Levelland ISD Receives “B” Rating From TEA

Levelland ISD is proud to announce its Accountability Rating it received for the 2021-222 school year from the Texas Education Agency. Graded on four main platforms: Student Achievement, Closing the Gaps, School Progress, as well as Overall improvement, LISD received a “B” rating. The highest mark was in School Progress, at a score of 89, and their lowest was in Closing The Gaps, which came in at 80, leaving the district in good standing for the year. With 2,746 registered students last year, Levelland shows great improvement coming out of COVID, a point which Superintendent Rebecca McCutchen reiterated in a press release: “We are excited to see the results of the enormous amount of hard work and effort from our teachers, staff and students. At Levelland ISD we Expect Excellence and know that these ratings are a cumulation of courage, persistence, and the belief that our students can achieve success.”

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Levelland Chamber Of Commerce Receives TDA Grant Funds

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TD) has chosen the Levelland Chamber of commerce as a recipient of the 2022 round of Go Texan Market Enhancement Grants. This grant is reserved for Go Texan Program partners who hold public events and festivals that will promote Go Texan Businesses, as the Chamber’s “Cotton and Crude” festival does annually. In a news release Mary Siders, President of the Levelland Chamber of Commerce said “receiving the grant allows the Chamber of Commerce to expand our marketing efforts for the Cotton & Crude Street Fair and Music Fest scheduled for September 17, 2022, in Levelland. This will allow us to invest more in the regional advertising efforts and therefore make more people aware of the annual festival hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.  It’s a fun day for the entire family with a pancake breakfast, parade, street fair with multiple vendors, shopping at downtown merchants, great food, and free festival entertainment during the day.” Vendor applications are available for the event online, or by calling the Levelland Chamber of Commerce at 806-894-3157.

This September will be the 2nd year of the festival, and the $5,000 in grant funds are being used to increase the reach of advertising in hopes of attracting more attendees. Ty Gregory, Chair of the Chamber of Commerce board reiterated “additional funding is going to allow us to work at drawing a bigger crowd.  We have scheduled entertainment all day and evening that will be appealing to multiple generations which creates for more involvement and engages future generations.  The Chamber of Commerce Board has planned and worked diligently at enhancing our annual fundraising event for sustainability and growth.  We are extremely excited about this partnership with GO TEXAN and look forward to our event in September.”

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2-Alarm Fire At Swackhammers Steakhouse

Levelland Fire Dept. responded to a large fire at Swackhammers Texas Steakhouse in the 700 block of Highway 114 yesterday. Originally called in by the Police Department, Fire teams arrived on site around 4:30pm. 3 engines were initially brought to the scene to begin fire suppression, a second alarm was raised asking for assistance as the fire spread. The interior fire suppression system engaged, and fire teams found the fire to have originated on the broiler. The fire spread to the exhaust vents and attic, but was eventually extinguished. Firefighters remained on standby to watch for rekindling, and finding none, returned to the stations around 8:30pm. Initial estimates have the losses around $200K.

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Arrest Report For 8/8 – 8/15

Local Law Enforcement was hard at work making multiple arrests last week. in total, 14 arrests were divulged in this Media Report ran on 8/15/2022, of those 14, 2 have been excluded; One due to age, and one due to a missing mugshot. That individual was Louis Pena 43, of Ropesville – Arrested 8/11/2022 and charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

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County Commissioners Propose Tax Rate

The Hockley County Commissioner’s Court gathered this morning for a quick meeting with real stakes. Tax Rate, as well as upcoming elections were large items on the docket, though the court was down two members. County Judge Sharla Baldridge and Commissioner for Precinct 4 Tommy Clevinger were not in attendance, making the quorum consistent of Commissioners Wisdom, Graf, and Carter.

The Court got right to work setting a proposed tax rate for the year. The proposed tax rate this year would be $0.464, down from last years rate of $0.546, however the county has seen an increase in property value this year. The No New Tax Rate (NNR) this year would be 3 cents lower at $0.430. All present commissioners moved to continue forward with this proposed rate, setting the date for a public hearing for next Monday, August 22nd at 9a. The public is encouraged to attend.

As for elections coming up, Election Administrator Jody Rose was present to give the lay of the land. Currently all local and county positions up for this election are running unopposed, but the cutoff for application is Monday, August 22nd. Jody also requested a switching of software on certain voting platforms his office utilized. This pertains to voting systems that check citizens in when they vote, and this switch to a Tenex Software Solutions program would be more secure than in the past.

A quick meeting for the Court, with much to do on the horizon, Court was adjourned until next Monday. Commissioner’s Court is held every Monday at 9a in the County courthouse and is open to the public.

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Sundown Oil Patch Days

This past weekend the City of Sundown got the chance to celebrate their community once again with their annual Oil Patch Days Celebration. Citizens turned out in droves to the park next to the Roughneck Range for a day of fun and community. Starting up at 9a with the parade, first responders, city officials as well as the Roughneck Varsity and Junior Varsity Football Teams rode past the park, followed by the “Pride of the Oil Patch” Roughneck Marching Band. A bounce house, water slide and various fait games were set up for the kids, and vendors and food trucks lined the park for hours. Under the an awning a cornhole circuit was running, as well as a raffle to win a cornhole set; The Sundown City Library was present providing reading materials and cotton candy free of charge. As the day wore on, live music began, and the celebration ended late that evening with fireworks on the driving range. After two years stifled by COVID, the community of Sundown showed their love and support for their community and this time honored tradition.

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Board of Regents Propose Budget, Review Construction In Regular Meeting

The South Plains College Board of Regents had a varied agenda to go over yesterday in their regular meeting to prepare for the next semester of instruction. The TWC grant afforded to the college, construction updates, as well as budgetary items took up the majority of the items at this meeting as the college seeks to continue its forward momentum.

Recently the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) awarded SPC more than $247K in Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grants. This was relegated tot the Automotive Technology Program, which the TWC has identified as a growing field. Even Texas Governor Greg Abbott shone a light on the achievement in a press release stating “Texas Remains an economic Juggernaut because we regularly invest in students to develop our highly skilled, diverse workforce” “Thank you to the Texas Workforce Commission for investing in South Plains College’s Automotive Technology Program, bringing greater economic opportunities for students in West Texas.”

Construction on the colleges various projects are coming along nicely as the Lubbock Center closes in on its completion date. That facility is expected to be up and running by the 18th when staff move in, and classes will begin on the 29th, though there will still be minor construction work ongoing at that time. Not long ago the Board moved forward with a planned expansion to their welding program and facilities as well. That has been ongoing, but before any new facilities can be added, current facilities were in need of renovation to bring them to ADA compliance. After these renovations plans can begin on a new facility that is expected to add 21 new bays.

Finally, Budget was discussed among the board, as well as Tax Rates. The tax rate last year for the college was $0.39. The No New Revenue (NNR) Rate would be $0.28, and the board moved forward with a slightly higher $0.30. That is merely a proposed rate, which must be approved at a public hearing. The date the board landed on for that meeting will be August 23rd at 8am, at which time they encourage citizens to attend. This budget, as presented by Dr. Robin Satterwhite also was balanced with a possible 4% increase in staff pay built in. The board voted upon that item separately, passing it unanimously with Ty Gregory Abstaining.

This finished business at the time of this meeting for the board

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Levelland Fire Dept. Aids Area Agencies With Cochran County Fire

Levelland Fire Department responded to a call for mutual aid alongside several other area fire departments on Wednesday. Around 6:30 Wednesday afternoon a call came in from Whiteface Fire Department requesting mutual aid for a large grass fire in Cochran County. Levelland units mobilized and began to assist with fire suppression, joined by Sundown, Whiteface and Morton units as well. The fire was brought under control after roughly an hour, with final units clearing the scene around 10pm.

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The Wallace Theater Announces “A Doll’s House”

After the success of “Hunchback Of Notre Dame”, the Wallace Theater continues its LHUCA series of shows with “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen in September. A press Release sent out earlier this week reveals show times, cast and crew.

Show Dates and Times at LHUCA Firehouse Theatre in Lubbock include:

  • Friday, Sep 16, 7:30-10:00pm
  • Saturday, Sep 17, 7:30-10:00pm
  • Sunday, Sep 18, 4:00-6:30pm
  • Thursday, Sep 22, 7:30-10:00pm
  • Friday, Sep 23, 7:30-10:00pm

Tickets prices include:

While the Wallace Theater itself undergoes extensive renovations, their tenure at LHUCA has shown great promise. “The Wallace Theater is also proud to share that “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” broke several of the Wallace’s records this July. This production sold the most tickets for one Wallace Theater event to date.” they state in the release.

““The Hunchback” also had the largest cast and crew to date with 22 actors and 22 crew members. The run crew included students from Levelland and Sundown High Schools, Molloy University, and incoming freshmen at West Texas A&M. The cast and crew included a team of local and nationwide industry professionals.”

About the show: Nora Helmer is a vibrant young housewife who nonetheless suffers from a crippling dependency on her husband of eight years. He, Torvald, has always done the thinking for the both of them. To save Torvald from a debt, Nora arranges a loan without his knowledge and does so by forging a signature. The inevitable revelation of the crime results in an unexpected reaction from Torvald: Rather than being grateful to Nora, he is incapable of accepting the pride and self-sufficiency she demonstrated in taking care of him, and he accuses her of damaging his good name. The illusions behind their marriage are exposed, and Nora wakes to feelings of self-awareness for the first time in her life. Torvald is not the man she thought she knew. They are husband and wife, yes, but they are strangers as well.

Cast:

Nora………………………………….Chastin Powell

Torvald Helmer………………….Dantz DeBusk

Nils Krogstad……………………..Fletcher Pape

Kristine Linde…………………Natalie Stanislaus

Dr. Rank………………………………..Chase Gibson

Anne Marie…………………………Callie Combest

Helene………………………………….Missy Brinson

Creative Team and Crew:

Director………………………….Anna Hogan

Technical Director……………….Zac Goin

Production Manager………..Anh Collins

Assistant Director…………Travis Burge

Stage Manager………….,…Hope Sisemore

Asst. Stage Manager……Kevin Greenhaw

Set Design………….Daniel Patrick Hogan

Video Design………Taylor Edelle Stuart

Lighting Design…………………….Zac Goin

Costume Design………….Kendra Mitchell

Hair & Makeup Design………..Mary Hogan

Properties Master…….Patrick Mitchell

Set Builder…………………………..Zac Goin

Production Assistants……………… Omar Samad, Dylan Avant

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LISD Board Reviews Drug & Extracurricular Code Of Conduct In Final Meeting Before School Year

The Levelland ISD Board of Trustees had a few items to sew up in their regular meeting last night to prepare for the new school year beginning next week. This meeting saw some goal setting for the district, edits to the Extracurricular and Drug Testing Codes of Conduct, and updates from each eager campus as they prepare for students to arrive next week.

As outlined in House Bill 3, the Board of Trustees needs to have a set of attainable and quantifiable goals for the district to meet. These goals must be overseen by a District-level admin, have an annual review in a regular public meeting, then have that review posted on various district and campus websites. The Board chose to extend their 5 year plan, now ending in 2027, and would see 60% of 3rd graders earning grade level or higher marks on the STAAR test, as well as 96% of graduates meeting CCMR requirements at graduation. These goals are then divided into several progress measures which are brought before the council every school year. For the first portion, monitoring is being done to increase performance on various subjects from 1st – 3rd grades in order to achieve longer lasting improvement and growth. Levelland ISD is already highly achieved in terms of CCMR (College, Career, Military Readiness) rates, as most recent numbers hold them around 95% of students meeting requirements upon graduation.

After a review with administrators and campus principals, the district felt a few changes were needed to both the Extracurricular Activities and Drug Testing Codes of Conduct. Firstly, the administrators have done away with the “clean slate” loophole upon entering High School. Previously, any violations of either code of conduct would be wiped from a students record, allowing them to essentially start fresh upon entering 9th grade. Now, admin felt it necessary for all violations to be cumulative from grades 7-12. Some changes were also made to penalty times. Previously if a student was suspended from extracurricular activities for a drug or other violation, they would be suspended for 15 school days, but last night those policies were changed to a 14 calendar day suspension for 1st offenses, and 30 calendar day suspension for 2nd offenses. Additionally for drug violations, should a student receive a 3rd strike, rather than being suspended for the year, they will instead become ineligible for the remainder of their school career. Alcohol will also be included for drug testing this year with a minimum of 2 tests per semester with the possibility of more.

Campuses gave several updates at this meeting as well to line out where they stood moving into the new year. For the Academic Beginnings Center, they informed the board that currently there is a class to teacher ratio of 19:2 with 4 new teachers and 5 new teacher’s aides. As for the Adopt-A-Lobo program, more than 80 little lobos have signed up to participate, leaving every fall athlete with a little lobo partner.

The elementary schools for the district were impacted heavily by COVID, but this year we see marks of improvement as they look to close the gap on learning loss. Both Capitol and South Elementary received predicted ratings of C from the TEA, but have their sights set high on improvement. Capitols current class sizes are 22:1, and South is fully staffed with 9 new teachers, 7 of which are 1st year instructors.

For LIS some new changes coming about in the way of scheduling. They will be moving to a 90 minute instructional period schedule to increase the amount of content each class. This will be coupled with positive behavior reinforcement techniques, as well as increased negative behavior monitoring for principal referral to SPECO. They have a goal of reaching 97% attendance this year and have hired on 10 new teachers along with 4 new support staff.

Levelland Middle School has their eyes set on the future as well with their new principal Eric Eugenis. They’ve also hired on 10 new teaching staff, and though they attained a B rating from the TEA, they are looking for improvement. Long term goals sees 60% of students meeting grade level on the STAAR, with another 30% mastering the content.

The High School has an anticipated enrollment of 724 this year, and attendance is a big focus for the campus. In 2021 attendance was at 98%, but took a sharp fall to 93% in 2022. Dr. Birdwell is seeking to boost those numbers again through various incentives. 8 new teachers, an attendance clerk, and a job coach in the life skills program were added, though the campus is still seeking an athletic trainer.

This is the last meeting of the Board before the first instructional day of the year next week. Campuses are cleaned, repairs have been made, and staff are prepping for another great year in Lobo Land. First day of school coming up is next Wednesday, August 17th.

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