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2020 Local Elections: Contested Races in Howard County


There’s no doubt that the upcoming election in November is an important one nationally, but it’s also carrying a lot of significance for local residents in Howard County.

 

The contested races for Howard County Commissioners are as follows:

 

Howard County Commissioner Oscar Garcia, Precinct 1, will end his term in November. His position will be filled by either Republican candidate Eddilisa Saldivar Ray or Democratic candidate Milton Perkins.

 

(Photo: Eddilisa Saldivar Ray, Republican candidate, running for Howard County Commissioner, Pct. 1)

 

(Photo: Milton Perkins, Democratic candidate, running for Howard County Commissioner, Pct. 1)

 

Incumbent Jimmie Long, Republican, and Democratic candidate Shiloh Creswell Salazar are both running for County Commissioner, Precinct 3.

 

(Photo: Incumbent Jimmie Long, Republican, running for Howard County Commissioner, Pct. 3)

 

(Photo: Shiloh Creswell Salazar, Democratic candidate, running for Howard County Commissioner, Pct. 3)

 

There is also an election for Big Spring ISD Board of Trustee member, District 1. Incumbent for that race is Tom J. Olague, Jr. and opponent is Enchantra M. Solis.

 

(Photo: Incumbent Tom J. Olague, running for BSISD School Board Trustee, District 1) 

 

(Photo: Enchantra M. Solis, running for BSISD School Board Trustee, District 1) 

 

Councilmen Raul Marquez, District 1, and Terry McDaniel, District 3, will both conclude their extended term in November after new councilmembers for those districts are voted in. Candidates for District 1 representative are Nadine Reyes and Nick Hilario Ornelas.

 

(Photo: Nadine Reyes, running for Big Spring City Councilmember, District 1) 

 

(Photo: Nick Hilario Ornelas, running for Big Spring City Councilmember, District 1) 

 

Candidates for District 3 representative are Roger M. Rodman and Cody Hughes.

 

(Photo: Roger M. Rodman, running for Big Spring City Councilmember, District 3) 

 

(Photo: Cody Hughes, running for Big Spring City Councilmember, District 3) 

 

In addition to these contested races, there will be a special election held for the purpose of voting for or against the recall of multiple Big Spring City Council members. Those listed on the ballot will be Camilla Strande, District 5, Jim DePauw, District 6, and Big Spring Mayor Shannon D. Thomason.

 

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Information on County Assistance District to be discussed at tonight's Town Hall Meeting with Howard County Commissioners, 09/29/2020


There will be a Town Hall Meeting this evening from 6-7 PM at the 3rd Floor of the Howard County Courthouse, located at 300 S. Main in Big Spring. During this meeting, County Commissioners will provide information concerning the possibility of creating a County Assistance District, an item that will be listed on the November 3, 2020 election ballot for eligible voters. 

 

Residents who live in the unincorporated areas of the county - meaning outside of the city limits of Big Spring, Coahoma, and Forsan -  will get to vote whether or not to create the County Assistance District, which would increase sales tax in these unincorporated areas by two percent, thus matching the sales tax rate inside the city limits. It should be noted that the increase would not affect anyone who is tax exempt, such as farmers and ranchers, but it would affect oil industries.  

 

According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, county assistance district funds can be used for construction, maintenance or improvement of roads or highways; provision of law enforcement and detention services; maintenance or improvement of libraries, museums, parks or other recreational facilities; promotion of economic development and tourism; firefighting and fire prevention services and provision of services that benefit the public welfare.

 

Again, tonight’s town hall meeting will begin at 6 PM tonight and you can catch a live stream of that meeting on our KBest Media Facebook page. 

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Howard County Commissioners Court - Highlights from 09/28/2020


During yesterday’s meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, Sandy Smith and Dwain Fox were selected as the Court’s nominees for the Howard County Appraisal District’s Board of Directors. 

 

New Howard County Emergency Management Coordinator Emily McCann requested funding in the amount of approximately $800 for travel and lodging to attend a free training session on pipeline training that is scheduled for May 2021. Commissioner Craig Bailey advised that he had unused training money that had accumulated over the last two years and it was recommended that it be transferred to McCann so that she may attend the recommended pipeline training for this district.

 

Commissioners also approved to reinstate the burn ban for Howard County, based on the recommendation of Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Mitchell Hooper.

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Comanche Trail Festival of Lights celebrates 25 days of Christmas!


The Comanche Trail Festival of Lights has announced an exciting new change to the 2020 Festival of Lights. This year the dates for the festival will be Tuesday, December 1st - December 25th! They are excited to bring 25 days of Christmas to Big Spring!

 

If you would like to be involved in this year’s event please contact Vicki Stewart at 432-935-0572 or Pat Simmons at 432-263-4607 for information on Adopt a Spot availability. 

 

If you would like to work the greeters both please contact Hayley Herrera at 432-264- 2516.

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Area News: Andrews woman killed in one-vehicle accident on 09/25/2020


An Andrews woman was killed in a 1-vehicle crash on early Friday morning.

 

DPS Troopers responded to the crash located at NW County Road 2001,  6 miles north of Andrews, at 12:42 AM.

 

Preliminary investigation indicates a 2013, Dodge, Charger, driven by Michelle M. Deleon, 39 of Andrews, was traveling north on NW 2001. Deleon’s vehicle entered a curve at an unsafe speed, lost control and rolled.  She was pronounced dead on scene. 

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COVID-19 Update for the Week of September 21st, 2020


Press Release – September 25th, 2020


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

 

Re: COVID-19 Update for the Week of September 21st, 2020

 

City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of 263 new positive COVID-19 test results for the week of September 21st, 2020. To date, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 724 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. The number of active cases increased from 130 to 377, an increase of 247 cases from last week. The total number of people recovered from COVID-19 also increased; we have 316 patients recovered, an increase of 14. There were no COVID-19 related fatalities this week.

 

The dramatic increase in positive cases is attributed to an outbreak at the Federal Correctional Institution. Of the 377 active cases this week in Howard County, 359 are inmates at FCI Big Spring. Only 18 cases are Howard County/Big Spring residents, an increase of two community cases from last week.

 

Big Spring and Howard County continue to improve; however, County and City officials still urge community members to take every precaution to protect yourself and your family members. Please continue to practice social distancing, stay home when possible, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask while in public areas. These are all things you can do to help prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill from any respiratory illness including COVID-19.

 

Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason

 

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Fatal shooting results in BSPD investigating homicide, 09/24/2020


From Big Spring Police Department on 09/24/2020:

 

9-24-2020, just before 5:00 PM, Big Spring Police Department officers responded to the 3600 block of Calvin in reference to a gun shot victim. Upon arrival officers secured the scene and immediately tended to the needs of the victim a 25 year old male. The victim was immediately transported to SMMC by Big Spring Emergency Medical Services but unfortunately succumbed to his injuries sustained. The Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division was notified and is currently conducting an investigation into this shooting. At this time investigators have reason to believe this is a homicide and are currently following leads.

 

There is no further information available at this time.

 

Early this morning, Big Spring/Howard County Crime Stoppers announced that they were requesting the public's help in locating Marcus Pena. They stated that investigators with the Big Spring Police Department developed probable cause that Marcus Pena was directly involved with the MURDER.

 

Crime Stoppers is offering UP TO $1000.00 to the FIRST person who can provide information that leads to the arrest of Marcus Pena. To submit your tip, call them at 432-263-8477, or online at https://www.p3tips.com/1277

 

Please Submit your tip online first if possible. You Can have a Dialog with Crime Stoppers and be updated on any reward information. DO NOT LOOSE YOUR TIP NUMBER, YOU WILL NEED IT TO CLAIM YOUR REWARD. Please Reference Case # 2-20-03140. 

 

**UPDATED at 10:35 AM, 09/25/2020**

 

From Big Spring Police Department on 09/25/2020:

 

On the 24th of September 2020 at approximately 4:46 P.M., Big Spring Police Department officers responded to a residence in the 3600 block of Calvin in reference to a gunshot victim. Upon arrival officers found Richard Lopez III Hispanic/Male 25 years of age had been shot in the upper torso. Officers found Lopez to be unresponsive and immediately began life saving measures. The scene was cleared and Big Spring Emergency Medical Services arrived. EMS immediately transported Lopez to Scenic Mountain Medical Center for treatment but unfortunately Lopez succumbed to his injuries. The Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division was notified and responded. Following the preliminary investigation, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Marcus Pena Hispanic/Male 17 years of age for the offense of Murder. There is no further information available at this time.

 

CrimeStoppers is offering up to $1,000.00 to the FIRST person who can provide information that leads to the arrest of Marcus Pena. If you have any information regarding this investigation please call the Criminal Investigations Division Sergeant at (432)264-2558 or you can call CrimeStoppers at (432)263-TIPS (8477). You can also use the CrimeStoppers P3tips.com software to submit your tip online https://www.p3tips.com/1277 . Remember no

caller ID is ever used and all tips are anonymous.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

CID Sergeant John Haynes

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Big Spring celebrates the 100th anniversary of the DAV with Disabled American Veterans Day, 09/25/2020


Today is Disabled American Veterans Day in Big Spring as proclaimed by Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason earlier this week in honor of the DAV’s 100th anniversary.

 

The organization Disabled American Veterans was founded by WWI veterans on Sept. 25, 1920 and was chartered by an Act of Congress on June 17, 1932. Today the DAV celebrates 100 years of serving veterans of the Armed Forces, their families and survivors, and communities. The organization is dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. They accomplish this by ensuring that veterans and their families have access to the full range of benefits available to them, by fighting for the interest of America’s injured heroes, and by educating the public about the needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

 

Their mission is carried forward by providing free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs and other agencies. They also provide outreach concerning its program services to the American people generally, and to disabled veterans and their families specifically; and represent the interests of the disabled veterans, their families, their widowed spouses and their orphans before Congress, the White House, and the Judicial Branch, as well as state and local government. The DAV’s mission of hope is extended into the communities where these veterans and their families live through a network of state-level departments and local chapters; and providing a structure through which disabled veterans can express their compassion for their fellow veterans through a variety of volunteer programs.

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Thank you for your investment - Family Faith Center


Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a Thank You for Your Investment Presentation for Family Faith Center, located at 810 E. 11th Pl. in Big Spring on Tuesday morning.

 

When asked why it’s important for Family Faith Center to be a member of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, Pastor Christina Segundo stated, "I believe because we need to show that we are unified and we are one. I believe that when we stand together we can accomplish a lot of great thing in our community."

 

Michelle Cervantes also told KBest News that it’s wonderful that the Chamber would allow them to become a member and to come out and be a part of what they are and what they stand for, noting that when they’re together they can do more.

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Forsan Jr./Senior High Schools moves to virtual learning for September 28 - October 2, 2020; All extra-curricular in-person activities are canceled starting Thursday, September 24 and continuing through October 4.


From Forsan ISD Superintendent Randy Johnson on 09/24/2020:

 

Forsan Junior/Senior High School will transition to virtual learning for the week of September 28 through October 2. Students at the Junior/Senior High only will not have school on Friday, September 25 while the teachers of that campus work to prepare for the transition.

 

Elementary students will not be impacted and will have school as normal throughout this time period. That includes buses and cafeteria services for the elementary students. Buses will not run for the jr/sr high students since they will not be on campus. Meals will be available as grab-and-go meals for all junior/senior high students during the week of virtual learning from 11 AM to 1 PM at the jr/sr high cafeteria doors.

 

FISD is making this transition in response to the number of students and staff who are currently out of school due to COVID-19 related issues as well as strep throat, stomach bug, etc. We currently only have four COVID-19 positive cases but have a larger number of students and staff who are in isolation due to off-campus "close contact" with a COVID-19 positive person.

 

Although it is believed that none of the COVID-19 cases have spread on campus, we will undertake a vigilant cleaning process during this time of virtual learning.

 

All extra-curricular in-person activities are canceled starting Thursday, September 24 and continuing through October 4. We highly encourage the students, parents and Forsan community to follow all the COVID-19 protocols. The cancelations do include the scheduled football games against Reagan County on Thursday and Friday nights as well as volleyball and cross country competitions scheduled for the days mentioned.

 

It is our hope that this reset will allow students to heal up while we continue to educate via the virtual learning process.

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The 2020 CHS Homecoming Court


The students of Coahoma High School have recently selected their 2020 Homecoming Court.

The five seniors selected are Kenzi Canales, Julia Cox, Providence Dickson, Katy Manning, and MaKynlee Overton.

 

Kenzi Canales is the daughter of Jessica Canales and Rudy Avalos. She is an active member of the Coahoma softball, basketball, and track teams. As a freshman, Kenzi was named the newcomer of the year for the All-District 5-3A softball team. She serves as a team captain for the Bulldogette softball team. She was also named the Defensive Player of the Year for her basketball team which last year qualified for playoffs for the first time in a number of years. In the fall, Kenzi will attend McPherson College and study for a career in the nursing field.

 

Julia Cox is the daughter of Brad and Christina Cox. She serves on the student council and is an active member of the Coahoma FFA chapter and the National Honor Society. Julia is a four-year varsity member of the Bulldogettes volleyball and basketball teams. She also participates in track and golf. During her freshman year, Julia won the FFA Greenhand Creed state championship and qualified for the FFA national competition. Following graduation, Julia plans to attend the University of Texas to study business.

 

Providence Dickson is the daughter of Steven and Amanda Dickson and Robert and Sydney Rister. Providence has been a member of the varsity cheerleader squad for three years and is a three time All-American Cheerleader. She is an active member of the varsity golf team and was named MVP. She has participated in softball and track. Providence plans to enlist in the US Coast Guard after high school and later attend Tarleton State University to study US history.

 

Katy Manning is the daughter of Jimmy and Brandy Manning. She serves on the student council and is a class officer. She is a member of the FCCLA and National Honor Society. For the past three years, Manning has been active on the Coahoma cheerleading squad and was named an All-American Cheerleader. She also participates in academic UIL and track. After high school, Manning will study communication sciences and disorders at Oklahoma State University.

 

MaKynlee Overton is the daughter of John and Amy Overton. MaKynlee is a standout athlete at CHS. A pitcher for the past four years on the varsity softball team, MaKynlee helped lead her team to two Bi-District championships. She was named Athlete of the Year for her freshman and junior years. She also holds the school record in girls shot put. MaKynlee is a member of the National Honor Society. After high school, she plans to attend Texas Tech University and study business.

 

The Homecoming Court will be presented during the community pep rally on Friday at the Bill Easterling Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 5:15 p.m. and the event begins at 6 p.m. Face coverings are required.

 

Kenzi Cananles

 

 

Julia Cox

 

 

Providence Dixson

 

Katy Manning

 

 

MaKynlee Overton

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Big Spring City Council highlights, 09-22-2020, continued


Big Spring City Council members met in a regular session on 09/22/2020.

 

Interim City Manager’s Report

Good results from District 3 large item pick up. Next large item pickup is scheduled on 10/21/2020 for District 4.

 

City is falling behind on open holes, due to working on the seal coat project.

Public encouraged to complete the 2020 Census.

 

New Code Officer will be hired to focus on illegal dumping. New position will be funded through sanitation fund.

 

Seizure of abandon property update: 28 properties are ready to be seized and will go to auction. Sale is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.

 

Northern reliever route is temporarily closed by TXDoT until the proper signage can be posted.

 

 

Consent Items (all unanimously approved)

Minutes from regular meeting of 09/08/2020 and special meeting on 09/12/2020

 

Resolution amending Chapter IX of the Big Spring Personnel Policy entitled “Conduct,” Section 3 “Political Activity” to reduce political activity restrictions on non-firefighter city employees to the same level as firefighter city employees; to allow employees to run for office.*

 

Resolution amending Section 9 of the Purchasing Policy entitled “Purchasing Orders” to limit purchases for council member use of computer hardware and related goods and services by requiring City Council to approve such purchases in advance; cancelling orders of such goods and services currently in effect; and declaring equipment purchased without such approval surplus property and ordering it to be sold.*

 

Resolution approving a negotiated settlement between the Executive Committee of Cities served by Atmos West Texas and Atmos Energy Corp., West Texas Division regarding the company’s 2020 Rate Review Mechanism filing; declaring existing rates unreasonable; adopting tariffs that reflect rate adjustments consistent with the negotiated settlement; finding rates to be set by the attached settlement tariffs to be just and reasonable in the public interest; approving an attached exhibit establishing a benchmark for pensions and retiree medical benefits; approving an attached exhibit regarding amortization of regulatory liability; requiring the company to reimburse cities’ reasonable ratemaking expenses; determining that this resolution was passed in accordance with the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act; adopting a Savings Clause; declaring an effective date; and requiring delivery of this resolution to the company and the cities’ legal counsel.*

Ordinance amending Chapter 32 of the Big spring City Code entitled “Licenses, Taxation and Miscellaneous Business Regulations,” Article II “Taxation,” Section 32-24 “Homestead Exemption for individuals 65 and over and codifying a permanent Homestead Exemption for persons who are disabled.*

 

(*- final reading)

 

Old Business

During a presentation on delinquent tax collection from Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott LLP, W. Tracy Crites, Jr. pointed out that the negotiating on the fee may be a moot point because of the interlocal agreement with the county. According to Crites, Howard County passed a resolution back in 2004 passing on the 20 percent attorney fee. He also stated that their services for the city are free and the fees are passed on to the delinquent taxpayers, not the current taxpayers. 

 

Final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 32 of the Big Spring Code entitled “Licenses, Taxation and Miscellaneous Business Regulation,” Article II “Taxation to assess an additional twenty percent penalty to defray costs of collecting delinquent property taxes was removed from the table, City Attorney Andrew Hagen advised council that the interlocal agreement with the city can be terminated, but the soonest that could be done would be in May 2021. At that point, it would impact taxes for 2022.

 

Crites advised that their recent notices for delinquent taxes advised that every homestead owner is entitled to a pay-out agreement options, and that was also extended to non-homestead owners, as well. 

 

Ultimately, Councilmembers approved the final reading of the ordinance with a final vote of 6-1, with Mayor Shannon Thomason voting against.

 

A presentation on the Right-of-Way License or Easement with Sinclair Oil was given by a Sinclair representative.

 

After removing this item from being tabled, councilmembers unanimously approved authorization for the Interim City Manager or his designee to negotiate without contracting authority a Right-of-Way License or easement within the City of Big Spring to Sinclair Oil or another party, with such negotiating authority expiring after 180 days.

 

The agreement with Cap-Rock Holdings, LLC was removed from the agenda by Mayor Thomason.

 

 

Vouchers were approved 7-0.

 

 

New Business

Municipal Judge Timothy Green was reappointed to another 2-year term.

 

Councilmembers also approved a first reading of a resolution authorizing the City Manager and City Attorney to jointly negotiate with and retain outside legal counsel for the purpose of representing the City in an eminent domain proceeding relating to 1505 E. Second St.; declaring that this action is necessary as the property will be used for a valid purpose. 

During discussion on this item, City Attorney Andrew Hagen described eminent domain, also known as "condemnation", as "when the government takes back property involuntarily against the owner." He also advised that it is a serious endeavor, and not to be taken lightly.

It should be noted that through this process, Texas Law requires that all known owners receive adequate compensation. This amount is determined by three special commissioners appointed by a court. 

 

Hagen went on to advise councilmembers that the property in question is an empty lot, approximately 1.417 acre, and has always been an empty lot in a floodplain. It has been found that there are many unknown heirs to the property in question. The amount of delinquent taxes for this property is approximately $1,500 and the appraised value for the property is $3,625. The estimated cost to the city of pursuing the eminent domain option is approximately $15,000 - $20,000.

 

The city is trying to acquire the property in order to build a new lift station.

 

After looking at several options on how to obtain the property, from making contact with over 20 heirs, to seizing the property for delinquent taxes, it was determined that eminent domain may be the best route in terms of saving time and money for the city. Ultimately, the item passed with a vote of 6-1 with Mayor Shannon Thomason voting against.

 

 

Unanimous approval for both the Howard County 9-1-1 Communications District’s proposed budget for 2020-2021, and the Big Spring EDC Board of Director’s minutes for meeting of 8/18/2020.

 

 

Unanimous approval of first reading of an ordinance amendment that would increase the General Fund Budget to purchase additional equipment for the Specialty Built Infectious Disease Ambulance.

 

 

The first reding of an ordinance amending the ordinance declaring the City of Big Spring a Sanctuary City for the Unborn by amending the title of the ordinance to “Safe Haven for the Unborn”; amending the ordinance for clarity; and amending Section C, Subsection 2 to provide an affirmative defense for abortions that are medically necessary was removed from the agenda by Council Member Gloria McDonald, District 4.

 

 

Unanimous approval for the first reading of a resolution amending the Big Spring Personnel Policies and Procedures Chapter VII entitled “Compensation,” section 2 “Administration of Range/Step Salary Schedules,” subsection C to remove Employee Merit Raises; and amending Chapter XII entitled “Non-Disciplinary Separation,” by repealing section 4 “Retirement” in it’s entirety in order to remove mandatory retirement of employees at age 70.

 

Under this resolution, employee merit raises were removed. Now individual increases are given at the 5-year anniversary date in the increment of 2.5% of the base hourly rate for retention purposes. Also, employees must physically work more than their scheduled work week to earn compensatory time. The entire section of “Retirement” that calls for employees to retire at the age 70 was removed.

 

 

Unanimous approval of a resolution amending Chapter IX of the Big Spring Personnel Policies and Procedures entitled “Conduct,” Section 7 “Relations with Mayor/Council” to limit the definition of the term “information”.

 

Unanimous approval of an amended item and approved the motion directing the Mayor to seek outside legal counsel for the purpose of reviewing potential changes to the City Attorney’s employment contract.

 

Unanimous approval of an agreement with Area Agency on Aging for the provision of congregate and home-delivered meals.

 

Unanimous approval on an engineering agreement with Jacob & Martin, LLC for water line replacements under the city’s 2020 Texas Community Development Block Grant administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture and authorizing the City manager or his designee to execute any necessary documents.  

 

The Texas Community Development Block Grant was applied for by the city in the amount of $350,000 to replace waterlines near Austin and 15th. If the city is awarded the grant then this agreement will be carried out. If the city does not receive the grant, then this agreement with Jacob & Martin is null.

 

 

Unanimous approval to delegate authority to City Manager to conclude an agreement with Maxar/Digital Globe for an extended lease of up to 20 years at the Big Spring McMahon Wrinkle Airpark or other city-owned property.

 

There is a satellite target on the airpark that has been there for 20 years. It is a 2-acre fenced-in gated property. Maxar/Digital Globe is the current owner. The lease is a 5-year lease with the option to renew up to 3 times.

 

 

Appointments to Boards & Committees

Nolan Dominguez was appointed to the single opening for an unexpired term on the Parks & Recreation Board.

 

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TPWD Asks for Public Input on Monarch Butterfly Conservation License Plate Design


AUSTIN — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will be launching a new conservation license plate to raise money to help conserve monarch butterflies and other native Texas, non-game, at-risk species. The public is invited to vote for their favorite design for the new monarch butterfly license plate through an online survey that is open until Oct.3.

 

The public will be able to choose from three images of monarch butterflies to be featured on the license plate. Results from the survey will help the agency decide which of three colorful designs should be featured on the new specialty plate.The license plate designs appeal to those who garden, enjoy wildlife watching or simply appreciate the beauty of monarch butterflies.

 

“The monarch butterfly is a species that is beautiful and iconic in that it is one of nature’s great migration stories,” said John Davis, TPWD’s Wildlife Diversity Program Director. “This species migrates through Texas from Mexico in the spring making its way to the northern extremes of the U.S. and into Canada, then reverses that feat in the fall to overwinter in Mexico. This great migratory story is in jeopardy with the overwintering population experiencing precipitous declines in the last decade. By adding the monarch to our family of plates, we hope to increase support for this beautiful migration event and through our conservation efforts, brighten the future for this, and many other species.”

 

The TPWD Conservation License Plate Program has raised around $10 million in the last 20 years for wildlife and habitat conservation in Texas. The 10 conservation plate designs include a horned lizard, largemouth bass, hummingbird, white-tailed deer, bluebonnet, desert bighorn sheep, and others. These plates benefit Texas rivers, state parks, big game research and management and non-game wildlife species management. All TPWD conservation specialty plates cost $30 a year, with $22 going to TPWD to support various programs and efforts. Plates can be purchased for vehicles, RVs/travel trailers, trailers and motorcycles.

 

“TPWD uses conservation license plate funds to conduct research and management activities benefitting the state’s most at-risk species,” Davis added. “The conservation license plate program  creates license plates that people enjoy and want to buy while also knowing their plate fee goes to the worthy cause of helping wildlife and plants in Texas.” 

 

Learn more about monarch butterflies and other native, non-game species  on the TPWD website. For more information on TPWD’s conservation licenses plates, visit www.conservationplate.org.

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Big Spring City Council meeting highlights from 09/22/2020


During last night’s Big Spring City Council meeting, Interim City Manager Shane Bowles advised councilmembers that the city would be creating a new position for an additional Code Officer who would primarily focus on illegal dumping. The funding for this position would be funded through Sanitation.

 

During a presentation on delinquent tax collection from Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott LLP, W. Tracy Crites, Jr. pointed out that the negotiating on the fee may be a moot point because of the interlocal agreement with the county. According to Crites, Howard County passed a resolution back in 2004 passing on the 20 percent attorney fee. He also stated that their services for the city are free and the fees are passed on to the delinquent taxpayers, not the current taxpayers. 

 

After the final reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 32 of the Big Spring Code entitled “Licenses, Taxation and Miscellaneous Business Regulation,” Article II “Taxation to assess an additional twenty percent penalty to defray costs of collecting delinquent property taxes was removed from the table, City Attorney Andrew Hagen advised council that the interlocal agreement with the city can be terminated, but the soonest that could be done would be in May 2021. At that point, it would impact taxes for 2022.

 

Crites advised that their recent notices for delinquent taxes advised that every homestead owner is entitled to a pay-out agreement options, and that was also extended to non-homestead owners, as well. 

 

Ultimately, Councilmembers approved the final reading of the ordinance with a final vote of 6-1, with Mayor Shannon Thomason voting against.

 

Judge Timothy Green was re-appointed to another 2-year term as Municipal Judge.

 

Councilmembers also approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment increasing the General Fund Budget to purchase additional equipment for the Specialty Built Infectious Disease Ambulance.

 

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Drive-thru flu clinic for area Veterans


BIG SPRING, TX — The West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS) will begin holding drive-thru flu clinics for area Veterans, beginning with the San Angelo Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC).  West Texas Veterans will be able to talk to a nurse, fill out the appropriate paperwork and get their immunization right from their vehicle.

 

“Considering social distancing guidelines and WTVAHCS’s efforts to manage foot-traffic in our facilities,” says Traci Taylor, WTVAHCS Nurse Manger for Health Promotions and Disease Prevention. “We’re working hard to make it as easy and safe as possible for every Veteran to receive the flu vaccination.”

 

The drive-thru clinics are a new effort by WTVAHCS to make it as convenient as possible for Veterans to receive the immunization.  WTVAHCS will conduct drive-thru clinics at the San Angelo, Abilene, Wilson & Young Medal of Honor and George H. O’Brien, Jr. locations over the coming weeks.  The schedule can be found on the WTVAHCS Facebook page.

 

An alternative to the drive-thru clinics, the VA has partnered with more than 60,000 community locations in the new Community Care Network (CCN) and urgent care centers to provide flu vaccinations for our Veterans.  Veterans can use the VA Facility Locator to find information on hours and locations for your local VAMC, and to find an in?network retail pharmacy or urgent care facility.

 

To check eligibility, contact your local VA medical facility OR call 844-MyVA311 (844-698-2311), select option 1, and then select option 1 again.

 

Clinic dates (all times 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.:

San Angelo CBOC – Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020

George H. O’Brien, Jr. VAMC – Monday, Oct. 5, 2020

Abilene CBOC – Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

Wilson & Young Medal of Honor CBOC – Monday, Oct. 19, 2020

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WEST TEXAS CENTERS CELEBRATES RECOVERY


 

BIG SPRING - West Texas Centers observes September as National Recovery Month - a national observance held every year to educate the public that substance use treatment and mental health services help people with addictions lead healthy and rewarding lives.

 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, better known as SAMHSA spearheads the charge by assisting others in calling attention to the gains made by those living in recovery.

 

West Texas Centers, the designated local authority for mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities for 23 counties in rural West Texas provides support and the tools to assist consumers on their road to recovery. 

 

Substance Use Disorder is a condition in which recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs significantly impairs a person’s life, said West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith, LMSW.

 

The chronic and relapsing brain disease affects more than 20 million Americans, age 12 and older, according to research provided by the Texas Council of Community Centers.

 

“Substance Abuse is devastating,” Smith said. “It affects relationships, the national economy and the health care system.”

 

According to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs Americans more than $700 billion a year in increased health care costs, crimes and lost productivity.

 

More than half of those receiving care in the public mental system live with substance use disorders, Smith said. Without receiving proper treatment, many of these people will visit emergency rooms, and subsequently be admitted for psychiatric services and inpatient care.

 

“Our goal is to get them in for services and get them in early,” Smith said.

 

More than 2,300 consumers and their families receive services each month in West Texas Centers 15 mental health clinics located in Howard, Andrews, Dawson, Gaines, Garza, Mitchell, Nolan, Reeves, Runnels, Scurry, Terry, Upton, Ward and Winkler counties.

 

In addition to the 15 mental health clinics, West Texas Centers also operates a 24-hour Crisis Hotline for anyone needing immediate assistance or just needs to ask a question or needs emotional support.

 

“The Crisis Line is a strong first step that provides information, support and guidance to people who may be in crisis or just need to receive services,” Smith said. “It’s available at anytime and anywhere a phone is available.”

 

Recovery Month promotes three key messages:

 

Prevention works.
Treatment is effective.
People can and do recover.

 

People living with mental health issues or problems with substance abuse often find difficulty in starting the road to recovery, Smith said. And once they reach out for help, many find it difficult to maneuver.

 

“We strongly believe in treatment and recovery,” Smith said. “Our entire philosophy at West Texas Centers is creating a superior system to meet the individualized needs through the provision of quality services shaped by partnerships, such as the one we have with SAMHSA and built upon integrity, mutual respect and compassion for those we serve.”

 

It's also important for us to remember to be kind to everyone, Smith said. “We never know who is in recovery. Everyone can benefit from a word of encouragement whether it’s a friend, family member, neighbor or coworker.”

 

“Behavioral health is essential to overall health,” Smith said. “Prevention works and treatment in many forms is effective. We see so many people recover. We know at times it’s difficult work through, but that’s what our dedicated staff are here for - to help people live their best lives.”

 

Smith advocates sharing resources and building networks across the West Texas region to outlying counties to support recovery.

 

“Mental and substance use disorders affect all of us and we need to be part of the solution,” Smith said

 

West Texas Centers serves the citizens of 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.

 

West Texas Centers 24-hour Crisis hotline is 1-800-375-4357.

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National Voter Registration Day 2020


Today is National Voter Registration Day! It’s celebrated the fourth Tuesday of September. 

 

Every year millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don’t update their registration, or aren’t sure how to register.

 

You are eligible to register to vote if:

  • You are a United States citizen;

  • You are a resident of the county where you submit the application;

  • You are at least 17 years and 10 months old, and you are 18 years of age on
    Election Day.

  • You are not a convicted felon (you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation, and parole); and

  • You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be either totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote.

 

To register to vote in Texas, simply complete a voter registration application and return it to your county election office at least 30 days before the upcoming election date. To complete an application,  you can do so at votetexas.gov, print it out and mail it in to the County Elections Office; or contact the Howard County Elections Office at 432-264-2273 to request a voter registration application, or stop in and fill out an application in person at their office located on the first floor of the Howard County Courthouse.

 

The deadline to register to vote in the November 3rd, 2020 election is October 5, 2020. 

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Coahoma ISD receives new sound system to improve student recognition.


Last week, a new sound system was installed at the Coahoma ISD’s Competition Gym. The gym is located on the Coahoma Elementary campus and is the centralized location for pep rallies, volleyball games, their annual kindergarten rodeo, and basketball games. 

 

According to Coahoma ISD Athletic Director Chris Joslin, the new sound system was the brainchild of Mark Richardson, Operations Manager for KBest Media. He told KBest News that he believed it was spurred on from Richardson and KBest attending their pep rallies and people in the stands not able to understand what’s being said.

 

Coach Joslin pointed out that in other gyms you can understand the names being announced, but due to the blown out speakers that were in need of replacement, it made it difficult to hear and when music was added the sound became distorted.

 

“Mark is a big reason of how this thing got started and he went to Mr. Abusaab. [They] understand the importance of getting recognition for the kids,” said Joslin. ).

 

Thanks to a donation from Mike and Sheila Abusaab, Owners of KBest Media and local Sonics, the new sound system, along with installation, was fully funded. 

 

When asked what kind of importance this project holds for Coahoma ISD, Coach Joslin stated that this is, probably, the one of the most awesome things he’s seen happen at a school like this. 

 

“The environment in basketball games, volleyball games, and rodeos and everything else that takes place in here is a real live atmosphere. This is gonna be a lot better where people can actually hear what’s being said. In the past at pep rallies, people who got up here and spoke, you couldn’t understand what they were saying,” said Joslin.  

 

“This place is fixin’ to be rockin’ and it’s gonna be pretty neat to see,” he continued.

 

The next opportunity to check out the new sound system in person will be on Saturday, September 26th, 2020, when the Bulldogettes volleyball team hosts Reagan County for their District Opener. JV White plays at 10 a.m.; JV Red plays at 11 a.m.; and varsity plays at noon.


 

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Big Spring City Council Meetings on Tuesday, 09/22/2020


Beginning at 10 AM tomorrow morning, 09/22/2020, Big Spring City Council members will have a City Council Agenda Work Session at the City Council Chambers located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring. Although the public is welcomed to the Open Session, public comments will not be allowed since no action will be taken during this session. KBest Media will share a live stream of the work session on our KBest Media Facebook page.  

 

Later that evening, council members will meet again for a regular session at 5:30 PM. Items on this evening’s agenda include discussion on hiring a new Code Officer and an update on the seizure of abandoned property during the Interim City Manager’s Report. A presentation on delinquent property tax collection from Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collis & Mott LLP will be made, as well as a presentation on the Right-of-Way License or Easement with Sinclair Oil.

 

New business items on tonight’s agenda include consideration and possible action on appointment of Municipal Judge, a first reading of an ordinance to amend the adopted annual budget for the City of Big Spring by increasing the General Fund budget to purchase additional equipment for the Specialty Built Infectious Disease Ambulance. 

 

There will also be a first reading of an ordinance amending the title of the ordinance declaring the City of Big Spring as a Sanctuary City for the Unborn to a “Safe Haven for the Unborn”, and amending the ordinance for clarity, and to provide an affirmative defense for abortions that are medically necessary.

 

In addition to this, there will be a first reading of a resolution amending the Big Spring Personnel Policies and Procedures to remove employee merit raises, and repealing Section 4 “Retirement” in its entirety in order to remove mandatory retirement of employees at age 70. Plus, there will also be a first reading on a resolution directing the Mayor to seek outside legal counsel for the purpose of reviewing potential changes to the City Attorney’s Employment contract.

 

The public is welcomed to attend the meeting, or watch a live broadcast on local channel 17 on Suddenlink, or online at the website for the City of Big Spring. You can also find a live stream on our KBest Media Facebook page. 

 

To view the full agenda for Tuesday's meeting, visit: 

https://www.mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09222020-416

 

To view the agenda for the Tuesday morning work session, visit:

https://www.mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09222020-415

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Big Spring DAV honors military servicemen, 09/19/2020


Over the weekend, the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 47, of Big Spring invited four military servicemen for a weekend of dove hunting. A closing ceremony was held for this year’s honorees at Spring Creek Fellowship in Big Spring, during which they were showered with gifts of appreciation and also presented with a Quilt of Valor.

 

This year’s honorees are Sgt. Deon R. Mealing of Big Spring; Petty Officer Dustin N. Cripe of Midland; Army veteran Charles Limir; and Tomas Martinez of Georgia.

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COVID-19 Update for Week of Sept. 14, 2020


City of Big Spring and Howard County officials were notified of 58 new positive COVID-19 test results for the week of September 14th, 2020. As of Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, Howard County and Big Spring have had a total of 461 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. 302 patients have recovered. There are 130 active cases, and there have been 2 more fatalities added since last week. 

 

The first patient was a 75-year-old male who was being treated outside of our jurisdiction; the second patient was an 86-year-old male who was also being treated by a doctor at an outside facility. This brings the fatality count for Howard County to 14. 

 

The increase in positive cases is once again attributed to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Federal Correctional Institution. Of the 130 active cases this week in Howard County, 114 are inmates at FCI Big Spring, and only sixteen cases are Howard County/Big Spring residents. It should be noted that this is a decrease in the number of community cases for the second week in a row.

 

On Thursday, September 17th, the governor of Texas announced that all restaurants, retail establishments, gyms and office buildings can start operating at 75% capacity. Additionally, nursing home facilities may, under certain circumstances, allow visitors into their facilities. Unfortunately, bars are still closed under the governor’s current order.

 

 

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TxDOT to help parents as agency reports that most car seats are used incorrectly


AUSTIN – Texans may think they know how to correctly install and use their children’s car seats, but nearly 60 percent of the time they’re used incorrectly. That’s why TxDOT is helping drivers keep their children safe on the road.

 

TxDOT’s annual “Save Me With a Seat” campaign is hitting Texas airways and roadways as the nation recognizes National Child Passenger Safety week from Sept. 20-26. The campaign highlights the fact that an alarming number of car seats are being installed and used incorrectly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 59% of all child car seats are being misused. This is even more alarming given that vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among children in the nation.

 

“When child car seats are installed correctly they keep children as safe as possible during a crash,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said. “We urge parents and caregivers to ensure they are securing their children properly in a vehicle and using the appropriate child car seat for their child’s age and size.”

 

TxDOT is continuing its free safety seat inspections throughout the year, but this year they’ve gone virtual. Starting this month, we will be rolling out virtual car seat checks to enable us to maintain the same level of service and provide education to families while following social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19. For a one-on-one TxDOT virtual car seat check, families can visit SaveMeWithaSeat.org and enter their zip code to email the nearest TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist to set up an appointment. Families will need a mobile electronic device with video and audio capabilities, like a cellphone, laptop or tablet. Parents and caregivers can also learn if a child should be in a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat or a booster seat, and get other car seat safety tips by visiting the website.

 

This year’s “Save Me With a Seat” campaign features a branded truck that will traverse Texas, covering more than 3,000 miles and visiting six cities to bring the car seat safety message to communities across the state. The truck will be a no-contact experience with the driver utilizing COVID-19 safety precautions including a mask and gloves. The awareness effort will be supported by radio ads, billboards, digital media and social media.      

 

In 2019, 77 children younger than 8 years old died in traffic crashes in Texas, and 26 of those were unrestrained at the time of the crash. Among children ages 8-12 in 2019, 42 died in traffic crashes, with 18 of them unrestrained at the time of the crash.

 

According to NHTSA, child car seats in passenger vehicles can reduce the risk of fatal injury in a crash by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers.

 

TxDOT reminds drivers that Texas law requires all children under 8 — unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches — to be in a car seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250. Children under age 13 should ride in the back seat, properly secured in a seat belt or safety seat.

 

“Save Me With a Seat” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

 

Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths.

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DPS Celebrates Forensic Science Week


AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is pleased to recognize the hardworking men and women of the DPS Crime Laboratory Service during National Forensic Science Week, which takes place from Sept. 20-26. The week is designed to highlight forensic science work at labs across the country.

 

There are 16 DPS crime labs that serve the state of Texas criminal justice system.

 

“We are extremely proud of our 621 forensic science professionals, and the work they do for law enforcement and the residents of Texas,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Their efforts help convict criminals and eliminate people as suspects, using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.”

 

Over the past year, there were several legislatively-mandated crime lab developments, including:

 

  • A program (HB 1399) was implemented to assist with unsolved cases through the collection of DNA samples from people arrested for certain felonies. These samples are then run through the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) database to check for possible DNA matches to identify suspects.

 

  • Additional money was allocated to help improve turnaround times for processing sexual assault kits. Furthermore, the sexual assault evidence-tracking program, which allows sexual assault survivors to anonymously track or receive updates on the status of evidence, was brought online.

 

  • DPS received funding to purchase DNA equipment, and equipment for other forensic disciplines.

 

  • DPS helped develop a new process for determining the THC content in plant-based material in order to differentiate between legal hemp and illegal marijuana.

 

  • DPS labs now conduct fire debris analysis. Evidence is brought to the lab and tested to determine if traces of accelerants are present.

 

  • Funding was approved to hire 20 forensic scientists to specifically work on blood alcohol toxicology for DWI cases at eight labs across the state.

 

Due to COVID-19, DPS crime labs will not be open for tours this year; please watch the DPS Facebook and Twitter pages for features and photos throughout the week. Additional photos are also available on our website.

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Scenic Mountain Medical Center is open for Elective Procedures and All Other Medical Needs


From Scenic Mountain Medical Center:

 

Big Spring, Texas— September 18, 2020 – Yesterday, Governor Abbott announced the easing of statewide restrictions on elective procedures, effective immediately. This is good news for patients who had to postpone certain medical procedures due to these precautions.

 

From serious conditions to aches and pains, the health care needs of the Big Spring community did not stop. Now is the time for individuals and families to get the medical care— from a routine check-up to a medical procedure -- that may have been postponed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Our clinics are open, elective procedures are ready to be scheduled, and our emergency room continues to be a safe place to treat ALL emergencies. We’ve are working quickly to reschedule previously cancelled procedures  

 

To ensure the safety of patients and to provide a safe and clean environment for any visit to our facilities, we are intensely focused on new cleaning protocols and personal protection procedures to keep patients safe. We have also implemented new practices to ensure that any COVID-related care is done in an isolated area away from other patients and their families.

 

SMMC has taken every precaution and made the necessary preparations to care for patients in a safe, controlled and professional way. Thank you for continuing to trust SMMC for your family’s healthcare needs.

 

For more information on visitor policies or to stay updated with the latest information, visit www.scenicmountainmedicalcenter.org

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Park Area Temporary Closure in Big Spring


Announcement from the City of Big Spring, 09/18/2020:

 

The City of Big Spring will have a Cross Country Meet for Big Spring High School on Saturday, September 19, 2020 beginning at 8 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (estimated). In order to help facilitate a safe running area for all of the youth attending and participating in this event we will temporarily close some of the gates and barricade access to some areas of the Comanche Trail Park during the event. The roads to access DRCC and the Golf Course will remain open. We apologize for any inconvenience. If you travel in this area, please be aware and alert for participants moving in the area!!


Thank You.


City of Big Spring

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