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State Senator Kel Seliger holds Town Hall Meeting at Howard College


Earlier this afternoon, State Senator Kel Seliger held a town hall meeting at Howard College’s Center Hall Center for the Arts. At the meeting, the senator spoke on the recently completed regular and special sessions of the 85th Legislature and answered questions from the audience.

When asked what the purpose of the event was, Senator Seliger stated, “I do town hall meetings in all of the counties I represent, 37 of them, to report to the people who gave me this job and who send me to Austin to find out what they think of the job we do in Austin and to find out what they think we ought to do in the future.”

 

Senator Seliger is a Republican member of the Texas State Senate representing District 31, which spans 37 counties from the Panhandle through the Permian Basin. He was elected in 2004 and currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and is a member of the Senate Education Committee, Senate Finance Committee, and Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development.

Senator Seliger has been recognized by many groups for his conservative principles as well as his dedication to small government and local control. He has been named a Fighter for Free Enterprise by the Texas Association of Business four times for his steadfast support of policies that encourage and promote a healthy business climate in Texas. Seliger is privileged to be the recipient of the Texas Municipal League Legislator of the Year Award, Texas Conservative Coalition's Conservative Champion Award, Texas Association of Counties Friend of County Government Award, Texas Wildlife Association's Conservation Hero Award, the Conservative Roundtable of Texas' Effective Conservative Lawmaker, and the Texas Parent Teacher Association Legislative Honor Roll.

During the 85th Legislative Session, as Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Senator Seliger secured an additional $1.07 million in funding for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin College of Engineering, which will be used to expand the chemical and electrical engineering programs. Additionally, $4.2 million is provided to UTPB as a hold harmless, to ensure the school does not lose more than 10 percent of its state funding. Senator Seliger also succeeded in securing $4.17 million for Texas Tech University's future Veterinary Medical School.

As part of his continued service on the Education Committee, Seliger authored Senate Bill 463, a bill that extends the option of Individual Graduation Committees for students who passed all of their courses, but failed to pass up to two state-mandated tests.

Chairman Seliger and Representative John Smithee championed House Bill 1463 to reduce frivolous lawsuits and aggressive shake-down tactics related to the Americans with Disabilities Act that harm small business in Texas. Together Smithee and Seliger also passed Senate Bill 654, which will help improve access to health care in rural and medically underserved parts of Texas.

Prior to his election to the Senate, Senator Seliger served four terms as Mayor of Amarillo and as a member of the Amarillo City Commission and the Amarillo Civil Service Commission.

He and his wife Nancy reside in Amarillo, and have two sons, Jonathan and Matthew.

 

 

(Texas State Senate Official Website)

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Big Spring Intermediate School Honored with TEA Distinction


Big Spring Intermediate School has been honored with a Texas Education Agency distinction for scoring in the top 25% of all Texas intermediate campuses in the category of Student Progress.

The performance of the students was high enough to rank number 10, among all Texas intermediate campuses, in the Student Progress category.

Wednesday, October the 18th at 4:00 PM, BSI will be honored in its library with the presentation of a banner in recognition of the accomplishment.

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OBY/GYN PA Carolyn Frerich gives Presentation on Preventative Health Care to Prevent Cancers that Affect Women


Scenic Mountain Medical Center held another “Our Healthy Circle” presentation last week with this month’s speaker was Carolyn Frerich, OBY/GYN Physician Assistant at Family Medical Center. Frerich’s presentation focused on preventative health care to prevent breast cancer and other cancers that affect women.

According to Frerich, beginning at age 20, people should be doing their own self breast exams, which should be completed once every month at the same point in their menstrual cycle.

"The whole purpose of that is to get familiar with your breast, so that way when you do have a change, you're going to notice it and you can call it to your provider's attention," says Frerich.

"From ages 21-39 they should be getting a clinical breast exam by a provider every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should be getting a mammogram every year until their health [insurance] will no longer support the mammogram."

Frerich also went on to cover preventative measures against cervical cancer which include pap smears. She went on to say that beginning at age 21-29. From age 30-65 the recommendations are a pap smear with HPV (Human Papillomavirus) co-testing every 5 years.

As long as everything stays normal those recommendations are valid. If something comes up abnormal then those recommendations change accordingly.

 

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Local Family Makes Horror Film that has been Accepted to Multiple Film Festivals


The local filmmaker of “Project Mone’t” James Fite of Check Your Brain Productions and producer Brandon Johnson of Cruiserfilms are presenting their latest film entitled “I See Something.”

Fite explained that "The film is, basically, about two kids who realize that their home alone; they don't know where their mom went. They think they see something outside of the window. The audience isn't sure if they see something or if it's their imagination, and we go on a short little journey with them."

Fite told KBest News that the film took 3 months to complete filming and he used his kids as the actors in the film and his wife was actually a producer on the film, as well. He went on to say that the film is being submitting to different film festivals and that the film has already been accepted to several festivals, such as the West Texas Film Festival in Odessa, the Rendezvous Film Festival in Florida, and the American Horror Festival in Wisconsin.

There will be a free screening of “I See Something” at Cinemark Movies 4 in the Spring Town Plaza tomorrow at 8:30 PM. Fite says that they will be taking donations to help cover the cost of renting the theater for the screening and to help with the film festival fees. There will also be a short Q&A session with the filmmakers and the two actors in the film.

 

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Senator Kel Seliger to hold Town Hall Meeting at Howard College


State Senator Kel Seliger invites the citizens of Howard County to a Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. in the Hall Center for the Arts (Howard College), located at 1001 Birdwell Lane in Big Spring, Texas.

If you have any questions, please contact Juan Delgado in the Big Spring District Office at (432) 268-9909.

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National School Bus Safety Week Begins Today


AUSTIN – In conjunction with National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 16-20), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging Texans to comply with laws prohibiting drivers from passing school buses. During this period, DPS Highway Patrol Troopers will be looking for drivers who violate the law. It is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign.

 

During National School Bus Safety Week, Troopers in many areas will be riding on or following school buses to catch motorists who break the law. Because children are particularly vulnerable when entering or exiting a school bus, Troopers will also be patrolling areas where school buses pick up and drop off students. Drivers who violate the law could face fines as much as $1,250.

 

In 2016 and year to date in 2017, Texas Highway Patrol Troopers have issued 1,100 citations and 573 warnings for passing a stopped school bus.

 

According to Texas statute, a driver – traveling in either direction on a roadway – must stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal. The driver may not proceed until one of the following occurs: the school bus resumes motion; the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or the visual signal is no longer activated.

 

If a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated. However, if the lanes are separated by an intervening space or physical barrier, only motorists traveling in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.

 

(As a reminder, school buses, by law, must stop at all railroad crossings.)

 

Here are several safety measures drivers can take to help keep children safer:

 

·  When driving in school zones, watch out for student pedestrians.

·  Slow down and watch for children congregating near bus stops.

·  Look for children who might dart into the street without checking for traffic.

·  Know and obey the traffic laws regarding school buses in Texas.

 

According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 42,000 school buses transport approximately 1.5 million Texas children every school day.

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Texas LULAC Officials Hold Quarterly Board Meeting in Big Spring


Today Texas LULAC Officials from San Antonio held their Quarterly Board Meeting in Big Spring at Ryan Hall. During the event the officials spoke on Senate Bill 4, Education, and Economic Development.

State Director Lupe Torres stated that the State LULAC Officials like to hold their meeting in areas in Texas like Big Spring when they hear that there is still a lot of need for Hispanic families to improve their quality of life in the community.

"When we're invited to come into an area because they want the community here to know that LULAC is in the forefront of all these issues . We will look at them. We will investigate it. We try to improve the situations there either through partial investigations or through federal courts."

Dr. Cheryl Sparks, President of Howard College, was invited to speak about the college's vision and what Howard College is doing to assist people and further their opportunities in life.

 

 

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2nd Annual Camp Out on the Comanche Trail


The 2nd Annual Campout on the Comanche Trail ended early this morning. The event was put together by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The event began on Saturday morning with kayak lessons on Comanche Trail Lake. Other activities included fishing, learning how to cook on a campfire, knot tying, and other outdoor skills.

One of the children who participated in the event was 11 year-old Gregory, who had attended the event with his family and his Boy Scout Troop. He told KBest News that he had enjoyed the kayak lessons and was excited to return next year.

Outdoor enthusiast Kent Lee Ivey, said that he felt the event was a wonderful opportunity for people to take a break from technology and create human bonds.

He also went on to say that it was important for families to attend events like Campout on the Comanche Trail "because they spend time and learn to rely on each other and work together, and that's what makes a family."

 

 

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Murder Bond not set for Murder Suspect Calvin Jacob Lawson


Murder Bond was not set for 34 year-old Calvin Jacob Lawson, arrested yesterday following the homicide of 34 year-old Sterling McIntosh. Lawson was taken into custody by Big Spring Police on outstanding warrants for Theft of Property less than $100 & Failure to Appear, both of which were set at "No Bond."

An autopsy has been scheduled this morning for Mr. McIntosh. This is an ongoing investigation. For more information, see the previous post from 10-12-17 titled "Murder Suspect in Custody---From Big Spring Police Department".

 

 

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New "Silent Witness" Silhouette Revealed at National Domestic Violence Awareness Ceremony


This afternoon many people crowded around the “Silent Witnesses” display inside of the Howard County Courthouse. Victim Services held a ceremony there to bring awareness to Domestic Violence and to unveil another silhouette to add to the display.

The ceremony had opened with Linda Calvio, Executive Director for Victim Services of Big Spring, thanking everyone for attending. Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman then announced the shocking statistics for 2015 that were a result of domestic violence.

Young women read aloud the Silent Witness plaques and finally, the latest silhouette was revealed. The silhouette was of Irma Lozano, 64, who had died trying to protect her daughter from her abuser. Victoria Warren, the daughter, was present at the ceremony and read her mother’s plaque aloud.

When asked what this ceremony meant to her, Warren had this to say, "It's basically giving out awareness. Letting people know this situation is serious. It doesn't just happen to women who are getting abused. It also happens to the people who are trying to protect them."

"That could have been my niece and nephew, cause they were there. They witnessed my mom get murdered. They witnessed her getting pushed, and they ran. It could have gone a whole different way. They could of have tried to protect her and that could have happened to them. So this right here is just raising awareness, letting [people] know that this is serious. This affects everybody."

"Everybody in my family is completely affected by this. It means a lot that they're doing this for them."

The ceremony then ended with a prayer by Billy Guy, from Big Spring Full Gospel Fellowship.

 

Photo: 

"IRMA LOZANO
AGE 64
JULY 25, 1964 - SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Irma resided in Big Spring, TX. On September 28, 2016 while protecting her daughter from her abuser Abel Torres, she was pushed to her demise and passed away the next day. She died a hero."

 

 

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Murder Suspect in Custody---From Big Spring Police Department


On the 12th of October 2017 at approximately 2:05 P.M., Big Spring Police Department Officers were dispatched to the 1600 block of Settles in reference to “shots fired”. Upon arrival, Officers detained Lawson, Calvin Jacob W/M 34 YOA, who was walking away from the scene. Upon further investigation, within the residence, Sterling Donald McIntosh W/M 34 YOA was found deceased. It was determined that some sort of altercation occurred between Lawson and McIntosh which resulted in the death of McIntosh. At this time Detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division are submitting an affidavit for a search warrant for the residence and an arrest warrant for Lawson for the Murder of McIntosh. Lawson has since been arrested for outstanding warrants (Theft of Property less than $100 & Failure to Appear). Justice of the Peace Fitzgibbons pronounced McIntosh deceased at 2:35 P.M., and an autopsy has been ordered and is scheduled for tomorrow morning. This is an ongoing investigation and there is no further information that can be provided at this time.

Chief of Police, Chad Williams
Lieutenant Brian Gordon
Sergeant Tony Everett

 
 

 

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"Silent Witnesses" Display at Howard County Courthouse set up to bring Awareness about Domestic Violence


October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and there is currently a “Silent Witness” display set up at the Howard County Courthouse in the middle of the first floor for public viewing.

"Each silhouette in the display is of an actual victim, and it has her name written on it," says Linda Calvio, Executive Director for Victim Services of Big Spring. “That’s why they’re called ‘Silent Witnesses’ because they can no longer speak for themselves, but in memory of them, the families have agreed to let us do a silhouette of them."

The display was set up by Victim Services to bring attention to the staggering statistics of domestic violence that occur every year. Last year the Victim Services of Big Spring served 256 victims of crime within the 6 counties that the organization serves. 80% of those cases involved domestic violence; that’s over 200 REPORTED cases of domestic violence within 6 counties.

There will be a National Domestic Violence Awareness ceremony today at the courthouse beginning at 4:30 at the Howard County Courthouse.

County Judge Kathryn Wiseman told KBest News that this was an issue that is close to her heart.

“I served as County Coroner when I served as Justice of the Peace for eleven years, and so it was my sad duty to go out to one of those scenes where someone had been killed as a result of domestic violence,” stated Judge Wiseman.

“We have an issue. We need awareness. You cannot force someone to get help, but you can certainly offer your support to someone who is living through domestic violence. It’s an awareness,” she repeated, ”and we all need to be aware and need to be able to talk to someone who we suspect is going through domestic violence.”

 

 

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CASA of West Texas Hopes to Increase Number of Hispanic Volunteers


CASA of West Texas held a Lunch and Learn this afternoon at the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce to give information to anyone who might be interested in becoming an advocate or volunteer with the organization.

Kathy Harmon, Volunteer Recruitment and Marketing Specialist for the organization, stated that approximately 56% of the children that CASA of West Texas serves are Hispanic, but only 12% of the volunteers with the organization are Hispanic.

“When children have a volunteer who speaks their language, looks like them, and knows their culture it is easier for them to build a trusting relationship,” stated Harmon.

CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocate, and the mission of the organization is to recruit and train volunteers that will speak in court for the best interest of children in foster care. Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions about it means to be a CASA volunteer, because some people get CASA volunteers confused with foster parents.

According to Harmon, “We don’t take care of the children. We’re not foster parents. They don’t come live with us. We only advocate for their best interest.”

The next volunteer training for CASA will begin on October 30th, in Midland. Volunteers must complete 30 hours of training and some of the training is completed by online courses. Potential volunteers must submit a completed application prior to registering for the training.

Applications can be filled out online at www.casawtx.org and the deadline for this month’s training is October 18th.

 

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"Thank You for Your Investment" Ceremony held at Isaiah 58


The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held another "Thank You for Your Investment" ceremony today at Isaiah 58, located at 809 Scurry St., to thank them for all that they do for the community.

Isaiah 58 is a Howard County Food Pantry and they hand out food to people who need it. All that is required to receive food is to provide proof of address, and eligibility is based on income.

According to Board President for Isaiah 58, Shawn Cooley, says that anyone who receive benefits from social security, medicare, medicaid, or disability automatically qualify for benefits.

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Coahoma Bond Election Information


Coahoma Bond Election Information:

Coahoma ISD will host the first of three public meetings beginning today over the upcoming $4 million bond election set for Nov. 7.

“We encourage everyone who is interested in this upcoming election to attend one of our public meetings to hear all the facts about how we intend to use the money from this proposed bond and what the financial impact on property owners will be,” said Superintendent Dr. Amy Jacobs.

The meeting will be held at 7 tonight at the Coahoma High School Auditorium.

Coahoma ISD trustees have called for a $4 million bond election to be used for district-wide infrastructure improvements, upgrades to existing athletic facilities, and the purchase of artificial turf for the football, softball, and baseball fields.

Particularly, the money from the proposed bond election is slated to finance the installations of keyless entries at the Coahoma HS/JH campus, the Coahoma Elementary campus and the Rob Ethridge campus to enhance overall school safety measures. 
The plan includes upgrades to some of the parking lots, bus lanes and the courtyard located behind the Rob Ethridge campus and to the restrooms and concession stands at the football field. The money will also be used to finishing roofing projects at the Coahoma HS/JH campus, the Coahoma Elementary campus and the Rob Ethridge campus.
Funds will be used to create an entrance and foyer leading to the Coahoma competition gym to be used as a community gathering place.

If passed, the bond will add approximately $7.50 per month or $90 annual of additional taxes to a property owner who owns a home valued around $100,000. Taxes are expected to increase $11.25 per month or $135 annually for a home valued at $150,000 and $18.75 per month or $225 annually for a home valued at $250,000. All estimates are based on the district’s current taxable values.

If the $4 million bond is approved by the voters in November, the financing will be structured to match the term of the existing bonds and have a final maturity in 2037. The new debt would not extend the payoff date, Jacobs said.

Over the past three years, the CISD board of trustees has refinanced the 2007 Bond series resulting in over $1.3 million savings for the public, Jacobs added.

A second and third meeting will be held Friday, Oct. 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Coahoma High School Auditorium and Friday, Oct. 20, at 9 a.m. at the Coahoma ISD Cafeteria.

“We hope everybody will take the time to become educated on the proposal and will participate in the election process,” Jacobs said.

Early voting begins Oct. 23 and continues through Nov. 2, on the first floor of the Howard County Courthouse in Big Spring between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Howard County Election’s Office will extend voting hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 2. Election day is Nov. 7. Voting will occur between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

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Dr. David L. Ward DDS Breaks Ground to Expand Office Site


Today, Dr. David L Ward DDS broke ground on the site of his office expansion.

Dr. Ward told KBest News that this will lead to better parking and a whole new clinical wing added to the south side of the office while preserving and remodeling the historic rock house.

Dr. Ward said that C.M. Butler from Midland will begin working soon and they are expected to be completed by March 2018.

"Basically, this will double our clinical space. Most of the inside of the existing office will stay unchanged other than some remodeling."

When asked how important it was to him to maintain the historical quality and appearance of the building, Dr. Ward stated, "We're certainly trying. It's a landmark and we wanted to keep it. We've looked at different ways and, honestly, have been working on this for three years looking at how we wanted to do it. With the design, it will pretty much leave the original house in tact."

Dr. Ward also went on to say that the connection will be between two of the South-side windows on the house and will almost look like separate buildings.

They worked on several plans with the architect, Cruz Castillo from Odessa, to see what the best way would be to get the result they wanted.

Ultimately, Dr. Ward had this to say about the end design, "We can get a good functional result and still preserve the house, and that was our goal."

 

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Powell is Howard County's First Employee to Earn ASE Master Technician Certification


Yesterday afternoon, Casey Powell, Howard County Road and Bridge Service Technician II, was recognized by Brian Klinksiek, County Road and Bridge Engineer of Howard County, for earning his ASE Master Technician Certification and Patch from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

According to Klinksiek, "It was his own initiative. He came to me and said, 'I think there's some value to the county for doing this.' and wanted to start taking [the classes], and I supported it. The county did support with some payments on class time and stuff like that to help him."

Thanks to Powell's initiative, he is now the first ASE Master technician that Howard County has ever had to work on their vehicles.

Other items on the agenda included the approval of the annual agreement between Howard County and Midland College regarding the Breath Alcohol Testing Program. This program is only locally offered at Midland College and certifies local law enforcement officers to become Breath Alcohol Operators and to be able to use the Alcohol Breathalyzers.

 

 

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Christian Heritage Foundation brings Scroll Set of Old Testament to Midway Baptist Church


Many people gathered at Midway Baptist Church in Big Spring on Sunday evening to see a complete set of The Bible's entire Old Testament in scroll form.

The scrolls were brought in by the Christian Heritage Foundation and are the only complete set in scroll form in the world that is available for public viewing. There was a set of 16 scrolls that were presented, including Torah and Haftorah scrolls. Several of them are anywhere between 500-700 years old and were written in the traditional Hebraic way of writing scrolls.

Executive Director of the Christian Heritage Foundation, Charles Garrett, stated that the Christian Heritage Foundation exists to help churches in Johnson County, Texas be better in what they should be doing.

He also went on to say, "The scrolls were kind of an afterthought. We saw the scrolls and had them when the originator, Walter Mize was alive, but then when he died we came in contact with a man who could get these scrolls for us. So we've done it and we've traveled and shown them and shared them and have been excited about it."

When asked what he hopes people will take away from the event Garrett stated, "People who have been saying for a long time, 'We're just not sure that God's word is the same yesterday as it is today and tomorrow.' and I think we can prove that it is without just having to accept it. I would like to hear people say, 'This is what [the message] was 2,000 or 3,000 years ago and that's what it is today.'"

Mike Seay, Pastor at Midway Baptist Church, had invited the Christian Heritage Foundation to conduct their presentation at his previous churches and felt that this was a great idea to bring to Midway Baptist.

"When my churches have gone through this, they've left with a hunger. They've gone home, read their bibles, and it's amazing. They come to me and say, "We've never seen this before!" Well, it's always been there, you've just never read it before!"

"God's word is called 'The Living Word'. It speaks to us. It helps us. It directs us; it changes us. As we fall in love with the word of God, we fall in love with the person of God. And the more in love we are with him, the more we're telling people about the love of Jesus."

"That's what this is all about, to let people know that there is a God that loves them and cares for them and wants a relationship with them."

At the end of the night, Midway Baptist Church was given a Torah sheet (a sheet out of a Torah scroll) that is about the provisions of the priesthood found in the book of Deuteronomy as a gift from Christian Heritage Foundation.

This presentation does not cost the church anything and if other churches are interested in having the Christian Heritage Foundation come to their church they can contact Charles Garrett at 817-683-1916, or emailing him at chfcharles@sbcglobal.net.

 

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Coahoma Wins State Honor Board!!!


Congratulations to our Coahoma ISD Board of Trustees for being named the 2017 Outstanding School Board of the Year of the State of Texas by the Texas Association of School Administrators.

“This is a very well deserved award,” said Superintendent Dr. Amy Jacobs. “Our board has been at the forefront of making Coahoma ISD the greatest place for kids to learn and receive the best education. They continue to hold me, our staff, and our students to high standards. They really want what is best for our kids and for our community.”

Earlier in the year, Coahoma ISD trustees were named as one of the top five boards in the state out of 16 regional nominees by the TASA awards committee. The Coahoma ISD trustees were recognized during the TASA/TASB Convention held today in Dallas.

Members of the 2016-2017 Coahoma ISD Board are: Brian Moore, president; Jody Reid, vice president; Craig Ferguson, secretary; Kandy Alaman, Michael Brooks, Lori Martinez, and Dicky Stone.

Coahoma ISD is a public school district located in east Howard County providing Pre-K through high school education for the city of Coahoma and surrounding area. The school district serves approximately 1,000 students.

Photo Caption: Pictured from left are Coahoma ISD board members Dicky Stone, Lori Martinez, Craig Ferguson, Kandy Alaman, CISD Superintendent Dr. Amy Jacobs, Brian Moore, Jody Reid, and Michael Brooks.

Way to go Bulldogs!!!

 

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Big Spring HS Lights Up School Spirit with Homecoming Bonfire


It's Homecoming week for Big Spring High School. The Steers prepared for the "Battle of the Cattle" (Big Spring Steers vs. the Graham Steers) with various spirit days each day this week. One of the longest running traditions of homecoming is certainly the bonfire. Last night the bonfire took place at the Anderson Alternative School Campus. The Big Spring Band fired up the crowd, blasting out the Steer's fight song, School song and other crowd favorites. The Steer cheerleaders lit up the crowd and filled everyone with school spirit. Students, teachers, alumni and community members came together to cheer on our mighty Big Spring Steers. Further activities include the Homecoming Pep Rally at 3:00 and the Homecoming Parade at 4:30 this afternoon. Photos courtesy of Misty Middleton.

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DPS Urges Texans to Stay Vigilant, Report Suspicious Activity. State iWatch program accepts tips via website, mobile app


**DPS Urges Texans to Stay Vigilant, Report Suspicious Activity.
State iWatch program accepts tips via website, mobile app**

AUSTIN – In light of the attack in Las Vegas over the weekend and as part of national Crime Prevention Month (October), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is calling on all Texans to remain vigilant regarding potential crime and terrorist activity in their communities, and to report suspicious behaviors to local authorities or the department’s iWATCH website at www.iwatchtx.org.

“In the wake of the cowardly attack in Las Vegas, we continue to keep everyone impacted by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We also want to remind the public of the potentially crucial role they play in helping law enforcement combat groups and lone-wolf actors intent on harming others. No matter where you are – alone or in a large group – always stay alert, and report any illegal or suspicious activity you witness to iWATCH or to your local authorities.”

The iWATCH program was created as a partnership between communities and law enforcement, and utilizes citizen-sourced tips related to criminal activity. Concerned citizens who observe suspicious activity can visit the iWATCH website – www.iwatchtx.org – to fill out a report. A report usually takes fewer than five minutes to complete, and once submitted, each report is reviewed by law enforcement analysts. To make an anonymous report, individuals can contact DPS at 1-844-643-2251. (iWATCH is not designed to report emergencies. If a situation requires an emergency response, call 911.)

Preparations for terrorist attacks may often be seen but rarely reported. When in doubt, speak up.

Here are some examples of behaviors and activities to report:

Strangers asking questions about building security features and procedures.
Briefcase, suitcase, backpack or package is left behind.
Cars or trucks are left in no-parking zones at important buildings.
Chemical smells or fumes that are unusual for the location.
People requesting sensitive information, such as blueprints, security plans or VIP travel schedules, without a need to know.
Purchasing supplies that could be used to make bombs or weapons, or purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials.
Taking photographs or videos of security features, such as cameras or checkpoints.

Reports to iWATCH can also be made through the DPS Mobile App. The app is currently available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/texas-dps/id902092368?mt=8) and for Android users on Google Play: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…).

 

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Coahoma ISD Takes Part in Annual Homecoming Bonfire


Coahoma Bulldogs and Bulldogettes were surrounded by family and friends at the annual Homecoming Bonfire last night.


#54 Lane Williams, a Senior at Coahoma High School, and Left Guard for the Bulldogs said that he’s been to the bonfires every year since he was in Pre-K. When asked what the annual bonfire means to him, Williams said, "It's a school tradition and we gotta keep it alive and keep it going. It means a lot. It signifies Homecoming and all the things that come with it."


The fire was lit by Coahoma Senior and football player Bracy Bacon, who is currently training with the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department.


Photo provided by Deena Richardson Photography.

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Carson Pleads Guilty to Felony Firearm Smuggling and is Sentenced to 15 Years


On Monday Kimberly Kay Carson plead guilty to Felony Firearm Smuggling and was sentenced to 15 years out of a maximum sentence of 20 years. Carson was one of four people who had been arrested earlier this year in connection of the death of local 12-year-old Jose Hernandez.

District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson told KBest News, “There was some contention because this was the case that involved the 12-year-old young man who was fatally injured during the course of this thing, and in front of the Grand Jury, and all along, we have wrestled with the concept of the felony murder rule and how to apply it versus applying it to the felony firearm smuggling case.”

Ultimately, it was concluded that the Felony Firearm Smuggling case would be the strongest case to pursue and she was given a stiff sentence of 15 years out of the maximum of 20 years.

According to District Attorney Wilkerson, Carson “will be sent to where the original burglary was committed and now she can look at what they’re going to do with her in addition to what we did.“

The other people who had been arrested with connection of the death of Jose Hernandez are Cody Alan Wingo, Christopher Yanez, and Cindy Manchado Lopez, all of whom were also charged with Felony Firearm Smuggling.

 
 

 

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Press Release from BSISD - Relative to Social Media Speculation about Bathroom policy at BSI


Students at Big Spring Intermediate school have and will continue to have multiple opportunities to use the restroom facilities during the school day. In addition to scheduled trips to the facilities, students may request to use the restroom during class and may do so with a hall pass. Apparently, there has been some confusion about the situation due to the temporary closing of twoof the BSI restrooms for emergency repairs. Student health and safety are always the top priorities for school officials and staff, and that was certainly the case as we adjusted restroom procedures in response to a reduction in the number of available restrooms. We expect repairs to be completed no later than afternoon.

George Bancroft
Human Resources Director &
Community Relations Coordinator

 

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Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Battle Blaze for 4 Hours


On Monday at approximately 12:45 PM the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department responded to a report of a hot oil truck fire off of FM 2230 and N. CR 19.

Chief Tommy Sullivan, HCVFD, told KBest Media that about the time that they arrived on scene, a major explosion occurred that caused fireballs to shoot 80 feet into the air. Thankfully, no one had made it to the scene at the time of the explosion.

The HCVFD was able to knock the fire down safely by using their pumper tin that they acquired last year with the remote-controlled deck gun. With this device, they were able to pull hoses into it and block in the LPG tanks that were popping off, which Chief Sullivan stated was the biggest danger that the firefighters faced on the scene.

They extinguished the hot oil truck and there was also a pulling unit that was on fire with it. The HCVFD were on scene for over 4 hours. No one was injured during the incident.

 
 

 

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Did My Info Get Hacked During the Equifax Breach? Here's How to Check!


Earlier this year one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, had a major cyber security incident. Hackers accessed people’s names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and some even found driver license numbers. They also stole credit card information for over 200,000 people.

 

Equifax gets information from credit card companies, banks, lenders, and retailers to help determine a person’s credit score; so even if you don’t think that you were affected by the security breach, you may have been.

 

You can find out if you were affected by the breach by

1. Visiting www.Equifaxsecurity2017.com

2. Click on "Am I Impacted"
3. Enter your last name and last six digits of your social security number - on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it.
4. You will get one of two responses

It will say "we believe that your personal information was not impacted" or "we believe that your personal information was impacted."

 

Regardless if you were affected by the breach or not, it’s recommended that you protect you review your information and protect it by -

  1. Visiting www.annualcreditreport.com and pull a credit report to see if there's been any activity.
  2. Consider putting a fraud alert on your three accounts - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It's free and good for 90 days.
  3. Consider putting a freeze on your accounts

So, what’s the difference between a fraud alert and a credit freeze?

 

Heather Massey, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau for the Permian Basin, says that with a fraud alert businesses must be able to verify identity for the consumer before opening a new line of credit. With a credit freeze no one, inlcuding the consumer themselves can access the person's credit report to open a new account. These options do not affect your credit score. The fraud alert is free bu the credit freeze costs $10.

 

Massey went on to say that ultimately, fraud alerts are much more commonly used between the two but may not be as effective as credit freezing when it comes to keeping someone from opening new accounts. The fraud alert lasts 90 days and will automatically expire unless it is reactivated by the consumer. It is important to note that identity theft victims are entitled to an extended fraud alert which can last up to 7 years.

 

In Texas, a credit freeze lasts until the consumer lifts it, either temporarily or permanently. Unfreezing the account can take up to several days.

 

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Big Spring City Council Adopts New Property Tax Rate for 217-2018 Fiscal Year


During Tuesday night's at a meeting of the Big Spring City Council the property tax rate increased by the adoption of a tax rate of 0.842320 per $100 valuation, which is effectively a 6.56% increase in the tax rate. New tax rate will become effective on October 1st.

Photo: Mayor Larry McLellan reads the proclamation stating that October 2017 is "Community Planning Month".

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Howard County Commissioners' Court Adopts Tax Rate for 2017-2018 Fiscal Year


During a meeting of the Howard County Commissioners' Court adopted a tax rate of $0.44/$100 which is the same as the current tax rate for 2016-2017. It was also noted that none of the public was in attendance at the Public Hearings that were set earlier in the month.

 

A grant was also received in the amount of approximately $36,000 from the Indigent Defense Grant Program. This program gives the county a grant every year to help fund the cost of criminal indigent defense. Judge Kathryn G. Wiseman explained that the county also has to provide a defense attorney for CPS cases and mental health defense which costs the county over $100,000 every year.

 

 

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Big Spring PD Issues Statement on Viral Video that Leads to Internal Investigation


On the 23rd of September 2017, the Big Spring Police Department was made aware of an incident involving one of our officers. We have viewed a social media video that shows our officer making an arrest on an adult female and then pulling her to the side of his police unit. Chief of Police, Chad Williams has initiated an internal administrative investigation of the incident. Due to this being an active investigation we are unable to comment any further at this time.

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

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Grainger Community Grant Programs Donates $5,000 to YMCA of Big Spring and the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club


On Friday, Nick Rodriguez, Operations Manager for the Midland location of W. W. Grainger Inc., presented a check to the YMCA of Big Spring and Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club for $5,000 each. The money came from the Grainger Community Grant Program.

 

The money for the YMCA of Big Spring will be used to remodel their boys’ and girls’ restrooms, which also serves as locker rooms and shower areas for the students who use the facilities. Over time the steam has rusted and warped the lockers and has caused the paint in the shower areas to peel. The renovations will bring in new paint and lockers that will hold up better in a moist environment. This will be the last step in their project to remodel the facility.

 

The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club will use their $5,000 to help fund the purchase of outdoor playground equipment that will be placed on the lot located next to the Salvation Army office and the Salvation Army Bosy and Girls Club.

 

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"Phone Booth Library" pops up in Big Spring


Blessing boxes, filled with non-perishable food and personal hygiene items, became popular around Big Spring and the nation earlier this year. Now, local Big Spring resident and Farmers Insurance Agent Eric Escamilla has a new project that he hopes will catch on as well.
It’s called a “Phone Booth Library” and it’s located next to the blessing box in front of Farmers Insurance, located at 205 W. 15th Street.
With some help, Escamilla was able to transform an old phone booth into the Phone Booth Library. It’s currently stocked with books ranging from novels to children’s book. Anyone is welcomed to take a book and to donate books.
When asked why he wanted to set up the Phone Booth Library, Escamilla stated that one of the things that was important to him growing up was knowledge. He went on to say that the mentors he had encouraged him to read to find solutions for his problems. Now he would like to pass on that opportunity to other people.
The Phone Booth Library has been set up for about a week and Escamilla says that several books have been taken since then and he’s excited about the response.

 

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Winner of Downtown Throw Down, Spur 327, Set to Open Up for Clay Walker and Daryl Dodd at Howard County Fair on September 30th


Last week the winner of the Downtown Throw Down was announced to be Spur 327. Spur 327 made up Heath Stewart, Todd Chambers, Tyge Payne, and Andrew Hackney is a band out of Lubbock, Texas but lead vocals Heath Stewart is a Big Spring High School graduate. The band is well known for their song, “Going Down to Big Spring” which they debuted live on 95.7 FM KBest Country.

 

They’ll be opening for Clay Walker and Daryl Dodd on September 30th at the Howard County Fair. When asked how it felt to open for Clay Walker the band stated that it was humbling. Back in 1993 when Clay Walker's album released and they played it over and over again, they never thought that this is where they would be years later.

 

Tickets can be purchased online at stubwire.com or locally at Ward’s Western Wear.

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STOPit App Empowers Big Spring ISD Students to Stand Up Against Bullying


 

Big Spring ISD has enrolled with STOPit, the leading technology platform for schools that deters and controls harmful or inappropriate conduct. STOPit empowers students with an easy app to safely and anonymously report anything of concern to school officials – from cyberbullying to threats of violence or self-harm. STOPit empowers students to stand up for themselves and others while giving our schools the insight we need to keep students safe.

 

Big Spring ISD is committed to the safety of our students. We are excited about the possibilities of a program of this caliber.

 

Chris Wigington, Superintendent, Big Spring ISD, "With STOPit, students can submit anonymous reports containing text, photos, or video. Administrators are then able to manage incidents in a backend management system called DOCUMENTit. DOCUMENTit provides efficient and powerful investigative tools to our staff, including the ability to message with the reporter, which will allow us to address issues instantly."

 

STOPit does more than just help schools address incidents and mitigate risk. STOPit will also help us go beyond reacting to bullying and inappropriate behavior, and instead start deterring it. As young people continue to engage more with technology every day, we are taking a proactive step to empower our students to become Upstanders in our community in the way that they feel most comfortable. We believe our adoption of STOPit is an important step in our continued effort to provide a positive school climate and a safe learning environment for our students.

 

Our STOPit program launch is scheduled for September 25, 2017.

 

About STOPit:

STOPit is the leading technology company providing a comprehensive software platform that mitigates, deters and controls bullying, including cyberbullying, harassment and other harmful or inappropriate conduct. The STOPit platform is available to schools, universities, businesses and governments both in the United States and around the world. The STOPit mobile app is a simple, fast and powerful tool which empowers individuals to protect themselves and stand up for others online, on social media, in the classroom or in the office. DOCUMENTit, a robust incident management system, empowers administrators and management to get in front of issues to mitigate risk and adhere to the ever evolving compliance landscape.

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Petro Waste Environmental LP Opens Oil and Gas Waste Landfill Facility in Howard County to Service Oil Fields


San Antonio-based Petro Waste Environmental LP (PWE) opened its newest state-of-the-art non-hazardous oil and gas waste landfill facility in Howard County earlier this month on September 5. George Wommack, CEO of Petro Waste Environmental LP, stated that Howard County was the perfect place for their new facility because they were looking for an area with the highest concentration of oil field activity because they service the oil fields and Howard County the core of the Permian Basin acreage.

 

This is a railroad commissioned jurisdiction facility. It’s purely for non-hazardous oilfield waste. When asked how this will benefit oilfield companies in the Permian Basin, Wommack stated, “There’s a lot of drilling demand in the area. There’s a lot of needs for services to service the horizontal drilling activity and so our facility will provide a lower cost alternative to driving further away. It saves the oil field companies quite a bit of money in logistics expense and our facilities design to get trucks in and out extremely quickly. Time is money and for the oil field that’s extremely important to operate efficiently.”

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DPS Offers Increased Reward, Seeks Leads in 1988 Jones County Murder


 

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is asking for the public’s help in solving the 1988 murder of Cortney Clayton, and an increased reward of up to $6,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible if the tip is received before next month’s featured case is announced. (A $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest is routinely offered on all cases on the Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides website.)

 

On September 2, 1988, 7-year-old Cortney Clayton was abducted near her home in Stamford, approximately 40 miles north of Abilene. The young girl was last seen when she walked to a small store, about a block from her home, to buy a soft drink. Despite an immediate and extensive search, the second grader’s remains were not discovered until March 26, 1989, by a hunter in Shackelford County, about 50 miles away near the small town of Moran. She was identified by the hair from a hairbrush her parents had kept. She is survived by her parents and two brothers. 

 

To be eligible for the cash rewards, tipsters must provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477).  All tips are anonymous.

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Power Outage: The Mighty 1490 Temporarily Down


**UPDATE: As of 11:30 A.M., power has been restored, and the Mighty 1490 is back ON THE AIR!**

 

Power Outages: The Mighty 1490 is temporarily off of the air. Our AM tower is part of the 1,000 units currently without power. Crews are working feverishly to restore power to residences, businesses and the Mighty 1490. We will update you as we receive news. In the meantime, you CAN hear the Mighty 1490 online and via the FREE app in the AppStore: just search KBST 1490 and it will pop right up!

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Sonic Owners, Mike & Sheila Abusaab Donate $1,000 to Food2Kids-Big Spring to Feed Hungry Children


On Monday evening, Mike and Sheila Abusaab donated $1,000 to the organization Food2Kids Big Spring, located at the old Lakeview High School. 

 

The purpose of the program is to provide nutritious meals to children over the weekend because sometimes children are not able to get a nutritious meal until they go back to school on Monday morning. Mike Abusaab stated that he and Sheila had helped to sack meals once before and recognized that there was a need for the program in the community and that he and Sheila wanted to help by donating money. He also went on to say that he hopes other business owners will be inspired to donate to the organization as well.

 

Karen Carmen, with Food2Kids - Big Spring, stated that the organization was thankful for the donation and support that they have received from the community.

 

Here JoAnne Forrest, spokesperson for the Food2Kids program, told KBest Media that this program should be important to everyone in Big Spring because "no one can function properly when they're hungry, and with the amount of prosperity in the region there is no excuse for children in our community to go hungry."

 

If you’d like to contribute money to Food2Kids Big Spring, you can donate money can contact their headquarters at First Methodist Church. You can also donate your time by helping to sack the meals at old Lakeview High School Gym. The organization meets there during the 1st or 3rd week of the month, on Monday and Tuesdays at 5:30 PM. 

 

Last week alone, they were able to sack 600 meals. 

 

 

 

Pictured from left: Pam Steel, Joanne Forrest, Shirley Shroyer, Karen Carman, Nick Rodriguez, Sheila & Mike Abusaab, and Raul Marquez Sr. Not pictured is Muffet Bomar, President of the Board of Directors for Food 2 Kids.

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60-ft Trailer Filled with Item Donations for Hurricane Harvey Victims Thanks to Cornerstone Covenant Church and Big Spring Residents


It started with a simple Facebook post encouraging church members to give item donations for Hurricane Harvey victims, and 2 weeks later it turned into a 60-ft trailer filled with water, non-perishable food, and a variety of other items.

Cornerstone Covenant Church loaded a 60-ft trailer with the item donations in a matter a minutes with the help of their church members.

The trailer was donated by members of the church who run the business J.A.L. Contractors.

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9/11 Memorial Honors Heroes from Tragic Event and Fallen Hometown Heroes


Mike Tarpley, Sergeant under 1st Airborne – Vietnam, now with the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 47, put together the September 11th memorial for Big Spring 11 years ago. He said he didn’t know how long it would continue when he started it but stated, “I knew that we needed to honor these men. The public has taken over, but I get the opportunity and privilege to [participate in] it. The people of Big Spring want to see this happen every year and honor these men who did not get to make it home.”

 

When asked how he felt to see the crowd of people gathered there for the memorial ceremony, Tarpley said, “It really does my heart a lot of good. We have the Gold Start Family sitting in their section sitting over there and they see these people here. After the program is over they’ll come up to me and hug me and say, ‘Mike, thank you. My son is not forgotten,’ then I know that it means a lot and we’ll have to continue it as long as possible.”

 

Fire Chief of the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Tommy Sullivan was also in attendance in order to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives 16 years ago in the tragic event on September, 11, 2001.

 

“As firefighters, we don’t look at our own safety. We put everyone else’s above ours. That day, those 343 made the ultimate choice and today we’re here to honor that. I’m proud to be a part of this memorial for my brothers and sisters,” stated Chief Sullivan.

 

Even though 343 firefighters made the ultimate sacrifice that day w/ their life, there are 411 names that are written in the memorial wall because other firefighters lost their life due to health complications that were a result of the heroic choices they made that day to place the safety of others over themselves.

 

Chief Sullivan went on to say, “They responded without thinking about their personal well-being. That’s why I’m here today. I had my leg amputated last Wednesday but you couldn’t have kept me away from here for anything.”

 

Monday’s memorial event was sponsored by the D.V.A., Chapter 47, and the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department.

 

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New Dean of Libraries Mavour Braswell will Initiate Research Project to Look into the Possibility of Combining County and College Libraries


An inter local agreement between the county and the college has resulted in the appointment of Mavour Braswell to work as the Dean of Libraries for Howard College, and will also be the oversight librarian for the Howard County Library. She will be initiating a research project to look into possibilities for a combined county and college library, however, there is no definite plan at this time.

 

Dr. Cheryl Sparks stated that this idea had been around since the 1980s and it’s come up a few times since then in an effort to attempt to save tax payers money by coming up with a library that can serve the needs of everyone in the county. This is an idea that was inspired by different models of combined libraries in different parts of the country.

 

When asked what her first actions would be for both the public and the college library, Dean of the Libraries Mavour Braswell stated that she would like to add more programming for the community and update the webpage for the Howard County Library. She also stated that she would like to make more online resources and virtual services available for the Howard College Library.

 

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Howard County Sheriff's Office Warns Residents of Another Scam


From Sheriff Stan Parker:

 

The Howard County Sheriff’s Office would like to warn our citizens that there are several scams going and we ask that you please be cautious and not get involved. Most scams come by email, mail or phone calls.

 

Recently, there is an email circulating stating you have won a large sum of money. As a way of gaining your confidence they are using Big Spring Police Chief Chad Williams' name as a means of verifying the prize as legitimate. A phone number is given and when you call the number, “Chief Williams” answers to verify the prize. The person answering is NOT Chief Williams. You are then instructed to send a sum of money to an account and then you will be mailed large check.

 

YOU WILL NEVER RECEIVE YOUR MONEY.

 

The majority of the time the money is being sent to overseas accounts and becomes unrecoverable.

 

Please remember, if you have to send money in order to receive a prize, it is a scam.

If you feel someone is trying to scam you please contact one of our Investigators at 432-264-2231 ext. 106 or 107.

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Local Pastor's Social Media Request for Item Donations from Church Members Spreads Further than Expected


Pastor Michael Willard, Sr. Pastor at Cornerstone Covenant Church took to social media last Tuesday to ask church members to join them in their efforts to assist in hurricane relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area by bringing a few items to their church located at 706 E. 12th St. Since then, his Facebook video has gotten 1,400 views but what’s even more impressive is the amount of support that has come from the community. Pastor Willard explained that the overwhelming response resulted in an updated plan of action.

 

Originally, they had planned to take a 5x8 trailer with supplies on it to the affected area, but that trailer grew to a 10 ft trailer, and eventually turned into a 60 ft trailer that was donated by a church member who owns his own company and also offered a professional driver to haul it where it was needed.

 

“We don’t want to delay our response, but we have because we were waiting on the conditions on the ground in the Houston area to change. When we started this last Tuesday, they were really not giving a whole lot of people a lot of clearance, simply because it wasn’t safe. Now that the water has rescinded, it looks like maybe in a week or so we’ll be able to get those items down there,” said Pastor Willard.

 

Pastor Willard stated that the Cornerstone Covenant Church is not accepting monetary donations and only items will be accepted in person. The items that are being requested are coming directly from a list that was provided by those who are in the affected areas. Some of the main items are: baby formula, diapers, baby wipes, toiletries, women hygiene products, underwear of all sizes, water, and non-perishable food. Items can be dropped off inside the church Monday through Thursday from 8 AM until 5 PM. You can also drop off items at the front door under the gable anytime during Friday and Saturday and someone will secure those items, or you can your donation inside the church lobby during worship service hours.

 

They are currently planning to send supplies collected by September 15th

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Mike and Sheila Abusaab Donate $3,000 for Sonic Scholarships at Local College


Today Mike and Sheila Abusaab handed Dr. Cheryl Sparks, President of Howard College, a check for $3,000 to fund the Sonic Scholarships at Howard College located in Big Spring. This scholarship awards $1,000 to three students who will be able to continue their education at Howard College.

 

According to Dr. Sparks, recipients of the scholarships are awarded to students who has the desire to be thankful for the funds that they will be receiving, and who will also uphold what the Abusaabs are about. There is a long history of interest in education from both Mike and Sheila Abusaab. The Abusaabs have had opportunities afforded to them in the past and they would like to do the same for others.

 

Sheila stated, “We believe in Howard College and the education that they provide for the students. In over 30 years, we’ve seen a lot of successes and we want to continue that process. We have a very good relationship Dr. Sparks and with Howard College, but nothing makes us happier than to see a student complete his education at Howard College or at least get a good start with the numerous programs that Howard College provides.”

 

The Abusaabs have been donating money for the Sonic Scholarships for over 30 years.

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BSISD Announces Memorial Tree Project


Big Spring ISD would like to announce the continuation of its Memorial Tree Walk project. The effort to honor some of our Steer family members began in the Spring of 2015 when a young lady named Shelly Lopez passed away in a traffic accident and her mother approached the Big Spring ISD School Board to ask if she could plant a tree in her honor. Community Relations Coordinator,George Bancroft says he thought it was a good idea and since then Big Spring ISD decided to expand that idea to include other students, teachers, and staff members of the school district.

 

Each individual will be memorialized with an oak tree and a bronze plaque set on polished granite. The plaques are $900 and is not covered by the school, but it can be donated to honor a loved one, and the trees are planted at Blakenship Field.

 

If you have questions about the Memorial Tree Project you can contact George Bancroft via email at gbancroft@bsisd.esc18.net or by phone by calling the Big Spring ISD Administration Office. 

The 2017 Memorial Tree Walk Ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 PM, Thursday, November 2nd at Blankenship Field. Donations will be accepted through Friday, September 15, 2017.

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Operation Harvey Relief - A Local Effort Receiving Lots of Hometown Help


Operation Harvey Relief is a local organization that is dedicated to providing relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in the smaller areas south of Victoria that still need help. Local Big Spring resident Kylie Soles and her husband have been able to organize item donations and that they have been able to travel to areas where residents are in need of supplies. They say that they are willing to continue as long as it is needed. Soles told KBest News that her husband has contacts in Victoria that are keeping him informed about what these areas still need because different areas have different needs. She went on to say that they are not working with any agency or church, but that they are coordinating their efforts by using the information that her husband receives from people in the area.

 

When asked what inspired her to get involved, Soles said that she remembered Hurricane Katrina and that she was too young to understand the gravity of it. This time around, she wanted to get involved and has been amazed at how quickly this has been able to come together with the help of Big Spring and Stanton communities.

 

You can find a list of items that are needed on the Facebook page for Operation Harvey Relief. Soles said that the items that they could use more of specifically is powdered bleach, and charcoal. Donation and drop-off locations will be in Big Spring at ACE Hardware, Higginbotham Bartlett, and Home Depot. You can also make cash donations at C. Larson Reality.

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West Texas Centers Recognize Suicide Prevention Month with Information and Resources


BIG SPRING – Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith said.

 

“Yet parents spend more time trying to control all the other things that prevent harm to their children – child-proofing the home, making sure they eat healthy and monitoring their friends and social media,” said Smith, who also is a Licensed Master Social Worker in addition to her work as CEO of the 23-county Mental Health Authority.

 

“Don’t get me wrong – those are all important factors in raising a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child but so is talking to them about their feelings and the permanency of suicide. It’s not an easy subject to broach, but if you start early enough, I think it’s something that can be approached with some ease.”

 

Parents who talk to their children about feelings and values from a young age have less trouble broaching more complex problems as the child navigates puberty and adolescence, Smith said.

 

“Relationships with your children start early and can be fostered and nurtured throughout adolescence through open communication,” she said. “So when you need to reach out in times of distress, it can be done seamlessly and not appear as if you are interfering in their lives.”

 

“I have found many times, particularly early in my experience as a licensed master social worker that children want their parents when feelings of suicide, self-harm or despair enter their minds. Although they may push parents away at first, we urge parents to persevere and delicately navigate through all their child’s emotions.”

 

The most important thing parents can do is listen to their child, Smith said.

 

“If they talk about harming themselves, don’t ignore it,” she said. “Actively listen to them and try not to over-react. I know that’s easier said than done but remember this isn’t about you, it’s about them. Be calm. If you panic and react, you may shut them down and make it more difficult to help them in the future.”

 

It’s beneficial for parents to think how they will handle discussions regarding suicide in advance even if their child appears to be emotionally healthy, Smith said. That way if the topic of suicide ever comes up, they are prepared.

 

“We read books on how to toilet train a child or how to deliver a baby but how many people prepare for the number two leading cause of death of children?” Smith said. “It’s something to think about.”

 

Smith said to listen to your children and take an active part in the conversation. Ask leading questions and find out how often they feel this way and what makes them have these thoughts.

 

“When they say they want to commit suicide or they want to kill themselves, what do they mean? Are they frustrated? Is there a life event, such as a break-up with a special friend that has gotten them depressed or are they being bullied? Have school events made them so anxious and frustrated that they feel as if there is no way out? Get to the root of the problem.”

 

“We tell kids that this is the time of their lives but in actuality, it’s a very difficult time.”

“They are navigating school, grades, relationships, setting a roadmap for the rest of their lives that they believe needs to be nailed down in advance. The pressure kids put on themselves can be too much,” Smith said.

 

Resist the urge to be dismissive and suggest that moment will pass.

“As parents we tend to pat our children on their heads and tell them that it will be all right and that Mom or Dad will fix it,” Smith said. “This is not an easy fix. For your child to approach you takes a great deal of courage if you were lucky enough for them to talk to you in the first place.”

 

Then ask them what they believe is the best way to approach their feelings.

“It’s important to let them give input into how they want to proceed,” she said. “There are so many resources available. West Texas Centers has mental health workers and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline 1-800-375-4357. You may also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Of course if a child is in immediate danger call the authorities or take them to the emergency room.”

 

West Texas Centers also offers Mental Health First Aid. It’s a wonderful tool for all community members to gain knowledge and understanding about mental illness, while learning how to prevent, intervene and respond appropriately when a person is experiencing a mental health. To enroll, please contact Courtney Burgans, Workforce Training Assistant, Howard College, 1001 Birdwell Lane, Big Spring, TX 79720, 432 264-5131.

 

It’s also a good idea for parents to monitor their child’s social media - Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat - to see if they are being bullied or experiencing unusual behavior.

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, some of the signs of suicide are:

 

· Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves

 

· Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live

 

· Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun

 

· Talking about great guilt or shame

 

· Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions

 

· Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)

 

· Talking about being a burden to others

 

· Using alcohol or drugs more often

 

· Acting anxious or agitated

 

· Withdrawing from family and friends

 

· Changing eating and/or sleeping habits

 

· Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

 

· Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast

 

· Talking or thinking about death often

 

· Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy

 

· Giving away important possessions

 

· Saying goodbye to friends and family

 

· Putting affairs in order, making a will

 

Some people are more at risk for suicide, Smith said. Those who live in constant pain, are diagnosed with depression or have a family history of a mental disorder.

 

“It’s our job to help those we love because in the end, suicide is final and there’s no second chances. What we hear time and time again after each and every tragedy, is ‘If we had only known. We have the tools to help others at West Texas Centers. Anyone can call our hotline for help. Everyone is responsible to be the voice to report and reach out.

West Texas Centers’ 24-hour mental health crisis hotline number is 1-800-375-4357.

West Texas Centers serves more than 3,000 consumers and their families each month in 23 rural counties.

 

West Texas Centers serves Andrews, Borden, Crane, Dawson, Fisher, Gaines, Garza, Glasscock, Howard, Kent, Loving, Martin, Mitchell, Nolan, Reeves, Runnels, Scurry, Terrell, Terry, Upton, Ward, Winkler and Yoakum counties.

 

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Texting-while-Driving Now Illegal in Texas


AUSTIN – Effective Sept. 1, texting while driving will be illegal across the state of Texas as the result of a new texting-while-driving ban passed during the 85th Texas Legislative Session. The law prohibits motorists from reading, writing or sending electronic messages while driving.

 

“One in five crashes in Texas is caused by distracted driving,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We are pleased the Texas Legislature recognizes the extreme danger caused by texting and driving. The new law sends a very clear message to Texans to put down their phones and focus on the road. We are hopeful this new law will help save lives and reduce injuries.”

 

Last year, 109,658 traffic crashes in Texas involved distracted driving. Those crashes resulted in 455 deaths and 3,087 serious injuries.

 

While distracted drivers risk injuring or killing themselves and others, they also now face penalties under the new statewide law. A first offense is punishable by a fine up to $99; any subsequent offense carries a fine up to $200. Drivers should be aware that some cities have additional ordinances that are more restrictive. Exceptions to the new law include emergency communication or electronic messaging when the vehicle is stopped.

For those under 18 years of age, Texas law already bans all cell phone use while driving, including hands-free, except in the case of emergencies. Additionally, drivers are currently banned from texting and using hand-held cellular devices while driving in school zones. School bus operators also are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present.

 

To help educate the public on the new law, TxDOT will be posting information on portable roadside message signs as well as permanent signs along interstate and U.S. highways.

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Salvation Army Captain Josh McKain Says Poor Coordination of Item Donations can Hinder Hurricane Relief Progress


Since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast last week Big Spring residents have shown their support by donating money, supplies, water and non-perishable food items to the area. Some people have actually gone out of their way to actually fuel up and drive it to some of the affected areas.

 

Captain Josh McKain with the Salvation Army says that sometimes good intentions can actually hinder relief efforts if it's not properly coordinated.

 

"Many people don't understand the logistical nightmare behind organizing drives, labeling and separating, organizing, packing and shipping, and boxing goods," says Captain McKain. "If a church, agency, or group is not working with [an approved distributor] they very well will get turned away because there's so much of that coming in."

 

Captain McKain went on to say that financial contributions are the best way to help because it costs nothing to send money where it needs to be as opposed to a canned food or toiletry. Here Captain McKain explains how this helps in more ways than one, "Why buy a case of water here in Big Spring, Texas, when you can give money to an agency to buy water in an economy that's struggling? When people take money and purchase goods in the economies that are struggling, it gives them a boost, helps support businesses there, and it's much more cost effective that the people who know how to respond to disaster know how to do it well."

 

The Salvation Army is mobilized all across Texas and now in parts of Louisiana with 71 different mobile units ranging from units that can serve and provide hot meals, snacks and provide hydration, as well as clean-up kits, and even laundry and shower units that have come from all over the united states and there are hundreds of teams that have been deployed to the different areas affected.

 

Captain McKain also went on to state, "It's going to be a long, long process, and we're in it for the long haul. The Salvation Army will be there for 6 to 9 months."

 

The Salvation Army will also be working the after-recovery that includes finding placement and homes for people, assisting them, and walking with them during this time of rebuilding. It is going to last years down the road that they'll be there to continue working with individuals who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.

 

If you would like to make a financial contribution you can go to helpsalvationarmy.org, you can text “STORM” to 51555, or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

 

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Big Spring Fire Department sends TIFMAS Team to Help in Rescue Efforts in Areas Devastated by Hurricane Harvey


The Big Spring Fire Department is doing their part to help out with rescues along the coast that are a result of Hurricane Harvey. Craig Ferguson, Fire Chief for the Big Spring Fire Department, told KBest that the department received a call for assistance on Saturday.

 

He stated that Big Spring FD has a team that is involved with state agencies called the TIFMAS (Texas Interstate Fire Mutual Aid System) Team and they were deployed for 7 days begining on Sunday. Upon their arrival, they began helping immediately.

 

Chief Ferguson said that he talks to the crew daily and that recently he was told that they are moving from the Houston area to the Beaumont area due to the immediate need for help that is a result of the amount of rain that has fallen.

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Local Big Spring Singer/Songwriter, J.R. McNutt, Determined to Perform Despite Setbacks


Local Big Spring singer/songwriter and Texas winner of the 2017 Texas Regional Finals of The Country Showdown JR McNutt doesn’t let road bumps like airline complications stand in his way of performing. He had originally been scheduled to perform in Florida this weekend but had to cancel; but that’s okay because he’s determined to do what he loves, no matter where he’s grounded.

 

The influences of Texas Country artists like Randy Rogers, Eli Young, and Aaron Watson can be expected to be heard in the work of a local songwriter, but it’s McNutt’s unique blend of southern and alternative rock influences that are intertwined into his music that will catch your ear.

 

Even though McNutt has only been performing full-time for a year, he has 15 years of experience and lots of stories to tell. McNutt is also very passionate about helping music-artist-hopefuls navigate the music business. When asked what advice he had for anyone who had questions about how to begin the journey of following their dreams towards a full-time career in music, McNutt had this to say, “They can give me a call if they wanted to, and if I don’t have the answer I can get it from the right people. One thing I would suggest if you’re starting out is to not be afraid to make mistakes and continue to keep driving even if you hear negative input. A lot of those people don’t want to believe in what you have to offer because they may have been discouraged on something on their account. Don’t let those people influence what you’re trying to accomplish and keep pushing forward and don’t give up.”

 

McNutt will be performing at the Train Car in downtown Big Spring tonight and will also be competing for an opportunity to open up for the Clay Walker Concert next week in the Down Town Throw Down sponsored by the Train Car.

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Local Business Sends Volunteers, Machinery, and Supplies to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims


Local company Bulldog Steel has made the choice to do their part in assisting with relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

 

Four laborers from Bulldog Steel, volunteered on their own to travel to Rockport to deliver machinery and supplies and help any way they could. They originally planned to stay a week, but say that they are willing to stay as longer if needed.

 

Tanna Bradley, who runs the front desk at Bulldog Steel, says that her brother, Tyler Bradley – an owner of Bulldog Steel, just woke up one day earlier this week and decided to load up a couple of semis with heavy operating machinery and 2 more regular trucks loaded with supplies to Rock Port in order to help with relief efforts. Tanna says that the equipment that was sent will be able to move debris and pull away obstructions, and help to get people to safety.

 

Tanna also told KBest News that even though Bulldog Steel made no announcement that they were leaving for Rock Port with good intentions, there were people in the community who offered immediate help while they were in the process of gathering supplies and fuel.

 

Higginbotham offered to send them 48 cases of water with them to Rock Port. Gene Hector with RH Well Services had ran across the Bulldog Steel team fueling their trucks and offered to pay for the fuel for their trip to Rock Port - That was over 500 gallons of fuel.

 

When asked what inspired them to take action and send help, Tanna said, "We try to come together as a team when bad things happen. We try to bring everybody together so we can help people out. We feel that's the Godly thing to do and if we can give, we love to give."

 

Bulldog Steel is located at 9702 S. Service Rd. in Big Spring.

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SM Energy Donates $10,000 to Big Spring ISD for a New Robotics Program at Big Spring JHS


During last night's Special Meeting of the Big Spring ISD's Board of Trustees, the board approved the donation of $10,000 from SM Energy to be used to start a new robotics program at Big Spring Junior High School. 

 

Kate Noble, External Affairs at SM Energy, stated that SM Energy has donated to various schools in the Midland area to start robotics programs. The money will go to start up actual robots that the school will get from LEGO. She went on to say that SM Energy likes to invest in furthering the education of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) because the majority of their staff are technical people like engineers and geologists. 

 

The hope in donating the money is to build a passion in robotics at an early age and to be able to foster that development in high school and further on into higher education. 

 

 

Photo: The SM Energy staff pictured are, from left to right, are Maggie Key, Kris Alles, Kate Noble, present a check to BSISD Superintendent Chris Wigington

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Lyndel Moody of the Big Spring Herald named as part of TASB's 2017 Media Honor Roll


Lyndel Moody of the Big Spring Herald was named as part of the Texas Association of School Board’s 2017 Media Honor Roll.  Sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the Media Honor Roll program recognizes reporters statewide for fair, accurate, and balanced reporting of news about public schools.

 

Photo: Chris Wigington, Superintendent of Big Spring ISD, with Lyndel Moody.

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"Love Our Lake" has Successful Turnout and Finds a Decrease in Trash


On Saturday, the organization Keep Big Spring Beautiful had their annual “Love Our Lake” event. During this event  volunteers gather at Comanche Trail Lake to collect trash in and around the area in an effort to get ready for the Comanche Warrior Triathlon, scheduled for September 9th. 

 

Willa Ledford, current President for the organization, stated that there was a good turnout for the event with several families and many individuals who came out to help clean. It was estimated that only 20 bags of trash were collected this year in about an hour and a half. Ledford stated that it was "a good indication of how people have started to care about their city."

 

In a previous interview with Keep Big Spring Beautiful member Jim Depaw, it was noted that in past years there would be at least 600 pounds of garbage that would be picked up and extracted from the lake. Depaw also predicted that there would be a decrease in the amount of trash that would be collected due to the efforts of many organizations that work to keep to Big Spring beautiful.

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Howard County Sheriff's Office Warns Residents of Current Scam


 

On Tuesday August 22, 2017 a local resident received a phone call from a person identifying themselves as Lt. Steve Harris with the Howard County Sheriffs Office. The caller advised they had warrants and needed to make arrangements over the phone to pay the warrant. The victim hung up and contacted the Howard County Sheriffs Office to verify the information, which they learned was false.

 

This is just a reminder of the many scams people are still running to take your money. Please remember, Law Enforcement NEVER calls to collect money.

 

Sheriff Stan Parker

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Overturned Semitruck on South HWY 87 - Traffic Diverted


As of 8:30am, traffic is being diverted on S. Hwy 87 at the new overpass south of Big Spring due to an overturned 18 wheeler. The semi is blocking the entrance to S. 87 as well as the exit to Hwy 33. No word on injuries. DPS is currently at the scene. Southbound travelers will be detoured onto Driver Road followed by Boatler Road in order to avoid the area.

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SMMC's New Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Leave a Positive Impact on Patients and their Families


It's only been a few months since The Wound Healing Center at Scenic Mountain Medical Center had its grand opening, but it's already leaving a positive impression on patients. With two new hyperbaric oxygen chambers, the Wound Healing Center is able to offer Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as a medical treatment. 

 

HBOT is a medical treatment which enhances the body's natural healing process by inhalation of pure oxygen in a total body chamber, where the atmospheric pressure is then increased and controlled. The treatment is used to treat chronic wounds that have not had success with conservative therapy, such as common wound treatments.

 

He also went on to explain that the treatment had been perfected by the United States Navy to prevent divers from getting a deadly condition known as "the bends," a condition caused by nitrogen bubbles in the blood as a result of coming up from diving too quickly. It was later found to also treat chronic wounds. Dr. Cooksey stated that The Wound Care Center actually still uses the U.S. Navy manual on how to use hyperbaric treatments, but they use it for wound care.

 

Dr. Robbie Cooksey, Medical Director of the Wound Healing Center at Scenic Mountain Medical Center, explained that the treatments are administered inside of a tank. Inside of the tank is a bed inside of a heavy glass cylinder. Pure oxygen is then pumped inside of the tank then the oxygen is compressed with approximately 2.5 atmospheres of pressure. 

 

One round of treatment is actually 30 treatments in 30 days, and according to Big Spring resident, Linda, that can be a committment of time and travel. Linda's mother is a wound care patient who is treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Her mother had only completed 8 of the 30 treatments when we spoke to her, but Linda says she can already see a difference in the wound size on her foot and that it appears to be healing from the inside out.

 

Linda says that they are pleased with the treatment that her mother has received and the staff treat her mother very well. "I'm tickled to death that I don't have to drive to Midland or Lubbock everyday for 30 days just to get her treatments done!"

 

 

 

Photo: Dr. Robbie Cooksey stands between the two hyperbaric oxygen chambers inside of The Wound Care Center at Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

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Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Receives New Training Simulator


The pump operations training simulator was delivered on Friday to the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department. This was a purchase that had been previously approved by the Howard County Commissioners’ Court and was determined to be able to cut training costs for the HCVFD and actually pay for itself in less than 4 years. Tommy Sullivan, Chief of HCVFD, told our news partners at CBS 7 “that the simulator will keep firefighters safe and sharp, as they can go through this training once a month instead of once a year.”

 

A demonstration was conducted by Jeff Clifton, Founder of Fire Department International. Clifton says that the pump operations training simulator was created to safely train firefighters by recreating stressful scenarios in a safe environment while being monitored by a fire instructor. It also decreases the amount of water that is consumed during training because in a regular hands-on training day, the training simulator will flow over 225,000 gallons of water, but will only consume approximately 2,000 gallons.

 

Clifton is a graduate of Coahoma High School and was actually trained to be a firefighter by Chief Sullivan before moving to Fort Worth, Texas where he was with the Ft. Worth Fire Department for 15 years. He later went on to create Fire Department International in 2004.

 

(Photo: The pump operations training simulator with a graphic that was designed by HCVFD, Chief Tommy Sullivan and his family.)

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Phase I Construction for Community Living Center Project Continues for West Texas VA Health Care System


The West Texas VA Health Care System continues construction on the new Community Living Center (CLC) that will be built in 4 phases. Currently, construction for the CLC is still in Phase I but a significant amount of progress has already been made to the underground level of the Community Center.

 

The completion of Phase I will include a Community Center with a 1,400 sq. ft. multipurpose room with a stage, a 550 sq. ft. great room, an internet cafe, and barber shop. The Center will aslo include a conference room and administrative offices. There will also be a one 10-bed cottage that will offer a home-like environment to residents.

 

10 veterans will share 8,200 sq. ft. of living space, including 300 sq. ft. for individual rooms. Each resident room will have a private bathroom. The living and dining areas combined are 1.380 sq. ft., and a laundry and spa bath are included.

 

Sheila Austin, Public Affairs Officer and Veterans Experience Officer, says that this project differs from the current 40-bed Community Living Center that is on the 5th floor of the VA because it will be a modern, more current format. The new format provides a more comfortable environment with a community dining and it will be less clinical.  

 

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Forsan ISD is a "2017 America's Farmers: Grow Rural Education" Winning School District!


Forsan ISD is honored to have been awarded a $10,000 grant through the Monsanto Fund, thanks to the farmers in their district who nominated Forsan ISD and to the various people involved in brainstorming and planning this "project-based" process.

The grant application is called GERMM and stands for Growing Engaged Researchers in Math Modeling. GERMM will involve almost all secondary school students through their Math, Finance, AutoCAD, or Ag Metals classes.

Students will be able to design an agriculture related project. They will then spend time working on measurement and geometrical calculations. Those plans will be sent on to an AutoCAD class where the design will become digitized. Other students will also work on budgets before a few projects make it all the way to the fabrication stage in the Ag Metals classes.

The grant money will be used to purchase a 3D printer for use in making scale models of the projects, and for purchasing a lift for the metal fabrication process.

The Grow Rural Education program allows eligible farmers to nominate their local public-school district for grants to help enhance STEM education. Once nominated, school districts submit applications to compete for $10,000 or $25,000 grants to help fund projects that enhance their STEM curriculum. These grants are helping to improve test scores, but better yet, they're getting kids to think bigger about their tomorrow.

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August Thunderstorm Brings Hope for Local Farmers


Yesterday KBest Media received 1.2 inches of rain as a result of the thunderstorms on Tuesday. Mike Moates, County President for the Howard County Farm Bureau visited the station to tell us about the benefits of a rain like this in August.

 

"The benefit for the crops in August is that the cotton was ready for drinking. It needed that so it can go ahead and put it's fruit on and mature out and give us a chance to have a cotton crop."

 

This year harvesting will begin at the end of October and early November however that is still dependent on the weather. If the weather becomes dryer, Moates says that the cotton will burn up and it would open up quicker. This would cause farmers to the defolinate the cotton to get it out quicker.

 

Moates has been with the Howard County Farm Bureau from over 25 years. The areas that the organization serves are Glasscock County, Reagan County, and Howard County. Moates says that one of the ways of the organization serves the communities is by conducting youth programs, his favorite is "Ag in the Classroom", which is designed for Howard County 5th graders.

 

He also went on to say, "A lot of the kids out here have never seen farming and ranching aspects of what goes on. We have one trailor that comes in and shows them all of the byproducts we get off of our animals and grain and our cotton and our things like that."

 

Moates says that he hopes that they can educate the kids about how important farming and ranching is to Big Spring.

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Former Big Spring Detective Receives MAXIMUM Sentencing on Three of Four Charges


In 118th District Court today, Judge Timothy Yeats handed down the sentences to former Big Spring detective Joel Rojo, following last week's conviction. After hearing testimony from witnesses for the Defense, Mr. Rojo's attorney requested minimum sentencing on all charges. District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson made no request for sentencing, stating that the Judge is aware of the severity of the crimes as well as the betrayal committed by the defendant during his time as a public servant. Wilkerson also stated that the defendant displayed no signs of remorse.

After all testimony and statements concluded, Judge Yeats recessed for 15 minutes before returning with maximum sentences on 3 of the 4 felony charges:

Charge #14689 Sexual Performance by a Child: Sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, with credit of time already served of 1 day. Must serve half of the sentence before being considered for parole. Must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Charge #14690 Indecency with a Child by Exposure : Sentenced to 10 years, with credit of 1 day already served.

Charge #14813 Attempted Indecency with a Child by Exposure: 2 years imprisonment, with credit of 1 day already served.

Charge #14814 Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact: 20 years imprisonment with credit of 1 day already served. Must serve half of the sentence before being considered for parole, and must register as a sex offender for life.

Sentences will run concurrently, which means that the total number of years, 52, are grouped together. Therefore, the longest sentence, 20 years must be served by a minimum of half (10 years) before parole will be considered.

District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson tells KBest News that Mr. Rojo is now in custody in the law enforcement center where he is being processed for a transfer to the diagnostics unit of the Texas Criminal Justice Division, which will either be Abilene or Huntsville. He will be assessed for 45-90 days to determine where he will spend the rest of his time.

 

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Back in Motion Chiropractics Gives Away 800 Backpacks Filled with School Supplies!


On Thursday afternoon, Back In Motion Chiropractics gave away 800 backpacks filled with school supplies for students between pre-k and high school. Organizations in the community such as the Howard County Fire Department, Guardians of the Children, and school mascots came out to help pass out the backpacks.

 

The event began at 3 P.M. but families began lining up outside just after lunch. KBest Media and the Coahoma High School Cheerleaders were also on scene to help entertain the crowd.

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2017 Cliburn Silver Medalist to Perform in Big Spring


KENNY BROBERG

2017 CLIBURN SILVER MEDALIST

To Perform in Big Spring, Texas

September 30, 7:30 PM

Big Spring Municipal Auditorium

Concert presented by the Big Spring Symphony Association, Dr. Keith Graumann, Music Director and Conductor.

A native of Minneapolis, 23-year-old pianist Kenny Broberg won the silver medal at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for performances that showed “an imaginative shaping of themes, revelation of inner voices, and an unfailing sense of momentum” (Texas Classical Review).

His 2017–2018 debut season as Cliburn medalist will include a recital tour in Hawaii, a return to his alma mater, the University of Houston, for its annual Texas Music Festival, and orchestra and recital engagements in Denver, New Orleans, West Palm Beach, and other cities across the United States. In Europe, Mr. Broberg appears with the Rye Arts Festival and Hastings Philharmonic in the United Kingdom, and in recital in Italy. His debut solo album will be released by Decca Gold in August, as part of his Competition prizes.

Also a prizewinner of the Hastings, Sydney, Seattle, and New Orleans International Piano Competitions, Mr. Broberg has previously performed as soloist with the Royal Philharmonic, Minnesota, Sydney Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Dallas Chamber, Fort Worth Symphony, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestras, among others, working with conductors Ludovic Morlot, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Leonard Slatkin, Nichola Milton, and Nicholas McGegan. His solo, chamber, and concerto performances have been broadcast on NPR and ABC (Australia) radio, and several of his performances at the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition were included on CDs released on the Universal Music Australia label.

The first musician in his family, Mr. Broberg started piano lessons at age 6, when he was first fascinated by his mother’s upright—a wedding gift from her parents. He studied for nine years with Dr. Joseph Zins before entering the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree with Nancy Weems in 2016. He currently resides in Parkville, Missouri, under the guidance of 2001 Cliburn Gold Medalist Stanislav Ioudenitch at Park University.

A hockey and baseball athlete in high school, he still enjoys watching and playing sports, in addition to listening to jazz and reading.

 

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One Vehicle and Semi-truck Collision at US 87 and NW 12th


A one vehicle and one semi-truck collision occured today at the intersection of US 87 and NW 12th St. (service road to I-20).

The accident involved a SUV traveling westbound and the semi-truck was eastbound on the service road and did not yield the right of way. Police and EMS were quick to respond as were able to get the situation under control. One person has been transported to the hospital.

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Big Spring City Council Reveals New Tax Rate Proposal


During the Big Spring City Council Meeting on Tuesday evening, it was revealed that the proposed tax rate is $0.84/$100. This includes a Debt Service Rate and the M&O Rate.

The first Public Hearings on the Proposed Tax Increase will be held on Aug 22nd at 5:30 PM. The second Public Hearing will on Sept 12th at 5:30 PM.

It was also noted that the vacant property at 203 Presidio was accepted as a gift from the previous owner. Currently, there are no plans for the property.

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Coahoma and Forsan Athletic Directors Speak on Upcoming Howard County Scholarship Bowl


Coach Fred Dietz, Coahoma HS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, and Coach Jason Phillips, Forsan HS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, were in attendance at the Big Spring Rotary Club Meeting earlier today to talk about the upcoming Fourth Annual Howard County Scholarship Bowl.

The Howard County Scholarship Bowl is an annual football game played between Coahoma and Forsan at Memorial Stadium in Big Spring. All proceeds from the sales of tickets, tee-shirts, and donations collected from sponsors are awarded back to the eligible HS seniors at Coahoma and Forsan HS. Any high school senior that has a role in the game (player, managers, trainers, cheerleaders, and band) are eligible to receive a scholarship.

Tickets and tee-shirts are on sale now and the game is scheduled for Sept. 1st at 7:30 PM.

 

(Photo: Coach Jason Phillips, Forsan HS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, shakes hands with Coach Fred Dietz, Coahoma HS Athletic Director and Head Football Coach.)

 

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Howard College Board of Trustees Proposes New Tax Rate, Discusses Summer Enrollment, and Add Safes to Dorm Rooms


Howard College Board of Trustees had a budget workshop and regular meeting earlier this afternoon. The main points from the meeting are as follows: 

- Summer I enrollment for Howard College-Big Spring increased by 8 percent, and the Summer II enrollment increased by 2 percent; however, the total enrollment for all Howard College campuses increased by 5 percent for Summer I and dropped by 6 percent for Summer II.

- The proposed tax rate will be $0.31 per / $100. Public Tax Hearings will be August 17th at 5:30 P.M. and on August 21st at 12:30 P.M.

- The operational budget was balanced with the exception of some one-time expenditures that will be paid for from Fund Balance resulting in a planned deficit budget.

- Safes will be added to dorm rooms. This will be done in order to provide a secure area for the students who are licensed to carry and who live on campus to store their handguns. (This is in accordance with the state law - (concealed) Campus Carry (SB 11).

 

(Photo: Howard College Board of Trustees listen on as Dr. Cheryl Sparks speaks during the meeting.)

 

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D. A. Hardy Wilkerson Explains Delay in Sentencing for Rojo Conviction


In a follow-up to the State vs. Rojo in which former detective Joel Rojo was found guilty of all charges yesterday, many citizens have inquired as to the reason for the delay in sentencing.

District Attorney Hardy Wilkerson spoke with KBest News regarding the circumstances, explaining that in a criminal trial, the defendant has the choice (before the trial begins) as to whom will decide the punishment if the defendant is found guilty. The choices for sentencing are: the Court (the Judge) or the Jury. In this case, Mr. Rojo chose the Court. Had Mr. Rojo chosen the Jury, the sentencing would have been applied immediately. However, when a defendant selects the Court, the law requires a period of “pre-sentencing investigation,” which is “a day or two” to attempt a comprehensive evaluation of the defendant including criminal history, mental health, substance use, family, etc. The investigation is conducted by another agency of the state, with results being submitted to the Court.

In the case of Mr. Rojo, he was not deemed as a flight risk, therefore his bond was not revoked during the time of the pre-sentencing investigation (which was ordered by the Court to be submitted today).

The charges for which Mr. Rojo was convicted make him ineligible for probation, and are punishable by incarceration in a state penitentiary. The exact sentencing will occur next week in 118th District Court by Judge Timothy Yeats.

 

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Big Spring Police Department Releases Statement about the Conviction of Former Detective


August 4th 2017

On August 3, 2017, Joel Rojo, a former Detective with the Big Spring Police Department was convicted in the 118th District Court of all previously indicted charges including, Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact, Sexual Performance by a Child, Indecency with a Child by Exposure and Attempted Indecency with a Child by Exposure. The Big Spring Police Department, first and foremost, sends our deepest sympathies to the three juvenile victims. We further hope that these convictions will provide closure to each of the victims and allow the healing process to begin. We thank the citizens for their understanding of the Department’s inability to respond to questions pertaining to this case in order to protect the integrity of the evidence and the privacy of the victims.

The Big Spring Police Department has rules and procedures in place that protect you, the citizens, and peace officer alike. Joel Rojo’s conduct, resulting in these convictions, stem from his failure to follow these rules and procedures and from his failure to uphold the integrity, honesty, and fairness that is required of our officers in the Big Spring Police Department. We want you, the citizen, to know that we hold your role in the accountability and integrity of our department in the highest regard. Additionally, we want to remind the community that we depend on your cooperation to report any criminal activity in order to fulfill our mission in protecting our community, especially if this criminal activity concerns the actions of one of our officers.

The first time we received notice of any allegations concerning Joel Rojo was in the evening hours of August 20, 2015. Chief Williams took immediate action, that very next morning, in placing Joel Rojo on administrative leave, thereby suspending all of his police powers, pending an administrative and criminal investigation. On August 21, 2015, Chief Williams also promptly notified the Texas Rangers Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety of these allegations, and in response, the Texas Rangers immediately commenced its criminal investigation. The Big Spring Police Department will continue to utilize the assistance of the Texas Rangers for all criminal allegations made regarding any of our employees so that an independent and transparent investigation is conducted. With regard to the concerns of Joel Rojo’s termination, all city employees are afforded specific rights under the City’s Charter and State Law that do not make termination immediately possible. As a result of our administrative staff’s thorough and diligent investigation, the Big Spring Police Department terminated Joel Rojo’s employment, in accordance with all applicable law.

We want to thank the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers Division, Howard County Victim Services, the Child Advocacy Center, the citizens of Big Spring that served as jurors, the entire staff of the 118th District Court, and the employees of the Big Spring Police Department for their assistance in this matter. The Big Spring Police Department asks for continued prayers from the community for the victims involved in this case. It is our sincere hope and prayer that they are able to begin the process of recovery.

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

 

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Stovall Transitions into New Position at Coahoma ISD


Charlotte Stovall, former Principal of Coahoma High School, has transitioned into the new position of Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Coahoma ISD. 

 

She will be responsible for reviewing the curriculum for Pre-K through 12th grade to help teachers plan their instruction in a way that will merge well with other grade levels. This will ensure that there are no gaps of instuction between grade levels and that students are able to transition well to the next grade level.

 

Stovall says that she is excited about her new position because it's something that she's always wanted to do and now she'll get to work with everyone at all grade levels.

 

Christina Cox, Coahoma's Head Volleyball Coach from last year, will be taking over the role of Principal at Coahoma High School. Since it was so close to the beginning of the school year when the decision was made, Cox will continue to be the volleyball coach for this season until further notice.

 

(Photo: Charlotte Stovall, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, is shown painting the new logo for The Academy at Coahoma ISD on an office window.)

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Former Big Spring Detective Found GUILTY on All Four Charges


The jury deliberated for approximately 2 hours this Thursday evening before returning with a verdict of guilty on all 4 counts, in the trial of former Big Spring detective Joel Rojo. The jury of 7 men and 5 women returned with guilty verdicts on the following: Attempted Indecency with a Child by Exposure, Indecency with a Child by Exposure, Sexual Performance by a Child, and Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact. 

 

Rojo will remain out on bond until sentencing. This will most likely take place next week in accordance with the sentencing investigation. It is fully anticipated that Rojo will be taken into custody next week. The range of punishment could be anything up to a life sentence.

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Details of Fatal Motorcycle Crash Released


On the 2nd of August 2017 at approximately 12:54 P.M., Big Spring Police Department Officers were dispatched to 700 block East FM 700 in reference to a major accident involving a motorcycle and truck tractor with trailer. Upon arrival the victim, identified as Joseph Eugene Carrion W/M 31 years of age, was found deceased. It was determined that Carrion had exited the Wells Fargo ATM Bank on his yellow in color 1997 Honda motorcycle. Carrion entered the road turning westbound and failed to yield the right of way to a white in color 2015 Peterbilt truck tractor/trailer. Carrion struck the truck tractor and lost control of his motorcycle and was ejected, landing under the left tires of the Truck Tractor. Big Spring Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived but were unable to treat Carrion due to his fatal injuries. The Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division was notified to respond. The Howard County Justice of the Peace Judge Bennie Green pronounced Carrion deceased at 1:20 P.M. At this time the Criminal Investigations Division believes no charges will be filed on the driver of the truck tractor but are continuing to investigate the accident. Chief of Police, Chad Williams Lieutenant Brian Gordon Sergeant Tony Everett

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"Victim #3" takes the Stand to Testify against Former Big Spring Detective Joel Rojo


The trial of former Big Spring Police Detective Joel Rojo continued today in 118th District Court with Judge Timothy Yeats residing. It was an emotional testimony as a 17-year-old witness referred to as "Victim #3" took the stand and tearfully described the events that allegedly occurred in April of 2015 when she was 14 years of age.

The witness claimed that the defendant, seeking evidence in a case, asked her to remove her clothing so that he could take pictures of her, while touching her inappropriately. She testified that the events took place in a squad car in a secluded location. Because of the alleged actions of the now terminated officer, the witness stated that she is afraid to leave her home because she feels that everyone is out to get her, and she trusts no one.

Defendant Rojo has yet to take the stand. Court will reconvene at 9am tomorrow and is expected to wrap up in the afternoon, but could extend into Friday.

 
 

 

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Motorcycle Crash on FM 700 Results in Fatality


Shortly after 1:00pm a fatal accident occurred on FM 700. The accident, which involved a motorcycle and a semi-truck happened in front of Pizza Inn. The family of the deceased has been notified, but the name has not officially been released. At this point no other details are available as multiple law enforcement and EMS agencies conduct their investigation. More reports will be available as information is released.

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