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Big Spring food pantry Isaiah 58 re-opens on Sundays


Last month, Isaiah 58, the food pantry in Big Spring, announced that they would have to temporarily close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, they have been working on a plan that would allow them to re-open to help the community. This week, Nancy Stinson, CEO and President of Isaiah 58, announced that the local organization would be able to open under a modified schedule.

 

According to Stinson, Isaiah 58 will be open for food distribution on Sundays from 12 pm - 2 pm or while supplies last and it will be set up as a drive-thru. She advised that at this time, clients must arrive in a vehicle to pick up their food box. She advised that drivers will enter and exit the parking lot through the designated area. 

 

Stinson told KBest News that the food boxes that they’ll be distributing will be approximately 30 lbs each and everyone will need to be in a vehicle. Staff will load boxes into the vehicles and no one will be allowed to get out of the vehicle. For clients who may be carpooling to Isaiah 58 on Sunday, she advised that they will allow up to 4 food boxes per vehicle as long as the households are at different addresses. 

 

Anyone in need of food is encouraged to stop by on Sunday. She advised that at this time, no documentation will be needed, and they’ll only be taking minimum information. Stinson did advise that they would need to keep track of clients who take food boxes so that they can ensure that they’re only getting one box every 30 days.

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U.S. ATTORNEY AND IRS-CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION WARN OF COVID-19 ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT SCAMS


U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Acting Special Agent in Charge Rodrick Benton of the IRS–Criminal Investigation’s Houston Field Office today cautioned taxpayers of the opportunity for criminals to steal economic impact payments through various means of deception. 

 

COVID-19 economic impact payments will be on their way from the IRS in a matter of weeks. For most Americans, this will be a direct deposit into your bank account. For the unbanked, elderly or other groups who have traditionally received tax refunds via paper check, they will receive their economic impact payment in this manner as well. Everyone receiving a COVID-19 related economic impact payment from the government is at risk. Criminals have already begun deceiving taxpayers through unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages or other communications purporting to be from the IRS in attempts to steal these payments.

 

“My office will be aggressive in targeting anyone who attempts to steal from the American people during this time of national emergency,” said U.S. Attorney Bash. “I urge members of the public to report scams and other illegal activity to law-enforcement authorities.”

 

If anyone believes that they or their family are the victims of a scam or attempted fraud involving these stimulus payments, they can report it without leaving their home. Please contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or by email at disaster@leo.gov. If it is a cyber scam, they may also submit a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

 

“While the Nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, criminals see an opportunity to enrich themselves through fraudulent schemes,” warned Acting Special Agent in Charge Benton. “With the public’s awareness, we can combat these scammers and cease their exploitation of the American taxpayer during these trying times.”

 

IRS – Criminal Investigation has provided the following guidance to identify potential scams.

 

The IRS will deposit your check into the direct deposit account you previously provided on your tax return (or, in the alternative, send you a paper check).

 

The IRS will not call and ask you to verify your payment details. Do not give out your bank account, debit account, or PayPal account information – even if someone claims it’s necessary to get your check. It’s a scam.

 

If you receive a call, don’t engage with scammers or thieves, even if you want to tell them that you know it’s a scam, or you think that you can beat them. Just hang up.

 

If you receive texts or emails claiming that you can get your money faster by sending personal

information or clicking on links, delete them. Don’t click on any links in those emails or texts.

 

Reports are also swirling about bogus checks. If you receive a “check” in the mail now, it’s a fraud – it will take the Treasury a few weeks to mail those out. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount (especially one with cents), or a check that requires that you verify the check online or by calling a number, it’s a fraud.

 

For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

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New COVID-19 Testing Site Available in Big Spring


A new COVID-19 testing site has been made available at Big Spring Urgent Care, 1700 W. FM 700, Suite B, in Big Spring. 

 

Due to the limited number of tests, COVID-19 testing will only be conducted on patients who meet the testing criteria guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

 

Priority for testing are as follows:

 

Priority 1 - hospitalization or symptomatic healthcare workers

Priority 2 - symptomatic patients who also have risk factors

Priority 3 - essential infrastructure workers who are also symptomatic

 

Individuals without symptoms are not a priority.

 

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  Dr. Steve Ahmed, Medical Director for the facility, also added that recent travel to COVID-19 hot spots, such as Louisiana, California, New York, and Michigan, is also significant.

 

Dr. Ahmed stated that if you have symptoms, you cannot enter the facility and MUST stay parked in your vehicle and call for a curbside evaluation and testing so as not to unnecessarily expose other people. For curbside evaluation and testing, or for more information, contact Big Spring Urgent Care at 432-264-1911.

 

 

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Howard County and Big Spring officials hold press conference on confirmed case of COVID-19


Yesterday, 04/08/2020, at approximately 3:15 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a positive test result for COVID-19. The patient is a 74-year-old female and is currently being treated by Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

 

During last night’s press conference with local officials, City of Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason advised that the patient contracted the virus as a travel-related case. When asked for more specific information on the location or how the patient contracted the virus, SMMC CEO Emma Krabill advised that the information would not be disclosed in order to protect the identity of the patient. According to SMMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rahith Saravannan, public health officials will make contact with those who may have been exposed. 

 

In Big Spring as of yesterday evening, there have been 63 completed tests, 4 are outstanding, and 1 is positive. 

 

When asked if Howard County would be seeing an increase in testing sites now that there was a confirmed case in the county, Dr. Saravannan advised that SMMC is following CDC protocol for testing. He advised that there are 3 priorities for testing:

 

Priority 1 - hospitalization or symptomatic healthcare workers

Priority 2 - symptomatic patients who also have risk factors

Priority 3 - essential infrastructure workers who are also symptomatic

 

It was also stated that they do not test asymptomatic people. 

 

During the press conference, Krabill stated that SMMC feels good about their testing process and following the algorithm and the decisions they have made on the tests. She advised that when calculating the percentage of people tested in Howard County as a whole, Howard County is at .15 percent. Other neighboring counties are at .16 and .17 percent, indicating that Howard County is in alignment with that.

 

Going forward, Mayor Thomason advised that they would be focusing on containment and asked the public not to panic because this is something that they have been preparing for. He also encouraged people to continue to practice social distancing, good hygiene, wash your hands, disinfect, and stay home.

 

When asked if there would be any further restriction on Big Spring or Howard County, Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman stated that would be dependent upon the citizens. She advised that if citizens are staying safe and continuing to practice social distancing, then there would be no need to add to the current disaster order. 

 

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Howard County Confirms First Case of COVID-19


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

Re: COVID-19

 

On April 8, 2020 at approximately 3:15 PM, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of a positive test result for COVID-19. The patient is 74 years of age and is a female. This patient is currently being treated by Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

 

Several weeks ago, local officials to include, Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, City of Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, and Howard County Emergency Management started following the COVID-19 pandemic and has since maintained communication with community, state and federal agencies.

 

In order to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, Local officials have worked quickly to direct local medical professionals to the state and federal resources available for items such as PPE's and continue to work with state and federal officials on appropriating some of these items.

Local officials continue to work with various local agencies to mitigate mutual concerns and reach conclusions on how best to handle this situation.

 

Your local officials commend all community stakeholders that have been affected by this pandemic as hard decisions have had to be made in the interest of all our citizens.

 

A press conference will be held at the City of Big Spring Council Chamber at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring at 6:00 PM on Wednesday April 8th, 2020

Howard County Judge, Kathryn Wiseman
Mayor, Shannon Thomason
—————————————-
***KBest News will livestream the press conference tonight at 6:00, here on the KBest Media Facebook page.

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Area News: Scurry County confirms 1st case of COVID-19, 04/08/2020


During this morning's live special announcement by Scurry County officials, Dr. Bid Cooper, the local health authority for the county, advised that Cogdell Hospital in Snyder had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

 

According to Dr. Cooper, the individual is between 50-60 years of age. He contacted the hospital complaining of fever and shortness of breath. He was instructed to report to the hospital's drive-in outside of the front door and stay in his car. The patient was met outside by medical staff and determined to be significantly ill.

 

Dr. Cooper advised that they were suspicious of COVID-19 from the start and all people in contact with the patient wore the proper personal protective equipment. The patient was masked and taken to isolation room in the Emergency Room and evaluated there. Subsequently, he was transferred to an outside institution in serious but stable condition.

 

The investigation revealed that he had been to a doctor's appointment in Lubbock on March 18, 2020 and had been in his house since then until his visit to the hospital. Dr. Cooper advised that they'll continue to give daily updates on the county's situation.

 

Scurry County Judge Dan Hicks advised that they will continue to advise of further positive cases as they arise. He also encouraged residents to continue to practice social distancing, wash their hands, don't touch their face, and to wear their face masks.

 

Watch the video announcement at: https://youtu.be/6PoYkH56xvg

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COUNTY OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR GOOD FRIDAY, 04/10/2020


Howard County will close all offices Friday, April 10, 2020 in observance of Good Friday. County Offices will open again for business on Monday, April 13, 2020.


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

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PSA: City Closures Extended to June 1, 2020


All City rentable facilities, including Dora Roberts Community Center, Municipal Auditorium, Comanche Trail Amphitheater, Roy Anderson Sports Complex and all Comanche Trail Park Pavilions will remain closed until Monday, June 1, 2020 with the possibility of an extension.

Comanche Trail Golf Course, Comanche Trail Park, Comanche Trail Lake, Moss Lake, and all other outside parks, including but not limited to Birdwell Park, ABC Park, Bert Andries Park, and Dr. Morgan Park will remain closed until Monday, June 1, 2020 with the possibility of an extension.

 

All City Offices are still open by appointment only.

 

For any questions or concerns please contact the City Managers Office at 432-264-2401.

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Big Spring ISD addresses graduation concerns and continues to provide meals for children.


During Monday’s Big Spring ISD Update, Superintendent Jay McWilliams addressed concerns on graduation for this year’s senior class. He stated that if the schools were permitted to return to school on May 4, 2020, the district would try to continue with graduation as scheduled. McWilliams also advised in the event that school does not return, BSISD staff are working behind the scenes to have some kind of graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020.

 

Big Spring ISD also continues to feed children in Big Spring by providing meals at Moss, Marcy, and the Big Spring Junior High campuses, and with 25 bus service stops throughout Big Spring. According to Kim Young, Food Service Director for Aramark for Big Spring ISD, when BSISD began their meal distribution in mid-March they were serving 384 meals; now the school district serves 2,800 meals.

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Howard County Burn Ban Lifted


Yesterday, 04/07/2020, the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department advised that the burn ban for Howard County had been lifted. The public is reminded to NOT BURN any electrical insulation, treated lumber, plastics, non-wooden construction or demolition materials, heavy oils, asphaltic materials, potentially explosive materials, chemical wastes, or items that contain natural or synthetic rubber. 

 

They are also advised that they CANNOT have any active flames 30 min before sunset, CANNOT burn at night, and CANNOT burn if the wind is over 15mph. If you are going to burn you are asked to contact the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department at 432-270-7160 or the Sheriff’s office at 432-264-2244 so that they do not get any fire calls.

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Texas State Parks Temporarily Close to the Public


At the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas State Parks will be closed to the public effective at the close of business Tuesday, April 7 in order to maintain the safest environment for visitors, volunteers and staff. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will continue to stay current with the latest public health recommendations and will announce when a definite reopening date has been determined.

 

“Given the myriad of challenges and heightened risks of operating the parks at this time, we believe this is the best course of action right now in order to meet the health and safety expectations the state has set out for the citizens of Texas,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD. “All state parks will remain temporarily closed until public health and safety conditions improve. During the closure, staff will continue to steward and care for the parks to ensure they can be immediately reopened to visitors at the appropriate time.”

 

"Outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, biking, jogging, walking, hiking, wildlife viewing, and the like are essential activities for Texas citizens. TPWD will continue to do its part to actively encourage and promote these opportunities in ways that are safe and close to home," said Smith.

 

Through this trying time, TPWD has worked diligently to facilitate access to the outdoors across the state, including in the state park system, which hosted nearly 740,000 day and overnight visitors throughout the month of March.

 

Despite the implementation of increasingly restrictive visitor use measures to help minimize the transmission of COVID-19 at parks, TPWD has reached a point where public safety considerations of those in the parks, and in the surrounding communities, must take precedence over continued operations.  Difficulty in ensuring compliance with social distancing, problems in maintaining adequate supplies and keeping park facilities sufficiently sanitized are only a few of the challenges encountered by state park staff.

 

While parks are closed to the public, staff will be working to help maintain the standard upkeep, maintenance, stewardship, and continued regular cleaning of site facilities.

 

The Texas State Parks Customer Service Center is currently working toward contacting customers with upcoming overnight reservations to reimburse stays booked through the reservation system. Group and facility reservations have been canceled until April 30. Canceled reservations will not be charged normal administrative fees.

 

Day passes purchased through the reservation system, not associated to the Texas State Parks Pass, will also be refunded without penalties. The Texas State Parks Customer Service Center will automatically process cancellations of both overnight and day-use reservations. If your reservation is impacted by a facility or park closure, a Customer Service Center agent will contact you – you do not need to contact them. They are contacting customers in order of arrival date and appreciate your patience.

 

Questions regarding state park reservations can be emailed to customer.service@tpwd.texas.gov and general park information can be found at TexasStateParks.org

 

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CDC recommends wearing Cloth Face Coverings in public settings


Recently, it was announced that the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

 

Be advised that cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

 

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

 

According to the CDC, cloth face coverings should—

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

  • be secured with ties or ear loops

  • include multiple layers of fabric

  • allow for breathing without restriction

  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

 

For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

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City of Big Spring COVID-19 Update 04/06/2020


During Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason’s Coronavirus Update, he advised that as of yesterday, April 6, 2020, there were still zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Big Spring and Howard County. There have been 60 tests conducted in the county, 55 have come back negative, and 5 are pending.

 

During yesterday’s update, Emergency Management Team Lead Big Spring Fire Chief Craig Ferguson advised that they had been preparing for COVID-19 since February. Since then, they’ve been busy educating their employees and the public to not touch your face, cover your cough, and practice social distancing. He also advised that when going to the store, only 1 family member is needed to minimize the amount of exposure. He also advised that it was important that when calling for help, it’s important to tell the dispatcher and responders how sick you are and how long you’ve been sick so that they can arrive with the proper personal protective equipment to protect themselves and others around them.

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Howard County Junior College Board of Trustees Unanimously Votes to Postpone May 2, 2020 Uniform Election to Nov. 3, 2020


During today's Special Meeting of the Howard County Junior College Board of Trustees, the Board unanimously voted to postpone the May 2, 2020 election to elect 3 At-Large Board Trustees. The election will be held on November 3, 2020.

 

According to approved order, all candidate filings will remain valid for the election to be held Nov. 3, 2020, and the filing period will not be re-opened for the November 3, 2020 election date. It should also be noted that all absentee ballots by mail for those over the age of 65, or due to disability will still be valid. Absentee ballots by mail for voters who submitted those based on expected absence from the county will not be valid for the postponed election.

 

New important dates for the postponed election are as follows:

 

Oct. 5, 2020 - Voter registration deadline

Oct. 23, 2020 - Deadline to submit an Absentee Ballot by Mail

Oct. 19-30, 2020 - Early voting

Nov. 3, 2020 - Election Day

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Big Spring City Council Special Session Highlights, 04/03/2020 - Mayor's Veto Overturned by Big Spring City Council Members


On Friday evening, Big Spring City Council members met in a Special Session. Topics on the agenda included the final reading of an ordinance to postpone the May 2, 2020 General Election to November 3, 2020, and to reconsider the Mayor’s veto in regards to a final reading of a resolution authorizing and approving a project and loan in the amount of up to $6 million to finance infrastructure and road improvements to the Big Spring Airpark.

 

Councilmembers had shown concern during the previous meeting in March about holding the General Election to elect city councilmembers for  Districts 1 and 3 during a pandemic. During the debate on whether or not to postpone the General Election, Mayor Shannon Thomason stated that doing so would violate the City Charter. Councilmembers received input on the legality and validity of postponing the election from City Attorney Andrew Hagan, and also questioned Howard County Elections Administrator Jodi Duck on the concerns of continuing with the election. Overall, the final reading of the ordinance passed with a 5-1 vote with Mayor Thomason voting against; District 2 Councilman Doug Hartman was not present for the meeting.

 

During reconsideration of the Mayor’s Veto on approving the loan and project for improvements to the Big Spring Airpark, the five points of concern from the Mayor were addressed. Thomason still advised that he had concerns on the fiscal stability of the city and sales tax base that, if affected, would affect the EDC. Ultimately, the council passed the resolution approving the project and the loan amount by a 5-1 vote with Mayor Thomason voting against. 

 

During the open session of the meeting, a personnel issue with City Manager Todd Darden was also addressed. Terry McDaniel, District 3, questioned Darden on a purchase made at a local hardware store and about a reimbursement request he recently submitted. McDaniel questioned if the hardware store purchase was made on the City’s credit card and if it was for the city or for personal use, and why he submitted the reimbursement request on a hotel stay that he never checked into. 

 

Darden addressed the questions, stating that he paid for weedkiller from the hardware store with his own money and didn’t ask for reimbursement from the city. He also advised that all travel plans for educational purposes had been cancelled for city employees and cancellation of his room was forgotten. He noted that it was error that the request was submitted and he would pay the $152 on his own. 

 

It was also pointed out that the Mayor approves the City Manager’s vouchers and documents that he signs. Mayor Thomason admitted to signing off on the voucher and stated that it happened the day after the City Council issued the declaration of disaster and noted that there were a lot of changes going on with regards to personnel policy and training events and travel. When asked if he was just as guilty of the infraction on the reimbursement request, Mayor Thomason stated that he probably was.

 

Councilman Jim DePauw, District 6, advised that he didn’t feel that Darden is a strong City Manager at this time because he’s allowing the Mayor to change Big Spring from a City Manager-City Council form of government to a Mayor-Council form of government. DePauw stated that it seemed, to him, that the Mayor was running the city at this time.

 

Darden addressed some miscommunication issues on PSAs and advised that corrections were made to ensure that councilmembers are on the notifications list for anything that he does on COVID-19 issues. 

 

McDonald advised Darden that she appreciated that he was able to handle any issues that she brings to his attention. 

 

DePauw asked Darden if the Mayor’s constant presence at City Hall impedes how he’s able to do his job and conduct his staff to do things. Darden advised that the Mayor is welcomed to City Hall anytime he wants, and noted that Councilmembers are welcomed as well. He also stated that the Mayor was not a hindrance. 

 

Mayor Thomason asked Darden if he felt like he was being micromanaged by him, to which Darden advised that he did not feel that way and assured the Mayor that he was not a hindrance. 

 

At the end, Darden advised Councilmembers that the city works as a team and that’s why he wanted to have his personnel issue in open session with others present for the discussion.

 

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Salvation Army of Big Spring continues to serve community during pandemic.


The Salvation Army of Big Spring continues to serve the community by providing resources to those in need. 

 

Their Social Service Office is still open providing basic assistance to those in need in this community.

 

The local organization is able to provide food, toiletries, hygiene kits, and clothing vouchers.

 

The Salvation Army of Big Spring tries to provide a variety of items in their food boxes. Some items that they are running low on are:

1. Canned meats/frozen professionally packed meats 

2. Cereals/oatmeal 

3. Canned meals such as ravioli, spaghetti o's, beef stew, and soups.

 

Some items that are needed for their toiletries and hygiene kits are:

1. Razors 

2. Feminine hygiene products 

3. Depends

4. Deodorants 

 

Any of the items previously mentioned or a monetary donation for those items would directly help those in need in our community. 

 

Their social service hours are 9-3 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and they are located at 811 W 5th Street in Big Spring.

 

If you need assistance, they can be contacted at 432-267-8239. 

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THE CENTER FOR WOUND HEALING AND HYPERBARIC MEDICINE continues to provide wound care treatment


BIG SPRING, TX– Patients and healthcare providers are experiencing an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. At the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center action steps and protocols have been instituted to help continue treatments and services during this crisis.

 

Wound care has been determined to be essential for the community. Care and services provided include treatment for diabetic foot ulcers, PAD associated with sores, wounds and ulcers and advanced wound care.

 

Their data has shown that patients suffering from untreated wounds are 20 times more likely to end up in an emergency room or admitted to the hospital. To help patients with wounds avoid emergency care The Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center has implemented measures to continue to provide the support needed to care for patients who need advanced wound care treatments and services during this

crisis.

 

A few of these measures include:

• Proactive Patient Communications – clinical teams are reaching out to patients regarding treatment adherence and working with them to help with flexible appointment scheduling options and to balance patient volumes throughout the day, eliminating crowded waiting rooms. Their dedicated staff has also placed temporary entrances into the Wound Healing Center for patient only access. These processes allow limited entry and strict screening to continue providing a safe environment for our patient population.

 

• Community Education for Physicians – they are continuing to communicate with their referring providers in light of limited access due to COVID-19 related office visit restrictions.

 

The center team understands the importance of remaining vigilant and safe, and to that end, has taken steps to provide a safe place for their patients to receive care.

 

“The health of all our patients within our community as well as surrounding communities is priority here at the Wound Healing Center. We encourage all of our patients to continue on a strong path of healing. I am honored to have such a strong community to come together in a time of need and support each other through difficult times in a safe and effective manner. Together we will get through this stronger,” said Dr. Nguyen, Medical Director of the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center.

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2020 Advocating for Agriculture Symposium will be held online on Tuesday, April 14, 2020


The upcoming ag education opportunity called the 2020 Advocating for Agriculture Symposium will be held online on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM. 

Social media is full of misinformation about agriculture and agricultural products. This symposium will arm participants with useful scientific-based information about beef compared to synthetic products, new hemp production laws, herbicides used to maintain productive lands, selecting livestock that fit the environment, Path to the Plate programming, pesticide safety and environmental health, proper use of fertilizer, and understanding the sustainability movement.

 

This webinar provides 2.0 Ag. Pesticide CEUs in the General Category for those participants with a Pesticide Applicator License. You must attend the entire symposium to be eligible. The CEUs will be awarded in conjunction with 50 minutes on range and pasture updates and understanding glyphosate claims. Another CEU will be awarded in conjunction with presentations over pesticide safety and environmental health and information on how fever ticks are treated.

 

This month’s online symposium is brought to you by the Corpus Christi based Extension Specialists.

 

The cost of the symposium is $10 and must be paid upon registration.

 

For more information, contact Megan Clayton at megan.clayton@ag.tamu.edu.

To register, visit: https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/productListingDetails/3087

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FORMER ANDREWS MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOIR DIRECTOR SENTENCED TO 97 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE


In Midland yesterday, a federal judge sentenced former Andrews Middle School Choir Director Gary Lynn Ragland to 97 months in federal prison on a child pornography charge, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash.

 

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Counts ordered that Ragland, age 59, pay a $20,000 fine; a $5,000 assessment under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA); and, $35,000 in restitution.


Judge Counts also ordered that Ragland be placed on supervised release for a period of ten years after completing his prison term. Ragland has remained in custody since his arrest on October 1, 2019.


On November 21, 2019, Ragland pleaded guilty to one count of attempted receipt of child pornography.

 

According to court records, on September 27, 2019, the school web filter flagged that pornography was being searched for off campus by a school-issued MacBook assigned to Ragland. Ragland admitted to accessing child pornography on a daily basis and using that MacBook to view and/or possess more than 5,000 images depicting child pornography.


Court records further reveal that Ragland has also admitted to inappropriate touching of at least four identified adolescent victims’ breasts and buttocks as well as a previous incident he was accused of inappropriate touching a 12-year-old student. It was deemed unfounded and he previously denied committing the act, but he now admits that what the child alleged actually happened.


“Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, we are still achieving justice for our most vulnerable victims. This middle school choir director admitted to inappropriately touching multiple children and to using his school- issued computer to download massive amounts of child pornography. He will now spend 97 months in federal prison,” stated U.S. Attorney Bash.


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


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

 

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Big Spring Mayor's Coronavirus Update for April 1, 2020


Yesterday, Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason gave a “Coronavirus Update” for April 1, 2020.

 

In his update, the Mayor advised that as of 5 PM yesterday in Howard County there have been 53 tests administered, 11 are still pending, and there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. 

 

Thomason also addressed the closure of city parks and golf courses, noting that it wasn’t something they wanted to do but it was needed because people were not adhering to the social distancing guidelines. 

 

Non-essential businesses are now closed through the end of the month as per Governor Greg Abbott’s recent Executive Order. Other than that, Thomason says that nothing has changed in the City of Big Spring. 

 

According to the Executive Order, churches and religious organizations are exempt from the order. Churches can still meet for services, but are still encouraged to practice social distancing and only have single households sitting together. Mayor Thomason requested that local churches continue to carry out services as they have been, through social media and other options, but made it clear that this was only a request and not an order.

 

To view the full video update, visit: https://youtu.be/pnu9BiBqh94

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Hollingsworth earns first Mary Kay vehicle


On Tuesday morning, Jen Hollingsworth, local Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay, recently celebrated a milestone achievement in her line of work - picking up her first Mary Kay vehicle from a local dealership. 

 

Hollingsworth began her career with Mary Kay less than two years ago. She told KBest News that she debuted as a Sales Director in July 2019 and three months later she earned a Mary Kay Malibu. Hollingsworth explained that there are different levels of cars and the Malibu is the first level. Her goal is to move through the different tiers and earn the iconic pink Cadillac.  

 

Hollingsworth told KBest News that the car is leased by Mary Kay, and she is the driver and she’ll keep it for two years. Mary Kay also covers part of her auto insurance for her and her husband. Hollingsworth explained that as long as she continues working, they’ll send her a new car. 

 

Last week, Mary Kay Inc. announced the company will dedicate part of its global supply chain and manufacturing capabilities to producing much-needed hand sanitizer. The first products off the line will be for donation to those on the front lines addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Production was targeted to begin yesterday and distribution is expected to begin April 3, 2020.

 

The first batch of hand sanitizer products will be donated to the Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation. Baylor Scott & White is the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas and one of the largest in the United States. It includes 52 hospitals, more than 800 patient care sites, 7,500 active physicians and over 47,000 staff.

 

For more on Mary Kay manufacturing and donating hand sanitizer, visit: 

https://newsroom.marykay.com/en/releases/mary-kay-manufactures-donates-hand-sanitizer-to-combat-covid-19-pandemic

 

(courtesy photo)

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Get the Facts... PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT 3-31-2020


 

The following is a PSA from the Big Spring Police Department concerning shelter in place orders:

 

In an attempt to dispel rumors, please be advised that any shelter in place orders (State/City/County) provides no legal requirement that individuals carry letters from their employers regarding whether they are employed with an essential business or performing minimum basic operations for a non-essential business. Police officers have no legal requirement to request such documentation from any individual.

 

The Governor’s order and most local orders all have many approved exceptions that allow for travel besides employment. This includes going to the grocery store, exercising, food pick up and other essential activities identified in the orders. There may be other evidence establishing a violation of an order, but the lack of a letter from an employer is not reasonable suspicion for a detention, nor can a traffic stop be conducted for the purpose of checking someone’s reason for travel.

 

The Big Spring Police Department assures its citizens that no letter of essential employee will be required for documentation when traveling.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams
Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

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Coahoma ISD Update, 04/0/2020


The following is an update from Coahoma ISD to parents and students: 

 

The CISD administration and faculty are thankful to our parents and students for their collaboration through this exceptional time.

 

As we enter into April, we will continue to provide course material and lessons through on-line resources such as Google Classroom, and we encourage parents to take advantage of these new learning opportunities. If you have questions about how to access our on-line lessons, please call us at 432-394-5000, and someone will walk you through the process. 

 

Lessons will continue to be provided through take-home packets, but we have made a few adjustments to the pick-up schedule. Also please note, the packets will now contain lessons for the entire month. 

 

Packet pick-up:

  • Monday, April 6, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Monday, April 20, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Monday, April 27, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

 

If you can not drop-off your packet at the above times, please call and set up a time to return your packet at your convenience. If you have any questions, please call us 432-394-5000. 

 

A grab-and-go breakfast/lunch bag for our students will be available between the hours of 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please note, the cafeteria will be closed on April 10 and 13 for the Easter holiday, and no meals will be distributed on those days.

 

Please understand that when it comes to the education of your children, we’ve got this. The state of Texas has waived all standardized testing for this year, so you and your children only need to focus on their lessons. Thank you for your patience and cooperation, and if you have any questions please call us 432-394-5000. 

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H-E-B encourages social distancing with new signage and procedures.


COVID Action Manager is a new position that H-E-B has designated at each of their stores to help ensure social distancing to help keep customers and partners safe. 

 

According to Alyssa Owens, Public Affairs for H-E-B, there is now signage on the floors encouraging customers to stand at a good distance away from another customer, as well as checkstand partitions between cashiers and customers. She also advised that partners will be careful while handling money. Instead of handling it directly back to the customer, they’ll be placing it on the counter. Owens also advised that their COVID Action Team are wiping down areas such as basket handles and areas that are not often thought about, such as freezer door handles.

 

When it comes to product availability, initially, H-E-B struggled to keep up with the amount of people shopping. Owens told KBest News that the store is better equipped with large pallet drops of staple items, but she advised that it’s important for customers to not overbuy during this time.

 

For customers who do not want to go inside the store, H-E-B in Big Spring has Curbside available where online orders can be made in advance and picked up later. They’ve also come up with another shopping option for seniors. 

 

Owens explained that with their partnership with Favor Delivery, H-E-B has launched a low-cost option for seniors aged 60 and up that allows them access to their own personal shopper by phone, app, or the Favor website.

 

She also advised that Favor is looking for runners, or personal shoppers, to complete the deliveries, and it’s a great opportunity for anyone looking to make extra money.

 

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Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order, Implements Statewide Essential Services And Activities Protocols


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order implementing Essential Services and Activities Protocols for the entire state of Texas. The protocols direct all Texans to minimize non-essential gatherings and in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The Governor’s Executive Order renews and amends his previous order enforcing federal social distancing guidelines for COVID-19, including closing schools and instructing Texans to avoid eating or drinking at bars and restaurants. The protocols allow exceptions for essential activities and services based on the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Examples of these essential services include healthcare, grocery stores, banking and financial services, utilities, child care for essential service employees, and government services. 

 

Today’s Executive Order follows the decision by President Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance social distancing guidelines and extend the deadline for these guidelines to April 30th.

 

Governor Abbott was joined for the announcement by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, and Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath.

 

“Social distancing is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19, and the actions we have taken thus far have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of this virus,” said Governor Abbott. “Now it is time to redouble our efforts to reduce further exposure as much as possible and flatten the curve. As with all the actions the state is taking, the Essential Services and Activities Protocols is informed by the expertise and guidance of the CDC as well as state and local health officials. I urge my fellow Texans to heed these heightened social distancing directives to protect their health and the health of those around them. By following these guidelines, we will limit the spread of COVID-19 and overcome this challenge together.”

 

The Executive Order renews and expands the Governor's previous directive to minimize social gatherings and minimize contact with people who are not in the same household. It also renews the Governor's directive to avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, and visiting gyms or massage establishments, and it expands the order to include tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons. 

 

In accordance with federal guidelines, people are still prohibited from visiting nursing home, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance. Additionally, schools will remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance through May 4, 2020.

 

This Executive Order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. The order also includes exemption for religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.

 

TDEM will maintain an online list of essential services specified in the Governor's Executive Order at www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices/. Other essential services may be added to this list with the approval of TDEM.

 

These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 12:01 AM on April 2, 2020 and will end on April 30, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.

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