Levelland ISD School Board had their meeting last night at 6pm in the admin Building to go over some restructuring and end of year business. Firstly came the emotional departure of Board President Tania Moody. She gave a heartfelt speech to the board, saying she felt confident tha the school was in good hands. Jeff Northern, Superintendent, presented her an award as a token of the boards appreciation for her 12 years of dedicated service. With her departure, the board needed a new candidate for President, and very quickly came up with Carrie Ellis. DeEtte Edens was voted to be the Vice President, with newly appointed Treva Potter as the Secretary. The board also had two new members join its ranks, taking the oath of office last night: Joyce Johnson and Treva Potter.
As for business to attend to, Joyce Johnson volunteered to be the district’s delegate to the TASB fall convention, and Parent/Family engagement surveys as well as staff satisfaction surveys were reviewed. A New Initiative was showing progress as well. Multi-Tiered Sytems of Support, or MTSS is a support plan that would help identify where a student is struggling in the classroom, anmd allow our teachers and staffers to intervene. The program could be in draft form for a year or more.
Finally Graduation was discussed, as there were some restrictions this year. Due to SPC’s regulations, students will be given 10 tickets to graduation this year in order to keep the crowd limited, but the event will be live streamed on multiple platforms to increase accessibility. Graduation will take place Thursday, May 27th at SPC.
Levelland ISD is in the process of starting a new tradition this year. Today it held its first ever set of academic signings for soon-to-be graduates moving on to higher education. First, because the group was so large in number, a signing just for those students who have been accepted into SPC after the summer was held at 9AM in the high school basketball gym. 95 young lobos sat before an eager crowd in their new SPC Texan T-shirts as, one by one, their names were called and they signed their name on a statement paper announcing their attendance to SPC. Then, at 11AM, The same event, this time for other colleges as well as military services was held in the same gym. Several speakers were present including presenters from the US Army, Texas Tech, and LCU. This is what Levelland ISD hopes to become an annual event, as it showcases the aptitude and tenacity of our Levelland Lobos.
Sundown City Council had their meeting last night to canvas their 2021 elections. Ron Holson, Doug Barry and Jeremy Neill were announced to be taking the vacant spaces on the council for the departure of councilman Fryar and the passing of councilman Randy Hart. Mayor Jonathan Strickland also gave service awards to Councilman Fryar for his years of dedicated service, and to Randy Hart posthumously, his daughter and son were present to receive the awards as well as his nameplate on his behalf. Additionally the council heard the results of its 2019-2020 city audit, briefly went into executive session on the topic of City Admin. Billy Hernandez’s job performance and contract, and went over the city’s ongoing projects which include the city pool, waste water project, seal coat project and a golf course update.
Life has returned to normal in Levelland after a hectic afternoon for local Law Enforcement. At roughly 11:30am a call was made to Levelland PD about a suspicious package that had been delivered to City Hall. It was brought in by staff on their daily mail run, but when they opened it, something felt off. Erik Rejino, Levelland City Manager told this reporter they saw what appeared to be “a small generator” inside. The building was quickly evacuated and a police perimeter was established. A call was made in to both the Lubbock Bomb Squad and FBI, who arrived on scene some time later. After a lengthy operation conducted from the Bomb Squad Containment Trailer, which involved one agent in a heavy bomb suit entering the building, the press was debriefed by Captain Tammie McDonald of the Levelland PD at approximately 2:30. The Captain informed us that City Hall was safe, and that the package was an air conditioner unit that had been ordered for our Fire department, to be utilized to relieve heat fatigue, but looked different than anticipated. Captain McDonald said they will be taking the public’s opinion into account soon, as they always do when there’s a major incident, to gauge how to feel about their response time, but she told reporters “I feel like we did the best we could with what we were given.” This speedy response comes just days before the start of National Law Enforcement Week, and reminds everyone that their staff as well as first responders are always ready to assist their community.
Levelland City Council had a meeting today at noon To canvas the 2021 General Elections and declare the results. The oath of office was given to two new Council members: Mary Engledow of District B, and Michael Stueart of District D, as well as to the re-elected Mayor, Barbra Penner. Mary won her district election 21 votes to 14 against incumbent Max Ledesma, and Michael won his in a vote of 158 to 91 against Jacob Tucker. Both were sworn in and invited by the council to take their newly appointed seats. With Max Ledesma departing from the Council, they wanted to honor him and his time he’s invested serving the City of Levelland. Max was mayor Pro-Tem for 8 years and oversaw a variety of highly important additions to the city including the Parks Renovations and Fire Station. He received a plaque and gave a brief speech afterwards reminding us that should we ever need his help, “I’ll be here.”
The Levelland Rotary Club has been nominated to be the Outstanding Rotary Club in Area 7 for their tremendous contributions to their community. During 2020 the Levelland Rotary Club donated more than $16,000 to various causes in the Levelland area including scholarships, South Plains Food Banks and Hurricane Harvey Relief. In addition, their contribution to Bill’s Backpacks and Christmas gifts for the Levelland Special Education Coop were praised. The letter from E. Phelps Blume, District 5730 Governor nominee reads ” Even though COVID-19 was present, the members of the Levelland Noon Rotary Club continued to be people of action within the area and community.”
City Council had a meeting last night, May 3rd to adress several issues within the community, as well as revisit certain pieces of last meeting. The first piece they went over was the restrictions due to COVID 19. in his review, Erik Rejino gave the good news that as of May 2nd there were only 33 regional hospitalizations, with the hospitalization rate dropping to 1.94%, well below the 15% threshold put forward by Gov.Abbott for increased restrictions.
Next, the city lease to farmer Joe Bob Wells was brought forward. The city has leased 19 acres of land to Joe Wells for farming purposes for the past 4 years. The original lease was a three year period, with two optional one year extensions, so this will be the last extension before a new lease must be considered. The motion was passed to extend the lease for Mr. Wells through Dec.21st of this year.
The question of park hours and curfew were brought up at the last City Council meeting, now the council was to vote on the set parameters. For the city parks, the problem was that vandalism and other illegal activity was increasing in these locations after dark. The Council hopes that by adding operating hours, it will give Levelland PD “more teeth” as far as enforcement and driving down crime. The proposed city park hours were to be 11pm-4am Sun-Thurs, and 12am-4am Fri&Sat. Exceptions would be made for certain sports events that tend to run late. The motion passed unanimously.
Next Curfew was re-addressed. The proposed hours are as follows: 11pm-6am Sun-Thurs,, and 12am-6am Fri&Sat. These rules would tend to people under the age of 16, and exceptions would only be made for certain circumstances such as an emergency or working a job.
In 2016 the City Council held a Strategic Planning Session to set in place a vision for the future of the community, and establish a set of guidelines to deliver it. The program was referred to as “Levelland 2026”, and as we are currently 5 years (or halfway) through the plan, a review was deemed necessary. 5 pillars were established to guide their vision: Housing expansion, Infrastructure improvement, Job Creation, Enhancing Community appearance, and Improving community education. Erik Rejino stated that a review would be useful as many City Council seats have changed, as well as department head positions. The Council then went into executive session to discuss when such a review would take place, and how to proceed with the rest of the plan.
Finally, the lease with Renegade Backhoe Services was brought forth. The City entered into this leasing agreement with Renegade in October of 2015, it expired on September 30, 2020, and the company desired to renew it for a term of 5 more years. The Council believed it would be in the city’s best interest if the lease was renewed.
The City Council will have 2 more meetings this week, one tonight and one on Thursday, May 6th. Tonight the Council will have a work session on recommendations from the Comprehensive Zoning Review Task Force, and review Zoning Ordinances. That meeting will be at 6pm in City Hall and is open to the public.
On Thursday, the Council will meet at noon to canvas the 2021 general elections and announce the results. In this meeting they will also be administering the oath of office to new councilmen, recognizing the service of Mayor Pro Temp Max Ledesma, as well as electing a new Mayor Pro Temp.
Congratulations to these FFA members who competed at the Littlefield District Speaking Contest & District Officer selection process! Ashley Austin & Kristin Ortiz placed 1st & move on to Area. Ryan Pyeatt is the Levelland FFA district officer competing later this week on 5/6!
Levelland City Council will be meeting tonight to cover a variety of topics within the community. On the agenda are restrictions and regulations for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sports Complex Farm Lease with Bob Wells, Confirming public park hours and curfew, and extending the lease with RWLS LLC Dba Renegade Services. The meeting is at 6pm in City Hall, and is open to the Public. Make sure to tune in on KLVT Facebook Live for live coverage.
This is the first of three meetings the Council will have this week. A special meeting will be held tomorrow, May 4th to discuss Zoning Laws, and another meeting Thursday, May 6th to go over the results of the recent election.
The Final voting numbers from the elections office this evening for the following elections: SPC Board of Regents, Smyer ISD Trustee, Ropes ISD Trustee, Levelland Mayor, Levelland City Council District B & D, Sundown ISD Trustee, Councilman, and Bond Propositions A,B,C and D.
SPC Board of Regents:
Todd Paxton – 276
Chris Edens- 289
Wes Bradshaw – 245
Sue Ann Lopez – 77
Wally De Los Santos – 51
*Note: A runoff Election will be held between Todd Paxton & Chris Edens