Cash donations top $8,000 at Brian Wade Toy Drive

Local donors turned out in record numbers as approximately $8,500 was raised during the Brian Wade Toys for Kids Toy Drive, held Wednesday at the former Bank of America parking lot on Main St. in downtown Brownwood. Local residents also contributed thousands of toys to the drive, which benefits the Brown County Toys for Kids program.

Wanda Martin with the Brown County Toys for Kids program reports that 512 families representing 1,348 kids have signed up to receive Christmas toys through the program. Funds raised will be used to purchase toys. The toy distribution day is Saturday.

Brian Wade Toys for Kids Toy Drive to continue his legacy

The Brian Wade Toys for Kids Toy Drive will be held from 9 am to 5 pm Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the former Bank of America parking lot on Main St. next to Trans-Texas Tire. New, unwrapped toys will be collected that day, as well as cash donations for the Brown County Toys for Kids program. The cash donations will be used to purchase toys for area children.

Wanda Martin tells KXYL that her family has organized the Toys for Kids program since 1997, when the previous organizers had to quit due to health reasons. In the 20 years since, the program has seen massive growth in participation as well as donations. Martin credits much of the growth to the late Brian Wade, who joined the effort in 2006 by starting a radio toy drive, which is now named in his honor. Wade passed away last year at the age of 42.

Toy distribution day is Dec. 16. Deadline to enroll kids in the Toys for Kids program is Dec. 13. Those registering kids will need to go by the Grand Starz Ballroom on Belle Plain between 10 am and 5:30 pm. Those registering kids will need to bring a photo-ID, and the kid’s social security card.

State Rep. Lang to face challenger in GOP Primary

State Rep. Mike Lang will face a challenge from Granbury ISD Supt. Dr. Jim Largent in the March 6 Republican Party Primary Election. On his campaign Web site, Largent said he is running for State Representative because too many politicians are taking marching orders from special interests instead of representing the interests of their constituents.

Largent has served as Granbury ISD superintendent since 2012. Prior to that, he served as superintendent of Rusk ISD in East Texas.

Lang is serving in his first term as State Representative for House District 60. During the 85th Legislature, he co-sponsored Constitutional Carry legislation, legislation supporting the Article V Convention of States and sponsored a bill that would have prohibited the Brown County Attorney’s Office from collecting donations as part of pre-trial diversion agreements.

Early voting for the March 6 primary will be Feb. 20-March 2.

Health Dept.: Get your flu shots

National Influenza Vaccine Week is December 3-9, 2017. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department would like to take this opportunity to remind all the residents of our city and the surrounding area that it is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu. Flu season occurs in the fall and winter. The flu usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May.

Seasonal influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It is spread when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets containing the flu virus are inhaled into your mouth or nose. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. Most healthy adults can infect others one day before symptoms develop, and 5-7 days after symptoms appear. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems might be contagious for a longer period. Complications from the flu can be very serious, especially to certain high-risk groups, which includes seniors (those age 65 and older), children (especially those age 2 and younger), pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as chronic respiratory illness and diabetes. Flu related complications can include pneumonia and dehydration.

The best protection against the flu is the flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that all people 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccine. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department has influenza vaccine available for children and adults. Qualifying children and adolescents can receive flu vaccine provided by the Texas Vaccines for Children program. Individuals can contact the health department at 325-646-0554 for information about the cost of the flu vaccine for children. The cost of adult flu vaccine is $25.00. The health department is open from 8-11:30am and 1-4:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Walk-in clinic hours on Wednesday are 7:30am-6pm. Numerous physicians’ offices and pharmacies also have the flu vaccine available. For answers to questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, people can access the CDC website at www.cdc.gov, or contact the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department at 325-646-0554. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department is located at 510 East Lee Street in Brownwood

TxDOT CREWS PRETREATING ROADWAYS IN ANTICIPATION OF POSSIBLE WINTRY PRECIPITATION

As a strong cold front affects much of Texas, crews with the Texas Department of Transportation’s Brownwood District are pretreating some roadways with a brine solution in anticipation of light wintry precipitation on Wednesday.

In Eastland County, crews are pretreating bridges and overpasses on Interstate 20, as well as Ranger Hill.

In addition, crews in Coleman and McCulloch counties are pretreating major roadways in those counties. Other Brownwood District counties may begin pretreating roadways as well, depending on weather forecasts. At this time, the National Weather Service is not anticipating significant winter weather impacts in the Brownwood District.

Motorists are urged to be on the lookout for slower-moving TxDOT vehicles involved in the pretreatment process.

TxDOT has extensively used brine, a solution of water and salt, in recent years as an effective pretreatment for roadways prior to freezing precipitation. The brine is applied using spray nozzles attached to tanks mounted on the back of TxDOT trucks, forming a milky appearance on the roadway. The brine helps to prevent the bonding of frozen precipitation to the pavement, aiding in the removal of snow and ice.

Although widespread travel impacts are not expected with this weather system, TxDOT crews will remain vigilant in treating roadways as needed. Travelers are encouraged to plan ahead and check roadway conditions prior to travel through Wednesday night.

TxDOT roadway conditions statewide are available at DriveTexas.org or by calling 1-800-452-9292. The Brownwood District Twitter feed (@TxDOTBWD) will be updated as road conditions change. Other TxDOT Twitter feeds and the TxDOT Facebook page are also valuable resources for travel conditions across the state.

More winter weather travel information is available on the TxDOT website.

Gag order issued in Riggs trial

Citing the effort to insure a fair trial, 35th District Judge Stephen Ellis issued a gag order in the Capital Murder trial of 21 year old Ryan Riggs, who could possibly face the death penalty for the 2016 murder of Chantay Blankenship near her North Lake Brownwood home. Ellis’ order restricts comments from law enforcement officials, prosecutors, defense attorneys and family members to the media.

Since Riggs could face the death penalty, Judge Ellis appointed the Regional Public Defender’s office in Lubbock to represent Riggs in court. District Attorney Michael Murray has not announced whether his office will seek the death penalty.

Hendrick to build medical offices on Crockett Drive

The Brownwood City Council approved a $350,000 incentive to Hendrick Health System to build a medical office next to their surgical center on Crockett Drive. As part of the agreement, Hendrick will employ at least 18 employees with annual salaries of $73,278 for at least five years to receive up to $50,000. The $11.6 million facility includes plans for possible expansion.

In other business, the council approved the Brownwood Municipal Development District’s plans to sell the former Central Fire Station at the corner of Austin Ave. and Main St. to a developer for $290,000. The developer plans to build a 1,600 square foot fast food restaurant that will employ 20 people with annual salaries of $20,000. No details on what franchise would move into the facility have been released.

Reports: Riggs could face death penalty

The 21 year old man indicted for the murder of Chantay Blankinship could face the death penalty, according to a report from the Brownwood Bulletin. Ryan Riggs was indicted for Capital Murder on allegations that he knowingly and intentionally caused the death of Blankenship by striking her with a lawnmower blade, or another item, while in the course of committing kidnapping or sexual assault.

Riggs recently confessed to the crime after a DNA profile picture was released bearing his resemblance. Blankinship was killed in May 2016 near her Lake Brownwood home.

The Bulletin reports that District Judge Stephen Ellis expects the state to pursue the death penalty, so he appointed the Regional Public Defender in Lubbock to represent Riggs. The Regional Public Defender is an office funded through a collaboration of West Texas counties to minimize the financial impact a death penalty case can have on a county.

Municipal Development District considering sale of old fire station

When the Brownwood Municipal Development District meets Tuesday, they will consider the sale of the former central fire station located at the corner of Main St. and Austin Avenue, according to a report in the Brownwood Bulletin.

The Brownwood Fire Department left the property in April 2015 after the new Central Fire Station was completed on Adams Street. The property was transferred to the Brownwood EDC, and was subsequently transferred to the MDD to sell for business development.

No further details regarding the possible sale of the old fire station have been released.

90 grams of meth seized in Bangs

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office seized 90 grams of methamphetamine, 0.9 grams of black tar heroine and a small amount of marijuana during a search warrant served on Gant St. in Bangs. Deputies arrested Steven Trevino, Armando Garza, Jr., and Josephine Flores for possession of a controlled substance in a drug free zone and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Their residence was located within 1,000 feet of the Bangs ISD bus barn, thus making it a drug free zone.