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KBST News Archives for 2019-10


In Midland on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, U.S. District Judge David Counts sentenced 28-year-old Christopher Chase Mojica to 57 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for stealing firearms from a pawn shop in Odessa and for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, stated U.S. Attorney John F. Bash; Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek, II, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Dallas Field Division; and, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke.


On July 23, 2019, Mojica pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and one count of theft of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). By pleading guilty, Mojica admitted that on April 29, 2019, he walked inside Cash America in Odessa, fired a flare gun at employees, smashed a display case then walked out with five firearms. One of the stolen firearms was a Romarm/Cugir Draco 7.62x39mm caliber semi-automatic pistol manufactured outside the State of Texas. According to court records, Mojica’s criminal history reveals a 2019 conviction in Ector County for burglary and a 2017 conviction in Ector County for possession of a controlled substance.


“Mr. Mojica victimized a Federal Firearms Licensee during business hours, placing employees and patrons at risk,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Boshek. “Swift action by the Odessa Police Department prevented stolen firearms from entering the illegal firearms trade, and strong law enforcement partnerships resulted in the successful federal prosecution.”


ATF and the Odessa Police Department conducted this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Harwood prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.


This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.


Howard County Burn Ban extended; Volunteer Fire Department offers tips to keep in mind

On Monday, during the Howard County Commissioners Court, it was announced that the burn ban in Howard County has been extended for another 90 days.


The Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, offers the following tips to keep in mind during the burn ban:

  • Keep informed of wildfire danger levels.
  • Avoid burning trash on dry, windy days.
  • Check to see if weather changes are expected. Postpone outdoor burning if shifts in wind direction, high winds or wind gusts are in the forecast.
  • Before doing any burning, establish wide control lines down to bare mineral soil at least five feet wide around any burn barrels.
  • Burn household trash only in a burn barrel equipped with a screen or metal grid to keep burning material contained.
  • Never attempt to burn aerosol cans heated cans will explode. Flying material may cause injuries and the explosion may scatter burning material into nearby vegetation and cause a wildfire.
  • Stay with outdoor fires until they are completely out.
  • Keep water and hand tools ready in case your fire should attempt to spread.
  • Watch for rocks and metal when bush hogging or mowing.
  • Avoid parking vehicles in dry grass tall enough to touch the catalytic converter on the underside of your vehicle.


GoFundMe Page set up for children who's parents were killed by H2S gas.

ECTOR COUNTY, Tx. (KOSA) -- A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the children of the parents who died after they were overcome by H2S gas at an oilfield pump house.



(photo used from CBS 7)


According to the page, the money raised will go towards paying tribute to Jacob and Natalee Dean and provide support for the three children they leave behind, ages 18, 9, and 6. (CBS7 talked with one of the organizers of the page who confirmed the page is legitimate.)

The children are now being taken care of by their grandparents.


According to the Ector County Sheriff's Office, Jacob's company requested he check out a pump house Saturday night. When he got there, he was exposed to a deadly amount of H2S gas.


His wife, Natalee, got worried when he didn't answer his phone, so she and her two children went to check on him.


When she got to the pump house, sheriff's investigators say she was also exposed to H2S gas after she got out of the car.


Both died at the scene.


Detectives say the six and nine-year-old children were saved because they stayed in their car.



(Source: )



Prosperity Bank is pleased to announce the recent addition of Jeff Ward as the new Big Spring Banking President.


Ward’s college education began at Howard College prior to continuing on to Texas Tech University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management in 2009. Jeff then went on to receive his Masters in Higher Education Administration from Wayland Baptist University. In 2018, Ward completed the School of Banking Program at the Texas Tech University-Rawls College of Business.


Ward’s professional career started back at Howard College where he proudly served in various roles for five years. In 2014, he began his banking career and has garnered extensive experience in credit and lending since that time.


“Jeff brings a vast amount of lending expertise and knowledge of the local area which is vital to Prosperity Bank’s goal of serving Howard County. We are thrilled to welcome Jeff to our team and know that he will be a valuable asset,” says Rick Bartholomee, Prosperity Bank’s Permian Basin Region President.


Jeff and his wife, Tisha, have two young daughters, Addison and Charlie. Ward spends a great deal of time giving back to his community by serving as a Board of Director for the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation and Comanche Trail Amphitheater Improvement Board. Additionally, he is a member of the Greater Big Spring Rotary Club and Hillcrest Baptist Church. Ward has also served on other various civic and community boards with a mindset to strengthen the community and build better relationships for civic and economic wellbeing!


Stop by the Prosperity Bank Big Spring Banking Center at 1411 S. Gregg Street to welcome Jeff or give him a call at (432) 552-1260 anytime. He as well as the rest of the team look forward to continuing their mission of providing sound financial assistance to the community!


Last week for early voting for the Texas Constitutional Amendment Election

This is the last week for early voting for the Texas Constitutional Amendment Election. As of the end of day on Friday, October 25th, there had been only 316 votes casted thus far, which is approximately 1.8% of the number of people registered to vote in Howard County.


Voters can cast their votes today, through Wednesday, October 30th, from 8 AM to 5 PM at the first floor of the Howard County Courthouse, located at 300 S. Main in Big Spring. On Thursday, October 31st, and Friday, November 1st, voters can cast their vote at the Howard County Courthouse from 7 AM – 7 PM.



Amendments Proposed for the November 5, 2019 ballot by the 86th Legislature

HJR 72

Prop. 1

The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.


SJR 79

Prop. 2

The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.


HJR 34

Prop. 3

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.


HJR 38

Prop. 4

The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income.


SJR 24

Prop. 5

The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.


HJR 12

Prop. 6

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.


HJR 151

Prop. 7

The constitutional amendment allowing increase distributions to the available school fund.



Prop. 8

The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.


HJR 95

Prop. 9

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.


SJR 32

Prop. 10

The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.




2nd annual Dentistry from the Heart to be held, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019

Ward Family Dental will have their 2nd annual Dentistry from the Heart event tomorrow morning, 10/26/19, in Big Spring.


Dr. David Ward, DDS, Owner of Ward Family Dental, advised that the purpose of the event is to give back to the community. Last year their goal was to see 50 patients, and, thankfully, they were able to serve 107 patients.


He went on to say that his office will not be verifying income for patients who come to the event. He also stated that all that will be required of the patients is their name, medical history and/or conditions, and medication that they may be taking.


Patients will have a choice filling, extraction, or cleaning that will be performed by Dr. Ward, Dr. Alejandra Flores, their staff, and two other doctors. Patients will be seen beginning at 7 AM at 1500 Scurry, and check-ins begins at 6:30 AM and will continue until 11 AM.


Patients will be seen on a first-come, first served basis, and it should be noted that this is only for adults 18 years old or older. Patients are encouraged to arrive early, dress appropriately for the weather and to bring chairs, blankets, water, snacks, etc. as they may be outside waiting to be seen.


1st annual Oktoberfest at Hotel Settles to be held this Saturday, 10/26/19

The 1st annual Oktoberfest will be held at the back lawn of Hotel Settles in Big Spring this Saturday, Oct. 26th, from 3-8 PM.


The free event will include beer and authentic German food to purchase, Beer Stein, Pretzel Pass and chicken dance contests, wiener dog races, a bouncy house and other kids’ activities. In addition to the contests, there will also be vendors and live music by Keith Owens and Eddie Austin and Texas Silhouettes.


According to Barney Dodd, Owner of BAD Events and who has helped to organize the event, Big Spring Ford will be offering “Safe Ride.” With their team of drivers, they will get you and your vehicle home safely if you’ve had too much to drink. There is no cost for the service, but it does require that you make a donation to a local charity.


Crime Stoppers is asking for the public's help in locating/identifying two unknown subjects involved in a robbery.

On 6/19/19, at approximately 7:53 PM, Officers were dispatched to the 600 blk of E. 15TH ST. in reference to a robbery. Victim stated on 6/19/19, at approximately 7:50 PM, the victim went to unlock his back gates when when he felt an arm go across his neck from behind him. Victim advised an unknown white male tried to wrap his arm around his neck in attempt to choke him. Victim advised he fell back and his brown in color long bi-fold wallet came out of his back pocket. Victim stated the unknown white male picked up his wallet and ran out the gate. Victim also stated when he looked up to get a description of the white male, he recognized an unknown black female from the previous day that had approached him and asked him for a cigarette. Victim informed that both the unknown male and female quickly left the scene in an unknown vehicle. Victim described the white male to have a shorter build, have black in color hair, and to be wearing a yellow in color shirt. Victim described the black female to be the same build, to have her hair in a bun, to be wearing a red in color shirt, and grey in color shorts. Investigators were able to get a digital image of the two subjects from security camera footage.






You can also 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 we have and it is also completely anonymous. Remember 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(s) involved. That’s a CASH REWARD.. You don't have to tell your wife, husband, or anyone if you're the first caller with information that leads to an arrest and you receive the reward!!! Please keep the ID Tip number that you receive when you submit your tip on DO NOT LOSE YOUR TIP NUMBER.

Please reference case # 2-19-02342 in your tip.


Dark Maze of Nightmares opens this weekend, 10-25-19

The Dark Maze of Nightmare will open this weekend, Friday, October 25th – Saturday, October 26th, from 7 PM to 11 PM. 


Entry to the haunted house is $15 per person and money raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society.


The Dark Maze of Nightmares is located at 1901 Simler Drive in Big Spring, across from the SWCD campus. They’ll be opened again next week on Wednesday, October 30th, and Thursday, October 31st, from 7 PM to 9:30 PM.


Snyder PD apprehends escaped inmate from Mitchell County.

Earlier this morning, the Snyder Police Department issued a brief warning to their residents because a dangerous inmate had escaped. The original post from the City of Snyder Police Department stated:


"Snyder Alert Message. Please lock your doors and stay inside. There has been an escape of a dangerous inmate in the area of Avenue A and 35th Street. Stay indoors and away from windows. If someone tries to enter your home call 911 immediately. Stay inside until you receive an all clear message. The Snyder Police Department and other agencies will be in the area."


The escaped inmate was taken into custody by Snyder PD shortly after the message was issued. According to the City of Snyder Police Department Facebook page, Minor had escaped from Mitchell County, and had stolen a vehicle from the Mitchell County Sheriff’s office. The vehicle was later left abandoned around the Avenue A and 35th Street area in Snyder.


According to Abilene Reporter News, Minor was in Mitchell County Jail facing seven charges, including:


  • Felon in possession of a firearm
  • Theft of a firearm
  • Aggravated assault of a public servant (two charges)
  • Unauthorized use of a vehicle
  • Felon in possession of body armor





Expedition Royalty celebrates Grand Opening with downtown festivities open to the public, 10/24/19

Expedition Royalty will have the Grand Opening of their new office in Big Spring, located at 220 S. Main, Thursday evening, 10/24/19, in downtown Big Spring. The public is invited to help celebrate the Open House for the new office by joining Expedition Royalty for the downtown festivities.


According to Matt Scott, Landman for Expedition Royalty, the purpose of the celebration is to reach out to the community and show their commitment to Big Spring and the Howard County community.


Scott advised that there will be free food from various food trucks, drink stations, a kid zone, a video game truck, and a concert featuring Jason Boland and the Stragglers with Shane Smith and the Saints as the opening act. 


The block party will be located outside of their office on S. Main Street between 2nd and 3rd street, from 5-10 PM.


Also, during the event, a 2019 Ford Expedition will be raffled off for only $10 per ticket. The vehicle was purchased by Expedition Royalty and the money raised from the raffle will benefit the United Way of Big Spring and Howard County. Tickets will still be available for sale at the event. The winner will be drawn and announced at 8:45 PM and you do not have to be present to win.






5:00 PM - Gates Open – Food Trucks, Drink Stations and Kid Zone Open. Raffle tickets

available for sale


6:00 PM - Big Spring Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by Opening

Band – Shane Smith and the Saints


7:15 PM Brief Program – Introducing important members of the crowd and people of
Expedition Royalty & last call for raffle tickets

7:30 PM Jason Boland and the Stragglers on stage


7:55 PM Ford Expedition Raffle drawing held (Expedition Royalty, United Way and Big
Spring Ford), pictures taken

* Jason Boland and the Stragglers play until 10 PM.



AUSTIN — Texas continues to lead the nation in oil and gas production, creating jobs and prosperity statewide, but communities in the state’s main energy production areas have also seen a rise in deaths on the road accounting for close to half of all traffic fatalities in Texas.

In 2018, 1,673 people died and more than 6,000 were seriously injured in crashes in the Barnett Shale, Eagle Ford Shale, Granite Wash, Haynesville/Bossier Shale and Permian Basin, where oil and gas exploration is underway. Traffic deaths in these areas are up by 4% compared to 2017. Crash reports point to failure to control speed as the most-often cited factor in traffic crashes, followed by driver inattention due to actions such as looking at a cell phone.


“Driving conditions have changed dramatically in many parts of Texas,” said Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director James Bass. “A big increase in the number of heavy trucks and traffic on state and county roads adds to the complexity of driving – something we always need to give our full attention to, while also obeying traffic laws. That’s why we are urging every motorist to drive smart and take simple precautions to prevent crashes.”


In the coming weeks, drivers can expect to see a variety of common-sense safety reminders as TxDOT kicks off its annual “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign in the state’s energy-producing regions. The campaign reminds drivers to:


  • Always buckle up—drivers and all passengers, day and night.
  • Drive a safe speed that takes into account the amount of traffic, road conditions, and weather.
  • Focus 100 percent on driving and put your phone away: no talking or texting when you’re behind the wheel.
  • Give large trucks plenty of space, be patient, and pass only when it’s safe and legal to do so.
  • Obey stop signs and traffic signals.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.


TxDOT will be taking its safety messages to community events this month in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale. Drivers can test their street smarts at an interactive exhibit outfitted with games, quizzes, and video displays that remind motorists how to safely navigate the challenges of driving in high-traffic oil and gas production areas.


Be Safe. Drive Smart.” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while on the road, such as going the speed limit, wearing a seat belt, and never drinking and driving or texting and driving. 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.


PSA - Pharmaceutical Take Back scheduled for 10/26/19 in Big Spring

On the 26th of October 2019, from the hours of 10am-2pm, the Big Spring Police Department’s Narcotics Division will be working in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration on the National Pharmaceutical Take Back Initiative at the west doors of Spring Town Plaza (1801 E. FM 700).

This provides a unified opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances, dangerous drugs and other medications to law enforcement officers for destruction.

Intra-venous solutions, injectibles, and syringes will not be accepted due to potential hazards posed by blood-borne pathogens.

This program is anonymous and all efforts will be made to protect the identity of individuals disposing of medications. Participants may dispose of medication in its original container or by removing the medication from its container and disposing it directly into the disposal box. Liquid products, such as cough syrup, should remain sealed in their original container.


We strongly encourage everyone who has expired medicine or medicine you no longer need or use, to utilize this opportunity and dispose of your medicine safely.

For more information regarding this program please contact Big Spring Police Department Narcotics Sergeant Steve Henry (432) 264-2595.

Chief Chad Williams
Lieutenant Brian Gordon


PSA – Platinum Supplemental Insurance

Howard County Sheriff’s Office has been contacted by Platinum Supplemental Insurance about selling insurance door to door in Howard County. The company will be selling insurance in county  for the next several weeks. It should be noted that the Howard County Sheriff’s Office is not affiliated with the company, nor are they endorsing them. They only wish to inform the public that Platinum Supplemental Insurance has properly informed them that they would be selling door to door in order to reduce problems.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the Howard County Sheriff’s Office at 432-261-2244, or you can contact the company direct at 1-800-765-1454.


Below is a list of sales people and the vehicles they will be driving:


Wenhua “Wendy” Ouyang – White 2016 Lexus RX350

Shawn Lillis – Black 2012 Honda Accord

Stephen Smith – Gold 2008 Toyota Avalon

Nathan McKinnerny – Black 2018 Toyota Camry

Greg Hallett – Black 2018 Ford F150

Terry Maynard – White 2017 Jeep Cherokee




Quilts Of Valor Presentation for Roy Bailey

Quilts of Valor presented a handmade Red, White, And Blue Quilt to a local Vet at Lamen-Lusk-Sanchez-State Vet Home on Saturday, 10/19/19.


Roy Bailey served in The Korean War that took place from 1950 – 1953. Mr. Bailey was joined in the celebration by his wife, children, staff members and friends. Those that attended the celebration were treated to refreshments and the chance to see a real American Hero be presented with a beautiful quilt with a beautiful meaning.


Quilts of Valor is a non-profit foundation whose goal is to cover ALL physically or psychologically wounded service members with a freedom quilt, honoring them for their sacrifices. At the end of the service all attendees were asked to touch the quilt so a piece of them would always be with Mr. Bailey.



BIG SPRING - West Texas is not immune from the wide net substance abuse casts on addicts, their families and often communities.


“Unfortunately, very few people who could benefit from treatment for substance abuse receive necessary care,” said West Texas Centers CEO Shelley Smith, LMSW.


West Texas Centers - the licensed Mental Health Authority for rural West Texas - assists people who are unable to break the horrific cycle of substance abuse. To call attention to the crisis of substance abuse, West Texas Centers along with team members from National Treatment Addiction Week are spending the week of Oct. 21-27 educating the public about the signs, treatment and strategies to cope with addiction.


West Texas Centers is celebrating National Addiction Treatment Week to encourage more people to seek treatment and also to encourage more people to choose a career in the field of addiction medicine.


“Only one in eight people who need treatment for substance abuse receive it because of a shortage of knowledgeable people and facilities equipped to treat the disorder,” Smith said.


"Substance use disorders are on the rise," she said.


In 2015, nearly 2.3 million Americans were addicted to opioids, yet there was only enough treatment capacity to treat 1.4 million people, leaving a treatment gap of nearly 1 million people, according to statistics compiled by the National Addiction Treatment Week.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes overdose deaths increased by nearly 10 percent in 2017 – taking the lives of more than 70,000 Americans. More than half were attributed to opioid overdoses and the largest increase were related to illicitly made fentanyl and fentanyl analogs or what is more commonly known as synthetic opioids. 


“Despite effective treatment for opioid use disorder being available, only about one in four people with this addiction receive any specialized treatment,” Smith said.


Experts believe stigma, inability to access or afford care, or refusal to stop misusing opioids, are the root causes to few seeking immediate help.


More than 88,000 people in the United States die each year from alcohol-related causes, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Advocates from National Treatment Addiction Week along with West Texas Centers spend much of their time educating the public on addictive behaviors, including substance abuse and alcohol.


“There is a huge shortage of people qualified to treat substance abuse,” Smith said. “They may want to help but they have not been trained in a clinical setting or have the background to be effective. This is because they don’t have the resources in which they believe they can properly treat the disorder.”


“More training programs are desperately needed,” Smith said.


“Although West Texas does not live with some of the problems faced by big metropolitan areas, addiction is just as pervasive in a small town as it is in a large one.”


No area of the United States is exempt from the opioid crisis, yet just a little more than 50 percent of the public consider opioid addiction a major concern. As a result, the Surgeon General is calling on all individuals to do the following:


  • Talk about opioid misuse. Have a conversation about preventing drug misuse and overdose.
  • Be safe. Only take opioid medications as prescribed, make sure to store medication in a secure place, and dispose of unused medication properly.
  • Understand pain and talk with your healthcare provider. Treatments other than opioids can be effective in managing pain.
  • Understand that addiction is a chronic disease. With the right treatment and supports, people do recover.
  • Be prepared. Get and learn how to use naloxone, an opioid overdose reversing drug.


West Texas Centers operates a 24-hour Crisis Hotline. The number is 1-800-375-4357.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also offers a 24-hour hotline in English and Spanish for individuals and families facing mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. The number is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).


Early Voting Begins Today for he Texas Constitutional Amendment Election. 

Early voting begins today for the Texas Constitutional Amendment Election. 


Voters can cast their votes Monday – Friday, now through October 30th, from 8 AM to 5 PM at the first floor of the Howard County Courthouse, located at 300 S. Main in Big Spring. On Thursday, October 31st, and Friday, November 1st, voters can cast their vote at the Howard County Courthouse from 7 AM – 7 PM.


If you need to sign up for a ballot by mail, you must complete the application prior to the election in order to receive a ballot by mail. Be advised, your complete application must be mailed and it must arrive to the Howard County Elections Office by October 25th. If you have any questions, call 264-2273.


Shari Simmons to speak during Tuesday's Howard College Foundation Speaker Series, 10/24/19

Shari Simmons, clinician, author, and professor, will be the speaker for the Howard College Foundation Speaker Series event Shari Simmons: Transforming the way you think about trauma and communication on Tuesday, October 22nd. 


Simmons will be providing audiences with an unforgettable story of love and transformation that will resonate with anyone who wants to understand trauma and its impact on the brain. She’ll also be shining a light on mental health issues and the powerful decisions we make when choosing a life of meaning and significance.


Audience members will learn:

  • To deconstruct false beliefs

  • To utilize healthy tools for communicating

  • How to understand the brain’s survival mechanisms

  • To utilize tools for creating safety

  • And much more…


This free event is open to the public and no tickets are needed. It will be held at the Hall Center for the Arts and will begin at 7 PM. For more information, contact Julie Bailey at 432-264-5051.


James Douglas announced as Associate Director of West Texas VA Health Care System at VA Town Hall Meeting, 10/17/19

James Douglas was named as the permanent Associate Director at Thursday's (10/17/19) Town Hall Meeting for the West Texas VA Health Care System. 


The Town Hall Meeting was an opportunity for the WTVAHCS to give a brief overview of some of the things they have going on such as the changes taking place, new hires, and new programs, as well as to get feedback about what’s the best way to get information out to veterans. 


Douglas has 16 years of VA healthcare experience, most of it spent in North Texas. Before coming to the West Texas VA Health Care System, he served as Chief of Veteran Engagement Services. 


NuStar Energy holds ribbon cutting with Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, 10/17/19

NuStar Energy was celebrated as a new member of the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting this morning.


According to James Robertson, General Manager for NuStar Energy, the pipeline and terminal company has been in Big Spring since May 2017.


Senator Kel Seliger visits Big Spring for Town Hall Meeting at Howard College Campus

During yesterday’s Town Hall Meeting lead by Senator Kel Seliger, several topics were discussed within the span of an hour. Some of the topics included things such as healthcare, property taxes and local government, state income tax, reproductive rights and planned parenthood, among others. The turnout for the event was noticeably larger than in the recent past. 


When asked how he felt to see an increase in attendance, Seliger told KBest News that it was great to see people turnout. He noted that he's in Big Spring often and returns his phone calls, so constituents don't have to wait for Town Hall Meetings to speak with him.


Seliger represents District 31, which encompasses 37 counties from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin and includes Amarillo, Midland, Odessa, and Big Spring.


Salvation Army Food Drive and Afterschool open house on 10/17

The Salvation Army of Big Spring invites the public to join them tomorrow, October 17th, for their National Afterschool Celebration. 


This is come-and-go event part of the celebration of Lights on Afterschool.  Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.


The Open House will be from 5-6:30 PM at The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Big Spring, located at 811 W. 5th St.


Thank a Veteran Day: Steven Purdy

Today is "Thank a Veteran Day" in Big Spring, and KBest Media would like to thank Steven Purdy for his 6 years of service to our country.


Originally from upstate New York, Purdy enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 18 and served 2 years. During his time in service, he served as an equipment operator with the Seabees. Afterwards, he went on to serve 2 years in the Marine Corps and 2 years in the reserve. He also did three tours in Vietnam.


Purdy grew up in a military family, telling KBest News that the Purdy’s have had a family member serve in every war since the Revolutionary War. In fact, Purdy’s great great uncle had served with George Washington and his home became Washington’s headquarters for a battle that lasted many months. It’s now known as the Jacob Purdy House.


After serving in the military, Purdy ran heavy equipment and went on to work for a large energy company until he retired at the age of 44. 


Looking back at his military career, Purdy said that serving in the U.S. military was one of the proudest moments of his life. 


“Now I can say that. Back then, it was entirely different. You were just trying to survive, but now, so very proud to be called a veteran,” said Purdy.


When asked if he has any advice for someone considering enlisting in the military, Purdy advised people should really think hard about doing it because one may be asked to do things that they’d never want to do.


He also went on to say, “It will make you grow as a man or woman. It will put you on the right path in life. That and being a Christian is who I am today, and I am so proud of who I am today and what I do today. I would advise young people to think it over, talk to people, and then do it. 


I mean, it’s our country, and it’s a responsibility of men and women to stand up for their country and serve their country.”


Now, Purdy serves as a volunteer with the pain management and whole health programs at the West Texas VA in Big Spring. He also helps run PTSD groups and serves with the local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. In his free time he likes to work in his yard and volunteers at church.


DPS Troopers and JP Judges plead with Howard County Commissioners to prevent DPS Secretary position from becoming part-time.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, three Justice of the Peace Judges from Howard County and Martin County joined several DPS Troopers to speak about the recent decision approved by the Commissioners to reduce the DPS secretary position from full-time to part-time. The decision was made as a result of an attempt to reduce the County’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year by eliminating personnel. 


Judge Robert Fitzgibbons of Howard County pointed out that, although DPS Highway patrol cannot be looked at as a source of revenue, 3 of the JP courts that the office covers had totaled over $800,000, strictly from citations during the last fiscal year. He estimated that over $400,000 stayed in Howard County and went to the General Fund. He noted that this amount more than enough to cover a full-time position, and also noted that 2 other counties also share the cost of the full-time salary.


During public comments made by DPS Troopers, it was pointed out that by making the DPS Secretary position, a part-time position, it would result in a DPS Trooper having to perform administrative duties instead of patrolling on the highways.


According to Nancy Bradshaw, Justice of the Peace in Martin County, this decision not only affects Howard County, but would also affect Martin, Glasscock, and Sterling Counties.

Howard County Commissioners Oscar Garcia, Pct. 1, and John Cline, Pct. 4, along with County Judge Kathryn Wiseman, all agreed to reconsider their decision on cutting hours from the DPS Secretary position. They noted that they would table the discussion until the next meeting so that all Commissioners could be present.


Other positions that will be eliminated on Jan. 1st, 2020 are the Howard County Extension Agent Assistant and the County Trapper.


Officers Recover Quarter Million Dollars Worth Of Stolen Items in Andrews County

According to Andrews County News, Andrews local law enforcement on Thursday, Oct. 10th, recovered around a quarter of a million dollars in stolen items from a southeast Andrews County residence after officers sought a vehicle used in a copper wire theft from a vehicle in a hotel parking lot last week.


Officers arrested three subjects Thursday who were living in two stolen RV trailers at 2230 SE County Road 4001. They were apparently renting RV space at the property.

The RV trailers, reported stolen from a dealer several weeks ago in Stanton, have a total value of around $100,000, and were among numerous stolen items recovered by law enforcement last week at the residence, according to police.


Officers recovered items stolen out of Andrews, Martin and Howard counties, Andrews Police Chief Ronny McCarver said.


Arrested were 31-year-old Krystal Servantes of Andrews, 32-year-old Christopher Lee Patino of Andrews and 32-year-old Sunday Luna of Big Spring.


All three were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, while Servantes is also facing a count of giving a false name to officers.


(Photo - Andrews County News)


Upcoming Town Hall Meetings in Big Spring, Oct. 16-17th, 2019

State Senator Kel Seliger, District 31,  will hold a Town Hall Meeting tomorrow, Oct. 16th at 11:15 AM at the Hall Center for the Arts on the Howard College campus, located at 1001 Birdwell Ln. in Big Spring. Senate District 31 spans 37 counties from the Panhandle to the Permian Basin and includes Amarillo, Midland, Odessa, and Big Spring.


Also this week, Jason Cave, Interim Director, West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS), cordially invites Veterans and Stakeholders of the Big Spring area to attend and participate in a Town Hall Meeting. This event will be held Thursday, October 17, at 4:00 p.m. at the West Texas VA Health Care System, located at 300 Veterans Blvd in Big Spring.


The Town Hall Meeting will provide an opportunity to engage Veteran Stakeholders in an interpersonal way and reaffirm that the needs of Veterans are at the center of VA health care. Mr. Cave will provide a brief opening statement on general WTVAHCS information that will be followed by a question and answer session.


Questions of a general nature will be discussed in open forum. Procedures to protect Veteran privacy will be shared at the event.


E-Sports team established at Big Spring ISD

During last week’s meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees on 10/10/19, a $1,000 was donated by Prosperity Bank to start an E-sports team at Big Spring High School. 


According to Dr. Raemi Thompson, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum for BSISD, many schools have taken advantage of the electronic sports program and tapping into this new demographic. The program allows the kids to compete on a team against other students. UIL rules apply to the e-sports league, in that students must be passing their courses in order to participate.


“We’re hoping it teaches them some teamwork skills, and some problem-solving skills,  strategy skills [because] they really have to work together and think through some of these things,” said Dr. Thompson. 


She went on to say that it’s possible that BSISD would look at adding courses at the high school level in video game programming, game design, coding, and in PC building and repair.


Other donations approved at during the meeting were a $2,500 donation from ACT Truck Driving School to the Art Club, 2 donations of $1,000 each were given to the Memorial Tree Fund by the BSHS Classes of 1969 and 1979, and a $5,200 donation was given anonymously for a cheerleading event in Florida.


Photo - 3 of 10 Esport BSHS students stand with Jeff Ward of Prosperity Bank of Big Spring.


Columbus Day weekend is 4-day weekend for BSISD students.

Today may be a teacher workday for Coahoma, Forsan, and Stanton Independent School Districts, but students get to enjoy the student holiday. As for Big Spring ISD, both, students and teachers are enjoying Columbus Day off. Teachers will return tomorrow for their scheduled work-day, and students will get to finish up their 4-day weekend. 


Coahoma, Forsan, and Stanton ISD students return to school tomorrow. Big Spring ISD students will return on Wednesday, October 16th.


U.S. 87 at Union Pacific Railroad Overpass begins 10/14/19

BIG SPRING – Work on US 87 (Gregg Street) at the Union Pacific Railroad Overpass is advancing and motorists are advised of the following near-term activities and project phases. On Monday, October 14, the Texas Department of Transportation contractor, DCI Contracting, is scheduled to begin placing traffic control devices on the project. Changeable message boards were placed on each end of the project beginning Monday, October 7 to advise the traveling public of the upcoming construction work. 

Phase 1 of the construction project will reduce the number of travel lanes from four to two, providing one lane in each travel direction on the eastern half of the bridge.  Once traffic is shifted, the western half of the bridge deck will be removed and replaced. 

Phase 2 will redirect the two travel lanes to the newly constructed western half of the bridge while the eastern half is removed and replaced.  Throughout this project, traffic control devices will be placed near each end of the bridge to assist with the transition of traffic. Weather permitting, completion time is estimated to be 11 months.

The traveling public is reminded to please use caution throughout all construction work zones and pay attention to road signs and speed limits.  Please allow additional time to travel through this corridor as the work is completed. TxDOT appreciates drivers’ patience as work is completed in this area of US 87.


TDI warns of insurance phone scams

The Texas Department of Insurance is urging consumers to be wary of calls from a group claiming to be the Consumer Insurance Association. The calls offer to lower your auto insurance costs and ask about your current coverage. It’s a scam.


The caller may mention the names of well-known insurance companies, and the phone number may originate from any state. But Consumer Insurance Association is not a licensed insurance company or agency in Texas.


“This could be an attempt to get you to reveal personal information for identity theft,” said Chris Davis, head of TDI’s Fraud Unit. “It’s always good to be cautious of anyone who calls when you haven’t asked for information. And never give out personal information when you haven’t verified who’s calling.”


If you get a call offering to lower your insurance costs, ask for the agent’s Texas insurance license number. Don’t provide personal information such as your address, birth date, Social Security number, or bank account numbers.


You can verify licensed agents on the TDI website or call the TDI Help Line at 1-800-252-3439 to check the status of a company.


Woman Shot; Arrest Expected:

On the 9th of October 2019 at approximately 4:10 A.M., Big Spring Police Department officers were dispatched to the area of 16th and Austin for shots being fired. Officers arrived on scene and began searching the area and found a 20 year old Hispanic female victim of a gunshot wound outside of a residence in the 600 block of E. 16th. EMS was immediately notified who responded and transported the female victim to Scenic Mountain Medical Center for treatment. Officers later spoke with the female victim who informed officers she was shot outside of a residence in the 600 block of E. 16th by a known person. The Criminal Investigations Division responded to the scene. Detectives are actively investigating this incident and expect an arrest to follow.


This continues to be ongoing investigation and if you have any information on this investigation you are urged to contact CrimeStoppers at (432)263-tips (8477). You can also leave an anonymous tip using the “P3 Tips” mobile application or from web address www.


Chief of Police, Chad Williams


Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon


Montanez, innovator of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, speaks in Big Spring at 18th annual Release Conference.

Richard Montanez, innovator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, recently spoke at the 18th annual Release Conference in Big Spring, October 7-8th, 2019. The free conference was underwritten by Family Faith Center in Big Spring.


During the event, Montanez shared his story of humble beginnings working as a janitor at the Frito-Lay plant in 1976 to becoming the current Vice President of Multicultural Sales for PepsiCo’s North American divisions.  


Montanez told KBest News that he was born on a farm labor camp, noting that he and his family had picked grapes for a living. After dropping out of school at a young age, he was later able to land a job as a janitor at the Frito-Lay plant in 1976, even though he couldn’t read or write at the time.


“Getting a job at Frito-Lay was a big break for me,” said Montanez. Years later while at Frito Lay, he came up with the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.


When asked if he was intimidated to pitch his idea, Montanez said, “Oh, yeah! It was probably the scariest thing that I’ve done in my life. Because, again, coming from my back ground, the labor camp, we were never taught that there was greatness within us. You know, at least my generation.”


“We were basically taught find a good job, settle down, pay your bills, work hard, and that was it. As far as your dream, there were very few dreamers in my generation,” said Montanez. “They became dreamers at an older age, like I did, but [in] the very beginning, [I was] very intimidated. I didn’t know how to start, to tell you the truth.


“Being Latino, the one thing that we have, is, many times, we just go for it,” laughed Montanez.


According to Montanez, he has spoken at some of the biggest companies in the world, mentored and coached some of the top CEO’s in the world, and has had lunch or dinner with every U.S. President since Ronald Regan.


When asked what he hopes people would take away from his presentation, he told KBest News that there are three things he hopes to do.


“I want to inspire people. I want to encourage them, and I want to remind them,” said Montanez. “To inspire means to breathe life into them. To encourage someone means to take courage and implant it, and to remind someone of who they are and the value they bring to humanity, their community, and their family.


“Those are the three things that happened to me. Not as a child, but as an adult. I want to make sure everyone knows that you can be inspired, you can be encouraged, and we need to remind each other. We need more unity in this country, and in my presentations, I’m going to try to do that wherever I go.


“I’m a firm believer in people. I’m an investor in people. I look at my life, no education, couldn’t read or write, but I tell people ‘Look how far I got without an education. Just imagine how far you can get with one.’”


Montanez has now written a best-selling book and has a movie coming out about it, plus, he’s currently working on his second book, and reported that a movie is being made about the first book.


KBest confirms NO active shooter in Stanton.

** UPDATE from Stanton Stanton Police Department @ 3:50 PM **


On 10-08-19, Officers with the Stanton Police Department, while following up on a series of vehicle burglaries, in which a firearm was taken, responded to the Stanton High School. The school was placed on lockdown, as a precaution while the student was located and detained in that investigation, it was determined that there was no firearm or threat present at the school. The firearm was located off of school grounds, and was never a threat to the school or students. The juvenile was arrested and turned over to the Juvenile Probation Office.


Shortly after the Stanton High School was placed on lockdown, a second time, after a separate threat had been reported. Officers investigated and determined that there was no threat to the school, and the school resumed normal operations.


----------------Original Post-----------------


There is NO active shooter in Stanton. Officials have confirmed with KBest News that rumors of a shooter are false. The cause of the heightened awareness started with vehicles that were broken into over the weekend, one of which contained a firearm. The gun was stolen from the vehicle, and was suspected to have been in the possession of a student at Stanton High. Authorities at the school secured the building as an act of caution while the student was being questioned. Whether the student was in possession of the weapon at school today is still under investigation.


Big Spring City Council Agenda, 10/08/19

The Big Spring City Council will be meeting in a regular session this evening at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers, located at 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring.


One of the items on tonight’s agenda will be the first reading of a resolution vowing to preserve the rights, freedom, and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and declaring the City of Big Spring as a Second Amendment Sanctuary. This particular item had been tabled from the last meeting on September 24th.


Other items up for consideration and possible action include requests to seek any grants for additional funding for the renovations to the Historic Comanche Trail Amphitheater, an agreement with Enterprise FM for 4 vehicles for the Big Spring Police Department, and a financial advisory contract with SAMCO Capital for financial advisor and consulting services.

To review the whole agenda for tonight's meeting, visit:…/…/Agenda/_10082019-359


Fundraiser for local retired teacher, 10/12/19

There will be a benefit this Saturday, October 12th, for Big Spring resident Mariann Williams, a retired teacher who had taught over 40 years in Big Spring, Ackerly, and Sands.


Earlier this year, Williams was hospitalized for 2 ½ weeks in the Dallas area. When she returned to her home, she found her home had been vandalized by people who had broken into her residence and had been squatting there while she was away. They also vandalized her car. Now she says she has to have electrical and plumbing work done on her residence. Williams told KBest News that she had been robbed and now she’s 72 years old and having to start over.


Saturday’s benefit organized for Ms. Williams will be from 2 PM – 2 AM at Levi’s Backyard Event Center, located at 124 E. Main St. in Big Spring. There will be live music during the event, featuring local artists Keith Andrews and James McMillan, plus they’ll be selling $10 brisket plates and $5 raffle tickets. There will also be a live auction and the event is BYOB.


For more information, contact 432-213-5837.


West Texas VA Health Care System holds Town Hall Meeting, 10/17/19

Jason Cave, Interim Director, West Texas VA Health Care System (WTVAHCS), cordially invites Veterans and Stakeholders of the Big Spring area to attend and participate in a Town Hall Meeting. The event will be held Thursday, October 17, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. at the West Texas VA Health Care System, 300 Veterans Blvd, Big Spring, TX 79720.


The Town Hall Meeting will provide an opportunity to engage Veteran Stakeholders in an interpersonal way and reaffirm that the needs of Veterans are at the center of VA health care. Mr. Cave will provide a brief opening statement on general WTVAHCS information that will be followed by a question and answer session.


Questions of a general nature will be discussed in open forum. Procedures to protect Veteran privacy will be shared at the event.


BSHS Principal and Athletic Director filmed for a day.

Jack Bowen followed Big Spring High School Principal and Athletic Director Mike Ritchey around with a camera for much of Friday, September 27th.


"He is one of the finest persons I’ve ever known, who makes me prouder every day of my alma mater and my hometown. If I were the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Ritchey would be one of my top selling points to attract new businesses," said Bowen. 


Here's the link for the video:




BIG SPRING – It’s often difficult to differentiate between depressive disorders and having the blues especially when someone is in the throes of a difficult time in his or her life.

“Being depressed or down in the dumps is quite common and affects a number of people,” said Shelley Smith LMSW, West Texas Centers CEO. “Depressive disorders are different. It lasts for an extended period and requires medical intervention.”


“What we see in our 15 West Texas Centers mental health clinics is that many people cannot tell if they are feeling depressed or if they are living with major depression. It often takes a clinician to diagnose and treat depression.”


To assist people who may be unsure whether they are depressed or those going through a rough patch, West Texas Centers and Big Spring State Hospital will offer free depression screenings to the community, Thursday, October 10, on National Depression Screening Day.


The screenings will be held at the Heritage Museum Conference Room, 510 Scurry St., Big Spring, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Screenings are free and are open to people of any age, Smith said.


“We have been partnering with Big Spring State Hospital since 2000, offering this free, confidential service to the community,” Smith said. “We have assisted hundreds of people during National Depression Screening Day and identified many who needed immediate treatment. Some had been living with major depression for years but did not think they needed help.”


Upon arrival, attendees are provided with a short questionnaire that will be reviewed by an on-site medical professional.


“The questionnaire provided to us by the National Depression Screening Day organization gives our mental health professionals insight into how and why they are feeling depressed,” Smith said.


The clinicians and the attendees review the answers together, which gives the mental health experts additional information and helps them decide whether follow-up care is necessary.


Mental health professionals at the screenings do not diagnose depression Smith said, but they may suggest avenues participants can pursue. Each attendee is given educational literature and the names and phone numbers of community resources.


“Many of the people we see every year are those who are just not sure if they are clinically depressed or if they just need to work through a particular issue that they may be experiencing,” Smith said. 


Depression affects more than 16 million Americans each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.


West Texas Centers operates a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline, 1-800-375-4357.the line is available for those who are in a crisis or need mental health services, Smith said.


West Texas Centers also offers Mental Health First Aid classes throughout the year. You may contact Howard College to sign up for the class, or logon to our website  to see a list of training dates. 


For more information on the depression screenings or mental health first aid, call Amy Vidal at (432) 264-3256 or


Big Spring Art Association Annual Membership Art Show

The Big Spring Art Association Annual Membership Art Show and Sale opened today at the Marie Hall Center for the Arts, at the Howard College campus in Big Spring.


A ribbon cutting was held by the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and a reception followed to celebrate the opening of the art show. 


Kay Smith, BSAA Reporter and Co-Chairman for the show, told KBest News that they have approximately 40 entries this year, including an art student. Smith is also the winner of the Loretta Bennet Farquhar Special Recognition Award. 

All works displayed are original and most are available for purchase. The art show serves as a fundraiser for the organization, and will run through October 30th. The public is encouraged to show their support for the organization and the artists by attending the art show this month. 


The mission of the Big Spring Art Association is to advance an interest in art in Big Spring and the vicinity, and to promote recognition and appreciation of art in the community. The organization meets each 3rd Saturday of the month at 10 AM at the Howard County Library, unless otherwise noted on their Facebook page.


Big Spring Airport celebrates 90th anniversary at Prairie Dog Fly-In this weekend.

This weekend, October 4-5, 2019, the McMahon-Wrinkle Airport is sponsoring the 13th Annual Prairie Dog Fly-In, in conjunction with Movie Night, and a celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the Big Spring Airport.


Tomorrow night, October 4th, at 8 PM will be a free Movie Night in the Hangar showing Disney’s “Planes”. The movie screening will be inside of the hangar, but those attending are encouraged to bring blankets to sit on. 


Saturday morning at 8 AM a $5 pancake breakfast will be served. This meal will be free for all pilots flying in.  


At 10 AM Saturday morning, prizes will be awarded and there will be a ceremony celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the opening of the Big Spring Airport.


The public is cordially invited to attend these activities sponsored by the Airport Board and the City of Big Spring. 


For questions or additional information contact Phillip Welch or Andriana Olvera at 432-264-2362.


"Silent Witness" survivor shares story to shed light on domestic violence.

Yesterday, the "Silent Witnesses" Display was set up in the middle of the 1st floor at the Howard County Courthouse in Big Spring. The display, set up by Victim Services of Big Spring, is meant to bring attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


Kelsey Allen, a survivor of one of the silent witnesses, attended the event to share her experience with domestic violence. Kelsey’s mother, Tonya Allen, was a former Big Spring resident residing in Hereford when she was shot on her 32nd birthday by her estranged husband. Kelsey was 7 years old when her mother was shot just a few feet away from her on December 26, 2005. 


When asked how she felt to be able to share her story with at the Silent Witness Commencement ceremony, Kelsey told KBest News that she felt blessed. 


"Someone needs to be a voice. Someone needs to able to come and to speak and to be a voice for those who no longer can, or may be scared, or just in a situation where it's not possible for them. Someone needs to be their voice, and I just feel very blessed to be that person," said Kelsey.


She went on to say that everyone needs to fight against domestic violence. 


"We need to make sure that there are plenty of people out there spreading this awareness, spreading this word. [We need to be] Letting people know that this is real, and it's happening, sometimes, right under our noses. We need to be out there fighting for the victims," continued Kesley.


The "Silent Witnesses" display will remain on the 1st floor of the Howard County Courthouse in Big Spring, through the end of this month.


Wine and Pumpkins bring in approximately $1,200 for United Way of Big Spring and Howard County.

The United Way of Big Spring and Howard County held their event Wine and Pumpkins Monday evening at Moss Creek Ranch.


According to Christian Fair, Executive Director for the local organization, the event was sponsored by Big Spring Ford and hosted 35 participants. It was able to raise approximately $1200 to add to this year's United Way campaign.


The United Way of Big Spring & Howard County is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the health and human service agencies of Howard and the surrounding counties.


The 2020 partner agencies include:
* Buffalo Trail Council, Boy Scouts
* CWJC, Spring of Siloam
* CASA of West Texas
* Council on Aging/Meals on Wheels
* Emergency Services Chaplains Corp.
* Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest
* Head Start Readiness Academy
* Howard County Children's Advocacy Center
* Howard County Resource Center
* The Salvation Army
* The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club
* Victim Services
* West Side Community Day Care
* YMCA of Big Spring


HHSC Announces Health Care Funding to Help Texans


AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has been notified by the federal government that up to $3.87 billion in funds will be available for Texas each year for the next three years to help reimburse health care providers for charity care they deliver to patients.

Previous amounts were closer to $3.1 billion each year. The additional funding begins Oct. 1 and will benefit hospitals, public ambulance providers, public dental providers and some physician clinics.

“We are pleased the federal government is reinvesting taxpayer dollars into our health care system. We are doing everything we can to keep Texas health care moving forward,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services. “We have been negotiating on behalf of the people of Texas, and this funding makes Texas stronger.”

This increase in funding is the result of negotiations between HHSC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on an appropriate methodology. The $3.87 billion per year represents the maximum uncompensated care funding available in this program for Texas. The methodologies and dollar amounts are set by CMS and could be modified in the future.

“I applaud the work of Governor Abbott and Commissioner Phillips to secure these additional critical funds for Texas health care providers,” said Sen. Lois Kolkhorst. “Texas is a large and dynamic state that needs a strong and reliable partnership with the federal government to meet the needs of our growing state. I thank the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for this investment and I look forward to working with CMS moving forward on key priorities for improving health care in Texas.”

Uncompensated care payments help offset a portion of the costs incurred by health care providers for the care they provide to low-income Texas patients who can’t afford services. Services may include hospital stays, physician fees, clinic visits and outpatient drug costs.

“Texas hospitals applaud HHSC for its work to secure funding to help hospitals cover the costs of caring for uninsured Texans,” said Ted Shaw, president and CEO of the Texas Hospital Association. “This funding is critical to ensure the stability of Texas’ fragile health care safety net and hospitals’ ability to provide the highest quality care for all Texans.”

With news of the pool size increase, Texas health officials expect to see a continued ability to care for low-income patients in Texas hospitals. Of the approximately 600 hospitals in Texas, about 360 currently receive uncompensated care payments.


Update on Odessa serial shooter

ECTOR COUNTY, Tx. (KOSA) -- The man linked to last week’s serial shootings in Odessa has been identified as Troy Lee Wilson, according to documents obtained by CBS7.

Troy Lee Wilson, 36. (Photo: Midland County Jail)

The 36-year-old is reportedly an Odessa native.


Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis refused to share any information this morning during a news conference about Wilson’s arrest Friday, saying he was trying to protect the integrity of the investigation.


However, public documents requested by CBS7 include details about how he was arrested Friday and his mugshot.


The arrest affidavit says that just after noon on Friday, an undercover officer with the Odessa Police Department told a DPS trooper they were following a white pick-up truck eastbound on I-20 that matched the description of the vehicle the shooter was driving.


The trooper at first tried to stop Wilson using his emergency lights but, he said, Wilson didn’t pull over.


Then he turned on his siren.


That’s when he says, he watched Wilson look into both of his side mirrors and then reach for an unknown object.


Wilson drove for four more miles at 55 mph before he stopped just west of Loop 250 in Midland County, according to the affidavit.


We received a number of calls from viewers telling us about the white pick-up truck being pulled over in that area - especially since there were at least seven DPS vehicles pulled up behind the truck – and we’re told at one point they had their guns drawn.


The troopers told reporters at the time it was a routine traffic stop and they were only checking the sobriety of the driver.


They arrested Wilson - and he’s being held on a $500,000 bond for capital murder and a $50,000 bond for evading arrest with a motor vehicle.


Wilson’s Facebook page is filled with posts about Jesus, prayer and renouncing evil.


Even on the day investigators say Wilson shot and killed 36-year-old Juan Rosalez, he posted, “Good morning to all hope you have a super blessed day and pray for all you can ...... and go into prayer and renounce anything you can to Jesus Christ of evil in your life and or go into prayer ask him to speak in holly (sic) spirit in voice and tell what to renounce ...... just say what it is in prayer and renounce in Jesus name amen ........”


The ECSO says Wilson also shot 52-year-old Jesus Alvarado in the stomach Tuesday on Meteor Crater Road. Alvarado was able to get himself to the Pilot Truck Stop nearby for help.

Rosalez was shot and killed Thursday night on Business 20 between FM 1936 and the I-20 overpass.


Both were in vehicles on the side of the road when they were shot, according to investigators.


Two other shootings were reported on Tuesday, but Wilson reportedly only hit the vehicles.


Three earthquakes occur within 24 hours in Scurry County.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, three earthquakes have occurred underneath Scurry County, approximately 12 miles north/northeast of Snyder within the last 24 hours.


The first quake was reported east of State Highway 208 around 4:47 p.m. on Monday, 09-30-19. That earthquake had a magnitude of 4.0. Earthquake magnitude is a measure of the size of an earthquake at its source. According to USGS, the intensity of a 4.0 consists of light shaking and no damage.

The next two quakes were reported on Tuesday morning. According to USGS, one occurred around 2:14 AM with a magnitude of 3.8, and the latest one happened at 6:20 a.m. with a magnitude of 2.5.


(Photo - USGS Community Internet Intensity Map of the earthquake in Scurry County on 09/30/19.)


To view information on the quakes from the U.S. Geological Survey, click on the link below:


Area News: Andrews Middle School Choir Director found with child pornography

ANDREWS, Tx. (KOSA) -- The Choir Director of Andrews Middle School was arrested on Monday after police say they found child pornography on one of his electronic devices.

Gary Lynn Ragland, 59, has been charged with possession of Child Pornography, a 3rd Degree Felony.


According to the Andrews Police Department, their officers were contacted by Andrews ISD that their web filter that monitors and safeguards students indicated that pornography was being searched for on a school computer.


An investigation revealed that Ragland had been the one using the computer. Police say that a search of Ragland's electronic devices found child pornography.


Ragland was then charged and arrested.


DPS and the Texas Rangers are assisting Andrews police in the investigation.


According to the Andrews ISD website, Ragland has taught at Andrews Middle School for the past 20 years. His teaching responsibilities included helping with the high school choirs, coaching UIL Spelling and Music Memory and working as a Scripps Spelling Bee Coordinator.


Andrews ISD released the following statement:

"The primary purpose of Andrews ISD is the safety and security of all AISD students, faculty, and staff. As a result, District web security filtering blocked pornographic searches by Mr. Gary Ragland on his school laptop. The District immediately removed Mr. Ragland and contacted the Andrews Police Department. AISD will continue to work with the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation, the Texas Rangers, and the Andrews Police Department as they continue their investigation. Andrews ISD has and will continue to take all necessary and appropriate actions to ensure the safety and well-being of all AISD students. As this is an ongoing investigation nor further details from the District will be released at this time."


Andrews police encourage the public to report any suspected child pornography and any suspicious activity.


Big Spring Ghost Tours

Big Spring Ghost Tours will have a tour every Friday night during the month of October 2019. The approximate 90-minute walking ghost tour will begin and end at the Train Car and travel around downtown Big Spring between Gregg Street and Goliad, from 1st to 5th St.


According to Shonda Folsom, one of the people helping with the tours, the tours are ran with help from the Heritage Museum. She noted that the script for the tour has been submitted to the Heritage Museum for fact-checking. She advised that proceeds from the tours will be donated to the Heritage Museum . 


"We are not guaranteeing that anyone will see a ghost while they are down there. We will guarantee that you'll have fun and you will learn interesting things about Big Spring and Howard County that you might not have known before," said Folsom.



Tickets are $12 each or $10 each for a group of 5 or more. The tours will allow 20 people per group, and people are encouraged to reserve their spot by paying for their tickets in advance by calling the Train Car at 432-270-6113.


It should be noted that there is no age limit for the tour. It should be noted that the age to enter the Train Car is 21, but the rest of the tour will stick to sidewalks where available. Folsom did advise that the tour may not be suitable for kids who scare easily and get nightmares.


Big Spring Ghost Tours are sponsored by The Train Car, Folsom Law Firm, and the Heritage Museum of Big Spring. 




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