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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

Courtesy of Texans for Stan

The 87th session of the Texas legislature will not only have a full slate of emergency items that Governor Greg Abbott wants addressed, it's time to redraw political lines.  KACU's Andrew Norsworthy talked with Rep. Lambert about his new committee assignments; the emergency items, which include broadband availability, a top priority for Lambert, as well as police funding and liability protections for businesses; and the feel of the new session, with a new speaker.  

Courtesy of International Rescue Committee-Abilene

Yesterday we heard from Susanna Lubanga, director of the Abilene office of the International Rescue Committee, about anticipated changes for refugee programs under the new Biden Administration.  Our conversation turns to how local refugee community has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.  Many have come from homes that have experienced health crisies before, so the pandemic and its restrictions were somewhat familiar to them.  Several in Abilene's refugee community were affected early on with the outbreak at Abimar Foods.

West Texas Homeless Network

When COVID-19 first began to spread and affect employment, advocates for the homeless worried that there would be a significant increase in the local homeless population.  But a moratorium on evictions has helped to prevent that.  The pandemic is affecting the annual Point In Time count of the homeless, which is happening in communities across the country today and tomorrow.

courtesy of International Rescue Committee-Abilene

Some of the first actions President Biden took after his inauguration were aimed at reversing the course President Trump had set on immigration.  He halted work on the border wall, lifted a ban on travel from Muslim countries, and restored DACA, a program President Obama initiated.  But refugees are still waiting for action on their behalf.  Refugees apply for entry into the U.S. seeking escape from war, persecution, or personal threats in their home countries.  President Trump had lowered the maximum number of refugees that would be accepted by the U.S.

Abilene Taylor County Public Health District

Taylor County is seeing large numbers of new cases of the coronavirus, sustained high levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations and new reported deaths many days.  The Abilene Taylor County Public Health District added 44 staff members to help handle the workload of contact tracing.  But when the new positive test results are so high, the people who track those cases have their hands full.   The health distric's lead contact tracer, Julia Agawu says they're calling in extra help from other departments within the health district.  

Haley Remenar / KACU

Protestors left a rally with President Trump Wednesday, and besieged the U.S. Capitol building.  Congress was in the process of certifying the Elector College vote in the 2020 Presidential Election.  KACU’s Heather Claborn spoke last night with U.S. Congressman Jodey Arrington.  He described what it was like inside the House chamber, calling it surreal.  Critics claimed on Twitter that Arrington bears some of the blame because of his rhetoric, but he defends his decision to object to the certification of the Electoral College vote for the 2020 presidential election.

Used with permission of Canva

The Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony on documented increases in suicides, substance abuse, and depression, related to COVID-19.  The pandemic has affected every part of life, from health to isolation and job loss.  The families of more than 300,000 Americans are grieving their loss.  

Hendrick Health Systems

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Abilene today.  The hospital officials who received the initial doses were excited and enthusiastic about opening the deep-chilled package.  Pharmacy Clinical Manager Greg Perry wore special, protective gloves as he pried the doses of Pfizer vaccine out of the dry ice it was packed in.  “You can definitely feel the chill, even with these cryo-gloves.  This is chilly, chilly!”   As he held up the small boxes containing the vials of vaccine, Perry described what they contained, “We have 195 multi-dose vials.

Hendrick Health System

Trauma Service Area D, which includes Taylor County and several surrounding counties, joined seven other TSAs that have triggered reopening rollbacks.  The rollbacks mean the businesses must now operate at only 50% occupancy.  Establishments that make most of their revenue from alcohol sales must close.  And hospitals will limit elective surgeries and other services.  When the state reported that TSA-D hit the seventh straight day of COVID-19 hospitalizations over 15%, Hendrick Health Systems moved its community alert level to Level 6: Emergency. 

Austin Gurchiek / KACU

As vaccine development for COVID-19 continues to move forward, Catholic organizations are providing guidance for church members to discern their next steps.  A new Gallup poll shows that 63% of Americans would get a vaccine if it were available today.  Some are hesitant about the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine.  But others have moral qualms.

Dana Glover / KACU

At Thursday evening’s meeting City Manager Robert Hanna will ask the Abilene City Council to consider some adjustments to the 2021 fiscal year budget.  The city is trying to fill a hole in the budget that was only partially caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  In September Abilene’s City Council adopted a surplus budget for the next fiscal year that provided for unknown expenses related to the pandemic.

Abilene Taylor County Public Health District

As Taylor County tracks 2,249 active cases of COVID-19, Abilene and Taylor County officials are urging locals to do their part to slow the spread of the virus.  Local ICU beds are full, and the hospitals are now treating 83 patients for the coronavirus.  Abilene may be seeing hospital capacity stretched to the limit by COVID-19, but some other Texas cities have been completely overrun.  That’s led some cities to try enacting curfews, stay at home orders, and business closures, only to be challenged in court by Governor Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton.  Last week an appeals court ove

Courtesy Dr. Dawn Buckingham Campaign

District 24 in the Texas State Senate stretches from Killeen to Abilene.  The district has been represented by a Republican since 1996.  That’s also the last year a race for the seat was actually competitive.  State Senator Dawn Buckingham is a doctor and a member of the Health and Human Services Committee in the state senate.  She's running for a third term.

Find out more about Dr. Dawn Buckingham:

Dr. Dawn Buckingham's Campaign Website

Ballotpedia

DeWayne Crable

Clayton Tucker is the Democrat who’s challenging Republican Texas State Senator Dawn Buckingham for the seat in the 24th district.  Tucker is a rancher in Lampassas.  His experience includes environmental research in China, teaching kindergarten in Taiwan, and advocating with former Texas Agricultural Commissioner Jim Hightower for healthcare for all.  We spoke over Zoom.

Find out more about Clayton Tucker:

Clayton Tucker's Campaign Website

Ballotpedia

Courtesy of Texans for Stan

Stan Lambert represents Taylor, Jones, and Nolan Counties in the Texas State House.  He’s running for reelection to a third term, after being targeted by the Republican Speaker of the State House, Dennis Bonnen, for a challenge this election.  The upcoming legislative session promises to be a busy one with a number of new issues to tackle, brought about by the events of 2020. We spoke with State Representative Stan Lambert by Zoom.  

Find out more about Rep. Stan Lambert:

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