Sundown ISD Theater Presents: Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief

Sundown Theatre will present the musical “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”, on
December 15th, 17th, and 18th at the Sundown ISD Auditorium. Based on the popular YA Fiction Series
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” by Rick Riordan, “The Lightning Thief” follows the adventures of 12
year-old Percy Jackson as he embarks on a quest to save his mother and recover Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt.
“The Lightning Thief” has a book by Joe Tracz, and music and lyrics by Rob Rokicki. This “West Texas
Regional Premiere”producion has been generously sponsored by the Community Foundation of West Texas,
and is being performed with permission by Concord Theatrical.
“The Lightning Thief” has a cast made up of current Sundown Middle School and High School students,
along with several faculty members and guest artists. Annie Burge, Professor of Music at South Plains College
in Levelland will be playing the role of “Sally Jackson”, and Travis Burge, Artistic Director of Horizons School of
the Arts in Lubbock will be playing the role of “Poseidon”.
Sundown Theatre has partnered with the City of Sundown Public Library to sponsor a “Library Card
Drive”, in conjunction with this production. Anyone who applies for a library card or updates their patron
information will be entered into a drawing for two free tickets to the performance of their choice.
The musical is directed by Randal Ramirez, Jonna Evans, and Martha Buchanan, with choreography by
Kristen Williams, of Lubbock. Sound design is under the direction of current West Texas A&M Theatre student
Oliver Folger, with set provided by The Wallace Theater in Levelland.
The show begins at 7:30pm on December 15th and 17th, with a 2:00p matinee on December 18th.
Tickets are $10 for adults, and $7 for students/seniors, with group rates available. Tickets may be bought on
the Roughneck Theatre website, http://www.roughnecktheatre.weebly.com. For more information, contact Randal
Ramirez at rramirez@sundownisd.com

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Arrest Report Nov. 28th

Local Law Enforcement picked up 18 arrests over the past week from November 21st through the 27th according to a report run by the Sheriff’s Office Monday. Some mugshots unavailable due to inmate cooperation, technical error, etc. Full jail Roster available online: http://interopweb.com/hockleysotx/?fbclid=IwAR2oXOF4IAxAfGg8VwinepZ0ODA-X2NJiN2OZ0oldCrG6IsSz3fVMiuvkx8

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Levelland Fire Dept. Report Nov 23rd

Levelland Fire Department had 2 emergency calls to respond to on Tuesday. The first came at 11:38, and took fire teams to an area on West State Highway 114 near FM 303 for a vehicle accident. Dispatch warned that an 18 wheeler had jacknifed, and when teams arrived they found the driver to have evacuated the vehicle with no injuries. The truck, however had sustained damage to the diesel tank, and was spilling fuel into the ditch. Fire teams assisted in cleanup and containment until they were released from the scene around 2:13p.

The second call took teams to the Country Club area on reports of an alley fire. when fire fighters arrived in the 200 block of Redwood, they found a resident to be burning a pile of leaves in the alleyway. Fire firefighters extinguished the blaze, informing the citizen it was against ordinance to burn within city limits.

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LISD Asking For Votes In Community Rewards Program

Levelland ISD has asked for community support in the race for Community Reward Program funds from City Bank. In a Facebook post, the district urges citizens in the area to vote for their Bill’s Backpacks program, as well as their LIFE foundation to receive a share of more than $60K of funds being given to local charities. City Bank continues this initiative, known as their Community Rewards Program every year, giving out more than $1 million to 170 charity groups since its inception in 2008, according to their online information page. The page also lines out how the system works:

“Nonprofit organizations can complete the online registration form during the fall enrollment period. Each organization then chooses from one of six categories: Basic Human Needs, Health & Wellness, Youth Development & Advocacy, Education & Youth Services, Community Contribution & Leadership, and Animal Welfare & Environment.

During the voting period, residents in the South Plains and Permian Basin regions vote for their favorite nonprofits to determine the 30 recipients.”

In order to vote go online to http://www.city.bank/communityrewards

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Littlefield Athletic Director Jimmy Thomas Passes Away

Littlefield ISD Athletic Director, and Head Coach of Varsity Football, Jimmy Thomas has passed away fallowing a “brief illness” according to a press release sent out by admin on Monday. The full release states:

It is with great sadness that I report that Littlefield ISD Athletic Director/Head Varsity Football Coach, Jimmy Thomas, passed away this morning following a brief illness. The entire Littlefield community is grieved by this unexpected loss, and words cannot express the grief we feel about the loss of Coach Thomas. Coach Thomas was a great leader for the LISD sports programs, and he served as an inspiring role model to the student-athletes of Littlefield ISD. Although he constantly strove to create winning athletic programs at LISD, he worked equally hard to use those programs to build students of good character. His presence will be hugely missed by the District’s students, his fellow teachers and coaches, and the entire the Littlefield school community. We extend our deepest condolences to Coach Thomas’ family and encourage everyone to provide support to them in their time of painful loss.

The District appreciates the Littlefield community’s continued support for Coach Thomas’ family, and we ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

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Wallace and LHUCA Theaters Announce RENT! As Next Musical

LUBBOCK, TX – The Wallace Theater and LHUCA proudly announce dates, cast, crew and a new
ticketing initiative “Pay What You Can” preview night for RENT! In support of serving
missions of both The Wallace Theater and LHUCA, “Pay What You Can Night” is aimed
at making our high quality theatrical productions more financially accessible to our
West Texas community.

Directed by The Wallace Theater’s Artistic Director, Anna Hogan, RENT is the final
installment of The Wallace’s first full production Season entitled “Gather: exploring the
significance of a community gathering place and the impact of a community dialogue.”
A very special thank you to The Wallace’s “Gather 2022” Theatrical Season Presenting
Sponsors, United Supermarkets and Smith Auto Family.
Pay What You Can Night:
We all feel the “pain at the pump” and read the stories of so many families who are
struggling to pay their bills, or agonizing over grocery bills. As arts organizations, our
mission and service is not to feed people, but we can ease their burden by “feeding their
souls.” Through art we can provide a brief respite from the struggles of life. By making
theatre productions financially accessible, we can inspire people to continue their fight
and believe in themselves. We can empower them with resources and knowledge to
make a difference in their lives. If each person walks away from this show considering
the relationships in their own lives and what they can do to strengthen relationships, this
show will have a long-term impact on the social fabric of our community.
“As we began to plan for productions in 2023, we took stock of our mission and knew
that our ticketing model was making our theatrical productions financially inaccessible
to many patrons. With the support of generous underwriters, foundations and sponsors
we have committed to setting our general admission tickets no higher than $30 in 2023
and are very excited for our first “Pay What You Can Night,” said Alycyn Keeling,
Executive Director of The Wallace Theater.
“As we celebrate LHUCA’s 25th Anniversary, we are excited to continue to fulfill Louise
Hopkins Underwood’s dream of presenting live theater to the public with RENT in
partnership with The Wallace Theater,” said Lindsey Maestri, Executive Director, LHUCA
February 10th will be a preview performance and feature our new PAY WHAT YOU
CAN ticketing initiative modeled after similar initiatives by other successful theatres
around the county. Our PAY WHAT YOU CAN ticketing initiative is rooted in our mission
statement to provide our signature experiences that Entertain, Inspire, and Empower all
audience members in our community. Patrons will be given the opportunity to select
their price when reserving their seat. They can pay the General Admission price of $30.
They can choose to pay as little as $5 or they can choose to pay more. All proceeds
from the “Pay What You Can Night” will be used to support expenses from other night’s
productions and keep the General Admission ticket at $30. Patrons will be asked to pay
at least something in appreciation for the work and talent the artists and designers
dedicated to this production.

Ticket tiers include $30 general admission tickets, $25 senior tickets, $15 student
tickets, and $75 VIP tickets. VIP tickets include prime seating options, two
complimentary beverages, and light bites.
Tickets will go on sale for RENT on Thursday December 1, 2022. Wallace Theater
“Backstage” Monthly Givers and Leadership Circle Members will be able to purchase
tickets in advance on Tuesday, November 29th. Visit
https://www.wallacetheater.com/backstage to join “Backstage”!
Tickets will be available to purchase on December 1st at:
https://www.wallacetheater.com/events
Performances Dates:
Friday, February 10, 2023 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 11, 2023 @ 7:30 PM
Friday, February 17, 2023 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 18, 2023 @ 7:30 PM
Friday, February 24, 2023 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 25, 2023 @ 7:30 PM
Sunday, February 26, 2023 @ 5:00 PM
Saturday, March 4, 2023 @ 7:30 PM
All performances will take place at LHUCA Firehouse Theater, 511 Ave. K, Lubbock,
TX

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DPS Increases Enforcement Over Thanksgiving

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is stepping up enforcement for the Thanksgiving holiday to ensure people are able to get to and from their celebrations safely. Texas Highway Patrol Troopers will increase enforcement on the roads from Wednesday, Nov. 23, through Sunday, Nov. 27. DPS Troopers will be looking for people not wearing seat belts, driving while intoxicated, speeding and failing to follow the Move Over, Slow Down law, among other traffic violations.

“As we head into a busy holiday season, we must remember to make safety the number one priority,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Obey all traffic laws, don’t drink and drive, put your phones down behind the wheel, and look out for each other. The message is the same every year, but it’s a message that can save lives.”

DPS participates annually in the nationwide Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) initiative for the Thanksgiving holiday. During the 2021 Thanksgiving enforcement effort, a total of 36,523 warnings and citations were issued, including 3,306 for speeding; 789 for driving without insurance; 377 for seat belt and child seat violations; and 170 violations for Move Over, Slow Down. Last year’s enforcement efforts also resulted in 225 felony arrests, 138 DWI arrests and 84 fugitive arrests.

DPS offers the following safety tips for the Thanksgiving holiday:

  • Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you are consuming alcohol.
  • Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers who are stopped on the side of the road.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.
  • Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction zones.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
  • If you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it, so you can keep your eyes on the road.
  • Keep the Texas Roadside Assistance number stored in your phone. Dial 1-800-525-5555 for any type of assistance. The number can also be found on the back of a Texas Driver License.
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel can present additional challenges.
  • Don’t drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • On multi-lane roads, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous and avoids impeding traffic, Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to use the left lane for passing only (when posted).
  • Don’t cut in front of large trucks, and try not to brake quickly in front of them. They can’t maneuver as easily as passenger vehicles and pickup trucks.
  • If you can Steer It, Clear It: If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes to minimize traffic impact. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm or a secondary wreck. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, it’s against the law.
  • Check your vehicle to make sure it’s properly maintained and always ensure your cargo is secure.
  • Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.
  • Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.
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City Council Weigh Options On Waste Water Treatment Plant

Levelland City Council saw the end of an arduous saga related to the City’s waster water treatment plant Monday night in their regular meeting, allowing work to begin on improvements to the facility. Originally brought to the Council at staff’s behest, Parkhill Engineer Daniel Albus was present once again at this meeting to answer any questions that may have been lingering with the council. As it was a large financial decision, questions still abound about scope of work, repairs and spare parts, land usage, etc. Council held a special session with Albus just last week for this very purpose, in which the many plans and options for how to proceed with the plant were presented. Ultimately Council unanimously agreed upon the construction and addition of a mechanical plant to the current facility, which will allow a greater efficiency throughout the facility. In previous meetings Albus stated that construction could take as much as two years to complete, but assured council that he would be overseeing the process. Also pertaining to the wastewater plant, the farm lease for surrounding land had expired by this meeting, and bids were heard and deliberated upon by the council. After a brief executive session, it was decided that J&B Cattle Company would be awarded the bid.

Two proposals were brought before Council to help diversify and maximize the return on any invested funds moving forward as local banks continue to feel the sting of current economic turmoil. The Local Government Investment Cooperative (LOGIC) and the Texas Short Term Asset Reserve (TxSTAR) Program are two ways for the city to invest funds in things such as CD’s for rates higher than what is currently offered locally. These proposals would allow the City to utilize both these programs to bolster their funds until Return On Investment reaches more palatable levels once again.

Finally the City Staff Holiday Calendar was deliberated upon. Councilwoman Buxkemper took particular interest in this item, relaying how passionate she was about getting more off time for staff members. “this is a great chance to gain some ground with our staff, and help bolster some morale,” she said. Buxkemper also noted that due to the lack of Cost Of Living Adjustment raises this year, it was important to show staffers the Council was adamant about assisting them. After some discussion, it was eventually decided that a schedule of 12 total holidays, with two floating as the employee sees fit, would be a happy compromise getting City Employees more time away from the office.

This ended business for the Council at the time of this meeting; They will gather once again on Dec. 5th.

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Federal Charges Released Following Game Room Bust

Eighteen alleged methamphetamine traffickers have been federally charged with drug and gun crimes, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.

Twelve of the eighteen individuals were arrested during a large-scale operation in Levelland, Texas and surrounding counties Wednesday. The operation, led by the FBI’s Lubbock Resident Agency, involved around 150 law enforcement personnel. The remaining six individuals, who were already in state custody, are being brought into federal court on writs.

Those charged include:

  • Bobby Joe Gonzales – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine
  • Rance Devin Jordan – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine
  • Michael Salazar – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine
  • Timothy John Perez –  conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine
  • Judy Cirillo Qualls – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, felon in possession of a firearm
  • Anthony Raven Ruiz, aka Acid – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine,
  • Jose Angel Marquez – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine
  • Juan Luis Quezada – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime
  • Ernest Michael Chavez – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine
  • Jennifer Dianne Clem – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine
  • Jason Wade Grant – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine
  • Ruben Soliz Guajardo – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine  
  • Gilberto Guajardo – conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine
  • Santiago Vizcarra, Jr., aka Quick – distribution of methamphetamine
  • Gerry Wayne Varner – possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, convicted felon in possession of firearms, possession of unregistered firearms.

Indictments are merely allegations of criminal conduct, not evidence.

If convicted, some of the defendants face up to life in federal prison.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office – Lubbock Resident Agency conducted the investigation with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division, the Hockley County Sheriff’s Office, the Levelland Police Department, and the Cochran County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Redd is prosecuting the case.

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LISD School Board Talks Transportation, SRO Contracts

Levelland ISD School Board had their regular meeting in the admin building Thursday to cover a few updates from various departments, as well as revise meeting schedules for the coming new year. Transportation Director Randi Bullard was also present to give her report on how things are shaping up for her department this year. Earlier this year transportation agreements were sent home with students to go over with their parents or guardians. The agreement lines out the proper behavior when on school-provided transportation, and what behavior will not be tolerated. This puts parents, students and faculty all on the same page moving forward. Being one of the busiest departments, as they service every single campus on a daily basis, some statistics were given to show just how much work gets done. There are 12 regular routes, and 5 specialized routes the busses take to get students to and from school daily. The district currently has 18 certified CDL drivers and 8 aides. Since August this year, the Transportation dept. has taken students on 202 field trips spanning more than 50K miles. 88K miles were navigated on regular routes and more than 112K miles on specialized routes with 519 regular students transported, and 107 special students transported. Bus evacuation drills were also held this year, to prepare the district in the event of an emergency, and will be held annually going forward.

The board also took a look at their School Resource Officer (SRO) Contract with the City of Levelland at this meeting. The last time this contract was updated was back in 2013, and there was one specific change the district was looking to make. Currently LISD has a contract with the City for 2 SRO’s. In a City Council meeting earlier this month, the police dept. asked for approval in amending this contract to add space for a 3rd SRO, which council approved. Now this contract made it way to the LISD board for their approval as well. When asked the impact of their current SRO’s campuses stated that when called for assistance the officers performed admirably, and were well loved by all the admin. The board saw fit to expand the contract to include a 3rd officer, should LPD find the right candidate for the job.

For campus updates, most went over the recent testing data and where their students are in terms of comprehension. The intervention system the school has moved towards, which identifies student who may be struggling in a subject to give them more personal instruction, has shown great promise. Additionally the district had lots to brag about in terms of involvement as well. For ABC their “Watch Dog” program, which brings in fathers of students as volunteers, has been wildly popular, with a volunteer being on campus every single day since its inception. These volunteers arrive at campus at 7:30a, and assist with everything from instruction to lunches, and pickup/drop off routines. At the Levelland Middle School had several things to be excited about as Mrs. Cogdill and Mrs. Splawn each won $750 in grants to attend the Science Teachers Association of Texas Conference from Nov 10-12. Dyslexia specialist for the campus Annie Davis is also preparing to purchase the “Rite Flight Program” for all LISD dyslexia specialists to give our campuses better alternative education programs.

Adam Olivas, the new Maintenance Director for LISD was present to give his first address and report to the board. He began by going over some of the projects the dept. has completed since October which include Carver’s cafeteria floor and sewer line repairs, intermediates roof and gas line repairs, as well as several potholes throughout the district. He then gave his detailed analysis of how things are going, and where he’d like to see the department. Currently there’s a significant amount of contracted work being done for the district, which has its pro’s and con’s. Contractors, according to Olivas, have more knowledge and skills than the dept, as well as more equipment and resources, however they also are quite costly and offer no training or development to his workers. In the short term, urgent needs will be assessed, and a plan will be developed t tackle them. In the long term, the dept. will be developing a 10 year plan for facilities, as well as implementing an energy efficiency plan. A reduction of contracted services, an increase of staffing and growing the over all skills and knowledge of the department are a top priority for Olivas as they move on.

With a slight change to the established schedule, the board moved their regular meetings to the second Wednesday of each month, so as not to be in conflict with school functions and sports. This will be the normal meeting time starting in January. The board closed the meeting by retiring to executive session with no action to follow.

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