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KBST News Archives for 2021-03

Thank You for your Investment - Hangar 25 Air Museum


The Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a “Thank You for your Investment” presentation for the Hangar 25 Air Museum in Big Spring, located at 1911 Apron Dr. in Big Spring.

When asked how she felt about the presentation, Amber Stokes, Museum Administrator for the Hangar 25 Air Museum, said that she appreciates everything that the Chamber does to promote the museum.

 

Hangar 25 Air Museum exists 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. Admission is free, but they do accept donations. The Hangar 25 Air Museum is open Tuesday - Friday, from 10 am - 4 pm, and on Saturdays from 10 am - 2 pm.

 

According to Stokes, the Hangar 25 Air Museum would have some cosmetic projects coming up for the museum. This includes the T-33 that will get repainted to look like it did in the 1950s. She said F-100 and B-52 will also be getting repainted.

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Voter Registration for May Election


General Elections for City of Big Spring and the City of Coahoma are scheduled for May 1, 2021. The last day to register to vote or update your address is April 1, 2021.

 

Candidates running for Big Spring City Council District 2 are Diane Yanez and Willie Rangel, Jr. Those running for District 4 are David A. Scott and incumbent Gloria Byrd McDonald.

 

Candidates running for Mayor in the City of Coahoma are Lori Gonzales and incumbent Warren Wallace.

 

There are 2 days left to register to vote in the May election. 

 

Also, be sure to request your ballot by mail if you qualify. 

 

To be eligible to vote early by mail in Texas, you must:

be 65 years or older;

be sick or disabled;

be out of the county on election day and during the period for early voting by personal appearance; or

be confined in jail, but otherwise eligible.

 

For more information, you can contact the Howard County Elections Office at 432-264-2273, visit their Facebook page, or visit or votetexas.gov.

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Big Spring City Offices Closed on Good Friday


All City of Big Spring offices will be closed on Friday, April 2, 2021, for Good Friday.

There will be no sanitation pickup on Friday, April 2nd. End of the week sanitation pickup will shift one day ahead. Thursday’s normal sanitation routes will be picked up on Wednesday, March 31st.

 

Friday’s normal sanitation routes will be picked up on Thursday, April 1st.

 

The City Landfill will also be closed on Friday, April 2nd. The landfill will be open on Saturday, April 3 rd, for normal business hours.

 

Emergency services (Police, Fire, and EMS) will continue normal operations. The Emergency Utilities Department will also be available and can be reached by calling 432-264-2392.

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Vietnam Veterans presented with Quilts of Valor


Yesterday, eight Vietnam War Veterans were presented with Quilts of Valor during a program honoring Vietnam War Veterans. 

 

Those presented with quilts were:

Steven Purdy, Navy / Marine

Ed Meiser, Air Force

Clarence Hartfield, Army

Stanley Phillips, Navy

Bob Moore, Air Force

Mike Sanchez, Army

Clayton Bentley, Air Force

Ray Long, Army

 

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

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West Texas VA Health Care System announces stakeholder listening sessions as part of ongoing effort to guide the future of VA health care


BIG SPRING, TX — The West Texas VA Health Care System recently announced that it will hold a virtual listening session with stakeholders April 23, 2021 to hear from Veterans and the communities VA serves.

 

This is one of 50 public virtual listening sessions across the country from March through June 2021 to hear from Veterans on how to design a health care system of the future and grow services for Veterans in a way that reinforces VA’s role as a leader in the U.S. health care system.

 

“We want to hear from Veterans and other stakeholders in the communities VA serves, and understand their vision for VA health care,” said Jason Cave, Director WTVAHCS “VA’s goal is to collaborate closely with Veterans and other stakeholders to build the best VA health care system that meets the needs of Veterans today and for generations to come.”

 

These listening sessions represent an exciting opportunity for Veterans to help VA reimagine how VA delivers care in an equitable, high quality, Veteran-centered manner and develop a plan for investing in VA’s aging infrastructure. The feedback will be used to develop the recommendations VA submits to the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission in January 2022. The AIR Commission will also conduct public hearings as part of their review of VA’s recommendations before submitting its recommendations to the President and Congress for review and approval in 2023.

 

To register for the WTVAHCS listening session, please visit https://www.va.gov/HEALTHPOLICYPLANNING/listening.asp.

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CES Principal Alvarez, Assistant Principal McJimsey receive regional honors


Coahoma ISD is proud to announce that Coahoma Elementary School (CES) Principal Alison Alvarez and Assistant Principal Brynn McJimsey were recently recognized by the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TESPA) for their outstanding leadership and commitment to student learning.

 

“This is a well-deserved honor for these two fine educators,” said CISD Superintendent Brad Cox. “CISD is fortunate to have Alison and Brynn on our administrative team to help us navigate through so much uncertainty this year to help create a safe and nurturing educational environment for our students.”

 

Alvarez, who has served as the CES principal for the past six years, was one of 20 school leaders named TESPANs of the Year.

 

“I am incredibly thankful to work for Coahoma ISD,” Alvarez said. “We have a great board, superintendent, staff, parents and most importantly, amazing students.”

 

Before joining the CISD administrative staff, Alvarez was the assistant principal and a seventh grade teacher at Colorado Middle School in Colorado City.

 

A Colorado High School graduate, Alvarez began her 17-year career in education at Colorado Middle School as an eighth grade language arts teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 2003 from Angelo State University and her Master of Education degree in 2010 from Abilene Christian University. She has received her principal and superintendent certifications and is also certified to teach pre-kindergarten through fourth grade general education and fourth through sixth grade language arts and social studies.

 

McJimsey is the Region 18 TESPA Assistant Principal of the Year, a peer-based award recognizing administrative leaders for their commitment to student learning and exceptional school leadership.

 

“This recognition is an honor, especially during such a challenging and unpredictable school year,” McJimsey said. “I am blessed to be able to work with great teachers, parents, administration and students at Coahoma Elementary everyday.”

 

Before joining the CES administrative staff in 2019, McJimsey served as the dyslexia teacher and dyslexia coordinator for Coahoma ISD. She is a graduate of Westbrook High School and began her career in education 15 years ago as a kindergarten teacher for Colorado ISD.

 

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary child development and learning and her master’s degree as a reading specialist from Angelo State University in 2006 and 2009 respectively. She received her administration certification from Lamar University in 2014 and is certified to teach early childhood pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. She holds a certification as a reading specialist for grades kindergarten through twelfth.

 

Later this year, TESPA will announce the 2021 National Assistant Principal of the Year for Texas who will be chosen from among the 20 regional honorees. TESPA is a member owned and governed organization with more than 5,900 members who direct the activities of more than 3 million pre-kindergarten through eighth grade children.

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Justice Department Takes Action Against COVID-19 Fraud


Historic level of enforcement action during national health emergency continues

 

The Department of Justice announced an update today on criminal and civil enforcement efforts to combat COVID-19 related fraud, including schemes targeting the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs.


As of last week, the Department of Justice has publicly charged 474 defendants with criminal offenses based on fraud schemes connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. These cases involve attempts to obtain over $569 million from the U.S. government and unsuspecting individuals through fraud and have been brought in 56 federal districts around the country. These cases reflect a degree of reach, coordination, and expertise that is critical for enforcement efforts against COVID-19 related fraud to have a meaningful impact and is also emblematic of the
Justice Department’s response to criminal wrongdoing.


The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas is actively participating in the Department of Justice's efforts to hold accountable those who have illegally lined their pockets during the COVID-19 pandemic. This office has utilized all available legal authorities to stop coronavirus related fraud schemes, including civil injunctions to stop ongoing frauds, and criminal indictments to bring to justice those who have taken advantage of the pandemic to victimize their fellow citizens. We will continue to devote resources to addressing this abhorrent behavior, and anyone engaged in these kinds of schemes can expect to see continuing, robust criminal and civil enforcement action.


“The Department of Justice has led an historic enforcement initiative to detect and disrupt COVID-19 related fraud schemes,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The impact of the department’s work to date sends a clear and unmistakable message to those who would exploit a national emergency to steal taxpayer-funded resources from vulnerable individuals and small businesses. We are committed to protecting the American people and the integrity of the critical lifelines provided for them by Congress, and we will continue to respond to this challenge.”


“To anyone thinking of using the global pandemic as an opportunity to scam and steal from hardworking Americans, my advice is simple – don’t,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “No matter where you are or who you are, we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”


“We will not allow American citizens or the critical benefits programs that have been created to assist them to be preyed upon by those seeking to take advantage of this national emergency,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We are proud to work with our law enforcement partners to hold wrongdoers accountable and to safeguard taxpayer funds.”

 

“On the anniversary of the CARES Act, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas renews its commitment to pursue the fraudsters who steal from a system designed to provide help to deserving individuals and businesses suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “Working closely with IRS Criminal Investigation and our other law enforcement partners, we will redouble our efforts to identify and vigorously prosecute anyone committing fraud in relation to the CARES Act financial benefit programs.”


In March 2020, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion economic relief bill known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Anticipating the need to protect the integrity of these taxpayer funds and to otherwise protect Americans from fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Justice immediately stood up multiple efforts dedicated to identifying, investigating, and prosecuting such fraud. Leveraging data analysis capabilities and partnerships developed through its vast experience combatting economic crime and fraud on government programs, the Justice Department’s response to COVID-19 related fraud serves as a model for proactive, high-impact white-collar enforcement, and demonstrates our agility in responding to new and emerging threats. This rapid and nationwide response enabled the Justice Department to quickly ensure accountability for wrongdoing amid a national crisis and sent a forceful message of deterrence during an ongoing crisis. The multifaceted and multi- district approach to enforcement during this national health emergency continues and is expected to yield numerous additional criminal and civil enforcement actions in the coming months.


On criminal matters, the Justice Department’s efforts to combat COVID-19 related fraud schemes have proceeded on numerous fronts, including:
• Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud: Prominent among the department’s efforts have been cases brought by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section involving at least 120 defendants charged with PPP fraud. The cases involve a range of conduct, from individual business owners who have inflated their payroll expenses to obtain larger loans than they otherwise would have qualified for, to serial fraudsters who revived dormant corporations and purchased shell companies with no actual operations to apply for multiple loans falsely stating they had significant payroll, to organized criminal networks submitting identical loan applications and supporting documents under the names of different companies. Most charged defendants have misappropriated loan proceeds for prohibited purposes, such as the purchase of houses, cars, jewelry, and other luxury items. In one case, U.S. v. Dinesh Sah, in the
Northern District of Texas, the defendant applied for 15 different PPP loans to eight different lenders, using 11 different companies, seeking a total of $24.8 million. The defendant obtained approximately $17.3 million and used the proceeds to purchase multiple homes, jewelry, and luxury vehicles. In another case, U.S. v. Richard Ayvazyan, et al., in the Central District of California, eight defendants applied for 142 PPP and EIDL loans seeking over $21 million using stolen and fictitious identities and sham companies, and laundered the proceeds through a web of bank accounts to purchase real estate, securities, and jewelry.


• Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) fraud: The department has also focused on fraud against the EIDL program, which was designed to provide loans to small businesses, agricultural and non-profit entities. Fraudsters have targeted the program by applying for EIDL advances and loans on behalf of ineligible newly-created, shell, or non-existent businesses, and diverting the funds for illegal purposes. The department has responded, primarily through the efforts of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado and their partners at the U.S. Secret Service, acting swiftly to seize loan proceeds from fraudulent applications, with $580 million seized to date and seizures ongoing. The EIDL Fraud
Task Force in Colorado, comprised of personnel from five federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors, is investigating a broad swath of allegedly fraudulently loans and their applicants. It is working to identify individual wrongdoers and networks of fraudsters appropriate for prosecution.

 

• Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $860 billion in federal funds has been appropriated for UI benefits through September 2021. Early investigation and analysis indicate that international organized criminal groups have targeted these funds by using stolen identities to file for UI benefits. Domestic fraudsters, ranging from identity thieves to prison inmates, have also committed UI fraud. In response, the department established the National Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force, a prosecutor-led multi-agency task force with representatives from more than eight different federal law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the department is hiring Assistant U.S. Attorneys in multiple U.S. Attorney’s Offices whose focus will be UI fraud prosecutions. Since the
start of the pandemic, over 140 defendants have been charged and arrested for federal offenses related to UI fraud. In one case, U.S. v. Leelynn Danielle Chytka, in the Western District of Virginia, a defendant recently pleaded guilty for her role in a scheme that successfully stole more than $499,000 in UI benefits using the identities of individuals ineligible for UI, including a number of prisoners.


Through the department’s International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) program, ICHIP advisors have provided assistance and case-based mentoring to foreign counterparts around the globe to help detect, investigate and prosecute fraud related to the pandemic. The ICHIPs have helped counterparts combat cyber-enabled crime (e.g., online fraud) and intellectual property crime, including fraudulent and mislabeled COVID-19 treatments and sales of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. ICHIPs conducted webinars for foreign prosecutors and law enforcement in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America on how to take down fraudulent COVID-19 websites. These webinars addressed methods for finding the registrar for a particular domain and requesting a voluntary takedown as well as the U.S. legal processes necessary for obtaining a court order that would bind a U.S. registrar. This has resulted in the take down of multiple online COVID-19 scams and significant seizures of counterfeit medicines and medical supplies such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and
other illicit goods.


The department has also brought actions to combat coronavirus-related fraud schemes targeting American consumers. With scammers around the world attempting to sell fake and unlawful cures, treatments, and personal protective equipment, the department has brought dozens of civil and criminal enforcement actions to safeguard Americans’ health and economic security. The department has prosecuted or secured civil injunctions against dozens of defendants who sold products — including industrial bleach, ozone gas, vitamin supplements, and colloidal silver ointments — using false or unapproved claims about the products’ abilities to prevent or treat COVID-19 infections. The department has also worked to shutter hundreds of fraudulent websites that were facilitating consumer scams, and it has taken scores of actions to disrupt financial networks supporting such scams. The department is also coordinating with numerous agency partners to prevent and deter vaccine- related fraud.

 

The department is also using numerous civil tools to address fraud in connection with CARES Act programs.

 

For example, in the Eastern District of California, the department obtained the first civil settlement for fraud involving the Paycheck Protection Program, resolving civil claims under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) and the False Claims Act (FCA) against an internet retail company and its president and chief executive officer arising from false statements to federally insured banks to influence those banks to approve, and the SBA to guarantee, a PPP loan. FIRREA allows the government to impose civil penalties for violations of enumerated federal criminal statutes, including those that affect federally-insured financial institutions. The FCA is the government’s primary civil tool to redress false claims for federal funds and property involving a multitude of government operations and functions. The FCA permits private citizens with knowledge of fraud against the government to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Such whistleblower complaints have been on the rise as unscrupulous actors take advantage of vulnerabilities created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the new government programs disbursing federal relief, and whistleblower cases will continue to be an essential source of new leads to help root out the misuse and abuse of taxpayer funds.
Indictments and other criminal charges referenced above are merely allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


The unprecedented pace and tempo of these efforts is made possible only through the diligent work of a wide range of Justice Department partners, including the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch (Fraud Section) and Consumer Protection Branch, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country, and law enforcement partners from the FBI, Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Offices of Inspectors General from the Small Business Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Social Security Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Housing Finance Agency and Federal Reserve Board, Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Special Inspector General for Pandemic Relief, Pandemic Response
Accountability Committee, OCDETF Fusion Center and OCDETF’s International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center.


To learn more about the department’s COVID response, visit: https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. For further information on the Criminal Division’s enforcement efforts on PPP fraud, including court documents from significant cases, visit the following website: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud. For further
information on the Civil Division’s enforcement efforts, visit the following website: https://www.justice.gov/civil.


To report a COVID-19-related fraud scheme or suspicious activity, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling the NCDF Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at:

https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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Big Spring City Council meeting - Regular Session - highlights, part 2


Public hearings were held on the proposed amendments to the city’s zoning regulations regarding carports and accessories, recreational vehicles and mobile and manufactured homes, short-term rentals, and administrative amendments. Citizens voiced their concerns about the proposed amendments. 

 

Ultimately, a majority of the council approved the amended ordinances. As part of those amended ordinances, carports are more accessible and you don’t have to notify your neighbors of the installation. The maximum opening height for a carport cannot exceed 11 ½ ft and must have at least 1 open side. The area beneath the carport must be paved or covered with a non-combustible material other than dirt. Carports can only be used for parking vehicles, not for storage or non-vehicular use. 

 

Travel Trailers and Recreational vehicles are only permitted as living quarters when properly authorized w/ a Specific Use Permit. 

 

Mobile and Manufactured Homes

  • Mobile homes (built before 1976) may remain in the City, but cannot be replaced with another mobile home or placed in another location in the city

  • Manufactured homes (built after 1976) cannot be located on any lot or tract of land that is not entirely within the SF-3 or GR district

  • Manufactured homes shall not be used as an office or business building, unless manufactured homes are the business

  • All utilities must be hooked up or made available in accordance with the building code

  • Shall be placed on an improved surface being properly graded for drainage and stability. 

  • Should be placed parallel to the adjacent street front

  • Shall be tied down on the property with towing tongue removed and the appropriate skirting consisting of new materials to prevent the view and access of animals underneath the unit.

 

A second reading of the amended ordinances will be listed on the agenda for the next council meeting on April 13, 2021.

 

To read more on the amended ordinances that passed in the first reading, visit:

http://www.mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03232021-454 


 

Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason proclaimed April 2021 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month in Big Spring, TX and urged all citizens to recognize the month by dedicating themselves to tothe task of improving the quality of life for all children and families of the community. 

 

Scenic Mountain Medical Center will have their 7th annual Child Abuse Awareness event on Thursday, April 15, 5:30 - 7:30 PM in the front lawn area at SMMC, located at 1601 W. 11th Place in Big Spring.


 

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Scholarship Deadlines coming up soon 


Scholarship deadlines are quickly approaching for the Permian Basin Underwater Conservation District and the 2021 Don’t Mess with Texas Scholarship Contest.

 

PBUWCD Scholarship

The Permian Basin Underground Water Conservation District (PBUWCD) is sponsoring an essay contest for graduating seniors who are planning to attend college in the fall. There is an opportunity for a scholarship to be awarded to one student from each of the High Schools located in the District's coverage area. The District's area ONLY includes the following 4 schools: Forsan, Grady, Sands, and Stanton. Each winner of the contest will receive a $2,000 scholarship to the college of their choice.

 

The essays are due no later than March 30, 2021 at 5 pm. They may be submitted to the student's school counselor or the Permian Basin UWCD office at 708 W St. Peter, Stanton, TX.

 

For further criteria and information, please contact your High School Counselor or the PBUWCD office at (432)756-2136.

 

 

2021 DON’T mess with Texas Scholarship Contest

The 2021 Don’t mess with Texas Scholarship Contest, in partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful, recognizes the achievements of high school seniors who have taken a leadership role to prevent litter in their school and/or community. Any Texas high school senior planning to pursue a two- or four-year degree at an accredited college or university in the Fall of 2021 and currently attending public, private, or home school in Texas may apply. One $5,000 Grand Prize scholarship and two $2,000 scholarships will be awarded this May 2021. 

 

Applications must be received by online submission or postmarked by 5 p.m. (CST) March 31st, 2021.

https://www.dontmesswithtexas.org/education-overview/scholarships/

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Scenic Mountain Medical Center Community Vaccine Updates


BIG SPRING, Texas— Scenic Mountain Medical Center will host three drive-thru vaccination clinics in April for 1st doses on the following dates:

 

1 st Doses - Monday, April 12th from 4p-7p

1 st Doses - Monday, April 19th from 4p-7p

1 st Doses - Monday, April 26th from 4p-7p

 

The drive-thru clinics will be held at Scenic Mountain Medical Center - Whatley Plaza (North Driveway Entrance on Martin Luther King Blvd) located at 1601 W. 11th Place in Big Spring. In addition to the drive-thru vaccine clinic dates above, those eligible may also schedule 1 st doses by appointments. To schedule, call 432-268-4729. If you reach the voicemail, please leave a message regarding your interest in scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine and a staff member will follow up to schedule a date and time for your vaccine.

 

Effective Monday, March 29, all adults in Texas are eligible to receive the vaccine. The Texas Department of State Health Services expects vaccine supplies to increase next week, and providers in multiple parts of the state have made great strides in vaccinating people in the current priority groups. The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations to protect as many Texans as possible.

 

Earlier this week, Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason publicly announced that anyone who wants the vaccine, and is at least 16 years old, is allowed to receive it at this time from SMMC drive-thru clinics and appointments, and through Big Spring Urgent Care.

 

For more information, visit www.scenicmountainmedical.org/vaccine.

 

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Big Country FCA Reveals 2021 All-Star Rosters


More than 300 of the area’s top athletes representing 73 high schools have been selected to participate in the Big Country Chevy Dealers 2021 FCA All-Star Festival.

The 22nd annual All-Star Festival is scheduled for June 3-12 in four different Big Country cities and includes football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, golf, student trainers and cheerleading.

 

Several local area athletes were selected to participate in the festival. Big Spring athletes that were selected for the north teams are as follows: Ashlin Calvio and Jocelyn Gonzales for Volleyball, Kyler Seymore for the Men’s Basketball, Sarah Wood for Softball, and Alex Leuschner for Golf. Coahoma Athletes that were selected are: Julia Canales for Softball, Seth Brooks for Baseball, and Providence Dickson who will be cheerleading at the Abilene games. Forsan athletes selected are Cameron Allen for Football - Blue team, Rylee Evans and Taryn Spivey for Women’s Basketball, Mason Hillger for Men’s Basketball, and Bradlee Saucedo for Baseball. 

 

The Big Country Fellowship of Christian Athletes serves communities spread across a 37-county area including Abilene, the Concho Valley, the Brownwood area and Cross Timbers/Stephenville area.

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Texas to open COVID-19 vaccination to all adults on March 29


All adults will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas beginning Monday, March 29. The Texas Department of State Health Services expects vaccine supplies to increase next week, and providers in multiple parts of the state have made great strides in vaccinating people in the current priority groups. The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations to protect as many Texans as possible.

 

“As we continue to remove barriers for the community to receive these vaccines, we really have a chance to accelerate putting this pandemic behind us, and getting back to our lives,” said Dr. Rohith Saravanan, chief medical officer at Odessa Regional Medical Center and Scenic Mountain Medical Center.

 

DSHS has directed vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group who presents for vaccination, whether or not they have an appointment, by immediately moving them to the front of the line. That will ensure vaccination of anyone 80 or older with as small a burden on themselves as possible.

 

“We are closing in on 10 million doses administered in Texas, and we want to keep up the momentum as the vaccine supply increases,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and the chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. “As eligibility opens up, we are asking providers to continue to prioritize people who are the most at risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death – such as older adults.”

 

Also next week, DSHS will launch a website to allow people to register for a shot through some public health providers. The public will be able to enroll in the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler to identify upcoming vaccine clinics hosted by DSHS or a participating local health department and be notified when new clinics and appointments become available. People can continue to find additional providers though the DSHS Vaccine Information page at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine.

 

Online registration will be the best option for most people. For those for whom that is not an option, DSHS will launch a toll-free number to provide assistance making an appointment with a participating provider or locating another provider that has vaccine available.

 

To date, Texas has administered more than 9.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, equating to more than 6 million people with at least one dose and more than 3 million fully vaccinated. Most vaccines are authorized for people 18 years old and older; the FDA has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in people 16 and older.

 

For more information about local vaccination efforts in Ector and Howard County, visit:

 

www.odessaregionalmedicalcenter.org/vaccine or www.scenicmountainmedicalcenter.org/vaccine.

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Big Spring City Council highlights - 03/23/21


Newly elected District 6 Councilman Maury Smith was sworn in at last night’s meeting of the Big Spring City Council. 

 

During the COVID-19 Report, Dr. Steve Ahmed, Medical Advisor for the City of Big Spring, advised anyone at least 16 years old is able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He stated that cases of COVID-19 are dropping and that Moderna has begun work to vaccinate children. Currently, these vaccinations are being tested for ages 6 months to 16 years, and hopefully the Moderna findings will be submitted by December 2021.

 

According to Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason, there have been 4546 positive cases in Big Spring and Howard County, 100 covid related deaths, and there are currently 46 active cases.

Hospitalization rate for Trauma Area J is below 3 percent. 

 

Vaccinations are at 11 percent for the local population. During the meeting, it was announced that Scenic Mountain Medical Center and Big Spring Urgent Care are offering COVID-19 vaccinations without further restrictions, meaning anyone, over 16 years old, is allowed to get the vaccine with SMMC and Big Spring Urgent Care at this time.

 

Before the council meeting closed last night, Mayor Thomason announced that the City of Big Spring would be receiving $6.15 million from the American Rescue Plan and suggested that it all be spent on streets and water.

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Life Center Celebrates Phase 2 of Expansion with Ribbon Cutting


The Life Center in Big Spring held a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce and community members to celebrate the completion of Phase 2 of their 3 phase plan for expansion. Phase 2 included a sonogram room, an office, a room for the baby boutique, and a nurse room. Tracy Watson, Executive Director for the Life Center, said the expansion is made possible by donations.

 

The next phase will be adding on to their building to face Main St. There will be an entry, lobby, and reception area. Plus there client rooms will be built, as well as adding a classroom area.

 

“We just appreciate the public and all of their support,” said Watson. “We’ve started an ambassador program, so women are coming and volunteering and helping with The Life Center, and helping to get the word out.”

 

The Life Center has been in Big Spring since 2016. They are a non-profit abortion alternative organization that is located at 1801 S. Main St. in Big Spring. This organization is committed to providing knowledge and support to new parents no matter what the situation. Life Center Big Spring offers parent support to their clients by educating expecting mothers about what the options are and providing encouragement on their road to parenthood, as well as offering material assistance. The organization also promotes sexual integrity, sexual health, and teaches a prevention program in the schools. 

 

Anyone wanting to volunteer can contact the Life Center at 432-606-5041. 

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Big Spring State Hospital to Host Job Fair tomorrow, Mar. 24, 2021


The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Big Spring State Hospital is hosting an onsite job fair on Wednesday, March 24, from 9 AM to 4 PM.

 

“Our goal is to recruit people looking for a career in a rewarding environment providing acute inpatient psychiatric care for adults,” Big Spring State Hospital Superintendent Traci Phillips said. “State hospital employees find great purpose in their work by joining our mission to serve their fellow Texans.”

 

The state hospital is looking to hire more than 200 qualified candidates for positions including nurses, psychiatric nursing assistants, social workers, cosmetologists, food service workers, and maintenance staff. Big Spring State Hospital provides acute inpatient psychiatric care for adults with mental illnesses in West Texas and the Texas South Plains.

 

WHAT: An onsite job fair, hiring immediately for the listed positions

 

WHEN: 9 AM - 4 PM, Wednesday, Mar. 24th

 

WHERE: Grounds of the Big Spring State Hospital, located at 1901 North U.S. Highway 87, Big Spring.

 

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, staff will be following all recommended safety precautions and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Face masks and social distancing are required at the job fair.

 

Texas HHSC offers many benefits to employees, including health and dental insurance, career advancement opportunities, paid training, and paid vacation and sick leave. Applicants must be at least 18 years old to be considered for employment. To apply for open positions, candidates can visit the jobs page - https://jobshrportal.hhsc.state.tx.us/.../car.../default.cfm?

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Thank You for your Investment - Marcy Place, 03/23/21


This morning, the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce held a "Thank You for your Investment" presentation with Marcy Place, an assisted living community in Big Spring.

 

According to Cassandra Sanders, Life Enrichment Coordinator at Marcy Place, residents stay busy with five activities every day, and they are open to having new residents move in.

 

When asked how she felt about the local Chamber of Commerce stopping by to do the presentation, Trystan Hickman, Executive Director at Marcy Place, told KBest News that they are thankful for everything that the Chamber does for them and they appreciated everyone who came to support them today.

 

Marcy Place is located at 2301 Wasson Rd. in Big Spring. For more information, contact them at 432-268-9041 or email Trystan Hickman, Executive Director, at thickman@enlivant.com.

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Public hearings on proposed amendments to the City of Big Spring's Zoning Regulations Regarding carports, RV's, mobile/manufactured homes, and short-term rentals to be held at Tuesday night's City Council meeting


Public hearings on the proposed amendments to the City of Big Spring’s zoning regulations regarding carports and accessory uses, recreational vehicles and mobile/manufactured homes, short-term rentals, and setbacks and administrative amendments will be held at tonight’s meeting of the Big Spring City Council. The public hearings were originally scheduled to take place in January, but there was a lack of a quorum and the meeting could not be held. The hearings were then rescheduled for February but were cancelled due to electrical issues that resulted from the winter storm.

 

Other items on tonight’s agenda include the swearing in of Maury Smith as the elected councilmember for district 6, and consideration and possible action on appointing a Labor Standards Officer and a designation of a Civil Rights Officer, both, for the Texas Department of Agriculture CDBG Grant. Tonight’s regular meeting of the Big Spring City Council will begin at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers, located at 307 E. Fourth St. in Big Spring. You can watch a live broadcast of the meeting on local Channel 17 on Suddenlink, or watch the live stream of tonight’s meeting on our KBest Media Facebook page or on the city website at: https://www.mybigspring.com/224/Channel-17-Live 

 

 

The full agenda for tonight's meeting can be found here:

https://www.mybigspring.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03232021-454 

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Howard County to receive $7.1 million from Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund


(Article edited to say that the guidelines have yet to be "received" instead of "issued". A list of how the county funding can be used has been added, as per the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.)

 

During yesterday’s meeting of the Howard County Commissioners Court, Jackie Olson, Howard County Auditor, announced that Howard County would be receiving $7.1 million from the Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund. She advised that the county did not have to apply for this money because it was federally funded and all counties throughout the country were eligible for funds. The money was made available through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that was signed into law earlier this month. 

 

The federal money will be distributed in two payments with the first payment expected in June of this year, and the second payment in June 2022. According to Olson, funds from the Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund must be spent by the end of 2024. Although guidelines on how to spend the money have yet to be received, Olson said it was made clear that the federal funds could not be deposited into the pension fund, nor could it be used to reduce the tax revenue. 

 

According to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, money from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund can be used in the following ways:

 

  • to respond to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;

 

  • to respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID–19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work;

 

  • for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the metropolitan city, nonentitlement unit of local government, or county prior to the emergency; or

 

  • to make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

 

For more information on the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, visit:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319/text#H7C2075B5C62541F9A348BDF1DDBECEB6 

 


Also during yesterday’s meeting, the Howard County Commissioners Court approved the extension of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) until the end of the current fiscal year, which would be August 31, 2021. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

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Howard County Community Health Clinic breaks ground on site of new facility, 03/22/21


Today's groundbreaking ceremony was for the new Howard County Community Health Center at 1108 S. Main in Big Spring.

 

Dr. Judy Madura, Physician and Chief Executive Officer for HCCHC, said the expansion is due to the growth of their facility and a demand for services. They have been at their current location - 1300 S. Gregg St. in Big Spring - for 10 years.

 

Dr. Madura advised told KBest News that they are looking to expand their services, to add more physicians, to add a drive-thru pharmacy, and add additional ancillary services as needed by the public.

 

The completion date for the new facility is April 1, 2022.

 

Mark Willis, Executive Director for the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation, told KBest News that the BSEDC Board had given $100,000 to see the expansion happen.

 

"Anything that improves the quality of life in town is a good investment," said Willis of the investment.

 

He went on to say that the expansion of the Howard County Community Health Clinic will bring new jobs and adds services that the community may not have otherwise.

 

According to Willis, the project has been in the works since before his time with the BSEDC. He advised that he couldn't take credit for it because it was the EDC Board who made the decision to invest in the expansion of HCCHC.

 

 

 

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COVID-19 Update for the City of Big Spring and Howard County as of March 19th, 2021:


According to the City of Big Spring, as of Friday, March 19, 2021, there were 48 active cases of COVID-19 in Big Spring and Howard County. Overall, there have been 4,537 positive cases for the area, 4,390 of those cases have been closed. There have been 99 patient fatalities and the Region J Hospitalization rate was at 2.27 percent for the last seven days.

 

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Local City and School Election to be held on May 1, 2021


 City and School General Elections in Howard County are scheduled for May 1, 2021. The last day to register to vote or update your address is April 1, 2021.

 

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

 

 

** City of Big Spring City Council **

District 2 Councilperson

Diane Yanez

Willie Rangel, Jr.

 

District 4 Councilperson

David A. Scott

Gloria Byrd McDonald (incumbent)

 

 

** City of Coahoma - COC **

Mayor

Lori Gonzales

Warren Wallace

 

 

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

 

Early Voting begins April 19, 2021 and will continue through April 27th at the Howard County Courthouse, 300 S. Main, on the First Floor. The dates and times for Early Voting are shown below:

 

April 19 - April 23 from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

April 26 - April 27 from 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

 

On Election Day, May 1, 2021, polling locations will be open from 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM. County-wide (meaning any voter can vote at any location) polling locations are shown below:

 

Ryan Hall @ 605 N. Main, Big Spring, TX

First Baptist Church @ 705 FM 700, Big Spring, TX

Dorothy Garrett Coliseum @ 1001 Birdwell Ln., Big Spring, TX

Coahoma Community Center @ 306 North Ave., Coahoma, TX

 

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Big Spring artist displays works at Heritage Museum through April 23rd


“Expectations and Illusions”, the current art exhibit at The Heritage Museum of Big Spring features art by local artist Meghan F. Bias. The works will range from her days in college up to recent finished pieces. It includes pastels, and big acrylic paintings, and mixed media items that involves mannequins.  

 

Bias told KBest News that art is a type of therapy for her. 

 

“It’s a way for me to process stuff I don’t even realize I need to process or work through or whatever, but I’m really grateful to have always had that outlet because it’s given me a place to deal with stuff," said Bias.

 

“It’s been a savior to be able to take what’s going on inside of me, and get it out and then be able to heal and grow from it," she said of being able to use art as therapy.

 

Bias went on to say that she uses figures in her work and advises that she does use nudity in her work.

 

She described her work as emotional. 

 

“It’s all the little deep dark corners of myself that I kinda hide away, and we all have those. Everyone has those - all that pain and suffering. I think that’s kind of a human condition that we all go through regardless of who you are, where you stand, what you think. We all have pain and loss in our life and I just use to process it all.”

 

Bias said that a guest book will be at the museum for visitors to make comments about her work if they'd like to leave feedback.

 

There will be an artist reception with Bias on April 10th at 6 PM at the Heritage Museum in Big Spring. She stated that it's open to everyone. Anyone who'd like to talk with her or ask questions is welcomed to do so at that time.

 

The "Expectations and Illusions" art exhibit will be display through April 23, 2021.

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Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Big Spring teams up with West Texas Baggers to raise money for DAV


Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Big Spring and the West Texas Baggers will host Spring Kickoff Cornhole Tournament this Saturday, March 27, 2021 at the STAR dealership in Big Spring. This event will be raising funds for the Disabled American Veterans.

 

Cost is $50 per team and there is a 60/40 payout for the winning team. 60 percent will go to the team, and 40 percent will go to the DAV. Teams can register for this double elimination tournament on-site from 10 am to 11:30 AM. Tournament begins at 12 PM.

 

In addition to the competition, there will also be various prizes raffled off during the event and access to food trucks. Please note that glass containers are not allowed at the event.

 

For more information, call or text (432) 213-4899, or email wtxbaggers@gmail.com.

 

 

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Grocery Giveaway and COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru clinic @ Memorial Stadium scheduled for tomorrow - March 20, 2021 - at 10 AM


The United Way of Big Spring and Howard County will have a Drive Thru Grocery Giveaway on Saturday, March 20th. It’ll begin at 10 AM at the Memorial Stadium parking lot, next to Howard College in Big Spring. Recipients will enter the drive-thru Kentucky Way. Be advised that everyone wishing to receive groceries must show some type of id to prove their Howard County residency.

 

During this time, there will also be a COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru clinic available for those who want to be vaccinated. This is for the first dose only and those who receive the vaccination on Saturday will receive an appointment card for the second dose.

 

 

 

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City of Big Spring Emergency Management teams up with TDEM and FEMA to help citizens in Big Spring and Howard County


March 18, 2021

 

FEMA Disaster Assistance

 

City of Big Spring Emergency Management is working with the Texas Department of Emergency Management and FEMA to help citizens of Big Spring and Howard County mitigate property damage resulting from the recent winter weather event. On February 19, 2021, President Biden included Howard County in the emergency declaration for the State of Texas which allows citizens to apply for financial assistance for repairs made to their homes and businesses. The deadline to apply for assistance is Wednesday, April 21, 2021. City of Big Spring Emergency Management urges any citizen that had damage as a result of the storm to apply for assistance and get aid for recovery.

 

When you apply for assistance, you will need to have the following information readily available:

 

• A current phone number where you can be contacted.

• Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying.

• Your Social Security number, if available.

• A general list of damage and losses.

• If you are insured, the insurance policy number, or the agent and company name.

 

If it is safe to do so, clean up your property to prevent further damage. Take photos to document damage before beginning cleanup and repairs. Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to cleanup and repair of your property.

 

Disaster assistance may include financial assistance for temporary lodging and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

 

To apply for assistance citizens can go www.disasterassistance.gov and fill out the necessary information.

 

Just follow the online instructions. Or you can call FEMA at:

FEMA Helpline

1-800-621-3362 (711 or Video Relay Service available)

TTY: 1-800-462-7585 Call 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET

 

 

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Free Tax Prep available in Big Spring for those with moderate to low income until April 5, 2021


AARP Tax-Aide Service is offering free income tax preparation through April 5, 2021 for all taxpayers with moderate to low income. The service will continue to be available at the Big Spring Senior Center, located at 100 Whipkey Dr., every Monday, from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  There’s no fee and no sales pitch for other services and AARP membership is not required. Free electronic filing will be available for faster refunds. 

 

Be advised that COVID protocols will be observed:

- Masks required, no exceptions

- Appointments can be made online at bsta.setmore.com or in person at the tax site on Monday mornings. At this time, they will also take walk-in appointments. Please note that children will not be allowed to enter. 

 

Taxpayers need to bring the following items to their appt.:

- Photo ID for taxpayer and/or spouse

- Social Security cards for every person on tax return

- Last year's tax return

- W-2's and all other proof of income received in 2020

 

You can find this information on our KBest Media Facebook page.

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Head out to the wild horse and burro event in Abilene, Texas - March 26-27, 2021


 

 

NORMAN, Okla. – The Bureau of Land Management will hold a wild horse and burro adoption event in Abilene, Texas, March 26-27, at the Guitar Arena at the Taylor County Expo Center. The two-day event, featuring 110 wild horses and burros, will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 26. Adoptions will be held from noon-6 p.m. on Friday, March 26, and from 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday, March 27. Animals are eligible for adoption. Inquire with BLM staff onsite for more information.   

 

As part of our efforts to find every horse and burro a good home, the BLM now offers up to $1,000 to adopt an untrained animal. This adoption incentive will be offered for every animal in Abilene.       

 

The animals offered at the event are adult and yearling horses and burros that once roamed free on public lands in the West. The BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range in order to maintain healthy herds and to protect other rangeland resources. The adoption and sale program is essential for achieving these important management goals. Since 1973, the BLM has placed more than 240,000 of these animals in approved homes across the country.  

 

BLM staff will approve applications onsite. To qualify to adopt, one must be at least 18 years old, with no record of animal abuse. Qualified homes must have a minimum of 400 square feet of corral space per animal, with access to food, water and shelter. A six-foot corral fence is required for adult horses; five feet for yearlings; and four-and-a-half feet for burros. All animals must be loaded in covered, stock-type trailers with swing gates and sturdy walls and floors. BLM staff will be on hand to assist with the short application process. 

 

The Guitar Arena at the Taylor County Expo Center is located at 1700 State Highway 36, Abilene, Texas. For more information, call 866-468-7826 or visit www.blm.gov

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Big Spring PD announces 2nd arrest in Brackett murder


From BSPD, 03/18/21:

 

On the 18th of March 2021 at approximately 9:30 A.M., the Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division served an arrest warrant on Hayden Douglas McMurrin White/Male 31 years of age charging him with the murder of Casey Brackett White/Male 29 years of age. McMurrin was already in the Howard County Jail at the time he was charged with murder due to him previously being arrested on the 12th of March 2021 and charged with Tampering/Fabricating Physical Evidence, a Felony 3 offense, which was also connected to this murder investigation.

 

This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is available.

 

The Big Spring Police Department continues to urge anyone with information relating to this incident to call CrimeStoppers at (432) 263-TIPS (8477) or use the P3tips.com software to submit your tip online. Remember no caller ID is ever used and all tips are anonymous.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

CID Sergeant John Haynes

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2021 Permian Basin Cotton Conference to be held Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - Early Registration available until 3/26/21


The 2021 Permian Basin Cotton Conference will be held on Tuesday, Mar. 30th, from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Martin County Community Center, located at 301 N. St. Peter St. in Stanton, TX.

 

This conference is open to farmers and ranchers. It will offer 3 CEU's - 1 General, 1 Laws and Regulations, and 1 Drift). The agenda for the event includes lectures on New Technologies in Cotton Production, and Weed Management with New Herbicides among others.

 

Registration can be completed by calling Martin County Extension at 432-756-3316 or the Howard County Extension office at 432-264-2236. Early Bird registration is available for $10 per person and is available until March 26th. The fee at the door will be $20 per person.

 

Be advised that this event will be held in compliance with COVID guidelines: Masks and social distancing will be required.

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Big Spring PD makes arrest on Brackett Murder, additional arrests are expected to follow


Follow-Up on Murder Investigation from BSPD, 3/17/2021:

 

Since the 8th of March 2021, Big Spring Criminal Investigations Division Detectives have been investigating the homicide of Casey Brackett White/Male 29 years of age. On the 16th of March 2021 at approximately 4:40 P.M., Anselmo Vicente Rangel Hispanic/Male 24 years of age was arrested and charged with Murder.

 

Detectives will continue to work this investigation and additional arrests are expected at this time. This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is available.

 

The Big Spring Police Department continues to urge anyone with information relating to this incident to call CrimeStoppers at (432) 263-TIPS (8477) or use the P3tips.com software to submit your tip online. Remember no caller ID is ever used and all tips are anonymous.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

CID Sergeant John Haynes

 

 

 

---ORIGINAL POST from 03/09/21---

 

Gunshot victim succumbs to injuries; Big Spring PD urges anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers

 

On the 8th of March 2021 at approximately 9:10 P.M., Big Spring Police Department officers were dispatched to the area of 18th and Austin in reference to a gunshot victim. Upon arrival Casey Brackett White/Male 29 years of age was found to be in the driver’s seat of a White 2007 Ford Focus which was pulled over and stopped on the side of the road. Officers observed Brackett had suffered an apparent gunshot wound. Big Spring Fire/EMS arrived on scene and immediately began treating Brackett. Brackett was transported to Scenic Mountain Medical Center with life threatening injuries. Unfortunately Brackett succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. The Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division is actively working this as a Murder. This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.

 

The Big Spring Police Department urges anyone with information relating to this incident to call CrimeStoppers at (432) 263-TIPS (8477) or use the P3tips.com software to submit your tip online. Remember no caller ID is ever used and all tips are anonymous.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

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


During last week’s meeting of the Big Spring City Council, the first reading of a resolution requesting, on behalf of the citizens of Big Spring, that the Texas Department of Transportation perform a study and subsequently authorize the placement of a traffic light at the intersection of FM 700 and E. 11th Place was passed with a vote of 6-0.

 

Members of the public spoke out about the danger of the intersection, and City Manager Todd Darden advised that TXDOT had conducted several studies over the years but none have resulted in action.

 

According to Darden, there are two ways to meet the requirement for a study – if you have opposing traffic that’s equal and 50 percent are using one road and 50 percent are using another, and accidents. 

 

Since 2011 there have been 29 crashes at this intersection and no fatalities since 2017.

 

After the approval of the final reading at next week’s meeting, copies of the resolution will be sent to Governor Greg Abbott, Big Spring area and district engineers, Senator Kel Seliger, and Representative Drew Darby. 

 

Councilmembers Cody Hughes, District 3, and Gloria McDonald, District 4, also encouraged citizens to write their representatives and encourage them to push TXDOT to act.  

 

Contact Information:

 

Texas Governor, Greg Abbott

Mailing Address:

Office of the Governor

P.O. Box 12428

Austin, Texas 78711-2428

 

You can also complete an online form at: https://gov.texas.gov/apps/contact/assistance.aspx 

 

 

Senator Kel Seliger

Mailing Address:

The Honorable Kel Seliger

P.O. Box 12068

Capitol Station

Austin, Texas 78711

 

Send an email by visiting:

https://senate.texas.gov/memberform.php?auth=pDVbpcOS7NoHxcqTVlwjZ%2B%2B3%2BZmSbaUuGRKIPzjMWdc6XzpfOmbc5v6%2B6JG87A%2BiYNmJmGCNd2%2FvQSfo3pXRVugMNbHaJe3vOnw6fDoHe8JiD3OxGGqMBIvGnTVE&lang=en

 

 

Representative Drew Darby

District Address:

36 W. Beauregard Suite 517

San Angelo, TX 76903

 

Email by visiting: 

https://house.texas.gov/members/member-page/email/?district=72&session=87 

 

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Governor Abbott Announces Expansion Of Operation Lone Star To Include Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts


AUSTIN - Yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott announced the expansion of Operation Lone Star to include efforts to crack down on human trafficking related to illegal border crossings. As part of this expansion, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers and agents, as well as the Texas Rangers, will conduct interviews with unaccompanied minors who crossed the border to identify victims of human trafficking and gain actionable intelligence that will aid in the arrest of traffickers.

 

The Governor also requested that the Biden Administration allow DPS to access the unaccompanied minor holding facility in Dallas, as well as other federally-run facilities in Texas, to conduct interviews with unaccompanied minors. The Governor made the announcement at a press conference in Dallas alongside DPS Director Colonel Steve McCraw, the Office of the Governor's Child Sex Trafficking Team Director Andrea Sparks, and Traffick911 Advocate Cristy Lopez.

 

"President Biden’s reckless open border policies have created a humanitarian crisis that is enriching the cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers who often prey on and abuse unaccompanied minors,” said Governor Abbott. “Americans deserve to know what the Biden Administration is doing to  investigate the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border and to protect those who are victims of human trafficking. That is why we are expanding Operation Lone Star to include anti-human trafficking efforts, such as interviewing unaccompanied minors to learn if they are victims of human trafficking. This will help us gain information to keep these children safe, root out human trafficking or other criminal activity, and prevent more children from being trafficked and abused. Whether it's securing the border or fighting human trafficking, the state of Texas will always step up to fill the gaps left by Washington."

 

Operation Lone Star was launched in early March to help secure the border and combat the smuggling of people and drugs in Texas. There are currently 1,000 DPS troopers, agents, and rangers who are engaged in the mission. The new anti-human trafficking efforts will be supported by the Governor's Child Sex Trafficking Team and other organizations and agencies who work to combat human trafficking in Texas.

 

 

(PHOTO: Office Of The Governor, 3/17/21)

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DPS Increases Road Enforcement for Spring Break


AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is stepping up enforcement efforts as traffic picks up for spring break. DPS Texas Highway Patrol Troopers have increased traffic enforcement as part of Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) began March 13 and will continue through March 21.

 

Troopers will be looking for intoxicated drivers, speeders, people not wearing their seat belts and other violations. During the 2020 Spring Break enforcement effort, DPS Troopers issued more than 59,000 citations and warnings, including 5,580 speeding citations and 824 seat belt and child seat violations. They also made 398 driving while intoxicated arrests, 315 fugitive arrests and 175 felony arrests.

 

In order to encourage everyone to have a fun and safe holiday, DPS offers the following tips:

 

·         Don’t drink and drive. If you plan to have alcohol outside of your home, designate a driver or take alternate transportation.

·         Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers who are stopped.

·         Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction zones.

·         Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.

·         Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. Also, if you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it so you can keep your eyes on the road.

·         If you can Steer It, Clear It. If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, it’s against the law.

·         Don’t drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

·         Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.

 

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BSPD says Itinerant Vendor Permits and Peddler Permits are required to show permit upon request; urges citizens to contact dispatch for those who fail to do so.


From Big Spring PD: 

 

The Big Spring Police Department wants our citizens to be aware that we have issued Itinerant Vendor Permits and Peddler Permits for multiple organizations and persons that have come into town to assist in the damage repair due to the local storms. Persons who hold a Peddler Permit are only permitted to go door- to-door between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M. Monday-Saturday, and are not permitted at any time on Sunday. The permits are only valid for a period of 10 days and we have in the past had peddlers operating under expired permits. Permit holders are required to show the permit upon request. If for any reason a peddler refuses, cannot produce a permit or produces an expired permit we urge our citizens to contact dispatch (432-264-2550) and request an officer respond. If you have any questions relating to permits or permit holders we urge you to contact Big Spring Police Department Records Division at 432-264-2567.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

Support Services Lieutenant Lance Telchik

Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

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Area News: Fatal Crash in Nolan County leaves 2 dead, including man from Snyder


Last week, a Snyder man and a Sweetwater woman were killed in a fatal multi-vehicle crash in Nolan County.

 

On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at 7:10 PM, DPS Troopers responded to a 3-vehicle crash that occurred on US-84, at mile marker 438, involving a 2015 Nissan Armada, 2003 Chevrolet pickup, and 2017 Dodge pickup.

 

According to the preliminary report from DPS, the Nissan was traveling East in the westbound lanes of US 84 while the other two vehicles were traveling West.  The driver of the Nissan, identified as Kaitlin Jeanne Rodriguez, 28, of Sweetwater, crashed head on with the driver of the Chevrolet, identified as Ramon Anthony Guzman, 47, of Snyder. The Dodge pickup also collided into Guzman’s vehicle.

 

Rodriguez and Guzman were pronounced dead on scene. Their bodies were taken to Trent Funeral Home in Sweetwater. The driver of the third vehicle sustained no injuries. The crash is under investigation.

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Erick Roberson awarded Volunteer of the Year. 


The United Way of Big Spring and Howard County is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the health and human service agencies of Howard and the surrounding counties. Last year, the local organization raised $177,816.00 for their 2021 Campaign Season. 

 

Annually, the United Way of Big Spring and Howard County hold an annual banquet to recognize their board of directors, new board members, the allocations committee, agencies, and sponsors. Due to the pandemic, the banquet was cancelled, but recognition was still announced. 

 

The new officers for 2021 are:

Alesha Kay Fisher - President

Erick Roberson - Vice President

Kelsey Jones - Treasurer

Stacie King - Secretary

 

United Way of Big Spring and Howard County Executive Director Christian Fair announced that Erick Roberson was named the Volunteer of the Year for organization.

 

"He tries to stay behind the scenes even though he always stands out," said Fair. She went on to say that Roberson has been with the United Way for four years and he pretty much does it all.

 

"He finds sponsors when I'm at a loss. He makes sure we have more than enough help at events. He's literally a phone call away, whether it's hanging Christmas lights, or at the park, or saving the Toy Drive, or delivering water to the Boys and Girls Club, or even calling to make sure that I was warm in the zero-degree weather and making sure all of our agencies were okay and that they didn't need anything," continued Fair.

 

According to Fair, Roberson is a great example of living united.

 

The United Way of Big Spring and Howard County was able to allocate $120,816.00 in the following amounts to their 14 partnering agencies.

 

o Girl Scouts - $1150

o CASA – $14,195

o Mobile Meals – $8761

o West Side Community Day Care - $4445

o Howard County Resource Center -$9300

o Emergency Chaplains - $9606

o YMCA - $9725

o Boy Scouts - $4130

o Victim Services - $10,701

o Head Start - $11,070

o Howard County CAC - $13,238

o Spring of Siloam - $6184

o Salvation Army - $9159

o Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club - $9621

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Quilt of Valor presented to WWII Veteran during DAV meeting in Big Spring


Last night, the Big Spring chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, DAV Chapter 47, awarded World War II veteran JL Stevens with a Quilt of Valor. Stevens served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. 

 

The Quilt of Valor is given to Veterans in recognition of service and sacrifice for this Nation. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

 

Also during the meeting, the organization was presented with a check from Big Spring ISD for $1,697 from their Jeans for Troops campaign. 

 

It was also announced that Back in Motion, located at 1113 S. Scurry in Big Spring, will have a brisket plate sale tomorrow from 11 am to 1 pm to raise money for the local DAV chapter. Plates will be $10 each. 

 

Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Big Spring will have a cornhole tournament on March 27th. Cost is $50 per team and there will be a 60 percent payout with the other 40 percent going to the DAV. 

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Do you know the signs of a contracting scam? Check out these tips from the Texas Department of Insurance


Should you sign a waiver to let someone inspect your roof? Or a pay a large down payment to schedule repairs? The Texas Department of Insurance has tips to help recognize and avoid common contracting scams.

 

“We all want our homes repaired quickly, but take the time to check out a contractor,” said Doug Slape, TDI’s chief deputy commissioner. “A few quick calls can save you money and help you avoid a scam.”

 

Common contracting scams

The scam: A contractor asks you to sign something before giving you an estimate of repairs.

What to do: Read it carefully. Make sure it’s not a contract, or you could get stuck paying a bill without ever seeing an estimate.

 

The scam: A contractor asks you to sign a contract with blank sections.

What to do: Don’t do it. The contractor could fill in the blank sections later with higher costs or different work.

 

The scam: Contractor offers to waive your deductible or “work it into the bid.”

What to do: Hire a different contractor. It’s illegal for a contractor to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for it. The deductible is your responsibility, and your insurance company may ask for proof you paid it.

 

The scam: Contractor asks for a large down payment or a full payment up front.

What to do: Never pay the entire bill up front and be wary if a contractor asks for a large down payment. When a disaster is declared, it’s against the law for contractors from outside your area to ask for payment before they start work.

 

Select a good contractor

To avoid these and other scams:

 

-Get bids in writing and use local companies when possible. The bid should include the company’s name, phone number, and address.

-Call the Better Business Bureau and the contractor’s references.

-Ask for the contractor’s certificate of insurance and bond certification. Call the companies listed to verify the coverage.

-Verify a plumber’s license and check complaints with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. Other types of contractors, including electricians, may be licensed through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

-Ask the contractor to tell you if they contact your insurance company about additional work or costs.

-Pay with a check or credit card instead of cash. It creates a record of your payments to the contractor.

 

Report possible contracting scams to local law enforcement.

 

Visit www.TDI.texas.gov for more tips to avoid scams, information on insurance coverage for storm damage, and what to do if you disagree with your insurance company’s decision. TDI’s Help Line is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday to Friday: 800-252-3439.

 

(Español: www.tdi.texas.gov//news/2021/tdi03042021-spanish.html)

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Averette sworn in as new Justice of the Peace for Howard County Precinct 1, Place 2


On Friday afternoon Mike Averette was sworn in as the new Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, Place 2. He was appointed by the Howard County Commissioners and will fill this unexpired term through the end of 2022.

 

When asked how he felt to take on the position, Averette that he was really loving the position so far. 

 

"I am excited about the opportunity. I'm learning a lot of new things, much more to learn than I anticipated. I knew quit a bit of things, working at the jail and seeing the things they do, but there's so much more and I'm excited about learning some new things," said JP Averette.

 

He went on to say that he knows this is another means of service for him, he's here for the constituents of Howard County and will serve them. 

 

Averette was the Jail Administrator at the Howard County Law Enforcement Center before accepting the position as Justice of the Peace for Pct. 1, Place 2. He has worked with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office for 19 years. 

 

When asked what his thoughts were on Averette becoming the new JP, Sheriff Stan Parker stated that he was happy for JP Averette but he would be missed from the department. 

 

"I'm happy for him, I know it's soemthing he's thought about for a long time. So, I'm happy he got the position," said Sheriff Parker.  

 

"On the other hand, Mike was actually one of the best Jail Administrators for the State of Texas. I mean, I know the Jail Commission refers people to him about how [to handle] problems in jails. So that's gonna be a hard position to fill. I mean, we have some people that are up and coming and we're gonna fill those positions, but he's gonna be missed. 

 

I'm really happy on a personal level that he got the position he was after."

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Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees votes 5-2 to modify district's mask restriction.


During last night’s meeting of the Big Spring ISD Board of Trustees, board members approved a motion to discontinue to district’s required face mask mandate with a vote of 5-2. Beginning today, face masks are now optional for students and staff.

 

Fabian Serrano, President of the BSISD Board of Trustees, explained that staff and students will now get to make their own decision on whether or not they wear a face mask. 

 

"Of course, the superintendent will have the power to change that. So, if there are certain situations where the masks need to be worn, then he can make that decision himself for the safety of the students. So, if students or staff can't social distance, they will be strongly encouraged to wear them," said Serrano.

 

BSISD Superintendent Jay McWilliams issued an announcement on the change and stated that all other TEA, UIL, and district regulations to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 would remain in place. BSISD will phase-in their on-campus visitor policies as they continue to monitor the number of positive cases on each campus, and across the district.

 

He went on to advise, “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, BSISD has stayed consistent with the Governor’s orders, TEA guidance, and requests of our local Howard County Health Authorities. We will continue to work with each of these organizations to monitor COVID-19 health conditions within our public schools and community.

 

BSISD reserves the right to require a face covering at school facilities and school events if we see a sustained escalation of COVID-19 cases within our schools and/or our community.”

 

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Coahoma Athletics recognize three athletes committing to collegiate sports, U.S. military


On Thursday afternoon, three outstanding local athletes signed a “Letter of Intent” in Coahoma. 

 

Jocelyn Torres Mendoza has committed to playing collegiate softball at Ryder University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Ryder University is an NCAA Division I School in the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference).

 

Kenzi Canales inked her commitment to play collegiate softball at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas. McPherson College is an NAIA Division II School and participates in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC).

 

CHS Softball Coach Alex Orosco told KBest News that both ladies embody and represent what Coahoma is all about.

 

Also recognized was a standout Football and Basketball player Raul Antonio (Tony) Hagins for enlisting in the United States Marine Corp. Tony was recognized for his commitment by the entire Coahoma High School body of students.

 

When asked what it means to have one of his athletes join the armed forces, Coahoma Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Chris Joslin said, "It’s probably the utmost thing they can do. Right now in this world we need more people to unify this country and protect this country. [It’s] probably the best thing you can do is join the military, better our country and yourself.”

 

K-Best Media wants to wish all of these athletes the best of success.

 

(Photo courtesy of Coahoma Media.)

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Howard College Earns 2021-2022 Military Friendly® School Designation and Top 10 Ranking


Howard College has announced that it has earned the 2021-2022 Military Friendly® School designation, ranking number 5 nationally among small community colleges.

 

Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. Over 1,200 schools participated in the 2021-2022 survey with 747 earning the designation. Howard College is one of 162 schools recognized with the “Gold” status and the only Texas school recognized in the Top 10 Small Community College category joining just 3 additional Texas schools in other categories.

 

“We know there are many choices when furthering education and we are proud to support our veteran and active-duty students and their family members in that endeavor,” said Dr. Cheryl T. Sparks, Howard College President. “Howard College is about learning, earning, and life and it truly is an honor to be part of their life journey.”

 

Additional information about the ranking and data can be found at www.militaryfriendly.com.

Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey response set and government/agency public data sources, within a logic based scoring assessment. We measure the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

 

“Military Friendly® is committed to transparency and providing consistent data driven standards in our designation process. This creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages colleges to consistently evolve and invest in their programs. Schools who achieve designation show true commitment and dedication in their efforts. Our standards assist schools by providing a benchmark that promotes positive educational outcomes, resources, and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the Military Community.” - Kayla Lopez, National Director of Military Partnerships, Military Friendly®

 

For more information about Howard College’s student veteran programs, visit Howard College’s website at howardcollege.edu/come-to-howard-college/veterans.

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West Texas Community Mediation Center to open soon in Big Spring


Last week, the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce joined the West Texas Community Mediation Center for a ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome them as a new member of the Chamber. The West Texas Community Mediation Center is located at 501 S. Runnels in Big Spring in the former Polly Mays Annex Building. The building was donated by the City of Big Spring and now WTXCMC will be moving forward with renovations.

 

The mission of the West Texas Community Mediation Center is to provide conflict management education/services and other socially necessary services to the community; as well as for at-risk youth, adults and families that have been court-ordered or referred for services by assisting the courts, school districts, students, parents and state agencies.

 

“We are going to be working towards a conflict-free community here in Howard County and the surrounding county area,” said Danette Ross Watson, Executive Director of the organization.

 

She went on to say that want to offer meditation to the schools, the courts, and any other kind of conflict resolution, such as anger management, family domestic violence classes, a batterer’s intervention program, and even supervised visitation for CPS.

 

Watson told KBest News that they have lots of plans for the center including a mentoring and tutoring lab on the second floor.

 

“We want to meet the needs of the community. So, finding out as we go what some of those needs are, then we’ll be able to offer some of those services,” she said.

 

Right now, West Texas Community Mediation Center is in need of funding and volunteers to help them with the renovations on the building to help them reach their goal of opening the center on May 1, 2021. For more information on how to volunteer or make donations, contact Danette Ross Watson calling 301-792-3340 or 432-517-4200. You can also email her WTXCMC@gmail.com.

 

The goal of the WTXCMC is to implement services and create programs for attendance/truancy mediation that will reduce the current attrition rate and build better teacher/student relationships by reducing in-school conflicts; train and educate the community in mediation and conflict management that will lead to better communication and a more cooperative community; reduce recidivism within our youth and adult criminal and restorative justice programs.

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Big Spring Center for Skilled Care awards employee with 3-minute grocery shopping spree


Crystal Ramirez, an essential caregiver with Big Spring Center for Skilled Care, won a 3-minute shopping spree at the H-E-B in Big Spring on Thursday afternoon to thank her for the great work she’s done as an essential caregiver during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

According toChristy Brownfield, Director of Marketing and Admissions at BSCSC, each facility owned by Creative Solutions in Healthcare was able to select one employee for the shopping spree that would be completely paid for by BSCSC with Creative Solutions in Healthcare.

 

"We’re just grateful for all of the hard work that all of our employees do and we want to give back to them," said Brownfield. "[We] just reward them for all that they do for our residents and our community."

 

When asked how she felt about the shopping spree, Ramirez said she was nervous and excited. 

 

"It was an honor. I’ve been working for a while and I didn’t think, out of everybody, that I’d get picked, to be honest. Everyone just keeps telling me to go for the meat first, that’s what I’m gonna do!"

 

In 3-minutes Ramirez collected 3 carts full of groceries, mainly a variety of meats that totaled out to $1,317.86. When asked if she had plans for all of the meat she collected, Ramirez said that she want sure yet, but would probably spread it out between her large family.

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Big Spring City Council Highlights, 03/09/21


Announcements

#16 and #17 - Big Spring City Council canvassed votes from the March 6, 2021 Special Election to elect City Council Members for Districts 5 and 6. Newly elected District 5 Councilman is Troy Tompkins and District 6 Councilman is Maury Smith. Tompkins was sworn in and took his seat on the council during tonight’s meeting. Smith was not present.

 

 

City Manager’s Report

#6 - City Manager Todd Darden advised councilmembers that during the winter storm there had been approximately 65 water leaks throughout the city. A couple of years ago, that number had been over 250. He noted stated that although there were still leaks that needed tending to, it was a vast improvement from where the city had once been.

 

 

# 7 - Large / bulk item pickup for District 2 collected 40,000 pounds of trash. Darden encouraged citizens to take advantage of the service. The next pickup date is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, 2021, for District 3. Be advised you must contact Public Works to schedule pickup by calling 432-264-2501 or emailing nhernandez@mybigspring.com.

 

 

#8 - Dr. Steve Ahmed, Medical Advisor for the City of Big Spring, advised that the positivity rate for COVID-19 has decreased to 13 percent in Texas. He advised that there had been approximately 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine distributed in the U.S. Dr. Ahmed advised that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a single dose vaccine for COVID-19, would be coming soon. He also went on to state that the vaccines had been successful in lowering the hospitalization and death rate. Dr. Ahmed also advised that 80 percent of the deaths in the U.S. occurred in those who were obese, or over the age of 65 with some kind of medical condition.

 

 

Consent Items (#9, #11-12)

The following items were approved 5-0, with Tompkins, District 5, abstaining from the vote.

  • City Council Minutes of the Regular Meeting of Feb. 9, 2021
  • Final reading of a Resolution authorizing and appointing the City Manager to submit an application to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program to secure funding for Department Operations/Media Data Management Network Servers; and providing an effective date
  • Final reading authorizing City Manager or the Mayor to enter into a contract with Allison, Bass & Magee, L.L.P. for Professional Services Related to redistricting following the 2020 Census; and providing for an effective date

 

 

#10 was pulled from the consent agenda and later discussed.

 

Item #10 – Final reading of an ordinance amending Ch. 32 of the Big Spring City Code entitled “Licenses, Taxation and Miscellaneous Business Regulations,” Section 32-58 “Definitions” to include Short-term rentals and Bed and Breakfasts in definition of Hotel in order to require payment and collection of Hotel Occupancy Taxes from short-term rentals and Bed and Breakfasts within the City; amending Section 32-63 to require establishments subject to the tax to register with the City’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; amending other sections to authorize the CVB Director to collect tax and process registrations; providing for a penalty of $500; and subjecting commercial short-term rentals to commercial rates for water and sewer utilities and trash collection; and providing for severability; providing for publication; and providing for an effective date.

 

  • A motion was made by Mayor Shannon Thomason to amend the ordinance. This passed 5-0, with 1 abstention by Tompkins, District 5.
  • The amended ordinance was passed 5-0, with 1 abstention by Tompkins, District 5

 

 

Vouchers (#14-15)

All vouchers from 2/12/21, 2/19/21, 2/26/21, and 3/05/21 were all approved with a 6-0 vote.

 

 

New Business

#18 - Councilmembers approved with a 6-0 vote an emergency reading of an ordinance declaring the unopposed candidate in the May 1, 2021 General Election for City Council Member, District 6 – Maury Smith – as unopposed and officially declared him as elected. This now cancels the General Election for City Council Position for City Council Member, District 6.

#19 - The emergency reading of a resolution renewing and extending a declaration of a public health emergency/disaster issued by the Mayor on Feb. 13, 2021; Feb. 20, 2021; Feb. 27, 2021 in response to the winter storms, electrical outages, and water system issues to take such steps as are necessary to support the declarations therein made was discussed by councilmembers. This was amended to remove the emergency reading with a 6-0 vote. The amended resolution was approved with a 6-0 vote.

 

 

#20 - A first reading of a resolution requesting on behalf of the citizens of Big Spring, that the Texas Department of Transportation perform a study and subsequently authorize the placement of a traffic light at the intersection of FM 700 and E. 11th Place was discussed by councilmembers and community members. Public commenters spoke on how dangerous the intersection is and urged the council to implore the Texas Department of Transportation to place a traffic light at the intersection to decrease the number of accidents that occurs. During discussion on the item, City Manager Darden advised that TXDOT had done many studies over the years, but has not taken action.

 

He advised that there are two ways to meet the requirement for a study – if you have opposing traffic that’s equal and 50 percent are using one road and 50 percent are using another, and accidents.

 

Darden advised that the FM 700 and 11th Place intersection is an engineering nightmare. He stated that how nobody has been killed there has been a blessing to those involved the accidents that have occurred there.

 

He advised that he has spoken to TXDOT about other things that could be done if they didn’t want to put up a light, such as making a true 90-degree angle intersection, adding concrete medians on FM 700 to prevent people from cutting in front of people. Darden stated that drivers show a total disregard of laws, but for most part it’s a design flaw for the intersection.

The Resolution is asking TXDOT to take action on the intersection, noting that studies have been done and now it’s time to act on it. It was noted that taking formal action by the council on behalf of citizens of the City of Big Spring would allow them to forward the resolution to Neil Welch, Big Spring area Engineer, Mr. Glenn Allbritten, District Engineer in Abilene, State Senator Kel Seliger, State Rep Drew Darby, and Governor Gregg Abbott.

 

Darden advised that it is possible for TXDOT to disregard the resolution, but to not take action would not be in the department’s favor. He advised that TXDOT has said that their guidelines do not warrant a stop light at this intersection of FM 700 and 11th Place, but the City disagrees.

 

Councilman Hughes encouraged citizens to write state representatives and congressman to encourage them to push TXDOT to act. Councilwoman Gloria McDonald, District 4, also encouraged citizens to write their state representatives and send copies of signatures sheets of those requesting the traffic light. She noted that it would go a long way with the representatives.

 

Ultimately, councilmembers approved the resolution with a 6-0 vote.

 

 

#21 - Council approved with a 6-0 vote the first reading of a resolution authorizing continued participation with the Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor; and authorizing the payment of six cents per capita to the Steering Committee to fund regulatory and legal proceedings and activities related to Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC. The Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor has historically intervened in Oncor rate proceedings and electric utility related rulemakings to protect the interests of municipalities and electric customers residing within municipal boundaries.

 

 

#22 - Council approved an interlocal agreement with South Plains Association of Governments (SPAG) for an application to the Texas Capital Fund Downtown Revitalization Grant Program with a vote of 6-0. SPAG is a political subdivision of the State of Texas organized under Chapter 391 of the Texas Local Government Code. It provides grant application preparation and grant administration expertise.

 

Availability of $350,000 in order to spend downtown on infrastructure that could include water lines, sewer lines, sidewalks, etc. The city would need to match 15 percent of the available amount, which would be $52,500. Money would come the utility fund would pay for it because it could be an expansion of waterline projects. If awarded, SPAG would receive 10 percent, approximately $35,000.

 

 

#23 - Councilmembers approved the selection of engineering firm Jacob and Martin for the Texas Community Development Block Grant with a vote of 6-0. It should be noted that this was only an approval to choose Jacob and Martin if the City of Big Spring receives the grant that they applied for in January 2021. An agreement for a contract will come at a later time.

 

 

#24 – Council approved the action to authorize the Mayor to sign a Letter of No Interest on property outside of City Limits near Kentwood with a vote of 6-0. The letter is to Medallion Pipeline Company, LLC and states that the City has no objection to the company laying an 8” pipeline inside of the future Country Club Drive right of way. This 100’ wide Right-of-Way was dedicated to the City of Big Spring in 1963. Today the strip is located outside of the city limits, and there are no near-term plans to annex the property or construct the roadway. This roadway and plat may be described more fully as: Kentwood (Unit 3), Birdwell Ln. and Country Club Drive.

 

 

#25 – Council approved action regarding a right of entry to the U.S. Government, Department of the Army, to conduct an environmental investigation and remediation of property at the McMahon Wrinkle Airpark with a vote of 6-0.

 

 

#26 – Council approved the authorization of a contract for emergency sludge removal at the Water Treatment Plant with a vote of 6-0.

 

 

#27 – Council acknowledged receipt of the CVB Committee minutes of the Regular Meeting of Feb. 3, 2021.

 

 

#28 – BSPD Chief Chad Williams shared the report on the Racial Profiling Analysis 2020. The analysis was done by the third party Justice Research Consultants. It showed that BSPD is in full compliance of Texas laws concerning racial profiling.

 

 

#29 – City Manager’s appointments to the Civil Service Commission are as follows:

1 expired term – Tommy Tune willing to reserve, and selected

1 unexpired term - Aaron McKenzie moved and will be replaced by Jimmy Johnson

 

 

#30 – Councilmembers thanks city workers and community members who worked during the winter storm to get things back to normal; and congratulated newly elected councilmember Tompkins on his victory.

 

Nick Ornelas, District 1, advised that he noticed potholes were being filled and there were still a few more to go. He advised that he will have a townhall meeting on April 29th from 6-8 PM at 605 N. Main. He will have one every quarter, and everyone is invited.

 

Cody Hughes, District 3, reminded of large item trash pick up on March 17th. He urged people to look out for kids playing in the streets over Spring Break.

 

Troy Tompkins, District 5 – advised that district 5 had a 10 percent voter turnout. He thanked everyone for heading out to vote on a Saturday and encouraged his opponent Daniel Moreno to continue to stay engaged.

 

Mayor Shannon Thomason – Big Spring was not hit as hard as other areas of the state during the winter storms. He stated that feedlines became frozen and caused the water treatment plant to go offline for a few hours. The stored water capacity was pulled down to negligible levels. When the tanks began to refill, that’s when the waterline breaks were found. There were about 65 breaks, with 5 of those being large transmission lines. He stated that Darden’s numerous years of institutional knowledge was deeply appreciated during the winter storm. He also thanks Public Works Director Shane Bowles for his helps as well. Citizens are encouraged to reach out to state agencies to file with concerning damages from the storm. Information can be soon found on the city website.

 

Thomason went on to advise on current COVID-19 numbers. He advised that there had been 4,590 positive cases. There have been 4,366 cases that have been closed. There were 44 active cases as of Tuesday, March 9, 2021, and 99 patient deaths. He advised that Trauma Area J hospitalization rate has been between 3-3.5 percent for the past 7 days. Thomason stated that approximately 6,500 vaccines distributed as of Tuesday, and they had 2,000 more available to distribute this week.

 

When asked what the stipulations were for those to get the vaccine. Thomason advised that, after visiting with Scenic Mountain for the weekly updates, citizens shouldn’t worry about 1A or 1B categories if you want the vaccine, you are encouraged to show up to the clinic and get it.

 

The Mayor advised that the although the Governor Abbott’s mask mandate would be ending on March 10, 2021, he stated that city officials recommended that citizens continue to wear masks, continue social distancing, washing hands, and using hand sanitizer, and encouraged citizens to avoid going out unless it’s needed.

 

 

After their return from Executive Session, the following occurred:

  • A motion was made to have the city attorney to settle the matter with Christian Cable. It was approved with a 6-0 vote.
  • A motion was made to authorize the mayor to execute an economic development agreement with NH Management, LLC. It was approved with a 6-0 vote.
  • A motion was made to reissue the request for proposals regarding the Park Plaza Project, authorize the mayor to negotiate an agreement, and direct the city attorney to draft said agreement upon the acceptance of said proposal. This was approved with a 6-0 vote.

 

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West Texas Centers Awarded Grant for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services


WASHINGTON – West Texas Centers will receive a $2.8 million federal grant for the Care Coordination and Expanded Co-Occurring Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders (COPSD) Project to advance mental and behavioral health in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Senator John Cornyn announced.

 

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

 

“With the ongoing mental health challenges brought on by COVID-19, resources for mental health and substance abuse treatment providers cannot fall by the wayside,” Sen. Cornyn said. “I applaud this investment in Big Spring residents health, and I will continue supporting efforts to strengthen these critical services.”

 

Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

 

"The two projects funded through the grant will address expanded care coordination services and COPSD SUD services more commonly known as co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorder services," said Shelley Smith, West Texas Centers CEO.

 

"West Texas Centers was chosen from a pool of 98 applicants at the national level," Smith said. "This expansion grant will help implement and provide care coordination services to child, adolescent, and adult clients who have mental health conditions and chronic medical conditions.

 

Care coordination services are meant to improve the integration of primary care, behavioral healthcare and substance use disorder services," Smith said.

 

“Care coordination relies on a team of professionals who are involved in a person's care that collaboratively works to assess and meet the holistic healthcare needs of the individual in services,” she said.

 

“One of the main focuses of care coordination is to help the individual in services efficiently navigate through the complex and often confusing healthcare system in their area.”

 

Many times care coordination will include assisting individuals in navigating between different combinations of physical health, psychiatric and substance use treatment services they are receiving.

 

"Effective care coordination is knowing how to help an individual receive the appropriate services, at the right time, and the right place," Smith said.

 

“Expanded COPSD services will help increase needed access to substance use disorder services in our area,” Smith said.

 

Services will be provided to individuals who have co-occurring mental health needs and substance use disorder needs. Mental health professionals trained in COPSD and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) staff will help individuals work towards recovery within the community in which they live and will help the individual get set up with residential SUD treatment as needed.

 

The program also will provide Co-Occurring Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders (COPSD) services to adults ages 18 and older. The funding creates job opportunities for this program for the following positions: Care Coordinator-Registered Nurse, Care Coordinator-Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP), Medical Assistant, Data Analyst, Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Program Director, Substance Use Disorder Qualified Mental Health Professional (SUD-QMHP), and Substance Use Disorder Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (SUD-LCDC).

West Texas Centers was recently designated as a national Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). Since the certification, several local stakeholders, educational institutes, healthcare providers and community organizations have signed Memos of Understanding (MOU’s) in support of the CCBHC program.

 

"The funding of this grant delivers the much needed healthcare services for individuals in 23 rural counties covering an area of 25,000 square miles," Smith said.

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BSISD Music Teacher and BSISD 6th Grader compete in State-Wide Competition to find new Anti-Litter Song for Texas


Big Spring ISD 5th grade music teacher Eddie Vasquez, also known as local musician Eddie Austin, and his step-daughter Valerie Thompson, a BSISD 6th grader, are competing in a state-wide competition to find the Lone Star State’s new anti-litter theme song, and they need your help to win.

 

In November 2020, Don’t mess with Texas launched the “Lone Star Song Search” that invited Texans to compose an original song to compete for prizes provided by iHeart Media, Guitar Center and the School of Rock. Five days before the deadline, Vasquez came across the call for submissions and he and Thompson combined their talents to create an upbeat catchy tune that urges listeners to don't mess with Texas.

 

"I always give the utmost respect to the community members that do that - the volunteers who go around and pick up all the trash; and people like Chris Mason who do the Howard County Recycling and just try to keep our litter and our filth to a minimum," said Vasquez. "Unfortunately, we don't play a huge part, we just write the music that gets the people going to do it."

 

When asked how she felt to be able to participate in the contest, Thompson told KBest News, “I feel proud. I feel like Texas is a really beautiful place full of potential, but people just treat it like a trash can and I feel like Don’t Mess with Texas really helps with that and I would be honored to be their song.”

 

Don’t mess with Texas will choose one winner in the Best Original Song category, who will receive a home recording studio donated by Guitar Center. The second winner will be chosen from a band or musician currently enrolled at the School of Rock for their best original song and accompanying essay. This winner will receive a School of Rock Scholarship donated by iHeart Media.

 

This is the last week to vote for the local songwriters. Just visit https://txdotsongsearch.com/vote/ online and vote for Eddie Austin by using only your email address and zip code. Public Voting is limited to one vote per verified e-mail address per day. The deadline to submit your votes is Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 11:59 PM.

 

Don’t mess with Texas has been educating Texans about litter prevention since 1986. The program includes a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful, annual “Trash-Off” community outreach events and the Adopt-a-Highway volunteer program.

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Drive-thru Vaccination Clinic to be held at Scenic Mountain Medical Center March 10-11, 2021 in Big Spring


Last week, Scenic Mountain Medical Center distributed over 1,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Big Spring. This was done utilizing their community clinic that was held outside of their Whatley Plaza building, near the north driveway entrance on Martin Luther King Blvd.

 

If you missed your opportunity to get your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you can take advantage of this week’s drive-thru vaccination clinic. Tomorrow, March 10, 2021, SMMC will be distributing the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine from 9 AM to 4 PM and again on Thursday, Mar. 11, 2021, from 9 AM to noon. There is no cost to get the vaccine; it’s free.

 

Vaccines will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis and will be administered until supplies are exhausted. You will receive a separate appointment for the second dose. Once you arrive, please enter through the north driveway entrance of Whatley Plaza on Martin Luther King Blvd. Supplies are limited, please check vaccine availability before coming to the hospital on the website for Scenic Mountain Medical.

 

Those eligible to receive the vaccine are those in Phase 1A and 1B, at least 16 years old.

 

Phase 1A: Front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities

 

Phase 1B: People 65+ or people 16+ (18+ for Moderna) with a health condition that increases risk of severe COVID?19 illness, including but not limited to:

Cancer

Chronic kidney disease

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

Down Syndrome

Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

Organ transplantation

Obesity

Pregnancy

Sickle cell disease

Type 2 diabetes

If you have a medical condition not listed above, you may still qualify for the vaccine. Talk to your provider to confirm.

 

Be advsied that the SMMC website states that they are still prioritizing Phase 1A and Phase 1B, but they will not turn anyone away that is eligible to receive the vaccine. 

 

 

 

 

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Gunshot victim succumbs to injuries; Big Spring PD urges anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers


From Big Spring Police Dept.:

 

On the 8th of March 2021 at approximately 9:10 P.M., Big Spring Police Department officers were dispatched to the area of 18th and Austin in reference to a gunshot victim. Upon arrival Casey Brackett White/Male 29 years of age was found to be in the driver’s seat of a White 2007 Ford Focus which was pulled over and stopped on the side of the road. Officers observed Brackett had suffered an apparent gunshot wound. Big Spring Fire/EMS arrived on scene and immediately began treating Brackett. Brackett was transported to Scenic Mountain Medical Center with life threatening injuries. Unfortunately Brackett succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. The Big Spring Police Department Criminal Investigations Division is actively working this as a Murder. This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.

 

The Big Spring Police Department urges anyone with information relating to this incident to call CrimeStoppers at (432) 263-TIPS (8477) or use the P3tips.com software to submit your tip online. Remember no caller ID is ever used and all tips are anonymous.

 

Chief of Police, Chad Williams

Administrative Lieutenant Brian Gordon

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PUBLIC NOTICE MANDATORY LANGUAGE CODING - Tier 2 Violations/ Non-Acute


Mandatory Language for Surface Water Treatment Technique Violation

SURFACE WATER TREATMENT TECHNIQUE: [NON-ACUTE]

 

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) sets minimum water quality standards for public drinking water. [These standards include enforceable treatment technique requirements for drinking water. Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.]

 

The PWS NAME, PWS ID TX1140001, failed to meet the minimum treatment technique requirements for the month of February 2021. Specifically, our water system had:

 

Violation List:

 

More than 5% of the combined filter effluent turbidity readings were above 0.3 NTU for the month.

 

What is being done? The City of Big Springs experienced high turbidity reading from February 18 to February 24, 2021, due to the freezing weather, which caused the interruption of the treatment process. To protect the public from any potential health hazard, the City issued the boiling notice to the public on February 16, 2021, and lifted the boiling on February 24, 2021, after the Microbiological samples came back negative.

 

Please share this information with all people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (i.e., people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

 

If you have questions regarding this matter, you may contact Shane Bowles at 432-264-2501.

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CASA Information Session and application deadline


CASA of West Texas is in dire need of volunteers for the Howard County area. A CASA (or Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer is an adult, over the age of 21, who volunteers their time and talent to advocate for child abuse victims. When a child is removed from their home because of severe abuse and neglect and placed in foster care, a judge will appoint a CASA volunteer to advocate for that child's best interest. Once appointed to a child's case, a CASA will gather information and become familiar with the child's background. A CASA volunteer visits with the child on a regular basis and develops a relationship with the child; they ensure the child's needs are met while the child is in foster care.

 

The Mission of CASA of West Texas is to recruit, train, and support committed volunteers who are appointed by the court to advocate for the best interest of children in the foster care system. CASA of West Texas serves volunteers and abused children in seven counties including Midland, Howard, Martin, Dawson, Gaines, Andrews and Glasscock Counties.

 

For more information on becoming a CASA volunteer, visit their website www.casawtx.org or check out their next Zoom information session on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 12 PM.

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Now Accepting Summer Internship Applications


AUSTIN –The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is now taking applications for summer internships in all divisions, including Law Enforcement, Wildlife, State Parks, Infrastructure, Communications, Coastal Fisheries, and Inland Fisheries. 

 

“For university students who want to explore a conservation-related career, our summer internship program can be a great start,” said Cayley Birchfield, TPWD recruiter. “We provide college students a realistic view of what a career with Texas Parks and Wildlife really entails. Student interns are given the opportunity to gain practical experience in hands-on settings.”

 

Eligibility requirements, compensation, application process and additional information can be found on their internship website Student Internship Program - Jobs & Careers at TPWD - TPWD (texas.gov).  For more information, please contact the Human Resources Recruitment Team by e-mailing TPWDIntern@tpwd.texas.gov or contact HR Manager for Classification and Recruitment, Cayley Birchfield by email or by phone at 254-389-4485.

 

Volunteering with the agency is another way to gain knowledge through an unpaid internship experience.  Opportunities are listed on the volunteer management system and can be accessed through the website Volunteer - TPWD (texas.gov) or emailing volunteer@tpwd.texas.gov.

 

Texas Game Warden Summer Internship Applications due March 26

 

University students looking for a paid summer internship have the opportunity to gain hands-on job experience assisting Texas Game Wardens with patrols. There are eleven slots available in various regions of the state and selected applicants will be able to learn about the various job duties of a game warden during the 10-week internship.

 

The internship, which runs from May 27 through Aug. 1, will require students to assist for 20 hours per week on weekends.

 

Locations include:

 

  • San Angelo – 1 Available Position
  • Dallas – 1 Available Position
  • Lufkin – 1 Available Position
  • Lubbock – 1 Available Position
  • Brownwood – 1 Available Position
  • Upper Coastal Counties – 3 Available Positions (Duty Station Options Include: Galveston, Harris and Brazoria Counties)
  • Lower Coastal Counties – 3 Available Positions (Duty Station Options Include: Cameron, Nueces, Calhoun/Jackson Counties)

 

Applicants should consider that lodging is not provided before applying.

 

Minimum requirements for this internship include current enrollment as an undergraduate student in an accredited college or university, minimum of 60 completed semester credit hours from an accredited college or university at time of application, an overall grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 grade point scale and a valid state driver’s license.

Salary depends on the total credit hours of the applicant and ranges from $12-$12.50 per hour.

 

To apply for internships with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, visit the job listing webpage on the TPWD website.

 

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BSPD Narcotics Division discovers over 200 pounds of marijuana, thousands of dollars in U.S. currency, and multiple firearms at Big Spring residence


From BSPD, 03/04/21:

 

For the past several months the Big Spring Police Department Narcotics Division have been investigating the distribution of marijuana by Patrick Aaron Ramirez Hispanic/Male 29 years of

age. On the 1 st of March 2021 at approximately 11:00 A.M., the Narcotics Division executed a search warrant for Ramirez’s residence located at 1601 Stadium. Ramirez was arrested and

charged with misdemeanor warrants for Possession of Marijuana, Criminal Trespass X2, Criminal Trespass – Habitation, and Interfering with Emergency Request for Assistance. Narcotics Investigators found within Ramirez’s residence approximately 244 pounds of marijuana, approximately 6 pounds THC wax, approximately 3 pounds of THC oil, 19 Oxycodone pills, 5 firearms (two of the firearms were found to have been stolen out of Sweetwater TX) and over $88,000 in U.S. currency. Since Ramirez’s arrest, Investigators have served multiple arrest warrants and Ramirez is now charged with Theft of a Firearm State Jail Felony, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon Felony 3, Possession of a Controlled Substance PG1 1-4 grams Felony 3, Money Laundering Felony 3, Possession of Marijuana 50 pounds – 2000 pounds Felony 2, and 2 counts of Manufacture/Delivery Controlled Substance PG2 greater than 400 grams Felony 1. This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is available at this time.

 

(BSPD Courtesy Photo: Patrick Aaron Ramirez)

 

 

(BSPD Courtesy Photo: Items retrieved from the residence mentioned above.)

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Early Voting now closed for Big Spring Special Election. Polls will reopen on Election Day, March 6, 2021.


Early voting for the Special Election to elect Big Spring City Council representatives for Districts 5 and 6 ended yesterday. According to the Howard County Elections Office, the combined total of voters for Districts 5 and 6 is just shy of 4,000. During Early Voting for this Special Election there had been a total of 211 votes that were submitted. This included 132 early voting and ballots by mail received.

 

 

Candidates for District 5 are Daniel Moreno and Troy Tompkins. Candidates for District 6 are Casey W. Pledger and Maury Smith. 

 

Voters in Big Spring’s city districts of 5 and 6 will now have to wait until Election Day, Saturday, March 6th, to cast their votes for their candidate.  On Saturday, the polling location for both Districts 5 and 6 will be held in the East Room of the Dorothy Garrett Coliseum, and it’ll be open from 7 AM to 7 PM.

 

Also, be advised that a Candidate Meet and Greet will be hosted by the Howard County Republican Party Club on Thursday, March 4, 2021 for the candidates from Big Spring City Councilmember for District 5. This will be held at the Cactus Room on the Howard College campus in Big Spring from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.

 

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SMMC begins 2-day COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic TODAY, Mar. 3, 2021


The first of Scenic Mountain Medical Center’s drive-thru community vaccine clinics begins today at 9 a.m. and will continue through 4 p.m. at SMMC’s Whatley Plaza, located at 1601 W. 11th Place in Big Spring.  Today there will be 1,800 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered on a first-come first-serve basis and will be offered until supplies are exhausted. There will be a separate appointment for the second dose. Those who arrive for vaccines should enter through the north driveway entrance of Whatley Plaza on Martin Luther King Blvd. 

 

Be advised that people will stay in their vehicles. Security and staff will guide the lines and nurses will be going to each vehicle to administer the vaccine.

 

Tomorrow, there will be 400 first doses of the Moderna vaccines administered from 9AM to noon, also on a first-come first-serve basis while supplies last. 

 

Again, supplies are limited, and you are encouraged to check vaccine availability on the SMMC website - https://www.scenicmountainmedical.org/vaccine - before going to the hospital.

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Governor Abbott Lifts Mask Mandate and Opens Texas 100 Percent---Both Go Into Effect Next Wednesday, March 10, 2021:


Yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-34) lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent. The Governor made the announcement at Montelongo's Mexican Restaurant in Lubbock in an address to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.

 

"With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” said Governor Abbott. "We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed. Today's announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny."

 

During his remarks, the Governor discussed the incredible advancements that Texas has made that allow the state to open fully and lift the mask mandate—noting the rapid increase of vaccines. Nearly 5.7 million vaccine shots have been administered to Texans, and the state is now administering almost one million shots each week. By next Wednesday, about 7 million shots will have been administered in Texas and over half of seniors in Texas will have received a vaccine shot. By the end of March, every senior who wants a vaccine should be able to get one. The vaccine supply continues to increase so rapidly that more and more Texans will soon be eligible to receive a vaccine.

 

The Governor noted that Texas has a surplus of personal protective equipment and can perform over 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day. The state has invested in a variety of anti-body therapeutic drugs that have kept thousands of Texans out of hospitals. Texans have also adopted daily habits that reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection. More than 2.5 million Texans who were lab confirmed for COVID-19 have recovered since the beginning of the pandemic, and experts note the total number of Texans who have recovered from COVID-19 is likely 4-5 times that amount. The number of active COVID-19 cases is the lowest since November—meaning more Texans are recovering from COVID-19 than contracting it.

 

This executive order rescinds most of the Governor's earlier executive orders related to COVID-19. Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type may open to 100% capacity. Additionally, this order ends the statewide mask mandate in Texas. Businesses may still limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols at their own discretion.

 

If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in Texas get above 15% of the hospital bed capacity in that region for seven straight days, a County Judge in that region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies. However, County Judges may not impose jail time for not following COVID-19 orders nor may any penalties be imposed for failing to wear a face mask. If restrictions are imposed at a County level, those restrictions may not include reducing capacity to less than 50% for any type of entity.

 

View the Governor's executive order here:

https://open.texas.gov/.../EO-GA-34-opening-Texas...

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On Texas Independence Day, History Continues to Be Made at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission


Austin, TX – The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is offering the public access to more than 57 unique films and 74 audio tapes featuring former U.S. Senator and Governor of Texas Price Daniel, totaling more than 11 hours of video footage and 44 hours of tapes. TSLAC provides in-person access to archival records at its facilities and is constantly adding to its online collections. These newly-digitized audiovisual records are now accessible online in the Texas Digital Archive (TDA) along with millions of other state records documenting the work of Texas government.

“This furthers Price Daniel’s legacy of transparency in government,” said grandson Timothy H. Daniel. “One of his primary initiatives during and after his time in office was developing a new structure for how government records and personal papers of public servants were to be held for posterity and available for anyone who wants to see them. This furthers that, and makes it available to everyone.”

TSLAC staff worked for many months, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, to assess, rehouse, and digitize the films as well as process the video and create descriptive information to make the materials more accessible. The films include campaign spots, family films, televised speeches and endorsements, including from fellow Texan Fess Parker. The films and audio touch on a wide variety of historical topics of continuing interest, including taxation, energy, open government, civil rights and much more. State Archivist Jelain Chubb noted that the recordings provide added research value to other holdings in the State Archives, including papers that document Price Daniel’s campaigns and time in office as Texas Attorney General, U.S. Senator and Governor, which are available for research at TSLAC’s Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty.

These records are now preserved in perpetuity and available for research, alongside thousands of hours of other audiovisual materials in TSLAC’s collections. The digitization team continues working to preserve and make accessible more of the State Archives’ materials. Tens of thousands of audiovisual records are already available in the TDA, with more being added regularly. Visit the TDA online at www.tsl.texas.gov/texasdigitalarchive.

Other materials available through the Texas Digital Archive include the papers of other governors, historical manuscript collections, prints and photographs, records of state agencies and other branches of government, state publications, artifacts and more. These records are freely available to the public to search, browse and download—all from the comfort of home. TSLAC remains committed to making Texas history accessible at your fingertips.

The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center is a component of TSLAC and serves as the official regional historical resource depository for 10 southeast Texas counties. In 1973 former Governor Price and Jean Daniel donated 117 acres of land to TSLAC for the construction of a regional historical resource depository, which opened to the public on May 14, 1977. An additional 10 acres was donated in 1985, creating a 127-acre complex. The Center takes its name from one of the region's most significant historical figures, and Jean Daniel's great-great grandfather, Sam Houston. Its primary mission is to collect, preserve and provide access to historically significant state and local government records and publications of the designated region and secondarily to serve as a library of Texana and genealogical resources.

“The ability to actually see and hear history firsthand is much more impactful than reading or hearing about it secondhand,” Daniel’s grandson said. “This will definitely offer a new perspective with an added level of authenticity. This undertaking by TSLAC furthers his efforts and legacy of making government accessible to all citizens—beyond anything, I’m sure, that he could have ever imagined.”

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The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic, and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov.

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