Wolfabilene Updates

Abilene 'smart' water meter project on-pace, over 7,000 already replaced

 

ABILENE, Texas — The City of Abilene's water meter replacement project is "on-pace," according to Water Utilities Public Information Officer Amanda Pope.

 

Back in 2016, Abilene residents complained to KTXS about inaccurate and expensive water bills. Back then, City Manager Robert Hanna called the "smart" water meter replacement project an "intelligent expense."

 

The $18 million project began in September and is being funded through a loan from the Texas Water Development Board.

 

Pedal Valves Inc. was awarded the replacement contract. They have replaced about 7,200 meters so far.

 

During the 18-24 month long project, the City of Abilene said 43,000 meters will be replaced with "smart" meters.

 

 

When Abilene residents see a white flyer with the City of Abilene logo hanging from their door, PVI expects to replace a meter within one weeks time.

 

"If the meter does have to be changed, the water could be shut off for 15 to 30 minutes," Pope said. "So that's just an indicator if we need to schedule something specifically, we can do that."

 

The meter in Elysha Trego's front lawn was replaced on Monday afternoon.

 

"I hope it works," Trego said. "I hope it helps our bill."

 

The new meters will eventually allow residents to track their water usage on a day-to-day basis. However, that online tool is still being tested for accuracy.

 

"Once we get that up and running, they'll be able to go in and see their water usage in real time," Pope said.

 

There is no timetable as to when the online water-usage-tracker will be live.

 

 

By AJ Gersh

Copyright © 2020, KTXS12 ABC. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 


Abilene pianist Halle Puckett: The key to performance is to 'create this moment'

 

If there is a theme to Halle Puckett's piano performances, it's being in the moment.

 

In a recent interview with the Reporter-News, the 2016 Abilene High School graduate who will perform for the second time with Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra emphasized the importance and the joy of bringing a classic work to life before an audience.

 

Practice is for making sure all the notes are learned.

 

Performance is when those notes across the 88 keys at her fingertips live and breathe.

 

"Above everything, it's about communicating your feelings," she said. Her job is to create an atmosphere for enjoyment of a classic work, and to convey the emotion sought by the composer.

 

Puckett will play Beethoven's "Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major" for the Philharmonic's first concert of the new decade at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The title of the program is "Emperor Concerto," the name popularly given this piece.

 

She is excited "to get to come back and perform again," she said.

A young talent

 

Puckett is a senior majoring in piano performance at Texas Christian University. As the daughter of two noted pianists who teach at Hardin-Simmons University, Mark and Lauren Puckett, it would be surprising if she didn't have a soloist's skill set.

 

"I grew up in a very musical household," she said, laughing.

 

At 13, she won the Philharmonic's 2012 Nelda Hodges Young Artists Competition. Two years earlier, she was recorded at First Baptist Church for the NPR's program "From the Top."

 

These opened the doors to concert halls and performing as guest artist.

 

"I first met Halle during the 2012 Nelda Hodges Young Artist Competition, and was extremely impressed by her mastery of the piano at such a young age," said David Itkin, the Philharmonic's conductor and music director. "Since then, I have invited her to play at several workshops and festivals that I have hosted over the past couple of years and we are all very excited to have her back performing with the Abilene Philharmonic."

 

In January 2014, she made her concert hall debut, performing Mozart's "Concerto No. 23 in A major with the local symphony. She has performed at a musical festival in McCall, Idaho, and at workshops at the University of North Texas, both under Itkin. Itkin is a professor of music and directs orchestral studies at UNT.

 

Additionally, Puckett fondly remembers a following concert with her parents at the Paramount Theatre. That performance, Pucketts at the Piano, included all three playing at once on one piano at one point. Their skill allowed that venture to project a musical freeway rather than a traffic jam and colliding fingers.

 

"That was very exciting," she said, "and very different."

 

Her parents also performed together in April 2017 with Abilene Civic Orchestra.

 

Asked if during her preparation for a major performance she test drives the work for her parents, she said she does and appreciates their input.

 

"My parents are exceptionally talented pianists. I trust their opinions," she said. "They give me another pair of ears, and I appreciate any advice."

 

What it takes

 

Understand this, young pianists: To be excellent takes work.

 

"The obvious answer is lots of practice," Puckett said.

 

Puckett said she practices up to seven hours a day even as a student. Her instructor is John Ownings, who is chairman of the piano department at the Fort Worth university.

 

"He is an amazing teacher," she said. A critical ear is an ally, not an enemy.

 

It's in the small, windlowless practice room in a music building basement — with no cellphone service, she adds, laughing — by herself that she masters the music. There are many notes to memorizes, and tempo and tone to sort out.

 

You'd think her fingers would wear out first after playing thousands of notes, and then again, but it's time to stop when she is mentally spent. 

 

"It takes a tremendous amount of mental focus," she said of making every note and nuance count.

 

She adheres to the dynamics marked on the music, and makes sure that "my third finger goes here," she said. It's from the basics that her performance arises.

 

It may sound as if it's all work and no play for this college student. But she insists that she is not a dull girl.

 

An honor graduate at Abilene High and a Reporter-News Star Student, she said, "Fort Worth has lots to do downtown. We have an incredible orchestra and there are art museums."

 

She also enjoys writing and reading.

 

"I hang out with my friends," she said. "And I watch movies."

 

On to the concert hall

 

Her preparation accomplished, Puckett is ready to join dozens of other musicians on stage. It's then, she said, she can "communicate my feelings" and connect the audience to the piece she is playing.

 

"It also takes experience," she said of being a concert soloist. That can't be acquired playing alone in a practice room.

 

"Keep calm and ... breathe," Puckett said of performing a piece that may go 40 minutes or longer. The reward is not missing a note but seeing how much the audience has appreciated the music as she interpreted it.

 

When she is on stage, her role is to "create this moment" that blends timeless music and her performance.

 

Earlier this concert season, cellist Amid Peled told the Reporter-News that he never plays the same piece the same way twice.

 

Puckett understands that. While the performance must remain true to the composer's vision, there are opportunities to incorporate herself into the work, she said.

 

"I definitely think that in a performance, there tends to be elements of opportunity," she said. 

 

The Abilene Philharmonic audience in September 2018 enjoyed the body language of young pianist Daniel Hsu, who performed Chopin's "Concerto No. 1 in E Minor."

 

"The audience definitely likes that kind of performance," she said of watching a pianist at work. Expression matters.

 

And so Saturday, the audience likely will see her hair waving as her fingers fly across the keys and her body sway at the end of runs, then witness her delicate playing.

 

Her enjoyment "will show through," she said.

 

About this piece

 

Puckett is thrilled to take on the "Emperor Concerto," a piece that dates to 1810. In three movements, it's right out of the game with piano playing that sets a majestic mood for the piece.

 

"Beethoven's 'Emperor Concerto' is a big undertaking for a young pianist, and I think audiences will be very impressed," Itkin said.

 

This is not a piece that eventually brings in the pianist. She will begin with flourish immediately, her hands dashing up and down the keyboard.

 

'It is extremely challenging," she said of the virtuosic introduction. Eventually, the orchestra takes the lead and the soloist waits patiently until her or his turn to take charge.

 

The second movement, she said, is "the most beautiful (music) I've ever heard."

 

The movement leads into the final movement Puckett describes as a "dance. Fun and joyful."

 

In total, the Beethoven concerto is "regal and triumphant. It's one of the greatest pieces of literature, all repertoires.

 

"It is so much fun."

 

If You Go

 

What: "The Emperor Concerto," featuring guest pianist Halle Puckett performing Beethoven's "Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major," and Brahms' Symphony No. 2 in D major"

 

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

 

Where: Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. Sixth St.

 

Tickets: Range to $40, with $5 student tickets available. Go to abilenephilharmonic.org/tickets. 

 

Note: Those with tickets to the performance but also wanting to attend the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature event honoring Gary McCaleb are invited to Friday's rehearsal of "Emperor Concerto." It begins at 7 p.m. at the Convention Center.

 

Dad on stage, too

 

On Feb. 3, a string chamber music recital at Hardin-Simmons University will feature Mark Puckett, Halle Puckett's father, as soloist. There also will be two guest artists from the Dallas Opera Orchestra: Sondra Brudnak on violin and Vilma Peguero on cello. The program offers works by Igor Stravinsky, Clara Schumann and Astor Piazzolla

 

It will be at 7:30 p.m. at Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall. There is no admission cost.

 

 

By Greg Jaklewicz

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 


Why they march the bridge in Abilene: Community, unity and the children

 

After crossing the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge on East Highway 80 on sunny and pleasant winter day, Michael T. Royals gathered the youngest participants and had them face the adults.

 

He had them recite a pledge aimed at honoring and respecting their parents, grandparents and the adults in their lives.

 

Then he explained why:

 

"They are bricks," he told the youths. "So, if you want to stay out of trouble, walk on the bricks. Walk on the bricks. Do you see all of these bricks right here? These are bricks. You all are not bricks yet. Anything y'all go through, these bricks, they've gone through. They've done it."

 

Kaden Ferguson, 6, plays with his miniature American flag while sitting atop the shoulders of his father, Sam. The pair were waiting for the start of Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. march across the MLK bridge in east Abilene.

Kaden Ferguson, 6, plays with his miniature American flag while sitting atop the shoulders of his father, Sam. The pair were waiting for the start of Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. march across the MLK bridge in east Abilene. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

While Royals — who again helped organize the annual march with the help of his family, carrying on the tradition started by his father, Claudie C. Royal — addressed the children in the crowd, Kelvin Kelley used his time with the microphone to speak with and to the adults.

 

The bricks in the crowd.

 

Kelley laid out his reasons for coming every Martin Luther King Jr. holiday for the celebration, choosing to honor the slain civil rights leader through marching rather than through partying at banquets.

 

Community, unity and the children, he said. Those are his reasons. Honoring all three will lead to a better life, a better city, a better country and a better world.

 

"I think this is more than a march," said Kelley, a professor at Hardin-Simmons University. "It is a walk for community. You see, community is the only thing that's going to build this nation. You can't build through politics. You can't build through ideology. You can't build through the things we try to hold fast to.

 

Participants make the loop around the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge as they participate in Monday's march honoring the slain civil rights leader near his birthdate of Jan. 15, 1929.

Participants make the loop around the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge as they participate in Monday's march honoring the slain civil rights leader near his birthdate of Jan. 15, 1929. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

"Community is the gift. And because it is a gift, you have to honor it."

 

Unity, he said, requires folks coming together, no matter what they look like. And children are who everyone fights to make things better for, he said, including leaders such as King who paved the way for today's Americans to try their best.

 

About 1,000 folks crossed the bridge Monday afternoon, coming from all walks of life. A mix of race, creed, religion, socio-economic standing and more were seen in a show of unity that demonstrated Kelley's points better than his words ever could.

 

Michelle Royals on Monday walks ahead of the Hardin-Simmons University basketball team, which carried the banner for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. bridge march in east Abilene. The afternoon event began in the parking lot at Woodson Center for Excellence, proceeded south on Cockerell Drive, then marched west over the MLK bridge and returned to Cockerell and Woodson.

Michelle Royals on Monday walks ahead of the Hardin-Simmons University basketball team, which carried the banner for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. bridge march in east Abilene. The afternoon event began in the parking lot at Woodson Center for Excellence, proceeded south on Cockerell Drive, then marched west over the MLK bridge and returned to Cockerell and Woodson. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

 

By Timothy Chipp

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Eyes were wide at first peek inside new youth sports complex at Nelson Park

 

Wow.

 

The small group of first-time visitors to the Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center at Nelson Park was awed late Wednesday afternoon. Mainly by the size of the cavernous new home to the Abilene Youth Sports Authority on the east side of the park.

 

But also by the amenities, which will make the roughly 55,000-square-foot facility the go-to site in West Texas and perhaps in the state as a whole.

 

The facility is not yet completed, and visitors traversed a plywood path over dirt to the entrance. But it's close. Close enough to open late next month in time to bring the West Texas Sports and Fitness Expo there.

 

A panoramic picture of the interior of the Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center, now in the final stages of construction, Wednesday.

A panoramic picture of the interior of the Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center, now in the final stages of construction, Wednesday. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

The annual early February event has been pushed back to Feb. 29 to provide time for the completion of construction (and perhaps take advantage of a leap year date). The event now will be known as the 2020 West Texas All Youth Expo.

 

The gym area, which resembles an enormous hangar that perhaps could house a couple of B-1B bombers or C-130 transport planes, is brightly lighted, features multiple basketball and volleyball and provides balcony seating for spectators. Guests were shown dressing areas, offices, the concession area near the entrance. The state-of-the-art air circulation system was explained.

 

Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center Executive Director Brandon Osborne answers questions about the new athletic complex during a tour Wednesday.

Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center Executive Director Brandon Osborne answers questions about the new athletic complex during a tour Wednesday. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

Brandon Osborne, the executive director of the Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center at Nelson Park, gestures as he leads a tour of the nearly-complete athletic facility Wednesday.

Brandon Osborne, the executive director of the Dodge Jones Youth Sports Center at Nelson Park, gestures as he leads a tour of the nearly-complete athletic facility Wednesday. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

The floor is a wood product that has give, lessening the impact on the knees of those jumping for spikes or rebounds, director Brandon Osborne said.

 

For those wanting to own a piece of history, spectator seats can be purchased for a one-time donation of $100. The seat will bear the name of the donor, though, Osborne joked, that doesn't mean the donor gets that specific seat at an event.

 

"Even with their name on it," he said, smiling. 

 

The project is funded by a final gift from the now-sunsetted Dodge Jones Foundation. Though Dodge Jones funds have gone to other construction projects over its decades of operation, this is the first time a structure bears its name.

 

Information on AYSA, the new facility and donor opportunities can be found at info@abileneaysa.org 

 

 

By Greg Jaklewicz

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 


Neal McCoy, Lindsay Ell headlining 50th West Texas Rehab Telethon and Auction

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Neal McCoy and Lindsay Ell will be headlining the 50th edition of the West Texas Rehab Telethon and Auction.

 

The event will take place at the Abilene Convention Center on January 18 beginning at 7:00 p.m.

 

In addition to live entertainment, there will be an auction featuring 400 items of merchandise and services available for bidding.

 

Bidding for the auction is already taking place online at westtexasrehab.org.

 

The auction will run through midnight on January 19 and all items will be on display at the Convention Center beginning at 6:00 p.m. on January 18.

 

Entertainers joining Neal McCoy and Lindsay Ell include Charlie Chase, Red Steagall, The Boys in the Bunkhouse, Rion Paige, Jennifer Douglas Smith, Braid Blanks, Brad Maule, and Tyla Foreman.

 

The entire event will be live-streamed online at westtexasrehab.org and broadcast on KTAB TV from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.

 

 

By: Erica Garner

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved

 

 


Wylie Bulldogs head coach and athletic director announces retirement

 

WYLIE IMAGE SANDIFER_1481935051720.JPG

 

WYLIE ISD, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Hugh and Brenda Sandifer have announced their retirement effective at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Hugh, who has been the Wylie Bulldogs head football coach and athletic director since 1985, led the football team to 3 playoff appearance before 24 straight playoff appearances starting in 1994 and ending in 2017. The 2004 team won the state championship against Cuero 17-14 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco featuring Case Keenum at quarterback engineering a fourth quarter rally for the title. In addition, he had teams that were state finalists in 2000, 2009, and 2016. State semi-final teams included 1994, 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2015. Sandifer’s teams compiled a record of 285-127-4.

 

Brenda originally worked at Abilene High as an English and French teacher and sponsored the cheerleaders and Bold Gold pep squad. Brenda has been a counselor in the district since 1985 and the district’s director of counseling since 1988. Hugh and Brenda graduated from ACU.

 

Hugh and Brenda said they would know in their hearts when it is time to retire. “It is very important to us to leave when there are good people in place, and they are definitely here. The future is bright for Wylie.” They emphasized that they want the focus of everything to be on the kids, not on them. Coach Sandifer has always preached “being part of something bigger than yourself.” Brenda and Hugh are carrying this sentiment with them into retirement.

 

Hugh Sandifer was hired by Wylie icon, superintendent Stanley Whisenhunt, in 1979. It is Coach Sandifer’s staying power that may be the his most amazing attribute. When hired, Hugh told Brenda that he would work at Wylie for a year and then they would move to another town. He had many opportunities and offers to take other jobs. He chose to remain in the Wylie family.

 

Hugh has taught elementary P.E., health, Texas history, and U.S. history. He has coached JV boys basketball, varsity boys basketball, tennis, JV football, and varsity football.

 

Hugh worked for superintendents Stanley Whisenhunt, Roy Hartman, Bud Shelton, Cecil Davis, Don Harrison, and Joey Light. In that time frame, the high school principals have been Charles Perkins, Nick Pruitt, Larry Shackelford, Steve Post, Bart McMeans, Terry Hagler, Mitch Davis, Tommy Vaughn, and Tim Smith.

 

Joey Light, WISD superintendent said “Coach Sandifer has invested his life in every young person whom he has encountered in the last 41 years. He has been driven to make them better students, family members, teammates, adults, and contributing members of society. He leads with a passion and commitment that is contagious. His success has helped define not only his program, but the excellence of Wylie High School. I am so grateful for what he has meant to this school district and to me personally.”

 

 

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved

 


Taylor County commissioners approve $315,000 bid to demolish old 1931 jail


Pigeon inside of the old Taylor County Jail (Joe Fry/KTXS)

 

ABILENE, Texas — Taylor County commissioners approved $315,000 bid to demolish the old 1931 jail.

 

Garrett Demolition, Inc bid $283,095 for asbestos abatement and demolition, plus another $31,930 to fill the excavated area with clean soil.

 

The highest bid was $738,029 which included $467,644 for the asbestos abatement and demolition and $270,385 for the dirt.

 

The jail has been vacant since 1984 and has several costly issues.

 

  • Asbestos
  • Old cells with lead based paint
  • Roof with holes in it
  • Vegetation growing on stairs

 

Commissioners voted last months to accept bids, despite opposition from Commissioner Randy Williams.

 

Williams believes the County should at least try to sell the property before spending tax payer dollars on demo.

 

He reiterated those concerns during Tuesday's meeting.

 

 

By Jamie Burch

Copyright © 2020, KTXS12 ABC. All Rights Reserved

 


Everyday Hero: Dr, John Wray gives patients a personal touch

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Through the beginning of 2020, the Reporter-News is publishing stories on Everyday Heroes, people who make a difference in their communities, often without receiving recognition.

 

Medical personnel are there to serve people in urgent need of health care. The good ones (which most of them are) frequently go above and beyond “just doing my job.”

 

Dr. John Wray of Abilene Family Medical Associates apparently is one of the many “good” ones.

 

Edith Revoir, a nurse practitioner at Affordacare Urgent Care Clinic, has seen him in action enough to nominate him as an Everyday Hero.

 

“He always takes extra time with patients,” she said, adding that he is always asking if he can do anything else for them. “He has a personal touch in their care.”

 

Dr. John Wray, physician and Everyday Hero.

Dr. John Wray, physician and Everyday Hero. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

It’s not only the patients that benefit, Revoir said. Wray always has encouragement for the clinic staff, reminding them frequently, “I’m only a phone call away.”

 

“He is always, 'How are things going? Things will get better. What can we do to make things better?'” Revoir said. 

 

No matter the situation, which can sometimes be stressful, Wray is never in a bad mood, she said. Even when an employee was rude to a patient, he was encouraging instead of judgmental. “‘I think things can get better. We all have room for improvement,’ was his way of handling it,” Revoir said.

 

 

Carol Miller, who has been his office nurse for “13 or 14 years,” offered a similar opinion.

 

“He seems to genuinely care about his patients,” she said. “He doesn’t put on airs; he enjoys what he does.”

 

Wray frequently will ask her to call someone he has treated previously to see how they are doing.

 

Wray answers to “Dr. John.” His brother James, now retired, also was a physician, and they practiced together. Calling for “Dr. Wray” became confusing, so each would answer to his first name.

 

Miller and Revoir both mentioned Wray’s calm and cheerful manner. Wray says he couldn’t see himself being any other way, especially in his profession.

 

“Nobody likes a grouchy doctor,” he said. “Anybody can be grouchy. Every day is a good day.”

 

Wray has been a hero to more than just his patients. Several years ago, he became a foster parent to a young man (now an adult) at Ben Richey Boys Ranch. Wray also does physical exams for athletes and Scouts. Through his church, Highland Church of Christ, he participates in out-of-state mission trips, as well as occasional visits to Guatemala.

 

His reason for willingly doing all this? He has a concise answer.

 

“We’ve been very blessed.”

 

 

By Carl Kieke

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 


Chelsea Street Pub party vibe returns for New Year's Eve at new Heff's at Mall of Abilene

 

New Year's Eve at Heff's place.

 

Hmmm ...  

 

Remember, folks, that Heff's in Abilene and across the area has two Fs in the name, and it's a burger place.

 

Not a bunny place.

 

Recently, the Heff's on Ridgemont Drive moved across the street to the Mall of Abilene, into the former Chelsea Street Pub. In this bit of eatery leapfrog, the Flippin' Egg moved into the space vacated by Heff's, which once was a Moe's. And before that a Pizza Inn.

 

Shawn Sheppard, daytime bar manager at the Heff's Burgers location in the Mall of Abilene, promises a party atmosphere suitable for families for New Year's Eve.

Shawn Sheppard, daytime bar manager at the Heff's Burgers location in the Mall of Abilene, promises a party atmosphere suitable for families for New Year's Eve. (Photo: Greg Jaklewicz/Reporter-News)

 

For New Year's Eve, Heff's will be bringing back the party to the mall. They'll have a band, the popular local outfit 360, as well as spirits and brews. 

 

And, yes, they'll have burgers and fries.

 

Cover charge is $10. 

 

For years, those celebrating the end of one year and the arrival of a new one made the Pub a destination. There would be a good band, drink specials and a toast at midnight. 

 

Shawn Sheppard, the current daytime bar manager, said recently that it won't get that rowdy at Heff's that now operates across from the Premiere Lux movie theater on the west side of the mall. 

 

"We still want to put family first," he said. "We are family first, a bar second."

 

This Heff's location is equipped with a full bar. It seats a little less than 200, but there is a covered outdoor area that can hold another three dozen guests.

 

"We feel adding a full bar to our already best burger reputation will be exciting," Brenda Heffernan, franchise owner and founder, emailed the Reporter-News recently. " I’m a fan of music."

 

Across the room from the bar is the stage used by any number of traveling and local musicians through the years. 

 

Chelsea's opened not long after the mall, which earlier this year celebrated its 40th anniversary.

 

A 2005 Cooper High School graduate, Sheppard said he is a Chelsea's veteran, so he knows that folks had a big night out when they maybe caught a movie, then dropped in the nightspot for a nightcap.

 

"We're going to have a good time ... a great time," Sheppard promised.

 

He said he'd be there himself.

 

Since its recent opening, like all new places, the operation was being smoothed. Starting with a New Year's Eve party would be both a challenge and good publicity.

 

"It's still a work in progress, but I think that in 2020, we'll really start rolling," Sheppard said.

 

The rolling will start the last few hours of 2019. Sheppard is high on the band. And the menu.

 

"Might as well have a Heff's burger," he said of ending the year.

 

Or chicken strips, twister fries and sweet tea, if a cold beer or Jack Daniel's on the rocks doesn't wet your whistle.

 

This Heff's will continue to be a live music venue Friday and Saturday nights, with karaoke on Sundays.

 

 

By Greg Jaklewicz

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Auto racing may come to Abilene Regional Airport

 

The Abilene City Council approved an agreement that may allow Shift S3ctor, a company that organizes timed auto races on airport runways, to hold such an event at Abilene Regional Airport in November 2020.

 

If successful, the race would become a yearly event.

 

Shift S3ctor contacted the city earlier this year about the possibility.

 

Shift S3ctor's Web Site

Shift S3ctor's Web Site (Photo: Bethel, Brian)

 

Don Green, director of transportation services, said airport staff has talked to other airports that have been hosts of this or similar events, both inside and outside the state, as well as tenants in the northwest portion of the airport that would be affected.

 

"No one was opposed to this," Green said. "We still have some operating issues to work out that the FAA would approve. That comes at a little bit later date. We just wanted to get council's agreement to the agreement itself this evening so that we can move forward with this so that Shift S3ctor can set a date to put in their 2020 schedule."

 

The airport has also met with the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau to see if it would be supportive, Green said.

 

"Of course, they are," he said.

 

All in the timing

The agreement requires a payment of $8,000 to the airport prior to the event. 

 

The event itself is a timed auto race that could use the airport's west parallel runway, about 7,200 feet in length.

 

The half mile race would have two vehicles racing on the runway, side by side, but it's not a drag race, Green said.

 

"They are racing against the clock," Green said. "This attracts semi-pro drivers, it attracts drivers at some of these other events from across the country, and even some who are international drivers."

 

 A similar event in Colorado Springs, Colorado, attracts roughly 8,000 spectators, Green said.

 

Should it happen, admission into the event area would be charged by Shift S3ctor.

 

Local nonprofits will be asked by Shift S3ctor to provide volunteers for various functions and will earn funds for doing so.

 

Shift S3ctor also will recruit food and beverage vendors, including beer and wine (by TABC-licensed vendors), to be sold in the event area.

 

The race event will occur over a Saturday and Sunday and the Airport Use Agreement will include the day before and day after the event for setup and cleanup.

 

Under this agreement, Shift S3ctor is responsible for obtaining coverage from police and fire departments, as well as emergency medical services providers. It will also provide required liability insurance coverage.

 

Brian Bethel covers city and county government and general news for the Abilene Reporter-News.  If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com

 

 

By Brian Bethel

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Abilene ISD's 2020-21 calendar adds more days off, extends school year

 

Abilene Independent School District trustees recently approved the 2020-21 school year calendar, adding in an additional day of instruction for students while maintaining a few traditions.

 

As far as what students will experience, there will be more days off throughout the school year balanced against a later finish, with the last day of classes scheduled for May 27, 2021.

 

The last day of classes for the current school year is scheduled for May 22.

 

Where are the days off?

 

For students, they start with Labor Day. After classes are set to begin on a Thursday, Aug. 20, the national holiday is Sept. 7.

 

Students will  get an extra day off in October with a four-day weekend scheduled Oct. 9-12 for the Columbus Day holiday. Oct. 9 will serve as a teacher work day, though.

 

In November, the district's recent tradition of a full week at Thanksgiving continues, with the entire week of Nov. 23-27 listed as holiday.

 

Christmas Day next year falls on a Friday, so the schedule calls for the final day of classes Dec. 18, 2020. What's different is students also will receive Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, as a day off, though it will be a teacher work day.

 

Students will return to classes that Jan. 5.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be a day off for everyone Jan. 18, 2021, while the district set aside Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 (Presidents Day) as a student holiday and a teacher work day.

 

 

Spring break is set for the week of March 8, 2021. Good Friday, a holiday for both students and faculty/staff, is April 2, 2021.

 

All-in-all, the calendar calls for 174 instruction days, compared to 173 days in this current year.

 

This holiday season, help support the work of Timothy Chipp, education and general news reporter for the Reporter-News, and journalists like him with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com. Get access to stories before they appear in print and never have to worry about running out of article views again.

 

 

 

By Timothy Chipp

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Goodwill's work to help people locally goes far beyond discount stores

Day in and day out, the Goodwill West Texas team concentrates on helping people — their highest commodity. That includes the ones they've served and employed, as well as those who've donated to or shopped at a Goodwill store.

Day in and day out, the Goodwill West Texas team concentrates on helping people — their highest commodity. That includes the ones they’ve served and employed, as well as those who’ve donated to or shopped at a Goodwill store. (Photo: Courtesy Goodwill – West Texas)

 

 

When most of us think of Goodwill-West Texas, “things” are what usually come to mind first. We think about donating our used household goods and clothing, or we think about thrifting for secondhand items at a Goodwill retail store. But at the heart of its mission, Goodwill is really about people, by providing “opportunities to persons with barriers to employment” through job training and business services.

 

Day in and day out, the Goodwill West Texas team concentrates on helping people — their highest commodity. That includes the ones they’ve served and employed, as well as those who’ve donated to or shopped at a Goodwill store. Above all, Goodwill “empowers people, helps them fulfill their potential, improves the lives of their families and contributes to the growth of their community.” Goodwill hires local people, helps local people and gets by with the support of local people. They are your friends, your neighbors and your loved ones.

 

In the spirit of the holiday season, here’s a deeper look at the services provided to the West Texas community by Goodwill — and the work they do:

 

Goodwill is about offering a hand up — never a hand out — so that all individuals can experience the dignity and self-sufficiency that comes with steady employment.

Goodwill is about offering a hand up — never a hand out — so that all individuals can experience the dignity and self-sufficiency that comes with steady employment. (Photo: Courtesy Goodwill – West Texas)

 

Most of their money goes right back to helping people here at home.

 

When you spend a dollar at any Goodwill retail store, 87 cents of it goes back into programs that support the mission of Goodwill-West Texas. (Of the remainder, 11 cents go to general and administrative costs, while 2 cents are used for fundraising.) Keep that in mind when you’re considering where to donate your gently used items — or where you shop to find deals for your family.

 

They help people with documented barriers secure employment.

 

Goodwill provides jobs and training to people in the community who have a strong desire to work but who face barriers that interfere with their ability to gain and maintain a job. Goodwill works with individuals to identify their obstacles then helps them deal with those challenges. Goodwill is about offering a hand up — never a hand out — so that all individuals can experience the dignity and self-sufficiency that comes with steady employment.

 

Their mission starts with their own team members.

 

Goodwill-West Texas employs over 300 people at 14 retail locations in 10 cities across 35 counties, and nearly 60% of their employees have a documented barrier. The Goodwill team works in collaboration with an extensive network of practical, thoughtful partners who provide assistance. Every year they continually strive to broaden their scope of job training and business services, in alignment with their core mission.

 

Goodwill-West Texas offers diverse career paths, with opportunities in administration, management, retail, groundskeeping and janitorial services. Working at Goodwill allows people to positively impact their community and see the Goodwill mission lived out on a daily basis.

 

They have three regional career centers. 

 

Goodwill is committed to not only helping people find jobs — but to helping them keep those jobs, too. The Goodwill Career Centers in Abilene, San Angelo and Odessa offer one-on-one services to help individuals reach their employment goals. The services are completely free to anyone.

 

They include assistance with getting an ID, one-on-one career counseling, job-readiness skills training, resume writing, interviewing skills, job search assistance, computer access and training, soft skills training for youth, job placement and job retention training. 

 

The Abilene Career Center is relatively new, having opened in 2017, and it helped over 300 people in the Big Country with their career goals during that first year alone.

 

Beyond the career centers, Goodwill offers on-the-job and work adjustment training, as well as digital skills courses for people with all levels of computer proficiency.

 

They help youth as well as adults.

 

Goodwill-West Texas offers a program called Youth Ahead that supports at-risk youth in the region. Working with local partners, Goodwill facilitates Youth Ahead classes and curriculum to provide employability and soft skills training. The goal of the program is to prepare youth to enter the workforce — serving them now so that they face fewer barriers in the future.

 

They have been around a long time.

 

Founded in 1983, Goodwill-West Texas is a private, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. It is affiliated with the national Goodwill Industries, which was founded in 1902 in Boston, by Rev. Edgar J. Helms, a Methodist minister and social innovator.

 

Helms was said to carry a burlap sack of used shoes, clothing and household items, to help people in need in his own neighborhood. He trained and hired people in need to mend and repair goods, then paid their wages from the profits made from selling the repaired goods at a weekly church bazaar. The Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born.  

 

Today, Goodwill focuses on offering job training and vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities and disadvantages, so they can lead independent lives. They also collect donations from the communities they serve to provide employment in their production and retail areas. Every Goodwill shares a common philosophy of assisting people with disabilities or other critical needs in their efforts to work, but each Goodwill is autonomous, allowing the individual agencies to respond to the needs of their particular communities.

 

About Goodwill-West Texas

 

Goodwill-West Texas is a lot more than a place to donate used household goods and clothing. They are not “just a thrift store.” Goodwill is really about changing lives and fulfilling their mission. By donating your new or gently used items, shopping in their stores or donating to Goodwill directly, you are helping fulfill their mission!

 

 

By Stepfanie Romine

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Give back to the place you call home this Christmas

 

 

As winter settles in, it is a great time to take pride in where you live and where you come from. Having a community that extends beyond your immediate family can give people a real sense of place and belonging.

 

In Texas, connecting on a local level in the town you call home is an important part of life. This is especially true during the Christmas season, when people come together in faith and family.

 

Doing all of your socializing online can make it easy to forget that real life occurs in person - it’s the lights, festivities and local shopping and dining that make for holiday memories which last.

 

In addition, businesses and individuals embrace the holidays as a time to increase their charitable giving. There are lots of ways to connect with each other during the holidays!

 

Here are just some of the ways you can:

 

Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen

 

No one should go hungry during the holidays. Most towns and regions have community centers, food pantries, soup kitchens and faith-based ministries that provide hot meals for the needy or homeless.

 

It’s the season for rolling up your sleeves and opening your hearts to those in need. Exchanging smiles and conversations will surely brighten your day as well!

 

Donate to Toys for Tots

 

The Toys for Tots program was started by the marine corps 71 years ago as a community action program that soon spread to towns across the nation. Each season, this charitable mission provides new toys for children in need, with collection stations at local businesses.

 

For example, every First Bank Texas branch has a Toys for Tots box in the lobby, which is always overflowing with community participation. Even if you put just one toy in the box, you can be sure that a less fortunate child will smile on Christmas morning.

 

Sponsor one child’s Christmas from an Angel Tree

 

Many businesses participate in the Salvation Army Angel Trees program. Through holiday donations, each tree offers a pledge to provide clothing and toys for children in need.

 

A tree is decorated with numbered paper angel tags that correspond to an individual child on the list of recipients. The tag gives a description of what might benefit the child most based their story. Contributors then remove tags from the tree and buy presents for the children. 

 

Salvation Army also has another option which is to provide a portion of the Christmas meal for families in Abilene when you fill a Christmas box with selected food items that will be shared with families in need.

 

Support local businesses

Buying local keeps more money in the community where you live, especially if you choose small businesses. By patronizing local banks, stores, restaurants and services, you are keeping the dollars circulating close to home. This helps to keep your neighborhood and community vibrant and prosperous.

 

While towns across America share similar chain stores and restaurants, only your town has that local farm stand, diner, specialty retailer or community bank where everyone knows your name. Having store owners within reach definitely leads to better customer service and individualized attention; what could be better this Christmas?

 

Mingle in the community with family and friends

 

The holidays are a time to make memories. Stepping out with family, friends and acquaintances brings new experiences as well as traditions. Is your church doing anything special for the season? What about local clubs?

 

Most towns will have night-time light festivals, holiday markets, visits with Santa, Christmas tree lightings and musical performances. See what’s going on in your town and make sure your kids put down their cell phones for a few hours. In Abilene, consider driving downtown to see the Adamson-Storybook GardenEverman Park and the City Christmas Tree or walk through the United Way Winter Lightfest

 

Strengthening togetherness in your community should go hand in hand with the holidays. Looking up, giving back and staying local will be sure to add sparkle to the season.

 

First Bank Texas has been serving their neighbors since 1885. If you’d like to open an account, or make the switch to a trusted community bank, come on in and speak to someone personally. For further information call 325-674-1885 or visit First Bank Texas.

 

 

By Violet Bauske

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

 

 


ACU celebrates coffee with a cop day and apple fritter day with its favorite K-9

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A positive experience for ACU students today as they celebrated National Fritter day and National Coffee with a Cop day with their favorite dog, fritter.

 

Remember fritter? Acu’s honorary police K-9. Well, today is a special day for fritter as it’s national coffee with a cop day and National apple fritter day.

 

The university is celebrating with its beloved mascot to promote and honor campus police.

 

This morning, fritter shared 4 hundred apple fritters with students and police and served free coffee provided by Shipley’s Donuts.


“I think it’s great, I love a free fritter just as much as anybody and so just having the students here taking part and the fritters and the fellowship and the free coffee, it’s been a great day,” said Jimmy Ellison, Chief of Police of ACU Police Department.

 

Students also got the chance to talk to campus police about their services and enjoy some time with Fritter.

 

 

Copyright © 2019, Big Country News (KTAB/KRBC). All Rights Reserved


Unattended kitchens leading cause of holiday cooking fires

 

 

 

ABILENE, Texas — The Abilene Fire Department said cooking fires are the leading cause of house fires during the holidays.

 

"The biggest thing is people leaving their cooking unattended," said Lt. Scott Slack, an arson investigator with AFD. "It's best to stay in the kitchen while you're cooking."

 

The peak-day for cooking fires is Thanksgiving Day.

 

The average claim in Texas was more than $45,000.

 

"When you are cooking in the kitchen, you do need to be aware of dish towels, cords, and stuff like that," said Slack. "Just because you turn your oven top off doesn't mean it's still not hot."

 

If a cooking fire starts, don't put water on it.

 

"The best thing you can do is cover it with a lid," said Slack. "We don’t want you throwing water or stuff on top of it. If you can’t cover it with a lid, then just get everyone out of the house and call 911 so we can do our job.”

 

You should also have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and working smoke detectors in the home.

 

If you plan to fry a turkey for Thanksgiving, keep it at least 10-15 feet away from any structure.

 

"You want to premeasure how much oil you want to put in your fryer," said Slack. "You need to make sure your turkey is thawed and your turkey is dry.”

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2019, KTXS 12 ABC. All Rights Reserved

By Cortney Brown


Tips for donating during Love and Care Ministries' Mission: Thanksgiving at Arrow Ford

 

 

Organizers of Mission: Thanksgiving have made the donation system as efficient as possible for the 21st annual event Friday at Arrow Ford.

 

Here's what donors need to know to easily and quickly contribute to Love & Care Ministries' drive to collect goods for people experiencing homelessness or in need. 

 

Drivers headed eastbound on South First Street near the Ford dealership, 4001 S. First St., are advised to take precautions because of the added traffic during the donation hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

 

 

Courtney Pruett, left, helps unload a car during Mission: Thanksgiving Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 at Arrow Ford.

Courtney Pruett, left, helps unload a car during Mission: Thanksgiving Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 at Arrow Ford.

 

 

Where do I donate? 

 

Traffic will be directed to flow one way through the Arrow Ford parking lot. Enter the far west entrance to the parking lot and follow directions to the area where volunteers will unload the donations from the vehicles.

 

 

What is needed?

 

Canned goods, clothing, sleeping bags, blankets and more. When possible, items should be bagged instead of boxed for easier loading into the semi-trailers. 

 

 

Can I donate money?

 

Volunteers can accept cash, checks and credit card donations. 

 

"We just started that (electronic donations) last year, and it worked out pretty good. We had several people who came through who did that," said Carolyn Hewitt, office manager for Love & Care Ministries.

 

 

I live outside Abilene. Are there other locations to donate?

 

Mission: Thanksgiving will be taking place at the same time at Love & Care Ministries' facilities in Clyde, 605 S. First St., and Merkel, 906 N. Third St. 

 

 

 

 

 

By Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


ThriveABI grassroots community initiative seeks ideas to improve Abilene quality of life

 

 

For all those times people wished Abilene had this or did that differently, now is a chance to share that insight and help spark change.

 

The Community Foundation of Abilene is joining forces with other community stakeholders in a grassroots initiative called ThriveABI to chart a new path for improving the city's quality of life. The first major step is gathering input, advice, concerns and ideas from many people across the city.

 

The information will be used to establish goals and develop programs that transform those goals into reality, according to a CFA news release. 

 

 

 

To foster input, an open community forum is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. Sixth St. 

 

"Attendees will be seated at tables of nine to have a candid dialogue about what they like about Abilene, what issues are important to them and where they'd like to see Abilene go in the future," the release said. 

 

Also at each table will be a leader to guide the conversation and a scribe to document ideas.

 

.

(Photo: Courtesy Community Foundation of Abilene)

 

Two more forums will be conducted Dec. 9 and 10 at locations to be determined.

 

For information, contact Megan Dobbs at mbdobbs@cfabilene.org or 325-676-3883.

 

 

 

 

By Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Abilene pianists show off their skills

 

 

The Abilene Music Teachers Association will conduct a piano music fall festival at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Amy Graves Ryan Recital Hall at McMurry University. Piano solos and ensembles will be presented throughout the day.

 

Admission is free.

 

'Singin' in the Rain'

 

As part of the Paramount Film Series, "Singin' in the Rain" will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St.

 

Tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for students, seniors, military and children. For information, go to paramount-abilene.org.

 

Pop-up dance

 

An Eller Hall Pop-Up Dance featuring Midnight Blue will be 7-10 p.m. Saturday at the T&P Event Center, 901 N. First St.

 

Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.

 

'Ghost of a Chance'

 

CISCO — The Cisco College theater department will present an encore production of "Ghost of a Chance" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Crawford Theatre on campus. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and a dessert will be served during intermission.

 

Tickets are $15. For tickets, call 254-442-5000 or go to crawford.tix.com.

 

And more ...

 

  • ALBANY — In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, a festival celebrating the Tonkawa people will be from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Old Jail Art Center, 201 S. Second St. in Albany. Admission is free.

 

  • A free showing of "Mary Poppins Returns," rated PG, will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Abilene Public Library, 202 Cedar St.

 

  • TYE — The Wagon Wheel Squares will conduct a square dance workshop at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Wagon Wheel.

 

 

 

 

 

By Nathaniel Ellsworth

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Things to do in and around Abilene

 

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11

 

Lunch for veterans

 

A free lunch will be served to veterans from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Texas Roadhouse, 1381 S. Danville Road. Proof of service is required.

 

 

'Loves God, Likes Girls'

 

The local premiere screening of the film "Loves God, Likes Girls" will begin at 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St. Tickets are $7. For tickets or information, go to paramountabilene.com.

 

 

Dance

 

OLD GLORY — A country music dance will be 7-10 p.m. at the Old Glory Community Center. Refreshments will be available. For more information, call 940-989-2816.

 

 

Percussion concert

 

The Abilene Christian University Percussion Ensemble and Steelband will present its fall concert at 7:30 p.m. in Cullen Auditorium on campus. Admission is free.

 

 

Others ...

 

  • Overeaters Anonymous, noon, Abilene Public Library South Branch, Mall of Abilene.
  • Schizophrenia Support Group, 1-2 p.m., Mental Health Association of Abilene, 333 Orange St. 325-673-2300.
  • Parkinson's Exercise Class, 3:15 p.m., Hendrick Health Club, 2110 Pine St.
  • Anorexics Bulimics Anonymous, 6 p.m., Shades of Hope, 402A Mulberry St., Buffalo Gap. 800-588-4673.
  • Hendrick Ostomy support group, 6:30 p.m., Diabetes Center, 1742 Hickory St.
  • Abilene Quilters Guild, 6:30 p.m., Highland Church of Christ, Room No. 112. Meet-and-greet at 6:45 p.m. 325-676-1478.
  • Central Texas Gem & Mineral Society of Abilene, 7 p.m., 7607 Highway 277 South. 325-692-0063.
  • Abilene Toastmaster’s Club 1071, 7 p.m., Conference Center, Texas State Technical College, 650 E. Highway 80. 325-692-7325 or abilene.toastmastersclubs.org.
  • Al-Anon, 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 1501 N. Broadway, Ballinger. 817-689-2810 or 325-977-1007.
  • Mid-City Al-Anon, 7 p.m., First Christian Church. 325-670-4304.
  • Memory Men (4-part a cappella singing), 7 p.m., First Baptist Church University Place, 302 Hickory St. 325-676-SING or www.memorymen.org.
  • Abilene Community Band rehearsal, 7:30 p.m., Bynum Band Hall, McMurry University. 325-232-7383.
  • South Pioneer Al-Anon Group, 8 p.m., 3157 Russell Ave.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous, 8 p.m., Avoca United Methodist Church. 325-773-2611.
  • Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Group. 325-676-1400.

 

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12

 

Interfaith discussion

 

Professors Dan Stiver and Tom Copeland will present "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" at noon in Gerhart Hall at Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander St. A potluck lunch will be served. Admission is free.

 

 

Business workshop

 

Texas Tech Small Business Development Center Abilene will conduct a workshop, “Buy and Sell a Small Business,” from 6-8 p.m. in the Texas Tech Training Center, 749 Gateway St., Suite 301. Space is limited. To make a reservation, call 325-670-0300.

 

 

Others ...

 

  • Mission on the Move Soup Kitchen, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bethel United Methodist Church, 1102 N. Willis St.
  • Dining For Women — Abilene Chapter, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., First Christian Church, 1420 N. Third St. 325-677-2186.
  • Duplicate Bridge, 11:45 a.m., Mabel Lilius Bridge Center, 3001 S. Ninth St. 325-672-7990.
  • Abilene Southwest Rotary Club, noon, Beehive Restaurant, 442 Cedar St.
  • High Noon Al-Anon, noon, Southern Hills Church of Christ, 3666 Buffalo Gap Road (south end; follow the yellow signs).
  • Stroke/Aphasia Recovery Program support group, 1:30-2:30 p.m. West Texas Rehabilitation Center boardroom, 4601 Hartford St. 325-793-3535.
  • Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS), 3:30 p.m., Brook Hollow Christian Church, 2310 S. Willis St. 325-232-7444.
  • Dystonia Support Group, 5:15-6:15 p.m., Not Without Us, 3301 N. First St. Suite 117.
  • Legacies Al-Anon Family Group, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Open Door Building, 3157 Russell Ave. 325-280-7584.
  • MHAA Support Group, 6-8 p.m., St. Paul United Methodist Church, 525 Beech St. 325-673-2300. Park on Beech Street side.
  • Free certified nurturing parent class (pregnancy to toddler), 6-8 p.m., Mission Church, North Third and Mockingbird streets. 325-672-9398.
  • Methodist Children’s Home Foster Parent Orientation, 6-8 p.m., 500 Chestnut, Suite 1621. 325-672-9398.
  • Abilene Star Chorus, 6:15 p.m., Wisteria Place Assisted Living Chapel, 3202 S. Willis St.
  • Overeaters Anonymous, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Exodus Metropolitan Community Church, 1933 S. 27th St.
  • Abilene Chapter of American Association of Professional Coders, 6:30 p.m., in the board room next to the Tom Roberts Conference Center, second floor, Hendrick Medical Center, 1900 N. Pine St. Free AAPC CEU offered at every meeting. 325-435-9059.
  • Women of Combat Veterans Group, 6:30 p.m., Anson Housing Authority building.
  • West Texas Genealogical Society, 6:30 p.m., Abilene Public Library South Branch, Mall of Abilene.
  • Al-Anon Parents Group, 7 p.m., Hillcrest Church of Christ, 650 E. Ambler Ave. Use Church Street entrance.
  • Al-Anon, 7 p.m., Doug Meinzer Activity Center, Knox City. 940-658-3926.
  • Abilene Society of Model Railroaders, 7-8:30 p.m., 598 Westwood Drive.
  • Unity Group of Alcoholics Anonymous, 8 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander St.

 

 

ASPERMONT — A catfish buffet fundraiser will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Stonewall County Senior Citizens Center, 516 S. Washington. The cost is $10. Takeout will be available.

 

 

Others ...

 

  • Overeaters Anonymous, 8 a.m., Baker Heights Church of Christ, 5382 Texas Ave.
  • Abilene Cactus Lions Club, 11:45 a.m., Beehive Restaurant, 442 Cedar St.
  • Abilene Wednesday Rotary Club, noon, Abilene Country Club, 4039 S. Treadaway. $12 for lunch. Jo Ann Wilson, 325-677-6815.
  • Kiwanis Club of Abilene, noon, Abilene Country Club, 4039 S. Treadaway Blvd.
  • Clearly Speaking Toastmaster Club, noon, Hunter Welcome Center, Abilene Christian University.
  • Diabetes Support Group, 2-3 p.m., Stonewall County Library.
  • Parkinson's Exercise Class, 3:15 p.m., Hendrick Health Club, 2110 Pine St.
  • Veterans Peer Support Group, 6 p.m., 765 Orange St. 325-670-4818.
  • Mid-week Al-Anon Family Group, 6-7 p.m., Open Door Building, 3157 Russell Ave. 325-698-4995.
  • Al-Anon, 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 1501 N. Broadway, Ballinger. 817-689-2810 or 325-977-1007.
  • DivorceCare support group, 7 p.m., Hillcrest Church of Christ, 650 E. Ambler Ave. 325-691-4200.

 

 

Comedian Ron White.

Comedian Ron White

 

 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14

 

Bazaar

 

ANSON — A bazaar will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 832 Commercial Ave. A dinner will be served for $10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For information, call 325-823-3881.

 

 

ArtWalk

 

ArtWalk, a program of Center for Contemporary Arts, will take place from 5-8 p.m. in downtown Abilene. The theme will be "Veteran Appreciation." Vendors, food trucks and live music will be available.

 

 

Ron White on stage

 

Ron White will present his stand-up comedy show at 8 p.m. at the Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. Sixth St. Tickets start at $45. For tickets or information, go to tatersalad.com.

 

 

Others ...

 

  • Abilene Garden Club, 10 a.m., 300 Westwood St.
  • Chronic Pain and Depression Group, 11 a.m. to noon, Mental Health Association of Abilene, 333 Orange St., 325-673-2300.
  • Abilene Founder Lions Club, 11:30 a.m., Al’s Mesquite Grill, 4801 Buffalo Gap Road.
  • Duplicate Bridge, 11:45 a.m., Mabel Lilius Bridge Center, 3001 S. Ninth St. 325-672-7990.
  • Kiwanis Club of Greater Abilene, noon, Beehive Restaurant second floor, 442 Cedar St. 325-692-5673.
  • Mental Illness Open Support Group, 1-2 p.m., Mental Health Association of Abilene, 333 Orange St. 325-673-2300.
  • Abilene 42 Club, 6 p.m., Rose Park Senior Center.
  • PEP (People Enjoying People) Club, 6 p.m., Wylie Baptist Church, 6097 Buffalo Gap Road 325-692-4909.
  • Teen Recovery Group, 6-7 p.m., Mission Abilene, 3001 N. Third St.
  • Free certified nurturing parent class (all ages), 6-8 p.m., Mission Church, North Third and Mockingbird streets. 325-672-9398.
  • Take Off Pounds Sensibly, 6:30 p.m. Our Savior Lutheran Church, 4933 S. Seventh St. Weigh-in begins at 5:30 p.m. 325-665-5052.
  • Gambler’s Anonymous, 6:30 p.m., Unity Spiritual Living Center, 2842 Barrow St. 325-338-2575.
  • Tea Party Patriots of Eastland County, 7 p.m., Myrtle Wilks Community Center, Cisco.
  • South Pioneer Al-Anon Group, 8 p.m., 3157 Russell Ave.
  • Unity Group of Alcoholics Anonymous, 8 p.m., Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander St.
  • Hendrick Hospice Care sponsors a “Gone But Not Lost” support group the second Thursday of each month for any bereaved parent who has lost a child of any age. Information: 325-677-8516 or 1-800-622-8516.

 

 

Gene Kelly (left) Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor star in "Singin' In The Rain."

Gene Kelly (left) Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor star in "Singin' In The Rain."

 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15

 

'Singin' in the Rain'

 

As part of the Paramount Film Series, "Singin' in the Rain" will be shown at 7:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St. Tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for students, seniors, military and children. For information, go to paramount-abilene.org.

 

 

Others ...

 

  • Parkinson's Exercise Class, 3:15 p.m., Hendrick Health Club, 2110 Pine St.
  • Abilene Chinese Corner, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Abilene Christian University library. lld09a@acu.edu.
  • Mid-City Al-Anon, 7 p.m., First Christian Church. 325-670-4304.

 

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16

 

Piano fall festival

 

The Abilene Music Teachers Association will conduct a piano music fall festival at 9 a.m. in the Amy Graves Ryan Recital Hall at McMurry University. Piano solos and ensembles will be presented throughout the day. Admission is free.

 

 

Tonkawa festival

 

ALBANY — In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, a festival celebrating the Tonkawa people will open from noon to 3 p.m. at the Old Jail Art Center, 201 S. Second St. Traditional crafts, games, food and music will be presented. Admission is free.

 

 

'Singin' in the Rain'

 

As part of the Paramount Film Series, "Singin' in the Rain" will be shown at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St. Tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for students, seniors, military and children. For information, go to paramount-abilene.org.

 

 

Movie at the library

 

A free showing of "Mary Poppins Returns," rated PG, will begin at 3 p.m. at the Abilene Public Library, 202 Cedar St.

 

 

Pop-up dance

 

An Eller Hall Pop-Up Dance featuring Midnight Blue will be 7-10 p.m. at the T&P Event Center, 901 N. First St. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.

 

 

'Ghost of a Chance'

 

The Cisco College theater department will present an encore production of "Ghost of a Chance" at 7:30 p.m. in Crawford Theatre on campus in Cisco. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and a dessert will be served during intermission. Tickets are $15. For tickets, call 254-442-5000 or go to crawford.tix.com.

 

 

Others ...

 

  • Overeaters Anonymous, 10 a.m., Shades of Hope, 402A Mulberry St., Buffalo Gap. 800-588-4673.
  • Big Country Chapter American Association of Medical Transcriptionists meeting, 10 a.m., Arbec Room, first floor, Texas State Technical College, East Highway 80, Abilene. For medical transcriptionists or anyone interested in becoming one. 325-698-8898.
  • Abilene Society of Model Railroaders, 10 a.m. to noon, 598 Westwood Drive.

 

 

 

 

 

By Nathaniel Ellsworth

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Things to do next week: ArtWalk honors our veterans

 

 

ArtWalk, a monthly program of The Center for Contemporary Arts, will take place from 5-8 p.m. Thursday in downtown Abilene. The theme will be "Veteran Appreciation," including veteran art demonstrations.

 

Vendors and food trucks will be available, and the Blan Scott Band will perform. ArtHEALS will be presented from 7-8 p.m.

 

For information, call 325-677-8389.

 

Ron White on stage

 

Ron White will present his stand-up comedy show at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. Sixth St.

 

Tickets start at $45. For tickets or information, go to tatersalad.com.

 

'Loves God, Likes Girls'

 

The world premiere screening of the film "Loves God, Likes Girls" will begin at 7 p.m. Monday at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St.

 

 

Tickets are $7. For tickets or information, go to paramountabilene.com.

 

'Singin' in the Rain'

 

As part of the Paramount Film Series, "Singin' in the Rain" will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St.

 

 

Tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for students, seniors, military and children. For information, go to paramount-abilene.org.

 

Percussion concert

 

The Abilene Christian University Percussion Ensemble and Steelband will present its fall concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Cullen Auditorium on campus. Admission is free.

 

Piano fall festival

 

The Abilene Music Teachers Association will conduct a piano music fall festival at 9 a.m. Nov. 16 in the Amy Graves Ryan Recital Hall at McMurry University. Piano solos and ensembles will be presented throughout the day. Admission is free.

 

'Ghost of a Chance'

 

CISCO — The Cisco College theater department will present an encore production of "Ghost of a Chance" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in Crawford Theatre on campus. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and a dessert will be served during intermission.

 

Tickets are $15. For tickets, call 254-442-5000 or go to crawford.tix.com.

 

And more ...

 

  • A free lunch will be served to veterans from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at Texas Roadhouse, 1381 S. Danville Road. Proof of service is required.

 

  • OLD GLORY — A country music dance will be 7-10 p.m. Monday at the Old Glory Community Center. A live band will perform and refreshments will be available. For more information, call 940-989-2816.

 

  • Professors Dan Stiver and Tom Copeland will present "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" at noon Tuesday in Gerhart Hall at Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, 602 Meander St. Admission is free.

 

  • ANSON — A bazaar will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church, 832 Commercial Ave. A dinner will be served for $10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For information, call 325-823-3881.

 

  • ALBANY — In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, a festival celebrating the Tonkawa people will open from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Old Jail Art Center, 201 S. Second St. Traditional crafts, games, food and music will be presented. Admission is free.

 

  • Abilene Ballet Theatre will present its Sugar Plum Fairy Tea at 2 p.m. Nov. 16-17 at Abilene Woman's Club, 3425 S. 14th St. Tickets start at $25. For tickets or information, go to abileneballettheatre.org.

 

  • A free showing of "Mary Poppins Returns," rated PG, will begin at 3 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Abilene Public Library, 202 Cedar St.

 

  • An Eller Hall Pop-Up Dance featuring Midnight Blue will be 7-10 p.m. Nov. 16 at the T&P Event Center, 901 N. First St. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.

 

 

 

By Nathaniel Ellsworth

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Nominate an Everyday Hero in Abilene who makes a difference in the community

 

 

Many people make a difference every day in Abilene and surrounding communities — often without ever receiving a pat or the back or a simple "thank you."

 

The Reporter-News wants to recognize these Everyday Heroes and their good deeds in a series of stories at the end of the year.

 

To nominate an Everyday Hero, send the person's name and a short description of his, her or their good works to PublishMe@reporternews.com, or to the Reporter-News at P.O. Box 30, Abilene, TX 79604. Include "Everyday Hero" in the subject line of emails or on the envelops of mailed nominations.

 

Nominations must be submitted by Nov. 22.

 

 

 

By Nathaniel Ellsworth

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Clyde house fire destroys hunting, fishing supplies for nonprofit helping veterans

 

 

CLYDE – A recent fire here did more than heavily damage a house and its contents – it also destroyed supplies and products for a nonprofit that takes veterans on hunting and fishing trips.

 

U.S. Army veterans Heather and Chris English and their 6-year-old daughter currently are living in a hotel after an Oct. 20 fire that started in the washing machine spread to other parts of the residence. Heather and daughter, as well as her mother, safely evacuated the house, which is located just outside of town, Chris English said.

 

The home of Heather of Chris English was a "total loss" after a fire on Oct. 20. The fire also destroyed the supplies for the nonprofit Texas Hunters for Heroes-West Texas Chapter.

The home of Heather of Chris English was a "total loss" after a fire on Oct. 20. The fire also destroyed the supplies for the nonprofit Texas Hunters for Heroes-West Texas Chapter.

 

He was away on a monthly hunting trip with veterans for the nonprofit Texas Hunters for Heroes-West Texas Chapter, which he has operated for three years.

 

"We're making it. We're going to be fine. It's just pretty devastating actually. We're not going to be able to help the veterans like I want to for the next couple of months, but we'll live," Chris said Thursday. 

 

The couple also has two sons in college. The house has been in the family for 10 years. 

 

Between the fire, smoke and water damage, the house is "totaled," Chris said. His wife's and mother-in-law's vehicles also were destroyed, as was a motorcycle parked in the garage.

 

"Our house was a total loss. They're going to have to rebuild it," Chris English said. 

 

Individuals and businesses in the community are helping the family get back on its feet with the rebuilding of the house, replacing of the wife's vehicle and other needs, he said. He also recently met with an insurance adjuster. 

 

"This community has been fantastic," English said.

 

Also destroyed in the fire were the nonprofit's hunting and fishing supplies stored in the garage, as well as T-shirts, hats and other products the couple sold to raise money for the nonprofit. 

 

Three vehicles were damaged in a fire at the home of Heather and Chris English near Clyde on Oct. 20.

Three vehicles were damaged in a fire at the home of Heather and Chris English near Clyde.

 

Through Texas Hunters for Heroes-West Texas Chapter, English guides five to 10 veterans monthly on a hunting or fishing trip. The program is designed to show veterans respect, honor, compassion and love as they reintegrate into civilian life, according to its website.

 

The meat is donated to other groups that feed the homeless, he said.

 

"I'm used to being on the end of helping others and giving to others," English said. "It's been very humbling to be on the receiving end of it."

 

The hunting and fishing trips go on, with board members taking a handful of veterans on a deer hunting trip this weekend, he said. 

 

He also is host of a post-traumatic stress disorder support group for veterans that meets Thursday evenings at the Clyde Chamber of Commerce office

 

Two days after the fire, the stress of dealing with the fire's aftermath was compounded when English learned that a solder who served under him had committed suicide. Preventing veterans suicides is why he continues to host the support group and is looking to quickly rebuild the nonprofit's supplies.

 

It is all part of his commitment to "do anything to help our veterans," he said.

 

GoFundMe page with a goal of $250,000 was created Thursday to help the family. 

 

 

 

By Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Abilene Wide Open: The Great Gurney Race

 

 

You had to be quick at the second Great Gurney Race this month during ArtWalk.

 

That was true not only for competitors, but photographers, as well. Getting steamrollered by a hospital gurney looked like a sure way to end up on one.

 

The Hardin-Simmons University PA group beats the competition to the finish line during the second Great Gurney Race at ArtWalk on Oct. 10. The Physician Assistant students later were the overall winners of the event.

The Hardin-Simmons University PA group beats the competition to the finish line during the second Great Gurney Race at ArtWalk on Oct. 10. The Physician Assistant students later were the overall winners of the event.

 

The races benefit Global Samaritan Resources.

 

Teams raise money to sponsor their effort as well as pay an entry fee. The idea is for each team to sort aid packages for different countries into their appropriate bins, then race a gurney with a rider down to the end of the street and back.

 

Keeping with the Halloween season, the teams are costumed according to themes. Marvel superheroes, Mario Bros. characters, and the cast of Disney's Aladdin were all represented in the race.

 

Kelly Hall of the Abilene Running Company helps her team sort boxes as her helmet starts to slouch over her eyes.

Kelly Hall of the Abilene Running Company helps her team sort boxes as her helmet starts to slouch over her eyes.

 

This year, the team with the best time were students from Hardin-Simmons University's Physician Assistant program, receiving the Golden Bedpan award for best time. Appropriately, they were flush with success.

 

The Hanner Supercenter team (left) ekes-out a win against the Abilene Bone & Joint Clinic.

The Hanner Supercenter team (left) ekes-out a win against the Abilene Bone & Joint Clinic.

 

 

By 

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Thursday's weather diverts aircraft to Abilene Regional Airport

 

 

Thursday's cold front that pushed through the Big Country, lowering temperatures and bringing light precipitation and northerly winds, also affected air travel.

 

An American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Austin was among those diverted here, an Abilene Reporter-News reporter late arriving here said.

 

Cots were set up at Abilene Regional Airport for passengers.

 

Don Green, director of transportation services, said that six aircraft had been diverted to the airport due to storms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in Austin.

 

"Two of those flights had flight crews reach their duty time limit and had to cancel the flight here," he said. "Therefore, we had just over 200 passengers deplane and spend the night in Abilene. Of those, 40 slept in the terminal on cots provided by the Airport and the city's Emergency Management division."

 

American Airlines was working to get those passengers and other regular flights back on schedule Friday, Green said.

 

 

Passengers on a flight from Los Angeles to Austin take refuge at Abilene Regional Airport on Thursday evening after it was diverted to Abilene. Weather affected air travel Thursday. Oct. 24 2019

Passengers on a flight from Los Angeles to Austin take refuge at Abilene Regional Airport on Thursday evening after it was diverted to Abilene. Weather affected air travel Thursday. Oct. 24 2019

 

 

 

By Brian Bethel

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


Trying to be the '1': Wylie, Abilene among 11 band shows rated superior

 

 

The high school marching bands that bused to Wylie's Bulldog Stadium on Monday could be thankful of two things at least.

 

Megan Colwell of the Wylie High flag corps balances her flag on her chest during the band's Region VI marching band performances Monday night at Bulldog Stadium. Wylie earned a "1" rating to advance to the regional competition.' Oct 21 2019

Megan Colwell of the Wylie High flag corps balances her flag on her chest during the band's Region VI marching band performances Monday night at Bulldog Stadium. Wylie earned a "1" rating to advance to the regional competition.' Oct 21 2019

 

 

It wasn't too hot, like Sunday's 94-degree reading, and it was dry.

 

For some bands, the thankfulness extended to receiving "1" rating at the University Interscholastic League Region East Zone contest.

 

Eleven bands received superior ratings, including Wylie and Abilene high schools. Cooper received a 2 but advances because at least two bands must represent the region.

 

For Wylie and Cooper, that means advancing to the area round of competition this weekend in Odessa. From there, it's off to San Antonio for bands judged the best. Class 5A, 3A and 1A bands are eligible this year.

 

Horn player Aaron Halliburton and the other 24 members of the Baird High School marching band earned a superior rating Monday at Wylie ISD's Bulldog Stadium, qualifying for the Class 1A state contest in San Antonio next month.

Horn player Aaron Halliburton and the other 24 members of the Baird High School marching band earned a superior rating Monday at Wylie ISD's Bulldog Stadium, qualifying for the Class 1A state contest in San Antonio next month.

 

Baird, the first band to play Monday, was hoping for a ticket straight to the November competition. The only Class 1A school on the program, the band would not have to compete at an area-level round.

 

After scoring a superior rating here last year, Baird matched that and earned its first trip to the state contest in who knows when.

 

"A long time," horn player Aaron Halliburton said.

 

Senior Kydie Edwards twirls during Albany High School's UIL marching band competition at Wylie ISD's Bulldog Stadium. Albany was judged with a "3" raring.

Senior Kydie Edwards twirls during Albany High School's UIL marching band competition at Wylie ISD's Bulldog Stadium. Albany was judged with a "3" raring.

 

Did fourth-year director Gary Sherman hear a "1" performance?

 

"Uhhhhh, it was close," said Sherman, who shares directing duties with his wife, Annette. He teaches brass and percussion; she handles woodwinds.

 

"They are pumped," Gary Sherman said of his band members, who were texting the good news after it was announced.

 

Six Class 3A bands were vying for advancements — Ballinger, Clyde, Colorado, Jim Ned, Merkel and Sonora. Scoring "1" ratings were Clyde, Colorado, Jim Ned and Sonora.

 

Baird High School band director Gary Sherman stands with his student musicians before they entered Bulldog Stadium on Monday to compete at the UIL regional contest. Baird earned a "1" rating to advance to the state contest for the first time in years.

Baird High School band director Gary Sherman stands with his student musicians before they entered Bulldog Stadium on Monday to compete at the UIL regional contest. Baird earned a "1" rating to advance to the state contest for the first time in years. 

 

Among 4A bands, Big Spring, Andrews and Fort Stockton scored 1s.

 

Sonora's middle school band also got "1."

 

Extras Monday included Jim Ned's yellow brick road and cornfield, Merkel's soldier charge during its show, "The Civil War," and Albany High's twirler, Kydie Edwards.

 

Competing during the evening were Abilene's three high school bands, with Wylie hoping to advance as a Class 5A competitor for the first time.

 

The Pure Gold Band had a non-competition year as a 4A school in 2017, then another in 2018, its first in 5A.

 

The Pure Gold scored a "1," Michelle Lessing's first as a director.

 

"It feels good," she said after the rating was announced. "The kids are super, super excited."

 

She watched from the Wylie track.

 

"The show from the field is a different listening experience that being in the stands," she said. "You can feel the energy. They really got that going."

 

She said what was evident Monday night was the work put in to unify as musicians.

 

"That concept is what makes a haka," she said of her band's warrior-like theme. "That is what we focused on last week and these few days, trying to find unity in sound and spirit."

 

The lights of Wyiie ISD's Bulldog Stadium shine off the Cooper marching band tubas as the band gets into position to open its show Monday night at the Region VI marching band competition. Oct 21 2019

The lights of Wyiie ISD's Bulldog Stadium shine off the Cooper marching band tubas as the band gets into position to open its show Monday night at the Region VI marching band competition. Oct 21 2019

 

First-year Cooper director Matthew Raines said he heard "some good things" but even without the judges' comments he knew where his band needed "some improvement."

 

"We'll take the comments of the judges and adjust what we can," he said, noting the band has 4.5 hours of rehearsal time before competing again.

 

"I'm optimistic," he said.

 

Nathaniel Hernandez of Abilene High School prepares for Monday evening's UIL contest at Bulldog Stadium on the Wylie High School campus. Oct 21 2019

Nathaniel Hernandez of Abilene High School prepares for Monday evening's UIL contest at Bulldog Stadium on the Wylie High School campus. Oct 21 2019

 

 

 

By Greg Jaklewicz

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved