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The Abilene Police Department has been understaffed for several years because officers are retiring faster than new recruits join the force. Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna said the APD is authorized to have 216 officers, but has only about 189 officers. The city is working on a new plan that will give APD the funds to hire more officers for the academy than what was originally set in the budget. It takes 18 months to train new hires because the Abilene police academy is longer and more rigorous than many other departments.

Monday night the Abilene ISD board voted against changing the board election process to single-member districts. After months of public discussions, they voted against changing the election methodology, despite pressure from community members. Timothy Chipp, education reporter for the Abilene Reporter News, joins me to talk about what the vote means for the district.

Two-a-days are well underway at Texas high schools as football teams prepare for the upcoming season, only a few weeks remain before those Friday night lights illuminate starry Texas skies. And If you’re a football fan, you may have heard of the Mighty Matadors. In 1968, Lubbock’s Estacado High football team won the Texas Class AAA championship in their first year playing varsity football. Estacado also happened to be Lubbock’s first integrated school. A new book tells the story of the team that overcame racial division to become state champions.

The City of Abilene is asking community members to join committees in an effort to reduce crime. Mayor Anthony Williams held a meeting at the Abilene Convention Center Monday night asking for volunteers to help the efforts of two local groups; ACT (Accept responsibility, Collaborate and Take action) And Stop The Violence.

He was joined by representatives from local law enforcement, the Chamber of Commerce, AISD, local pastors and victim advocacy groups. Over a 100 people came to the meeting to hear more about how they can do their part to make a difference.

It’s been almost a century since a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire lower half of the United States. For those of us living in West Texas, we’ll be lucky to witness the August 21st eclipse... but we won’t hit the jackpot.  Only part of the natural phenomenon will be visible from this region, that’s because the Abilene area is nowhere near the path of totality. But what exactly is the path of totality?

U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington and fellow Republican and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry, visited Dyess Air Force Base yesterday to hear from airmen and learn more about their needs. The congressmen toured a C-130J Super Hercules and a B-1B Lancer.

“This was a big day for West Texas and for Abilene and Dyess,” Arrington said. “The Chairman has tremendous demands on his time, bases and military facilities all around the world and he chose to spend his time with us today.”

About 5,000 people live in the West Texas town of Coleman. When he moved there in the early 90’s, Dr. Sandip Mathur was struck by one characteristic:

“I guess in a word, its openness,” Dr. Mathur says. “The land is wide open, the skies are big and the people are open-hearted.

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