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KBST News Archives for 2018-01

Man and Woman of 2017 Announced, Along with Russ McEwen Community Honor Award

The Annual Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce’s event, now known as the “Chamber Extravaganza” was held last night, and even though the night took on a different format the awards portion did not stray away from tradition.

The Outgoing President of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce ceremoniously passed on the gavel to current President, Manny Negron. Woman of the Year was Dene Sheppard, and Man of the year was Mike Abusaab.

Sheppard assisted in compiling Howard County's History Book, she's served on the Museum Board and instrumental in opening The Potton House for viewing, as well as helping to develop a walking path and viewing area at The Historic Spring. She's served as President of PTA and Hyperion Club, was on the Chamber of Commerce and Heart Association Boards, and served as the President of the West Texas Republican Women.

When asked how she felt about receiving the award, Sheppard stated that she was very honored. "I just feel like I've been blessed to live here in a town that I love, and that I was able to do things throughout the years. I can't imagine of a greater honor than in your own hometown, than the people to give this to me. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart."

Man of the year was Mike Abusaab, Owner of Sonic, and President of KBest Media, works with the Chamber on numerous events. He's been on the board for the YMCA, is involved with Keep Big Spring Beautiful, Food2Kids, and many more. He's a member of the SWCID Foundation, the Big Spring Rotary Club, and is a Paul Harris Fellow.

He loves the local Howard County teams and demonstrated his admiration by contributing to things such as the Memorial Stadium Football Stadium locker room; The Sonic Floor at Howard College, and handing out academic scholarships for Howard College, Odessa College, and UTPB.

When asked how he felt about receiving the award, Abusaab that he felt great and that it was the greatest thing to have ever happened to him.

The Russ McEwen Community Honor Award was received SM Energy with Newt Newton, Senior Vice President / Permian Region Manager, accepting the award with his team. The company made a big splash in Big Spring and Howard County last year with their list of accomplishments, such as creating a partnership with both Big Spring ISD and Coahoma ISD to kick start robotics programs in their schools. Their employees built a nursery for the YMCA and donated backpacks for their backpack drive. SM Energy has also worked with the Salvation Army of Big Spring to support their Boys and Girls Club over the summer, sponsoring Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, and their Kettle Campaign and Angel Tree for the 2017 holiday season.

They've also supported local annual events and partnered with RockPile Energy Services to provide the Big Spring Fire Department a new set of Jaws for Life.



Washington Elementary Participates in "Choose Kindness, Not Meanness" Campaign

** Washington Elementary Participates in "Choose Kindness, Not Meanness" Campaign **

In 2014, Eric Johnson, elementary educator and blogger, created an organization called, “Erase Meanness, Choose Kindness”. This organization now reaches over 10 million people worldwide. Actor Kevin Bacon joined the movement in 2016. Now, every September, students across the nation take a pledge to make the world a kinder place.

Last week, in an effort to continue our mission and vision of creating a better school, Washington Elementary accepted this challenge of replacing meanness with kindness. We want everyone associated with Washington Elementary to have kind hearts and use kind words. Meanness will not ever be totally eliminated in society, but we at Washington Elementary will focus on using kindness in place of meanness.

[Kari Eggleston, Washington Elementary Principal, encourages] all students to participate in a pledge to be kind and perform purposeful acts of kindness. All students that can honor this pledge till the end of April, will receive a t-shirt with the mission statement of “Erase Meanness, Choose Kindness.”

This challenge directly correlates with our commitment to the Conscious Discipline philosophy. All staff will be encouraging students throughout each day the importance of making good choices and using kind words.



Missing FCI Offender Returns to Prison Camp

Over the weekend an inmate went missing from the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Big Spring’s Satellite Prison Camp, which currently houses approximately 210 male offenders in Big Spring. 

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, at approximately 5:40 p.m., inmate Jesus Gamez was discovered missing.  

Upon this discovery the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies were notified and an internal investigation was initiated. 


Gamez was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to 206 months for Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute 100 kilograms of Marijuana and for a Supervised Release Violation.

On Sunday, January 28th, at approximately 6:20 PM Garza returned to the institution of his own volition and is in Bureau of Prisons custody. 


DIAMOND Found at 2018 Silver Wings Ball

A night of glitz became even more glamorous as attendees of the 20th annual Silver Wings Ball sipped $20-dollar glasses of champagne and found gemstones sparkling in their bubbly.

Each flute of champagne that was purchased as a fundraiser for the Hangar 25 Air Museum contained a semi precious stone including amethysts, garnets, quartz, emeralds, and as lucky lady Camilla Strande discovered, a diamond!

Silver Wings committee member Shonda Folsom told KBest News that the diamond was donated by the owners of “The Jewelers” (formerly Blum’s Jewelers) and was 1/4 carat in size with “beautiful brilliance and clarity.” The semi precious stones were donated by The Folsom Law Firm, PLLC. There were a total of 24 champagne flutes that sold out quickly in anticipation of the diamond discovery. Folsom says that they plan on having even more next year.

Other fundraisers during the evening included both silent and live auctions containing jewelry, concert tickets, home decor, and a first edition copy of the book, “The Iron Orchard,” autographed by the cast and crew of the movie filmed in Big Spring last year. Other high ticket items included an Apple Watch for $1000, suites at Hotel Settles for $2000, and a party at The Train Car & Cigar Bar for $2500.

Folsom says that over $23,000 was raised during last night’s Silver Wings Ball for the Hangar 25 Air Museum which celebrates our local history, the history of the Air Force and our community. The museum is located inside the Big Spring Airpark at 1911 Apron Drive.

To hear more about this successful event, listen to KBest News tomorrow morning on KBest 95.7 FM, and the Mighty 1490 KBST AM.



Scouting for Food - Success Event for Community

The Local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from multiple Packs and Troops conducted their annual “Scouting for Food” campaign this past Saturday. This event was done in coordination with HEB and supports Isaiah 58, a local Food Bank here in Big Spring. 

Mark Richardson, District Chairman for the Lone Star District in the Buffalo Trail Council said H-E-B customers were approached by scouts and adult volunteers and asked to pick up a couple of non-perishable items while they did their normal shopping.
Richardson went on to say that several people brought back a whole bag of donations. Paige Towing in Big Spring even heard about the event during the KBest live remote, and the staff chipped in money and sent a driver to drop off approximately 100 pounds of food. 
If you missed your opportunity to donate on Saturday, you can still drop off your donations at Isaiah 58.


Canadian Country/ Folk Singer to Perform FREE Concert on Historic Spring Stage

The event Concert at the Spring featuring Tom Newman will take place on Wednesday, January 31st, at the Historic Spring Stage, and the concert will begin at 4:30 PM.


Newman is a Canadian-born country / folk genre singer. He began his music career later in life after leaving a career of teaching in 2010. He’s released 3 albums since 2011, and the latest one is titled “Big Spring” after the Historic Spring Site before it was renovated.  The “Big Spring” album features songs about contemporary social issues, such as the degradation of the natural environment, consumerism, and the loss of personal freedoms.


According to Newman, his mother was actually from Big Spring and Big Spring is where his parents first met. After his father passed away several years ago, Newman would bring his mother back to her hometown so she could visit with family and friends. It was during these visits when he would go to the Comanche Trail Park to see the spring and soak up the atmosphere. He went on to say that he was amazed to learn about the rich history of the of the spring and was surprised that at one point, the spring had run dry due to growth in population of the area.


Newman was inspired to write the song “Big Spring” with a message about the need to manage natural resources in a sustainable way and used it as the title track for 2015 environmental-themed album. The CD cover of which, was taken by Big Spring resident Aubrey Weaver.

For more information about Newman and his music, you can visit his website



Behavioral Health Unit at SMMC: Update

The 20-bed Behavioral Health Unit at Scenic Mountain Medical Center will have their grand opening next month on February 28th at 2:30 PM. The unit will be located on the fourth floor of SMMC and according to Ed Moughon, Director of the Behavioral Health Unit, the unit will not be structured like a typical hospital floor.

“We have two activity areas, one doubles as a dining room. We have quiet dayrooms. The rooms are just private rooms. Each room has its own bath and shower attached. Then the patients have access to the meal room and the rest of the hospital floor,” says Moughon of the unit.

Stacy Flores, Director of Psychiatric Nursing, told KBest News that the patients will have activities throughout the day based on the patient’s personal treatment plan, and patients stay as long as needed to reach stabilization so they can be released back into the community.

When asked how the facility will benefit Howard County, Moughon stated, “The state hospitals’ patient population has changed over the years. Texas has had such an increase in the need for beds, for treatment for people who are considered incompetent to stand trial that the state hospitals in Texas have been filling up with those [patients]. What [this will do is] it provides services to people that the state hospital can no longer admit because they are full. This brings back that service to admit people that need this kind of care, here, right in our town just like it used to be. So, it’ll be here now.”

The Behavioral Health Unit is not restricted to only Howard County residents. Moughon advised that West Texas Centers has a partnership with the facility and the organization would be referring patients from the 23 counties that they serve as it becomes necessary.

Patients can be referred by their physician or they can contact West Texas Centers for a referral to the unit. Moughon also noted that, in emergency situations, patients would be able to go through the SMMC Emergency Room in order to get a referral.
The Behavioral Health Unit is a private facility and is primarily for adults with a mental health disorder and need in-patient care.

“If someone just has a substance abuse problem, this is not the facility [for them]. That’s not what we do,” said Moughon.

Flores also advised that the facility would not be able to serve adolescents or children, only adults.

Moughon and Flores stated that the unit would be an insurance-based facility that would be as competitively priced as their colleague hospitals throughout West Texas. It will be an insurance reimbursed service, and will be Medicaid and Medicare certified, and will accept 3rd party and private insurance, as well.



Light Fixtures along FM 700 in Big Spring

Light Fixtures along FM 700 in Big Spring -
In late 2017, TXDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) began placing large lamp-like fixtures in Big Spring along FM 700 between US 87 and Goliad. According to MaryBelle Olson, Public Information Officer for TXDOT – Abilene District, the three fixtures that have been placed are called grand mast luminaries and they stand 150 feet tall. She noted that 6 more luminaries will be added, but they will only be about 50 feet tall. Olson also stated that each luminary that is placed will be an upgrade to what is currently there.
According to the TXDOT Project Tracker, the purpose of this project is to upgrade safety lighting and it will be completed in two sections. The first will extend on FM 700 from US HWY 87 to a tenth of a mile east of Goliad. The second section will extend from Westover to US HWY 87. The total cost to upgrade safety lighting for both sections is over $343,000.
Olson told KBest News that the upgraded lighting will have no cost for the City of Big Spring and that TXDOT would be responsible for maintenance.
When asked why the lighting was upgraded in this area and not others, Olson stated that the current luminaries along the section of FM 700 were due for an upgrade and that this section is part of a district-wide project to upgrade luminaries in the areas with older lighting fixtures. She also went on to note that this is the only section in the Big Spring area that needed upgrading, and the project should be completed within the next three to four weeks assuming that there are no unexpected delays.



Howard County Commissioners' Meeting, 01/24/18 Update

During a regular meeting of the Howard County Commissioners' Court Terry Chamness was reappointed as the Howard County Emergency Management Coordinator. Chamness has held this position since 2000.

The responsibility of jury reimbursement was transferred from District Clerk Colleen Barton to Howard County Auditor Jackie Olson. According to Barton, Howard County pays jury members $40 for their service and then the appropriate paperwork is sent in for the state reimbursement, which is $34.

The following bids were also considered / awarded:

? 2018 Roadway Base Material - tabled due to the delivery site being changed and it could possibly alter the amount of the bids.

? 2018 Sealcoat - awarded to Cox Paving from Blanco, TX for $516,925.44.

? 2018 Maintenance Assistance Prime & Sealcoat - tabled because there was only 1 bid received, and research needs to be conducted to figure out the cost.

? 2018 LRA Paving/Patching Material - awarded to Vulcan Materials from Uvslde, TX for $296,098.



Big Spring City Council Update, 01/23/18

The Big Spring City Council met last night in the Council Chambers. All Action Items were passed by unanimous votes. Council members present were Terry McDaniel of District 3, Howard Stewart of District 4, Raul Benavides of District 5, Jim DePauw of District 6 and Mayor McLellan.
Highlights of the evening included the approval of two new ambulance chassis. One ambulance was in the budget for the EMS this Fiscal year. However, by re-purposing two current
ambulances with new chassis, Big Spring Fire Chief Ferguson was able to effectively provide the city with two new ambulances for the price of one. This also allowed the project to come in significantly
under budget.
The Council also approved the purchase of four new Police vehicles. Through a thorough bidding process this project came in over $30,000 under budget. A new Animal Control truck was also approved.
Executive Director for the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation Terry Wegman presented a glowing Annual Audit of the Big Spring EDC. No internal or financial discrepancies were found in the annual audit.
Several action items authorized Public Works Director Johnny Womack to seek grants for improvements for Comanche Trail Park as well as funding of environmental projects for electronics disposal.
The Council approved the continuation of the current Director
of Emergency Medical Services being held by Dr. Robbie Cooksey.
City Manager, Todd Darden, reported that applications are being accepted for vacancies on the Zoning Board of Adjustments and the Teen Court Board.
Boy Scouts from Troop 5 opened the meeting with Presentation of Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance. Pastor Derrell Patterson of the 1 st United Methodist Church offered the invocation. Mayor McLellan closed the meeting by thanking the capacity filled room for their attendance and concern for the welfare of Big Spring.



Closures along Interstate 20 - UPDATE

Monday, closures on Interstate 20 in the Big Spring area began, leaving east- and westbound lanes on Interstate 20 closed from mile marker 172 to 173. All traffic in the area was detoured to the frontage roads.

According to MaryBelle Olson, Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Transportation - Abilene District, which includes Howard County, "the contractors finished work over the main lanes of I-20 yesterday, and [today they] will close the north frontage road [at] about 10 this morning."

The north frontage road, also known as westbound I-20 frontage road, will be closed from mile marker 172 to 173 from until about 8 PM. The frontage road will be reopened Wednesday night, and closed again Thursday morning at about 8 AM. On Friday and Saturday, the same situation will apply for the eastbound frontage road.

It should be noted that all of the closures are to allow placement of beams and removal of heavy equipment once placement is complete.

Motorists are encouraged to be especially watchful when traveling through the area, which will include large equipment and heavy machinery.

PHOTO 1: Cranes and crew members setting bridge beams that will eventually connect the north and south portions of the US 87 truck relief route. I-20 is seen below.

PHOTO 2: Crew members help guide beams as cranes lower bridge beams onto the pillars.

PHOTO 3: Eastbound I-20 just west of US 87 truck relief route. The tallest structure is where the bridge beams are being placed.

(Photos courtesy of MaryBelle Olson, Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Transportation - Abilene District.)



TXDoT Road Closure: East and West Bound Lanes between Mile Marker 172 and 173 in Stanton

Information provided by the Big Spring Herald -

"According to a press release issued by the Texas Department of Transportation's Abilene office, closures on Interstate 20 in the Big Spring area started today and will continue throughout the week.

Today, east- and westbound Interstate 20 was closed from mile marker 172 to 173 during daylight hours, roughly 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. All traffic in the area was detoured to frontage roads.
The release goes on to say that work will continue Wednesday through Saturday.

On Wednesday and Thursday, westbound I-20 frontage road will be closed from mile marker 172 to 173 from about 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The frontage road will be reopened Wednesday night, and closed again Thursday morning. On Friday and Saturday, the same situation will apply for the eastbound frontage road.

All of the closures are to allow placement of beams and removal of heavy equipment once placement is complete.

TXDoT and the Big Spring Herald remind motorists to be especially watchful when traveling through the area, which will include large equipment and heavy machinery."


Photo: Screenshot of Road Closure Map on Orange- Construction / Blue - Closure



BSISD making strides towards improvement in Improvement Required (IR) schools, but not ready to celebrate yet.

In this evening’s regular meeting of the Big Spring Independent School District Board of Trustees, Dr. Raemi Thompson, Director of Testing / Curriculum for Big Spring ISD, led the public hearing regarding the 2016-2017 Texas Academic Performance Report. The link can soon be found on the BSISD website and hard copies can also be accessible by request.

During the “Report Items” portion of the agenda, Dr. Thompson later explained that the reconfiguring of the district has seemed to have had a positive effect on developing a school’s educators to ensure that all are teaching consistent lessons across the board. One way that they’ve been able to ensure that this is possible is by using Performance Learning Communities, also known as PLC’s, which allows educators to talk and prepare very thoroughly before teaching a lesson, regardless of the amount of experience an educator has, to ensure that they’ll be able to teach the lesson to the depth that the State of Texas expects the student to know when they are assessed.

“For some of our first-time educators, they can talk it out prior to giving the lesson, so we can know what to expect when we put it in front of kids,” said Dr. Thompson. “We can kind of anticipate their questions, and make sure that everyone is prepared to teach it to the depth that the state expects when they assess [the students].”

It was also noted that the school board has set district goals for improving student achievement. In order to improve their status, checkpoint monitoring has been used this year during real time, instead of remediating right before the test. This is to ensure that the school district is aligned with state standards.

“If you wait until STAAR scores come out, you’re too late,” stated Dr. Thompson. “So, we are checking and monitoring as we go along and making sure that we are aligned to the state standards. And that we are assessing kids throughout the year and remediating throughout the year. One of the purposes of our Focus Fridays is that we are remediating in real time instead of waiting right before the test so we can be sure that kids are prepared come may.”

Dr. Thompson showed an example of how much students had improved during a particular check point from the beginning of the year until December. She noted that the checkpoint didn’t show that the ultimate goal was met, but it did show that there had been significant strides of improvement and that there were still four more months of work where they can achieve more.



PHOTO: The progress in 3rd grade math from Checkpoint 1 (at beginning of the Fall 2017 semester) to Checkpoint 3 (that was completed in December 2017).

Left column- Checkpoint 1 (total of 292 students): TIER 3 - 106 / TIER 2 - 109 / TIER 1 - 77 
This shows during Checkpoint 1, 106 students scored less than 25/100 points (20 question test), and that if the state assessment had been administered during Checkpoint 1, only 77 students from this grade level of a total of 292 students would have passed the assessment.

Right column - Checkpoint 3: TIER 3 - 38 / TIER 2 - 98 / TIER 153 
This shows during Checkpoint 3 in December, 38 students scored less than 25/100 points (30 question test), and that if the state assessment had been administered during Checkpoint 3, 153 students from this grade level of a total of 289 students would have passed the assessment.

It should be noted that massive improvements have been made and there are still 4 more months for improvement.



16th Annual Chili Cook Off for Fraternal Order of Eagles Set for Jan. 20th

The Fraternal Order of Eagles will host their 16th Annual Chili Cook Off on Saturday, January 20th, from 8 AM to 3 PM at the Eagles Lodge, located at 703 W. Third in Big Spring.

The entry fee is $10 per 2-person team and you must prepare 5 pounds of chili. Registration will be on Saturday at 8 AM. Then team meeting will take place at 9 AM, and the Chili Judging begins at 11:30 AM. Be advised that all chili must be cooked on site, and the top 10 teams will be awarded.

This event is open to the public, and for $10 you can enjoy all you can eat chili from 11:30 AM – 3 PM.

This is the biggest fundraiser that the organization has for the year and all proceeds go to helping the local Eagles Lodge Aerie 3188.

For more information you call Shane at 432-935-1782, Garret at 432-559-9981, or Seth at 432-213-5052.



Follow-Up: Fire on HWY 350

On Wednesday, January 10th, at approximately 4 PM a large fire broke out at 1514 E. HWY 350, primarily affecting 2 families and causing an estimated $150,000 in damages to 5 structures including 1 wooden structure, 3 travel trailers, and 1 equipment trailer.


Tommy Sullivan, Chief of the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, told KBest News that through investigation, it was determined that a visiting trailer located there had had an outdoor barbecue and that the fire was left unattended after the individual had completed cooking with it. Due to the strong winds, the fire had gotten outside of the barbecue pit and started a fire on the ground, which with the wind, had spread through and had set the structure and other travel trailers on fire.


Chief Sullivan stated the wind was the main contributor to the spread of the fire and that it was fortunate that the fire didn’t spread any further than it did.


The individual responsible for the fire received a citation for failure to adhere to the burn ban and a citation for reckless damage. By citing reckless damage, Sullivan stated that it would give the families that lost property an avenue to recoup their damages from the fire loss from the person who started the fire.


According to Sullivan, after the fire the families were able to have their immediate needs met by Howard County Chaplain Services who were able to connect those affected with the Red Cross.



CASA of West Texas Holding Lunch and Learn in Big Spring

CASA of West Texas provides advocacy for children in the foster care system for seven counties, Midland, Howard, Glasscock, Dawson, Gaines, Martin, and Andrews Counties. It should be noted that volunteers are needed in each of these counties. Their mission is to promote and support quality volunteers who speak for the best interest of abused and neglected children in court in an effort to find each child a safe, nurturing and permanent home.

If you would like more information about becoming a CASA Volunteer, you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and speak with a representative from CASA of West Texas at their Lunch and Learn Luncheon at the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, located at 215 W. Third St., from Noon to 1 PM on Thursday, January 18th.


20th Silver Wings Ball on the Horizon

This year the 20th Silver Wings Ball will take place on January 27th at 5:30 PM at Hotel Settles. This event is the annual donation ball for the Hangar 25 Air Museum, which according to Amber Stokes, Hangar 25 Museum Administrator, is to continue their mission which is to promote education through the collection, preservation and exhibition of the history of the Big Spring Army Air Force Bombardier School and Webb Air Force Base while honoring all veterans, past and present.

The Silver Wings Ball is a formal event, that includes Texas formal. Cocktail hour begins at 5:30 PM with a complementary glass of champagne, followed by a dinner provided by Hotel Settles, and a silent and live auction that continues throughout the event.

A live band will be performing at the event and this year, and there will be a bonus event involved this year. Guests will be able to purchase a $20 glass of champagne for an opportunity to win a precious or semi-precious stone.

When asked why the Silver Wings Ball was an important event for the museum, Stokes stated that It allows the museum to continue to teach the very rich history of the city of Big Spring. “Not very many people know that we had an army air court base that which lead to an air force base. That’s a rich history that not every single town in the United States has. What’s so important about us is that we’re one of the very few [that’s] left across the nation.”

Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased by calling the Hangar 25 Air Museum at 432-264-1999, and they’ll be on sale until Friday, January 26th.



First Filing Day for City Council Hopefuls is Tomorrow

Anyone interested in running for a Big Spring City Council position should be advised that the first filing date will be on Wednesday, January 17th at 8 AM. The following positions will be available for election: District 2 – currently held by Carmen Harbour; District 4 – currently held by Howard Stewart; and District 6 – currently held by Jim DePauw.

You can pick up an information packet and file your application with the City Secretary at City Hall, located at 310 Nolan by the deadline, which is February 16th at 5 PM.

According to Jodi Duck, Howard County Elections Administrator, in order to qualify for a position, you must be at least 18 years old, live in the city limits at least 1 year, and be in good standings.


2018 MLK Commemorative Walk Brings Most Diversity Seen Yet

Yesterday evening, several people braved the cold and gathered at the corner of Gregg Street and Martin Luther King Blvd.  to participate in the Annual MLK Commemorative Walk, which has been going on for roughly a decade. The walk began at Gregg Street and traveled down Martin Luther King Blvd and ended at FM 700, in front of the Knollwood Apartments. According to Michael Smith, Pastor of Mt. Bethel Church in Big Spring, Mt. Bethel has been hosting the event for several of the years.


When asked if there was a message that he wanted people to take away today, Pastor Smith stated that love is what bring people together. “’We can live together as brothers, or we can die apart as fools,’ that’s what Dr. King says. I believe that it’s love at the heart of this. There’s no greater love that a brother has for it. We want to make sure that we lover all people regardless of their race, or their political affiliation, or their nationality, or their culture. We just want to continue to express love because that’s what Christ would do.”


He also stated that Mayor Larry McLellan had offered a soft challenge last year to make this year’s event the most diverse than they’ve had, and Pastor Smith was pleased to say that this turnout was the most diverse turnout that they’ve had.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism during the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

It was noted that this year will mark the 50th anniversary since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968. 


2018 Incoming Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce Board President Looking Forward to Future

The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce will have their Chamber Extravaganza on Tuesday, January 30th at 6:30 PM in the Dorothy Garrett Coliseum on the Sonic Floor.

This year participating businesses will decorate their tables, and have representatives at their tables available to mingle with guests. The guests will then be able to vote for their favorite table with dollar bills. The business that wins the traveling plaque for the best decorated table. Debbye Valverde, Executive Director for the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, the funds raised from the table competition will go towards the Chamber’s Program and Event fund.

There will also be a silent auction, and this year's Man and Woman of the Year will be announced by last year's Man and Woman of the Year – Raul Marquez and Vicki Stewart. The passing of the gavel will take place from the outgoing Board President Andrea Barr to incoming President of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce Board, Manny Negron.

Negron has been a part of the Board for 10 years, volunteering in different capacities. His responsibilities will include conducting Board meetings, working throughout the community and being a positive role to promote the Chamber.

When asked what his goals are for the Chamber this year, Negron stated, "My main goal is that, not only as a Chamber but as a community, we just learn to connect with one another."

Negron went on to explain that many people in the community don't know what's going on with the Chamber and they miss out on opportunities. "We want people to know what's happening at the chamber, and how they can benefit from the chamber, and how the Chamber can help the businesses in this community."

Be advised that this is the LAST week that you can purchase tickets for the Chamber Extravaganza. Tickets are $30 per person and you can purchase a ticket at the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce Office at 215 W. 3rd St.



Back to State for Tyler McFall

Congratulations CHS senior Tyler McFall for making the ATSSB All-State Band a second year in a row! Tyler placed first chair in the trumpet section at Area tryouts today held in Levelland, Texas. He will play in the All-State Band concert set for Feb. 17, 2018. Way to go!

Also a shout out to senior Nathan Ramirez, who placed 5th chair in the euphonium section and flautist Andrea King, a junior, who earned 10th chair. Good job you three!


Big Spring to Honor MLK, Jr, with Monday Activities

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that took place on April 4, 1968. According to The King Center, that was established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King in Atlanta, Georgia, this year’s theme for commemorating both the assassination and the founding of The King Center is “Together We Win with Love for Humanity.”

A local church, Bakers Chapel, AME, located at 911 N. Lancaster, will be holding a commemorative service at noon on January 15th, 2018 that is open to the public. Sonia Scott, Pastor at Bakers Chapel, stated that the church is celebrating the campaign, the ideas that Dr. King stood for, and the non-violent Civil Rights Movement.

“It’s an opportunity that, once again, reminds us that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, in the words of Dr. King,” said Pastor Scott.

She went on to state, “To me, this particular service is focused on love, because that’s the theme, ‘Together We Win with Love for Humanity.’ Dr. King was quoted as saying that ‘Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life, love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life, love illuminates it.’ I encourage everyone to come out and show some love, and just be a part of the worship experience and be blessed.”

The service was described as a time of worship and historical reflections, and everyone is invited.

This year's Commemorative Walk in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will also take place later that evening from 6-7 PM. The Walk will commence at the corner of Gregg Street and Martin Luther King Blvd in Big Spring. All members of the community, surrounding cities, all church denominations, veterans, youth organizations, and civic leaders are welcomed.



Runnels Academy - Tuition, Class Size, and More

Runnels Academy, a new Classical Christian Academy, is in the works to open soon. It’ll be located on the 2nd floor of the old Runnels Jr. High building, located at 102 E. 10th St., that has been acquired by Life Church. The school will only be a tenant in the Life Church building, and will not be affiliated with that specific church.

Tuition will cost will be $6,000 per school year for each student with discounts available for families with more than one child enrolled. Jenny Bryans, future Head of Runnels Academy and former Big Spring Classical Academy teacher, also mentioned that there were possible scholarships that might be available in the future. Bryans noted that the academy intends to have small class sizes and the grade levels will begin with junior kindergarten, for children who turn 4 years old prior to the fall semester, and run through 8th grade. Their hope is to be able to add upper levels in the future. Since the second floor of the building has just began renovation, enrollment information is not available at this time but more information will be made available at a later date.

It should be noted that there will not be a special education program available at Runnels Academy, because every student enrolled will attend regular education classes. 
“When I was part of Big Spring Classical Academy that was the policy there as well,” said Bryans. “I had seen several students who were pulled from public school and sent to us and they excelled.”

“I think a lot of times we put a ceiling on where we think a kid can go academically because of a paper or a test that says, ‘Oh he can’t do that.” I just feel that if we higher our expectations and we offer the tools that these kids need that God’s developed us to be able to learn.”

The school mascot for Runnels Academy will be a lion with a crown and they will be called “The Royals.” Bryans stated that the school plans to be able to offer the opportunity for students to compete in UIL activities and such as sports like 6-man football, volleyball, golf, baseball, softball, basketball, and sporting clay.

To learn more about Runnels Academy you can check out our Facebook post or visit



New Classical Christian School Opening Soon in Big Spring

A new Classical Christian Academy, called Runnels Academy, will be opening soon, but this isn’t the first Classical school that Big Spring has seen, Big Spring Classical Academy, which was housed inside of the Spring Creek Mall, had dissolved after the 2017 school year ended due to unforeseen circumstances. The parents of the former students got together, formed a school board, and decided to open their own school.

Jenny Bryans, future Head of Runnels Academy, told KBest News that the Classical Christian Academy is structured differently than public school, because it will focus on the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

“First of all, we are decidedly Christian. We teach everything from a biblical world view. So, we try to really emphasize the beauty that God put in to everything, from the flowers outside to the math that we are working on with our kids,” stated Bryans.

Bryans went on to say that the “Classical” aspect of it deals with how the instruction is presented to the kids. Runnels academy will use a trivium that will split the “classical” form into three sections: grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

The Grammar stage (junior kindergarten through 5/6th grade) will emphasize different instructional modes to learn the grammar of different subjects. The Logic stage (junior high) will teach students how to think and how to use what they know to argue effectively. The Rhetoric stage (high school) will teach students how to take what they’ve learned in the previous stages and put it all together to communicate effectively.

Runnels Academy will be located in the 2nd floor of the old Runnel’s Jr. High that has been acquired by Life Church. Even though Life Church’s Pastor Kevin Knudson is a member of the school board, Bryans stated that the church is not affiliated with Life Church and noted that the school will merely be a tenant in the building.

“[Knudson] doesn’t have children there, but he has a vested interest because it is his heart’s desire to establish a school, and he wanted his church to be used for that,” said Bryans. “So, whether we went in, or if he started his own, there was going to be a school. It just seemed like a no-brainer to take advantage of the fact that he wants a school there.”

She did note that Life Church was able to raise over $100,000 to help fund the building renovation that is taking place now. Other members of the school board include: Robert Kennedy, Ben Blaine, John Bryans, Kathryn Lane, and Chance Nichols.



First City Council Meeting of 2018

During this evening's Big Spring City Council Meeting, it was noted that the Big Spring Fire/EMS department received a $10,000 donation Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy). BSFD Fire Chief Craig Ferguson advised the City Council members that the money would be used to purchase EMS equipment and to obtain additional training for staff members.

Oxy also donated $25,000 to the Spring Project Phase II; and it was announced that a $10,000 donation was received from the Wayne and JoAnn Moore Charitable Foundation, as well as a $2,500 Oncor Electric Delivery Company. According to Debbie Wegman, Big Spring Community Services Director, there has been a total of $280,000 that has been received through grants and donations for Phase II of the Spring Project, and she noted that she will continue to seek funds.

It should also be noted that a bid for the roof repairs of the Dora Roberts Community Center was awarded to Prime Source Construction for $16,900.

During the City Manager's Report, Todd Darden advised that the city offices will be closed on January 15th for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and that the MLK Commemorative Walk will begin at 6 PM at the corners of Gregg Street & Martin Luther King Blvd at Subway and will move west down Gregg until 7 PM.
Darden also noted that since December 28th there had been 90 water main breaks and recognized the utility workers that have been working around the clock. He also stated that he appreciated the public for being patient while the city worked to replace pipes. Fire, Police, and EMS were also recognized for their work during the past couple of weeks.

When asked what attributed to the many water main breaks, Darden advised that it was due to the perfect combination of weather, moisture, and ground movement. He also assured that City Council member Carmen Harbour that the water lines were being replaced and not patched.

PHOTO - Webelos with Cub Scout Pack 305, sponsored by First Nazarene Church, led the Pledge of Allegiance and Texas Pledge at tonight's Big Spring City Council Meeting.



** NEW - BOIL WATER NOTICE from City of Big Spring**

City crews repaired multiple breaks on a water line on S. Wasson Rd., south of the City limits. Even though all State requirements were followed, as a precautionary measure the City of Big Spring/PWS ID #11440001, in compliance with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), is notifying affected customers of the need to boil their water prior to

consumption e.g., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc). Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all
customers should follow these directions.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice should be boiled and cooled prior to use. The water should be brought to a vigorous boil and then boiled for two minutes. In lieu of boiling, you may purchase
bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the water system officials will notify you that the water is safe for consumption. Instructions to discontinue boiling will be issued in the same manner as this notice.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact the Public Works Director at 432-264- 2501.

City of Big Spring



**Update** BOIL WATER NOTICE for Sand Springs Area - LIFTED 1/09/18




Be advised the City of Coahoma has issued a BOIL WATER NOTICE for the Sand Springs area. Sand Springs area ONLY until further notice.

**UPDATE** As of 7 AM on Jan. 8th, 2018, KBest News was advised that the BOIL WATER NOTICE is still in effect. According to Ray Seales, Public Utilities Director for the City of Coahoma, the notice will continue until water samples can be returned from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which may be tomorrow.


Thank You for Your Investment, Big Spring Country Club!

The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a "Thank You for Your Investment" Ceremony for the Big Spring Country Club, located at 2401 Driver Rd, this morning to thank them for all that they do for the community.

"We appreciate [the ceremony] very much; everyone likes to be recognized," said Co-Owner Russ Rutledge. "We did this to, hopefully, provide a little more for Big Spring and keep the club open and have a place for people to go."

When asked what he hopes 2018 will bring for the Big Spring Country Club, Rutledge stated, "We would hope that we'd see more activity here. We've opened to the public and we would love for the public to come out and see what we have and take advantage of our facility.

For more information on what kind of amenities that the Big Spring Country Club has to offer you can check out their Facebook page or visit




SMMC Honors Local Law Enforcement Officers for National L.E.A.D.

Many people met in front of Scenic Mountain Medical Center to take part in the small ceremony that was held this morning in recognition of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.). There was a short prayer, led by Pastor Sam Segundo of Family Faith Center church and breakfast was prepared by the Yellow Rose Café.

Both Big Spring's Chief of Police Chad Williams and Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker told KBest News that they appreciated SMMC for holding the event and were happy for the fellowship and free meal.



Position oversees construction, maintenance operations for four counties.

ABILENE – Neil Welch, P.E., has been named TxDOT Abilene’s Big Spring Area Engineer. He will oversee construction and maintenance operations for Borden, Howard, Mitchell and Nolan Counties in the agency’s Abilene District. Welch’s first day with the District is Monday, January 8, 2018.

Welch joins TxDOT from the City of Lubbock, where he served as the assistant city engineer since 2013, acting as the streets engineering department head and supervising the ROW department, inspection groups and utility permitting personnel. Prior to this position, Neil was the City’s capital projects engineer, responsible for managing the City’s design and construction projects.

Welch began his first TxDOT career in 1999 in the Lubbock District Design Office. In 2002 he was named central design engineer and was responsible for overseeing major design projects until he began his work with the City of Lubbock. He received his professional engineer’s license in 2003.

Welch fills the opening left by previous Big Spring Area Engineer Matt Evans, P.E., who was named Director of Construction for the San Angelo District. Wayne Ekdahl, P.E., TxDOT Abilene’s Director of Construction has been serving as interim Area Engineer.



Big Spring Residents are Urged to Conserve Water due to Water Leaks

Due to the number of water leaks, the City of Big Spring is asking citizens to please conserve on water usage. Employees are working on all repairs; however we are still having problems with restoring water to our water storage facilities. Please conserve water and discontinue use of irrigation systems. If you have any questions please feel free to call 432-264- 2501.

City of Big Spring


CHS Senior, KayLee Wright, to Compete in State 3A UIL Congressional Debate

KayLee Wright, a Coahoma High School senior, isn’t just making plans for her future, she is proactively crafting her own.

The just turned 17-year-old is heading to Austin to participate in state 3A UIL Congressional Debate contest to be held Jan 8-10 on the campus of the University of Austin. The contest is an individual competition but set in a simulated legislative body. Just like the real thing, participants draft legislation, deliver speeches, and respond to each other’s arguments.

“You go before a senate or a group of people and it will be like Congress,” Wright explained. “You are in front of a chamber of people with like 28 people. While CX (cross exam debate) is more one-on-one with an individual person.

“They judge us personally based on our one to two minute speeches and then we are questioned for another minute. They judge us on our answers and what statistics we have laid out.”

Wright returns to the Congressional Debate state tournament for a second year in a row. The experience - along with a penchant for watching criminal TV shows such as Law & Order - helped the Coahoma senior to decide to pursue a career in the law

“It was the greatest experience,” she said. “It’s what made me want to become a lawyer.”

Yet, Wright is taking her plans for the future a step further than most youths her age.

“I am learning a second language, sign language. I am learning ASL,” she said. “I want to merge those two so I can do it for students and kids who don’t really have that connection with an attorney on a communication basis. They need someone to speak for them. I want to merge that and create my own thing.”

Public speaking seems to come naturally to Wright, who has been acting since the age of 8. Her mother, Tabatha, is a teacher at Coahoma High School, who oversees the theater/arts and speech and debate programs and is also KayLee’s coach.

“KayLee has always had a passion for debate,” Tabatha Wright said. “I think that comes from being raised to always voice her opinion regardless of what her peers believed. But, you must do your research and make sure you make assertions that are true and just. She is very passionate about women's and children's rights and feels confident that she can one day be the voice for those in need of representation. Her style comes from debating on a regular basis with her friends over various issues in school, the community, or the news.”

KayLee Wright was quick to credit her success in debate to her mother’s mentorship.

“My mom has taught me to be a quick thinker, to think as soon as possible and connect statistics to make everything flow as it should,” she said.

Using her quick wit in challenging situations is just one of the aspects of Congressional Debate she enjoys.

“Whenever you are within a chamber, you can also write a bill from what other congressmen and women have stated and so that’s what I love to do is writing something on a spot,” Wright said.

Wright will participate in the preliminary congress on Jan. 9. If she qualifies for the finals, she will move on to take part in the super congress which will be held the following day on the 10 at the Texas state Capitol.


Job Fair Focused on Filling Positions for New Behavioral Health Unit at Scenic Mountain Medical Center

BIG SPRING, TEXAS -- In preparation for the opening of the Behavioral Health Unit at Scenic Mountain Medical Center, there will be a job fair Friday, January 12, in the main lobby at SMMC. The job fair will take place from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“We will have the director of nursing on hand to answer any questions that applicants might have. Those coming to the job fair are encouraged to bring an updated resume,” Nadine Reyes, SMMC HR Manager, said.

There are multiple positions available, including day and night shifts and clinical and non-clinical positions. A background in behavioral health is not mandatory, but is recommended.

“The main thing we are looking for is someone who is going to have a servants heart and be focused on providing quality, compassionate care to the patients,” Stacy Flores, SMMC Behavioral Health Unit Nursing Director, said. “We are looking for staff who are willing to learn and grow in their positions.”

For more information, call Nadine Reyes at 432-268- 4961.



Pancake Breakfast Scam

Be advised that the January 20th event - Pancake Breakfast with Clay Douglas, is a SCAM.

Hotel Settles General Manager Andrea Barr told KBest News that she found out about the fake event through social media and, eventually, some people had called the hotel to ask about the event.

"It is absolutely 100 percent a scam and we have nothing to do with it," said Barr. "Unfortunately, there are other local businesses and radio personalities that got caught up in the craziness. I just want everyone to know that it is absolutely not happening. It is a scam and we have nothing to do with it."

Barr also went on to say that Hotel Settles has reached out to the Big Spring Police Department and has filed a report on the incident.


Clay Douglas is the Host for his own online radio show, “The Free American,” that is based in Big Spring. When asked how he felt about an unknown person using his name to set up this fake event, Douglas stated that this person or persons should be arrested and thrown in jail. He went on to say that these people are crooks and they have nothing to do with him.




In partnership with West Texas Centers, Scenic Mountain Medical Center will be opening a Behavioral Health Unit on the 4th floor of the hospital. The 20-bed unit will serve Big Spring and 23 other surrounding counties. According to SMMC Marketing Manager Amanda Duforat, “The 20 beds will most likely be full from opening day, and from what I hear, will be a continuous rotation of keeping them full.”

Duforat told KBest News that the majority of the beds at Big Spring State Hospital are forensic beds, which is actually a common occurrence across the state of Texas. Since this doesn’t free up a lot of space for the general population who are needing behavioral health services, the new 20-bed unit Behavioral Health Unit will be available to the general public to use for those services.

It should be noted that Shelley Smith, CEO of West Texas Centers, had approached SMMC CEO Emma Krabill when she when was still an interim in 2014 with this idea.

When asked why SMMC felt that this was something that they should have a hand in helping with, Duforat stated that this is just one more project that goes to show that in this community, as there is in every rural community, there is a gap in health care. “In each community it’s gonna be different, there’s gonna be different things that the community’s are lacking but one of them here is behavioral [health]."

"So the way we all think at Scenic Mountain is - we are the community hospital. It’s not the employees’ hospital, not the administration’s hospital, this is Big Spring’s hospital," continued Duforat. "All the service lines that we bring on and service providers that we bring in are to serve the needs of the community. This is just one of those needs that was brought to her attention and there was something we could do to fill that gap, as I had mentioned, so we figured that this was a really good partnership to fill that need and that gap in the community.”

A job fair that is focused, specifically, on finding the staff for the Behavioral Health Unit will take place on January 12th and the grand opening will take place on February 28th.



Crime Stoppers Seeking Help in Credit / Debit Card Abuse Case

Big Spring and Howard County Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in locating a Credit Card/Debit Card Abuse Suspect. On December 27th, 2017 at approximately 3:15 P.M., Big Spring Police Department Officers were dispatched to 7-11 Convenience Store located at 1701 East FM 700 due to Credit/Debit Card Abuse. Upon arrival officers were informed that at approximately the Complainant had loaned his credit/debit card to a family member to purchase items at Murphy USA, located at 201 West FM 700. The complainant said that the friend lost the credit/debit card at Murphy USA and a transaction notice was received by e-mail that showed an attempt to use the credit/debit card at 7-11. It was found that the unknown suspect entered the 7-11 store wearing a blue jacket with a white shirt, and short blonde hair. The suspect attempted to use the credit/debit card, but was unable to make the purchase. The suspect departed the 7-11 and left in a silver in color pick-up truck.


If you have any information on the identity of the suspect, you are encouraged to call the TIPS line at 432-263-8477 (TIPS) you will remain anonymous and no caller ID is ever used. Or use the new software and you can submit your tip online, and that, too, is completely anonymous.


For more information you can find this post on the Big Spring Howard County Crime Stoppers Facebook page.


You can earn up to a $1000.00 Dollar CASH reward if you're the first caller with information that leads to the arrest of the person involved. Remember to keep the ID Tip number that you receive when you submit your tip on DO NOT LOSE YOUR TIP NUMBER.


Please reference case # 2-17-05198 in your tip.


Web Tip Link:


New Year Baby Celebrated by SMMC

The first baby born of a fresh new year has, historically, brought a lot of public interest. Supposedly, the first baby born of a new year is supposed to have best luck during their long life. With an optimistic belief like that, it’s clear to see why this might bring some public attention.

Even though it may seem as fun tradition to announce the first baby of the new year, Scenic Mountain Medical Center is following suit and putting patient safety above tradition.

“This is something that in the past, we’ve been able to publicize, but with all the changes in healthcare and society as a whole, being able to announce the new year baby isn’t something that we do anymore just for safety reasons,” says SMMC Marketing Director Amanda Duforat. “We don’t want to put the baby or family at risk in anyway, so we no longer announce it, but however, we still want to celebrate with the family because it is such a joyous occasion and such a big deal being the first baby born. So, putting together a baby basket is the next best thing.”

Duforat told KBest News that this year SMMC decided to call on the partnerships that they’ve created throughout the year to help them put the gender-neutral baby basket together to celebrate this new member of Big Spring. “We’ve extended the invitation to several businesses in town, just to see if they would like to donate anything from like diapers, wipes, blankets, bibs, everything and anything baby; but we’ve extended a little more than that to include something for mom or something for mom and dad. Just something to show that we’re celebrating with you.”

Contributors to the New Year Baby Basket include KBST, Prudential, Marcy Place, Big Spring Herald, Choice Media, Red Barn Studio, SMMC Auxillary, Howard College, Parkview, Big Spring Convention and Visitors Bureau, KBYG, and Encompass Home Health.





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