Archive for October, 2010

Midland Teacher Arrested for Giving Drugs to Former Students

October 30, 2010

A Midland High School speech and debate teacher is in custody for allegedly distributing drugs to former students.

Fifty-six-year-old Deborah Suzanne Morton faces four drug charges in an indictment unsealed yesterday.

She has been charged with four counts of possession and distribution of a controlled substance.

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Eagles Entertain Thousands With Friday’s Performance

October 30, 2010

The Eagles played a three hour concert for fans at the United Spirit Arena last night.

Don Henly, Joe Walsh, Glen Frey and Timothy Schmit entertained over 10,000 fans with 30 of their greatest hits in a concert that lasted well past 11:00.

After two encores, the legendary band finally wrapped up their concert with the song Desperado.

September 2010 Lubbock Economic Index Drops Slightly

October 29, 2010

Lubbock National Bank released September economic statistics for the Lubbock area this morning.

Lubbock’s Economic Index dropped one-tenth of a percent to 125 and it is up one-tenth of a percent compared to September of last year.  According to the report, Lubbock’s economy has been generally flat for the whole year.

General spending levels were down 4 percent for September 2010 compared to September of 2009.  Other economic indicators include the average home sale price in the 3rd quarter of this year, up 8 percent and airline boarding at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, down 5.8 percent in the 3rd quarter.

LP&L Purchase of Lubbock Xcel Energy Operation Complete

October 29, 2010

Lubbock Power and Light is now the only electric utility company available for many Lubbock residents.

The City of Lubbock completed the purchase of Xcel Energy’s Lubbock operations this morning, as Mayor Martin handed over a check for over $87 million.

Despite the sale, Xcel continues to provide power for LP&L.

TxDOT to Close Lanes on Northbound I-27 Flyover, and Shift Northbound West Loop 289 Traffic Monday

October 29, 2010

TxDOT will close lanes on the northbound I-27 flyover next week as part of a routine maintenance project. TxDOT will begin the maintenance Monday on the flyover, likely causing traffic delays. The work is expected to take around a week to complete.

TxDOT will also shift northbound West Loop 289 Traffic onto one lane of the newly constructed 19th Street overpass Monday morning. The northbound West Loop exit to Frankford Avenue will also reopen Monday. The traffic shift will allow for crews to prepare to place all West Loop main lane traffic onto the recently completed northbound bridge at 19th Street.

Lubbock Gas Prices 10-29-10

October 29, 2010

According to a KFYO News survey, the average price for regular self-serve gas in Lubbock this week is $2.56 a gallon.  That’s down 3 cents from last week. 

And there is a wide range of prices..as low as $2.40…as high as $2.69.

According to a AAA Texas survey, the average price in Texas this week is $2.64, down 3 cents.

The cheapest gas among the 11 Texas cities surveyed by AAA is in San Antonio, $2.61 a gallon.

The most expensive … in Amarillo, $2.71 a gallon.

 Nationally, the average price is $2.81 a gallon, down 2 cents.

KFYO Ammo Report 10-29-10

October 29, 2010

This week we surveyed four ammo dealers:  Sharp Shooters, LSG Tactical Arms, and Gander Mountain, all in Lubbock; and Tibbets Gun Works in Floyd County.   We checked on the availability of six calibers…22, 9mm, 380, 40, 357, and 45.

On the day of our survey, all four dealers had all six calibers in stock. 

This week’s price spotlight is on LSG Tactical Arms.  Mention the KFYO Ammo Report on Friday or Saturday and get $2 off any box of ammo….limit of 5 boxes.

Martin: Homeless Committee Will Cost Money

October 29, 2010

The new homeless committee is not supposed to cost taxpayers money, but Mayor Tom Martin doesn’t believe that.

“The resolution says that there’s no cost to the city.  However, it provides that the city manager will appoint a staff liaison and there will be a lot of staff work,” Martin told KFYO.

” It’s money.  We’re going to spend money to support this committee.  Mark my words, when it’s all said and done, there will be a recommendation that, gee, the city needs to spend a bunch of tax money dealing with the issue of the homeless.”

The mayor and councilman Paul Beane voted against forming the homeless committee.

Dealing With Panhandlers 101

October 29, 2010

What should you do when you come in contact with a panhandler or homeless person and want to help?   

During the ongoing debate about helping the homeless, we’ve heard stories about someone giving money to a panhandler only to find out that the money is spent on booze or drugs.  In an interview for KFYO’s public service program, This Week in Lubbock, Captain Mike Morton of the Salvation Army was asked, if we want to help a panhandler we see on a street corner, what’s the best way to do it?

“Number one is focus your help with the agencies that are already dealing with it,” Morton said.  ” Volunteer with those agencies, get involved with what the agencies are doing, learn what is a proper way of helping.” 

” The second thing I would recommend is when you meet the guy on the street, refer him to the Salvation Army.  I don’t have any problem with you sending him to my door.  The  Salvation Army doesn’t close its doors to anyone.”

You can hear the entire interview with Captain Morton at 6 a.m. Sunday on KFYO.

Tech professors’ book aims to teach young children about engineering

October 29, 2010

A children’s non-fiction book co-authored by a Texas Tech engineering professor is getting prominent attention. The book, “Engineering Elephants,” is recognized as a “Best Books 2010” award finalist by USABookNews.com, the online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses. It was written by professor Michaelle Pantonaya with mechanical engineering assistant professor Emily Hunt . The two women began work on the book about two years ago after deciding there is a lack of children’s books on engineering geared toward youngster from four to eight years old. The book is available online at authorhouse.com and at amazon.com.

Rick Perry comes to town with big lead over challenger Bill White

October 29, 2010

Governor Rick Perry is due in town today. He’s scheduled for a 2 p.m. campaign stop at Day Break Coffee in the Kingsgate Center on 82nd Street. Perry has a double-digit lead over Democrat Bill White in a new poll done for five major Texas newspapers. Perry leads White 49 percent to 37percent. Green Party candidate Deb Shafto has 3 percent, and Libertarian Kathie Glass has 2 percent.

Today is the final opportunity to vote early in the November election

October 29, 2010

Today’s your last chance to vote early in the November 2nd general election.  Yesterday, 3,793 Lubbock County residents cast ballots, bringing the overall early voting total so far to 30,600.  You can vote early at most Lubbock United Supermarket Locations, the Texas Tech Rec Center, and the Lubbock County Elections Office. There’s also early voting today from 9 a.m. until noon at Ransom Canyon City Hall and at the Idalou Clubhouse at 702 Walnut Street in Idalou, as well as at the City of Wolfforth Library, located at 508 East Highway 62/82 in Wolfforth. For more information on voting, visit KFYO.com and search for Voting Info 2010 under the Local News section.

Drinking on the return from a Tech field trip preceded fatal accident

October 29, 2010

A Texas Tech student charged with intoxication manslaughter tells police she got had gotten drunk during a Tech field trip prior to the fatal accident. Twenty-one-year-old Jeena Roberts is accused in the death of 54-year-old Linda Smaltz last Friday. Smaltz was in a Ford SUV which was hit from behind by a Chrysler driven by Roberts. KAMC-28 reports that Roberts told an officer she drank five beers and a shot of run on a bus returning from a field trip to New Mexico with her Tech engineering class. She said her professor had allowed the students to take alcohol on the bus to drink on the way home. The professor was not identified. The university has declined to comment on the situation, other than to say it was a tragic incident still being investigated by Lubbock police.

Thursday News Briefs

October 28, 2010

A semi overturned on the Idalou Highway this morning.  The accident happened just after 9am about 3 miles East of Idalou. KAMC 28 reports that the driver was injured in the accident.

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The Lubbock Apartment Association will conduct its 4th Annual Winter Coat Drive this Saturday.  Distribution to those in need will take place from 8am to 4pm at First Baptist Church at 2201 Broadway.

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Game 2 of the World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants takes places this evening.  Game time is just before 7pm. The Giants have a 1 game to nothing lead over the Rangers in the best-of-7 series

Lubbock ISD Athletic Hall of Honor Nominations Continue

October 28, 2010

Lubbock ISD’s Athletic Hall of Honor is continuing to accept nominations for its inaugural class through the end of the month. 

The Hall of Honor will recognize former players, coaches and supporters for Lubbock, Dunbar, Monterey, Estacado and Coronado High Schools.  Nomination forms can be downloaded online at www.lisdhallofhonor.com.

Innocence Project of Texas Addresses Lubbock City Council on Wrongful Imprisonment of Tim Cole

October 28, 2010

The Lubbock City Council and a council chamber full of citizens heard the opinions of a few that oppose the way the City of Lubbock has handled the case of Timothy Cole, a man convicted of a rape he didn’t commit in 1986.

Jeff Blackburn, chief legal counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas, discussed the case in which he represented Cole’s family, resulting in Texas’s first posthumous pardon.

“It may surprise you all to know that I think that the Tim Cole case is not really just a question of criminal justice, I think it’s a question of system failure. And I know that in any situation in our society when a system fails, whether a building collapses, or a bridge falls apart, or a plane goes down, it is incumbent on government, the people who made that system, ran that system to find out what happened…You make the hard choice of figuring out what happened, then make the hard choices of ensuring that it doesn’t happen again” Blackburn said to the council Thursday morning.

Blackburn continued by saying that “The fact of the matter is that the City of Lubbock caused this disaster. Now, it’s not a matter of placing blame, saying someone is evil or wrong, but recognizing first and foremost that the City caused the problem.”

District 4 Lubbock City Councilman Paul Beane mentioned Blackburn’s prior letter to the Council, where he alleged that the Lubbock Police Department had framed Timothy Cole. Blackburn responded “I think the facts are clear that they did.”

IPOT Public Policy Director and brother of Timothy Cole, Cory Session, also addressed the council’s refusal to issue an apology to his family.

“I ask you, don’t stonewall. There is no animosity from me, from my mother, against this city…If you meet my mother, if you take the time to speak with her, you’ll find that you’ll be quite surprised what she is seeking, and it may not hurt you as much as you think it might” Session said.

Lubbock citizen Rick Baumgartner addressed the council on the issue, and their sparse attendance at a community meeting on the issue earlier this month, in which only District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez attended.

“Mr. Hernandez, I probably disagree with most of what you stand for, but I appreciate you being at that meeting the other night. Why were the rest of you not there? Why didn’t you come? Mr. Hernandez came; he sat down, and listened. At least he came and did that,” Baumgartner opined to the council.

Tim Cole died in prison in 1999, while serving a 25-year prison sentence. Jerry Wayne Johnson confessed to the rape which Cole was jailed for in 1995.

Lubbock City Council Accepts Settlement From AAG – Case Continues in Arbitration

October 28, 2010

After years of legal wrangling, a portion of the lawsuit between the City of Lubbock and its former insurance provider is settled.

At Thursday’s Lubbock City Council meeting, the council unanimously accepted a settlement between insurance administrators ICON Benefits Administration / American Administrative Group and the City. The settlement, which keeps the jury trial originally scheduled for two weeks from now from happening, results in ICON/AAG, now under the company Healthsmart, paying the City of Lubbock $850 thousand dollars for legal defense costs connected to lawsuits against former Lubbock Mayor David Miller, City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld, Assistant City Manager Scott Snider, and Risk Management Director Leisa Hutchison.

City Attorney Sam Medina elaborated on what this current settlement does not do, saying “The sole purpose and intent of this release is to release the subrogation claim referenced above, in other words, our arbitration case continues.”

The battles began when the City raised questions of improper fees levied by the company, prompting them to switch to Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2006. ICON/AAG claimed that City officials defamed the companies, allegations of which were dropped last May.

The City plans to continue the case in arbitration with the former insurance providers.

Lubbock City Council Creates Homelessness Committee, Takes No Action on Ordinances Resulting in Fines for Downtown Homeless

October 28, 2010

At this week’s meeting, the Lubbock City Council heard from a number of citizens on issues of homelessness, and on the Timothy Cole case.

Around 18 citizens were scheduled to speak to the council and the packed council chambers on the issue of homelessness, though a few chose to speak, saying that their concerns had already been addressed by previous speakers.

The Council voted 5 to 2 to approve District 3 Lubbock City Councilman Todd Klein’s resolution which will create a Homelessness Committee to evaluate and oversee issues relating to homelessness in Lubbock. Mayor Tom Martin and District 4 Councilman Paul Beane voted against the measure. The 17-member committee requires no initial financial commitment from the City of Lubbock, and allows the city manager to appoint a city employee to the committee, to act as a liaison between the committee and the city.

Both District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson and Mayor Martin preferred reducing the committee’s basic deadlines and would rather have a member of the City Council on the committee, rather than a member of the city staff. Gibson’s amendment to the resolution failed for lack of a second.

The committee is expected to have an initial recommendation to the City Council within fifteen months of the creation of the committee; a time frame which Mayor Tom Martin says is too long. “If we’re really serious about this, fifteen months is kicking the can down the road. This needs to be done in two, and there’s not a reason why it can’t if everyone is really committed to doing something.”

Klein responded, saying that the deadline is “not an explicit date. 15 months represents a firewall saying that we need to be busy…I don’t feel comfortable changing it to two months because I think that becomes almost prohibitive to them [the committee] having the latitude they need as an autonomous group of citizens tasked with this issue…if they can do this in two days, then they need to do it in two days.”

Councilman Beane discussed his reasoning for opposing the creation of this particular committee. Beane said “The citizens have always stepped forward and solved issues, but this one is so emotional, that it seems like there’s no easy solution. And when there’s no easy solution, and it seems to me the answer is always to drop this orphan on the doorstep of the most convenient governmental agency, and in this case, it’s the City of Lubbock.” “It’s my position that this is an issue best left to the folks who know how to handle these issues. We have 120 churches in Lubbock, give or take a few, and I tithe to one every Sunday, and I think it’s their job” Beane continued.

The council decided to take no action at today’s meeting on the ordinances that would prohibit any person on the premises of the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, Mahon Public Library, City Hall, or Lubbock Business Center between midnight and 5 a.m., and the prohibition of personal property being stored in a public area.

The ordinance which would prohibit people, specifically the homeless, on the certain city premises would also allow for a fine for up to $500 to those found trespassing, which is a Class C Misdemeanor. Councilman Beane disagreed with the inclusion of the fine. “On one hand, we’re going to extend this hand to the homeless with this committee and try to solve this issue, but on the other, we’re going to slap them with this fine if they don’t do exactly what we say. That was the portion that I found laughable and a little ironic.”

Councilwoman Gibson likened the ordinance to “putting a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches.” Gibson recommended allowing the newly created committee to review the possible ordinances before the council takes action on them.

Cornyn criticizes Justice Department’s ‘lethargic’ protection of military voters

October 28, 2010

Senator John Cornyn is reacting sharply toward the Department of Justice’s touting of its enforcement of the Military Overseas Empowerment Act, otherwise known as MOVE,  just weeks before the mid-term elections.  Cornyn said in a statement issued yesterday, quote: “It is outrageous that the Department of Justice would solicit congratulation for procrastination, while many of our military voters are very likely being disenfranchised.  The department should have been more proactive much earlier, by giving each state clear guidance on the new requirements under the MOVE Act and by ensuring from the start that each state had a satisfactory game plan for protecting the voting rights of our troops and their families.  Instead, the department sat back and watched as states tested the limits of the MOVE Act, then tried to patch problems after the fact with half-measures.  Our military voters deserve better than this lethargic approach from the Department of Justice.”

A&M overwhelms Tech volleyball team

October 28, 2010

Texas A&M’s volleyball team limited Texas Tech’s opportunities and had two players with double-digit kills as the Aggies swept the Red Raiders, 3 to nothing last night at the United Spirit Arena. It was Tech’s first match under interim head coach Beth Falls, who replaced resigning head coach Trish Knight this week.