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The latest news for Abilene and the surrounding communities.

ACU’s theatre department is bringing musical production, John and Jen, to the Big Country this week as its Cornerstone production.  First opening in 1995, Andrew Lippa’s musical John and Jen explores the complex relationships between big sister, Jen and little brother John. Senior Musical theatre major Madison Massey plays Jen and Senior Musical theatre major Carl Kimbrough plays John.

Producers say John & Jen is appropriate for audiences of 10 and older.  The shows begin each night this week at 7:30 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington says he's most proud of his work on the Farm Bill, but disappointed it hasn't passed through congress yet.  In this extended interview he describes his views on the Farm Bill, immigration, the Affordable Care Act, and more.  

For more information on this race check out

Zane Goggans / KACU

In his first political campaign, Miguel Levario is challenging U.S. Rep. for Texas' 19th district, Jodey Arrington.  The 41 year old history professor at Texas Tech University,  has written a book and chapters for textbooks on the issue of immigration.  He shares his views on this and other topics of interest to voters in the 2018 midterm election.

For more information on this race check out

Heather Claborn / KACU

Rep. Stan Lambert is running for a second term as the 71st district Representative in the Texas House.  He says voters should send him back to Austin because of his varied experience in leadership roles and the results of his efforts in his first term.

Check out for more information on this race.

Heather Claborn / KACU

Democrat Sam Hatton is challenging Republican Stan Lambert to represent Taylor, Nolan and Jones Counties in the Texas House of Representatives.  He says he would bring a new and different perspective to Austin, coming from a lower-middle class upbringing.

Check out for more information on this race.


Heather Claborn / KACU

Welcome to May, Texas, population 285. The only place to grab a snack here is J and H Station, a convenience store and take-out stop in an old gas station. Most mornings, James Hardy, a retired oil field worker, eats breakfast here with the same group of friends.

“Used to be a real town,” Hardy says.

The closest stoplight is eight miles away, and from there it’s another 27 miles to Interstate 20. Traffic that does pass through May has to slow down.

Kieth Perry / International Rescue Committee

The Trump administration has proposed cutting the total number of refugees allowed into the U.S. to just 30,000 next year. It would be the lowest cap on refugees since just after 9/11.  As KACU's Jet Coatney reports, the leaders of an organization aiding 116 refugees in Abilene is concerned.

Hayden Baggett / KACU

Senator Cruz still leads in the polls, but his lead has shrunk from around 10 points in May and June to single digits in two polls out this week.  A new Quinnipiac poll gives Cruz a six point lead, while a Texas Lyceum Poll puts Cruz up by just two points.

AISD  school board member Samuel Garcia welcomed O'Rourke to the stage.  The crowd's enthusiastic response reflects O'Rourke's growing momentum, even in rural parts of Texas like Abilene.

Big Country Master Naturalists Recruiting Volunteers

Jul 26, 2018
Carl Marugg / Big Country Master Naturalist

The Master Naturalist program offers education and up close experience with our local environment.  Groups or individuals can tap into the expertise of the Master Naturalists to explore everything from local plants and insects to local wildlife and the night sky over the Big Country.  The organization offers a 12 week training to individuals interested in volunteering.

The Big Country chapter is hoping to add 12 to 20 new members that will help educate our community about the plants, animals and insects unique to this region.  

A trash fire at a residence in Zephyr got out of control Monday, and hot windy conditions pushed it toward a dynamite plant.  Officials initially issued an evacuation order for a 15 mile radius, before shrinking the evacuation to a one-mile radius.   Zephyr, a town about 90 miles southeast of Abilene...with a population of less than a-thousand, relies on a volunteer fire department.  As the flames spread toward the Orica dynamite plant they called in help from the Texas A&M Forrest Service, which sent an air-attack plane to scout the fire.

Human attempts to control the weather go back millennia.

There was fire, of course, for keeping warm when winter's cold takes hold, but taming the sweltering heat of the summer is a much newer pursuit. 

We've updated our programming schedule in response to an audience survey conducted in June. View the full schedule online. 

The legislation called the Goodlatte 2 bill failed spectacularly in the U-S House of Representatives Wednesday.  Republicans had formed a compromise bill hoping to find an agreement on immigration reform after a previous version failed to pass the House.  But even before the bill was called for a vote, observers predicted its demise.  Texas' 19th District Congressman, Jodey Arrington spoke with KACU's Heather Claborn shortly after casting his own "No" vote.

Heather Claborn / KACU

2018, could be another banner year for Texas' $13 billion a year wine industry. Producers are optimistic that Texas vineyards will out-produce last year’s record 1.8 million cases of wine.  Wine America produced a state by state indepth report on the industry last year.  Texas' totals surprised industry observers.

In the 1980s there were just a couple dozen wineries in Texas. Now, the state is home to almost 350 of them.