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KBST News Archives for 2017-09

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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