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Big Spring City Council meeting, 04/13/2021 - highlights, part 1


Public Hearing on Zone Change

During Tuesday night’s regular session of the Big Spring City Council, a public hearing was held for consideration for a zone change from Light Industrial District to Planned Development District for Temporary Workforce Housing on a tract of approximately 18 acres located in the 2300 block of N. US HWY 87, north of the Big Spring State Hospital. There were no comments from the public during the hearing, but there had been both support and opposition to the new development that was heard during Public Comments. 

 

Speakers in support of the new development pointed out that it would be beneficial to the city’s infrastructure because the company in charge of the development would be willing to extend utilities to the area as needed and are willing to work with the city to make it happen. A speaker who was against the new development, advised that she was speaking on behalf of motels and hotels owners, noting that the temporary workforce housing would negatively impact local hotels and motels, plus it would not drive business to local restaurants because meals are provided in-house for those living in the workforce housing facility. 

 

Later during the meeting, it was noted that the raw undeveloped land will be used for a project called Target Hospitality Big Spring Lodge, a workforce housing facility. This item was tabled by council members with a vote of 6-0 until an impact report was received from Big Spring EDC Executive Director Mark Willis.

 

City Manager’s Report

City Manager Todd Darden advised the council of staffing updates for the city. Sandy Smith was announced as the new Finance Director. She recently resigned from the Tax Appraisal Board and a replacement for her position will be appointed soon. James Wilkerson was promoted to Street Superintendent, and Abel Pesina was promoted to Street Supervisor. Darden advised that both of these positions were promoted from within the Street Department. During his update, it was also noted that the Code Compliance Department is now fully staffed.

 

The new city logo, the logo currently used by the Big Spring CVB office, will be added to city vehicles. It will also be phased in to other areas of the city as items - such as business cards and letterheads - are being replaced. 

 

Early Voting for City General Elections begins Monday, April 19, 2021 at the Howard County Courthouse. Voters can cast their ballots April 19th - 23rd, from 8 AM to 5 PM. April 26th and 27th will have extended hours of voting from 7 am to 7 pm.

 

Large Item Pickup for District 4 is scheduled for April 21st. The City of Big Spring Large/Bulk Item Pickup program is part of their plan to help keep neighborhoods clean. The program is designed to help residents dispose of large items from their homes like couches, mattresses, appliances, and any other large, bulky items without the expense and hassle of hauling it off. All residents are encouraged to take advantage of this FREE program.

 

Residents must get on the pickup schedule to have large/bulk items picked up. They can do so by calling 432-264-2501 or emailing nhernandez@mybigspring.com. The deadline for District 4 residents to schedule a pickup is by 5 PM on Monday, April 19, 2021.

Temporary Waiver by Governor of Vehicle Title & Registration Requirements Ends April 14, 2021. Beginning tomorrow, April 15th, Driver’s Licenses or Registration will be considered expired if it expired prior to April 15th. 

 

Darden advised the council that there’s a possibility of a quorum of city council members that could be gathered at the Big Spring Charter Review Committee meetings and they should begin posting those notices to advise the public. It was pointed out that there are two council members currently on the committee. Troy Tompkins, District 5, had been on the Committee prior to being elected to the council; and Mayor Shannon Thomason had been an ex-officio member until he appointed himself to the committee after his original appointment Roger Rodman had resigned from the committee due to scheduling issues. District 1 Councilman Nick Ornelas attends the meetings regularly and sits in the audience. Darden noted that at one of the previous meetings, District 6 Councilman Maury Smith had attempted to attend the meeting but had to be turned away because his presence would have caused a quorum of Council members. 

 

Consent Agenda

While considering approval of the Consent Agenda, District 5 Councilman Tompkins stated that he had concerns on minutes for the meeting on 3-23-21 regarding the portion that referred to a final report given by Dale Avant from the Planning and Zoning Committee. Tompkins recalled that the chairperson of that committee was not present for the meeting and Avant did the best he could on short notice. Tompkins did not feel it was an adequate representation of the committee’s findings because he said that Avant and another Planning and Zoning Committee Member Aubrey Weaver both contradicted the final outcome of the committee, and it was confusing. Tompkins asked for another final report to be brought before the council.

 

City Attorney Andrew Hagen advised that if Avant’s presentation was not accepted as the final report, then no other business on zoning ordinances could be conducted at this time. Even the public hearing that was held earlier that evening would have to be rescheduled.

Since this would hold up the final approval on ordinances concerning carports, RV’s, and Mobile / Manufactured Homes, Tompkins withdrew his concern because he wanted to be sensitive to the fact that citizens are waiting for this ordinance to pass so they can install their carports.

 

In the end, all items on the consent agenda were passed with a vote of 6-0. The items from the consent agenda are listed below:

 

13. Approval of the City Council Minutes of the Regular Meeting of March 23, 2021 and of the Special Meeting of March 25, 2021

 

14. Final Reading of a Resolution Designating Authorized Signatories for Contractual Documents and Documents for Requesting Funds Pertaining to the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program (TxCDBG) Contract Number 7220039; and Providing an Effective Date

 

15. Final Reading of a Resolution Adopting Plans, Policies, and 27-44 Medina Procedures that Support the Civil Rights of All Persons Affected by the CDBG Projects; and Providing an Effective Date

 

16. Final Reading of an Ordinance Amending the Big Spring Zoning 45-46 Bowles Ordinance, Article 2 "Definitions," Section 2-1 "Definition of Words and Terms" by Adding a New Definition "Short-Term Rental;" and Amending Article 7 "Special Applications," Section 7-2 "Specific Use Permits," Subsection (b) 8 to Add Short-Term Rentals to Those Uses Requiring a Specific Use Permit; Providing for Severability; Providing for Publication; and Providing an Effective Date

 

17. Final Reading of an Ordinance Amending the Big Spring Zoning 47-55 Bowles Ordinance, Article 4, "Development Standards," and Amending Article 6, "District Regulations," Section 6-6 "Districts and Permitted Uses" to Clarify the Application of Setbacks in all Zoning Districts; Providing for Severability; Providing for Publication; and Providing an Effective Date

 

18. Final Reading of an Ordinance Amending Ordinance Number 029- 56-57 Darden 2020 Which Adopted the Annual Budget for the City of Big Spring, Texas for the Fiscal Year Beginning October 1, 2020 and Ending September 30, 2021 by Increasing the General Fund Budget to be Used for Election Services; Providing for Repeal of Ordinances in Conflict Herewith; Providing for Publication; and Providing an Effective Date

 

19. Final Reading of an Ordinance Amending Chapter 12 of the Big 58-59 Hagen Spring City Code Entitled "Building and Building Regulations" by Amending Article V Entitled "Manufactured Housing and Mobile Homes" Sections 12-154 and 12155 to Clarify that Replacement Manufactured Home Must be HUD-Code Certified; Providing for Severability; and Providing an Effective Date

 

Other Business

Final readings of ordinances amending the Big Spring Zoning Ordinances concerning carports and travel trailers / RV’s, and mobile/manufactured home were approved by council. These were amended and approved in the last meeting. The items listed on the agenda are listed below:

 

20. Final Reading of an Ordinance Amending the Big Spring Zoning 60-65 Bowles Ordinance, Article 4 Entitled "Development Standards," Section 4-6 "Special Carport Exception," Subsection (e) to Remove Certain Restrictions on Front Yard Carports; Amending Article 8 Entitled "Supplemental Use Standards," Section 8-1 "Accessory Uses," Subsection (d) to Regulate Carports in the Side and Rear Yards; Providing for Severability; Providing for Publication; and Providing an Effective Date

 

21. Final Reading of an Ordinance Amending the Big Spring Zoning Ordinance, Article 2 Entitled "Definitions," Section 2-1 "Definitions of Words and Terms," "Travel Trailer or Recreational Vehicle" to Prohibit Travel Trailers and Recreational Vehicles as Living Quarters Except with a Specific Use Permit; Amending Article 7 "Special Applications" by Adding a New Section 7-5 "Mobile/Manufactured Homes" to Establish Regulations Concerning Mobile and Manufactured Housing; Amending Article 8 "Supplemental Use Standards," Section 8-6 "Temporary Use Permits for Mobile/Manufactured Homes" by Amending the Title of the Section and Prohibiting Temporary Use Permits for Mobile Homes; and Amending Section 8-7 "Temporary Use Permits for Travel Trailer or Recreational Vehicles as Living Quarters," Subsection (a) to Clarify Permitted Uses of Manufactured Homes and Prohibiting Mobile Homes; Providing for Severability; Providing for Publication; and Providing an Effective Date

 

Item #20 was amended again with a vote of 5-0 with Tompkins abstaining from the vote on Tuesday night. In the end, the amended ordinance passed with a final vote of 5-1 with Tompkins voting against. Item #21 was also amended with a vote of 6-0 and the amended ordinance also passed 6-0.

 

Old Business

Item #22 was removed from the table by council members. The item is listed as follows:

 

TABLED - First Reading of a Resolution Amending the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation by Amending the Title of Article VI Entitled "Directors" to "Directors, Officers, and Employees"; and Amending the Number of Directors; Manner of Appointment of Directors and Officers; and Limiting the Number of Employees; and Adding a New Article XIII Entitled "Conduct of Business, Generally" that Provides for the Conduct of Directors and Employees Concerning Contracts, Lobbying, and Amendment of the Articles of Incorporation Without Prior Authorization of Council; and Providing an Effective Date

 

Prior to discussion on this topic, Raul Benavides with the Big Spring EDC stated to the Council during Public Comments stated that the resolution had not merit and there was nothing good about it. He stated that the resolution was nothing short of a personal vendetta carried by Mayor Thomason because Thomason had once spearheaded a campaign to change the BSEDC from a Type A corporation to a Type B corporation. The speaker pointed out that the Type B Corporation has 7 members, like what the current resolution was recommending if passed.  

During discussion on the item, Mayor Thomason advised he had placed this on the agenda because he felt there should be equal representation throughout the districts. Thomason stated that he wanted more public involvement with the EDC by creating a 7-member board that would be appointed by individual councilmembers. Thomason advised that over the years, Districts 1, 3, and 6 have been without representation on the EDC Board. He also pointed out that one of the board members resides outside of the City of Big Spring in Howard County.

 

District 6 Councilman Maury Smith stated that both Howard County and Big Spring residents should have a say on the EDC because they both shop in Big Spring and have businesses in Big Spring. Gloria McDonald, District 4, reminded councilmembers that the application process is open to everyone from all districts. She stated that if districts were underrepresented then their council representative should be making an effort to find someone from their district to apply to be on the BSEDC.

 

Big Spring Charter Review Committee Member Nati Saldivar spoke to the council during the discussion. She suggested that councilmembers vote “No” and let the issue be taken up by the Charter Review Committee so they could bring it to the voters on the November election ballot.

 

Ultimately, the first reading of the resolution did not pass. It failed with a vote of 1-5, with Mayor Thomason voting for.

 

Item #23 – Discussion and possible action relating to Independent Contractors – was removed from the table and Councilman Nick Ornelas, District 1, lead the discussion on the topic. He stated that while reviewing vouchers he had questions about contractors.

Darden advised that they had been able to fill some positions, but still had some that remained vacant. In the meantime, they hire contractors to help cover the work until the position can become filled by a newly hired employee. Councilman Ornelas suggested a job fair to help fill vacant positions. Assistant City Manager John Medina stated that when recruiting, the City of Big Spring tries to work within the budget that they have to try to hire hard-to-fill positions, especially those who could easily find work in the oilfield for more money.

 

Councilman Cody Hughes told Darden that he was concerned that there was no time clock kept for contractors, especially since they were paid at a high rate. He said it appeared that contractors keep their own time, and no one questions it or signs off on it. Darden stated contractors are accounted for by the supervisors and if they are supervisors, they are checked on by Public Works Director Shane Bowles. Councilman Hughes told city staff that he wished there was some kind of time clock involved in keeping track of the worked hours for contractors.

 

During the discussion, a speaker suggested to Council that they look into hiring veterans.

No motion was made on this item.

 

Vouchers

Vouchers were reviewed by McDonald. They were all approved with a vote of 6-0.

 

New Business

Council acknowledged the receipt of the Convention and Visitors Bureau minutes of the meeting on 3-03-21 and of the City Attorney’s written report on litigation and claims against the City.

 

Council approved the first reading of an amending ordinance that would give the City Manager authority to waive a legal duty imposed on a citizen by an ordinance if doing so would result in a reasonable accommodation with a vote of 6-0.

 

Zone change for property north of Big Spring State Hospital for the project named Target Hospitality Big Spring Lodge was tabled until an impact report was received from BSEDC Executive Director Mark Willis.

 

Councilmembers approved Nati Saldivar and Albert Cavazos, with Big Spring Fire Department, to seek grants for Fire Station 4 and bring back to city council for their approval with a vote of 6-0. Saldivar volunteered to teach Cavazos on how to apply for grants so he will eventually be able to pursue these on his own for the benefit of the BSFD. They will meet with BSFD Chief Craig Ferguson 1-2 times per week to sign off on the information to ensure that it’s correct. It was anticipated by Saldivar that after the 4th or 5th grant and seeing how many grants it takes to fund one fire station, Cavazos may be able to continue the process on his own or teach someone else to pursue grants.

 

According to Saldivar, Brint Ryan will be assisting them with credits. She assured her name will appear on no documents and it will show that this is the efforts of the BSFD. She also emphasized that she is volunteering her time and expertise on this matter since she has 65 grants under her belt.

 

Funds received from grants will be used to upgrade City of Big Spring Fire Stations because they are outdated and in need of upgrades.

 

City Attorney Andrew Hagen brought up concerns of liability and advised that Saldivar and Cavazos would need to be listed as independent contractors.

 

The first reading of a resolution approving a Trespass Enforcement Authorization Program was approved with a vote of 6-0. Under this resolution the Chief of Police of the Big Spring Police Department, or designee, is authorized to enter into these agreements with owners of private property. This program is an opportunity for the citizens and businesses in Big Spring to work with BSPD to reduce trespassing on private property. By working together to reduce instances of trespass, crimes like illegal dumping, hoarding, and instances of individuals unlawfully occupying an uninhabited building or land can also be reduced. This partnership provides citizens and businesses the opportunity to protect their property by authorizing the BSPD to contact and question persons who may be unlawfully on their property.

 

The use of the Trespass Enforcement Agreement is a valuable tool for BSPD because it can prevent a trespasser from bringing weapons and/or drugs on the property; thus, help in reducing crime and the presence of guns, drugs, and gangs in the community.

 

Councilman Hughes voiced his concern that this agreement would step on the 4th amendment of property owners – protection of unreasonable searches and seizures – and wanted property owners to be made fully aware that they are signing away that right for this specific property. He agreed that it is a good idea, but wanted property owners to know that they are signing away their right to this specific property when participating in this program. BSPD Chief Chad Williams advised that the program is voluntary and property owners have the choice not to participate.

 

The first reading of a resolution to declare the City of Big Spring a “Second Amendment Stronghold” was approved with a vote of 4-2, with Councilmen Ornelas, District 1, and Tompkins, District 5, voting against. This resolution expresses support for the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution; it’s refusal to accept, fund, or participate in unconstitutional restrictions on legal gun ownership. During discussion on the matter, it was pointed out that there is already a resolution that passed in 2014 for the City of Big Spring. According to City Attorney Hagen, the city has a duty to not infringe on constitutional rights already and this would more of a general sense of council. Councilwoman McDonald stated during discussion that she didn’t see a problem with bringing up a similar resolution every few years just to show the public that they city still supports their 2nd amendment right.

 

 

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Possible Quorum at Big Spring City Charter Review Committee Meetings 


Big Spring City Manager Todd Darden advised the council that there’s a possibility of a quorum of city council members that could be gathered at the Big Spring Charter Review Committee meetings and they should begin posting those notices to advise the public. 

 

It was pointed out that there are two council members currently on the committee. Troy Tompkins, District 5, had been on the Committee prior to being elected to the council; and Mayor Shannon Thomason had been an ex-officio member until he appointed himself to the committee after his original appointment Roger Rodman had resigned from the committee due to scheduling issues. District 1 Councilman Nick Ornelas attends the meetings regularly and sits in the audience. Darden noted that at one of the previous meetings, District 6 Councilman Maury Smith had attempted to attend the meeting but had to be turned away because his presence would have caused a quorum of Council members.

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Early voting begins on Monday, April 19, 2021


Early Voting for City General Elections begins Monday, April 19, 2021, at the Howard County Courthouse, located at 300 S. Main in Big Spring. Absentee ballots must be received by the Howard County Elections Office no later than April 20th by mail or by hand delivery.

 

This local election will include races for Big Spring City Council and Coahoma City Council. 

 

The following is a list of candidates running for local offices, according to the Howard County Elections Office.

 

** City of Big Spring - COBS **

District 2

Diane Yanez

Willie Rangel, Jr.

 

District 4

David A. Scott

Gloria Byrd McDonald

 

** City of Coahoma - COC **

Mayor

Lori Gonzales

Warren Wallace

 

*** All other entities have cancelled the election and candidate(s) are duly elected.***

 

Again, early voting for these local elections begins on Monday, April 19th at the Howard County Courthouse. Voters can cast their ballots April 19th - 23rd, from 8 AM to 5 PM. April 26th and 27th will have extended hours of voting from 7 am to 7 pm. Election Day is Saturday, May 1st. 

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TXDOT to install traffic light at intersection of FM 700 and E. 11th Place in Big Spring


From: Big Spring Mayor Shannon D. Thomason

 

FM700/11th Place Traffic Signal

 

On March 23rd, 2021, a resolution was passed by the Big Spring City Council requesting that the Texas Department of Transportation perform a traffic study with the intent of placing a traffic signal at the intersection of FM 700 and 11th Place.  

 

This morning, the City of Big Spring was advised that the intersection does in fact meet signal warrants and that TxDOT will begin the process of installing a traffic signal.  The TxDOT process will take approximately a year and a half.  

 

The City of Big Spring expresses its appreciation to the citizens who brought attention to this issue to the Council and thanks the Texas Department of Transportation for its quick response to the City’s request.

 

For additional information, please contact Mayor Thomason at 432-264-2501.

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Big Spring City Council Members table possible zone change for area to house temporary workforce housing


During Tuesday night’s regular session of the Big Spring City Council, a public hearing was held for consideration for a zone change from Light Industrial District to Planned Development District for Temporary Workforce Housing on a tract of approximately 18 acres located in the 2300 block of N. US HWY 87, north of the Big Spring State Hospital. There were no comments from the public during the hearing, but there had been both support and opposition to the new development that was heard during Public Comments.

 

Speakers in support of the new development pointed out that it would be beneficial to the city’s infrastructure because the company in charge of the development would be willing to extend utilities to the area as needed and are willing to work with the city to make it happen. A speaker who was against the new development, advised that she was speaking on behalf of motels and hotels owners, noting that the temporary workforce housing would negatively impact local hotels and motels, plus it would not drive business to local restaurants because meals are provided in-house for those living in the workforce housing facility.

 

Later during the meeting, it was noted that the raw undeveloped land will be used for a project called Target Hospitality Big Spring Lodge, a workforce housing facility. This item was tabled by council members with a vote of 6-0 until an impact report was received from Big Spring EDC Executive Director Mark Willis.

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Capital Murder Charge in Death of Child


From BSPD:

 

On the 13th of April 2021 at approximately 9:41 P.M., Big Spring Police Department officers were dispatched to Scenic Mountain Medical Center in reference to an unattended death of a 4 month old male child. Upon arrival officers were informed that the child’s father identified as Jose Luis Varga Cruz Hispanic/Male 22 years of age had transported the child to SMMC from their residence at the Quail Run Apartments 2609 Wasson Rd. SMMC staff was informed by Cruz that the child had fallen off the bed and sustained head injuries.

 

The Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division responded to Scenic Mountain Medical Center and the residence. The investigation led Detectives to take Cruz into custody and transport him to the Big Spring Police Department. Cruz later confessed to murdering his 4 month old child. Cruz was arrested and charged with Capital Murder. The manner of death will not be released at this time due to this being an ongoing criminal investigation. There is no further information available at this time.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

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Thank You for Your Investment - Affordacare Urgent Care Clinic


A Thank You for Your Investment presentation was held for Affordacare Urgent Care Clinic in Big Spring on Tuesday morning by the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce.  The clinic treats most common illnesses and minor injuries. They also provide a wide range of preventative medicine, diagnostic testing, and employer healthcare services.

 

Dee Garrett, Marketing and Brand Management for Affordacare Urgent Care Clinic, told KBest News that in addition to these services, they also offer a membership program for people who are not insured or for those who have a high deductible. Garrett told KBest News that with their Affordapass program, payments are as small as $45/month and members can receive medical services at any Affordacare clinic for only $10 per visit. Be advised, this is not insurance, but a way to help manage healthcare costs.

 

Affordacare Urgent Care Clinic is located at 710 S. Greg in Big Spring and they are open 7 days per week with extended hours. Monday - Saturday, they’re open 8 am to 7 pm, and on Sunday they’re open 10 am to 4 pm. They also have clinics in Wichita Falls, Abilene, and Stephenville.

 

For more information, visit affordacare.com.

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Governor Abbott Statement On Johnson & Johnson Vaccine


AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued a statement following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recommendation to pause all administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine:

 

"The State of Texas is working in tandem with the federal government and vaccine providers to temporarily pause all administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. While no cases of blood clots have been reported in Texas, we are taking the reports of rare adverse effects seriously and are working to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines administered in our state continue to be safe and effective. I urge Texans who do experience adverse reactions, such as severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccination, to contact their health care providers or call 2-1-1 to receive a referral for a health care provider. Vaccines are a crucial tool to mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and remain the most effective way to combat the virus in our communities. I continue to encourage Texans who wish to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to sign up."

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Annual Kids Fishing Tournament


The Greater Big Spring Rotary Club presents their Annual Kids Fishing Tournament,

Sunday afternoon, May 2, 2021. This event is also sponsored by Credit World, Oncor,

and KBEST Media. All the fun and prizes will be at the Comanche Trails Lake.

 

Registration is from 1:00 to 2:00 PM near the Dora Roberts Community Center. The event will run from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

 

The Tournament is free to all kids 16 years old and younger. No fishing license required for those 16 and under.

 

Awards will be given for the First Fish, The Biggest Fish, and Most Fish Caught. Many

Door Prizes will be given through out the afternoon including rod and reels, baits, and

Tackle.

 

Remember, you can’t win if you don’t register! Come out enjoy a great day of fun, prizes and fishing, Sunday afternoon, May 2, 2021 at Comanche Trail Lake!

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Johnson & Johnson One-Dose COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics put on "Pause" due to rare blood clotting disorder


The City of Big Spring Emergency Management made the following announcement this morning:

 

THE FDA AND CDC HAS RECOMMENDED A "PAUSE" IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE DUE TO A RARE BLOOD CLOTTING DISORDER. WE WERE JUST NOTIFIED THE NATIONAL GUARD WILL BE STANDING DOWN UNTIL FURTHER GUIDANCE. THEREFORE WE ARE CANCELLING THE COMMUNITY VACCINATION EVENTS FOR THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK AND WILL ATTEMPT TO RE-SCHEDULE AS SOON AS WE HEAR FURTHER.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING -CITY OF BIG SPRING EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

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WTVAHCS fulfills 4th mission during COVID-19 vaccination clinic


BIG SPRING, TX — West Texas VA Health Care System assisted community leaders, Texas National Guard and residents in Big Spring, Texas during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The support came as a commitment to the VA’s fourth mission, which aims to support national, state, and local emergency management, public health, safety, and homeland security efforts.

 

The clinic distributed free vaccines to citizens within Howard County, a rural area of West Texas. In support of this effort, WTVAHCS mobilized its mobile incident command unit, to provide the Texas National Guard an ideal platform from which they could manage their vaccination clinic.

 

“We had the resources and the authorization to help, so there wasn’t any hesitation on our part to lend a hand,” said Jason Cave, Director of WTVAHCS.

 

Big Spring hosted the drive-thru clinic through a program operated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). With the help of TDEM, Big Spring was able to utilize National Guard support in distributing the vaccine.

 

“This event is very important for the city,” said Craig Ferguson, Big Spring Fire Chief. “We were able to get help from the VA in facilitating a space to distribute the vaccine. The National Guard was able to come in and provide experience and logistical support, which was essential.”

 

To host the drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic, Big Spring leadership had requested support from WTVAHCS. The city hosted the drive-thru clinic in the parking lot of Scenic Mountain Medical Center but needed the mobile incident command unit to round out the logistical support.

 

“It’s important to come out to these smaller rural communities and provide the vaccine,” said Sgt. Nicholas McCoy, with Task Force COVAX, a COVID-19 Vaccine operation. “Our mission is a success when people can show up and get vaccinated - leaving with a peace of mind that they got the vaccine.”

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Scenic Mountain Medical Center Hosts 7th annual Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Ceremony


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Scenic Mountain Medical Center is partnering up with local organizations for the 7th year in a row to host their annual Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Ceremony. The event will be held on Thursday, April 15th, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Scenic Mountain Medical Center – Front Lawn, located at 1601 W. 11th Place in Big Spring. 

 

This annual event was developed as an effort to bring child abuse prevention awareness to the community of Big Spring and surrounding areas. The CDC states that at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate. In 2019, more than 1,800 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States. Texas is no exception to this. According to the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas website, 175 children will be victims of abuse today alone.

 

SMMC hopes to combat these troubling statistics by generating more awareness of child abuse in our community by bringing local agencies together dedicated to child services and create a safe and fun event that families can enjoy together, all while educating them on the severity of this issue. Booths of local organizations will be present at the event offering resources and interactive activities for children and families.

 

Booth space is available for the 7th annual Child Abuse Prevention Month Ceremony. To sign up, call 432-268-4907 or email April.Arms@steward.org.

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Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees Meeting, 04/08/21 -- Highlights


During Thursday night’s regular meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees, Big Spring ISD’s custodial staff were recognized for their hard work. Also during the meeting,  Richard Petree, interim Chief Appraiser for the Howard County Appraisal District, spoke with board members about the differences between property values appraised by HCAD and by the State Comptroller standard values.

 

According to Petree, the HCAD property values were significantly below what the standard is for the 2020 values. As a result, this is costing Big Spring ISD millions of dollars. Petree advised that there is an appeal that has been filed to help try to save some of the loss. He also stated that the 3 senior people at the appraisal district were terminated or resigned, and now he’s working with rookies who can be taught the correct way to do things. 

 

He advised that the 3 appraisers have looked at every property in Big Spring ISD this year. The values will be moved up to where they need to be. He stated that this is horrible timing, but noted that, even in Big Spring, property values are increasing above what they were in 2020 because they are being driven by an extremely low-interest rate by the federal reserve bank. These low rates have driven the housing market up and he estimated that homes will rise between 12 to 20 percent.

 

Petree advised that people who own their homes have a cap in place. If a home value raises over 10 percent, they are capped at the 10 percent increase. For people over the age of 65 or disabled, their school values are capped or frozen. This means that no matter the increase, the amount of school tax they will pay will be no more than what the amount was the year before their taxes were capped. 

Petree advised that hotels and commercial properties were valued low and would need to be raised dramatically. 

 

Normally, when this happens, a waiver can be taken so it won’t hurt the district. Petree stated that the Howard County Appraisal District had failed the Methods and Assistance Program Study (also called MAPS) in 2018. The Appraisal District did not respond to fix the things that needed to be done and as a result, they now do not have a chance to file a waiver.

 

Petree advised that after failing one year, the appraisal district must pass 2 years in order to have an opportunity to use a waiver. He assured the school board members that the values would be fixed, MAPS would be fixed, but it would be a rough year. 

 

Superintendent Jay McWilliams advised that the values that were turned in for BSISD were valued at $2.8 million, but, according to the State, those values should be $3 billion. Susan Bryan, Chief Financial Officer, advised that this is going to cost the school district approximately $3.5 million dollars in 2021 to correct. She also stated that the school district had already anticipated a $2 million deficit in the Fund Balance due to staff raises, now combined with the $3.5 million dollars needed to correct the property tax issue and with the recently purchased buses the BSISD is looking at a deficit is approximately $7 million, which is a 25 percent decrease in the Fund Balance, which acts as a “Rainy Day Fund” for the district.

• • •

Superintendent McWilliams advised that the district is going into the 10th season of playing on the turf at Memorial Stadium, but the warranty only lasts 8 years. He stated that the turf will eventually need to be replaced, it’s just a question if it will be this year or next year. McWilliams made it clear that this was only a presentation for informational purposes only. 

 

According to Mark Ball with Hellas Construction Inc., after inspecting the entire field he found that there is a big safety issue with the present condition of the turf at Memorial Stadium. He stated that it is mainly rubber that the athletes are playing on and this can lead to knee injuries. 

 

A Gmax test will soon be completed to measure the turf’s ability to absorb force. This is important because it shows what happens to the head when it hits the turf. Ball noted that was especially important for 7th-grade players because they don’t have the body control that older athletes have. The better the Gmax score the better the prevention of shoulder injuries and concussions. 

 

The cost of the recommended turf installation would be $798,000 with a possibility of a $15,000 discount. He advised that in order to receive the discount, the school board would need to place an order by May 1, 2021.

• • •

Board members also approved an extension of the district’s current depository bank contract with BBVA for 2 more years. They also approved an agreement for audit services with Bolinger, Segars, Gilbert and Moss LLP accounting firm of Lubbock; as well as a monetary donation from Hillcrest Child Development Center to the Big Spring High School Girls Track Team in the amount of $1,500.

 

The adoption of instructional materials for the district’s pre-kindergarten programs was approved. At the end of the meeting, Superintendent McWilliams announced that the school district now has a smartphone app available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

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Jacqueline Roland named Senior Chaplain for Emergency Services Chaplain Corps


The Emergency Services Chaplain Corps is a local non-profit organization made up of ordained chaplains, licensed clergy, and laity who train to be available to serve Public Service Departments, such as law enforcement and first responders. It was created in 2004 by the recently retired Chaplain Joel Miller. Since then, the organization has grown to also serve county employees, Victim Services, Scenic Mountain Medical Center personnel, and families and citizens of Big Spring and Howard County. They also offer their services to stranded motorists passing through the area.  

 

Chaplains are to assist personnel and citizens while standing by at the scene, at the hospitals, as well as major incidents where families are displaced and are in need of support and help. They provide assistance, spiritual guidance, counseling, and comfort in times of crisis without attempting to moralize, evangelize, or criticize.

 

Chaplain Jacqueline Roland has spent 8 years with the Emergency Services Chaplain Corps and became Chaplain Miller’s assistant before he retired. Now she has now stepped into the role of Senior Chaplain. When asked how she felt about filling the position, Roland told KBest News that she was scared, honored, nervous, and blessed.

 

"Honestly, [I feel] blessed that they would have confidence in me," said Chaplain Roland. 

 

According to Roland, the Emergency Services Chaplain Corps is in need of chaplains. She advised that volunteers must undergo 32 hours of training, and, due to the on-call nature of the services they provide, it is preferred that volunteers not have full-time jobs. 

 

She also advised that in addition to the need for chaplains, the ESCC is also in need of supplies to make small hygiene kits, such as travel-sized toothpaste, deodorant, soap, and shampoo. Roland stated that the kits are given away to those in need.

 

For more information, contact Chaplain Jacqueline Roland with the Emergency Services Chaplain Corps at 432-264-2244.

 

 

 

(Photo of Chaplain Joel Miller, now retired.)

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Johnson & Johnson One Dose COVID-19 Vaccines will be available in Big Spring beginning Monday, April 12, 2021


**UPDATE 4/13/2021 7:40AM**

 

THE FDA AND CDC HAS RECOMMENDED A "PAUSE" IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE DUE TO A RARE BLOOD CLOTTING DISORDER. WE WERE JUST NOTIFIED THE NATIONAL GUARD WILL BE STANDING DOWN UNTIL FURTHER GUIDANCE. THEREFORE WE ARE CANCELLING THE COMMUNITY VACCINATION EVENTS FOR THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK AND WILL ATTEMPT TO RE-SCHEDULE AS SOON AS WE HEAR FURTHER.

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING -CITY OF BIG SPRING EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

 

--------------------ORIGINAL POST-----------------------

 

The City of Big Spring and Howard County Emergency management, in collaboration with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the National Guard is pleased to announce the Johnson & Johnson One Dose COVID-19 vaccine is HERE!!

 

DATES:

Monday, April 12th thru Wednesday, April 14th

Scenic Mountain Medical Center (1601 W. 11th Place)

10 AM to 6 PM

 

Thursday, April 15th and Friday, April 16th

Lamun-Lusk- Sanchez State Veterans Home (1809 N. Hwy 87)

10 AM to 6 PM

 

DETAILS: The ONE DOSE Johnson & Johnson vaccination will be administered to recipients. Vaccines will be available for ANYONE (18 years old and above) wanting to receive it and no appointment is necessary.

 

 

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Thank You for Your Investment - Big Spring Abstract & Title


On Tuesday morning, the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a "Thank You for Your Investment" presentation for Big Spring Abstract & Title Co., Inc. to to thank them for all that they do for the community.

 

Big Spring Abstract & Title Co., Inc. is a title insurance company.

 

"So whenever you go to buy your house and are spending a large amount of money on your home, we make sure that your title is clear. That's a good chain of title. There are no liens on it, no encumbrances, and that what you're paying for is what you're getting. So we make sure to ensure that your title is clear," said Reina Cisneros, Owner of Big Spring Abstract & Title Co., Inc.

 

Cisneros told KBest News that they are proud to be locally owned and operated and they do their best to support their community.

 

She went on to say that realtors will bring the buyer's contract to them. "They can't necessarily refer one title company over the other, but if you have a preference, you can request that your realtor send you over to Big Spring Abstract & Title."

 

Big Spring Abstract & Title Co., Inc. is located at 208 W. 3rd St., in Big Spring and can be contacted at 432-267-1604.

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Artist Reception for Big Spring's Meghan F. Bias on Saturday, April 10th at Heritage Museum.


 

The Heritage Museum of Big Spring and Howard County will have an artist reception for Meghan F. Bias, creator of the “Expectations and Illusions” art exhibit, tomorrow evening at 6 PM. 

 

Bias’ works on display now range from her days in college up to recent finished pieces. It includes pastels, and big acrylic paintings, and mixed media items that involve mannequins.  

 

Bias included a guest book with the exhibit to encourage visitors to make comments about her work if they'd like to leave feedback.

 

Everyone is welcomed to attend Saturday’s reception at the Heritage Museum, located at 510 Scurry St. in Big Spring. Anyone who'd like to talk with her or ask questions is welcomed to do so at that time. Again, the artist reception for Bias will begin at 6 PM and the "Expectations and Illusions" art exhibit will be on display through April 23, 2021.

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Big Spring ISD Launches New Mobile App


Parent and community engagement enhanced with new district mobile app.

 

Big Spring, Texas, Wednesday, April 7 th , 2021 – The latest news and information from schools in Big Spring ISD are now available on smartphones and mobile devices with a new mobile app launching Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Big Spring ISD is partnering with Blackboard to expand its communications outreach with a mobile app that is now available in the online iTunes® and Google Play® app stores for free.

 

The mobile app will offer a constantly updated feed of district news and events with photos and links to the district’s website. The app can also be customized by the user by selecting the schools they are most interested in for news and updates. Users can also choose to receive push notifications to get breaking news, updates about school closures, calendar changes, or even sports updates.

 

“Big Spring ISD is committed to keeping our community members actively engaged and connected with our school district” said Jay McWilliams, Big Spring ISD Superintendent. “We strongly believe that our new app will help keep our parents and community members up to date on the various events and activities taking place each and every day in our school district. I sincerely hope all of you will download the app and keep up with the outstanding things happening in Steer Nation!”

 

Parents and the public are encouraged to download this free mobile app to their smart-devices at:

BSISD App on Google Play Store-

http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blackboard.community.bsisd

BSISD App on Apple App Store-https://apps.apple.com/us/app/big-spring-isd/id1558187940

 

About Big Spring ISD

Big Spring Independent School District is a public school district based in Big Spring, Texas which serves approximately 4000 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade on nine campuses.

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Entries for Area Wide Art Show in Big Spring to begin accepting entries April 29 - 30, 2021


The Big Spring Art Association and the Heritage Museum will be hosting their Area Wide Art Show from May 4 to May 27, 2021.

 

Entries will be accepted on Thursday and Friday, April 29-30 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.The show  will open May 4th with a ribbon cutting by the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors. 

 

A category for miniature paintings has been added this year. Sizes smaller than 10” on all sides will be the criteria for this category. Other categories include Oil/Acrylics; Pastels/Colored Pencil;  Photography; Mixed Media/ Watercolor; 3D/Sculpture/Jewelry/Stained Glass; Digital Art (Must be  original work); 

Cash prizes and ribbons will be awarded. Best of Show will receive $ 150.00; First place in each  category $ 50.00; Second place each category $ 35.00; Third place each category will receive  a ribbon. 

 

Presentation of awards and reception will be held May 27, 2021 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. 

 

For more information please contact Michelle Worthan, mrs.worthan1111@gmail.com; Sandee Lockhart, b-slockhart@live.com; Linda Rupard, happyartist67@yahoo.com

 

 

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

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First day of STAAR Testing canceled due to statewide connectivity issues


On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, Coahoma ISD announced that testing for the STAAR grade 4 writing, grade 7 writing and high school end of the course English 1 will resume on Tuesday, April 13, after the Texas Education Agency advised school districts to stop testing Tuesday morning because of connectivity issues with the online testing platform.

 

As of now, the high school end of course STAAR English 2 will still be administered today as scheduled.

 

Tuesday morning, CISD students taking these three STAAR tests began to have connectivity issues early in the testing process. The CISD administration learned this was happening statewide caused by issues with the testing platform and was advised by the Texas Education Agency to stop testing for the day.

 

Students were then transitioned to other instructional activities for the rest of the day.

 

Big Spring ISD students were also impacted by this as well.

 

Both BSISD and CISD will provide updated information to parents and students when it becomes available.

 

While the STAAR test is required this year, results for elementary and middle school students will not affect students’ ability to move up to the next grade.

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Big Spring Rotary Club recognizes Students of the Month for March and April 2021.


On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, the Big Spring Rotary Club recognized their Students of the Month for March and April from Forsan, Coahoma, and Big Spring high schools.

 

Forsan's Thomas Gabehart and Cameron Allan were recognized along with Coahoma's Julia Cox and Brysen Kerby. Three students were recognized from Big Spring High School - Falicia Dahya, Maddie Miller, and Mattox Evans.

 

According to BSHS Principal Mike Ritchey, Dahya, Miller, and Evans will graduate from Howard College with their Associates Degree before they graduate from Big Spring High School this May.

 

 

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 Big Spring Charter Review Committee Meeting - TONIGHT, 04/07/21


As of last week’s meeting, the Big Spring Charter Review Committee has worked through the first eight Articles of the Big Spring City Charter. The recommended amendments include:

 

  • allowing two council members to call a special meeting, as opposed to 3 members;
  • adding language to ensure that a quorum is based on a full council - meaning that at least 4 council members must be present to call a meeting and conduct business;
  • residency requirements which would require councilmembers to reside in the district that they represent. This would also mean that if at anytime the council member does not meet all requirements he or she would forfeit their position.

 

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

 

Big Spring Charter Review Committee will meet this evening at 5:30 PM at the City Council Chambers. Tonight's agenda includes discussion and possible action on the topics of term limits, automatic resignation, the repeal of bonding requirements for City Council, establishing fiscal year of the City, and rewriting Article VI, City Officers and Employees. They will also have discussion and possible action on the issuance of debt consistant with State law; disaster preparation; contiguity of government' duties and responsibilities of Mayor Pro Tempore, Acting City Manager, and Interim City Manager. The topics of the Charter Review Committee, City Council, City Manager, Staff Relations; the recommended amendments to the City Charter, All Articles, and related law.

 

You can watch a live broadcast of the meeting on local Suddenlink channel 17, or a live stream on the city website at mybigspring.com, or on our KBest Media Facebook page.  

 

Find the agenda for tonight's meeting here:

http://mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_04072021-459 

 

View the meeting on the City of Big Spring website, here:

http://mybigspring.com/224/Channel-17-Live 

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Scenic Mountain Medical Center Reopens to Visitors


BIG SPRING, Texas (April 6, 2021)—On Wednesday, Scenic Mountain Medical Center (SMMC) will reopen its facility to visitors. Visitors for patients admitted with COVID-19 will still be restricted, but will be opened up for all other patients during set visiting hours.


“Decreasing positivity rates and hospitalization rates in our community related to COVID-19, as well as more people receiving the vaccine, makes us feel more comfortable opening up for visitation. It is also the right move for our patients and their families,” said Rohith Saravanan, chief medical officer at Scenic Mountain Medical Center.”


Visiting hours at Scenic Mountain Medical Center are:
? Monday-Friday from 7 am to 7 pm
? Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm

 

The reopening also applies to non-patient areas of the hospital including the Yellow Rose Café and the Scenic Mountain gift shop.


“Restricting visitation has been a critical need to keep hospital staff and patients safe, but we are pleased to see that our numbers are now in a place where we can welcome back the friends and families of our patients,” said Stacey Brown, president of Scenic Mountain Medical Center. “We understand how difficult it has been for them not to have access to see each other during such a vulnerable time.”


Visitors are required to self-screen upon entrance and to wear a mask at all times while in the
facility. Look for the posted signs at our entrances to self-screen for symptoms, and also familiarize yourself with the infection prevention etiquette. The new visitor policy and hours will go into effect Wednesday, April 7th.


SMMC has taken every precaution and made the necessary preparations to care for patients in a safe, controlled and professional way. For more information visit www.scenicmountainmedical.org

 

 

About Scenic Mountain Medical Center
At Scenic Mountain Medical Center, we are committed to caring for patients as we would our own families. We are a full service, acute care, 146-bed community hospital for adults and children, and we understand the importance of delivering world class health care along with the latest advances in technology and treatment options. Our specialized services include cardiology, orthopedics, maternity, diagnostic imaging, emergency care with a 24/7 Level IV Trauma Center, wound care, and women's health and breast care services.


About Steward Health Care
Steward Health Care is the largest private, tax-paying physician-led health care network in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Steward operates 37 hospitals in the United States and the country of Malta that regularly receive top awards for quality and safety. The company employs approximately 42,000 health care professionals. The Steward network includes multiple urgent care centers and skilled nursing facilities, substantial behavioral health services, over 7,900 beds under management, and approximately 2.2 million full risk covered lives through the company's managed care and health insurance services.

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Veteran spouses, caregivers, non-enrolled Veterans can get COVID-19 vaccine at VA


From the West Texas VA Health Care System:

 

BIG SPRING, TX — West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) is providing COVID-19 vaccinations in accordance with the SAVES Lives Act.

 

On April 1, 2021, the Acting Under Secretary for Health defined the administration’s guidance and determined vaccinations could be administered to the following groups:

 

• All Veterans

• Spouses and surviving spouses of Veterans

• Caregivers of Veterans. For COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, we define a caregiver as a family member or friend who provides care to a Veteran. Caregivers may help a Veteran with personal needs like feeding, bathing, or dressing. They may also help a Veteran

with tasks like shopping or transportation.

• Recipients of Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) benefits

 

It is highly encouraged that those wanting to receive the vaccine, call our vaccination hotline to register – 432-268-2564.

 

Walk-ins are also welcome at the following locations, Mon-Fri from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.:

- Big Spring VAMC

- Abilene CBOC

- San Angelo CBOC

- Permian Basin – Wilson and Young Medal of Honor CBOC

 

Dedicated vaccination clinics are being planned and scheduled for our Fort Stockton, TX and Hobbs, NM CBOCs.

 

If you meet the SAVE LIVES Act criteria, WTVAHCS is offering COVID-19 vaccines on a first come, first serve basis, dependent upon vaccine availability. If you are a Veteran not yet enrolled, although not required, it is helpful if you bring your DD-214 (separation papers) with you.

 

To learn about upcoming VA outreach COVID-19 vaccine clinics, please follow our website at www.bigspring.va.gov. You can also learn more on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

 

We are honored to continue to serve America's heroes, their spouses, caregivers, and family.

For more information, please contact Michael Cole at Michael.Cole6@va.gov.

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Red Flag Warning in West Texas; Extreme Fire Danger


A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will increase the potential for fire growth today in the Howard County area and much of West Texas. 

 

According to the National Weather Service, a Red Flag Warning is in effect from this afternoon through this evening for much of West Texas for very dry and windy conditions and extreme fire danger. 

 

The affected area includes the following counties: Gaines, Dawson, Borden, Andrews, Martin, Howard, Ector, and Midland, among others.

 

Wind speed is expected to be 25 to 35 mph with gusts as high as 45 mph. Relative humidity is as low as 3 to 5 percent. The Red Flag Threat Index will range from 6 to 8 or critical to extreme.

 

The public is urged to avoid the use of open flames or any activities that may generate sparks.

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