The Levelland Fire Department was sent to a fire at the I Don’t Know Restaurant in the 500 Block of Houston Street Monday night.
According to the fire department reports, a passerby walked into the fire station Monday night around 11:55 pm telling them the restaurant was on fire. When the first truck arrived on the scene smoke was coming from the building. The fire department forced open the front door to the business and located the fire in the kitchen area of the business. The fire was extinguished in approximately an hour. Xcel Energy, Atmos Energy and the City water department was all notified and responded to the scene and disconnected all utilities. The fire department returned to the station after approximately two hours.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation of the Levelland Fire Marshall’s office. The building suffered extensive smoke and fire damage. Damage was estimated at approximately $100,000 by the fire department.
Early voting is now underway for the 2020 Primary Election.
In Hockley County Early Voting is taking place Monday-Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in the Hockley County Elections Office at 624 Austin Street in the Courthouse Annex building, directly west of the Hockley County Courthouse.
Early voting continues through February 28th and election day is March 3rd.
This reminder you will need a valid form of photo ID with you in order to vote. Items accepted include:
Levelland Police officers made a traffic stop on Saturday afternoon and arrested the driver on outstanding warrants.
A Levelland police officer initiated a traffic stop in the 1800 Block of Avenue H on a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado. The officer noted the driver of the vehicle and knew she had numerous warrants out of Hockley County.
Dispatch confirmed the driver as wanted on two counts of Failure to Maintain Financial Responsible, one charge of Failure to Appear, one charge of Failure to Control Speed and one count of Violation of a Promise to Appear. Juanita Chavez, 27 was taken into custody without incident on the outstanding warrants. She was also issued a citation for Driving While License invalid for a later appearance in Municipal Court.
Levelland Fire Department fire crews were called to the 200 block of Oak on Friday afternoon.
Fire crews said no one was in the home at the time of the blaze, however, their was a small dog in the home and it perished in the fire. The home suffered extensive fire and smoke damage throughout the home.
Levelland Fire Marshall, Jay McKay is investigating the cause of the fire.
Funeral services are scheduled for Janie Ojeda, 57 of Levelland. Services are scheduled for Friday, February 14th at 10:00 am in the St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Levelland. She passed away on Monday, February 10th in Lubbock. Services are under the direction of Krestridge Funeral Home.
The Levelland Chamber of Commerce and the Levelland Emerging and Active Professionals (LEAP) held the second political forum on Thursday night. The forum last night was for candidates for the 286th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, JP Precinct 5 and County Commissioner Precinct 1.
286th District Attorney:
Each candidate was asked four questions.
1.) Tell us about yourself.
Angela Overman–Has served our country in the US Marines and is currently serving as the District Attorney since being appointed by Governor Greg Abbott in November 2019. She has been a member of this community since 1986. She has served as a prosecutor while serving in the US Marines. She has also served as the Cochran County attorney prior to being appointed District Attorney for the 286th Judicial District.
Nicole Griffin–Nicole was raised in a small farming and ranching community in New Mexico. She is very active in her church. She currently serves as Asst. County Attorney in Hockley County and has worked in Lubbock County. She feels this is the time to make changes in this community. We need someone with experience in prosecuting cases through trial. Her and her husband are raising four boys.
2) Why do you feel you are best person for the position.
Angela Overman–I am currently serving as your district attorney. She noted that Governor Abbott chose me for the position over several other applicants including Griffin. She has over 22 years in the legal field. She also feels her experience in the US Marines will benefit her in the position. She says I will try cases in a timely and expedious manner. She says “no one will out work me.” I will try the case rather than pleading it out.
Nicole Griffin–She states she has always been a prosecuter, stating this is all I ever wanted to do. She has served in Hockley County as a prosecuter for the past 5 years. She stated Governor Abbott does not live in our community and representatives from his appointments office conducted the interviews. She says the people of Hockley and Cochran County should choose who they want in the office. She states that her opponent has represented many people in our community. She noted this is a 24/7 job, you are on call all the time.
3) What are three main challenges facing our county and your solutions.
Angela Overman–Crime in our community. She says crime continues to cost the community through higher prices with local businesses and higher insurance premium. She says the demands are huge for the office and I will continue to make prosecution a top priority and will continue to work with law enforcement and will continue to see that justice is done. She noted we search for truth and will fight for justice.
Nicole Griffin–Nicole says the three problems are public safety, jail population and growth and the budget. She says her opponents record does not indicate that harsh sentences are being given. She says the decrease in backlog has to happen regardless, she notes that can be difficult when waiting on DPS lab reports, etc. She said we have to look for innovative solutions and see what other counties are doing. She says the jail should be reserved for violent offenders.
4) Explain how you will be fiscally responsible if elected and closing comments
Angela Overman–We have three capital murder cases in Hockley County currently which each case costs citizens of Hockley County over $1 million each. She said she has already contacted the Texas Attorney Generals office to assist in prosecuting the cases and they have agreed to assist with no additional cost to the taxpayers in Hockley County. She says victims deserve closure. I am proud to serve as your DA and am working to prosecute in a timely and efficient manner.
Nicole Griffin–She says she will use proven strategies which are used in the County Attorney including weekly meetings with the Sheriff’s office to discuss cases and jail populations. She said as soon as a case is filed they will already be looking at plea bargain opportunities. She says going to trial is only one option. She says if her opponent has a conflict of interest than her entire office has a conflict of interst.
JP Precinct 5
1.) Tell us about yourself
Pam Kiser–She has been a member of the community for many years. She is currently working in the County Clerks office. She says she is result oriented, highly motivated, honest, christian values and look forward to learning the position along the way.
Paula Moody–She has been a resident of Hockley County since 1983. She has worked in the community with little dribblers, booster club, band boosters and other organizations. She has been with the JP’s office for 11 years as a clerk. She has worked with local law enforcement including Sheriff’s Office, Texas Parks and Wildlife and others. She is very knowlegable and has her civil certification.
Derek Lawless–He currently serves as the Law Enforcement Captain with the Sheriff’s office. He says he will work to make the Hockley County of tomorrow better than Hockley County of today. He and his wife Ashley have three children. He serves in his church and also serves on the board for a parents day out program at the church. He also serves on the Texas Chief Deputies Association board.
2.) Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this position.
Pam Kiser–I am qualified because of my committment that I serve the community not the community serves me. She said I will guarantee that every voice is heard and my committment to this community I can have the positive impact needed for the position. I will strive to keep honesty and respect in the office and will hold the office to the highest ethical standard.
Paula Moody–Her experience over the last 10 years of working in the JP office. She said her civil certification makes her knowlegible of civil actions and civil cases that can be handled by the office. She also has great experience in working with the LISD and am familiar with the software program used in the office.
Derek Lawless–He says my priorities I stand on make me best for the position. He is committed to building positive relationships in the community and my law enforcement experience make me stand out for the position. His job now involves reading and approving reports and I know how to make death investigations and death notifications which is required by the JP office. He knows the importance in setting proper bond. He would like to look at the possibility of creating a pre-trial program.
3.) What are three main challenges facing our county and your solutions.
Pam Kiser–Truancy is a problem and needs to be corrected before a child ends up in the Juvenile Justice System. We can make a difference by listening to each case and finding a solution. She also says we need to pull all available resources. She says that the JP’s office has to stay one step ahead of the criminals. She says we have to work together on setting bonds. We have to keep Levelland a safe community and if we all work together we can make this happen.
Paula Moody–Civil cases filed, account for nearly 80% of the cases handled by the JP office. She says some things are unpreventable due to the economy. She also said that many people still have a revoked drivers license and she would like to work with them. She also noted jail population is a problem, she says we can prevent defendents from going to jail on class c misdemenor items by having officers bring the person to the JP office during regular business hours to make payment arrangements. She also noted truancy is an ongoing problem and she says programs have been started to help.
Derek Lawless–At the sheriff’s office we have fought hard to bring about a culture change. He says a community cannot grow and stay the same. He says we learn from mistakes and must be open. We have to have more communication through out Hockley County. Another problem is a budget issue and unfunded mandates. He says you to think outside of the box and work to push away from the the way things have always been. He said we have “good things that can only be made better.”
4.) Explain how you will be fiscally responsible if elected and closing comments.
Pam Kiser–We must be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. I will work hard to be an efficient office and If elected I will run a fiscally responsible office and justice will always be sought and I will not be swayed away from our constitutional rights.
Paula Moody–I will work to keep staff training low and will work to keep the JP office on a low budget. I will work to hear both sides equally and I will be a working judge as is required by the office. I will work to run the office as efficiently and diligently.
Derek Lawless–He is currently serving in a role where administration of the sheriff’s office oversees a budget of over $2 million dollars and he personally oversees approximately $170,000 of that budget. He noted that the JP Precinct 5 office has a budget of approximately $176,000. He believes the JP’s office can work with the probation office, other judges and law enforcement to keep the office fiscially responsible and work to increase pre trial programs in order to reduce the jail population.
Commissioner Precinct 1
1.) Please tell us about yourself.
Alan Wisdom–I was born and raised in Hockley County and graduated from Levelland High School. He is a Christian and a licensed minister. He also serves on many agriculture boards and 4H and FFA programs. He has served as a 4H leader and serves on the Hockley County Junior Livestock show. He and his wife own and operate a Levelland restaurant and have a diverse interest in all four corners of Hockley County.
Curtis Thrash–Attended Ropes High School and Levelland High School. He currently has a small cattle operation and he is also in business with his father. He is an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Ropes. He has been County Commissioner for Prcinct 1 for 12 years.
2.) Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this position.
Alan Wisdom–I have operated my own business for many years and have sucessfully managed several budgets in efficient manner and I am a team player. If elected I will enter into this office in the same way I have always done my business. He says I will be hands on and will work for his constituents.
Curtis Thrash–I have been your commissioner for 12 years and we are debt free. He has attended many classes to learn budgeting for the Commissioners precinct. He says illegal dumping is a problem and he is working with the sheriff’s office to hold those responsible accountible for their actions. He noted that Hockley County is debt free and has one of the lowest tax rates of all counties around. He thanked his road crew for their help and he noted he is also a hands on commissioner.
3.) What are the three main challenges facing our county and your proposed solutions.
Alan Wisdom–#1 challenge is providing more training and staff for law enforcement in order to stay ahead of the criminal. He would like to look at ways to improve staffing at the Sheriff’s office. He said Hockley County is his home and he noted his children also want to stay in Hockley County. We need to listen to the people and address the issue before it gets out of hand. We also have to take care of all of our assets. He said I know county roads are a challenge and would look at strategies to improve road conditions. He also said illegal dumping is a problem and it must be addressed.
Curtis Thrash–Senate bill 2 which placed a cap on property taxes and unfunded mandates continues to be a challenge. He noted that part of the solution is to call your state representative and tell them to quit sending down unfunded mandates. He also said courthouse security, they are looking at fewer entrances to the courthouse, security guards for the courthouse and more metal detectors.
4.) How will you be fiscally responsible if elected and closing comments.
Alan Wisdom–The office of county commissioner is not to be taken lightly. It is the taxpayer money and I will work to make the office efficient and working to maintain low tax rate and self sufficient budget. If elected I will work hard to make a difference and will be available to the constituents.
Curtis Thrash–We are a debt free county and my interest has always been the taxpayer. He says sometimes you have to make difficult decisions. He said commissioners are elected to take care of county taxpayer dollars. We have kept an experienced workforce in place. Please consider my proven budget, 12 years experience, one of the lowest tax rates in the state and I want to continue working for you.
Funeral services are scheduled for Jackie Flake, 63 of Sundown. Memorial services are scheduled for 10:00 am on Thursday, February 13th in the Krestridge Funeral Home Chapel in Levelland. Burial will be held at a later date in the Sundown Cemetery. She passed away on February 9th. Services are under the direction of Krestridge Funeral Home.