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The latest news for Abilene and the surrounding communities.

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. 

 

Vos Estis: Local Clergy And Lay Church Members Look Ahead

Jun 19, 2019
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

At last week’s Conference, Catholic Bishops focused attention on how the Catholic Church in the United States will implement a new church law to combat sexual abuse and hold bishops accountable for their actions. 

Heather Claborn / KACU

The Eighth Annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival is underway in downtown Abilene.  Organizers kicked off the three-day event with the costume contest and Storybook parade.  

“These are my grandchildren.  I invited them to come from Ft. Worth and they are here for the CALF festival”

This is the second year Twana Willis has brought her granddaughters in to attend the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival.  They were also part of last year’s record breaking crowds of more than 5,100 attendees.

Ramadan In The Big Country

Jun 3, 2019
Austin Gurchiek / KACU

From sunrise to sunset Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, which began on the evening of May fifth. Eid al-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast, marks the end of Ramadan.  For three days Muslim families will feast, buy new clothes, and exchange greeting cards.

Abilene has a small Islamic community, made up primarily of immigrants, as well as students from Saudi Arabia who are studying at all three of Abilene’s universities, and Muslim airmen stationed at Dyess Air Force Base.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Even as new storms made their way toward Abilene, volunteers picked up the pieces left behind by the tornado that plowed through four neighborhoods in Abilene early Saturday morning.  Storms brought as many as 50 tornadoes through the plains states from Friday through Sunday.  The one that left a path of destruction through parts of Abilene was determined to be an EF2, meaning winds reached speeds between 111 and 135 MPH.

Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna says this is not the kind of weather event that Abilene expects, even when severe storms head toward the city.

Austin Gurchiek / KACU

Sockdolager Brewing Company and Unique Kids Beds each claimed half of the $200,000 prize money handed out in the second annual BE in Abilene competition. Local businesses in Abilene enter the competition hoping to receive an infusion of cash to grow their operations. Of the five finalists, two rose to the top, each taking home a six digit prize, which they will invest in their businesses. 

WIC Expands Cooking Classes

May 14, 2019

The Women, Infants, and Children program in Abilene, or WIC, has recently expanded access to one of its activities: cooking classes.

WIC has been helping families in Taylor County since 1977, and currently serves about 3,300 clients monthly.  The program added cooking classes in 2001, after receiving a grant aimed at reducing obesity in the community.  Organizers hoped that teaching WIC recipients how to cook meals for themselves would lead to healthier choices-and less reliance on pre-packaged meals.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Abilene City Council Place 6 candidate Ron Konstantin is no newcomer to Abilene’s political scene.  He’s run campaigns for mayor and for various seats on Abilene’s City Council for more than a decade.  Last year Konstantin completed probation related to charges stemming from paperwork filed for a 2010 political run. 

Konstantin has been involved in broadcasting for years and on his filing for the current election, listed his occupation as “disabled minister and poet”.  

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