Listeners Club

Forgot Password

Not a Member? Sign up here!

Regular Program
12:00am - 12:00am
Regular Program

Wolfabilene Updates Archives for 2020-09

How one company is bridging the digital divide for under-resourced schools

 

According to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, up to 28% of children whose family income is less than $40,000 per year do not have internet access at home. In general, the lower a household’s income is, the less likely the family is to have internet access.

 

“When you look at students from low-income households, they score far below the national average on computational thinking and computer information literacy,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of corporate social responsibility at Verizon.

 

Even in normal times, these digital inequities put students at a disadvantage. But during a pandemic, not having access to the internet or devices to use for distance learning can put a hard stop on students’ academic progress altogether.

 

Bridging the digital divide

 

The Verizon Innovative Learning program provides access to technology and connectivity for students in underserved school districts.

 

Since 2012, Verizon has been fostering digital inclusion in under-resourced school districts throughout the country with the Verizon Innovative Learning program. "Verizon Innovative Learning is a significant part of Citizen Verizon; our plan for economic, environmental and social advancement," said Nixon-Saintil.

 

This transformative education program not only provides each student with a device and a monthly data plan, but also a technology-based STEM curriculum. The program also offers training and ongoing support for teachers, as well a dedicated Verizon Innovative Learning coach for each school that participates in the program, hired by the district.

 

“We provide guidance to the district as to the type of person they should consider,” Nixon-Saintil said. “Usually, our learning coaches have a strong history of innovative teaching practices, the ability to develop effective adult learning experiences that promote digital instruction, and a love of technology.”

 

Teacher training goes beyond how to use the technology and devices supplied by the program: It covers how to integrate that technology into lessons and teaching methods, too.

 

“We support teachers by training them on what blended learning looks like, what digital collaboration and project-based learning looks like — we have very specific goals for our teachers,” Nixon-Saintil said.

 

Ultimately, teachers are equipped with knowledge on how to support learning agency and autonomy to help transform students into lifelong learners.

Currently, there are 264 schools participating in the program.

 

“It was really focused on middle schools over the years – but for the first time this year we are bringing 10 high schools into the program,” Nixon-Saintil said. “We’re starting to create the path to success for our students moving from middle school to high school with the same resources that we provide in middle school.”

 

Participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning program

 

Access to technology offers new ways to learn.

 

For Jose Gonzalez, a Verizon Innovative Learning coach and educator formerly at Bunche Middle School and now at Davis Middle School in Compton, California, taking part in the program for the past two years has been a game changer for his students and for his own professional development.

 

“Verizon provided a tablet for every single student that also included a data plan. So many students who didn’t have devices or even have internet in their homes now had that capability,” he said. “Kids could now get online anytime, anywhere. They weren’t limited to school hours. They were able to submit their assignments from home and leverage their tablets for research.”

 

Gonzalez works with teachers to develop new and exciting ways for students to learn using the provided technology.

 

“For example, instead of learning about the Mayan ruins from a textbook, kids take virtual tours, watch 360-degree videos and access simulations online,” he said.

 

Students have also worked on creating video app prototypes, stop-motion projects and visual poems.

 

Making the shift to distance learning

 

Giving students time to socialize and connect virtually has been a key strategy for educators.

 

When students shifted to online learning in March, the training and resources Gonzalez and his fellow teachers had received through the program provided crucial advantages.

 

“Many of the teachers were already trained in using technology in their lessons, and all the teachers were already on Google Classroom, so they were able to give assignments to students, and students were able to turn them in virtually,” he said. “In those ways, we were very well prepared — as best as anyone could be.”

 

Although students were equipped with devices and internet access, there were still challenges.

 

“Some of my top kids — kids that would come on the weekends to work on their projects, sometimes working for months on end, kids that went above and beyond — I found that I was losing them,” Gonzalez said.

 

He then gave an assignment asking students to create a video answering questions on how the students were feeling, and, as a result, he found that creating a space for students to socialize and connect virtually was key.

 

“That really changed my relationship — and also my teaching — with them,” he said. “I realized that you have to give students time for them just to hang out with their peers, just to have that conversation. I found if I gave them 10 minutes just to connect with their peers, that really made a difference.”

 

To keep students engaged, Gonzalez used tactics that kept students active in their learning experience. 

 

“I try to find many activities that are engaging, like gamification teaching strategies, creating videos, out-of-the-box ways to reach kids,” he said. “I invite the kids to co-teach with me, so many of the lessons being taught I might teach them first — and then they teach others in the group.”

 

Empowering students to not just be consumers of the technology but also be actual tech leaders is a major part of the program, something Nixon-Saintil saw demonstrated during the shift to digital learning.

 

“When the pandemic hit, we started getting these great stories from our schools where our tech team of students were actually helping parents, teachers and students virtually,” she said. “My favorite story right now is how we were able to develop this group of tech leaders in each of these schools who were able to actually extend their reach to families to help support their technology.”

 

 

By: Danielle Page

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

Live on Abilene, area stages: Outdoor bash takes a mulligan

 

Mulligans, at 1166 Ben Richey Drive, will take another shot at its Local Outdoor Bash on Oct. 3, postponed from July 17 due to the pandemic. The line-up includes Kirk House, Della Rose and Colton Rice, among others.

 

Doors will open at 4:30 p.m., with music starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, and are available at mulligansabilene.com or by calling 325-691-0909.

 

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; or via mail in care of the Reporter-News, P.O. Box 30., Abilene, TX 79604.

 

Deadline is one week before publication.

 

ABILENE

  • Firehouse Bar & Grill, 2074 Butternut St. Wildman Karaoke, 9 p.m. Friday.
  • Heff's Burgers, 4310 Buffalo Gap Road. Scott Hayley and friends, 9 p.m. Friday. J.R. Live, 9 p.m. Oct. 2.
  • Lytle Land & Cattle Co., 1150 E.S. 11th St. James and Ryan, 7 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Mezamiz Deux Coffee House, 3909 S. 7th St. JamisonPriest, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2.
  • Mulligans, 1166 Ben Richey Drive. Kirk House, Della Rose, Colton Rice, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 3, $10.
  • Peoples Plaza, 1290 S. Willis St. Hip Hop Showcase, 9 p.m. Saturday, $10.
  • Play Faire Park, 2300 N. Second St. Eric Logan and AKA, 8 p.m. Friday. MerKaBa, 8 p.m. Saturday. "Open Mic Knight," 7 p.m. Sunday. Water Grave, 8 p.m. Monday. Rosemary Beach, 7 p.m. Thursday and Oct. 8.
  • P.T. Event Center, 5126 Brick St. Will Banister, 7 p.m. Friday, $15.
  • Sharon's BBQ South, 2050 Antilley Road. MerKaBa, 6:30 p.m. Friday.
  • Sugar's Smokehouse, 3450 S. Clack St. Parkside, 8 p.m. Saturday. Wildman Karaoke, 6 p.m. Monday and Oct. 5.

 

OUT OF TOWN

 

SNYDER

  • Downtown square. BreakingStride and Caleb Young, 7 p.m. Oct. 2.

 

 

By: Nathaniel Ellsworth

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

Wylie senior National Merit Scholarship semifinalist scoring on and off the field

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A Wylie High School senior is getting a national recognition.

 

Kaitlyn Via is a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship, the only one in the Big Country to receive that honor this year.

 

For years, it’s been Kaitlyn Via, her cleats and a soccer ball.

 

“I started playing soccer when I was 4,” said Via. “I went to Big Country and then I started playing club here in Abilene.”

 

These days, though, you can find her in a purple uniform shooting for the bulldogs.

 

“I play attacking mid,” said Via. “I get a real chance to create the attack and create opportunities for the team”

 

While this may not look like anything academic, it’s still translating into the classroom.

 

“The National Merit Scholarship is part of the PSAT, we took it last year in October and the top 1% of students taking that test can move on to be semifinalists,” said Via.

 

Via says that training for her top score was just like a set of drills.

 

“I had teachers work on it with me and I got better at it, so that way I would have these opportunities,” said Via. “It’s hard work is always what it is, you put in time, you put in effort and you pay that price. I mean of course one, it’s physical labor in soccer, which is a lot different than sitting down and reading a book, but it’s the same.”

 

While she continues to score high on the field, it’s her strategy off of it that’s earning her this recognition.

 

Less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors qualify for this scholarship.

 

In Texas, Via is one of only 1,400 still in the running.

 

 

By: Jessica Ranck

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

Live on Abilene, area stages: Take it outside with Aaron Watson

 

SWEETWATER — The Experience Texas Outdoor Showcase featuring headliner Aaron Watson starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Nolan County Coliseum, 220 Coliseum Drive. The outdoor concert also features Jordan Robert Kirk and Jason Nutt & Highway 70.

 

Gates will open at 6 p.m., and social distancing measures will be enforced. Tickets are $30, and are available at showcasetx.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; or via mail in care of the Reporter-News, P.O. Box 30., Abilene, TX 79604.

 

Deadline is one week before publication.

 

ABILENE

 

  • Firehouse Bar & Grill, 2074 Butternut St. Wildman Karaoke, 9 p.m. Friday and Sept. 25.
  • Heff's Burgers, 4310 Buffalo Gap Road. South of Mayhem, 9 p.m. Saturday. Brett Patterson, 7 p.m. Thursday.
  • Lytle Land & Cattle Co., 1150 E.S. 11th St. Garrett Bradford, 7 p.m. Wednesday. James and Ryan, 7 p.m. Sept. 30.
  • Peoples Plaza, 1290 S. Willis St. Hip Hop Showcase, 9 p.m. Sept. 26, $10.
  • Play Faire Park, 2300 N. Second St. Rosemary Beach, 7 p.m. Saturday. "Open Mic Knight," 7 p.m. Sept. 20. Eric Logan and AKA, 8 p.m. Sept. 25. MerKaBa, 8 p.m. Sept. 26. Water Grave, 8 p.m. Sept. 28.
  • P.T. Event Center, 5126 Brick St. Will Banister, 7 p.m. Sept. 25, $15.
  • Sugar's Smokehouse, 3450 S. Clack St. Parkside, 8 p.m. Saturday.
  • Taylor County Expo Center, 1700 Highway 36. Coffey Anderson, 9 p.m. Friday. Kevin Fowler, 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

 

OUT OF TOWN

 

SWEETWATER

  • Nolan County Coliseum, 220 Coliseum Drive. Aaron Watson, Jordan Robert Kirk, Jason Nutt and Highway 70, 7 p.m. Thursday, $30.

 

 

By: Nathaniel Ellsworth

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

COVID-19 update: Taylor County reports 4 deaths Monday, zero new cases

 

The Abilene Taylor County Health District on Monday announced four deaths, the most reported on one day, connected to COVID-19, bringing the county's total since the pandemic began to 48.

 

Yet, officials also reported no new cases and two more recoveries. 

 

The deceased are males in their 80s and 90s and females in their 60s and 90s. All four had pre-existing health conditions, officials stated. The average age of Taylor County patients whose deaths are connected to COVID-19 is 77.

 

Three deaths were reported July 3.

 

The number of active cases in the county is 169 confirmed with polymerase chain reaction tests and another 237 with antigen tests, for a combined 406 cases. 

 

The total number of COVID-19 inpatients at Abilene facilities numbers 22, which includes 12 out-of-county residents.  The average age of those hospitalized is 66. 

 

On Monday, health officials in San Angelo announced 15 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 people hospitalized for the illness. 

Coronavirus by the numbers

Abilene/Taylor County (updated Monday): Total positive PCR cases, 1,405; active PCR cases, 169; total antigen probable cases, 1,235; total antigen active cases, 237; total PCR recoveries, 1,193; total antigen recoveries, 993; Total deaths, 48; Current hospitalizations at Abilene facilities, 22.

 

Texas (updated Monday): Total cases, 663,445; New cases, 2,595; Active cases (estimated), 68,030; Hospitalized, 3,325; Fatalities, 14,211; Total tests, 5,637,040; Recovered (estimated), 581,204. 

 

Big Country counties with reported confirmed cases (based on PCR tests as tracked by the state): Erath, 760; Scurry, 574; Jones, 562; Brown, 509; Howard, 406; Comanche, 238; Runnels, 232; Nolan, 185; Eastland, 144; Stephens, 124; Mitchell, 80; Callahan, 75; Knox, 67; Fisher, 62; Coleman 61; Haskell, 59; Coke, 50; Shackelford, 23; Stonewall, 10; Kent, 7; Throckmorton, 6.

 

Select West Texas counties: Lubbock, 9,649; Potter (Amarillo), 4,310; Midland, 3,441; Ector (Odessa), 2,955; Randall (Canyon), 2,426; Tom Green (San Angelo), 2,145; Hale (Plainview), 1,753; Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1,498; Moore (Dumas), 1,137.

 

Sources: City of Abilene, Texas Department of State Health Services (counts PCR cases only), San Angelo Standard-Times, Scurry County, Eastland County, Brown County

 

SELECT PRISONS (Saturday statistics)

 

Daniel (Snyder): Staff cases – active, 5, recovered, 33; Inmate cases – active, 0, recovered, 244, medical isolation, 0. 

 

Havins (Brownwood): Staff cases – active, 4, recovered, 10; Inmate cases – active, 0, recovered, 175, medical isolation, 2. 

 

Middleton (Abilene): Staff cases – active, 4, recovered, 17; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 247, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Robertson (Abilene): Staff cases – active, 7, recovered, 39; Inmate cases – active, 3, recovered, 225, medical isolation, 3. 

 

Sayle (Breckenridge): Staff cases – active, 3, recovered, 16; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 57, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Wallace (Colorado City): Staff cases – active, 5, recovered, 17; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 418, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice COVID-19 website

 

SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

 

Abilene ISD: Announced on Monday that a staff member at Taylor Elementary tested positive for COVID-19. This follows Sunday's report that a staff member at One AISD and a student at Abilene High School had tested positive for the illness. 

 

Abilene Christian University: Reported on Monday nine active ACU-related cases, which is five more than Friday, and 16 people quarantined due to potential exposure. That is one more than reported Friday.  

 

Hardin-Simmons University: Reported Friday seven active HSU-related cases, which is one more than Thursday. 

 

Wylie ISD:  School officials announced Monday that an "individual" tested positive for COVID-19. Citing privacy requirements, there was no other information provided as to the person being a student or faculty/staff member. On Sunday, the district reported that an individual at Wylie East Junior High had tested positive.

 

More:Taylor County reports one new COVID-19 case; hospitalizations hold at 20

 

 

By: Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

COVID-19 Thursday update: Taylor County new cases jump by 42

 

The Abilene Taylor County Health District on Thursday reported 42 new cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 and 15 recoveries.

 

Six of the new cases were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction tests and the remaining 36 from antigen tests.

 

Since Sunday, the county has reported 71 new cases. Last week, the total number of new cases was 126.

 

The total number of cases confirmed in the county since the pandemic began is 2,593, based on both tests. Of those total cases, 409 are considered active (169 PCR cases and 240 antigen cases).

 

Hospital inpatients connected to the illness stands at 19, which is three less than reported Wednesday and includes six out-of-county residents.  The average age of those hospitalized is 73.

 

San Angelo health officials Thursday reported 10 new cases and 605 active cases for Tom Green County. At San Angelo hospitals, 22 people are hospitalized for COVID-19. The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the county stands at 46.

 

Coronavirus by the numbers

Abilene/Taylor County (updated Thursday): Total positive PCR cases, 1,386; active PCR cases, 169; total antigen probable cases, 1,207; total antigen active cases, 240; total PCR recoveries, 1,178; total antigen recoveries, 965; Total deaths, 41; Current hospitalizations at Abilene facilities, 19.

 

Texas (updated Thursday): Total cases, 649,809; New cases, 3,852; Active cases (estimated), 71,842; Hospitalized, 3,575; Fatalities, 13,853; Total tests, 5,878,234; Recovered (estimated), 564,114. 

 

Big Country counties with reported confirmed cases (based on PCR tests as tracked by the state): Erath, 741; Jones, 560; Scurry, 560; Brown, 508; Howard, 351; Comanche, 227; Runnels, 226; Nolan, 182; Eastland, 140; Stephens, 127; Mitchell, 80; Callahan, 74; Knox, 67; Fisher, 62; Haskell, 58; Coleman, 60; Coke, 50; Shackelford, 23; Stonewall, 9; Kent, 7; Throckmorton, 5.

 

Select West Texas counties: Lubbock, 9,277; Potter (Amarillo), 4,211; Midland, 3,421; Ector (Odessa), 2,932; Randall (Canyon), 2,366; Tom Green (San Angelo), 2,105; Hale (Plainview), 1,702; Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1,439; Moore (Dumas), 1,128.

 

Sources: City of Abilene, Texas Department of State Health Services (counts PCR cases only), San Angelo Standard-Times, Scurry County, Eastland County, Brown County

 

SELECT PRISONS (Wednesday statistics)

 

Daniel (Snyder): Staff cases – active, 5, recovered, 33; Inmate cases – active, 0, recovered, 255, medical isolation, 0. 

 

Havins (Brownwood): Staff cases – active, 4, recovered, 10; Inmate cases – active, 0, recovered, 189, medical isolation, 3. 

 

Middleton (Abilene): Staff cases – active, 4, recovered, 17; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 248, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Robertson (Abilene): Staff cases – active, 6, recovered, 39; Inmate cases – active, 3, recovered, 214, medical isolation, 3. 

 

Sayle (Breckenridge): Staff cases – active, 3, recovered, 16; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 60, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Wallace (Colorado City): Staff cases – active, 6, recovered, 16; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 425, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice COVID-19 website

 

SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

 

Abilene ISD: The school district Wednesday  reported 10 active cases of COVID-19. Most recently, an Abilene High student tested positive Tuesday night, a Craig Middle School food service employee tested positive Tuesday afternoon, a One AISD Center staff member tested positive Wednesday and a staff member at Cooper tested positive on Wednesday. 

 

Superintendent David Young said the district's mask and face covering policy is being adhered to as much as possible and the district of more than 15,600 students as of Tuesday is doing what it can to prevent spread in hallways and classrooms.

 

This includes contact tracing, which has led 47 other individuals to quarantine because of the 10 active cases.

 

More:3rd Abilene High student COVID-19-positive; 47 quarantined throughout after contact tracing

 

Abilene Christian University: Reported Thursday three active ACU-related cases and 17 people quarantined due to potential exposure. A total of 1,521 tests have been administered at the ACU Medical Clinic and in partnership with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. 

 

Hardin-Simmons University: Reported Thursday six active HSU-related cases. 

 

COVID-19 Wednesday update:Taylor County has 41st death, 12 new cases

 

Brown County adds 8 cases Wednesday

BROWNWOOD – Brown County health officials Wednesday announced eight more cases of COVID-19 and one recovery.

 

Two of the new cases were confirmed by PCR tests and the remaining six by antigen tests.

 

There are 117 active cases in the county, and seven patients are hospitalized for the illness at county facilities.  

 

The current totals for COVID-19 testing in Brown County are:

 

  • Total positive: 691
  • Total negative: 3,302
  • Cases confirmed by PCR test: 508
  • Cases confirmed by antigen test: 183
  • Recovered: 548
  • Deaths: 26

 

 

By: Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

COVID-19: Taylor County reports 9 cases Tuesday; Abilene universities confirm cases

 

The Abilene Taylor County Health District on Tuesday reported nine new cases of COVID-19 and 19 recoveries.

 

The total number of cases in Taylor County since the pandemic began is 2,539, based on 1,370 polymerase chain reaction tests and 1,169 on antigen tests. Of those total cases, 385 are active, based on both tests.

 

Hospitalizations for the illness at Abilene facilities are holding steady at 20, of which five of those inpatients live outside the county. The average age of hospital patients is 73.

 

More:One Abilene High student tests COVID-19-positive

 

Tests reported to the health district jumped 694 in one day to 13,207 because of "a recent testing effort at Abilene Christian University," the city said in the COVID-19 social media update. 

 

Also Tuesday, San Angelo health officials reported the 46th Tom Green County death connected to COVID-19 and 12 new cases. The deceased is a woman in her 60s. There also are 22 people hospitalized for the illness at city facilities. 

 

Coronavirus by the numbers

Abilene/Taylor County (updated Tuesday): Total positive PCR cases, 1,370; active PCR cases, 165; total antigen probable cases, 1,169; total antigen active cases, 220; total PCR recoveries, 1,167; total antigen recoveries, 947; Total deaths, 40; Current hospitalizations at Abilene facilities, 20.

 

Texas (updated Tuesday): Total cases, 641,791; New cases, 1,416; Active cases (estimated), 74,829; Hospitalized, 3,701; Fatalities, 13,553; Total tests, 5,787,473; Recovered (estimated), 553,409. 

 

Big Country counties with reported confirmed cases (based on PCR tests as tracked by the state): Erath, 722; Jones, 588; Scurry, 563; Brown, 500; Howard, 350; Comanche, 221; Runnels, 210; Nolan, 168; Eastland, 126; Stephens, 126; Mitchell, 75; Callahan, 73; Knox, 67; Fisher, 60; Haskell, 56; Coleman, 56; Coke, 49; Shackelford, 23; Stonewall, 9; Kent, 7; Throckmorton, 5.

 

Select West Texas counties: Lubbock, 8,983; Potter (Amarillo), 4,181; Midland, 3,362; Ector (Odessa), 2,895; Randall (Canyon), 2,323; Tom Green (San Angelo), 2,089; Hale (Plainview), 1,686; Wichita (Wichita Falls), 1,392; Moore (Dumas), 1,126.

 

Sources: City of Abilene, Texas Department of State Health Services (counts PCR cases only), San Angelo Standard-Times, Scurry County, Eastland County, Brown County

 

SELECT PRISONS (Monday statistics)

 

Daniel (Snyder): Staff cases – active, 5, recovered, 33; Inmate cases – active, 0, recovered, 256, medical isolation, 0. 

 

Havins (Brownwood): Staff cases – active, 4, recovered, 10; Inmate cases – active, 0, recovered, 197, medical isolation, 2. 

 

Middleton (Abilene): Staff cases – active, 4, recovered, 17; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 273, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Robertson (Abilene): Staff cases – active, 6, recovered, 39; Inmate cases – active, 3, recovered, 212, medical isolation, 3. 

 

Sayle (Breckenridge): Staff cases – active, 3, recovered, 16; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 63, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Wallace (Colorado City): Staff cases – active, 7, recovered, 15; Inmate cases – active, 1, recovered, 428, medical isolation, 1. 

 

Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice COVID-19 website

 

SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

 

Abilene ISD: Reported on Tuesday that an Abilene High School student tested positive and late Monday that a staff member in the One AISD building was confirmed for the illness. 

 

Hardin-Simmons University: Reported Monday four active HSU-related cases. That is one more than reported Friday.

 

McMurry University: The university reported Monday that a student who lives on campus has tested positive. The student returned home around Sept. 1 to quarantine, and individuals who came into close contact with the student have been notified.

 

COVID-19 Monday update:Taylor County adds 3 cases; Texas active cases declining

 

Fisher County active cases at 4

 

ROBY – Fisher County announced on social media Tuesday that of the 61 COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the county since the pandemic began, four are active.

 

Officials also reported that 56 county residents have recovered from the illness, and one death is connected to COVID-19.

 

 

By: Laura Gutschke

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

West Texas Fair and Rodeo opens Friday for 2020 event

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) – The West Texas Fair and Rodeo is excited to announce the opening of the 2020 event, at the Expo Center of Taylor County ground. This year there will be a modified schedule to accommodate and comply with restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Opening day will be Friday, September 4th, with the start of the Livestock Show and competitions in the First Financial Pavilion and the Guitar Arena. This will extend the livestock shows to three weekends.

 

“We will be asking all competitors and spectators attending these events to comply with Governor Abbott’s mandates, as issued July 2, 2020, for face coverings and social distancing, along with other personal health efforts,” said Rochelle Johnson, General Manager of the Expo Center of Taylor County.

 

There will be no charge gate admission to the Expo Center grounds from September 4th through Labor Day, September 7th. Normal Gate admission will begin on Friday, September 11th.

 

In addition to the Livestock Shows, the Carnival Americana will also be open starting on Friday, September 4th and will run through Labor Day. The carnival will be closed on Tuesday, September 8th and Wednesday, September 9th, but will reopen on Thursday, September 10th and will be open through the final day of the event, September 19th. The Carnival Americana offers lots of rides and games for fair-goers of every age. There will be added specials on rides during the full run of the West Texas Fair and Rodeo.

 

Another change in the 2020 schedule will be for the PRCA Rodeo in the newly opened Taylor Telecom Arena. A full five (5) nights of rodeo competition will be held beginning on Friday night, September 11th and on Saturday, September 12th. Then it will return on Thursday, September 17th through Saturday, September 20th. An added event will take place on Tuesday night, September 15th, with all the thrills and spills of the exciting West Texas Bulls at Night bull riding competition, which will be held in the Taylor Telecom Arena.

 

“We know that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone on so many fronts, but we are excited that the 2020 West Texas Fair and Rodeo will happen and give the folks in Abilene and the Region a chance to get out and enjoy a great family atmosphere and lots of good family fun,” states Ms. Johnson.

 

Several food trucks will also be present during the event with a wide variety of foods available for Fair attendees.

 

For more information, visit www.taylorcountyexpocenter.com or call 325-677-4376.

 

 

By: Erica Garner

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

Texas budget plan offers glimpse at agency cuts after coronavirus pandemic

 

In the first comprehensive glimpse of how the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic will affect key state services, an August state budget document obtained by the American-Statesman lays out how agencies proposed meeting 5% cuts demanded by the state’s Republican leadership in May.

 

Those cuts are the fallout of a plunge in tax revenues as businesses shuttered. Travel and entertainment spending plummeted, hitting hotel occupancy and alcoholic beverage taxes particularly hard. Oil and gas tax revenues took a nosedive in the wake of collapsing world demand and a Saudi Arabia-Russia production dispute.

 

Comptroller Glenn Hegar in July projected a budget shortfall of $4.58 billion for the fiscal year that ended Monday, with revenue falling further behind spending during the 2021 fiscal year.

 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Lake Jackson, in May asked state agencies to reduce their budgets by 5%,

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Lake Jackson, in May asked state agencies to reduce their budgets by 5%, Nick Wagner/American-Statesman File

 

But the fate of the proposed cuts in the budget document remained a mystery, with no public pronouncement and top state officials not returning requests for comment. The state Legislative Budget Board, which put the compilation together, has declined to release the report, terming it a working document.

 

The 374-page document shows how widespread the cuts could be. The cost-cutting proposals include:

 

  • $1.6 million from Health and Humans Services Commission regulatory programs, chiefly through hiring freezes. The agency warned that such cuts could “potentially delay investigations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation” and also impact “responses to open records requests, federal reporting, reduced technical support of program applications, training, criminal history checks of child care providers, processing of enforcement actions and other activities.”
  • Fewer clients served by a state epilepsy program, children’s advocacy programs and the Court Appointed Special Advocates program. Cuts would also reduce the number of clients receiving family planning and health screenings.
  • $165,000 from a Health and Human Services Commission program for mental health support through a family violence program
  • $200,000 from the Texas Education Agency in grants to organizations that provide athletic programs for students with intellectual disabilities.
  • $450,000 from a Texas attorney general’s office program that apprehends fugitives and investigates sexual predators, cybercrimes and crimes against children.
  • $150,000 from an attorney general’s office Medicaid investigations program — specifically into criminal fraud by Medicaid providers, physical abuse and criminal neglect of patients in health care facilities receiving Medicaid, and misappropriation of patients’ private funds in facilities.
  • $835,241 from a child support program contract for temporary employees in the office of the attorney general — but the “ability to collect child support will be negatively impacted.” Child support staff in Texas currently work more than 579 cases per employee, while the national average is 265. Reducing the contract for temporary employees would lead to a loss of $25.5 million in child support collections to families and cost $8.9 million in avoided social services such as Medicaid, the report said.
  • $200,000 from the Higher Education Coordinating Board by defunding 21 advisers serving 22 high schools across Central Texas, El Paso, Houston, Dallas and the Rio Grande Valley. Nearly 10,000 seniors and up to 1,200 students with disabilities “will no longer receive assistance in financial aid and college application completions, scholarships, SAT/ACT registration, and college exploration activities,” the agency says in the report.
  • $43 million out of a financial aid program run by the Higher Education Coordinating Board worth upward of $400 million. Based on an average grant of $5,000, 8,605 fewer people will receive an aid package, according to the proposal. In July, Gov. Greg Abbott announced ways that Texas would use more than $170 million in federal money to shore up financial aid programs and support higher education in Texas.
  • $1.1 million from Texas A&M Corpus Christi to delay maintenance and repair projects that relate to damages sustained during Hurricane Harvey not covered under FEMA, and defer purchases of equipment for classrooms and teaching labs.
  • $3 million from the University of Texas through the cancellation of scheduled merit raises.
  • $183,000 from the AgriLife Extension Service of Texas A&M through reducing operations and travel of field technicians who provide assistance to landowners with feral hogs and coyote issues.
  • $1.3 million from the Texas Arts Commission by delaying the construction of an arts center in Flower Mound, even as the agency reports that “we anticipate that the recovery period for arts organizations in the state will be much longer than other industries.”

 

Altogether, the proposals add up to a shade over $1 billion and involve the freezing or elimination of more than 4,000 staff positions.

 

Budget analysts say the cuts were not a surprise, given reports from the comptroller about the downturn on tax collections.

 

Eva DeLuna Castro, a budget analyst with the liberal-minded Every Texan think tank, said the cuts set a diminished baseline when the Legislature reconvenes in January to determine budgets for the next biennium.

 

“This bakes cuts into the budget for the next two years,” she said.

 

State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, said the Legislature should be included in the budget-cutting process.

 

“Many of us remain concerned that some may try to use federal aid, meant to supplement state funding for things like public education, to supplant the state’s obligations and responsibilities,” he said.

 

Under state law, however, the Legislature passes a budget, but it does not have to be consulted if an agency spends less than its allotment.

 

 

By: Asher Price

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved

Wolf News

Twitter

Sports News