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The latest news for Abilene and the surrounding communities.

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”.  

Police chief speaks to the crowd
Ernesto Guajardo / KACU

A lynching that took place 97 years ago in Abilene, Texas, was publicly recognized for the first time Saturday. A college student's curiosity played a key role in making it happen. 

Bria Kimble, a senior sociology major at McMurry University, recently read a book called Lynching in America for a class.

“I'm always interested in researching things so I went to Google, typed in 'lynching in Abilene, Texas' and I found Grover Everett,” she said. “From there it just kind of spiraled into more questions and trying to figure out what happened."

Heather Claborn / KACU

Today we meet first time candidate Travis Craver.  He was one of the first candidates to file for the race to fill the Place 6 seat on Abilene's City Council being vacated by Steve Savage.  Craver received the endorsement of Abilene's police and fire unions, and was recently named to Abilene's list of 20 under 40.  He works as the Director of Chapel and Spiritual Formation at Hardin Simmons University.  He says he believes that his faith in God positively shapes his character.

Zorah Green / KACU

Jessica Cantu is a first time candidate for city council.  She's taking on a crowded field for the Place 6 seat on Abilene's City Council left open by Councilman Steve Savage.  Cantu has spent 8 Years working as a manager at Pier 1, and believes that her experience in customer service will translate to skills as a councilwoman.  She’s lived in Abilene for 27 years and is motivated to run by her faith.

Matthew Thompson / KACU

Early voting now underway for the May 4th City and School Board Elections.  In Abilene, the race for Place 6 on the city council is heavily contested with five candidates vying for the spot.  Charles Byrn, a customer service representative at SignTEX, was the fourth person to file to run for the seat left open by Steve Savage.  Byrn favors a limited role for government, and is tackling the political world for the first time.   

Heather Claborn / KACU

Early voting is underway for City Council and School Board elections.  This week we’ll continue our series of interviews with candidates for Abilene’s City Council.  We heard from Place 5 candidates last week. 

Today we begin bringing you conversations with candidates for Place 6.

Five Candidates are running for the open Plac 6 seat on Abilene’s City Council.  The seat is currently held by Steve Savage, who did not seek reelection.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Place 5 City Councilman Kyle McAlister is running for a third term on Abilene’s City Council.  In his second term, McAlister has weathered community criticism and calls for him to step down from his seat.  His critics, led by the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, provided local media with a collection of nearly a decade of Facebook posts that they say cross the line into racism.  The outcry lead to a number of organizations, including KACU, to sever ties with McAlister.