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Wolfabilene Updates Archives for 2019-12

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


New Year's Eve at Heff's place.


Hmmm ...  


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


Not a bunny place.


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


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

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


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


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


Cover charge is $10. 


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


He said he'd be there himself.


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


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


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


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


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


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



By Greg Jaklewicz

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved








Auto racing may come to Abilene Regional Airport


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


If successful, the race would become a yearly event.


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


Shift S3ctor's Web Site

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


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


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


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


"Of course, they are," he said.


All in the timing

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



By Brian Bethel

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

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


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


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


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


Where are the days off?


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


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


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


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


Students will return to classes that Jan. 5.


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



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


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


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




By Timothy Chipp

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

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

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

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



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


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


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


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

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


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


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


They help people with documented barriers secure employment.


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


Their mission starts with their own team members.


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


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


They have three regional career centers. 


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


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


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


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


They help youth as well as adults.


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


They have been around a long time.


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


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


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


About Goodwill-West Texas


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



By Stepfanie Romine

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

Give back to the place you call home this Christmas



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


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


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


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


Here are just some of the ways you can:


Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen


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


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


Donate to Toys for Tots


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


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


Sponsor one child’s Christmas from an Angel Tree


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


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


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


Support local businesses

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


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


Mingle in the community with family and friends


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


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


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


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



By Violet Bauske

Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved



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



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


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


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


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

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


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



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

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