Five New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in Hockley County

The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed five additional cases in Hockley County.

Two cases are in Levelland residents between the ages of 20-30, one in a Levelland resident between the ages of 30-40 and one in a Levelland resident between the ages of 50-60. One is in a Sundown resident between the ages of 30-40.

Based on the new information, Hockley County has a total of 327 total cases with 246 recoveries and 7 deaths leaving 74 active cases.

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10 New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in Hockley County

Hockley County Judge Sharla Baldridge announced Thursday that the Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed new COVID19 cases in Hockley County.

Their are eight new cases in Levelland.

One between the ages of 10-20

One between the ages of 20-30

One between the ages of 30-40

Three between the ages of 40-50

Two between the ages of 50-60

Two new cases in Anton

One between the ages of 10-20

One between the ages of 70-80

Based on the new information, Hockley County has a total of 322 cases with 246 recoveries and 7 deaths leaving 69 active cases.

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Governor Abbott Opens Restaurants to 75% Capacity–Bars Remain Closed

Photo Credit: Governor’s Office

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced yesterday to expand occupancy of restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms, museums and libraries to 75%. He also announced that hospitals and medical facilities could resume full operation of elective procedures. He also announced new guidance related to visitations at nursing homes and long term care facilities across the state. He also said that bars across the state must remain closed indefinitely, however, he said the state is looking at safe ways to open the bars,

In addition, the Governor implemented the use of reliable, data driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help guide the state’s ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 and expand occupancy for businesses and services. This metric focuses on areas with high hospitalizations — referring to any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15%, until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15% or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at www.dshs.texas.gov/ga3031.

The Governor announced new visitation guidance for eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice effective Thursday, September 24th. Under the new rules, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who will be provided necessary training to allow them to safely go inside a facility for a scheduled visit, including in the resident’s room, to help ensure their loved one’s physical, social, and emotional needs are being met. Designated caregivers will not be required to maintain physical distancing, but only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time.

A long-term care facility resident (or legal representative) can designate the essential caregiver, who can be a family member, friend, or other individual. Facilities are required to train essential caregivers on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control measures. Proper PPE must be used at all times during these scheduled visits, and the caregiver must test negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before the initial visit.

For general visitors who are not a designated essential caregiver, these updated emergency rules will allow approved facilities to schedule outdoor no contact visits, open window visits, or indoor visitation with the use of plexiglass safety barriers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical contact between residents and general visitors is not permitted. Facilities also must continue to meet all additional visitation requirements outlined in the emergency rules.

The new guidelines apply to the entire state with the exception of Victoria, Laredo and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

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Eight New Cases of COVID-19 Confirmed in Hockley County

The Texas Department of State Health Services has released new information on COVID-19 in Hockley County.

Five of the cases are in Levelland residents. One is in a resident between the ages of 0-10, two between the ages of 10-20, one between the age of 30-40, one between the age of 40-50.

One case in a Whitharral resident between the ages of 80-90.

One case in an Anton resident between the ages of 0-10 and one case in an Anton resident between the ages of 10-20.

With the new information, Hockley County has 312 total cases with 246 recoveries and 7 deaths leaving 59 active cases.

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Obituary: Jan Parkinson, 67 of Levelland

Funeral Services are scheduled for Jan Parkinson, 67 of Levelland. Services are scheduled for 10:00 am on Thursday, September 17th in the First Baptist Church in Levelland. Burial will follow in the City of Levelland Cemetery. Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, September 16th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm in the Krestridge Funeral Home in Levelland. She passed away on Monday, September 14th. Services are under the direction of Krestridge Funeral Home.

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Levelland Police Make Traffic Stop, Driver Arrested on Seven Outstanding Warrants

Levelland Police were dispatched to the area of Highway 114 and Avenue H on Sunday morning in regards to a reckless driver. Reports indicated that someone had reportedly driven through someones yard.

Officers responding to the area, observed the suspect vehicle turning east on 10th street before turning south on Avenue G and then east on 11th street. Officers initiated a traffic stop, the vehilce stopped at a residence at 705 11th Street. Police made contact with the driver, they asked him if he had driven through a yard, he replied no.

As officers were investigating, they ran a license check through dispatch which indicated the driver had seven active warrants out of Hockley County and did not have a valid drivers license. Michael Shannon Burton, 53 was arrested on outstanding warrants for Driving with Invalid License with previous convictions, Failure to Appear, Failure to Control Speed, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, No seat belt, Failure to report change of address and Driving with an Invalid License with out financial responsibility.

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Levelland City Council Cuts Tax Rate Lower Than Proposed Rate

The Levelland City Council met Monday night in a regular meeting.

During the public forum portion of the meeting, Pete Cunningham spoke to the council, saying that their are ways to cut budgets without having to lower tax rates.  He said “I am against raising taxes, however, cutting taxes can lead to having to cut staffing in the city which will ultimately affect police and fire department staffing which he is against cutting staff in law enforcement or first responders.

The council took action to approve the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget. City Manager Erik Rejino said this was one of the most challenging budgets to create. He also said department heads spent a tremendous amount of time working to make sure it was a balanced budget. When comparing operations and maintenance budget is less than last year by approximately $400,000. 

The council discussed the property tax rate. Councilman Jim Myatt noted that the legislature came up with a new rate known as the “No New Revenue Tax Rate” which would be 67 cents per $100 property value. That would be the rate that creates the same amount of revenue as last year. It was noted that it does not take into account new property values. Councilwoman Breann Buxkemper noted that with the proposed rate of 66.514 cents per $100 property value, the city will still create additional revenue. It was also noted that oil prices are back down below $40 a barrel and the fear is out there that it could be lower in January. Councilman Jim Myatt made a motion to lower the tax rate to .645 cents per $100 property value.  Myatt said the lower rate will account for a 4.5% increase in property values. The motion was seconded by Breann Buxkemper.  Myatt and Buxkemper voted in favor of the 64.5 cents tax rate while JoeBill Vardeman voted against. Councilman Max Ledesma was not present at the meeting.

The council also took action to lower garbage service rates to $27.53 from the current $28.38 for residential customers and $60.68 for commercial customers down from the current $62.56. This reflects the 3% decrease which was part of the contract extension with Republic Services.

The council took action to approve a re-plat of property at 502 College Avenue. The property is currently made up of 6 separate lots and the owners of the property, Sykora Enterprises, LTD requested it be changed to one large lot for future commercial development on the lot.  The re-plat was approved with little discussion.

The council then discussed the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. It was noted that the Governor has renewed the Disaster Declaration and no changes have been made in the Governor’s orders. It was noted that in a municipality he has delegated, the Mayor is the ONLY one with the authority to approve any outdoor gathering of 10 or more people. The city attorney noted that city’s at this point cannot veer away from the Governor’s order. Currently Hockley County has 51 active cases.

The council also took action to appoint members to the various City boards and commissions.

The council took action to appoint Buddy Moore as one of the city’s representative to the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority Board of Directors. Currently, Richard Ellis and Scott Wade serve as the representatives.  The term for Scott Wade is ending and he has decided to not serve another term.

Mayor Barbra Pinner also informed the council that she has reappointed Butch Wade, Lisa Hanna and Micki Lotz to the Levelland Housing Authority Board.

The council also took action on an agreement with the Texas Department Of Transportation for the Routine Airport Maintenance Program. The agreement allows the city to continue with the grant in the next fiscal year which helps pay for airport improvements.

The council also received a presentation regarding the findings from a recent Levelland Housing Study. The study finds that Levelland is in desperate need of new multi-family and single family detached housing, and the prices they are willing to pay in Lubbock, shows that is not a problem. The average weekly wage paid in Hockley County is $1,001 and the annual median household income is $50,630. The real estate taxes and all of the other taxes are being lost to another city, as well as the intangible factors of a cohesive growing city. The report also notes that Levelland employers have 7,263 employees in 2017. Of those employees 4,674 (64.4%) commute into Levelland as they live out of the city. A large portion of those who live outside of Levelland live in Lubbock where they have new single family housing and new multi-family complexes. Owners and renters pay the few extra hundred dollars to live there and spend approximately 36 minutes of drive time each way to go to and from work in Levelland. This housing study tells the city and apartment developers or home builders that their is a definite need for multi family rentals and single family homes.  This full report will be available on the City of Levelland website, Levelland EDC website and the MainStreet website. It will also be provided to local banks, developers and home builders.

The city also approved a negotiated settlement with Atmos Energy West Texas. After negotiation the executive committee of the coalition of West Texas Cities was able to negotiate a lower rate increase than the requested increase. The average impact will be approximately $3.04 per month on an average monthly bill.

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12 New Cases of COVID-19 and 15 Recoveries

The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed 12 new cases of COVID19 and 15 Recoveries in Hockley County over three day period.

Hockley County Judge Sharla Baldridge has provided information on 12 new cases of COVID19 in Hockley County.

On September 8th, they confirmed one new case in Levelland between the ages of 30-40.

On September 9th, they confirmed nine new cases including two in Levelland residents between the ages of 10-20, one Levelland resident between the ages of 20-30, one in a Levelland resident between the ages of 30-40, one Levelland resident between the ages of 40-50, three Levelland residents between the ages of 50-60 and one Levelland resident between the ages of 60-70.

On September 10th, they confirmed two new cases. One in a Levelland resident between the ages 10-20 and one in a Anton resident between the ages of 60-70.

They have also reported 15 new recoveries.

Based on the new information, Hockley County has 299 total cases with 246 recoveries and seven deaths leaving 46 active cases.

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SPC Board of Regents Hold Regular Meeting

South Plains College Board of Regents held their regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

SPC Regents reviewed their enrollment report for the Fall 2020 semester. It was reported that enrollment is down 319 students from the Fall 2019 semester or 3.5%. SPC administration reported that many other community colleges are down anywhere from 5% to as high as 30%. “Higher education has really taken a hit from the COVID19 pandemic. Regents also reviewed the housing occupancy report, noting they are 89.3% of occupancy.

Regents also approved the Equal Opportunity, Harrassment and Non-Discrimination document as required by law.

Regents also received a report that the college administration had submitted an update report to the accrediting agency.

Regents also approved a resolution to transfer $1.5 million from the general fund reserves to the Science Building Construction Fund.

Regents approved a resolution to recognize Dereesa Reid and Terry Hill as Distinguished Alumni. They will be recognized in November during a virtual Scholarship Recognition Banquet.

Regents also received a construction update–

Science Building–phase one consisted of renovation to the inside of the building, primarily the Chemistry portion of the building. Classes are now going in the new classrooms and labs in the science building. The outside portion of the reconstruction and renovation is now underway. The project is currently moving on schedule. Construction documents for phase 2 is expected to be presented to regents in October or November.

Downtown Lubbock Center–The design documents were presented last month to regents and regents approved going out for bids for demolition and abatement portion of the project and will likely call for bids on the construction phase in late November or December and start construction in early 2021.

Regents also took action to order the election for position 1, 2 and 6 on the Board of Regents. The election will be held on November 3rd and early voting will start October 13th.

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Police Working With LISD on Traffic Issues Near Middle School

Levelland Police officers have noticed a problem with people parking along Ellis Street during pickup times at the Levelland Middle School.

Levelland Police Chief Albert Garcia and Levelland Middle School Principal Brad Clanton are working together on the issue. Officers have noted that parents are parking on the south and north sides of Ellis just east of the Alamo Road intersection. The danger lies in kids running across the street from the school causing traffic congestion.

Chief Garcia said the police department is working with the school district and the City of Levelland to alleviate the issue. The city is working to make the areas on both sides of Ellis street as “NO PARKING” areas. While they are in this process, police officers are stationed near the Middle School in the afternoons directing traffic.

The Police Department reminds parents to follow procedures put in place by the school district, by entering the school parking lot from Alamo, continuing through the line to pick up their child and then exit through the proper lane onto Ellis and the problems would be alleviated.

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