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Wolfabilene Updates Archives for 2019-07

Abilene Wide Open: EOD Training

Marine Corps SSgt. Charles Valentine of the 1st. EOD Company from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, crawls through a bus window during a to reach a hostage during a training exercise Thursday.

Marine Corps SSgt. Charles Valentine of the 1st. EOD Company from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, crawls through a bus window during a to reach a hostage during a training exercise Thursday. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

Civilians and military mixed it up last week at Dyess Air Force Base, but in the best way possible.

 

About 40 U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and officers from Abilene, Austin and Midland police department bomb squads trained Thursday and Friday in a variety of explosive ordinance disposal scenarios.

 

 

Some involved a situation where a hostage had been left to hold a device on a bus. EOD personnel had to crawl inside through the windows because the doorways were rigged with devices, in this case, sirens.

George Ewing of the Austin Police Department works on a simulated bomb on Dyess Air Force Base.

George Ewing of the Austin Police Department works on a simulated bomb on Dyess Air Force Base. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

SSgt. Alex Geml, 7th CES Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight at Dyess Air Force Base diffuses a simulated explosive device inside a car Thursday.

SSgt. Alex Geml, 7th CES Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight at Dyess Air Force Base diffuses a simulated explosive device inside a car Thursday. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

Others learned to drive the base's bomb disposal robot, taking it up stairs, picking up object  and finding objects using only the onboard cameras.

 

By Ronald W. Erdrich

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved.

Abilene City Council starts talks on budget

 

 

The Abilene City Council adopted a first version of its Fiscal Year 2020 budget Monday morning, examining a need for increased salaries for employees, including fire and police, and a planned hike in water rates for residential, commercial and industrial users, among other items.

 

"Senate Bill 2 has created a dynamic that we are going to be more aggressive this year than we would be otherwise," said Mayor Anthony Williams, citing recent legislation that will put harsh caps on future property tax increases. 

 

The council went forward Monday, again in first reading, with a proposed tax rate of 79.68 cents per $100 of property value, a 2.46-cent increase over the previous year's rate.

 

For every $100,000 of property value, that would increase the tax burden $4.17 per month, or about $50 a year.

 

But anticipated gains in property value assessments may ultimately lower that number by almost a penny to 78.77 cents per $100, a decision the council will make later based on more accurate figures.

 

If needed, the council can reexamine the rate at its Thursday night regular meeting, or in future sessions.

 

"Today is not setting anything in stone," Councilman Kyle McAlister said.

 

There is time for both the community and the council to have further say, William said, describing the proposed budget as a "living organism," with the "opportunity to make needed modifications" still in place.

 

Some good news?

After Monday's meeting, City Manager Robert Hanna said the possible reduction in tax rate was "good news."

 

Even at the lower level, the rate would be sufficient to "fund fire and police at their needed levels," he said.

 

"It'll also fund necessary salary increases for our city employees that need the adjustments, especially our lower wage-earners," he said.

 

The reduced rate doesn't exactly equate to lower taxes, since it assumes higher property values to be plugged into the equation. 

 

The city started estimating a bump of 3 percent in assessed property values.

 

The final rate likely will be closer to 5 percent, Hanna said.

 

The likely lower number is good, he said, in light of the restrictions Senate Bill 2 will impose on Texas cities and counties in an effort to reduce property taxes.

 

The bill, which goes into effect in January, requires municipalities and counties to receive voter approval before raising property taxes more than 3.5 percent.

 

Even with that looming, the goal was never to "grab all we can grab" under the current, far more generous 8 percent cap, Hanna said.

 

"It's an exercise in making sure we adequately fund city services in the light of Senate Bill 2," he said. "... If values are higher than we thought it would be, it would be wrong for me to recommend keeping the rate the same."

 

The council also heard about adoption of a five-year plan to adjust water utility rates.

 

Residential users can expect an annual adjustment of 5 cents per "unit" of 1,000 gallons to all tiers of consumption rate, with an annual adjustment of sewer base charges of 50 cents per account and an annual adjustment to sewer consumption rates of 15 cents per 1,000 gallons.

 

A residential customer paying, currently paying $53 for 5,000 gallons, would by year five pay $60.50, for example.

 

Personnel key to current budget

The council started with a proposed budget of $106.5 million in expenditures in its general fund, with a planned $106.6 million in anticipated revenue.

 

The city’s general fund is the principal fund of the city and is used to account for core government services, such as police, fire, streets, library services, parks and recreation, code compliance and building inspections. 

 

Personnel costs make up about three-quarters of the general fund, and if there is a theme to the 2020 budget,Williams said, "it's personnel."

 

"Providing increases for police and fire, that is leading the conversation," he said. 

 

Pay concerns for all employees also are major part of the budget, with some employees currently on the city's lowest pay scale not able to earn a livable wage.

 

Those costs need to be dealt with now, Hanna recently said, noting it will not be possible to adequately fund public safety obligations and non-civil service pay adjustments under Senate Bill 2's limits unless property taxes are increased in 2020.

 

Afternoon talks examined changes to the city's schedule of fees, the need for certain new personnel among 22 proposed and the potential fate of a glass recycling program.

 

Councilwoman Donna Albus, long a champion of local recycling, took a stand on the latter, stating that she had contacted at least one local plumbing company that said it would buy crushed glass instead of gravel, if available.

 

"I just think we've got to do our part, and this is something we can do," she said.

 

Keeping the program would require purchase of a new glass crusher, Hanna said.

 

The city's original glass crusher was purchased through a Council of Governments grant.

 

The cost of the crusher, around $100,000, and the attendant manpower required made continuing the program prohibitive, said Greg McAffrey, the city's director of public works.

 

Williams said he could see supporting such a program if it essentially made enough to offset its costs.

 

"This is one of those areas where staff at least feels the money we currently spend on that service could be better spent somewhere else," Hanna said.

 

However, "if there is a market out there, we could determine that," he said.

 

The elimination of recycable plastics met with no opposition.

 

Next steps

The next phase for the budget process will be a public hearing and adoption of the 2019 revised budget at the council's Aug. 8 meeting.

 

Public hearings on the tax rate will be Aug. 22 and at a special meeting Sept. 5.

 

The final adoption of the 2020 budget, tax rate, and fee schedule, accompanied by public hearings, will be at the Sept. 12 regular council meeting.

 

 

By Brian Bethel

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved.

Apollo 11 moon landing: 5 ways Texas has celebrated all things NASA

When it comes to marking special moments like the historic landing, Texas goes big. 

 

In tribute to NASA and the 50th anniversary of the appollo 11 mission, here are five ways the milestone and the space program has been honored in the Lone Star State:

Astrodome

As you can imagine Houston has no shortage of tributes to the moon landing and NASA given its contributions and rightly so. H-town is home to Johnson Space Center, which opened in 1961, and the Space Center Museum.

 

But who doesn't remember the Astrodome, once touted as the "eighth wonder of the world"? When the stadium opened on April 9, 1965 - four years before Neil Armstrong would become the first person to walk on the moon - it was a big deal.

 

It was home to professional baseball, professional football, one of the world's largest rodeos and many concerts featuring the likes of Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and B.B. King.

 

And cue Astros fever!

Houston Astros

The debut of the Astrodome led to the local baseball team - then the Colt .45s - to be re-christened with a new and lasting moniker: the Houston Astros. Go 'Stros!

 

The Major League Baseball Team played in the Astrodome until 2000 until moving to downtown Houston to play in Minute Maid Park.

 

Houston Rockets

The professional basketball team got its start in San Diego in 1967 but found its permanent home in Houston in 1971 — fitting considering it's home for NASA.

 

The team won back-to-back NBA championships in the 1990s. 

AstroWorld amusement park

Kids rejoiced on June 1, 1968, with the opening of Astroworld in Houston.

 

Its proximity to the Astrodome — it was across the highway — and out-of-this-world rides, including the famous Texas Cyclone rollercoaster, made it a staple attraction for Houstonians and beyond. But in 1975 it was bought by Six Flags Entertainment and ultimately closed in 2005. It's now a parking lot for Reliant Park. #RIPAstroWorld

Streets named after astronauts 

Besides Houston, El Paso is another Texas city that takes its love for NASA and its many astronauts to the next level. 

 

There are more than two dozen streets named in various zip codes that pay tribute to astronauts like John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. 

 

Several streets are named for the astronauts killed in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. There's also Space Shuttle Lane, a nod to not only the Challenger but also Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavour, Columbia and Enterprise.

 

 

By Mary Ann Cavazos Beckett

Copyright © 2019, Corpus Christi Caller Times. All Rights Reserved.

Experience installation at Dyess Memorial Park expansion honoring fallen airmen, personnel

Workmen bring in stone blocks as construction at Dyess Memorial Park continues Tuesday.

Workmen bring in stone blocks as construction at Dyess Memorial Park continues Tuesday. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

On artist renderings, the most poignant element of the semi-circular, stone installation at Dyess Memorial Park is not visible.

 

Providing an ethereal quality will be the interplay of sunlight and shadow on the Lueders limestone stone arc colonnade, monuments and plaques with the names of Dyess Air Force Base airmen and other personnel killed during flight and nonflight incidents.

 

The memorial is an expansion at the Dyess Memorial Park, which consisted of a flagpole and covered area, under which bricks honoring those who served in the military were placed. A small museum also is located at the site.

 

The new memorial will recognize 79 airmen and other personnel since Dyess opened in 1956. 

At the expansion, stones and memorial plaques may seem randomly placed. However, they are configured so that at the time the fatal event occurred, sunlight will be focused through slits in the colonnade onto the respective memorial, said Gray Bridwell, Abilene Chamber of Commerce vice president for military affairs.

 

The daylight incidents will be inside the semi-circle, and the night-time ones on the outside near a walking path. Numerous limestone benches provide seating for visitors to fully experience the space.

 

“I know some of the concepts we’re trying to pull off on this deal may be hard to grasp just by lecturing about it. So, we’re hopeful that with the ribbon cutting that we’ll actually get a hands-on preview of what we’re trying to accomplish on the site,” said Mitch Wright, landscape architect who designed the expansion.

 

Workmen align stone blocks Tuesday at Dyess Memorial Park.

Workmen align stone blocks Tuesday at Dyess Memorial Park. (Photo: Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News)

 

At that expansion dedication at 10 a.m. Friday, visitors can see the light-and-stone symbiotic dance. As of Tuesday, about 125 family members had indicated their plans to attend the event.

 

The park is at Arnold Boulevard and Military Drive, just outside the Dyess security fence near the main gate. It will be open for public viewing.

 

“It’s really not about a visual object or a visual design to be looked at. It’s something for people to move around in and for people to have something more experiential,” Wright said. "I hope it brings a certain level of emotion." 

 

A model depicts the expansion planned for Dyess Memorial Park. The model was on display during a news conference May 22 to announce the fundraising goal of $550,000 had been surpassed.

Bridging time

Those in attendance will include the four sons of Staff Sgt. William C. Burdette, originally from Talladega, Alabama. He was one of four airmen killed July 17, 1957, when their B-47 crashed during takeoff from the base. It was the new base's first fatal crash.

 

Abilene Air Force Base opened April 15, 1956. Its name later would be changed to Dyess AFB, in honor of Shackelford County native and World War II hero Lt. Col. William E. Dyess. He died in December 1943 in a plane crash near Burbank, California.

 

Staff Sgt. William Burdette was the crew chief on a Dyess Air Force Base B-47 that crashed just after takeoff July 17, 1957. The four airmen who died were the new base's first casualties.

“Coming to the memorial will help because we were so young, and maybe this will help make us feel closer to our father,” said David Burdette of Alabama.

At the time of the crash, David was 3. His siblings, and their ages then, are Larry, 4½, Johnny, 2, and Ronnie, 6 months. After that fateful day, the family returned to Alabama, and Larry later served in the military, David said.

Staff Sgt. William Burdette was the crew chief on Dyess Air Force Base B-47 that crashed just after takeoff July 17, 1957. The four airmen who died were the new base's first casualties. (photo: reporter-news files)

 

“My father joined the service as soon as he was allowed to. He and my mother married at a young age,” David said. “I know from talking with my aunts and uncles that he was a good man.” 

 

The memorial is important for not just the families but for the country as well, David said. 

 

“It is important to come to the memorial to let people know not only did the families lose a lot, but also so does the country anytime a service person gives their all,” he said.

Multi-purpose site

Talk of the expansion percolated during discussion on how to honor the crew members who died in a fatal crash of a Dyess-based C-130J in Afghanistan in the fall of 2015.

 

Civic and military leaders realized that memorials for previous airmen killed while in service were scattered at the base and in the city.

 

“I love the fact that it’s outside the fence but still part of the Dyess campus. That way, the public can engage in it at their leisure as well as the Dyess community.”

 

The expansion enables all to be honored and respected in one place that will be convenient for even non-military personnel to visit.

 

“I love the fact that it’s outside the fence but still part of the Dyess campus. That way, the public can engage in it at their leisure as well as the Dyess community,” Wright said.

 

Based on comments from Dyess officials, the space also may be used for special occasions, such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, graduations and promotions, Wright said.

 

Inspiration from above

 

Wright grew up in Abilene and lives in Austin. He is the son of Abilene entrepreneur, author and photographer Bill Wright and the grandson of the late civic leader William P. “Dub” Wright. The latter was among Abilene’s movers and shakers who brought Camp Barkeley south of Abilene during World War II and facilitated the creation of Dyess.

 

“Dub Wright had his way of celebrating the Air Force, and I have my own different spin on it just through my talents, and I’m glad to be able to carry on that tradition,” Wright said.

 

Since graduating from Texas A&M University in 1986 and entering the profession, Wright has worked on a variety of projects as a landscape architect, master planner, site planner and certified city planner.

 

William P. "Dub" Wright honors the flag at the April 1976 dedication of the Wright Drop Zone at Dyess Air Force Base. His grandson, Mitch, designed the new Dyess Memorial Park, which opens Friday.

William P. "Dub" Wright honors the flag at the April 1976 dedication of the Wright Drop Zone at Dyess Air Force Base. His grandson, Mitch, designed the new Dyess Memorial Park, which opens Friday. (Photo: Reporter-News file photo)

 

Previous Abilene projects include designing the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Sculpture Park at the Abilene Convention Center and crafting the master plan for Kirby Lake Park, including the children’s nature play area.

 

“We’ve got the dinosaur discovery sand pit that will be installed this fall or winter,” he said.

 

The Dyess expansion, however, is Wright’s first memorial. Because of pilots' affinity for the sky, he found inspiration from above.

 

“So, looking up in the sky became something about sunlight. Obviously, sunlight is an interesting tool to play with as a designer,” Wright said.

 

The expansion is being built in phases. The first part being unveiled this week was made possible by private donations of more than $600,000, secured by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce.

 

In the coming months, there will be more site work. And, there are other ideas to further enhance the Dyess Memorial Park in the future, which will take additional funding, Bridwell said. 

 

“I hope that they will continue to add on to the space as the original master plan showed. But, that will take lots more fund-raising and time, and it was a big project in its initial concept,” Wright said.

 

Lt. Col. Mitchell Spillers, 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander, bows his head during a moment of silence during a fallen comrade memorial ceremony held in honor of six Airmen Oct. 3, 2015, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Mitchell Spillers, 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander, bows his head during a moment of silence during a fallen comrade memorial ceremony held in honor of six Airmen Oct. 3, 2015, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. (Photo: Photo courtesy of the Air Force)

 

If You Go

  • What: Dedication of the Dyess Memorial Park expansion
  • When: 10 a.m. Friday
  • Where: Near the intersection of Arnold Boulevard and Military Drive, just outside Dyess Air Force Base

 

By Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Things to do in and around Abilene

"Ben-Hur" (1959)

"Ben-Hur" (1959) (Photo: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

 

SATURDAY, JULY 13

 

Free movies at the library

 

  • "How To Train Your Dragon 3," rated PG, will be presented at 11 a.m. at the South Branch of the Abilene Public Library, in the Mall of Abilene. "Gravity," rated PG-13, will follow at 2 p.m.
  • "WALL-E," rated G, will be presented at 2:30 p.m. at the Mockingbird Branch of the Abilene Public Library, 1326 N. Mockingbird Lane.

 

Vendor market

 

The After Hours Market will be open from 1-8 p.m. at the Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. Sixth St. Approximately 50 local vendors will be present, with live music and children's activities available.

 

'Ben-Hur'

 

As part of the Paramount Film Series, "Ben-Hur" 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.

 

Party on the Patio

 

Party on the Patio, featuring Jennifer B and The Groove, will be open from 6-9 p.m. at Kent’s Harley-Davidson, 3106 S. Clack St. Listeners are invited to bring chairs and coolers.

 

Others ...

  • Overeaters Anonymous, 10 a.m., Shades of Hope, 402A Mulberry St., Buffalo Gap. 800-588-4673.
  • Abilene Society of Model Railroaders, 10 a.m. to noon, 598 Westwood Drive.
  • Aglow International, 6 p.m., The Crossover, S. First and Poplar streets. 325-829-8826.
  •  

MONDAY, JULY 15

 

  • AARP, 10 a.m., Rose Park Senior Citizens Center, Room Be, 2625 S. Seventh St.
  • Cancer Services Network’s Auxiliary meeting, 10:30 a.m., 100 Chestnut St., Suite 100. 325-672-0040.
  • 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.
  • Free swim class for people with multiple sclerosis, 5:30 p.m., YMCA, 3250 State St.
  • Anorexics Bulimics Anonymous, 6 p.m., Shades of Hope, 402A Mulberry St., Buffalo Gap. 800-588-4673.
  • 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.
  • Those Left To Cope, 7-8:30 p.m., First Baptist Church Ministry of Counseling and Enrichment, 1502 N. First St.
  • 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, JULY 16

 

Square dance workshop

 

TYE — The Wagon Wheel Squares will conduct a square dance workshop at 6:30 p.m. at the Wagon Wheel.

 

Others ...

 

  • Mission on the Move Soup Kitchen, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Southwest Drive Community United Methodist Church, 3025 Southwest Drive.
  • 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.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness, 6 p.m., Grace Fellowship, 910 Cypress St.
  • Family (of Mental Health Consumers) Support Group, 6-7 p.m., Mental Health Association in Abilene, 333 Orange St. 325-673-2300.
  • MHAA Bipolar/Depression Peer Support Group, 6-8 p.m., Ministry of Counseling & Enrichment, 1502 N. First St. 325-673-2300.
  • Free certified nurturing parent class (pregnancy to toddler), 6-8 p.m., Mission Church, North Third and Mockingbird streets. 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.
  • Family Support Group for parents with special needs children, 6:30-7:30 p.m., West Texas Rehabilitation Center boardroom, 4601 Hartford St. 325-793-3500.
  • Alzheimer’s Association — North Central Texas Chapter, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Chisholm Place, 1450 E. N. 10th St. 325-672-2907.
  • 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.
  • Brigadier General John Sayles Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 366, 7 p.m., American Legion Building, 302 E.S. 11th St.
  • 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.

 

WEDNESDAY, JULY 17

 

  • 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.
  • Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Support Group, 2-3 p.m., Western Hills Healthcare Residence, Comanche.
  • Parkinson's Exercise Class, 3:15 p.m., Hendrick Health Club, 2110 Pine St.
  • Alzheimer’s disease support group, 5:15 p.m., Cedar Crest Care Center, 1901 W. Elliott, Breckenridge. Assists those who have a family member with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. 1-800-272-3900 or 254-559-3302.
  • Free swim class for people with multiple sclerosis, 5:30 p.m., YMCA, 3250 State 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.

 

Anton Yelchin is Chekov, Chris Pine is Kirk and John

Anton Yelchin is Chekov, Chris Pine is Kirk and John Cho is Sulu in a scene from the 2013 movie 'Star Trek Into Darkness.' (Photo: Zade Rosenthal, Paramount Pictures)

 

THURSDAY, JULY 18

 

Movie at the library

 

A free showing of "Star Trek Into Darkness" will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Abilene Public Library, 202 Cedar St.

 

Others ...

 

  • 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.
  • Retired Military Wives Club bunco social meeting, 12:30 p.m., Rose Park Senior Activity Center, 2625 South Seventh St. 325-677-9656 or 325-793-1490.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Free swim class for people with multiple sclerosis, 6:30 p.m., YMCA, 3250 State St.
  • Gambler’s Anonymous, 6:30 p.m., Unity Spiritual Living Center, 2842 Barrow St. 325-338-2575.
  • 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.

 

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (Photo: Sony Pictures)

 

FRIDAY, JULY 19

 

Genealogy lock-in

 

A genealogy lock-in will be conducted from 6-8 p.m. at the Abilene Public Library, 202 Cedar St. Members of the West Texas Genealogy Association will provide assistance. Admission is free.

 

Sci-Fi Film Fest

 

The two-day Sci-Fi Film Fest will begin with a showing of "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" at 7:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St. Tickets are $7 for the movie, or $15 for a festival pass.

 

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.

 

Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard

Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in the emotional ending of 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.' (Photo: CBS Television Studios)

 

SATURDAY, JULY 20

 

Moon Day

 

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing will be conducted from 1-5 p.m. at the Discovery Center, 810 Butternut St. Carl Baugh will be the special guest. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

 

Sci-Fi Film Fest

 

The two-day Sci-Fi Film Fest will continue with a showing of "Flash Gordon" at 1:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St. "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" will follow at 4:30 p.m., with "Mad Max: Fury Road" at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 for each movie, or $15 for a festival pass.

 

Movie at the library

 

A free showing of "Muppets in Space," rated G, will begin at 3 p.m. at the Abilene Public Library, 202 Cedar St.

 

'James and the Giant Peach the Musical'

 

Members of Mrs. Z's Performing Arts Studio will present a performance of "James and the Giant Peach the Musical" at 7 p.m. in the Williams Performing Arts Center at Abilene Christian University. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

 

Square dance

 

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

 

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.

Do you need a gardening superhero?

Gardeners from other parts of the country are often horrified at the growing conditions here in the Big Country. Our difficult soils produce shudders even from seasoned gardeners in other parts of Texas. Compost and mulch are the dynamic duo that address many of the issues that make our soils so unfriendly to plants. That makes them the closest things to superheroes that serve those of us who love plants.

 

Soil: A healthy soil has about 50 percent solid matter, 25 percent air space and 25 percent water, with organic matter making up 5 percent of the solid matter. It has rich color, a great earthy smell and a crumbly texture and is teeming with life.

 

Our soils, by contrast, range from heavy clay to the finest of sand. Texas heat burns organic matter up before it can be incorporated into the soil. This translates to less than half of 1 percent organic matter, the life blood of soil. Dirt may be hard and dense or run through your fingers. 

 

Compost: Compost is simply decomposed organic matter. You can buy in bags or in bulk from stores. Look for a quality product that is dark, smells like great soil and does not look like the parent material. Or, make your own compost (I'll have a column soon). Till a 3-inch layer of compost into the soil.

 

What benefits can you expect? Those tiny particles of clay that make it so dense will loosen some with the addition of compost, allowing better movement of air and water in the soil. Add it to a sandy soil and the same product will help hold the sand together, increasing its water-and nutrient-holding capacity. The compost is full of microorganisms like fungi and bacteria that provide nutrition for growing plants. It reacts chemically with soil to help buffer the typically high pH of most of our soils (measure of alkalinity or acidity) that can bind up needed plant nutrients.

 

What if you have established plantings? Top-dressing with compost will still be beneficial. The process will just be slower.

 

Mulch: Mulch is used to cover the soil. It can be inorganic like rocks or organic. Wood chips are the most popular organic mulch, though not the only option. Both will help prevent erosion and inhibit weed growth.

Rocks might be a good choice in a very xeric bed with cacti and other heat-loving succulents. They will appreciate the protection provided from standing water and the heat-holding capacity of the rocks. You will feel the extra heat, too, so keep that in mind.

 

For most uses, an organic mulch is much preferred. A two- or three-inch layer of coarse wood chips will help maintain soil moisture that would otherwise be lost to evaporation and help moderate soil temperatures. As the mulch degrades, it acts as a very slow-release fertilizer, adding nutrients and yet more organic matter to the soil. Since the soil does not heat up as much, more beneficial organisms like the amazing earthworm remain active in the root-growing zone.

When mulching woody plants, don’t mound the mulch around the trunk or stems of the plant. That creates an unhealthy environment for the plants. Think doughnut, not volcano. 


Search txmg.org for the “Take Care of Texas” guide to mulching and composting. If you have questions about this or any other gardening topic, please call the Big Country Master Gardener Association’s hotline at 325-672-6048, or email us at Bcmg@txmg.org.

 

Until next time, happy gardening!

 

By Audrey Gillespie 

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved.

Live on Abilene, area stages: Fiesta de Verano

La Maquinaria Nortena

La Maquinaria Nortena

 

La Fiesta de Verano, featuring Grammy-nominated group La Maquinaria Norteña, will open at 7 p.m. July 12 at the Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. Sixth St. La Fiera de Ojinaga will be special guests.

 

Tickets are $20, and are available at stubwire.com.

 

If you’re a musician who has a gig, or you’re a venue owner who has a musician playing, send us your information. It’s FREE to be listed here, but we can’t tell everyone who’s playing if no one tells us.

 

Send your information to publishme@reporternews.com; via fax to 325-670-5242; or via mail in care of the Reporter-News, 101 Cypress St., Abilene, TX 79601.

 

Deadline is one week before publication.

 

ABILENE

  • Abilene Convention Center, 1100 N. 6th St. La Maquinaria Nortena and La Fiera de Ojinaga, 7 p.m. July 12, $20.
  • Abilene Zoo, 2070 Zoo Lane. Grady Spencer and the Work, 6-9 p.m. July 11, $20.
  • Firehouse Bar & Grill, 2074 Butternut St. Curtis Grimes, 9 p.m. July 13.
  • Mezamiz Deux Coffee House, 3909 S. 7th St. Stevie G, 7 p.m. Saturday.
  • The Mill Winery, 239 Locust St. Jess Goodlett, 7 p.m. Friday. Matt Ellis, 6 p.m. Thursday and July 18. Christy Patton, 7 p.m. July 13.
  • La Nueva Luna, 1082 S. Second St. Randall King, 9:30 p.m. July 13.
  • Play Faire Park, 2300 N. 2nd St. 2 Old Guys on Guitars, 7:45 p.m. Friday. Indie Rock Road Show, 7:45 p.m. July 12. Jackson Hatch & the East Lake Band, 8 p.m. July 13.
  • VFW 6873, 1049 Veterans Drive. Kelby Hodges, 7 p.m. Wednesday. Last Dance Band, 7 p.m. July 17.

 

 

OUT OF TOWN

 

CLYDE

  • Denton Valley's Backyard, 11949 FM 604. Texas Touch, 6:30 p.m. Friday, $5. Anaka Grace, 6:30 p.m. July 12.

 

ROSCOE

  • The Lumberyard, No. 7 Cypress. Joe Nichols, 9 p.m. July 13.

 

TYE

  • Wagon Wheel, 1023 South I-20 access road. Midnight Blue, 7 p.m. Saturday.

 

 

 

Note: All live entertainment listings are subject to change without notice.

 

 

By Nathaniel Ellsworth

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved.

What's open, closed on the Fourth of July in Abilene

Closed Thursday

  • Taylor County offices

 

  • State of Texas offices

 

  • U.S. post offices and federal offices

Closed Thursday and Friday

  • Abilene City Hall, Public Health District, Convention Center Offices, Development Corporation of Abilene, Airport Administrarion Office, Recreation & Senior Services, Animal Shelter, Police & Fire Administration Office, Environment Recycling Center, Brush Center and Citizens Convenience Center.

 

  • Solid Waste Services Offices (residential and commercial trash pick-up will run on regular schedule)

 

  • Abilene Municipal Court (citations due next business day with no penalty)

 

  • CityLink Transit (dialysis patient transport only on Friday)

 

  • Main and Mockingbird branches of the Abilene Public Library

Open Thursday

  • Abilene Zoo until 3 p.m.

 

  • Adventure Cove

 

  • 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

  • Frontier Texas! until 4 p.m.

 

  • South Branch of the Abilene Public Library, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

  • Water Service Center, 701 E. Highway 80, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved.

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