Joy Bonala

News Director

Ways to Connect

In many ways Jordan Click is like any typical 27-year-old; she likes shopping, enjoys sports and dreams of owning a boutique. However, her limitations are anything but normal. It’s been seven years since the Abilene native was paralyzed from the shoulders down. Now she’s seeking specialized treatment to regain some ability. It’s not always easy to ask for help, but that’s exactly what Click’s family is doing.  

If you stop by Abilene’s Convention Center you’ll find busy city maintenance workers, landscape artists planting flowers and volunteers painting rebar. People are working overtime to get the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden finished in time for the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival.

Few people feel the weight of that deadline more than Pam Tippen. She’s an Abilene Cultural Affairs Council board member and she’s overseeing the garden.

The Abilene Zoo is investigating how one of the Zoo’s jaguars escaped its exhibit on Monday. The incident happened early in the morning before the Zoo was open to the public. Staff found two-year-old Estrella perched above the neighboring exhibit where she had attacked a spider monkey. She was sedated and put into her off-exhibit quarters. The spider monkey had to be euthanized.

"There have been jaguars in that facility since 1995," said Zoo Director Bill Gersonde. "So, that’s probably the frustrating thing for us is, how did this happen?"

West Texas Veterans and their loved ones are sharing their stories with historians for the project, “War Stories: West Texans Experience War.” Historians from Angelo State University are working to preserve these stories by recording interviews, digitizing photographs, documents, letters, diaries and other artifacts.

Early voting numbers are up after 1,024 people voted in person on Tuesday and 850 people voted early on Monday. 

Here are the locations and times for early voting:

Abilene City Hall, 555 Walnut St., April 24-28 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., May 1-2 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Taylor County Plaza, 400 Oak St. Suite 101, April 24-28 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., May 1-2 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Mall of Abilene, 4310 Buffalo Gap Rd., April 24-28 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., May 1-2 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

An introduction 

"I’m a family man and Christian who has worked and provided donuts for the children’s department at First Baptist Church for 29 years," Robert Briley said. "I’ve served as a deacon and have served the Lord’s Supper to nursing homes and retirement centers. I’ve coached Little League baseball and basketball. I love Abilene and I’ve served on the city council for six years and have been involved with over 100 non-profits serving those in need."

 

This legislative session, some Texas lawmakers are pushing bills that would increase per-student funding for public charter schools. Each year, these charters schools currently receive $1400 dollars less per student than traditional public schools. Backers of the proposed changes want give charters more money, specifically for maintaining and updating school facilities. 

Amid the national conversation surrounding President Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants, Abilene area residents are turning to a local non-profit to see how they can help refugees. For almost 20 years Global Samaritan Resources in Abilene has been sending aid to people in many of the countries included in the ban.

 

For college students practicing Islam it can be challenging to keep a class schedule and pray five times a day, which is required by the faith. McMurry University is making it easier for their Muslim students to worship by providing a prayer room on campus. 

Sultan Albogami and about 45 other Muslim students from Saudi Arabia are very grateful that McMurry granted their request for a prayer room. Now Albogami has a place for his daily prayers and the room helps him show others that Islam is a peaceful religion. 

 

If you’ve never heard of something called “change ringing,” you’re not alone. Change ringing is a musical performance that requires a team of people pulling ropes that ring giant bells in a precise order. It’s more popular in eastern states, but Texas has five churches with a bell tower built for change ringing – including one in Abilene. 

 

Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald said the time has come for him to step aside and let someone else serve the city. Archibald announced his decision not to run again during a city council meeting today.

"I’ve been elected 5 times, I’m very honored, I’m very humbled to have served in this role," Archibald said. "I love Abilene very much." 

 

All Independent school districts in Texas used to be elected at-large, or city-wide. But many districts have switched to a single-member system, saying it creates more diversity among representatives. Abilene ISD has remained at-large despite pressure to change. With an open seat on the board of trustees, the issue has resurfaced. 

At an Abilene ISD public board meeting in June there were a handful of recognitions for successes in athletics, band competitions and leadership experiences. Then it was time for community members to speak. 

Coming up this Sunday, the Abilene Reporter-News will publish the second part to their series, "Too Many Cries," an investigative report on why Abilene’s region ranks highest in the state for child abuse and neglect. 

The Abilene Public Library’s South Branch is scheduled to reopen on Nov. 19. Previously on South Fourteenth Street and Danville Drive, the South Branch has been closed since the end of September while library staff transitions to the new location inside the Mall of Abilene.

The Taylor County Expo Center office is busy these days with people stopping by to grab “Grow Expo” yard signs that promote the $55-million-dollar bond election that, if passes, will pay for renovations to the Expo Center.

Pages