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Parades & Gatherings Allowed:


As reported yesterday, face masks are now required in certain areas within the state of Texas, including Howard County. Additionally, Governor Abbott is allowing mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people.

KBest News spoke with Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman who stated that the restriction of gatherings of more than 10 people will NOT be imposed at this time. The parades and gatherings that are currently scheduled will be allowed to continue in Howard County, however, people are required to wear face masks.

 

Judge Wiseman stated that she personally does not like wearing a face mask, nor does she like the spread of COVID-19, but these are unfortunate realities.

 

“Me? No, I don’t like wearing a face mask either, but I will do it in compliance with the Governor’s order, and I expect our citizens to do the same,” stated Wiseman. “If we honor the Governor’s orders, it won’t be necessary for me to impose further restrictions.”

 

Yesterday’s Executive Order from Governor Abbot defines the penalty for non-compliance:

 

“Following a verbal or written warning for a first-time violator of this face-covering requirement, a person’s second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.”

 

The complete Proclamation, Executive Order, as well as the Governor’s statement and video can be found here:

 

https://gov.texas.gov/…/governor-abbott-establishes-statewi…

Parades that are scheduled include:

 

Saturday, July 4th:

—Highland South 4th of July Parade: 10am. Starts at Robb Drive, heads west on Highland Drive—ends at Goliad Street.

 

—Coahoma Freedom Parade:
10AM. Starts at Coahoma High School and heads south on Main Street.

Both parades will be posted here on the KBest Media Facebook page.

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Face Masks Required in Howard County per Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order 29.


Press Release 7-2-2020

From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason, and Howard County Emergency Management
Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 2, 2020, Texas Governor Abbott issued Executive Order 29, a wear mask order for the state of Texas. The order says:

 

Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; provided, however, that this face-covering requirement does not apply to the following:

 

1. Any person younger than 10 years of age;

 

2. Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;

 

3. Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;

 

4. Any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household;

5. Any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;

 

6. Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal;

 

7. Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water;

 

8. Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;

 

9. Any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;

 

10. Any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience.
Failure to follow this order MAY result in a fine of up to $250.00.

 

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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Governor Abbott Establishes Statewide Face Covering Requirement, Issues Proclamation To Limit Gatherings


AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

 

"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”

 

Additionally, the Governor released a new video message to coincide with his Executive Order, encouraging Texans to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep their communities safe. The video can be downloaded at this link and can also be viewed on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/uRZdTKxeAvE

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Heat Wave in Howard County - Tips to beat the heat.


 

Outside temperatures have already made their way into the 100s this week, and they’ll continue to remain in the range of high 90s to mid-100s for the next few days. 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high temperatures kill hundreds of people every year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet more than 600 people die from extreme heat every year.

 

To prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and death during hot weather, everyone should take the following steps:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.

  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.

  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.

    • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.

    • Pace yourself.

  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.

  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

  • Never leave children or pets in cars.

  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.

 

For more infomation on how to avoid heat illness, visit: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/heat

 

or https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat

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5 New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed for Howard County/Big Spring, 07/01/2020


Press Release 7-1-2020

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

Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On July 1, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of five (5) new positive test results for COVID-19. The individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

The affected individuals are a 24-year-old male, a 23-month old female, a 26-year-old female, a 71-year-old male, and a 68-year-old male.

 

These are the 35th through 39th cases of COVID-19 in Big Spring/Howard County. To date, we have had thirty-nine (39) confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Big Spring and Howard County. We currently have sixteen (16) active cases. Big Spring and Howard County have had twenty-two (22) people recover as of today.

 

Officials take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of continuing to take proper precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 remains a major concern in our community and we urge citizens to wash their hands, wear a mask, social distance and avoid travel when possible.

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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Howard County Volunteer Fire Department expects to see increase in calls over Fourth of July weekend due to dry conditions.


Howard County is currently in a burn ban and Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Mitchell Hooper is reminding the public to celebrate responsibly. 

 

Hooper told KBest News that the volunteer fire department is usually pretty busy during this time of the year, but, with the cancellation of the annual celebratory event Pops in the Park and the extreme dry conditions, the department is expecting to see an increase in calls.

 

According to Chief Hooper, the HCVFD will be staging trucks on the south and north sides of the county. 

 

“All the south trucks will cover the south and west part of the county. Then the trucks on the north end will cover north and the east end of the county. Hopefully, we can keep up with everything.”

 

During this time, it’s important to remember that it is illegal to shoot fireworks off of any state or county road way. If you are going to shoot fireworks off in the county, you have to have the landowners permission and you need to have an extinguishing agent in case a fire starts.

 

“If you do start a fire on someone else’s property and something happens to their house, or an outbuilding, they could press charges or sue you. It could be a bad deal,” explained Chief Hooper.

 

Additional fireworks safety tips include: 

  • Don’t pop fireworks at each other.

  • Always read the instructions.

  • Always have adult supervision.

  • Have some kind of extinguishing agent nearby, such as a water hose, bucket of water, shovel, or fire extinguisher to slow the fire down before the HCVFD gets there.

  • Always shoot fireworks outdoors. If you can get in a dirt field, that’s even better. 

  • Try to keep grass as short as you can in the area where the fireworks will be used. 

 

For more fireworks safety tips, visit: https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/fireworks

 

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Kelly Seales Sworn in as new Justice of the Peace of Pct. 2, place 1 for Coahoma


Yesterday afternoon, Kelly Seales was sworn in as the new Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Place 1 by Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman. She is replacing former JP Connie Shaw, who retired yesterday after 21 years of service. 

 

When asked what her feelings were on leaving the position, Shaw stated "I'm really looking forward to the future! Kelly's gonna do a great job and I'm leaving it in good hands."

 

Shaw told KBest News that she plans to do a lot of traveling now that she’s retired to see kids and grandkids, and helping out her parents a little bit more.  

 

Seales will complete Shaw’s term that is set to expire in December 2021.

 

"I am just completely humbled and honored," said Seales of taking on the position. "I hope that I do a wonderful job for the citizens of Howard County and I appreciate the opportunity."

 

Seales has already began shadowing another Justice of the Peace to prepare for her new position. Seales told KBest News that she’s looking forward to learning more about the legal processes of Howard County.

 

"I think it's just a whole other facet of life here in the community that people are generally not aware of and I find it very interesting," said Seales.

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Back in Motion Blood Drive on Thursday, July 2, 2020


The Battle of the Blood Drives, a competition between Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Big Spring with Kindred at Home and Back in Motion, began this past Saturday with the Star-Spangled Blood Drive at Star CDJR in Big Spring.

 

Back in Motion, located at 1111 Scurry, will have their annual blood drive tomorrow, from 11 AM - 3:30 PM. Donors for that blood drive will receive a free Independence Day t-shirt and free ice cream. Donors will also receive free COVID-19 antibodies testing.


Be advised that at this time, both staff and donors are required to wear a face covering when donating blood. For more information and to make appointments in advance, visit bloodhero.com.

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Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce $9 Million for Nursing Facility Infection Control Projects to Prevent COVID-19


 

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) today announced $9 million in federal funding for nursing facilities to implement infection control projects to protect residents and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Starting July 1, nursing facility providers in Texas are encouraged to submit applications to HHSC to receive this federal funding.

 

"We know that older Texans are more susceptible to COVID-19, and Texas is committed to ensuring that nursing facilities have the tools they need to keep their residents and staff safe," said Governor Abbott. "The resources available through this federal funding will help maintain infection control within these facilities. We must continue to protect our most vulnerable populations, mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Texas, and protect public health."

 

"Nursing facilities have this opportunity to apply for funding to enhance health and safety protections for the people they serve," said David Kostroun, deputy executive commissioner for HHSC’s Regulatory Services Division. "During this unprecedented time, we are directing providers to pursue every avenue to mitigate the spread of this virus."

 

Approved providers will be eligible to receive funds for infection control resources, including:

  • Thermometers and temperature scanning equipment for staff and residents
  • Decontamination and disinfecting systems
  • Plexiglass barriers or portable walls to ensure social distancing and droplet protection
  • N95 fit-test equipment
  • Microbe-resistant flooring and wall coverings

 

For more details on how to apply, visit the Texas HHS website. The deadline for applications is August 30.

 

HHSC is continuing to accept applications for communication technology in nursing facilities, which are eligible to receive up to $3,000 per facility to purchase devices (e.g. iPads, tablets, webcams) and accessories (e.g. headphones, protective covers). 

 

HHSC is allocating Civil Money Penalty (CMP) funds for this project as well as the infection control projects. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) imposes CMPs against Medicare- or Medicaid-certified nursing facilities found out of compliance with federal requirements. CMP funds can be used for projects and activities that benefit nursing facility residents by improving their quality of care or quality of life. Currently, HHSC is only accepting and reviewing applications for projects related to addressing COVID-19, such as infection control practices and communication technology.

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Early Voting for Democratic Primary Runoff Election Began this Week


Democratic Primary Runoff Election is set for July 14, 2020, and early voting began yesterday It is important to note that only those that chose the Democratic ballot in the Primary or did not vote in either Primary are able to vote in the Runoff.

 

Items on the ballot include candidates for Railroad Commissioner, and U.S. Senator.

Early voting will be held at the courthouse from 8 AM - 5 PM through Thursday, July 2, 2020, and again July 6-8th. Extended days of early voting will be on July 9-10th, and the Howard County Election Office will be open from 7 AM to 7 PM. 

 

Again, Election Day for the Democratic Runoff is Tuesday, July 14th. On that day, voting will take place from 7 AM to 7 PM in any of the usual locations: 

 

Ryan Hall/St. Thomas Church

    605 North Main Street

    Big Spring, Texas 79720

 

Coahoma Community Center

    306 North Avenue

    Coahoma, Texas 79511

 

First Baptist Church

    705 W. FM 700

    Big Spring, Texas 79720

 

Dorothy Garrett Coliseum

    1001 Birdwell Lane

    Big Spring, Texas 79720

 

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Howard College Modifies Fall Start Date


 

BIG SPRING – Howard College has made some recent changes to their Fall 2020 semester academic calendar which includes a change in the start and end date for fall classes. The change comes amid the continued presence of the COVID-19 pandemic and how higher education institutions are looking at moving forward in the fall.

 

With the update, classes will now begin on August 17, 2020 and will conclude with final exams November 20-24. This will modify the course from the traditional 16-week course to a 15-week course and allow students to complete at the traditional Thanksgiving break.

 

“The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our number one priority and has been the driving force in our decision-making process,” said Dr. Cheryl Sparks, Howard College President. “We have been watching what other colleges and universities are doing and we have followed state and federal guidelines as we deliberate. We feel this is the prudent step to take at this time.”

 

Traditionally students travel during the Thanksgiving break and spend time with family and friends. With the change in the academic calendar, students will complete the semester prior to the break and will not be required to return to campus until the following semester.

 

With the modification in start date, the flexible semesters such as the 8-week courses and December mini session will also have modified start and end dates. The college is in the process of updating the course schedule to reflect the recent adjustment and should be reflective of the change soon.

 

Administrators are working with school districts across the service area to resolve any issues with dual credit schedules and the college’s health professions programs will be communicating directly with students regarding any additional changes to their schedules.

 

“This situation we find ourselves in changes daily with the state and federal responses to COVID-19, and we are doing our very best to respond thoughtfully, with the best interest of our students at the forefront,” Sparks added. “We will continue to evaluate the situation daily and make preparations for students that address their educational needs as well as their safety and security.”

 

As the college moves toward the fall semester, a wide range of instruction modalities will be available to students including online and hybrid (mixture of online and face-to-face) as well as face-to-face classes.

 

“We want to offer a wide variety of instructional settings to accommodate all of our students,” said Sparks. “We know they each have unique needs and we are ready to be their college of choice, in whatever learning environment suits them best.”

 

Guidelines are currently being developed for students in the face-to-face classes as well as residence halls on the Big Spring and SWCD campuses. Future updates will be provided as more policies and procedures are finalized.

 

For more information about Howard College visit www.howardcollege.edu or contact Cindy Smith at 432-517-0073 or csmith@howardcollege.edu. COVID-19 updates can be located at www.howardcollege.edu/special-notice.

 

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Governor Abbott Issues Proclamation To Expand Hospital Capacity In Four Additional Texas Counties


 

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces, and Webb counties to help ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients in these communities. This proclamation amends the Governor’s previous Executive Order to include these four counties in addition to Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties.

 

"As these counties experience a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are committed to working alongside hospitals to help ensure that every COVID-19 patient who needs a bed will have access to one," said Governor Abbott. "We are constantly monitoring the data at the local level and will continue to take precautionary action where it is necessary. I want to remind all Texans that each of us have a responsibility to help slow the spread of this virus, and I urge everyone to wear a mask, wash their hands regularly, practice social distancing, and stay home if possible."

 

Under the Executive Order, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician. Through proclamation, the Governor can add or subtract from the list of counties included in the Executive Order to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state.

 

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DPS Arrests Suspects in Austin for Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes Related to the Capitol Protests


 

AUSTIN – On Saturday, June 27, 2020, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) executed arrest warrants for two suspects: Darius Deshawn Berkley, 22, of Austin, Texas, who was arrested for rioting on the Texas State Capitol grounds; and Gerald Govan Brown, 18, of Pflugerville, Texas, who was arrested in connection with the vandalism of the Texas State Capitol and the assault of a Texas State Trooper.

 

DPS Special Agents obtained an arrest warrant for rioting on Berkley, following an incident that occurred on June 22, 2020, at the Texas State Capitol. DPS Special Agents discovered Berkley was incarcerated in the Travis County Jail on unrelated charges. The aforementioned warrant was served on Berkley at the Travis County Jail.

 

Brown was also arrested on Saturday, June 27, in connection with incidents that occurred during the protests at the Texas State Capitol on May 30. Multiple arrest warrants were obtained for Brown, including felony criminal mischief-destruction of public monument, as well as misdemeanor criminal mischief, attempt to take a weapon from a peace officer, resisting arrest, interference with public duties and participating in a riot.

Both arrests come as the result of ongoing investigations by DPS Special Agents who reviewed hundreds of hours of videos from various media platforms, surveillance camera footage, law enforcement databases and open source information over the last several weeks, and the investigation continues.

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WEST TEXAS CENTERS PROVIDES CRISIS SERVICES


BIG SPRING - Crisis services will be provided to those affected by COVID-19 through a program offered by West Texas Centers, the mental health authority for a 23-county region in rural West Texas. 

 

West Texas Centers, along with funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA will provide the Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) “Texans Recovering Together.” The White House declared Texas a major disaster area because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, thus freeing up federal funds.

 

“We are very excited to be offering assistance to the people of West Texas,” West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith said. “We have been challenged since early March to adapt to the changes brought about from COVID-19, and we believe we are in a strong position to deal with its fall-out.”

 

"Many people have either been ill, lost work, been isolated or kept apart from loved ones, which are all major stressors," said Smith, who is a licensed master social worker.

 

“Many are isolated, suffering financially, or doing without healthcare or are fearful of the health of a loved one” she said. “They are unable to leave their homes and if they are able to leave the house it’s often with the belief that they aren’t safe.”

 

The Crisis Counseling Program provides short-term interventions to assist disaster survivors in understanding their current situation and reactions, mitigating stress, reviewing their disaster recovery options, promoting the use or development of coping strategies, providing emotional support, and encouraging links with other individuals and agencies who may help survivors in their recovery process.

 

Services are provided at no cost, are confidential and available to anyone living in the 23-county region served by West Texas Centers. 

 

West Texas Centers will provide:

 

  • Information
  • Education
  • Emotional support
  • Links to resources

 

Trained members of the West Texas Centers team can assist with:

  • Recognizing common reactions to disasters
  • Building coping skills for the recovery process
  • Managing disaster-related stress
  • Identifying and meeting children’s needs

 

Assistance is provided by calling (432) 213-0631 or the Texas Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990. There is no need for, or attempt to, identify a mental health diagnosis.

 

West Texas Centers serves people in: 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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Affidavits requesting recall of Big Spring City Council Members de-certified.


Last week on June 25, 2020, an affidavit was filed with the office of the Big Spring City Secretary requesting the issuance of petitions for the recall of City Council Member Camilla Strande of District 5 and Council Member Jim DePauw of District 6. Since then, KBest News has found that these affidavits have been de-certified.

 

The official statement on the matter from the City of Big Spring states, “On advice of the City Attorney, the City Secretary has de-certified the two affidavits requesting the recall as the Charter with other law requires them to be filed by someone who lives in the District for that Council member, and the person who submitted them does not live in either District.”

 

City Secretary Donald Moore has advised that a Public Service Announcement would not be made on the information since it was only the media that had asked questions. 

 

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4 New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in Howard County, 06/26/2020


Press Release 6-26-2020

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

Re: COVID-19 Update

 

On June 26, 2020, the City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of four (4) new positive test results for COVID-19. The individuals are isolating at home and are currently exhibiting mild symptoms. These new cases have been determined to be community spread.

 

The affected individuals are: ?
A 27-year-old male;
????A 11-month-old female;
A 16-year-old male;
and a 32-year-old male.

 

This is the 31st through 34th cases of COVID-19 in Big Spring/Howard County. To date, we have had (34) thirty four confirmed COVID-19 positive cases in Big Spring and Howard County. We currently have fifteen (15) active cases. Big Spring and Howard County have had 18 people recover as of today.

 

Officials take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of continuing to take proper precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 remains a major concern in our community and we urge citizens to wash their hands, wear a mask, social distance and avoid travel when possible.

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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Governor Abbott's Executive Order Issued 6-26-2020 and what that means for Howard County / Big Spring.


Press Release June 26, 2020

From: County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, Mayor Shannon Thomason, and Howard County  Emergency Management
Re: ?Governor Abbott’s Executive Order Issued 6-26-2020

 

Today, Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-28 limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. The order includes the specific guidelines that each business shall follow.

 

What this means for the City of Big Spring and Howard county is that the following business may open at 100% of capacity provided they that operate with at least six feet of social distancing between workstations:


cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons/shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade, massage establishments and other facilities where licensed massage therapists or other persons licensed or otherwise authorized to practice under Chapter 455 of the Texas Occupations Code practice their trade; and other personal-care and beauty services such as tanning salons, tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services, and hair loss treatment and growth services;

 

In accordance with Governor Abbott’s order, the following guidelines are in effect for Big Spring and Howard County:

 

• All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today, June 26, 2020. These businesses may remain open for drive-thru, pickup or delivery including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.


• Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, they will operate at a capacity not to exceed 75% of total listed indoor occupancy. The use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks remains allowed and is highly encouraged.


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


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


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

 

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

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
?

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

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Big Spring City Council meeting highlights from 6/23/2020 


Announcements, Presentations, and Public Hearings

Mayor Shannon Thomason accepted the gift from the Big Spring Area Community Foundation. The gift was a grant in an amount not to exceed $50,000 to pay off past due water bills for certain water customers in certain amounts. (To read more about the grant, visit: https://kbestmedia.com/kbest-station-updates/513228 )

 

City Manager’s Report

Board Applications still needed for:

  • Engineer or Architect Board Member for Board of Adjustments & Appeals
  • Alternate for Zoning Board of Adjustments
  • Animal Control & Rescue Committee (5 members needed)
  • Convention and Visitors Bureau Board 
  • Parks Recreation Board (2 members needed)
  • Citizens Advisory Board (as needed)

 

Russ McEwen Aquatic Center Update: Facility reopened on 06/16/2020. Serves 250 customers on average. Facility is open Tuesday - Sunday, 1-7 PM. Hope to have Splash Pad ready to go in July 2020.

 

Comanche Trail Lake Update: Recently stocked with 3,500 Florida Strain Largemouth Bass on June 10, 2020 and will also be receiving fish attractor structures within the coming months because of a partnership between the Big Spring Area Community Foundation and the Hayes Stripling Jr Fund. 

 

Clean Up of Burnt Structures: Two lots / burnt structures have been cleaned up recently, one was on Lindberg St. and the other on Cardinal St, for a cost of $11,000. The budget for this project is $50,000 to get it off the ground. Clean up has begun on Dixie St. with two local contractors bidding on the project.

 

Ports-to-Plains Feasibility Study- I-27: On June 15, 2020, Congressmen Jodey Arrington and Henry Cuellar introduced the Ports-to-Plains Highway Act on 2020 House Resolution 7151. The bi-partisan bill is an effort to designate the remainder of the I-27 Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor a federal highway. This action is necessary to be eligible for federal funding for the $23.5 billion project that stretches from New Mexico to Laredo. In 1988, the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor was designated as a High Priority Corridor by Congress. The Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor includes a direct route through Big Spring and a Midland Loop. 

 

HB 1079 Important Dates

  • June 30, 2020: Segment Committees’ report to Advisory Committee
  • October 31, 2020: Advisory Committee submits recommendations to TxDOT
  • January 1, 2021: TxDOT submits report to Governor and Texas Legislature.

 

Update on Reliever Route: TxDOT will open the reliever route to traffic on the northern section within weeks. No definitive date as of yet. Date for the grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony had not been determined. 

 

Consent Items and Vouchers - all pass with vote of 6-0, Hartman absent from meeting

 

Bids: Bid awarded for Wastewater Treatment Plant Clarifier and Trickling Filter Construction Contract to Dorado Construction Group for the total contract amount of $1,245,520.64.

 

New Business Items

Update on U.S. Census for 2020: Amber Pedigo with the US Census advised that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Congress has approved that the Census continue through October 31, 2020. At this time, Howard County has a 47.4 percent self-response rate for the current census. In 2010 the final response rate was 60.6 percent. 

 

Howard County Appraisal District presented the proposed 2021 Budget: Lisa Reyna, HCAD Chief Appraiser advised that budget had decreased from 2020. The total amount of the budget that is billed to the entities is $1,083,901.50. This is a 16.54% decrease over the prior year budget.

 

Emergency Item* #25:  6-0 approval on ordinance amending ordinances to increase various fees and ban fireworks and the discharge of firearms at Moss Creek Lake, as well as clarifying language in an ordinance to ban glass beverage containers in all city parks and city properties, including the Comanche Trail Golf Course. Amendments effective immediately. (Council members unanimously consented to make this item an emergency item. For more on this story, visit:  https://kbestmedia.com/kbest-station-updates/515003 )

 

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Governor Abbott Takes Executive Action To Contain Spread Of COVID-19; Limits Certain Businesses And Services With Link To Infections


AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.

 

The order includes the following:

 

All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

 

Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.

 

Rafting and tubing businesses must close.

 

Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

 

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health. We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part. Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again.”

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State News: DPS Arrests Suspect in Austin for Felony Criminal Mischief, Damage Caused to State Capitol


 

AUSTIN – On Tuesday, June 23, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrested a suspect in connection with the vandalism and damage caused to the Texas State Capitol during a protest on Saturday, May 30. During the incident, a number of protestors intentionally damaged the historic Texas State Capitol building, monuments and fixtures, as well as DPS patrol vehicles. Several DPS Troopers were also injured during the riot.

 

DPS Special Agents initiated an investigation, and over the last several weeks, they reviewed hundreds of hours of videos from various media platforms, surveillance camera footage, law enforcement databases and open source information.

 

As a result of this investigation, DPS Special Agents obtained an arrest warrant for Keegan Dalton Godsey, 23, of Austin, Texas. Godsey was arrested without incident for felony criminal mischief, riot and interference with public duties, and was booked into the Travis Co. Jail on Tuesday.

 

Additionally, DPS is working with Capital Area Crime Stoppers to locate several individuals who were captured on video and in photos during an active assault on DPS Troopers. This incident occurred during a protest at the State Capitol on Saturday, May 30, at approximately 3:30 p.m. Several DPS Troopers were assaulted, and property was damaged. Anyone with information about this specific event or those involved is urged to contact Capital Area Crime Stoppers. (Please see the photos below for individuals wanted in connection with this crime.) All tips are guaranteed to be anonymous. Contact Crime Stoppers by phone at (800) 893-TIPS (8477) or (512) 472-TIPS (8447); online at www.austincrimestoppers.org; or by mobile app: P3 Tips.

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Special City Council meeting in Big Spring to be held on Monday, 6/29/2020, to consider an increase to property tax rate cap.


According to Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, there will be a Special City Council meeting, held on Monday, 6/29/2020, at 5:30 PM, in the City Council Chambers located at 307 E. 4th St.

 

The Big Spring City Council will be considering an increase to the property tax rate cap from 3.5% to 8%.  If approved, this increase will be in effect for the next three years.

This item had been listed on Tuesday night’s agenda for the last city council meeting, however, the meeting was adjourned early since a majority of the council members walked out of the meeting.

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Recall Petitions Requested in Big Spring


On Thursday, June 25, 2020, an affidavit was filed with the office of the Big Spring City Secretary requesting the issuance of petitions for the recall of City Council Member Camilla Strande of District 5 and Council Member Jim DePauw of District 6.

 

The recall process is outlined in Article XI of the Big Spring City Charter. For more information, please contact Donald Moore at 432-264-2517.

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BSGSA Coach recently tests positive for COVID-19.


On Friday, June 19, 2020, the Big Spring Girls Softball Association announced that one of their coaches had tested positive for COVID-19 and that the team had been notified. 

 

The organization also immediately reached out to City of Big Spring staff, Big Spring Fire Chief Craig Ferguson, and the Texas Health Department to inquire how to proceed with the season. It was determined that the common areas of the softball complex would be disinfected nightly and BSGSA would provide hand sanitizer. 

 

“We want to provide a good, clean, safe environment for not only the players, but for any of the spectators that are out,” said Johnny DeLeon, BSGSA President and City of Big Spring Parks and Recreation Committee Member.

 

According to DeLeon, all agencies contacted advised that the organization was cleared to continue with the season.

 

Recently, DeLeon addressed concerns in an open letter to citizens, players, parents, and coaches of Big Spring. In it, he reminded that BSGSA is a recreational league and they do not actively recruit players. He noted that parents register and pay for their children to play, and injuries and illnesses are always a possibility.

 

DeLeon also explained why refunds were denied, stating that recreational sports leagues are non-profit organizations and the money charged is just enough for the league to get started. He advised that when the COVID-19 precautions took effect, uniforms, insurance, equipment, and various other fees had already been paid, and a refund would have been minimal. 

 

Ultimately, he emphasized that board members, coaches, and other league personnel are all volunteers who donate their time, attention, and love to their players. 

 

“We are a quality of life program,” said DeLeon of the league. “We want these girls to go out and have a good time, to learn sportsmanship, to learn teamwork, to develop a skill that they may not otherwise know they had. Some of these girls will never play any other sport, some of these girls will go on to play multiple sports, but we want to instill that confidence in them that they are eligible to go out and do things, and that’s the only reason we continue to do what we do.”

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Big Spring Economic Development Corporation Names Mark Willis Executive Director


The Big Spring Economic Development Corporation today announced Mark Willis as its new Executive Director following an intensive nationwide search. Willis has over 25 years of economic development experience in Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. He most recently worked as the Economic Development Manager at the Lower Colorado River Authority. He will take over as the Big Spring EDC Executive Director on August 5th, 2020.


Big Spring EDC Board President, Jeff Ward, stated, “Mark brings a significant amount of Economic Development Experience from all over the country with him. Mark's resume, reputation, interview and professionalism is more than we could have asked for. Mark was born in West Texas and has been looking for the right opportunity to move back home. We are thrilled with the opportunities that Mark has discussed with the Board and are anxious to see the growth and development he will help foster!” Ward continued, “The Board as a whole was very impressed with his composure and confidence in his abilities. Mark has many proven Economic Development projects under his belt. He has helped large scale distribution plants set up in his service area as well as foster the stability of businesses that were already established. Mark is confident, experienced, professional and intelligent, we feel he will be able to serve Big Spring well!”


Upon former Executive Director, Terry Wegman’s retirement in late March, the Big Spring EDC Board has worked hand-in-hand with The PACE Group, the leading executive search firm specializing in economic development. A top-notch pool of candidates was developed, and several finalists were interviewed by the board over the last several weeks.


Prior to joining Lower Colorado River Authority, Willis served for four years as the Director of Economic Development for The City of Leander, TX. Willis went to Leander after serving as the Chief Operating Officer for Wyoming Business Council. Willis has managed economic development organizations in Ada, OK, Bryan-College Station, TX, and Johnson County, TX.

 

"I'm really looking forward to coming home to West-Texas and working with the Big Spring team. Economic development is very much a team sport and from what I have experienced I will be proud to be a member of this one,"said Willis.

 

He also stated, "Everyone, everywhere is in the mist of perhaps one of the most challenging times in our lives on every level imaginable. The economy is no exception and it is going to be difficult for a while. However, the challenge and resulting evolution/adaptations the system will be making will also open up opportunities. Good economic development teams will strive to recognize the changes coming, prepare for them and ultimately benefit from them. I'm confident we can do that in Big Spring."

 

Willis spent his formative years in Midland, TX. Following high school Willis attended Texas A&M in College Station, TX and completed his bachelor’s. Willis ultimately received his Master’s of Business Administration from Texas A&M and has completed several professional development programs including receiving his Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) designation from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2002. He has been on many boards and councils and has held memberships from many organizations throughout his career including International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Texas Economic Development Council, Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC), Team Texas and Wyoming Economic Development Council among others.


The new Big Spring EDC Executive Director will head up efforts to encourage and support the economic growth of Big Spring by developing and implementing Big Spring EDC’s aggressive economic development marketing program focused on business expansion and recruitment, workforce support, image enhancement and economic development marketing.

 

About Big Spring Economic Development Corporation

 

Big Spring EDC targets specific industries, activities and opportunities on which to focus recruitment and retention efforts. Matching location strengths to industry requirements and to industry demand patterns is critical in target industry identification, and an essential component of an effective development strategy. These defined industries are a likely match for the relocation or expansion of primary jobs in Big Spring. Our Mission is to assist, stimulate, and enhance economic development in Big Spring, Texas, subject to applicable State and Federal laws and the Bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation. To utilize its Sales Tax Revenues to increase the job opportunities available to the citizens of Big Spring by assisting the expansion of local businesses and attracting new business activities to Big Spring.


Big Spring EDC is governed by a Board of Directors and employs an Executive Director and staff. The organization is based in Big Spring, TX.

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Governor Abbott Announces Temporary Pause Of Additional Reopening Phases


AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the State of Texas will pause any further phases to open Texas as the state responds to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Businesses that are permitted to open under the previous phases can continue to operate at the designated occupancy levels and under the minimum standard health protocols provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

 

“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” said Governor Abbott. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business. I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”

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