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Heather Claborn

News Director

Heather Claborn joined KACU as news director in January 2018.  She oversees daily newscast and feature reporting and works with KACU’s news anchors to develop newscasts.  She also conducts two-way interviews, reports for newscast and feature stories and maintains the station’s social media and website content.

Claborn began working in public radio in 1998 as a fill-in "All Things Considered" host at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts. She then accepted a position with Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR) in Hartford, Connecticut as the "Morning Edition" host. Over the years, Claborn assumed more responsibility and shifted roles to become the daily news editor. She also continued reporting, filing feature stories for NPR news programs and contributing regularly to NPR’s business and hourly newscasts. During her time with with the Harford station, Claborn produced television news reports for CPTV, and served as a panelist on CPTV’s election debates. Heather Claborn won awards from the Associated Press and the Society for Professional Journalists in Connecticut.

After moving to Illinois in 2006, Claborn taught Radio News and Interviewing and other journalism and communications classes at Olivet Nazarene University.  Kankakee Community College began operation of public radio station WKCC in 2007, and the fledgling station added Claborn to its staff soon after. She hosted the daily morning news programming and produced two-way interviews and feature reports for the station. She also contributed reports to the statewide collaborative of pubic radio stations.

Claborn earned her BA at the University of North Texas, majoring in Radio, TV and Film and Political Science. During her college years, she worked for the short-lived KEWS, all-news, FM radio station in Dallas, and the USA Radio Network.  She also interned for KDFW FOX 4 news in the Fort Worth office.

 Claborn returned to central Texas in 2017 with her husband, David and children Cal and Molly. She enjoys the landscape and scenery that is unique to this part of the state, and is acclimating to the difference in the weather.

Ways to Connect

Shared with permission of the Center For Contemporary Arts

Last weekend, the Center for Contemporary Arts announced the winners of the 2019 National Juried Art Competition. All the pieces, chosen by artist Gary Bukovnik, are currently displayed in the galleries until November 2nd.

The show is free to the public. You can find times of operation and other information on the Center for Contemporary Arts website.  

Dana Glover / KACU

The City of Abilene Water Utilities Department has begun swapping old water meters to new ones as part of the Advanced Water Metering Infrastructure project.  Each meter replacement takes between ten to 30 minutes and will be completed during regular business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Each district will be replaced one at a time.  

Heather Claborn / KACU

Abilene Christian University is celebrating its rise in the rankings by U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges”.  ACU achieved its highest overall ranking ever, reaching 12th in the western region, and improving by nine places over last year.  

But it was a new benchmark U.S. News and World Reports created this year that has ACU President Phil Schubert most excited.  The magazine developed a “Focus on Student Success” ranking, that evaluates institutions on eight categories.  

Heather Claborn / KACU

Following the deadly massacre in El Paso on August 3rd, and last weekend’s deadly shooting in Midland and Odessa, state politicians have been looking at how they can help prevent such violence in the future.  The state legislature wrapped up a successful session in May and isn’t scheduled to meet again until January of 20-21.  

Some Democrats have called on Governor Greg Abbott to call lawmakers to Austin for a special session.  

So far the governor has convened roundtable discussions, and established the Texas Safety Commission. 

Heather Claborn / KACU

For nearly a decade, a brand-new, $35 million prison has sat empty in the north Texas town of Anson. The Bluebonnet Detention Facility was built after the state of Texas told Jones County officials they would love to have a new prison located there. Then, those same Texas officials changed their minds. Now, the nation’s immigration crisis may prove a windfall for Anson as federal officials work to create more space for the rising number of unauthorized immigrants detained in the United States.

Abilene Metropolitan Planning Organization

Every five years transportation officials in Abilene update the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which sets out project priorities for roads, transit, walking and biking paths.  Federal law requires that the Metropolitan Planning Organization engage the community as it looks to the future of transportation. And the organization will hold two public meetings in the coming weeks-the first will be next Tuesday, August 27th at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library.  Another public meeting will be scheduled in October.

Abilene Metropolitan Planning Organization

Every five years transportation officials in Abilene update the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which sets out project priorities for roads, transit, walking and biking paths.  Federal law requires that the Metropolitan Planning Organization engage the community as it looks to the future of transportation. And the organization will hold two public meetings in the coming weeks-the first will be next Tuesday, August 27that the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library.  Another public meeting will be scheduled in October.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Jones County Commissioners are considering an offer from ICE to put immigrant detainees in cells. 

Right now the Texas/Midwest Jones County “Bluebonnet” Detention Facility has a thick layer of dust on the brand new desks, chairs and structures added to cells a decade ago.  

Used with permission of the Texas Water Development Board

The state of Texas wants local communities to help develop new plans to manage flooding risks to life and property.  A team from the Texas Water Development Board has been traveling the state on a listening tour. 

On Thursday, TWDB representatives presented proposed flood control projects and strategies.  And they collected informal feedback from the 25 people who attended the meeting at the Abilene Convention Center.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Turnout was disappointing at the Community Conversation, organized by the Abilene Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Unit, to educat parents about cyber threats to kids.  But officials will keep trying to engage parents in protecting their kids online.

Abilene Police Department

Over two days at the end of June, Abilene police partnered with other law enforcement to arrest 13 people who had online interactions that were sexual in nature with people they thought were minors. Some of the suspects were arrested as they traveled to an arranged meeting with the supposed child.  The sting was the result of a collaboration between the Abilene Police Department’s Cyber Crimes Unit and the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Criminal Investigations Division.

Ernesto Guajardo / KACU

The Abilene Police department is responding to numerous calls of concern for a homeless man in a wheelchair collecting donations at Highway 83/84 and FM 707.  Police are trying to educate the public on the details and the big picture of the situation.  

Heather Claborn / KACU

Texas legislators checked large items off their to-do list during the 86th Legislative Session.  State Rep. Stan Lambert says from the beginning his second legislative session had a different feel.  He credits strong leadership and a strong economy for progress in education funding, property tax relief and pension funding.  Looking ahead, Lambert says the biggest thing looming on the horizon for state lawmakers is redistricting.  

Haley Remenar / KACU

19thDistrict Congressman Jodey Arrington is co-chairing a task force aimed at finding solutions for serious issues for rural healthcare institutions.  "Healthcare in the United States is sick," Arrington says.  "But healthcare in rural America is in the ICU."  More than 90 rural hospitals, including two in Arrington’s congressional district, have closed in recent years.  Arrington says part of what’s driving the rural healthcare crisis is onerous regulation, such as one requiring hospitals to provide in patient care.

Heather Claborn / KACU

 

The state of Texas has been working to correct serious problems in special education highlighted by an investigative report by the Houston Chronicle in 2016.  The series of reports shined a spotlight on how Texas was shortchanging special education for more than a decade.  When federal education officials did their own investigation, they estimated that over 13 years, 32,000 students missed out on services they should have gotten. 

 

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