (DL offices have implemented several COVID-19 protocols to ensure a safe environment.) To schedule an appointment or check availability, visit the online appointment scheduler. If you are unable to find an appointment at the office of your choice, check back for availability at that office or other locations nearby. Please check often as availability does change.

 

The appointment system is designed to provide additional convenience, reducing the time Texans wait in line. Customers can book appointments for a specific day and time, up to six months in advance, and show up 30 minutes or less before their scheduled time. Customers can check-in using the kiosk inside the office or from their mobile device.

 

A reminder, if you are unable to make your scheduled appointment, please change it ahead of time. Customers not showing up has become a major issue statewide. From May 26 through Nov. 30, approximately 27% of people were no-shows for their appointments.

 

To help combat that issue, many offices are offering customers without an appointment a spot on a “standby” list. These customers are required to wait in the office and are assisted in the event of a cancelation or no-show. The number of standby appointments available is limited to ensure all customers who are placed on the list will be served by the end of the day.

 

Additionally, a limited number of same-day appointments will be available at each DL office. These appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers who book these appointments can leave the DL office until their designated time.

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HCVFD Spreads Christmas Cheer


During the Big Spring Christmas Parade, the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department gave away a fire helmet to one lucky child. The intent was to brighten up at least one child’s holiday, especially during a time that the pandemic has impacted many people.

 

The child, 3-year-old Shaun Ramsey, was picked at random. Shaun has wanted to become a firefighter since he was 2 years old, and was thrilled to receive the helmet.

 

Later, Shaun’s mom, Stephanie, reached out to the volunteer firefighters so that her son could meet them. On Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, firefighters met Shaun with 2 fire trucks and he was made an Honorary Firefighter with the Howard County Volunteer Fire Dept.

 

When asked what it means to her for Shaun to have this kind of attention, Stephanie told KBest News, “It just means something special. With him just being three and him wanting to be a firefighter. This was just a surprise to all of us, and it’s just a blessing to all of us right now."

 

She went on to say that this experience shows that there’s still good out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photos courtesy of Stephanie Ramsey.)

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Big Spring Ghost Tour presents check to the Heritage Museum of Big Spring


Today, the Heritage Museum of Big Spring was presented with a check for $2,025 from Big Spring Ghost Tour. The amount is funded by ticket sales for the downtown ghost tours in Big Spring and donations from STAR Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, The Train Car, and Folsom Law Firm.

 

This is the second year that the organization was able to present a check. Last year, Big Spring Ghost Tour raised $1,274 for the museum.

 

According to Shonda Folsom, with Big Spring Ghost Tour, the organization was able to expand the number of shows they held throughout the month. They were able to get special permission from Mayor Shannon Thomason and made changes necessary to accommodate social distancing during the pandemic.

 

Since many fundraising events for the Heritage Museum had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Folsom stated that they were excited to be able to raise money for the museum.

 

 

Photo: Tammy Shrecengost (left), Director of the Heritage Museum, receives a check from Camilla Strande (middle) and Shonda Folsom (right) with Big Spring Ghost Tour.

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Howard County Commissioners Court, 12/14/2020 - Meeting Highlights


Howard County Commissioners Court met in a regular session yesterday afternoon. During the meeting, Commissioners gave approval for Sharon Adams, County Treasurer to seek more information on the HealthyYou vending machine. 

 

Commissioners approved the purchase of a 400 ft. tower for $240,290.

 

They also approved the extension of a county-wide burn ban for Howard County, and restricted the sale of fireworks with sticks or fins. Howard County Commissioner Craig Bailey advised that substantial rains were not expected until around March or April of next year, according to the Texas Forest Service. The restriction of the sale of fireworks with sticks and fins is in effect until the weather conditions no longer exist or until March 15, 2021. It should also be noted that the burn ban does not allowed control burns. 

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An early Sunday morning crash in Howard County results in a fatality. 


According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Troopers responded to a one-vehicle crash at FM 818, 10 miles southwest of Big Spring at 2:45 AM on Dec. 13, 2020. The vehicle involved was a 2011, Buick, Enclave, driven by 46-year-old Jose Ramirez, of Pharr, TX. 

 

The report from DPS stated that Ramirez was traveling south on FM 818, when his vehicle left the roadway and rolled. Ramirez was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and was pronounced dead on scene.

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Morgan Myles Performs for Parkplace Retirement Living in Big Spring


FT. WORTH, Texas (December 14, 2020) - After a year that’s been hard on all - especially those at greater risk during the pandemic - Nashville-based recording artist Morgan Myles felt called to make the holidays a bit easier on those in need of a Christmas pick-me-up, opting to turn her few remaining 2020 tour dates into an outreach initiative. Myles launched her Merry Myles of Gratitude Tour last Wednesday (12/9) with a stop in Little Rock, and made a special stop Friday (12/11) to perform at Big Spring’s Parkplace Retirement Living (501 W 17th St, Big Spring), performing in front of her festive tour van outside (and safely distanced from) the facility, offering residents of the home a break from everyday COVID living with some live music. Several residents came down to sit in the facility’s outdoor sitting area, as Myles performed holiday music, along with some originals. 

 

“I wanted to bring some Christmas cheer in a safe way during this time. I wanted to be able to be together and in community with others, enjoying each other's company. We all need some hope and peace, and I think music has the ability to offer that,” Myles said of her decision to launch the tour. 

 

This year’s inaugural Merry Myles of Gratitude Tour also includes stops in Fort Worth, Texas, San Angelo, Texas, Austin, Dallas, Omaha, Neb., Kansas City, Mo., and Saint Louis, Mo.  

 

Myles released her debut album Therapy earlier this year after a series of successful releases, including “Acapella,” “Knew Love,” and “...soul-soaked ballad…” (Taste of Country) “Whiskey Dreaming.” The nine-track album earned praise from the press, with Billboard musing “Myles proves her staying power on impressive debut, Therapy” and Rolling Stone Country stating, “The woman has got some serious pipes.”

 

 

About Morgan Myles:

Singer-songwriter Morgan Myles is one of those artists that makes it look and sound so easy. The emerging artist and Pennsylvania native has already earned critical acclaim from outlets such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, and CMT. A natural songwriter herself, Myles’ songs display themes of strength, perseverance, and empowerment. In January 2020, she released her debut album Therapy - a collection of songs that chronicles Myles’ recent hardships and showcases her ability to overcome with help from her craft.

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West Texas VA nurse volunteers for COVID-19 support in El Paso, Texas


BIG SPRING, TX — The journey for every nurse is different. This is true for Michelle Cummins, a registered nurse at the West Texas VA Health Care System. After being widowed, with six children to raise, Cummins worked hard to become a nurse. Fresh out of nursing school Cummins joined the Army and served for eight years as a Captain, teaching first aid and emergency medical training to Soldiers.

 

“If it wasn’t for them believing in me and seeing something in me, I don’t think I would have ever served in the Army,” said Cummins. “At the time, I didn’t have the confidence, but fortunately the recruiter saw potential in me.”

 

The support and motivation Cummins experienced over her career has developed a deep commitment in herself to give back whenever she can. Whether it is helping a patient, or educating other nurses, Cummins has found great joy in serving as a nurse for the last 21 years.

 

When a call for help came from El Paso, Texas, which has been hit hard with COVID-19 cases, Cummins was compelled to help. For her, it was an opportunity to continue giving back. It was an opportunity to honor the people who saw something special in her.

 

On her first day at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center, in El Paso, TX, Cummins was blown away by the difficult situation facing the hospital. After a few days of shadowing and in- processing, Cummins was caring for patients in a mobile intensive care unit.

 

“As a nurse, I’ve worked in a number of environments,” said Cummins. “I’ve worked in intensive care units, pediatrics, and in the emergency room. With everything that I’ve experienced and done, especially in the military, it has all culminated in this moment.”

 

In just a few weeks in El Paso, Cummins has put to use all of her experiences, knowledge and skills honed over 21 years of nursing – to support a community in need. Through this service, Cummins is most grateful for having the opportunity to share those skills and knowledge with a number of younger nurses working at the hospital.

 

“We’re learning from each other,” said Cummins. “Really it’s about sharing knowledge. I’m bringing a sense of old school, and it mixes with what the younger nurses know.”

 

The work Cummins has experienced over the last few weeks in El Paso has been invaluable. The knowledge gained working in a COVID-19 intensive care unit will be helpful for Veterans and staff in the West Texas VA Health Care System.

 

“When or if COVID hits home, I’ll have more knowledge and know-how, which will help with difficult situations,” said Cummins. “I’ll be able to provide better care for my Veterans in West Texas.”

 

West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) proudly serves Veterans in 33 counties across 55,000 square miles of rural geography in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. The George H. O’Brien, Jr. VA Medical Center is located in Big Spring, Texas and serves as the headquarters for the Wilson & Young Medal of Honor VA Outpatient Clinic located in Midland/Odessa, Texas, and four other CBOCs located in Abilene, TX, San Angelo, TX and Hobbs, NM. Additionally, WTVAHCS operates two outreach clinics in Stamford, TX, and Fort Stockton, TX. Two Vet Centers also provide services and are located in Abilene, TX and Midland, TX. More than 56,000 Veterans reside within the service area, of which approximately 17,000 receive care at WTVAHCS. On average, the health care system supports more than 170,000 outpatient visits annually.

 

 

(Photo captions: Left - Answering a call to help, Michelle Cummins, a nurse with West Texas VA Health Care System, has been serving on a 30-day detail in El Paso, Texas. Cummins is seen putting on personal protective equipment before heading into a mobile intensive care unit at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center. Right - Michelle Cummins served in the U.S. Army for eight years with a medical corps. Cummins says her time in the military helped shape her for the work she has been doing during a 30-day detail supporting El Paso with COVID-19 relief.)

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Big Spring High School's Pride Drive recognized at last night's Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees meeting, 12/10/2020


Big Spring ISD’s Superintendent of Schools Mr. Jay McWilliams recognized Big Spring High School’s band director John Landin, his staff, and the Pride Drive’s three Drum Majors during last night’s meeting of the BSISD Board of Trustees. The Pride Drive marches for a state 4A title at 3:30 PM on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

There will be a Community Send Off at 12:15 PM on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, located on Goliad street between Big Spring High School and FM 700.

Good luck Pride Drive & Go Steers Go!!!

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  DPS Reminds Texans to Prepare Ahead of Winter Weather


AUSTIN – With another round of winter weather predicted to make its way to parts of Texas this weekend, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) wants to remind Texans to make preparations now for potentially hazardous weather still to come this season.

 

“Weather in Texas can be hazardous and unpredictable,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “It’s important to be prepared for winter weather and take steps now to ensure you’re ready for whatever comes your way — be it snow, ice, sleet or freezing temperatures.”

 

When it comes to winter weather, ensuring your vehicle is properly maintained is vitally important. Check the battery, windshield wipers, tire pressure, tire tread and fluid levels, as well as ensure door and trunk locks are lubricated to prevent freezing.

 

Drivers are encouraged to keep the following emergency supplies in their vehicles:

 

·         Blanket or sleeping bag;

·         Extra clothes, gloves and a hat;

·         Cell phone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries and phone charging cord;

·         First aid kit and pocket knife;

·         High-calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water;

·         A bag of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires;

·         Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and a shovel; and

·         Jumper cables.

 

In addition, DPS offers the following tips to stay safe during winter weather:

 

·         Monitor local weather broadcasts and check the latest weather conditions from the National Weather Service.

·         Use an all-hazards weather radio for up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information.

·         Be aware that ice accumulates on bridges and overpasses before drivers will see it on roads and highways, so approach them more slowly in winter weather.

·         Sign up for calls or texts from your local emergency notification system.

·         Make sure you have inclement weather contact numbers for school and work.

·         Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted, and monitor road conditions by visiting Drive Texas or calling (800) 452-9292.

·         If you must drive in inclement weather, allow extra time to reach your destination.

·         On icy roads, drive slowly and increase the distance between your vehicle and others, as you may need increased room to stop your vehicle. Do not use cruise control.

·         Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, and the gas tank is full.

·         Watch for downed trees and power lines. If a stop light is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

·         Insulate outside faucets and pipes near outer walls.

·         Make sure furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves are clean, well-ventilated and in good working condition.

·         Keep space heaters at least three feet away from walls and combustible materials, including furniture and bedding, and don’t operate these machines when you’re asleep. Also ensure the space heater cannot tip over.

·         To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never operate a generator or other fuel-powered device inside a home, garage or other enclosed space. The odorless, colorless gas is deadly and is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned. Sources include motor vehicle engines, generators and fuel-burning appliances or heating systems. Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

·         Check on friends and family members whose health or age may put them at greater risk with hazardous weather.

·         Make arrangements for proper shelter and an emergency supply of food and water for your pets and livestock.

·         Stock up on firewood and supplies, including canned goods, bottled water and medication.

·         If you will be away from home for a long period of time, set your thermostat to 55 degrees or higher and open cabinets under all sinks.

 

For more tips on vehicle safety, visit Ready.gov, and check out these winter driving safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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Food 2 Kids Big Spring continues to provide sack meals for to Big Spring students


Due to COVID-19, the local non-profit organization Food 2 Kids hasn't been able to gather volunteers to sack food this semester, but their mission of getting food to hungry kids continues on.

 

Food 2 Kids has been able to purchase pre-sacked food bags from the West Texas Food Bank and the Food Bank has been delivering the food sacks to the schools that they serve.

 

The organization is currently serving 355 students across five Big Spring ISD campuses - Moss, Marcy, Goliad, Kentwood and Big Spring Intermediate. These students go home with one of the weekend food sacks every Friday during the school year.

 

Currently, these pre-sacked food sacks are $6.00/sack. If anyone in the community would like to donate to Food 2 Kids Big Spring, they can mail a check to P.O. Box 1641, Big Spring, TX. 79721. They can also contact Pam Steel at 432-935-0713, and she would be happy to pick up a donation from any business or individual that would like to give to Food 2 Kids Big Spring. Every dollar is spent to help the local children in need in Big Spring.

 

To learn more about this local organization that has continued to help the children of Big Spring over the last 7 years, visit their website:

food2kidsbigspring.com

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Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau Is Honored With Convention South's Annual Readers' Choice Award


GULF SHORES, Ala. (Oct. 12, 2020)—It is with honor that the publishers and editors of Convention South, the national multimedia resource for planning events in the South, present Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau with a 2020 Readers’ Choice Award.

 

“Convention South readers and fans have voted to decide the best meeting sites in the South, and it is no surprise to us that Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau has been selected to receive our annual Readers’ Choice Award,” said Convention South Associate Publisher Ashleigh Osborne. “The value in receiving this prestigious recognition is that it comes from the United States’ top meeting professionals who hold events in the South. These planners demand the highest level of customer service and quality facilities, and they have contributed in determining that Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau indeed displays the commitment to professionalism, creativity and service that they require.”

 

Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau is among 380 convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), meeting facilities and hotels located across the South to receive this year’s Readers’ Choice Award. Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominated the meeting sites they believe provide exemplary service for group events. The nominated sites are then compiled onto an online ballot where meeting professionals and fans are asked to vote for the best of the best. With over 8,000 voters participating in the selection process and the highest social media interaction to date, this has been the most successful and engaging year yet!

 

Since creation in 2001, this is the first time that Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau has received the award, making it an even greater honor to present it with a 2020 Readers’ Choice Award. Big Spring Convention & Visitors Bureau will be featured as an award recipient in the December 2020 Awards Issue of Convention South magazine. This exciting issue will also showcase some of the most talented meeting professionals in the nation as Convention South also presents planners with its annual “Meeting Professionals To Watch” designation. “Featuring peer advice and trade secrets from our Meeting Professionals to Watch in 2021, our Awards Issue is one of the most popular must-read resources within the meetings industry,” Osborne said.

 

Celebrating almost 40 years as a leading meeting planning resource, Convention South magazine is based in Gulf Shores, Ala., and is distributed to more than 18,000 meeting professionals located across the country who book meetings held within the South, according to Osborne.

 

A complete list of award winners can be found online at:

https://conventionsouth.com/2020-readers-choice-award-winners-announced/

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Texas Education Agency Pauses A-F Ratings For 2020-21 School Year


 

STAAR testing will proceed so parents and educators continue to understand what students have learned this year, and to gauge the impact of the pandemic on education

 

AUSTIN, Texas – December 10, 2020 – The Texas Education Agency announced today that A-F ratings would be paused for 2020-21 school year due to the ongoing disruptions associated with COVID-19. The STAAR test will proceed for the 2020-21 school year in order to provide critically important information about individual student learning that teachers and parents can use to help students grow. For those schools that incorporate STAAR results into teacher evaluations, TEA is providing flexibility to allow them to remove that component this school year.  

Ensuring that STAAR is made available has been recognized as vital by education leaders around the state.  STAAR results will allow schools, teachers, and parents to see how individual students are performing while also giving education leaders and policymakers across Texas a comprehensive picture of what are likely to be sweeping impacts of the pandemic on student learning, helping policymakers craft solutions for the years ahead. However, the STAAR will not be used for accountability purposes this school year.

 

“The last nine months have been some of the most disruptive of our lives. The challenges have been especially pronounced for our parents, teachers, and students. We continue to prioritize the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff in our schools this year, while working to ensure students grow academically,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

 

“The issuance of A-F ratings for schools has proven to be a valuable tool to support continuous improvement for our students, allowing educators, parents, and the general public to better identify and expand efforts that are working for kids. But the pandemic has disrupted school operations in fundamental ways that have often been outside the control of our school leaders, making it far more difficult to use these ratings as a tool to support student academic growth. As a result, we will not issue A-F ratings this school year,” added Morath. 

 

School systems are required to make STAAR available to every eligible student. The test will be administered on school campuses across the state or at other secure alternative testing sites. The test is an assessment of the grade level expectations of Texas students, with questions designed by subject matter experts and committees of Texas teachers to measure how well students have mastered knowledge and skills in various grades and subjects. STAAR will continue to be administered only in secure environments to ensure the results remain valid and reliable. 

 

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KBest 4th Annual Christmas Lights Contest


Howard County is lighting up with Christmas spirit thanks, in part, to KBest Media’s  4th annual Christmas Lights Contest presented by Big Mike’s Farm Store. 

 

This year’s contest is offering over $10,000 in cash and prizes to a total of 33 winners. 1st through 3rd place winners will be selected for the 4 precincts of Howard County, and 7 areas within the Big Spring city limits that will include Big Spring City Council Districts 1-6, plus Highland South which is a separate judging area not to be included in any other district.  

 

3rd place winners will take home $125, 2nd place winners will get $250, and 1st place winners will win $500. The deadline to enter is today at 3 PM. Online registration is available at kbst.com, or in-person forms can be picked up at any Big Mike’s location and dropped off at 608 Johnson. Judging begins tomorrow night.

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Big Spring City Council Meeting Highlights, 12/08/2020


During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Big Spring City Council, Mayor Shannon Thomason made a motion to remove all Big Spring Economic Development Corporation Board members and replace them at the next meeting in January. 

 

The motion was made during the discussion on BSEDC matters after the mayor spoke about his displeasure with how he felt that various businesses had been given the run-around by the previous Executive Director and he was disappointed that the Board did not intervene. Ultimately, the motion died due to lack of a second. 

 

Also, during the meeting, Councilmembers appointed additional members to the Charter Committee. Pat Chesworth was appointed as the District 4 representative. Troy Thompkins was appointed for District 5; and A.J. Weaver was appointed for District 6.

 

Councilmembers also appointed Cody Hughes, District 3, to the Big Spring Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Board. The firefighter oath was also administered to Chase Westbrook, and City Manager Todd Darden was also sworn in for his position. 

 

 

(Highlights cont.)

 

City Manager’s Report

Dr. Ahmed, Medical Advisor for the City of Big Spring, reported to Councilmembers that as of Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, there have been:

 

67 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 throughout the world, and 1.6 million people have died.

 

In the United States, there have been 15 million positive cases for COVID-19 that have been documented. He advised that experts say that if asymptomatic people were included in the count, that number could rise up to six times higher. There have been 300,000 deaths related to COVID-19 in the U.S.

 

In Texas, there have been 1.4 million cases and 26,000 deaths.

 

In Big Spring, there have been 2,200 cases of COVID-19 and 43 deaths.

 

He advised that there is a vaccine by Pfizer and there will be 1.1 million doses will be given to the State of Texas. They will be offered to first responders, front line workers, and people who are in long-term care facility.

 

There won’t be enough doses to cover everyone, but more doses will be released at a later time. Dr. Ahmed advised that citizens are expected to have access to the vaccine by April, and by June every citizen who wants the vaccine will be able to get it. Until then, the only defense that people have against the virus, is to continue wearing their face masks.

 

The vaccine is scheduled to come out on Dec. 13, 2020. The vaccine is a 2-dose series. You get the first dose and 2-weeks later you get the second dose. There are some side effects with the vaccine that are similar to other vaccines, such as pain at the injection site, fever, and aches.

 

Anyone with questions about the vaccine can contact Dr. Steve Ahmed for more information.

 

Afterwards, Mayor Thomason advised that it’s been difficult to get accurate numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services because they have many staff members out due to COVID-19. He stated that there were 557 active cases as of Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. Citizens were urged to do what they can to protect themselves – wear a mask in public, don’t go out unless you need to, wash hands, use hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing.

 

 

District 5 Large item pick-up collected 38,000 pounds of trash. District 6 large item pick-up is scheduled for December 16, 2020. Citizens are encouraged to call in ahead of time to be added to the list.

 

 

Code Enforcement officers are short staffed for various reasons. Darden advised that only he and one other person were available to act as Code Officers at this time.

 

 

Northern reliever route for HWY 87 is re-opened, but there are portions that cannot be entered due to construction. This is scheduled to be completed in April or May 2021. Signage is still needed for areas of the roadway. Lights are now functional along the route.

 

 

New District Engineer is Glen Allred. He’s served in the area before as an interim.

 

FM 700 construction will be completed after the holidays. The ramp is the last item that will need to reconstructed. When the time comes to work on that, the ramp will be closed. This will force a lot of traffic to Goliad. Darden advised drivers to use HWY 87 entrances to Wal-Mart and other surrounding businesses, otherwise they’ll be stuck at the Goliad intersection for a while.

 

 

Final walk-through for the new landfill was completed. It is anticipated to open after an inspection in April 2021. When asked how negotiations were coming along with Howard County, Darden advised that there would be more meetings with county officials. He advised that they still need to provide a barrier that separates the road from county property. According to Darden the agreement with the County was submitted in 2014 and there had been changes that the city was not aware of. He stated that they city is $5 million “in the red” and expected to be able to crawl out it within 5 years. Because of this, Darden said they weren’t in a position to spend a lot more money at this time. Their plan is to put up a barbed wire fence to provide a barrier to prevent illegal dumping on county property.

 

 

New Business

During the BSEDC Year-End Report, Executive Director Mark Willis advised that Airpark and Industrial roads will be completed by the end of the year. Anticipated that economy would come back by the 2nd quarter. He also advised Council of the following:

  • BSEDC in process of updating website, anticipating to heavily market Big Spring once COVID-19 vaccine becomes readily available.
  • Last month, BSEDC has received more leads and prospects than since August. Working on a retail investment group that’s interested in Big Spring.
  • Suggested the Tax Incremental Reinvestment Zone for downtown and city will be looking into the possibility.
  • Targets for this coming year are warehouse and distribution.
  • Will do lots of recruiting in second quarter after the vaccine becomes available.

 

During discussion on BSEDC matters, Doug Hartman, District 2, inquired as to why the city was unable to get big name restaurants or chains. Willis advised that Big Spring doesn’t have the demographics to support certain types of restaurants. He noted that the TIRZ downtown should be able to later help with that. He also stated that they cannot incentivize restaurants or certain retailers because they need specific numbers to get the results they want. Plus, if retailers are incentivized to come to town, they’ll be competing with somebody already in town. So, instead of going after individual retailers, they target developers.

 

When Cody Hughes, District 3, asked why he’ll be targeting warehouse and distribution, Willis advised it was because Big Spring is, largely, a blue-collar workforce, and they have the advantage of using railways, roads, and the airport. Willis advised that as downtown develops with the Petroleum building, they’ll have an opportunity to recruit white-collar jobs later. He advised that the goal of the EDC is to bring in primary jobs that bring in money from the outside that will pay above the average wage now with a full benefits package.

 

 

During discussion on Big Spring Convention and Visitor’s Bureau matters, Community Services Director Hayley Herrera was questioned by councilmembers on the CVB distributes funding for events. Councilman Hughes also questioned whether it was necessary for the City to continue to pay $3,000 in rent for use of the CVB building. He suggested that the CVB move into the Chamber of Commerce building, located on the corner of 3rd and Gregg, to save money. Herrera advised that the CVB had once shared the building with the Chamber with two staff members. Now they have doubled their staff to 4 people and there is not enough room to display their travel brochures. Councilmembers also suggested that the rental rates for the Historic Spring area and the SM Energy Pavilion be revisited.

 

 

Councilmembers approved to use $2,000 from the Tree Memorial Fund to assist in the beautification of the downtown area being completed by businesses working with the Main Street Project.

 

 

Councilman Hughes lead the discussion on the possibility to selling city-owned land and properties to Crossroads Development Housing Corporation (CDHC) in Big Spring for the purpose of developing the properties to make available for individuals and families who qualify as low income. The benefit of giving properties to CDHC in exchange for payment of back taxes would be that, after development, the properties would be able to generate taxes for the city. Since there are other taxing entities that would be involved in this transaction, Anna Scott, with CDHC, was advised to find a property, speak with other entities about and revisit Council at a later meeting.

 

 

Councilmembers approved to hire a qualified consulting firm to assist the city in structuring and creation of a new Tax Increment Refinance Zone (TIRZ) and allowing the Mayor or his designee to enter an agreement. They also approved the first reading of an ordinance that amend the General Fund Budget to pay for the professional services contract. They anticipated the cost of this to be between $20,000 - $30,000.

 

 

Two budget neutral items were approved by Councilmembers. One would allow the City to accept a $1,500 donation from Gunsight Mountain Wind Energy (formerly Invenergy) to be used for additional equipment for the EMS Dept. The second was the reappropriation of budget funds left over from the last fiscal year to be used to fund a seal coat project that had been completed this year.

 

 

Mark Dawson was appointed as the Council’s nominee for the Howard County Appraisal District Board of Directors for the 2020-21 term.

 

 

An extension was approved by Council for the Meet and Confer Agreement between the Big Spring Professional Firefighters Association and the City of Big Spring, which allows them to bring issues to the table for discussion with each other. The agreement was extended until June 2021.

 

 

After Executive Session

Councilmembers approved a motion for the City Manager to negotiate a settlement with Christmen Cable.

 

 

Councilmembers approved the action of granting an easement and right-of-way to Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC on the north side of Moss Creek Lake, Howard County, TX and authorizing the Mayor or his designee to execute any necessary documents. This would allow them to remove dilapidated poles and replace with new poles on the new easement.

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Reminder: Space Heaters are Not Intended to Heat the Entire House


Over the past weekend, night time temperatures dropped below freezing and many people have already begun to use space heaters for additional warmth. 

 

Big Spring Fire Marshall Dan Hendrickson reminds the public that space heaters are not intended to heat up an entire house. 

 

"You cannot use extension cords with space heaters," said Hendrickson. "You cannot use them with multiprong devices, with splitters and everything else where you take one splitter and plug it into one outlet and now you have six instead of two. It's not intended for that. It has to be plugged directly into an outlet that's hardwired to your electrical system that's been inspected by an electrician or by the code enforcement."

 

Fire Marshal Hendrickson went on to say that there also must be 3 feet of clearance all the way around the space heater to ensure proper air flow, otherwise nearby items could catch fire. 

 

According to Big Spring Fire Chief Craig Ferguson, the department sees an average of 6-8 space heater related fires each year.

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1st annual Heart of the City Stroll in downtown Big Spring scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020


The first annual Heart of the City Stroll will be held this Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in downtown Big Spring. Attendees are encouraged to stroll through Main Street and around the downtown area to explore the local shops, salons, restaurants, and bars. 

 

Michelle Hamlin, Branch Manager for Expedition Royalty in Big Spring and an organizer for the event, told KBest News that they hope is to make this an annual event. 

 

"This year it's going to be very simple. We're gonna close down the 200 block of Main Street. We've talked to all the retail stores around the Courthouse. We're including the area from Splurge to SheBrews, Soothe, and all the way down to Krazy Kow, and then all the stores down Main Street. [We're] tryng to make it where people are wanting to shop local," said Hamlin.

 

Hamlin advised that this event is presented in conjunction with the grand opening of Sabrina Flores Photography. Photos with Santa will be available at the gazebo on the corner of 2nd and Main from 4-7 PM. In order to get a photo with Santa, just bring a new unwrapped toy or a minimum donation of $10. Toys and money collected will be donated to the Salvation Army.

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HCVFD AWARDS FIREFIGHTERS


The Howard County Volunteer Fire Department recognized its Firefighter and Officer of Year in a “Grab & Go” Gift Presentation last Sunday. The original holiday reception to honor the Volunteer Fire Department was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions, but was re-structured as a drive-by reception line in which the Board of Directors presented the firefighters with gifts of appreciation, as well as recognition for their service. The 2020 Howard County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year Award went to Colter Hutchings. The Award for Officer of the Year went to Battalion Chief Bracy Bacon.

 

Chief Mitchell Hooper explained how firefighters are selected for the awards. 

 

“It goes off how many calls you make and runs and other stuff that you do for the department and then we vote on it,” said Chief Hooper.

 

At age 20, Battalion Chief Bracy Bacon says that his interest in fire fighting began 4 years ago at age 16 during a July 4 th grass fire incident. He has been involved with the fire department ever since. When asked how he felt about being selected for Officer of the Year by his peers, Bacon stated, “Good. Glad that they trust me enough to vote me in.”

 

Congratulations to Howard County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year, Colter Hutchings,

and Officer of the Year Bracy Bacon.

 

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Big Spring City Council to meet for Work Session and Regular Session tomorrow, Dec. 8, 2020


Big Spring City Council will meet for a work session tomorrow at 10 AM and a regular session at 5:30 PM in the Council Chambers, located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring.

 

During the work session, council members will discuss various items that are listed on the agenda for the regular session. Those items listed to be discussed are end of year reports for the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation and the Big Spring Convention and Visitors Bureau. They’ll also be discussing possible action regarding the purchase of trees from the Tree Memorial Fund for the downtown area. 

 

Councilmembers will also discuss and have possible action on appointing three more members to the Charter Committee to represent Districts 4, 5, and 6. Other items include city council potentially selling city-owned land, a budget amendment accepting a donation for additional EMS equipment, and a resolution designating a nominee to fill a vacancy on the Howard County Appraisal District Board of Directors.

 

View the entire agendas for the work session and regular session, here:

 

https://www.mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/City-Council-2 

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Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce holds 9th Annual Toy Drive - Deadline to turn in donation is Dec. 10, 2020


The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce is holding their 9th annual Toy Drive that will continue this week through Thursday, December 10th. The Chamber is asking the public to help them collect un-wrapped toys for boys and girls, ages 2-12; and  socks, coats, toiletries, etc for children ages 13 - 18. Donations  are also being accepted for fuzzy blankets that will be given to the Howard County Children’s Advocacy Center. 

 

Donations - toys, items, and monetary donations - can  be dropped off at the Chamber Office located at 215 W. 3rd in Big Spring. Toys collected will assist CASA of West Texas, The Salvation Army, and the Howard County Children’s Advocacy Center. 

For more information, contact the Chamber at 263-7641.

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COVID-19 Update for Week of Dec. 4, 2020


Last week, the Texas Department of State Health Services for Region 9/10 has been unable to report COVID-19 numbers to Howard County/Big Spring officials. DSHS officials continue to advise local officials to refer citizens to the dashboard on the Texas DSHS website to obtain weekly COVID-19 statistics. 

 

According to the dashboard, as of yesterday, Howard County has had a total of 2,223 positive cases of COVID-19. There have been 1,513 cases that have recovered. There are currently 667 active cases, and there have been 43 fatalities. 

 

County and City officials strongly urge the community to take every precaution to protect yourself and your family members, especially when celebrating the 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.

 

The following is the press release on the COVID-19 update for the week of Nov. 29, 2020 that was issued by local officials. 

 

(To enlarge photo, right click and select "Open image in new tab".)

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Rainbow Trout Stocking at Comanche Trail Lake in Comanche Trail Park


Date: December 4, 2020
To: Media Outlets
From: Manny Negron, Big Spring Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Tourism Coordinator
 

RE: Rainbow Trout Stocking at Comanche Trail Lake in Comanche Trail Park

 

Event Summary: Once again the City of Big Spring has partnered with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in stocking Comanche Trail Lake with Rainbow Trout. The first stocking took place on December 2, 2020 and an additional stocking will occur on January 11, 2021. Over 4,000 catchable size trout will be released into the lake during these 2 stocking dates. Below is an excerpt from a letter from Mr. Carl J. Kittel, Program Director – Trout – Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

 

“The goal of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s rainbow trout stocking program is to release catchable size rainbow trout in select waters in Texas to provide a unique winter fishing opportunity, to provide additional fishing opportunities in urban areas and to provide support to educational fishing programs. Since 1966 the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has stocked rainbow trout into numerous locations around the state. To date the total number of trout stocked exceeds 8.2 million.


Lake must have water temperatures cool enough to sustain trout from December through February in most areas of the State. The stocking site must be open to the public and approved by the TPWD Inland Fisheries Biologist in your area. The trout remain the property of the state of Texas and subject to TPWD regulations.


Since 1994 the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has sought to expand this very popular program by creating partnerships with municipalities, corporations and special organizations with a common goal of providing unique winter fishing opportunities in Texas. By participating in the program, these entities ensure that this unique fishing opportunity continues to be available to the public in their area. Thanks again for your support and interest in participating in the program.”

 

(To enlarge photo, right click and select "Open image in new tab".)

 

 

(Article photo: Visit Big Spring Facebook page)

 

 

 

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Area News: Crash in Mitchell County, 11/29/2020


A one-vehicle crash in Mitchell County resulted in 1 fatality on Sunday afternoon.

 

According to Texas DPS, Troopers responded to the scene on I-20, 5 miles west of Colorado City, at 4:30 PM on November 29, 2020. A 2018 Ford Pickup was traveling west on Interstate Highway 20 in the left lane. The report says that the vehicle driven by Darren Wade Heady, 22 of Grapeland, veered left striking a guardrail, swerved right, then left striking the guardrail again. 

 

Both Heady and one of his passengers, Jake Michael Golightly, 22 of Palestine, were ejected during the crash. Golightly was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was taken to Kiker-Seale Funeral Home in Colorado City. Heady and his second passenger were both treated and released from Mitchell County Hospital.

 

Crash is still under investigation.

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Filing Information for the Special Election to fill positions for Big Spring Councilmembers for Districts 5 and 6.


Date: December 3, 2020

To: Media Outlets

From: Tami Davis, Assistant City Secretary

 

Re: Special Election

 

December 5, 2020, is the first day to file for a place on the ballot for the Special Election to be held on March 6, 2021 to fill the unexpired terms of City Councilmembers from districts five and six. The last day to file for a place on the ballot is January 4, 2021. December 5, 2020, falls on a Saturday; therefore, the first day to file in person will be on the following Monday, December 7, 2020.

 

Please submit all Candidate Applications and Campaign Treasurer Appointments to the City Secretary’s Office located at 310 Nolan Street, Big Spring, Texas 79720. City Hall hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed from noon to 1:00 PM for lunch). 

 

 

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Area News: ODESSA PHARMACY AND OWNER TO PAY $320,000 IN CIVIL PENALTIES FOR ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT AND THE COMBAT METHAMPHETAMINE EPIDEMIC ACT OF 2005


Odessa pharmacy Town & Country Drug, Inc. (Town & Country) and its owner, pharmacist Gary Warren, have entered into a civil settlement with the United States that requires them to pay $320,000 in civil penalties to resolve allegations that they violated certain provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA), announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Kyle Williamson, El Paso Division.

 

During a routine inspection of Town & Country in May 2017, DEA Diversion investigators identified significant discrepancies in the pharmacy’s inventory of controlled substances. DEA investigators noted that Town & Country was in violation of numerous regulatory recordkeeping provisions and had sold pseudoephedrine and ephedrine products without self-certifying as required by the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA). During a follow-up inspection in February 2020, DEA Diversion investigators identified additional discrepancies in the pharmacy’s inventory of controlled substances, determining that Town & Country continued to both violate CSA recordkeeping requirements and sell pseudoephedrine and ephedrine products without self-certifying. These requirements are intended to prevent the diversion of controlled substances for illegal purposes.

 

The CMEA was signed into law on March 9, 2006 to regulate, among other things, over-the-counter sales of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine products, common ingredients in cough, cold, and allergy products. Retail provisions of the CMEA include daily sales limits and 30-day purchase limits, placement of product out of direct customer access, sales logbooks, customer ID verification, employee training and self-certification of regulated sellers. The CMEA was passed because those drugs are precursor chemicals

used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine or amphetamine.

 

“Pharmacies play a vital role in ensuring that opioids and other addictive drugs are not diverted and abused,” said U.S. Attorney Sofer. “This office will use all available tools at our disposal, including civil remedies when appropriate, to detect, prevent, and prosecute violations of federal recordkeeping requirements.”

 

“Historically, most diversion of legitimate controlled substance occurs at the retail level,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Williamson. “The DEA will continue to combat the rising tide of prescription abuse in our country by ensuring DEA-registered entities follow all requirements set forth by the law.”

 

Town & Country has informed the government that it is enhancing its recordkeeping and compliance program in response to the deficiencies identified by the DEA and that it will maintain a current certification under the CMEA.

 

The DEA’s Diversion Control Unit in El Paso led the investigation of this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Parnham negotiated the settlement on behalf of the government. The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

 

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Governor Abbott Announces Initial COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution For Month Of December


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made an initial allotment of over 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to the State of Texas for the month of December. These vaccines, which should begin arriving in Texas the week of December 14th, will be distributed to qualifying providers across the state who will administer these immunizations based on the Vaccine Distribution Principles developed by the state's Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. Additional allotments may be made later this month for December. Also, increased allotments are expected in January and the following months.

 

"The State of Texas is already prepared for the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine, and will swiftly distribute these vaccines to Texans who voluntarily choose to be immunized," said Governor Abbott. "As we await the first shipment of these vaccines, we will work with communities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

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United Way to hold Christmas Drive-Thru Grocery Giveaway on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020


The United Way of Big Spring and Howard County will have a Christmas Drive Thru Grocery Giveaway on Saturday, Dec 12th. It’ll begin at 10 AM in the Blankenship Field parking lot, next to Big Spring High School. Recipients will enter the drive-thru on 10th street and exit onto 11th place. Be advised that everyone wishing to receive groceries must show some type of id to prove their Howard County residency.

 

All volunteers will be wearing masks and those receiving groceries are asked to wear a mask in their vehicle as well.

 

According to Christian Fair, Executive Director for the local United Way organization, doing a giveaway like this is out of the ordinary for United Way, especially during a Campaign but they have some amazing sponsors. Fair stated that HEB, Delek, Scenic Mountain Medical Center, Martinez Welding, NuStar, and Blue Energy have all stepped up to offer their help and support to the community while everyone tries to maneuver through this pandemic.

 

Fair went on to say that the holidays can put a financial strain on families any year but this year we have been hit so hard with so many obstacles that the United Way wanted to try to offer some relief and help the community at least have a nice warm Christmas meal.

For more information on the event, visit the Facebook page for

United Way of Big Spring and Howard County

.

Photo: United Way Board Members and volunteers assisting in the last grocery giveaway earlier this year.

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Big Spring Symphony Association unable to continue with season kick-off this month.


Due to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, the City of Big Spring has closed all indoor city-owned rental facilities, including The Big Spring Municipal Auditorium, for the rest of the year.

 

Due to this closure of the auditorium, the Big Spring Symphony Association announced that they have no other venue options that will properly social distance their musicians and will be unable to kick off their season on December 19th with our “Holiday Spectacular” Concert.

 

They encourage the public to keep an eye on the Facebook page for the Big Spring Symphony Association, their website Bigspringsymphony.org, and local news sources for further details and a new kick-off date for their season, appropriately entitled, “The Versatile Big Spring Symphony”. 

 

 

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Thank You for Your Investment - Boot Barn


The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a "Thank You for Your Investment" presentation for Boot Barn, located at 2602 S. Gregg in Big Spring, yesterday morning to thank them for all that they do for the community.

 

Norbie Nieves, Store Manager, told KBest News that he loved that the Chamber came out to recognize them. Nieves also advised that as Christmas gets closer, Boot Barn store hours will be extended to 10 PM. He also advised that online shopping is available.

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Public Protection Classification Results for City of Big Spring Fire Department


Date: December 1, 2020
To: Media Outlets
From: Mayor Shannon Thomason; Shane Bowles, Interim City Manager; Craig Ferguson, Fire Chief

 

Re: Public Protection Classification Results

 

On November 1, 2020, City Officials were notified that Big Spring was awarded a Public Protection Class 03/3x from the Insurance Services Office (ISO).


ISO’s Public Protection Classification Program (PPC) plays an important role in the underwriting
process at insurance companies. In fact, most U.S. insurers – including the largest ones – use PPC information as part of their decision making when deciding what business to write, coverages to offer or prices to charge for personal or commercial property insurance.


PPC is important to fire departments as well. Communities whose PPC improves may get lower
insurance rates. PPC also provides fire departments with a valuable benchmark and is used by many departments as a valuable tool when planning, budgeting and justifying fire protection improvements.


The goal is to accurately reflect a community’s fire suppression and control resources through the Public Protection Classification (PPC) system.


Congratulations and thank you to the Big Spring Fire Department!

 

(To enlarge photo, right click and select "Open image in new tab".)

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Representatives needed to volunteer from Big Spring Districts 5 and 6 for Charter Committee


Date: December 1, 2020
To: Media Outlets
From: Mayor Shannon Thomason


Re: Charter Committee Volunteers

 

Citizens that live in District 5 and District 6 who are interested in serving on the City Charter
Committee are advised to contact Nora Hernandez at 264-2347 to have their name submitted before City Council. This committee is being formed to review the current City Charter.

 

(To enlarge photo, right click and select "Open image in new tab".

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Area News: DPS reports multiple fatalities in Scurry County crash, 11/27/2020


On Friday night, a two-vehicle crash in Scurry County resulted in 6 deaths.

 

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Troopers responded to the scene located on US 180, 10 miles west of Snyder, on November 27, 2020 at 9:53 PM. The vehicles involved in the crash were a 2013 Ford Taurus and a 2020 Nissan Armada. 

 

The preliminary report states that Larry A. Jaramillo, 27 of Snyder, was traveling east on US-180 while the Sai V. Lingamaneni, 26 of Malvern, was traveling west. Lingamaneni’s vehicle then crossed over into the eastbound lanes and crashed into Jaramillo’s vehicle head on.

 

Jaramillo and his passengers, 25-year-old Crystal A. Flores, and 2-year-old John L. Jaramillo, both also from Snyder, were all pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Lingamaneni was transported to University Medical Center in Lubbock for non-incapacitating injuries. Two of his passengers were transported to Lubbock hospitals for non-incapacitating injuries. 3 of his passengers - Narisma Gouni, 57, and Laxmi Gouni, 48, both of Irving; and 26-year-old Bharathreddy Gouni of Bridgeport - were all pronounced dead at the scene.

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Big Spring City Council Special Session, 11/30/2020 - Highlights


During last night's meeting, Big Spring City Council members appointed a Charter Committee to deliberate and recommend to City Council amendments to the Charter of the City of Big Spring.

 

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason motioned that the Charter Committee would be made of seven members, each being appointed by their councilmember; and that the Mayor would appoint a presiding officer; and that the Mayor, City Manager, and City Attorney or legal counsel would also sit on the committee as ex-officio members.

 

District 3 Councilman Cody Hughes seconded the motion and made an amendment, stating that committee members should elect their own chairman. This amendment was passed with a 5-0 vote. 

 

Ultimately, the Mayor's motion on the Charter Committee passed with a 5-0 vote.

 

Councilman Nick Ornelas appointed Elias Gamboa for District 1, Nati Saldivar was appointed for District 2 by Councilman Doug Hartman, and John Scott was appointed for District 3 by Councilman Cody Hughes. Councilwoman Gloria McDonald advised that her candidate had a conflict of interest and she would need more time to find someone else to appoint as a representative for District 4. Mayor Shannon Thomason appointed Roger Rodman as an at-large committee member. During discussion it was stated that, according to Roberts Rules, Rodman would be the presiding officer for the committee until a chairman can be selected by committee members. 

 

Councilmembers agreed that a PSA would be announced soon calling for citizens from District 5 and 6 to volunteer on the Charter Committee and that would be revisited at the next Council meeting on 12/08/2020.

 

 

Councilmembers approved the first reading of a resolution that would add Assistant Finance Director Adam Czajkowski as an account signatory on all City of Big Spring accounts with BBVA Compass Bank in Big Spring, effective Dec. 9. 2020. It would also Remove City Secretary Donald Moore from the accounts since he is set to retire from COBS later this month. His removal from accounts would be effective Dec. 23, 2020. Also, the first reading of a resolution was approved empowering Czajkowski to transmit and withdraw funds from TexPool / TexPool Prime. Both of these passed with a 5-0 vote. 

 

Councilmembers also voted 5-0 to authorize Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason to negotiate, conclude, and execute a pipeline Right-of-way agreement with Medallion Pipeline Company, LLC.

 

During the Executive Session, councilmembers deliberated on the appointment, employment, and duties of the City Manager. Afterwards, councilmembers approved the Mayor to make an employment agreement with Russell Todd Darden, former Big Spring City Manager. This passed with a 4-0 vote with Councilman Ornelas, District 1, abstaining from the vote.

 

When asked why he  abstained from the vote, Ornelas told KBest News that he agreed that Darden was the right person for the City Manager position, but there were some things listed in the contract that he and his constituents did not agree with. He also advised that since the discussion was held in Executive Session, he was limited on what details he could discuss.

 

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