Archive for February, 2011

Personnel Cuts at Lubbock ISD’s Central Office to be Considered at Special Board of Trustees Meeting Thursday

February 28, 2011

Budget cuts from the state will result in a reduction of administrators at Lubbock ISD’s central office. The LISD Board of Trustees has called a special meeting for Thursday morning to consider employee reduction at Central Office, and which employment areas will be affected.

State funding to the district is expected to be cut by anywhere between 10 to 27 million dollars annually, prompting the personnel reduction. Those whose positions are eliminated will stay through the end of June, when their contracts are up. The district must notify contract employees no later than 45 days from the last day of instruction if their positions will be eliminated.

LISD Board of Trustees President James Arnold said that it is too early to tell right now if this will be the only round of personnel cuts. Arnold said “I hope this is the only one we have to do, but we’re having to do some scenario planning that takes into consideration worst case, and then catastrophic case, and so I hope this is the only one we have to do, but it may not be.”

Arnold could not comment on the final number of personnel cut or how much money would be saved by the district if the measures are approved. “It’s a moving target right now until we meet Thursday morning and we have the final list in front of us, so it’s a little premature to say exactly what that number is going to be,” Arnold said.

LISD is not alone in having to slash their budget. Arnold elaborated that “There are other school districts considering the same thing across the state, but it’s never easy when you have to meet with somebody and tell them that their job won’t be here next year. That’s a hard decision and a hard meeting to have, although I would agree necessary at this point, but it’s just something that’s a gut-wrenching, hard decision to get to.”

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Massive Wildfire in Texas Panhandle Mostly Under Control- Matador Residents Able to Return to Homes

February 28, 2011

Most of the wildfire near Matador which has burned around 40,000 acres is now mostly under control. It has taken over 150 firefighters from 16 different fire departments to help extinguish the massive blaze which has consumed 27 homes in the Panhandle and damaged others.

The town of Matador was evacuated yesterday due to the threat of the spreading fire, and residents are now able to return to their homes. Matador ISD is expected to be back on a normal schedule for tomorrow.

Tech Animal and Food Science Group Honored for International Collaborations

February 28, 2011

Texas Tech animal and food scientists have received recognition for collaborative teamwork across the border. An international research team from Tech’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the International Center for Food Industry Excellence will be honored at an event in Washington, D.C. in March.

The groups will be recognized at the Agriculture, Food, Nutrition, and Natural Resources R&D Round Table. Tech’s International Center for Food Industry Excellence helped develop a collaborative approach to improve the safety of meat products in Mexico, where food-borne illness is a leading cause of mortality in children.

Lady Raiders Basketball To Take on Texas Wednesday Night

February 28, 2011

The Lady Raiders basketball team will face off against Texas in Austin this Wednesday. The 7 p.m. game at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will be their 85th matchup in the series.

The Lady Raiders last defeated Texas in January 2009 in Lubbock, and are 6-27 against the Longhorns in Austin.

In their last game, Tech trounced Oklahoma State last Saturday 57-48, giving Lady Raiders coach Kristy Curry her first 20-win season at the University.

Lubbock Animal Services Offers Residents a Price Break to Get Pets Spayed or Neutered

February 28, 2011

The City of Lubbock’s Animal Services Department is offering a program to encourage citizens to get their pets spayed or neutered.

The promotional program will waive the income requirements of the current low-cost spay/neuter assistance program, allowing all residents to obtain certificate costs toward the procedures.

The certificates will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday at Animal Services Field Operations and Administration, located at 102 Municipal Drive. The certificates will be issued every day until all 200 certificates have been distributed.

Those wishing to obtain an assistance certificate will be required to show proof of residency with a current LP&L bill, driver’s license or other government-issued ID, and must be at least 18 years old.

Woman in Critical Condition After Running a Stop Sign in East Lubbock Sunday Night

February 28, 2011

One woman is in critical condition at an area hospital after running a stop sign last night. 54-year-old Vicki Laxon ran a stop sign just after 10 p.m. Sunday at East 4th Street and East Loop 289 in her Oldsmobile Aurora.

Laxon hit 21-year-old Bryan Gomez, causing his Chevrolet Blazer to go off the road and flip, landing on its roof in a drainage ditch.

A passenger in the Blazer was taken to an area hospital with moderate injuries, and a child also riding in the SUV was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Laxon was taken to University Medical Center after suffering critical injuries. She was not wearing a seat belt.

Police say all passengers in the Blazer were properly restrained. Authorities say they do not believe alcohol was involved but believe speed was a factor in the wreck.

City of Lubbock Deactivates Emergency Operations Center – Leaders Warn That Fire Danger is Not Over

February 28, 2011

The City of Lubbock has announced that it has deactivated its Emergency Operations Center.  No NWS watches or warnings are in effect for the South Plains today.

Deputy Chief of Emergency Operations Lewis Treadwell is cautioning area residents that “we have a tremendous amount of dry grass that could ignite with a spark…we’re asking everyone to continue to use common sense and help avoid accidentally starting a fire.”

Commissioners Grant TxDOT Permission to Make Improvements on Slide Road

February 28, 2011

Texas Department of Transportation has received authorization from the Lubbock County Commissioners’ Court to commence roadwork on a strip of Slide Road.

County Commissioner Bill McCay says TxDOT needed permission to work on things such as widening the current two-lane road.

He said the intersections have increasingly seen congestion because of the ammount of traffic on slide south of 98th street.

Lubbock County FY 2010 Budget in the Black

February 28, 2011

Good news was brought to county commissioners this week in court.

Lubbock County’s budget for the last fiscal year remained in the black.

County Commissioner Bill McCay talked about how carful work between departments helped the county stay within their budget.

He says a good relationship between the Commissioners’ Court and other elected officials makes realistic budgeting easier, and lessens the amount of superlative spending.

Commissioners Approve Placement of Four-Way Stop

February 28, 2011

Commissioners Approve Placement of Four-Way Stop

County Commissioner Bill McCay talked about how necessary the stop has become at the intersection of Woodrow Road and University. 

He says the county road has basically turned into a city street, so such a stop is nececcary to keep up with traffic demands.

McCay says that much of the preparation work has already been done in anticipation of the stop’s passage by the Commissioners’ Court.

He says the project should be completed in a few days.

Lubbock Redistricting Committee Holds First Meeting

February 28, 2011

The first meeting of the City of Lubbock’s Redistricting Advisory Committee will take place tonight, 7pm at the Civic Center.  The 15-member committee is charged with determining the new boundaries for Lubbock’s six city council districts, based on the population of the 2010 Census.

Man Arrested for Sexual Assault at UMC

February 28, 2011

A Lubbock man was arrested at UMC over the weekend on charges of sexual assault.  35 year-old Mark Starosta was arrested Saturday and charged with aggravated sexual assault of an elderly or disabled person.  Starosta allegedly was found in the room of another patient in the hospital.  The charge against Starosta is a first degree felony and if convicted could spend the rest of his life in prison.

TxDOT Implements Traffic Changes in West Lubbock Today

February 28, 2011

TxDOT will implement some traffic changes in west Lubbock today.  The first change is on 19th Street between Iola and Frankford Avenues.  19th Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction.  Over the next month TxDOT will complete the concrete pavement construction for that section of 19th Street.  Also, starting today, northbound West Loop 289 frontage road traffic will be allowed to travel north across 19th Street.  A four-way stop has been added to the intersection.

Texas Tech Joins New Scholarship Program

February 28, 2011

Texas Tech is joining a prestigious scholarship program.  Starting with the high school class graduating in May Maddox Scholars, of the J.F. Maddox Foundation, can be awarded Texas Tech University scholarships for the Fall of 2011. 

The J.F. Maddox Distinguished Scholarship Program provides a total of five scholarships to outstanding high school students in Lea County, NM. One scholarship is awarded each school year, which covers all expenses at the college or university of the scholar’s choice for four years.  In addition to Texas Tech, other participating universities include: McMurry University, the University of New Mexico and University of the Southwest in Hobbs.  The J.F. Maddox Foundation can be found online at www.jfmaddox.org

Neugebauer: Shutdown Unlikely This Week

February 28, 2011

On Lubbock’s First News on KFYO, Congressman Randy Neugebauer was asked if he expects budget disagreements will lead to a government shutdown later this week.  Neugebauer indicated that negotiators will prevent that, at least temporarily.

“I don’t think it’s going shut down this week,” Neugebauer told KFYO.  “I think they’ve crafted …a compromise with the senate at least for a two-week extension here to bump that forward.  Long term…I don’t know.”

Neugebauer said that Senate Democrats are not offering any solutions, and instead, want to keep funding at current levels.

UPDATED: Lubbock EOC Shutdown; Wildfires Scorch Over 100,000 Texas Acres

February 27, 2011

Updated 9:45am

Just after 9:30 this morning, the City of Lubbock announced that it has deactivated its Emergency Operations Center.  No NWS watches or warnings are in effect for the South Plains today.

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Updated 8am, Monday February 28, 2011

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) _ Wildfires have burned more than 110,000 acres and destroyed nearly 70 homes after a dry, windy day in West Texas.   Texas Forest Service spokesman Lewis Kearney (KAR’-nee) says the agency’s firefighting aircraft, which were grounded Sunday due to the strong winds, are expected to fly Monday.

Kearney says 68 homes have been destroyed, with 10 in Colorado City and the rest in the Amarillo area. He says firefighters had a “busy night,” and that there is still a high risk of fire in the Midland, Abilene, Panhandle and Lubbock areas.   A traffic accident on the smoke-blanketed Interstate 20 near Midland killed a 5-year-old girl on Sunday. One firefighter suffered second-degree burns in a blaze near Colorado City, about 250 miles west of Dallas.

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Updated 8:45pm, Sunday

Potter County has issued a Local Area Emergency because of a wildfire located northeast of Amarillo.

BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

LOCAL AREA EMERGENCY

AMARILLO POTTER RANDALL OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX

836 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE

AMARILLO…POTTER…RANDALL OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

THE NORTHEAST AMARILLO FIRE WILL SHIFT DIRECTIONS AS A COLD FRONT MOVES THROUGH THE AREA. THIS CHANGE IN DIRECTION WILL THREATEN THE AREAS BETWEEN STATE HIGHWAY 136 AND INTERSTATE 40 IN EASTERN PORTIONS OF POTTER COUNTY BETWEEN 930 PM AND 1100 PM. RESIDENTS LOCATED IN THIS AREA ARE URGED TO BE PREPARED FOR QUICK ACTION IF THIS FIRE THREATENS YOUR LOCATION.

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Blowing dust and winds of over 60mph sparked grass and wildfires across the South Plains and Texas Panhandle on Sunday.

The town of Matador, in Motley County, was evacuated Sunday afternoon as a wildfire damaged several homes.  Also, several areas of Randall Country were forced to evacuate as well because of wildfires.

Three homes were destroyed in Hockley County as a wildfire broke out three miles west of Levelland.  An estimated 5,000 acres of land were burned.

In Lubbock, winds as high as 50mph downed power lines, trees,  light standards in parking lots and contributed to two houses being burned down in central Lubbock.  Around 12:30p Sunday afternoon a fire broke out at the corner of 45th and Dover Avenue. The two alarm blaze burned down two homes and affected others in the area.  An on-site investigation determined the initial cause of the fire was arcing of a power line that caused sparks.

As of 7:45p, Sunday evening, the following Fire Warnings were still in effect:

BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

FIRE WARNING

TEXAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY LUBBOCK TEXAS

RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LUBBOCK TX

618 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE MOTLEY COUNTY JUDGE.

RESIDENTS OF THE CITY OF MATADOR SHOULD EVACUATE TO THE MOTLEY COUNTY ISD SCHOOL CAMPUS…LOCATED AT 1600 BUNDY IN MATADOR. A VERY LARGE AND DAMAGING WILDFIRE CONTINUES TO THREATEN MATADOR.  HIGHWAY 62/70 HAS BEEN CLOSED WEST OF THE CITY OF MATADOR.
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BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

FIRE WARNING…CORRECTED

AMARILLO/POTTER/RANDALL OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AMARILLO TX

456 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE

AMARILLO…POTTER AND RANDALL OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

SEVERAL WILDFIRES ARE THREATENING THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS: RICHLAND ACRES AND RANCH ACRES…AND THEN ALSO FOR TIMBERCREEK CANYON… PALISADES…TANGLE AIRE…AND LAKE TANGLEWOOD. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT RESIDENTS EVACUATE THE RIVER FALLS AREA OF RANDALL COUNTY. RESIDENTS SHOULD EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY.

RESIDENTS EVACUATING THE WILDFIRES IN THE WILLOW CREEK AREA SHOULD REPORT TO THE RECEIVING POINT AT THE PLEASANT VALLEY METHODIST CHURCH AT 316 VALLEY. THE RECEIVING POINT FOR THOSE RESIDENTS EVACUATING FROM THE SOUTH WILDFIRES IS THE COWBOY CHURCH AT WASHINGTON STREET AND LOOP 335…HOLLYWOOD ROAD.

The City of Lubbock is Asking Residents to Take Precautions to Prevent Grass Fires on Sunday

February 26, 2011

With the dry conditions persisting and extremely high winds forecast for Sunday, the City of Lubbock is asking residents to take precautions to prevent grass fires.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CITY OF LUBBOCK
February 26, 2011

Extremely critical fire hazard conditions are in effect across the South Plains including Lubbock due to strong winds and dry grass.  Winds tomorrow could range between 35 and 45 miles per hour (mph) with gusts up to 60 mph.

 

Please take extra care during these conditions and follow these common sense steps:

  • Do not start open flame fires
  • Properly dispose of cigarettes; Do not toss cigarette butts out of vehicle windows or drop on the ground
  • Avoid using outdoor power tools like welding equipment and cutting torches that can create sparks
  • Remove grass, brush, trash, and other flammable materials from around your home

 

City of Lubbock emergency officials are monitoring the situation and will alert residents if conditions worsen.

 

Several Arrested in School Violence Yesterday Near Monterey H.S.

February 26, 2011

The majority of the student body at Monterey high school left campus yesterday after rumors of a large altercation spread.

LISD in two releases yesterday stated that no on-campus altercations occurred and said multiple students were taken into custody for off-campus violence.

However several trusted sources at the school say fights occurred on the campus throughout the day.

The LPD was present on and around the campus in an effort to control massive amounts of disorderly students.

Accident Involving Pedestrian in North Lubbock Leaves One Dead

February 25, 2011

One man is dead after being hit by a car Friday morning. 67-year-old Randolpho Baca Jr. was walking at Amherst Street and North University Avenue around 6:30 a.m. when he was hit by the pickup of 59-year-old John Stewart.

The police investigation indicates that Baca was most likely on the roadway, not near a crosswalk, and authorities say that the driver will not face any charges in the incident.

Two Tech Faculty Members Appointed as Horn Professors

February 25, 2011

Two Texas Tech professors have received the highest honor given to faculty members. Professors Bruce Clarke and Markus Miller have been named Horn Professors by the university’s Board of Regents. Clark is a professor of English, and has taught at Tech since 1982. Miller is a professor of meat science and muscle biology, and has been on the Tech faculty since 1990.

The Horn Professorship, named after Texas Tech’s first president, Paul Whitfield Horn, was established in 1966 to recognize scholarly achievement and outstanding service. 76 faculty members have been appointed Horn Professors, and 35 remain on faculty.