Wolfabilene Updates

Garth Brooks Is Performing at Joe Biden's Inauguration


Garth Brooks will be performing as part of the swearing-in ceremonies for Joe Biden's inauguration tomorrow.  He announced it yesterday during a press conference.


Quote, "This is a great day in our household.  This is not a political statement.  This is a statement of unity.  That's pretty much it.  And . . . just excited, nervous, all the good things because this is history, and it's an honor to get to serve.


"This is how I get to serve this country.  Our father served as a U.S. Marine, and in the Korean War had brothers that served in the Air Force and Army, and this is my chance to serve." 


He joked that he "might be the only Republican at this place."


He also said, quote, "I've played for every president there is, since Carter, with the exception of Reagan.  This is an honor for me.  And it's one of the things that, if my family is around, no matter who the president-elect is, it's an honor to be asked."


Garth performed at Barack Obama's 2008 swearing-in, but couldn't be at Donald Trump's inauguration because he was in the middle of a worldwide tour. 


He wasn't sure what song he'll be doing tomorrow, but he did say we can expect a "broken down, bare-bones" performance without a band.


Quote, "My job is pretty simple.  My job is when they point to me, to get to do what I was put down here on this Earth to do and that's sing music in a celebration in an honorable day in this country where the new president takes over."


Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem at the swearing-in ceremony, and Jennifer Lopez is also performing.


The inauguration will be capped with a primetime special hosted by Tom Hanks.  It'll feature performances from Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Bon Jovi, and more.


(Fox NewsPeopleCMT)



Copyright © 2021, Fox News, People, CMT. All Rights Reserved

ACU joins four other universities in historic move to WAC



ABILENE, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) – Abilene Christian University expects to begin intercollegiate competition in the Western Athletic Conference in 2021, joining four other NCAA Division I institutions making a milestone move to the WAC, it was announced today in a press conference at the NRG Center.


ACU will transition from the Southland Conference – a league it co-founded in 1973 and rejoined in 2013 – along with Lamar, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, and Big Sky Conference member Southern Utah.


All five universities have planned to join the WAC July 1, 2022. The remaining Southland members, however, exercised their ability to accelerate the exit of the ‘Texas Four” a year early. ACU, Lamar, SHSU and SFA are petitioning the WAC Board of Directors for entry July 1, 2021, instead. Southern Utah is still expected to join in 2022.


“I cannot overstate my level of excitement in making this expansion announcement,” said WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd. “The opportunity to bring five quality institutions into the conference, to significantly strengthen the WAC’s national basketball brand and other championship sport profiles, and to bring football back under the WAC umbrella is one that made sense.”


Hurd said the result could not have been accomplished without the collaboration and shared visions of the WAC’s Board of Directors and presidents of incoming institutions. “It not only stabilizes the conference for the future; it also positions it for significant growth and success,” Hurd added.


The expanded WAC will host competition for championships in two divisions. A Southwest Division will be composed of ACU, Lamar, SHSU, SFA, Tarleton State and Texas-Rio Grande Valley. A new West Division will feature California Baptist, Dixie State, Grand Canyon, New Mexico State, Seattle, Southern Utah and Utah Valley universities.


“This is a historic move for ACU. We are excited about joining a conference with the WAC’s history and visibility,” said Dr. Phil Schubert, ACU president. “The brand equity and recognition of the league remains strong and will benefit us regionally and nationally as we attract both students and student-athletes.”


Schubert cited several compelling reasons for the change, including continued emphasis on academic and athletics excellence; an expanded geographical reach into the West, especially in major U.S. markets; increased TV and tournament exposure; and automatic bids to national championships and postseason play.


“This is a tremendous opportunity for ACU to continue to grow its programs and establish itself on the national stage,” said director of athletics Allen Ward. “In addition to the positive impact on recruiting, we will realize benefits from the continued association with Texas institutions, new partnerships that pursue common Division I goals, and the strategic efficiencies of divisional play.”


The WAC currently crowns team and individual champions in 19 sports – nine men’s and 10 women’s.


The conference was founded in 1962 by Arizona, Arizona State, Brigham Young, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Many other prominent Division I universities have been members through the years, including TCU, SMU, Rice, Texas-El Paso, Tulsa, and the Air Force Academy.


WAC teams have won 32 men’s Division I national championships, including Brigham Young’s 1984 Associated Press football crown when it defeated Michigan in the BCS Holiday Bowl. Eighteen times a WAC women’s team has won a Division I national title.


Football plays a strong role in reorganizing the conference, which sent teams to three Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl games from 2007-10, and will have restored competition in 2022 for the first time in a decade. The WAC will compete at the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) level where all the newest members currently play.


The Texas Four have deep histories in the sport: ACU (which began playing in 1919), SHSU (1912), Lamar (1923) and SFA (1923) are familiar foes in the Lone Star State. Sam Houston has played deep into the FCS playoffs seven of the last 10 seasons, Lamar appeared in 2018, SFA in 2014, and Southern Utah has qualified three times since 2011. SFA or SHSU student-athletes have won FCS national player of the year honors three times since 2010.


ACU, which plays its 100th season in football this fall, has sent 42 Wildcats to the NFL – including College Football Hall of Fame inductee, all-pro running back and two-time Super Bowl-winning assistant coach Wilbert Montgomery – and has produced two national championships, record-setting quarterbacks and the longest field goal in history.


The new WAC promises to be a powerhouse basketball conference, having sent at least two men’s teams to the NCAA Tournament in 28 of the past 45 seasons. In women’s basketball, the conference has had at least two teams qualify for the NCAA Tournament 10 times in 28 seasons, with a record five teams in 1998.


SFA and ACU bring standout basketball programs to the WAC. The Wildcats were one of just three teams in the nation in 2019 to qualify men’s and women’s teams for the NCAA Tournament, and the Lumberjacks’ men’s team has appeared in March Madness five times since 2009. Since 2018, ACU has the 11th most combined wins (109) in Division I by its two basketball programs. Its men’s team is among national leaders in several defensive categories and currently ranked 13th in the collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll.


In baseball, the WAC has boasted two College World Series champions since 2003, and five others from 1965-77.


Only four universities, including Stanford, USC and UCLA, have won more national team championships than Abilene Christian. The Wildcats have 64, led by its heritage-rich track and field program, which has generated 39 Olympians, a Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, and was named Texas Sports Dynasty of the Century by Texas Monthly magazine in 1999.


“The potential for WAC basketball, the return of WAC football, and the promise for all Wildcat sports is exciting. Competition will be challenging, but I believe we are positioned well for this move,” Ward said.


“In addition to our strong, successful athletics program, Abilene Christian brings an exceptional academic reputation that has seen increased national recognition these last few years,” Schubert said. “Special things are happening here and being a part of this conference realignment just adds to the momentum for our university.”



By: Abilene Christian University

Copyright © 2021, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved

Strong Sunday storm brings season snowfall total to more than twice Abilene's average


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The icy roadways and memories of a second snowfall are slowly melting away.


This time around though, instead of one day of winter weather, the Cochran siblings got two.


“I just couldn’t believe that it kept snowing,” said Abilene resident Amy Cochran. “I just kept looking out expecting it to be done and it just kept snowing.”


Cochran grew up in Abilene and she says she’s never seen anything quite like this.


“There was one Easter that I remember in like, April, and we got a ton of snow and it was like, the most bizarre thing,” said Cochran.


According to the National Weather Service, Abilene typically gets around 3.4 inches of snow during the entire winter season.


Sunday’s snowfall, along with the winter storm early this year and late last year have brought the number up to 8.7 inches.


“We’re already way above for snowfall,” said Meteorologist Hector Guerrero, with the National Weather Service.


Guerrero says the early snowfall in October may have contributed to the increase.


“You know, it could snow here in West Texas anywhere around November. Of course this year’s been a little bit different ’cause it actually snowed right before Halloween, so we’ve already had three snows this year,” said Guerrero.


He says the additional snowfall is also unlikely during our current El Niña season, but it has helped the drought situation.


“You guys in Abilene have measured about 2.58 inches, and the average is about 3.61 inches,” said Guerrero.


The clouds are gone and the kiddos won’t be out for much longer, but don’t be surprised if these memories fall on the Key City again well into the spring.



By: Jessica Ranck

Copyright © 2021, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved

Four Tips to Have a Happier and More Positive Year


Last year was a difficult year for just about everyone.  And if you've made it your mission to have a better 2021, here are four tips to have a happier and more positive year . . .


1.  Start as soon as you wake up each day.  Scientists have found that your subconscious may be most active right when you wake up.  So training yourself to think more positively in the morning can set you up for a better day overall. 


Something as simple as looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, "It's going to be a great day" can have a big effect.


2.  Drown out the negative thoughts.  People have a tendency to put more weight on negative experiences.  One study found that we need at least FIVE times as many positive experiences to counteract one negative one.


3.  Focus on finding more positivity.  Fill your day with as many positive thoughts as possible, whether that's bookmarking sites with funny videos, seeking out encouraging stories, or reading uplifting quotes.


4.  Hang with people who make you happy.  Positivity and negativity can be contagious.  If you spend your days hanging around with someone who always sees the worst in a situation, you're more likely to get caught up in it too.


So think about the people you spend the most time with . . . and which ones lift you up and make you laugh.  That doesn't mean you need to cut out anyone who's negative, but just keep it in mind so you don't get sucked in. 





By: William Arruda

Copyright © 2021, Forbes. All Rights Reserved

Abilene's top things to look forward to in 2021



2021 is finally here and with it comes a myriad of exciting events and endeavors for Abilene. Despite being in a global pandemic, there is still a lot to look forward to. Check out some of what’s to come this year:


COVID-19 vaccine available to the public 


Already, thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed to frontline workers. As more doses are received, the general public will be able to receive the vaccine in 2021. With more people getting the vaccine, health officials signal this could be the end of the pandemic.




Sadly 2020 was not a great year for hardly anyone. As the COVID-19 vaccination becomes more widely available, recovery is now in view. With more stimulus money and more PPP loans, businesses and people will hopefully be able to stay afloat.


Events return to Abilene

Despite many of the Key City’s signature events being canceled in 2020, organizations are putting their best feet forward to host 2021 events. This includes the 51st Annual West Texas REHAB Telethon, Outlaws and Legends, the CALF (Children’s Art and Literacy Festival,) among others.


51st Annual West Texas REHAB Telethon:

Rehab 2021 Telethon & Auction


WTRC is a non-profit outpatient organization offering physical, occupational, and speech therapy for both adult and pediatric patients, along with hearing and balance, orthotics and prosthetics, Hospice, Pacesetters, family support services, and employer services.


The 51st Annual Telethon & Auction will be live at the Abilene Convention Center or by tuning in virtually through a live stream of the evening events.


WHEN: Jan 23, 2021, from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am
For more information click here.


Outlaws and Legends


The rescheduled 10th Annual Outlaws & Legends Music Fest, benefiting Ben Richey Boys Ranch, returns to the Back Porch of Texas. Outlaws & Legends. Featuring the biggest line-up including: Willie Nelson, Randy Houser, Kevin Fowler, Deana Carter, Lee Roy Parnell, Charley Crockett, The Great Divide, Cooder Graw, Jamie Richards, Mike & The Moonpies.


***All tickets, passes and packages purchased for the 2020 event will be honored at the rescheduled 10th Anniversary Festival.


WHEN: March 19-20, 2021.


For more information click here.


Children’s Art and Literacy Festival


The 9th annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival celebrating the summer artist on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature is a two and a half day event where books come to life.


Enjoy fun activities at nearly 20 venues in downtown Abilene as we celebrate the books and characters of Loren Long. Registration opens in February at www.abilenecalf.com


WHEN: Thursday, June 10, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM


Continued growth of the SoDA District



The area South of Downtown Abilene, now affectionately dubbed the SoDA District, continues to experience extraordinary growth. Entrepreneurs have taken this seemingly forgotten section of town and made it a hub for unique spaces and hangouts. Despite 2020 being 2020, the SoDA District saw much growth and development, including the opening of new entertainment venues, bars, homes, and more. 2021 is expected to see even more growth with more development planned.


Continued growth of Downtown Abilene


Downtown Abilene continues to grow, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. New businesses continue to make strides to open, especially in the name of entertainment and retail. There is also hope for the construction of the Downtown Convention Center Hotel.


Park improvements


Both Stevenson and Sears park advocates have been pleading over the past year for improvements for our backyard playgrounds and leaders are now taking notice. City Manager Robert Hanna says with more people going outside to socially distance, parks have moved up on the list of repairs.


Road improvements


Streets are taking a front-page priority for the calendar year, too. More money being built up in the city’s Street Maintenance Fee account means more streets will soon be able to be repaired. Click here for the plans for 2021.


Continued growth at Taylor County Expo Center


The Taylor County Expo Center has been in a renovation period for a few years, with the opening of the new Guitar Arena, Taylor Telecom Area, and First Financial Pavilion. 2021 will see the completion of Phase 3 with a newly remodeled Coliseum.


Work continues to bring the B-21 to Dyess AFB



Work continues to bring the much anticipated B-21 Raider to Dyess Air Force Base. Specific details regarding the base’s allotment and more are still being worked out. Abilene’s community support for Dyess is second to none and this new mission promises life to Dyess for decades to come.




By: Travis Ruiz, Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2021, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved

A list of what's closed the week Christmas in Abilene


Closed Wednesday through Friday

  • Texas Department of Public Safety offices, including driver license offices

Closed Thursday and Friday

  • Most city locations and services will be closed, including City Hall; the public health district; Abilene Convention Center; airport administration; recreation and senior services; animal shelter; police and fire administration; Solid Waste Services administration; Environmental Recycling Center; Main and Mockingbird libraries; and Customer Service Center
  • Taylor County offices
  • State offices
  • Municipal Court (citations issued Thursday and Friday will be due Monday)
  • Abilene and Wylie public schools are closed for winter break

Closed Friday only

  • Regular residential and commercial trash pick-up Thursday; no pick-up Friday
  • CityLink Transit will follow a Saturday schedule on Thursday for fixed route and paratransit riders, with no evening service. No CityLink service Friday.
  • Abilene Zoo
  • Abilene Public Library South Branch at the Mall of Abilene, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, closed Friday
  • Frontier Texas! will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, with last show at 2:30 p.m.; closed Friday.
  • Federal offices, post office



By: Staff Report

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

Jim Ned wins state championship in OT thriller


ARLINGTON, Texas (BigCountryHomepage.com Sports) — The Jim Ned Indians took home the Texas 3A Division 1 State Championship Thursday night after an overtime thriller that saw the Indians erase a 21-point first half deficit.


Hallettsville got off to a fast start as running back and future Texas Longhorn Jonathon Brooks picked up 87 yards on the first possession for the Brahmas. He capped the drive with a 56 yard touchdown run.


They added to the lead on the second drive. Trace Patek’s touchdown pass to Ty Gerke makes it a 14-0 lead for Hallettsville.


The Brahmas continued to roll in the second quarter as Brooks found the end zone for the second time in the game, extending their lead to 21-0. Brooks rushed for 230 yards in the first half.


Jim Ned finally got things going on their next drive as Tate Yardley threw a perfect pass to Zac Henderson for a 35-yard touchdown.


Hallettsville took a 21-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.


Jim Ned answered the bell in the second half. Yardley found Henderson again for another touchdown to cut the Brahmas lead to 21-14.


After a Hallettsville fumble, Jim Ned tied it up late in the fourth quarter on Yardley’s third touchdown pass of the game to complete the 21-point comeback.


After neither team was able to score before the end of regulation, Hallettsville’s Brooks punched it in from three yards out with their first possession in overtime to give the Brahmas a 28-21 lead.


Xavier Wishert powered into the end zone from 16 yards out on Jim Ned’s ensuing possession to bring the score to 28-27 Hallettsville.


The Indians lined up to go for two, and after a hard count caused a Hallettsville defensive lineman to jump offside, Yardley snapped the ball and threw a pass into the end zone that Henderson brought down to win the game 29-28.



By: David Robinett, Joey Hollingsworth

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

Abilene hospitals could receive Pfizer vaccine as early as Thursday


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — If you’re not a doctor or a patient, your perspective of Hendrick Medical Center is more of an outsider looking in.


For most of us, it’s hard to imagine what front line workers experience inside these doors because we’re hearing numbers, not stories.


Since March, they’ve been in the heat of it all, which is why healthcare workers will be the first to receive the vaccine.


In the Key City, that could be as early as Thursday.


“Those that have the highest risk of coming in contact with COVID patients,” said Susan Wade with Hendrick Medical Center.


Wade says the first on the list to receive the vaccine are people working in COVID units, the ICU, and Respiratory Therapy.


“It’s really the first line providers and all the support departments,” said Wade.


Human Resources and Administration are not on that list.


Nearly 3,000 doses are expected to arrive this week and will be administered within 24 hours of that time.


“We’ve already got people plugged in to do that quickly and efficiently,” said Wade.


Hendrick has already been training those who will give out the shots and those who will be storing them.


“We started working on ordering the freezer as soon as it would be needed and it actually came in this weekend,” said Wade.


The freezers can hold up to 300,000 doses will come in handy in the coming months.


The vaccine is optional for healthcare workers but Wade says regardless, it’s coming at a crucial time with cases on the rise.



By: Jessica Ranck

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

Web Exclusive: KTAB now accepting nominations for this year's 'Remarkable Woman' contest


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) — KTAB wants to – again – recognize the great contributions women have made to our nation and local communities.


Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.


Leading up to International Women’s Day, KTAB will highlight four local women who inspire, lead and forge the way for other women. It’s not just about one day or one month — it’s about what they do day in and day out.


In order to celebrate these women, we need your help to learn about their backgrounds and stories. Please use the form found here to nominate a Remarkable Woman in your life. In March, we’ll highlight four local women who will be considered for Nexstar’s nationwide 2020 Woman of the Year Award.


Each station will donate $1,000 to each market winner’s charity of choice in their honor.


To learn more about last year’s winner, watch the attached video.



By: Martin Mercado

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

Santa and Mrs. Claus spreading Christmas cheer in Abilene


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- With Christmas less than three weeks away, Santa and Mrs. Claus have been doing their part to spread Christmas cheer around Abilene. 


“You can’t be around Santa without smiling a little. Even the crustiest of old individuals remember their good times with Santa Claus,” said Larry Fitzgerald, aka Abilene Santa.


The holiday season is the time of the year when people place more of an emphasis on giving.


“This year especially with all of the pandemic around and all of the negative things that have been happening, it’s very important for Santa to be around, and be a part of this year’s holiday celebration,” said Fitzgerald.


Santa made an appearance at the Salvation Army of Abilene, and families in attendance had the chance to take pictures. Good little boys and girls were able to pick up an early Christmas gift.


“It’s really joyful and it’s really exciting because I get to see Santa and I got an early Christmas present,” said Abilene resident Zyrah Kusba.


To put a twist on this holiday tradition, the Abilene Kennel Club held a pet food donation photo shoot. In order to have their dog’s picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, dog owners had to donate 5lbs of dog or cat food to Meals on Wheels, for their Pets on Wheels program.


“There are people in our communities who don’t have the money to keep their pet fed. Especially when you’re talking senior citizens, this pet might be their only companion,” said Abilene Kennel Club member Lisa Peterson.


“Being able to deliver that dog and cat food personally is pretty awesome, and to be able to participate today by making sure those dogs and cats have their next meal, it feels pretty good. It’s a pretty good feeling. That’s a merry Christmas. That’s a merry merry Christmas,” said Cindy Knox, aka Mrs. Claus.


The Christmas spirit tends to bring loved ones together, and that is one reason why many consider the holiday season the most wonderful time of the year.


“It just made me think about family, and happiness, and Christmas,” said Kusba.


“I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a community that is more interested in helping their fellow man than the community of Abilene,” said Knox.


“Whenever we give of ourselves, we receive a lot more back, and it’s very important for those who have a little bit more to share with those who are less fortunate,” said Fitzgerald.



By: Dan Booth

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

12-year-old boy accepted to Georgia Tech; hopes to become aerospace engineer


ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — A 12-year-old Georgia boy is making history after being admitted to Georgia Tech.  


Caleb Anderson has dreams of studying aerospace engineering and other planets.


It was not hard for Kobi and Claire Anderson to discover their firstborn son was different. The bubbly baby boy was babbling and trying to speak at just 3 weeks.


“He would mimic whatever people were trying to say. You can tell that he wanted to speak,” said Claire Anderson.


So his mother tried a new approach.


“I would teach children to read, as they were learning to talk,” said Claire.


At just 6-months-old, Caleb showed his mom he got the message.   


“He was kind of like reading back. I was like ‘I was right,'” exclaimed Claire.


At just one year old, his reading improved and so did his math skills. At 2 he was mastering sign language and fractions. The Andersons say when all other parents focused on material things, they placed education and morals at the top of the list.


“I remember people almost making fun of us because of that fact that we didn’t have television in our home or we gave our kids books for birthdays and Christmas,” said Claire.  


“My wife says this very frequently. It’s about, are we helping them to have good strong character and values. Because those types of things, those are not innate,” said Kobi Anderson.


Caleb’s on the verge of completing his first two years of college at Chattahoochee Technical College. Now at 12, Caleb applied to Georgia Tech as a sophomore. And he got in.





“It’s one of my dreams. So yeah, I am really excited to go there! They have an amazing aerospace engineering program,” said Caleb.


The university has a world-renowned program for science.  


After getting his bachelor’s degree, he says he wants to get his master’s from Georgia Tech, get an internship with Elon Musk and then eventually his PhD from MIT.


His dreams are literally out of this world.


“You know we focus a lot on the earth. But there are natural resources. There are differences in gravity, differences in physics that you know are on other plants. I think it’s interesting to learn about it,” said Caleb. “Do I feel like I’m [breaking barriers], no not necessarily. I honestly just feel like I am doing what I want to do. But do I know that I am doing it? Yes. I know that people are inspired by me. People look up to me,” said Caleb.


He says since he was 1, he had a passion for learning. 


“I think when we see something. You know all three of us. We have to finish it. When we have interest in something, we can’t just leave it. We have to see things through the end,” said Caleb.


His family hopes his story could be an inspiration to others no matter what gift or difference they have.  



By: Felicia Bolton and Nexstar Media Wire

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

Holly Jolly Christmas Classic taking place Saturday


JONES COUNTY, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) – Santa Claus will be coming to Stamford on Saturday, December 5th! The Stamford Chamber of Commerce will be holding their second Holly Jolly Christmas Classic in downtown Stamford, benefiting the children and families of Noah Project, as well as Goodfellows and Stamford Community fund.


The day will kick off with the Santa Chase 5k Run at 10 a.m. All ages are welcome to enter and participate. At 11 a.m., the car show will begin, along with food and shopping vendors.


At noon, Santa will join the festivities with a meet and greet and photo opportunities for kids and families.


At 1 p.m., a new event will kick off with the cornhole tournament happening just off the square, with prizes being awarded to the winners.


The Car Cruise and Poker Run will begin at 4:00 pm. All are welcome to watch the cruise from the square or along the car cruise route, which will take place down South Swenson.


Live music will wrap up the outdoor events at 5 p.m., with live music by Texas Country artist Brett Patterson, held on the north side of the square. The concert is also free for all who attend.


The night will be topped off with a classic Christmas movie at the Grand Theatre, with free attendance.


Those who would like to participate in the 5k run or car show can contact the Chamber for more information, or sign up on site, beginning at 9 am. Contact the Chamber at chamberdirector@stamfordtx.org or 325-773-2411 for more information on any of these events.



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

Target Black Friday deals: Final week of discounts released



(NEXSTAR) — Black Friday isn’t a day anymore, it’s a season. And this year, retailers seem to have blocked off all of November as a time for deals.


For fans of Target, the month kicked off with a series of high-end electronics. But in this final week, which officially started Sunday, the retailer says toys, kitchen items, electronics and even gaming systems are the priorities.


“We’re taking a completely new approach to Black Friday, giving guests more flexibility and ensuring they can plan ahead for a safe, stress-free shopping experience,” Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a recent press release.


The specifics of this week’s deals are spelled out in the company’s digital weekly ad, but here are a few highlights:


  • Get a Nintendo Switch bundle with Mario Cart and a three-month online bundle – $299
  • Beats Studio3 Wireless Over-Ear Noise Canceling Headphones – $175 – Several other headphone deals are also available.
  • $10 off a L.O.L. Doll surprise three-pack – $15
  • At least $20 off a number of televisions in all price ranges – check prices
  • $250 off select iPhones when you switch service to AT&T – check phones
  • 40% off LEGO building sets – see the kits
  • Up to $55 off select Razor scooters – view deals
  • $100 discount on Ninja Kitchen System and 7-Speed Blender – $100
  • $100 to $150 discount on robotic vacuums – check prices


Browse the full digital weekly ad for yourself here.



By: Nexstar Media Wire

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

Charlie Brown specials to air on TV, after all, in PBS deal


This image released by Apple shows key art for the animated classic “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” holiday special. Apple and PBS have teamed up for ad free broadcasts of the special and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” (Apple via AP)


NEW YORK (AP) — The “Great Pumpkin” never showed on broadcast television this year, but after a deal with PBS, the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas specials will return to the air.


Last month, Apple TV+ became the new home to the beloved Peanuts holiday specials. That sparked an outcry from viewers who were accustomed to annually tuning in on network TV. Apple offered each special to stream for free for a handful of days, but that didn’t stop online petitions from gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures.


On Wednesday, Apple bowed to the backlash, announcing it had teamed up with PBS for ad-free broadcasts of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (on Nov. 22) and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (on Dec. 13).


Both specials will also be available for free during three-day windows on Apple TV+ (Nov. 25-27 for “Thanksgiving” and Dec. 11-13 for “Christmas.”) For subscribers, the specials will be available beginning Nov. 18 and Dec. 4, respectively.



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

United Way of Abilene brings back Winter Lightfest, brightening up 2020


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – This year we saw seniors graduate without a graduation and meals shared between car windows instead of between friends.


After almost nine months of keeping our distance, the United Way of Abilene is looking to bring us all together.


“We all want to feel a little magic,” said Katie Deal with the United Way of Abilene.


Like most things this year, recreating the Winter Lightfest wasn’t easy in 2020.


“When we first got here It was a maize field and a mesquite forest,” said Jenn Walmann with the United Way of Abilene.


Waldmann like many others from the United Way of Abilene has been working on this year’s Winter Lightfest every week since August laying the groundwork to bring an open field to life.


“We’ve laid the roads, we’ve laid electricity, we’ve laid plumbing,” said Waldmann.


“One thing that’s wonderful about Abilene is when something needs to get done, this town just gets in and does it,” said Deal.


The word ‘normal’ was a big driving force for the United Way of Abilene this year, but bringing back the big candy canes and the twinkling lights was also about helping those in need.


Nonprofits in the Big Country have been struggling this year to keep up operations.


“Agencies like Regional Victims Crisis Center, the Noah Project, Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Deal. “[Fundraisers like this] is how we fund them and it is how we help them serve the neighbors in our community who need more than ever this year.”


The Winter Lightfest has moved from Centennial Park on South 27 to 2250 EN 10.


Gates will open the Friday after Thanksgiving at 6 p.m.


The event will be open every weekend until December 13 and then the week of Christmas.


Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Children 2 and under are free.



By: Jessica Ranck

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

Here are the businesses closing their doors on Thanksgiving



CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Adding to the list of the unexpected this year, many major retailers and other businesses are staying closed on Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving falls on November 26 this year, and for the first time in a long time, Black Friday will actually begin on Friday.


Here’s a list of businesses that aren’t opening their doors, according to BlackFriday.com:



The store has traditionally remained closed on Thanksgiving Day to give “team members and customers time to have fun and make memories with family and friends,” the company said in an email and will do the same this year.


The store has not announced Black Friday hours.



Closed Thanksgiving. Opens at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.



Closed Thanksgiving. Opens at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.



Closed Thanksgiving. Opens at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.



Bed Bath & Beyond is citing safety concerns due to coronavirus for staying closed for Thanksgiving 2020.


The company announced August 3 it would stay closed for the holiday. According to BlackFriday.com, Black Friday hours are 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.



Best Buy announced in July that customers could shop on the app and online, but that it’s brick and mortar locations would be closed on Thanksgiving. The company hasn’t announced hours for Black Friday but has said its holiday deals would start in early November.



Closed on Thanksgiving.



The company CEO Jim Boscov said this year “has reinforced the importance of family.” Boscov said he wanted customers and coworkers to enjoy an uninterrupted Thanksgiving meal.



Closed on Thanksgiving. Opens at 9 a.m. on Black Friday.



Dick’s Sporting Goods announced in July it would remain closed on Thanksgiving.


The stores will keep traditional hours on Wednesday. Black Friday hours have not been announced.



Customers can expect regular shopping hours on November 25, but the stores will stay closed on Thanksgiving Day.



Closed on Thanksgiving. Open beginning at 7 a.m. on Black Friday.



Closed on Thanksgiving; regular hours on Black Friday. Find store hours, here.



Home Depot historically has remained closed on Thanksgiving and will do the same this year.


They say Black Friday will be online and in stores and will start in early November to avoid “the frenzied shopping.”



The company announced over the summer that its stores would be closed on Thanksgiving Day.


JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau said in a statement “Our extraordinary associates have demonstrated their warrior spirit through their courage and unwavering commitment to serve our customers.”



Kohl’s cited safety concerns due to coronavirus for their reasons to remain closed on Thanksgiving.



Closed on Thanksgiving, opens at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.



Closed on Thanksgiving, open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Black Friday.



Macy’s is a Thanksgiving tradition for some people.


They had been one of the stores opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving.


This year the stores will remain closed. The company says people can find the best deals on their website and app.



Office Depot has traditionally stayed closed on Thanksgiving and will do the same this year.



Closed on Thanksgiving, open on Black Friday beginning at midnight.



Sam’s Club is owned by Walmart Inc. Both Sam’s and Walmart locations will remain closed on Thanksgiving.



Simon Property Group announced all its locations would be closed on Thanksgiving Day.



“This isn’t the year for crowds,” the company said in a statement over the summer.


All stores will remain closed on Thanksgiving.



The company announced stores would keep traditional hours on Wednesday, November 25, and close for Thanksgiving. Holiday store hours haven’t been announced.



One of the first companies to keep hours on holidays, Walmart was one of the first to announce it would remain closed for Thanksgiving this year.


The company will keep traditional hours on Wednesday. Black Friday hours have not been announced.



By: Nexstar Media Wire

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

Will Abilene ISD cancel final exams?


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Final exam season is right around the corner, but will Abilene Independent School District (AISD) change the way they do final exam testing?  


In the last AISD board of trustees workshop, Dr. Ketta Garduno addressed the possible need of canceling final exams, saying it would benefit students and teachers by allowing for instruction until December and create less stress for students and teachers. 


“Teachers are struggling in some ways with how to create valid semester exams that can be administered to both in-person and remote learners,” said Garduno. 


The district has conducted a survey asking high school teachers if they would like nothing to be changed, give the teachers the option to have a final exam, or take out the semester finals as a whole.  


The main concerns are if the tests would be fair and could teachers get equal results of mastery from the students.


“Do we put a timer on those remote learners, and say you only have 60 minutes to complete the test, and then shut the test down? What if the student has technical issues?” said Garduno. “If we do not use any type of shutout devices, they can still do Googling remote, even if we shut down one device on browsers, they can access browsers through another device and get access to materials at home that the in-person learners would not have.” 


The results to the teachers’ surveys have not been released, but we will be following along to bring you updates. 



By: Marley Capper

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

Tips on dealing with stress brought on by the election and COVID-19


DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — From COVID-19 to campaigns and everything in between, this year has been trying for everyone. Add on a presidential election that is now drawing out, leaving a lot in limbo.


For many, it’s doing a number on their mental health. Psychologists say the fatigue of this year is real, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing it.


“I didn’t watch any of the election news last night, I figured it would come when it came,” said one voter from Austin, Texas.


“Yesterday I was optimistic. Last night at midnight, I was in tears,” said another Texas resident.


The continual ebb and flow of emotions has never been so starkly felt by Americans than they are in 2020.

“Me and my friend—we went and got chips and queso because we’re like ‘Let’s go do something, because there’s a lot of anxiety in the world right now,’” said another Texan voter.


Almost the entire year has felt in flux—from the pandemic that broke out in the spring, the eruption of social unrest this summer and now a fall presidential election that could play out for days or even weeks.

“The chronicity of this is really taking a toll on people,” said Dr. Anne Morris, a clinical psychologist based in Dallas.

Morris said 2020 has been her busiest year in practice—with an influx of new patients experiencing a diverse range of emotional discomfort.


Morris said 2020 has been her busiest year in practice—with an influx of new patients experiencing a diverse range of emotional discomfort.

“One of the many issues, with a variety of different topics right now, is it just feels very out of control,” said Morris. “And by that, I really don’t mean chaotic, even though at times it certainly has felt chaotic. But really just out of your control.”


In a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, anxiety and depression are up in U.S. adults since the start of the pandemic. Four in 10 adults age 18 and older reported symptoms in July, research found.


Fifty-three percent of Americans ages 18 and older say that stress related to the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.


“Find something every day that you have a say so in,” said Morris. “Whether that is—redecorating your apartment or house… Cooking, baking, exercise, seeing friends, to the extent that you can.”


She suggested deciding for yourself how much worldly information you need to ingest every day, especially as the country holds its breath with final votes trickling in. Morris also recommended unplugging, if you need to, and implementing a breathing technique that works for you, such as the 4-7-8 method.


“And that is inhale for 4, hold for 7 and exhale for 8,” she said.


The point of any breathing exercise is to increase your body’s carbon dioxide levels. And above all, she said, be kind to yourself.


“Whether it’s COVID fatigue or election fatigue or D) all of the above, this is lasting a long time,” said Morris. “And for everybody to have some grace and permission with themselves to feel these emotions and feel overwhelmed.”

Dr. Morris said it might be time to seek out professional help if you believe mental and emotional issues are starting to interfere with your daily life. If you’re having a tough time completing tasks or maintaining important relationships, it might be time to reach out to a licensed expert in your area.



By: Markie Martin and Nexstar Media Wire

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

Here's Where You Can Vote!!!


Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. in Taylor County at the following locations:


  • Buffalo Gap Church of Christ – 741 Litel Street, Buffalo Gap, TX 79508 – Fellowship Hall
  • Church of Christ – S. 11th & Willis 3333 S. 11th Street, Abilene, TX 79605 – West Building, multi-purpose room
  • Elm Valley Community Church 142 CR 675, Tuscola, TX 79562 – Fellowship Hall
  • First Baptist Church – Merkel 307 Locust Street, Merkel, TX 79536 – Family Life Center
  • First Baptist Church – Tuscola 632 Kent Street, Tuscola, TX 79562 – Family Life Center
  • First Baptist Church – University Place 301 Hickory Street, Abilene, TX 79601 – University Place Building
  • Hillcrest Church of Christ 650 E. Ambler Ave., Abilene, TX 79601 – Gym
  • Lawn Baptist Church 518 Avenue D, Lawn, TX 79530 Family Life Center – East Room
  • New Beginnings United Pentecostal 5535 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, TX 79606 – Main Foyer
  • Oldham Lane Church of Christ 5049 Oldham Lane, Abilene, TX 79602 – Special Events Room
  • Rise Church 517 N. Pioneer Drive, Abilene, TX 79603 – Gym
  • River of Life Church 539 Hwy 83/84, Abilene, TX 79606 – Main Foyer
  • Sears Park Recreation Center 2250 Ambler Ave., Abilene, TX 79603 -Gym
  • Southern Hills Church of Christ 3666 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, TX 79605 – Foyer at Sanctuary
  • Taylor County Plaza 400 Oak Street, Abilene, TX 79602 –
  • Thomas Elementary School 1240 Lakeside Drive, Abilene, TX 79602 – Gym
  • Trent United Methodist Church 226 S. Mesquite Street, Trent, TX 79561 – Fellowship Hall
  • Trinity Baptist Church 860 Woodlawn Drive, Abilene, TX 79603 – Education Building
  • Tye Community Center 103 Scott St., Tye, TX 79563
  • View Baptist Church 250 Boynton Road, Abilene, TX 79606 – Fellowship Hall- W. side of building
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church 4515 South 14th Street, Abilene, TX 79605 – Gym
  • Zion Lutheran Church 2801 Antilley Road, Abilene, TX 79606 – Large Fellowship Hall

Texas early voting exceeds total of all 2016 ballots


People cast their ballots at a polling location on October 13, 2020 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texans have already cast more ballots in the presidential election than they did during all of 2016, an unprecedented surge of early voting in a state that was once the country’s most reliably Republican, but may now be drifting toward battleground status.


More than 9 million ballots have been cast as of Friday morning in the nation’s second most-populous state, exceeding the 8,969,226 cast in 2016, according to an Associated Press tally of early votes from data provided by Texas officials.


Texas is the first state to hit the milestone. This year’s numbers were aided by Democratic activists challenging in court for, and winning, the right to extend early voting by one week amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Texas also offers only limited vote-by-mail options when compared to the rest of the country, meaning casting in-person, early ballots is the primary way to vote for people who don’t want to line up and do so on Election Day.


Voters in Texas do not register by party affiliation, so no one can be sure until the ballots are counted whether one party or the other will benefit from the surge in turnout.


Still, the fact that the state exceeded its entire vote total for the past presidential cycle with hours still to go in its early voting period which ends Friday, and before millions more people are likely to vote on Election Day, hints at a potential electoral sea change.


For Democrats, anything different is likely positive. The party hasn’t won a state office in Texas since 1994 — the nation’s longest political losing streak — nor seen one of its presidential nominees carry the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The party now believes it has a chance to seize control of the state House, flip as many as six congressional seats and a Senate seat.


President Donald Trump carried Texas against Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a comfortable 9 points, even though that was the smallest margin since Republican Bob Dole beat Democratic President Bill Clinton by 5 points in 1996.


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign has for months insisted that Texas, with its 38 electoral votes, is among the traditionally conservative states it is looking to flip — though it has long been more bullish on Arizona and North Carolina. Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, is visiting Fort Worth, Houston and the U.S.-Mexico border town of McAllen on Friday, just four days before Election Day, using precious campaign time on the state far later than any major national Democrat in decades.


The news may not be all positive for Democrats, however.


The spike in early voting is most apparent in suburban counties around Dallas and in areas outside Austin, especially those south toward San Antonio. One area that has not seen voting rise dramatically, however, is the Rio Grande Valley, where Harris will be. Its population is about 90% Mexican-American and it is among the state’s youngest and fastest-growing areas.


In Hidalgo County, which includes McAllen, early voting has only increased by about 1% compared to 2016, despite the extra week to do so — far below the at least 15% increase in nearly every other large Texas county.


Not turning out voters there — especially when the rest of the state is shattering records — could spell trouble for Biden as well as Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, who is trying to topple long-serving Republican Sen. John Cornyn. The area is solidly Democratic, even if many of its Latino voters tend to be slightly more conservative than many of their counterparts in other parts of Texas or the country.


Its also been among the hardest hit areas in the nation by the coronavirus and has seen new cases soar in recent weeks as they have in many parts of the country.


“They were forced to place bodies in refrigerated FEMA trailers because they ran out of room in the morgues and the funeral homes,” said Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate who came within 3 percentage points of upsetting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 — and might have closed that gap had he turned out more Hispanic people in the Rio Grande Valley.


“This part of Texas has borne witness to the cruelty of the Trump administration and the incompetence of his leadership,” O’Rourke added.


Recent polls have shown Biden topping Trump among Latinos in places like Florida, but trailing the level of support Clinton received from the community in 2016. The former vice president was in Florida on Thursday and noted that 20% of the nation’s population is now Hispanic.


“It’s our future and we should invest in the future,” Biden told reporters while campaigning in Fort Lauderdale. “The better the community does, the better the country does.”



By: Nexstar Media Wire and The Associated Press

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

Abilene breaks earliest snowfall record Tuesday; expect warmer weather for Halloween


Add "earliest snowfall recorded in Abilene" to the list of "things that 2020 broke."


The city recorded a half-inch of snow early Tuesday, two days earlier than the previous record of three-tenths of an inch set Oct. 29, 1993, said Michael Decker, forecaster with the National Weather Service San Angelo office.


Ariel McBratney clears ice from her car Tuesday near The Landing apartment on Texas Avenue. While most people stayed indoors during the winter storm, McBratney had to venture onto Abilene's icy streets for her son's doctor's appointment.

Ariel McBratney clears ice from her car Tuesday near The Landing apartment on Texas Avenue. While most people stayed indoors during the winter storm, McBratney had to venture onto Abilene's icy streets for her son's doctor's appointment. Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News


The winter storm that began pushing through Abilene on Sunday afternoon delivered a range of precipitations starting Monday evening. Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow hit Abilene and part of the area.


Monday's daytime temperature high of 35 degrees with cloudy skies was a stark contrast to Sunday's high of 79 degrees with sunny skies. A year ago, the high temperature on Oct. 26 was 75 degrees. 


And to think it was a record 100 degrees Oct. 11.


Icy roads

Tuesday morning driving conditions were icy and dangerous in Abilene and the Big Country, especially to the west and north of the city. 


Between 6 p.m. Monday and noon Tuesday, the Abilene Police Department reported 16 crashes. Only one, however, was classified as a major wreck.


Several wrecks early Tuesday were reported on Interstate 20 in Abilene and Tye, as well as on U.S. Highway 83/84 (Winters Freeway). 


Bridges, overpasses and some roads were icy along and north of a line from Sterling City to Winters to Cross Plains. the National Weather Service reported at 6:05 a.m. Tuesday. 


Many school districts, including Abilene and Wylie ISDs, announced Monday evening a two-hour delayed start for Tuesday classes and then opted to close campuses for the remainder of the day because of slick road conditions. 


A tomato bloom is covered in ice Tuesday after wintry weather moved into the Big Country overnight.

A tomato bloom is covered in ice Tuesday after wintry weather moved into the Big Country overnight. Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News


A motorist passes a crew from American Electric Power replacing a utility pole at South Fifth Street and Danville Drive after a pickup slid into it earlier that morning. Icy roads became slicker as the day progressed, causing numerous accidents around Abilene.

A motorist passes a crew from American Electric Power replacing a utility pole at South Fifth Street and Danville Drive after a pickup slid into it earlier that morning. Icy roads became slicker as the day progressed, causing numerous accidents around Abilene. Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter/News


Hardin-Simmons and McMurry universities reported campus closings for the day.


  • Go to reporternews.com for updates on Wednesday school plans.


Dyess Air Force Base was closed Tuesday to non-essential personnel by Col. Ed Sumangil, base commander. Mission essential personnel reported to duty at their schedule times.


Warmer Wednesday

Another upper low system to the west was expected to pass through Abilene on Tuesday night and move to the northeast Wednesday morning, bringing more rain, Decker said. But, warmer temperatures will follow.


Abilene is shrouded in gloom in this aerial view from the Enterprise Building.

Abilene is shrouded in gloom in this aerial view from the Enterprise Building. Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News


The NWS freeze warning that started Monday evening is expected to end at 7 a.m. Wednesday. The forecast calls for a morning low of 33 degrees with a 50 percent chance of rain until 1 p.m.


Skies will begin clearing Wednesday afternoon, and the high temperature should reach 47 degrees. The temperature will dip to 37 degrees overnight.


The warming trend should continue Thursday, with mostly sunny skies and a high near 54 degrees.  


Here is the outlook headed to the weekend:


  • Friday: Sunny, with a high temperature near 62 degrees and an overnight low of 40 degrees. Winds mild at 5 mph.


  • Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 69 degrees and winds out of the south 5 to 10 mph. Nighttime temperatures will slip to 46 degrees. 


  • Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 66 degrees and a nighttime low of 40 degrees. 




Overnight freezing rains and chilly temperatures have created icy, dangerous driving conditions Tuesday in and around Abilene.


Bridges, overpasses and some roads were icy along and north of a line from Sterling City to Winters to Cross Plains. South of this line, bridges and overpasses were becoming icy, the National Weather Service reported at 6:05 a.m. Tuesday. 


Similar conditions were reported in Abilene, making driving treacherous, the Abilene Police Department reported in an overnight social media update.


Snow also has accumulated on U.S. Highway 83/84 (Winters Freeway), the Abilene Fire Department reported before 6 a.m.


An 18-wheeler rolled over on Interstate 20 near mile marker 254, prompting closure of the eastbound passing lane, the Texas Department of Transportation said in a 5:43 a.m. social media update. 


Interstate 20 remains icy to the west through Sweetwater and Big Spring, according to TxDOT's road conditions website drivetexas.org.



By: Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

Postal delays persist around the country with mail voting underway


Parts of the presidential battleground states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio fell short of delivery goals by wide margins


A person drops applications for mail-in-ballots into a mailbox in Omaha, Neb. on August 18, 2020. U.S. Postal Service records show delivery delays have persisted across the country as millions of Americans began voting by mail, raising the possibility of ballots being rejected because they arrive too late. Postal data covering the beginning of October show nearly all of the agency’s delivery regions missing agency targets of having more than having more than 95% of first-class mail arrive within five days. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)


U.S. Postal Service records show delivery delays have persisted across the country as millions of Americans are voting by mail, raising the possibility of ballots being rejected because they arrive too late.


Postal data through Oct. 9, the latest numbers available, show nearly all the agency’s delivery regions missing its target of having at least 95% of first-class mail arrive within five days. Parts of the presidential battleground states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio fell short of delivery goals by wide margins as the agency struggles to regain its footing after a tumultuous summer.


The districts that included the major urban areas and their suburbs in each of those states all performed below the national average for on-time delivery, with the area around Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania the lone exception.


The delays are a worrisome sign for voters who still have not returned their absentee ballots. That is especially true in states such as Michigan, where ballots must be received by Election Day. Other states require a postmark by Nov. 3.

“We do encourage people who are worried about ballots not getting here on time to get them in as soon as possible,” said Perry County Commissioner Brenda Watson in Pennsylvania.


She said her office has sent out more than 600,000 absentee ballots, more than double the number from the primary, and has extended office hours so staff can monitor a drop box.


With more than 2.9 million mail-in ballots requested in Pennsylvania, on-time delivery is crucial. But delays are lingering throughout the state, according to postal data released as part of a federal court order.


In the week that ended Oct. 9, first-class mail was delivered on time 79.7% of the time in the district covering Philadelphia and its suburbs, and 83.2% of the time in central Pennsylvania, both below the national average of 86.1%.


A deadlock at the U.S. Supreme Court this week allowed the state to count mailed-in ballots received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election, although Republicans have filed another challenge.


Delays have plagued the Postal Service during the coronavirus pandemic and worsened under a series of cost-cutting policies implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who took over the agency in June. Following a series of court orders and intense public scrutiny, the agency has reversed the policies and seen improvements, but has not yet fully restored delivery times.


“As these delays continue across the country just weeks before the upcoming presidential election, it is incumbent upon you to take immediate and necessary actions to fully restore on-time mail delivery,” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, wrote to DeJoy this week.


In a statement, Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said offices have been authorized to use expanded processing procedures, additional delivery and collection trips, and overtime hours to ensure election mail arrives on time. The agency also announced it will treat election mail as first-class, which had previously been an informal policy.


“The Postal Service is fully committed and actively working to handle the increase in election mail volume across the country over the next two weeks,” Partenheimer said.


Mail-in ballots arriving past the deadline is a main reason many of them get rejected. That has led election officials nationwide to urge voters to return ballots as soon as possible or take advantage of ballot drop boxes or early in-person voting.


The postal district that covers the eastern third of Michigan, including Detroit and its suburbs, has consistently been one of the worst performing regions. It had the nation’s slowest deliveries in the opening days of October, with just 70.9% of mail arriving on time.


Michigan has sent every registered voter a ballot application, but mail-in votes must arrive by Election Day to count, following a court order that blocked a 14-day extension backed by Democrats. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has told voters who have not yet mailed in their ballots to skip the Postal Service altogether and put ballots in a drop box or take them to their local clerk’s office.


Other battleground areas also showed problems in early October, with delivery rates of first-class mail below the national average. That includes all of Ohio and districts that encompass major urban areas in Wisconsin, Georgia and North Carolina.


Postal delays also could compound existing issues that have cropped up in recent weeks as election officials manage the unpreceded surge in mail voting with deadlines looming.


In Ohio earlier this month, a machine error led to 50,000 incorrect absentee ballots being sent. Then hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots were delayed when the company printing them became overwhelmed by the volume of ballots requested.


While Ohio allows ballots to be counted if they arrive up to 10 days after the election, they must be postmarked no later than the day before Election Day.



By: The Associated Press and Nexstar Media Wire

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

Jackets for Joy kicks off in the Big Country


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Imagine leaving your house in a rush, without any notice, to escape danger and protect your family.


“People leave just whenever they have an opportunity to be safe, they sometimes don’t grab their coat on the way out the door, because they’re also trying to get their kids out the doors safely, they’re trying to make sure their kids are provided for,” says Jan Morrison, from the Noah Project.


Jackets For Joy provides coats and jackets for local nonprofits so they can give back to those who need it.


Two of the nonprofits that rely on Jackets for Joy are the Noah project and Christian Service Center.


“We have victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking,” Morrison says.


“We help people with what we call basic needs and development opportunities,” says Jim Clark from the Christian Service Center.


Although both nonprofits may differ, they both aim to serve the community, and Jackets for Joy helps them achieve that goal.



By: Monica Diaz-Meek

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

National Women's Small Business Month: 22-year-old Clyde native opens salon and boutique


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A Clyde native is making an impact during National Women’s Small Business Month.


Delaney Valenzuela, owner of Marg and Cloie, has been trying to lease a new location for her salon and boutique, but says she hasn’t had the best luck.


“They were like, ‘How old are you?’ and I’d tell them how old I am and they were like, ‘yeah…no,'” she says.


But that wasn’t the only time Valenzuela faced obstacles getting a lease as a young businesswoman.


“Probably 6 months ago I reached out to a guy and he was like, ‘Yeah, let’s meet up here,’ and then he never showed up. I think it’s because how young I am,” she says.


After high school, Valenzuela began working at salons to build clientele and earn some money. During this time, she also started a side job to cover the bills before beginning her online boutique at just 19 years old.


The online boutique helped financially support her and her husband while he made his way through college.


With all the hard work, long hours and sacrifices, she was able to pay in cash for a spot for her salon and boutique.


“I do have a good support system, definitely. I don’t think I could do it without my support system,” she says.


But it’s not just her husband and parents who supported her during these hard times, it was also her friend, Lauren Alaniz, that she made along the way.


“So, I’ve kind of watched her grow through her own salon and through the store opening,” Alaniz, the photographer for the boutique says. “We’re young and we don’t have anything to lose yet.”


The storefront boutique opened in March before the pandemic struck, but with their youthful attitude, they went back to their roots and have counted on their online boutique to support their brick-and-mortar shop.



By: Monica Diaz-Meek

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

Big Country firefighters return from battling California wildfires


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Some Big Country firefighters have returned from helping battle wildfires that raged across California.


Anson and Merkel Volunteer Firefighter Seth Morris shot video of the burning trees, capturing the sounds echoing throughout the forest while planes sprayed fire retardant to stop the flames.


Morris captured the scenes from behind the fire line as he battled the California fires for 2 weeks alongside 100 other men in his group.


“I was pretty nervous, but excited at the same time,” Morris says.


Morris is also a resource specialist for Texas A&M Forest Service, and says he appreciates the experience.


“It’s a big opportunity coming from Texas to another state to help fight fires, and it was pretty nerve-racking because you see on the news how bad the fires are, but it was a real good experience,” Morris says.


Assistant Chief Nick Dawson says the experience allows his team to learn more.


“Them getting to go out of state, especially out west, and seeing that whole new aspect of wild land, firefighting is great not only for us, but for them,” Dawson says.


“The fires are different out there, they burn different then what they do here in Texas, so it was a learning curve at first,” Morris says.


It also allows the firefighters to bring back new skills to the Big Country.


“The training these guys get, the opportunities, the things they’re getting to see out of state will only build this team and build themselves better than what they could maybe staying in the same field types and same area their whole career,” Dawson says.


In the midst of learning, these Big Country firefighters are thankful to give back to those who have helped them before.



By: Monica Diaz-Meek

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