Demi Lovato Gets New Phone Number After Leaving Rehab

Demi Lovato has a new phone number. Sure, changing one's digits doesn't seem like anything extraordinary, but for Lovato, it's another step in the right direction toward a fresh start. 

On Tuesday (November 13), the singer invited friends to DM her on Instagram to receive her new phone number. Of course, this prompted thousands — maybe millions — of her Lovatics to reach out, but it's good to see the musician taking control of who she keeps in her inner circle. It was previously reported that Lovato would ditch her old phone number in August and only gave her new one out to trusted mentors and friends in order to nix drug dealers, users, and negativity from her life.

As you know, the "Sorry Not Sorry" singer, who was spotted out of rehab earlier this month, has had to make a lot of adjustments since she overdosed in her Hollywood Hills home in July.

Since the terrifying episode, Lovato has turned her life around tremendously. She celebrated being 90-days soberlast month, she's balancing her new life with exercise and visits a sober house three days a week.

Additionally, the 26-year-old's ex-boyfriend, actor Wilmer Valderrama, has remained a constant in her life every step of the way. A source told TMZ the former couple "still communicate regularly," meet and speak several times a week despite not being pictured in the public eye together.

Still, the "Games" artist's return to the spotlight has not come without its share of rocky moments. After sharing an image of her placing her vote in the midterm elections on Instagram, fans had to come to her defense as trolls bombarded Lovato's comments with body-shaming insults.

Lady Gaga's Foundation Launches Charitable #MultiplyYourGood Challenge

Lucky we live in Abilene and this is a normal thing. Even this Friday we have Mission Thanksgiving, Also Angel Tree and more!  But for most this is not. Lady G want to make giving during the hoilday season as normal as it is here in the 325 and we can help even more! The campaign is dubbed the #MultiplyYourGood Challenge, encouraging people to donate both gently used items and money to a local nonprofit. After participating, Gaga is asking everyone to share their tasks with the world under the #MultiplyYourGood hashtag and submit how you’re helping here


Born This Way?@BTWFoundation

Love ?? and kindness?
We’re kicking off and our challenge by hosting community events in partnership w/ @starbucks at six neighborhood stores around the US. Learn more, find one, and pledge to multiply your good ???? …



The challenge starts November 13 and runs through December 21. Any act submitted before the deadline will be multiplied by the Born This Way foundation, doubling every contribution with an act of their own.

One lucky winner will even receive a trip to Las Vegas to join Gaga’s foundation for a day of service and see her in concert. Click here for more details. 

“Sometimes the challenges we face can feel overwhelming, but I want everyone to remember that we all have the power to do good in our communities,” explained Cynthia Germanotta, the co-founder and president of the Born This Way Foundation.



What Color Are OREOS Black Or Brown - The Debate is Raging Online

Thrillist started a whole big controversery - are OREOS Black or Brown? 

It's a question we really never Thought about? 


Here's what Thrillist said about it:

"Two years ago, the internet was sent into a tizzy by a dress that was either blue or gold. Earlier this year, "Yanni" and "Laurel" were vying for our attention. And simmering underneath it all was a question that nobody bothered to ask... until now. 

What color is an Oreo cookie?

I’ve always thought the cookie part of the Oreo was black. You probably do too. I’ve tasted just about every Oreo cookie ever created. I’ve loved Oreo cookies since I was a kid. But guess what? Some people think the cookie is brown. To me, that’s like waking up to the news that the world has decided that the Pink Power Ranger is now actually Fuchsia. No. No it is not.

This all started when I was reading the FAQ for Mondelez, Oreo’s parent company. My job is to write about food, so it’s not that weird of a thing to do! Here’s the actually weird thing: Mondelez refuses to weigh in on the color of the Oreo cookie. Even though it’s clearly black!

Here's the official stance from Oreo's dad:

“We do not have a color assigned to the cookie portion of an OREO. Some people think the OREO is a shade of brown, while others view the color closer to black.”

Who the hell are the people who think it’s brown? They’re out there!"


So what do you say vote on our poll right here! 




Disney-Pixar releases preview for 'Toy Story 4'

Disney-Pixar released the first teaser trailer for "Toy Story 4" online Monday morning.


The preview on YouTube says:

 "Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called “Forky” to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy. 

The movie will be directed by Josh Cooley and will be released on June 21, 2019.

Guide: Halloween activities across the Big Country

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - The Halloween season is here and it's time to get out and take part in the festivities!

Boo at the Zoo
Saturday, Oct. 27 - 10a-5p
$5 day of or $4.50 advance
Abilene Zoo // 2070 Zoo Lane


Safety City Halloween Party
Saturday, Oct. 27 - 4-6p
Free admission
Safety City // 2601 S. 7th St. 


Bark in Our Park 
Saturday, Oct. 27 - 10a-1p
Free admission
Taylor-Jones Humane Society // 2301 N. 3rd St.


Halloween Heavy Hollows  
Saturday, Oct. 27 - 7pm-11p
$10  Donations to help flood victims
Live Music! Homer's Music Venue 4201 N1st. 


Trucks & Treats at the Food Park
Saturday, Oct. 27 - 5-9p
Food Park // 1089 S. 1st St. 


2018 Fall Festival 
Saturday, Oct. 27  - 6-9p
Free admission
GV Daniels Recreation Center // 541 N. 8th St.


Dia de los Muertos 
Featuring Abilene Philharmonic and Ballet Folkorico del Big Country
Saturday, Oct. 27 - 7:30p
Click here for tickets.
Abilene Convention Center // 1100 N. 6th St. 


Pumpkin Ball
Saturday, Oct. 27 - 4-11p
$10 admission
Play Faire Park // 2300 N. 2nd St. 


Tuesday, Oct. 30  - 6-8p
Free admission
Mall of Abilene // 4310 Buffalo Gap Rd.


Fall Festival
Wednesday, Oct. 31 - 6-8p
Free Admission
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center // 1674 Pine St.

Early voting has started across Texas

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Early voting is now underway across Texas and the Big Country. 

READ MORE: The do's and don'ts of early voting

Voters across Texas can vote on the races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, U.S. Senator and more. Locally, voters in Abilene can vote on the races for U.S. Representative, State Representative, Abilene ISD school bond, Cisco College Maintenance Fee and more. Brownwood voters are also voting for the next County Judge. 

Early voting locations in Taylor County



Click here for more early polling places across Texas and the Big Country. 

Elm Creek stabilizes in Abilene; Flood risk lowered

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Elm Creek through Abilene has stabilized, according to the City of Abilene's Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Bryan. 

In fact, he said the creek has slightly decreased in elevation since Thursday night. 

Although the creek has stabilized, Taylor County issued a Disaster Declaration. Signed by County Judge Downing Bolls, the declaration is necessary to allow Abilene to receive state and federal funds for flooding damage.

There was a possibility of the Elm Creek over flowing and flooding businesses along N. 6th, between Westwood Drive and Willis Street. This, after Lake Abilene, near the Abilene State Park in South Taylor County, was in danger of flowing over the spill way more.

Bryan said they have pictures of the lake Friday morning just trickling over the spillway, but the city continues to monitor the creek.

As of Friday morning, ta least 740 sand bags had been distributed to residents. They remain available to be picked up until 6:30 p.m., at Global Samaritan Resources at 2074 North 1st Street.

Two people in Texas sick from drug-resistent salmonella

TAMPA, Florida (WFLA) — An outbreak of drug-resistant salmonella linked to raw chicken has impacted several states, including making two people in Texas sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's investigating a total of 92 cases in 29 states. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is also monitoring the outbreak.

An investigation notice from the CDC says evidence indicates many types of raw chicken products from different sources are contaminated and making people sick. They have not identified a single common supplier.

During interviews, people who have gotten sick reported eating different types and brands of chicken products. Investigators have also identified the outbreak strain in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products and live chickens.

Testing done by the CDC shows the outbreak strain is resistant to multiple antibiotics. The CDC believes this outbreak might be widespread in the chicken industry.

There is no indication of where the confirmed cases are in Texas. The other states impacted by the outbreak are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

The CDC is urging consumers to handle raw chicken carefully and cook it thoroughly. 

"This outbreak is a reminder that raw chicken can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and make you sick," the notice said. 

The agency did clarify that "(the) CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked chicken, or that retailers stop selling raw chicken products."

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. 

You can learn more about the outbreak on the CDC website. 


If you’re looking to find the scariest haunted house in Texas then you’re in the right place and don't have to go far! We dare you to try any of the following top haunted houses in The Lone Star State.

We don’t just list the most haunted places in Texas on Haunted Rooms, we’re loving some of the haunted houses Texas has to offer too! That’s the haunted attractions and trails designed to give you a fright around Halloween!


Do you have what it takes to walk through the very creepiest attractions and haunted houses in Texas?


The Lone Star State has everything and then some. So,since its spooky season, why not check out the creepiest haunted house attractions this side of the Mississippi. Texas is so big it has dozens of spine-tingling adventures just waiting for you. Here is our rundown of the top 10 haunted attractions and haunted houses in Texas!



If ever there was a place that holds terrifying secrets within its walls, Kingwood Asylum is it.

It’s not just the asylum that is tainted either, it’s the woods all around and the very earth beneath your feet. There has been no one there for decades and for good reason; the unfortunate souls who were treated by Dr. Phillip Blackman and his staff still walk the halls and the grounds.

With stories of their own to tell.

The Indoor Asylum will scare whatever creep you have left in you. Don’t let that be all you see.

The Wood Trail will have you screaming for home as demonic and evil forces will jump out at you just when you think all is safe.

Whatever you’re thinking, you’ll be wrong. The Kingwood Asylum will leave you guessing and have you remembering gruesome things for a long time to come.


In Longview you’ll stumble upon the longest running haunted houses in East Texas. Doc Wilkes House of Horrors won’t let you go without a fight.

After all, every neighborhood has that one house which no one goes near, and for good reason. This place is different from the rest and you can explore its evil depths right up until the witching hour at midnight.

Based on real events, bring your friends, because you’ll need someone to hold onto as you make your way through this maze of horror.

Discover the secrets that are found only in its walls and rooms. Doc Wilkes has a long history of making people shiver for their lives. Don’t miss out!


This place was once home to German POWs during World War II. The Texas Terror Trail may not be a haunted house, but it is one scary and terrifying experience that won’t let you go.

Dark and mysterious forces were unleashed in this place many decades ago and the screams of the poor soldiers can be heard as you make your way through the trails towards the haunted house.

Dare to walk the Terror Trail alone or with a group and discover which creatures are just waiting for you behind every tree and dark shadow. No use running, as they are all around you!


Here you’ll find 20 acres and 18 buildings that will get you all mixed up and one haunted house more terrifying than the next. Just four miles down the road from the location of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the site in Smithville…

Don’t get too close to Adella, the wicked woman who runs the orphanage. Little children tend to disappear if they get near her. In the Mansion of Terror, her former home, you’ll encounter demonic forces that will have you running for your life.

Zombies await you in the factory, and they haven’t eaten in awhile. You’ll have work to do in order to keep out of their clutches, and at the two-story Slaughterhouse (a massive building new for the 2018 season), it’s a life or death battle between circus clowns and horrible cannibals who all want to feast on you! Scream at Scream Hollow – who will hear you!?


Just missing out on the number one spot as the scariest haunted house in Texas! If you think you’ve seen it all where haunted houses are concerned, you’ll find a whole new level of terror awaiting you at the Houston Terror Dome – the scariest haunted house in Houston!

This attraction will scare you worse than any Hollywood movie, and you won’t have a clue as to what’s real and what’s fake.

Demonic creatures, flesh-eating zombies, and bloody spirits are all waiting within. With new rooms, new effects, and new characters added every year, it won’t be like the last time.

It will be worse.

Run for your life at the Terror Dome because your life depends on it. Just don’t get lost inside. You may never find your way out again.


Do you love witches? If you do, run don’t walk to the Dark Hour Haunted House in Plano. Known as Coven Manor, this attraction is home to all the evil witches you could ever conjure up in one spell.

Because they want to reign over everyone, they hold a ‘dark hour’ – a ritual to gain control over everything unholy.

Try to find a place to hide; there’s nowhere, as you run from the cemetery in front of the house to the greenhouses out back where witches are concocting their famous potions. You better be brave or you’ll be next!

The Dark Hour Haunted House is one of the best year-round haunted houses, open every month except January. Come, if you dare!


Haunted houses are scary, then there are haunted houses that scare the life out of you. The Cutting Edge haunted house in Fort Worth, Texas, will do just that! It is located in a former meat-packing plant where horrors of all kinds still walk the rooms and halls.

You know what slaughterhouses are good for; and at the Cutting Edge, the demonic people who walk within are just waiting for you.

Just when you think it’s safe to open your eyes, the horror starts all over again, as this attraction is known for its longest adrenaline rush ever.

Once you’re inside, it’s a race to get out, but you’ll have to fight your way through all of the evil entities who are determined to get you. Just be sure you have all your parts when you exit. One of if not the best haunted house in DFW!


This gruesome haunted house is in San Antonio and you should only go if you don’t care about nightmares for the rest of your life. The 13th Floor is one of the best haunted houses in San Antonio. It’s a theatrical, intense, gripping show that grabs you the minute you walk in and won’t let you go, even when you walk out.

This 107-year-old building has places you shouldn’t descend into, but you will, as you begin your journey going down into the basement. Go face to face with ghouls which will have you running for cover. Think you’ll be safe in the tunnels?

I don’t think so.

If you have nightmares about dark and creepy places where horrible phantoms and spooks are just lurking in corners, you’ll love The Void. What happens here is seldom talked about, and then you get your final thrill on the mysterious thirteenth floor of the building.

You’ll never forget it. In fact, it may haunt your dreams forever!


If you are looking for one of the most elaborate seasonal attractions in all of America, look no further than the House of Torment in Austin. Here you will find not one, but three spine-tingling attractions that will have you screaming long after it’s over. It comes #1 on our list of haunted houses in Austin!

At the Laughterhouse, you’ll be in the company of evil clowns who have taken over the slaughterhouse. Don’t be their next victim.

It only gets worse from there at Hex of the Harvest, where witches are coming to get you. Traveling through the pumpkin vines, you’ll soon find yourself at the Dead End District.

Half-insect, half-human creatures live there and they’re looking for their next meal. Be scared and run for cover or take them on.


What could get creepier? What could get scarier? Well, things at Creepy Hollow Haunted House are definitely ramped up for a whole new scare season.

Come visit the 288 Scare Factory, where research experiments have gone horribly wrong. Here is Zombie Central and you’re in the middle of the walking dead. Think it’s easy to find your way out? Think again!

Or you could begin your nightmare in the Dark Woods a dense forest located behind the Scare Factory. Chemical wastes never properly disposed of have found their way into these woods, and now everyone who goes there never comes out looking the same.

Pitch Black is a holding facility insane freaks are running amok. Between complete darkness and blinding lights, you’ll be turned around more times than you can yell “help me!”


So, there you have it; top ten scariest haunted houses in Texas just waiting for you! Be sure to check dates and months, as each attraction is different.

But the darkness that lies within and the screams you hear will be with you for a long time to come.....You’ll see. Bwhahahah


The puppeteer behind Sesame Street's Big Bird for nearly 50 years is retiring

Caroll Spinney wrapping up on Sesame Street this week


The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on Sesame Street is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Caroll Spinney tells the New York Times that Thursday will be his last day on the program, which he joined from the start in 1969.

In addition to Big Bird, the 84-year-old was also Oscar the Grouch. Spinney says "I always thought, how fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets?" Spinney says the physical requirements of performing the characters had become difficult and he developed problems with his balance. He stopped doing the puppeteering for Big Bird in 2015 and now only provides the voices for him and Oscar. His apprentice, Matt Vogel, will succeed him in the Big Bird role. He also plays Kermit the Frog.


What is your Favorit Memory of Big Bird? 

Cornhole For Cash at Buffalo Wild Wings

Come try your hand at CornHole for Cash. October 13th. 11am-1pm. We are only a few week away from our finals and we want you to be apart of it. So come out and win $100 for just making 3 Cornhole bag. Then you come back for our finals on OCT 27th for your chance to win $10,000. Also try the amazing Cheese Stick there yum!!!



For the Full Rules click here


Kaden's Crazy News: A Fake Cop Offers to Clear an Arrest in Exchange For Beers and a Shrimp Cocktail

 If you're going to go to all the trouble to pose as a fake cop, at least set the bar nice and high when you start asking for BRIBES.



There's a 34-year-old guy named Adam Viens from Thompson, Connecticut, and over the summer, he decided he was going to pretend to be a cop.



He wound up talking to a 47-year-old guy named Keith Barnes who was facing an impaired driving charge.  And Adam told Keith he was a state trooper who was out on disability, and he offered to clear the charge.



He only wanted a small thing in return:  Some beers and a shrimp cocktail.  Dream big, kids.



Anyway, the whole thing was super suspicious, so Keith wound up calling the real cops to tell them what was going on.



And on Monday, they arrested Adam for impersonating a police officer. 



(Norwich Bulletin



(Here's his mugshot.)

Kaden's Crazy News: A Guy Is Seriously Injured While Breaking Into a Zoo to Steal a Monkey for His Girlfriend

 A 23-year-old guy named John Casford recently broke into a zoo in Wellington, New Zealand to steal a monkey for his girlfriend.  Specifically, a squirrel monkey.  And yes, they're pretty cute.



But he wasn't able to get one for her.  And he also got pretty banged up in the process.



He managed to get into the zoo, and into their enclosure.  But he FELL while trying scale a fence, and ended up with a broken leg, a sprained ankle, and two busted teeth.



He still got away.  But cops were able to track him down.  And he admitted that he was, quote, "high as a kite" when he did it.



Turns out he was also wanted on a few other charges, including some sort of road rage incident.  And a judge just sentenced him to two-and-a-half years in prison.



(New Zealand Herald)



(Here's a photo of one of the monkeys he tried to steal.)

'A-F' ratings released for Big Country school districts


(KTAB/KRBC) - The Texas Education Agency released 'A-F' accountability ratings for schools and districts for the first time Wednesday, showing how the Big Country stacks up against the rest of the state. 

The ratings grade districts and schools overall and also in individual categories based on student abilities at the end of the year (Student Achievement), the growth of students' abilities compared to other districts (School Progress), and how well different groups of students are performing (Closing the Gaps). 

Abilene ISD received a 'B' rating overall, and in the individual categories, the district was given a 'B' in Student Achievement and School Progress. They received a 'C' in Closing the Gaps. 


Factors that contributed these scores include a STAAR performance score of 75%, a college career and military readiness score of 89%, a graduation rate of 90%, a reading and math growth rate of 70%, an English Language proficiency rate of 100%, and more. 

The TEA also commended Abilene ISD, saying the district does exceptionally well in the postsecondary readiness category. 

Here's how some of the other Big Country Districts fared: 

Anson ISD

  • Overall: C
  • Student Achievement: C
  • Student Progress: C
  • Closing the Gaps: C

Baird ISD 

  • Overall: B
  • Student Achievement: B
  • School Progress: B
  • Closing the Gaps: C

Bangs ISD

  • Overall: B
  • Student Achievement: B
  • School Progress: B
  • Closing the Gaps: C

Breckenridge ISD

  • Overall: C
  • Student Achievement: B
  • School Performance: B
  • Closing the Gaps: C

Brownwood ISD

  • Overall: C
  • Student Achievement: C
  • School Progress: C
  • Closing the Gaps: D

Cisco ISD

  • Overall: B
  • Student Achievement: B
  • School Progress: B
  • Closing the Gaps: B

Coleman ISD

  • Overall: D
  • Student Achievement: C
  • School Progress: C
  • Closing the Gaps: F

Comanche ISD

  • Overall: B
  • Student Achievement: B
  • School Progress: B 
  • Closing the Gaps: B 

Clyde CISD

  • Overall: B
  • Student Achievement: B
  • School Progress: B
  • Closing the Gaps: B

Early ISD

  • Overall: A
  • Student Achievement: A
  • School Progress: A
  • Closing the Gaps: A

Jim Ned CISD

  • Overall: A
  • Student Achievement: A
  • School Progress: B
  • Closing the Gaps: A

Merkel ISD

  • Overall: D
  • Student Achievement: C
  • School Progress: D
  • Closing the Gaps: D

Ranger ISD

  • Overall: D
  • Student Achievement: D
  • Student Progress: D
  • Closing the Gaps: F


  • Overall: A
  • Student Achievement: A
  • Student Progress: A
  • Closing the Gaps: B

Roscoe Collegiate ISD

  • Overall: B
  • Student Achievement: B
  • School Progress: B
  • Closing the Gaps: B

Snyder ISD

  • Overall: C
  • Student Achievement: C
  • School Progress: C
  • Closing the Gaps: D

Stamford ISD

  • Overall: B
  • Student Achievement: B
  • School Progress: A
  • Closing the Gaps: B

Sweetwater ISD 

  • Overall: C 
  • Student Achievement: C
  • Student Progress: C
  • Closing the Gaps: D

Wylie ISD

  • Overall: A
  • Student Achievement A
  • School Progress: B
  • Closing the Gaps: A

To view additional information, including grades for other Big County school districts as well as grades for each individual school campus, visit the Texas Education Agency's School Report Card portal.



Thieves steal truck filled with $98,000 worth of Ramen noodles

FAYETTE COUNTY, Georiga (WCMH) - Police in Georgia are looking for some crooks who made off with nearly $100,000 worth of Ramen Noodles.

Deputies in Fayette County say the thieves stole the 53-foot trailer packed with the noodles about two weeks ago, Fox 5 Atlanta reports. The theft is just one of a string of thefts deputies believe are related.

Here's exactly how many packs of Ramen the thieves made off with. 

  • The driver of the truck estimated there were $98,000 worth of noodles in the back.
  • A 48 pack of Ramen at Sam's Club costs about $9
  • That means 520,000 packs of Ramen Noodles were stolen

WXIA says no arrests have been made so far.

Kaden's Crazy News: Two 70-Year-Old Men Get Into a Fist Fight Over Free Samples at Costco

Frankly I'm surprised something like this doesn't happen at a Costco every single weekend.  Free samples do strange things to otherwise normal people.



A 70-year-old guy was at a Costco in Greenville, South Carolina on Sunday and he was patiently waiting in line for a free cheese sample.  Then, suddenly, a 72-year-old man CUT the line, grabbed some cheese, and walked off.



The 70-year-old let it go . . . but then, when he was in line for a free cheeseburger sample and he saw the 72-year-old coming to pull the same move again, he had to do something.



He confronted the guy . . . and the guy HIT him in the head and knocked off his hat and glasses.



The cops came, but after they talked to both of the guys and some witnesses, they decided not to make any arrests. 



(The State)

Facebook adds tools to help users track time spent — and set time limits

 Facebook announced on Wednesday new features meant to help people manage and limit the amount of time they spend on the company's apps.

The new tools give users their daily average of time spent on both the Facebook and Instagram apps, as well as the ability to set a time limit for daily use and mute app notifications for a specific time period.

The new features come amid growing concerns from mental health experts and a vocal group of technologists about the impact social media is having on people.


Ameet Ranadive, product management director at Instagram, and David Ginsberg, director of research at Facebook, wrote in a blog post that the new features were designed with the goal of addressing these issues.

“We developed these tools based on collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organizations, academics, our own research and feedback from our community,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “We want the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram to be intentional, positive and inspiring.”

Instagram and Facebook have already been updating and improving the apps to help users limit and enjoy their time online. Facebook added new feature to its News Feed that allowed people to hide posts, unfollow people and snooze keywords, while Instagram created the “You’re All Caught Up” indicator, which tells people when they have seen all updates in their feed.

“It’s not just about the time people spend on Facebook and Instagram but how they spend that time,” Ranadive and Ginsberg wrote in the post. “It’s our responsibility to talk openly about how time online impacts people — and we take that responsibility seriously. These new tools are an important first step, and we are committed to continuing our work to foster safe, kind and supportive communities for everyone.”

More than 300 welding jobs available in Abilene area

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - More than 300 welding jobs are open in the Abilene area, creating a need for qualified employees. 

Texas State Technical College Breckenridge offers a three-semester welding class that certifies graduates to fill these in-demand jobs. 

Stephen Hope, a TSTC Welding Technology instructor in Breckenridge, said students typically have jobs when they graduate.


"There are so many welding jobs available right now that they can't fill a lot of their positions," he said.

Federal experts project the welding industry will only continue to grow in the coming years, growing to nearly 427,000 jobs. 


For more information on TSTC's welding program, visit


A new program is coming to Abilene to help homeless people get a job

 Work Again West Texas, a program inspired by other cities to help homeless people get a hand up and not a hand out.

"They are successfully providing jobs but what really appealed to me is they are not only providing jobs and day labor it's much more than that they seem to be having some good suitability. Neighbors who genuinely want to work and then are transitioning into other jobs," said Megan Dobbs, chair, Work Again West Texas Advisory Board.

The program hoping to start here in Abilene in the fall, picking up five people a day, twice a week for $26.09 a day in pay.

"Goodwill's responsibility will be insuring they have the proper identification in order to go out and work to take them to the work site and help over see that and then bring them back to our career center so that they can access resources and ensure they get paid for that day," said Kevin Bradford, President & CEO, Goodwill. 

They say this insures the neighbors by getting them a job while also cleaning the community and inspiring new careers.

"The city allowing us to go into neighborhoods and allies to clean up really shows their commitment to helping our neighbors find satiability," said Bradford.

The employers need them too.

"Who need more people in those kind of entry level beginning jobs and we really think that the people who really work hard in this program could easily transition into full time work in our city," said Dobbs.

City of Abilene could allow dogs on certain restaurant patios

The City of Abilene is considering enacting an ordinance that would allow dogs on certain restaurant patios.

Right now, dogs are banned from all food establishments under the Texas Food Establishment Rules.

Abilene has adopted the blanket ban, per TFER, but City officials recently learned they can grant variances to certain businesses to allow dogs on their patios.


These businesses must have an outdoor patio with a separate entrance that would keep dogs from going inside the food establishment, as the dogs will never be allowed inside restaurants or playground areas.

Businesses must also display signs that read, "DOG FRIENDLY PATIO: DOG ACCESS TO OUTDOOR PATIO ONLY", and "to report a dog incident, please contact Abilene Animal Services".

In the coming weeks, city council members will decide on enacting an ordinance that would enable them to grant variances to allow dogs on restaurant patios in Abilene.

If the ordinance is enacted, businesses wishing to allow dogs on their patios will have to apply for a variance with the City. 

Baby delivered in San Antonio Chick-Fil-A bathroom

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KXAN) — A baby girl is doing well after being born in a very unlikely place: the bathroom of a Chick-Fil-A in San Antonio.

Robert Griffin posted the story on Facebook, saying he and his wife Maggie were meeting a friend at Chick-Fil-A Tuesday so they could drop off their daughters before they headed to the hospital. By that time, Maggie had started going into labor, and really had to use the restroom. 

Although the restaurant was closed, staff let her inside.

"I loaded the kids into our friends car, kissed them goodnight, and went in to find Maggie," Robert wrote. "The manager said 'she’s in the restroom and she’s screaming'. So there we wife and I in a tiny stall in the bathroom."


Robert told his wife "sweetie, we are gonna have to do this right here, right now," and told the manager to call 911 and get him some towels. As their little girl began to arrive, he saw the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around her neck. He carefully unwrapped it.

"With two more strong pushes, and using my shirt for a towel, out came Gracelyn Mae Violet Griffin," Robert wrote. He had been speaking to first responders on the phone during the birth, and paramedics arrived to check out mom and baby. 

He says while the situation wasn't ideal, it all worked out. Robert even says her birth certificate says "Born in Chick-Fil-A" on it. According to KSAT, the company has promised her free Chick-Fil-A for life and the franchise owners are already helping plan her first birthday.

"I thinks it’s pretty ironic that a proud conservative, Christian family would have a baby in a Chick-Fil-A, and wrapped in a Trump 2020 T-shirt! BOOM," Robert added at the end of his post.

Hardin-Simmons hires new Director of Bands

ABILENE, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) - Dr. Robert Tucker, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and President Eric Bruntmyer are proud to announce the hiring of a new Director of Bands for Hardin-Simmons University.

Mr. Bill Harden, an HSU alumnus, has accepted the position of Director of Bands. "Bill comes to us with many years of successful experience as a Texas band director," says Dr. Robert Tucker. "He is also an outstanding musician and a Hardin-Simmons alum. We are excited for his leadership with the Cowboy Band and the Concert Band." 

Mr. Harden has a great deal of experience as a band director, he has been the Band Director at Odessa HS since 1998. He has also been a bassoonist with the Midland Odessa Symphony Orchestra since 1988. He received his bachelor's from HSU in 1986, and a master's of music from the University of Cincinnati in 1988. 


"I am very excited to be coming back to where I learned to be a music educator," says Mr. Harden. "My experiences at HSU, especially with the Cowboy Band, have helped to make me the person I am today. I'm excited to meet the young men and women who make up the World Famous Cowboy Band of today!"

The administration is committed to the legacy and the Cowboy Band, explains President Bruntmyer.

"Recently I was honored to play the maracas and cymbals with the World Famous Cowboy Band. They have so much fun playing great music and sharing their personalities during their performances.

Because of this, I want every band kid to come to Hardin-Simmons to experience the Cowboy Band!

But, these experiences are only made possible by great leadership. During the past 95 years we have been blessed with so many wonderful directors and I look forward to welcoming Billy Harden back to campus this fall as he leads the band." 

The HSU Cowboy Band Foundation is also excited to welcome Mr. Harden, "The Cowboy Band Foundation looks forward to a continued positive relationship with Hardin-Simmons and the HSU School of Music," says Mr. Jay Lester, 2nd Vice Chair of the HSU Cowboy Band Foundation.

"We are excited to welcome Bill Harden, a Cowboy Band graduate from 1986. He has already started planning for the future by setting some goals for the band, including travel, recruitment and retention of members, and a positive relationship with the band foundation. The future looks bright for the Cowboy Band!" 

Mr. Harden is currently out of the country, but will begin his work at HSU in early August. 


This article is a press release from Hardin-Simmons University

Taylor County deputy's kidney donation 'went very well'

A Taylor County Sheriff's deputy kidney donation surgery went very well, and now he's in recovery! 

CID Sgt. Jay Jones is becoming a hero in a new way by donating a kidney to Clayton Bolt of Abilene.

The Sheriff's Office said no one in Bolt's family was a match. Jones' wife is friends with Bolt's sister and when Bolt heard of the situation, he volunteered to donate his kidney should he be a match.


Fast forward through a bunch of tests and it was determined Jones was a match.

"You spend your entire career serving, then you really get a chance to serve," Jones said.

Researchers use baby teeth to test for autism

Scientists have developed a test that can determine if a child has autism by looking at their baby teeth. 

The research takes a closer look at how children metabolize metals, which is critical to neurodevelopment in early life.

As a child grows, a new layer of tooth is formed every day based on the chemicals circulating in that child's body, similar to growth rings on a tree. So, these scientists looked at a study of baby teeth in Sweden involving 200 twins. Those researchers used a laser to test whether zinc-copper cycles were different in those with autism and they were. The study was then done again in the U.S. and U.K. 
From that data, the scientists developed an algorithm that is 90 percent accurate in distinguishing between teeth of children with autism and without. The authors published their findings in the journal Science Advances


Currently, a biochemical test does not exist for autism. Doctors diagnose the disorder using clinical assessments and observations. But since children lose their teeth too late for this test to be helpful, experts say this is just one step toward an end goal. 

"They're hoping that future work would look at developing some type of prenatal or blood assay to be able to essentially look at, ok, we can expect possibly autism from this test," Dr. LaQuia Vinson, Riley Hospital for Children pediatric dentist, said. 

If parents can find out earlier their child may have autism, doctors can begin intervention and know sooner about any medical conditions commonly associated with autism. 

Teeth actually begin to form as early as four weeks in utero, so dentists and doctors say they can be a very good indicator of a child's health history. 

There are some developmental and behavioral warning signs for autism parents can look out for, according to

Your baby or toddler doesn't:

  • Make eye contact, such as looking at you when being fed or smiling when being smiled at
  • Respond to his or her name, or to the sound of a familiar voice
  • Follow objects visually or follow your gesture when you point things out
  • Point or wave goodbye, or use other gestures to communicate
  • Make noises to get your attention
  • Initiate or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up
  • Imitate your movements and facial expressions
  • Play with other people or share interest and enjoyment
  • Notice or care if you hurt yourself or experience discomfort

Saying the state is violating a voter registration law, judge gives Texas until Thursday to fix

Texas has less than a week to tell a federal judge in San Antonio how it will begin complying with the National Voter Registration Act, a decades-old federal law aimed at making it easier for people to register to vote by forcing states to allow registration while drivers apply for or renew their driver’s licenses.  

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled more than a month ago that Texas was violating the law, sometimes called the Motor Voter Act, by not allowing Texas drivers to register to vote when they update their driver’s license information online. But it wasn’t clear until this week what exactly state officials would have to do to address that — and by when they’d have to do it.

Now, Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project — which sued the state over the issue in 2016, saying Texas’ current system disenfranchised thousands of voters and violated the U.S. Constitution — have until Thursday to propose a detailed fix for the system. After that, Garcia will weigh the proposals and order a remedy.

“Defendants are violating [several sections] of the NVRA and their excuse for noncompliance is not supported by the facts or the law,” Garcia ruled in a strongly-worded 61-page opinion.

Texas Civil Rights Project President Mimi Marziani said her group will fight to get a fix in place in time for voters to register for this fall’s midterm elections. The deadline for Texas’ closest election — May 22 primary runoff races — has already passed.

The Texas Civil Rights Project has offered to work with the state to submit a remedy both sides can support. The Texas Attorney General’s Office said Friday it was “reviewing the order and weighing our options.” But a spokesman already pledged last month to appeal Garcia’s ruling.

"We are not surprised by the order ... by this particular judge," spokesman Marc Rylander said at the time. "The Fifth Circuit will not give merit to such judicial activism because Texas voter registration is consistent with federal voter laws."

But, Marziani said, the state will not have the opportunity to appeal until after Garcia weighs in on the remedies each side proposes.

The lawsuit centers on what plaintiffs characterize as a confusing procedure for registering to vote through the Department of Public Safety’s online system. Plaintiffs said that Texans updating their driver’s license information online were asked whether they wanted also to register to vote; when users checked “yes” to that prompt, they were directed to a registration form that they had to print out and send to their county registrar.

Though the website specifies that checking yes “does not register you to vote,” that language has caused “widespread confusion” among Texans who incorrectly thought their voting registration had been updated, the plaintiffs claimed.

The state argued that its practices followed federal law. But lawyers for the Texas Attorney General’s Office could not convince Garcia to dismiss the case.

The state also argued that there are technological difficulties associated with online voter registration even in this narrow form, particularly because state law requires a signature when an individual registers to vote. But the state already keeps an electronic signature on file, officials told the court.

“With motor voters’ electronic signatures already in the voter registration agency’s possession, there is no reason why Defendants could not register them to vote in a simultaneous online transaction,” Garcia wrote.

Marziani summed up Garcia’s thorough order succinctly: “Legally, the state has to make this change, and technologically, there’s nothing standing in their way.”

Voting rights advocates are hopeful that Garcia’s ruling will open the doors to a wider system of online voter registration in Texas.

Texas is one of about a dozen states that does not yet provide for any form of online voter registration — a system critics warn would make the state’s elections vulnerable to voter fraud. Most experts reject those claims.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at

Texas Tribune mission statement

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Motorcycles banned from Western Heritage Classic Parade after horse pulling Senator bolts

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Motorcycles have been banned from the Western Heritage Classic Parade after a horse pulling Texas Senator Dawn Buckingham bolted, causing her carriage to overturn. 

The horse, which was pulling Senator Buckingham and one of her aides, was spooked when motorcyclists "revved their engines under the underpass of North First at Oak St," according to a press release from the Abilene Police Department.

Buckingham and the aide were able to jump from the carriage without injury, but the press release states the driver was thrown and ended up under the carriage. She was transported to the hospital with minor injuries and has since been released. 

A Taylor County Expo Center representative says  that because of this incident, "motorcycles will not be allowed in the Western Heritage Classic Parade in the future."

KTAB and KRBC are working to determine if motorcycles will be banned from other parades as well.

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