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The latest news for Abilene and the surrounding communities.

A line of people stretched out the door of Hastings Monday morning as people waited to meet Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.  He's on a state-wide tour to promote his book, “Broken But Unbowed: The Fight To Fix A Broken America.”

Donna Draper was one of the first people in line to meet Gov. Abbott and have her book signed.

“I think he’s a very good man, he’s a very conservative, moral, Christian man and I just wanted the opportunity to shake his hand and affirm that I appreciate him,” Draper said. 

If you’re a cyclist or know someone who rides throughout Abilene then you’re probably familiar with the risks that come with sharing the roads. Some area residents are taking part in the worldwide Ride of Silence bike rally Wednesday to raise awareness for safety and honor cyclists killed in accidents.

The first Ride of Silence was held in 2003 in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was killed by a passing bus on an empty road. Since then it’s been in over 350 locations, 49 US states, 20 countries and seven continents.

The Taylor County Health District and the city of Abilene are working together to launch a Zika prevention campaign this summer. Their goal is to educate residents about how to minimize risk of contracting the virus.  

According to the Texas Department of Health, Texas has had 33 confirmed cases of Zika this year. Most of those have been related to people becoming infected while traveling abroad but that is expected to change soon. The mosquito that will transmit Zika is already in Taylor County and that means the virus be transmitted any day.

Food Truck Trend Parks In Abilene

May 12, 2016

Adam Singleton was standing in line for more than food. He was hoping for a taste of the culture where he had once studied abroad.

“Food trucks bring a lot of variety that previously you hadn’t really seen in Abilene,” Singleton said.

In line for the London Express food truck, Singleton had not tasted true London cuisine even when he studied abroad. On Saturday, April 23, he finally got to taste authentic fish and chips at the new Abilene Food Park where the London Express joined several other food trucks

On a recent Friday morning in Abilene, Phil McCauley and Lou David Allen were sitting in McCauley’s home in a room that could be a guest bedroom, instead its filled with hundreds of thousands of stamps. Old, new, faded or shiny, valuable and worthless alike.

The hobby is known as Philatelics.

“But we just usually say stamp collecting,” Allen said.

Allen lives in Merkel,Texas and he visits McCauley about once a week to talk stamps. The friends met five years ago after McCauley put an ad in the newspaper offering to trade or sell duplicate stamps.

Fallen Officers Honored Through Police Unity Tour

May 9, 2016

Abilene Law Enforcement Officer Joshua Ward is serving Abileneans from the east coast this week, sporting a blue jersey, he’s one of 2500 officers cycling 300 miles for the Police Unity Tour.

“Its just a sea of blue for miles,” Ward said. “They shut down six lane highways for us.”

Each year around mid-May, National Police Week is observed nationwide.  Many National Police Week events will take place this week including the tour which begins Monday in New Jersey and ends Thursday in Washington DC.

When Jim Barr was growing up in Abilene his taste in music was different than his peers. While everyone around him tuned in to country music, he actually sought out the blues. His early influences were Ray Charles, James Brown and the Supremes.

“About 1977 I discovered a blues artist named Freddie King and I really fell in love with it,” Barr said. “I would go listen to it whenever I could but it was kind of hard to find.”

Abilene’s number one tourist attraction is expanding, and the growth is expected to draw an additional 20,000 visitors per year. The new 3.8 million Giraffe Safari exhibit opens Saturday, which doubles the space of the giraffes’ old habitat. It’ll also change the way visitors interact with the zoo’s popular residents.

Some say the place is like a magical forest, others call it refuge for tie-dye addicts and one person likens it to a real life Candy Land.

Play Faire Park leaves a unique impression on every visitor. Established in 1947, the park is well-used and that’s just how the owner prefers it.

“I like old things, keeping them going, things that I think are good and real,” said owner Chris England.

Khamisie Green understands that issues surrounding race can sometimes be uncomfortable- and his play titled, “Testify” is going to cause a lot of discomfort for the audience. Green is the president of the Black Students Association at Abilene Christian University. He wrote the play for this year’s Black History Production, which will be performed at 7 p.m. March 4 at the Paramount Theatre.

Stan Lambert won 52 percent of Republican primary voters in the Tuesday primary making him the Republican nominee for District 71 in the Texas House. He took victory over four other Republicans, Isaac Castro being his closest rival, with 21.6 percent of votes. Chris Carnohan took 12.3 percent, Brian Scalf 7.1 and Stacey Scaief 7.1. Lambert will face Democrat Pierce LoPachin in the November general election. 

Texas is recovering from one of the worst droughts in state history thanks to record rainfall last year. But the impact of sustained drought doesn’t just affect water levels. One biologist in Abilene is investigating how changes in climate affect the ecosystem of reservoirs in Central West Texas.

Clack Middle School students are learning to celebrate diversity through art. Pre-AP Art students spent over a month creating the “Colors Unite” Black History Month exhibit, designed to celebrate diversity and lesser-known individuals who contributed to the Civil Rights movement. Clack art teacher, Jaclyn Burch, came up with the idea.

“I wanted them to see that art could take them places, I wanted to show them that art can make a difference,” Burch said.

When you think about aging, what issues that come to mind? If home health care quality, social security stability or a complex Medicare system is among your concerns then you’re not alone.

About 4.6 million Texas seniors age 60 and older often deal with similar problems and have few resources to turn to for help. That’s where the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature comes into the picture. Ninety-one members represent 28 districts in the state. They gather with constituents at town hall meetings to identify and discuss current issues faced by an aging population.   

Jade Ford dipped a cup into a plastic bin, scooped out a portion of dehydrated vegetables, then poured them into a plastic bag while peers surrounding her did the same.

She was among 100 Abilene Christian University students volunteering in an assembly line at the Global Samaritan warehouse on Wednesday, January 25, 2016. They measured out components of a dehydrated, fortified casserole meal that will be shipped to refugees in the Middle East.