286th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Donates Equipment to Area Law Enforcement

There have been several instances when local law enforcement could use a drone as a tool in their tool box. On Thursday, 286th Judicial District Attorney, Angela Overman recognized that need.

Using seized funds, the District Attorney’s office purchased a drone for each law enforcement agency in the 286th Judicial District, including the Cochran County Sheriff’s Office, Hockley County Sheriff’s Office and the Levelland Police Department. Overman said that as part of the agreement each agency will have some personnel trained for operation of the drone. The drones were purchased with seized funds and were not purchased with taxpayer funds.

Each law enforcement agency received the equipment on Thursday.

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38 New Cases, 28 New Recoveries and 2 Additional Deaths in Hockley County

The Texas Department of State Health Services released updated COVID-19 information Thursday afternoon.

They confirmed 38 new cases of COVID-19 in Hockley County as well as 28 new recoveries and 2 new deaths. They also reported the hospitalization rate for Trauma Service Area B is at a new record high of 29.23%.

Based on the new information, Hockley County has a total of 1,199 cases with 41 deaths and 767 recoveries leaving 391 active cases.

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59 New Recoveries and 1 Additional Death in Hockley County

The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed 59 new recoveries and one additional death in Hockley County as of Wednesday night.

Based on the new information, there are 1,161 total cases with 39 deaths and 739 recoveries, leaving 383 active cases.

The Trauma Service Area B hospitalization rate continues to creep up, setting another record at 28.7%.

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Keep Levelland Beautiful Hold Ribbon Cutting for Nutrien Ag Solutions Railroad Bungalow

Keep Levelland Beautiful, Watco Railroad Companies, Lubbock & Western Railway and Nutrien Ag Solutions held a ribbon cutting to commemorate the completion of the West Avenue Bungalow Beautification Project.

Railroad bungalows, also known as switch boxes, located on Highway 114 in Levelland are being wrapped with artwork depicting the area. Themes for each bungalow include oil, soil, education and the City of Mosaics. Bungalows are the housing units for signals and communication computers that control switches, crossings, and other such controls, relaying information to the rail traffic control. Artwork was developed and donated by Nicole Campbell with Smith South Plains.

Nutrien Ag Solutions is the retail business of Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services. The brand was established in 2018 after Nutrien was formed through the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium. They provide full acre solutions through a network of trusted crop consultants at more that 1700 global locations.

Levelland is an affiliate of the Keep Texas Beautiful program and the local mission is to improve the community’s appearance through partnerships, education and action. Beautification is a key aspect of community development and important in welcoming visitors as well as our local quality of life.

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Obituary: Virginia Zapata Hernandez, 75 of Levelland

Funeral services are scheduled for Virginia Zapata Hernandez, 75 of Levelland. Services are scheduled for Thursday, November 19th at 2:00 pm in the St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Burial will follow in the City of Levelland Cemetery. Rosary services are scheduled for 7:00 pm on Wednesday, November 18th in the Krestridge Funeral Home.

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15 New Cases of COVID-19 in Hockley County, Hospitalization at its Highest Rate

The Texas Department of State Health Services released an updated report on COVID-19 cases in Hockley County late Tuesday.

There were 15 new cases reported and two additional recoveries. It was also reported that Trauma Service Area B has a current hospitalization rate of 28.2% which is the highest the region has seen. The area has been above the 15% threshold since October 18th.

Based on the new information there are a total of 1,161 cases with 38 deaths and 680 recoveries leaving a total of 443 active cases.

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Levelland City Council Holds Regular Meeting

Levelland City Council held a regular meeting Monday night.

The council canvassed the election results for the District A election which was held November 3rd. Jim Myatt received 306 votes, Pete Cunningham received 179 votes and Billy Youngblood received 174 votes. Their will be a runoff held between Jim Myatt and Pete Cunningham.

The runoff election for District A will be held December 15th. Early voting will begin 11/30/2020 and run through 12/11/2020.

The council also heard a report from the Animal Services Task Force. Police Chief Albert Garcia presented results from the task force. One item which has been addressed is now being able to get in touch with someone at the shelter in regards to adoptions. A phone has now been installed at the shelter and is manned when someone is at the shelter. It was also noted that personal information was being on kennel cards, the shelter will now have numbers and basic information for the dogs and the Levelland Animal Friends will have a card with a name for each dog. There will also be a signup form for volunteers for the shelter and the department will track volunteers. It was noted that volunteers are absolutely necessary to run the shelter. When a dog is adopted the department will be putting a micro chip in each dog which will help in finding the home where the dog belongs when a dog is found running loose. There are some changes being made to the procedures for the shelter. The task force made recommendations to the council, Michael Wiiest chaired the task force. He noted that a lot of what the group worked on is volunteer guidelines and duties. It was recommended that a system be put in place for training for volunteers as well as specific duties as directed by the Animal Control Officers. It was noted that the task force wants to see the rescue rate go up and the euthanasia rate go down. Chair Michael Wiiest noted that volunteers must be 17 years of age unless they have parental guidance. The group will also be looking closely at what can be put in place through ordinances to make sure that every dog adopted from the shelter will be current on shots and will be spayed and neutered. Wiiest, said we need a good volunteer base and will be working to recruit more volunteers. Another member of the task force, John Dupree spoke as well. He noted that the idea of a task force was created by him and another volunteer, Jill Pitts concerning things that were occurring at the shelter. He noted that Jill Pitts actually requested the task force to take a look at issues presented by the volunteers. He spoke and stated that he felt Jill would have had an opportunity to speak during the task force meetings. Dupree thanked the directors of the shelter for coming up with a solution to allow the animal friends group to have their own kennel cards. Dupree noted that for over a year, the public could not reach an animal control officer directly until the department installed a phone at the shelter. Dupree noted that Levelland Animal Friends raises money to pay for healthcare of animals picked up by the shelter and he noted that the Animal Control Officers would take them until summer of 2019 when they ended the practice, the Levelland Animal Friends group would need to take sick or injured animals in, he says that is not always possible. Wiiest noted we have to get “legislation with teeth in it to make sure animal welfare is a priority.” The city attorney will be looking into a possibility of a spay and neuter ordinance and other ordinances. Councilwoman Breann Buxkemper said “I don’t think people know they can volunteer at the shelter and a campaign is needed to get additional volunteers.”

The council discussed the need for a spay and neuter ordinance. It was noted that people who adopt an animal sign an agreement that they will have the dog spayed or neutered. City Attorney Matt Wade spoke to the council saying that their are options including a deposit when a dog is adopted and when it is spayed or neutered they can get the deposit back. He said currently the Health and Safety code of the city has the option to order a dangerous dog to be spayed or neutered. Wade also said their is more that can be done if an animal is picked up numerous times by the animal control. He said currently on the third time, the fee to get a dog back increases, he says that the city could put a much steeper increase in place for repeat offenders. Councilman Jim Myatt said, “I think we need to make the deposit large enough when a dog is adopted that the person would have incentive to get the dog spayed or neutered.” Mayor Barbara Pinner said it is concerning that if you make the deposit too high then the person would not adopt out of this shelter. The attorney also noted that through ordinances city’s can limit the number of dogs or cats a person can have. 

The council also discussed COVID-19 numbers in Hockley County. The council extended the city’s disaster declaration to stay in line with the Governor’s order. It was noted that many people have questioned what additional closures could be coming, City Manager, Erik Rejino said, the Governor has not addressed any additional closures at this time. Rejino reminded everyone to wear their mask and follow safe sanitation practices. Councilman Max Ledesma said their are too many people not wearing masks, “we have to take responsibility for ourself.” It was noted that the local Covenant Hospital has expanded their COVID capacity as the state sent additional nurses and staff to assist. The council approved the updated resolution to extend the disaster declaration to stay in line with the Governor’s order.

The council also approved a resolution to allow the city manager to execute an agreement with Levelland ISD to provide assistance under the Coronavirus Relief fund. It was also noted that the city should be able to expend their entire allotted amount for eligible expenses. The funds for Levelland ISD will be used to assist with the purchase of I-Pads and Chromebooks. The resolution was approved on a unanimous vote.

The council also took action to approve submission of an application to the Events Trust Fund through the Texas Governor’s Office for possibility of bringing the 2021 NJCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship in May, 2021.

The council also took action to approve the playground project at the George C. Price Park. The Levelland Community Development Corporation Board has recommended moving forward with the project and has authorized $50,000 for the project. The project will replace the current playground at the park.

The council also took action to approve City Park improvements including two new playgrounds, three new metal 24 x 60 pavilions, new trees, construction of water well, regulation basketball court, Irrigation and a new Restroom facility. Improvements come at a total cost of $675,000. The LCDC had originally appropriated $500,000 for the project and has agreed do an additional $100,000 contingent upon the city allocating $75,000 from the Voluntary Park Donation Fund. The council approved the project and authorized the additional $75,000 from the Park Donation Fund. It was noted that this will be the second most significant investment in city parks in the city’s history. The city parks department has done lots of demolition done to prepare for the upcoming project. 

The council approved the Tax Increment Financing Zone #1 and #2 annual report as presented. It was noted that TIF Zone #1 has added an additional 6 million dollars in taxable values to the zone since inception in 2016. Zone #2 has also created an additional 17.1 million dollars in taxable value to the area and that number will be going up more as the EnviroTech project is ongoing in the rail park.

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Obituary: Franklin McMorris, 78 of Levelland

Funeral Services are scheduled for Franklin McMorris, 78 of Levelland. Services are scheduled for Wednesday, November 18th in the First Assembly of God Church in Levelland at 1:00 pm. Visitation is scheduled for 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, November 17th in the Krestridge Funeral Home. Burial will follow in the City of Levelland Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Krestridge Funeral Home.

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62 New Recoveries, 19 New Cases and 1 New Death in Hockley County

The Texas Department of State Health Services released updated COVID-19 numbers for Hockley County.

The county received confirmation of 62 new recoveries on Monday, there were 19 new cases reported between Sunday and Monday and one additional death.

Based on the new information, Hockley County has a total of 1,146 cases with 678 recoveries and 38 deaths leaving 430 active cases. The hospitalization rate for Trauma Service Area B which Hockley County is a part of is at 25.27%. The area has been above the 15% threshold since October 18th.

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Obituary: Bill & Johnny Hamilton of Levelland

Funeral Services are scheduled for Bill and Johnny Hamilton of Levelland. Memorial services are scheduled for Monday, November 16th in the South Plains Church in Levelland at 3:00 pm. They both passed away on Wednesday, November 11th. Services are under the direction of Krestridge Funeral Home.

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