By Ricky White
The pandemic continues to affect the way we live, the way we work, learn, socialize, meet, worship and play. We will continue to be resilient and do things that are within our control. I encourage everyone to continue wearing a mask, social distance, wash hands frequently and stay home if you are feeling sick. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families that have lost loved ones due to this pandemic. As of December 10, 2020, Parmer County has recorded 776 confirmed cases, 651 recoveries, 98 active cases and 27 deaths. Our healthcare workers have worked tirelessly and we thank each of them for their dedication.
On March 1,2020, the City of Friona received grant money from the Corona-Virus Relief Fund as part of the Cares Act which provides for payments to state, local and tribal government navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The City of Friona received a total allocation of $216,370 to spend on COVID related expenses to support the city, local businesses, school districts and regional hospitals. Each entity listed has received money from this grant to assist in purchasing supplies to help keep their healthcare workers, employees, faculty, or students safe.
Volunteer Fireman responded to 7 emergency calls in November; (1st) structure fire, (4th) storage fire, (5th) smoke investigation, (6th) vehicle accident, (13th) railroad ties on fire, (17th) grass fire, (19th) vehicle accident. Each emergency response was met with a minimum of 3 trucks responding and 7 fire firefighters.
Chief Jimenez and officers responded to 205 calls in November. There were 184 stops, 103 warnings, 125 citations, and 12 arrests. The arrests were as follows; 5 arrests for possession of marijuana, 2 arrests for furnishing alcohol to minors, 1 arrest for aggravated assault on a family member, 3 arrests on warrants, and 1 arrest for evading an officer. The officers drove a total of 3,643 miles patrolling and protecting our city.
Judge Campbell had 96 new cases in November with 73 cases resolved. The court collected $13,143.22 in fines and total court cost equaled $8,095.67 which was remitted to the state.
Emergency Medical Service made 55 runs in November. NOTE: total runs have increased monthly since the pandemic began. There were twenty one calls for 911, fifteen transfers, and twelve calls ended in a "no transport". Collections equaled $5,538.84 and billing totaled $28,647.88. The EMS personnel has done a great job handling and responding to all emergencies. We thank them for their time serving our community and dedication.
The City of Friona pumped 12,903,700 gallons of water in November, sold 9,873,00 gallons. Total billing equaled $59,427.44 on 1465 accounts. Accounts Payable totaled $151,365.66 in November. The city continues to be in good standing. There was one large expenditure of $10,000 for the remaining balance on the completion of the reconstructed EMS building on highway 60. The EMS personnel are enjoying the improved living quarters, space, and location. The building looks great and will service the EMS needs for many years.
Friona Public Library was open for 17 days in November. There were 281 (electronic visits) and 23 patron visits. There were 286 items circulated and 168 new items added to inventory.
I want to wish everyone a safe and merry Christmas and a joyful New Year!!!!
The Parmer County Commissioners Court met in regular session on Monday, December 14, 2020 at 10 a.m. in the County Courtroom of the Parmer County Courthouse in Farwell, Texas. The meeting began with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag and Texas Flag.
There were no public comments. Minutes from the November 23rd meeting were read and approved. Commissioners approved the payment of the accounts payables as presented by County Treasurer Sharon May. The Treasurer's Report was also approved.
Commissioners approved the purchase of a new phone system for the Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center. The new phone network will be purchased from Ideacom of Amarillo before December 18th in order to take advantage of a $7,000 discount. The total cost will be approximately $44,000 after the discount. All offices will now be connected by the same system which will include voice over IP, the ability to keep current phone numbers, and voice mail for everyone. This is the first ever major renovation/update of the county phone system. The new network should be fully operational sometime in February. The current 911 system will not be affected by the new county upgrade.
A request by Bovina ISD for $83,814.55 from its portion of the Permanent School Fund to pay for school renovations was approved. Approval was also given for payment of unused vacation hours to Parmer County employees. A Bond was approved for the Parmer County District Clerk Deputy and continuing education hours were granted for the Parmer County Tax Assessor. Discussion concerning a tower lease was tabled until the next meeting.
The 2020 Parmer County Fire Report was presented to the Court by the five Fire Departments that serve Parmer County. At the first of the year, the county allocates $150,000 to be divided among the departments to be used for the purchase of equipment and other expenses. Friona received $32,000, Bovina, Farwell, & Lazbuddie received $22,000 each, and Rhea received $12,000. Another $40,000 is distributed on a per call basis (Rhea not included). There were 165 calls in 2020 and the breakdown by department at $242 per call is as follows: Bovina (32 calls-$7,744), Farwell (46 calls-$11,132), Friona (57 calls-$14,036), and Lazbuddie (29 calls-$7,018).
The next scheduled meeting is Monday, December 28th.
All meetings are open to the public. The Commissioner's Court reserves the right to go into Executive Session at any time. The agenda may be found on the Parmer County website. Information in this article is only a summary. Any questions concerning specific actions should be directed to the Commissioners Court.
Superintendent Lorenzo Soto of Teinert Construction discusses work being done on the library in the new Primary School building. Lorenzo gave a tour of the new facility to FISD Superintendent Jimmy Burns, Special Services/Student Data specialist Ashley Smith, and the Friona Star this week. The Primary School project is on schedule and should be ready for students next fall. Stay tuned.
The Parmer County Soil and Water Conservation District is accepting entries for this years' youth essay contest until Friday, January 8th. Cash prizes are offered up to $100. Call Donnelle Jones at 1-806-481-3311 x3 for the theme and more information.
The Canadian Wildcats defeated the Gunter Tigers 33-6 last week a State Semi-Final playoff matchups. The #1 ranked Wildcats will now face the #6 ranked Franklin Lions in the 3A State Championship Game at 3 p.m. on Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced this week that the waiver on expiration dates for driver licenses (DLs) and identification cards (IDs) ends on April 14, 2021. The waiver, granted by Governor Greg Abbott in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, applied to DLs, commercial DLs, commercial learner permits, ID cards and election identification certificates that expired on or after March 13, 2020.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement this week after Oracle announced that they will relocate their headquarters to Texas from California. "Oracle is a global technology giant with an already strong presence here in Texas, and we are proud to welcome its headquarters to Austin. While some states are driving away businesses with high taxes and heavy-handed regulations, we continue to see a tidal wave of companies like Oracle moving to Texas thanks to our friendly business climate, low taxes, and the best workforce in the nation. Most important of all, these companies are looking for a home where they have the freedom to grow their business and better serve their employees and customers, and when it comes to economic prosperity, there is no place like the Lone Star State."
The Parmer County Hospital Auxiliary is accepting donations for its 2020 Project Christmas Card. This year, proceeds will be used to enhance and upgrade the "COVID-19 Wing" at the hospital. Canisters have been placed around town in various businesses for the collection of donations. The names of donors will be included in a special Christmas Greeting Card in the Friona Star newspaper. Please make sure you put your name with ALL donations. The deadline for donations is Saturday, December 19th.
Get the flapjacks ready for National Maple Syrup Day. December 17th calls for orders of pancakes, french toast, or biscuits topped off with butter and delicious maple syrup.
It is usually from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees that maple syrup is made from although it not limited to those maple species. These trees, in cold climates, store starch in their trunks and in their roots. In the spring, the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap. The maple trees are then tapped by boring holes into their trunks and the released sap is collected. After the sap is collected, it is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.
Maple syrup was first collected, processed, and used by the indigenous peoples of North America. The practice was then adopted by the European settlers who gradually refined production methods.
In the 1970s further refinements in syrup processing were made with technological improvements. A maple syrup production farm is called a sugarbush or a sugarwood. The sap is boiled in a sugar house which is also known as a sugar shack, sugar shanty, or a cabane à sucre. Up until the 1930s, the United States led in maple syrup production, now Canada is the world's largest maple syrup producer. Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States.
Maple Syrup Day
Wreaths Across America Day
Crossword Puzzle Day
Date Nut Bread Day
Check out our photo section for new Friona Girls & Boys basketball photos.
The Friona ISD Board of Trustees met in regular session on Monday, December 14th in the Board Meeting Room of the FISD Administration Building at 909 E. 11th Street, Friona, Texas 79035. The meeting began at 7:00 p.m. with a call to order, invocation, and an open forum.
Richard Blankenship, from the firm Johnson & Sheldon, presented the final report of the 2020 FISD financial audit. Friona ISD received an "A" rating for Superior Achievement under the Texas' School First financial accountability rating system. Mr. Blankenship told board members he was impressed that the district was in such good financial health despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Blankenship and the Board thanked FISD Business Manager Dianna Wright for her outstanding work during the past year to keep the district on a sound financial footing.
Friona ISD showed a fund balance of $5.9 million at the end of the year (see Exhibit C-3 on page 4). At the present time, the school district has a 5-6 month fund balance excess. In an emergency, the district could operate for that length of time without any income. The State of Texas requires a 3 month balance excess for its school districts.
Zach Allen, Project Manager for Teinert Construction presented an update on the FISD construction project. He said that the project is on schedule and that you would really begin to notice changes in the upcoming weeks at the new Primary School site.
The consent agenda was approved. It included the Minutes of previous meetings, fund reports, maintenance reports, account reports, and the payment of monthly bills. The Board then went into Closed Session.
This is only a brief summary of the meeting. Any questions should be directed to the FISD Board of Trustees. The agenda for this meeting can be found at frionaisd.com and by clicking on the Boardbook link.
The Friona City Council met in regular session on Monday, December 14th at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 619 Main in Friona, Texas. The meeting began with a roll call, an invocation, and the Pledge of Allegiance.
It was brought to the Council’s attention that some technicalities needed to be addressed involving the process for lease bids on land owned by the City of Friona. Before opening any of the bids, the Council voted to reject all current bids and begin the process again. None of the original bids were opened. The bidding process will begin again as soon as the issues are resolved.
City Manage Lee Davila gave an update on the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) spending. He informed the Council that Friona was one of the few towns that actually spent the money on items in accordance with the regulations.
The Council approved the Accounts Payable and Financial Statement for November 2020. The Minutes of the November 9, 2020 regular council meeting were approved.
All meetings are open to the public. The City Council reserves the right to go into Executive session at any time. Go to cityoffriona.com to find the agendas and minutes from previous meetings. Information in this article is only a summary. Any questions concerning specific actions should be directed to the City Council.
Health Protocols for Voters and Elections (English)
County Disaster Declaration (English)
Friona Community Helpline (English)
2-1-1 Texas Social Services Hotline (English)
County Clerk PSA (English)
Chamber of Commerce Letter to Businesses (English)
FISD Emergency Resolution (English)
Covid Risk Chart (English)