Celebrating el Diez y Seis de Septiembre, H&R Block, South 14th. Abilene, TX


Today we celebrate 202 years since Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a village priest, proclaimed his now famous “Grito de Dolores”  on the night of September 15th, 1810.  On that evening he rang the church bells to gather 600 followers to call for the independence of Mexico.  He called for freedom, liberty, and equality for all the citizens of Mexico.  For three centuries the native born Mexicanos had been disqualified to hold top positions in the Spanish rule of New Spain.  Father Hidalgo had been moved by the poverty of his parishioners, who, due to the rigid laws by the Spaniards could do little to benefit themselves economically. Defying the laws, Father Hidalgo began to instruct his people in crafts and agriculture.  He also began to hold meetings at the home of Dona Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez where Father Hidalgo used the meetings to advocate revolution against Spain.  

The Spanish government heard of Father Hidalgo’s revolutionary stance and sent soldiers to arrest him. Informants alerted the priest so he decided to move up his plans for revolt to September 15th.   In the following weeks Father Hidalgo led this armed revolutionaries to the outskirts of Mexico City.  Realizing that his revolt would only bring Mexico anarchy rather than actual reform, he ordered his followers to retreat.  In the ensuing battles, Father Hidalgo was captured and later executed in 1811.  But the spirit for independence never died and continued for the next ten years. For his bravery Father Hidalgo is known as the “Father of Mexico”.

It is important to note, that in August 1812 the struggles for Mexico’s Independence were also fought in Texas.   About 2,000 of Hidalgo’s rebels and Americans in support for Mexico’s Independence joined forces and captured La Bahia (Goliad, Texas) and San Antonio.  Their victories, unfortunately, were short lived as the Spanish royal army crushed the rebels in the battle of the Medina River, west of San Antonio.  In that battle, sons of the American Revolutionary War and War of 1812 also gave their lives.  In June 1821, Spain finally recognized Mexico’s Independence.

Since the 19th century Mexico has celebrated “el Diez y Seis de Septiembre”  by ringing Father  Hidalgo’s church bell, now located at the presidential palace in Mexico City.  On the night of the 15 de Septiembre, the president of Mexico reenacts “El Grito de Dolores”.  On the following day, el “Diez y Seis de Septiembre” Mexican Independence is celebrated with parades, public celebrations with green, white and red banners as festive decorations.

In the United States, Mexican citizens and Mexican-Americans celebrate the origins of their ancestors, much like Irish Americans, German and Chinese Americans do. 

In Abilene,  the Hispanics that settled the city in the early 1910s were, for the most part, from Mexico and the U.S. Mexico border areas.  They came to Abilene and West Texas in pursuit of a better quality of life.  They brought with them the traditions of their Mexican culture and heritage.  When I talk to people whose families were the first to settle Abilene, they talk of grand celebrations for the fiestas patrias, el “Diez y Seis de Septiembre”. They celebrated Mexico’s Independence with speeches, music, dances and a reina contest.

Today,  as we celebrate el “Deiz y Seis de Septiembre” let us celebrate our rich culture and heritage and remember the heroic legacy of Father Hidalgo. 

Today, we also began the recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.  Public Law 100-402 was enacted in August 1988 to recognize the contributions of Hispanics to the United States. President Lyndon Johnson initially declared a Hispanic Heritage Week.  President Ronald Reagan extended it for 30 days. So now, from September 15th through October 15th, it is our time as Hispanics to share our Hispanic culture and heritage. The dates were chosen because eight Latin American countries celebrate their declarations of independence from Spain during that timeframe. Given the majority position of the Mexican/Mexican American community within the United States' Hispanic population, much attention focuses on "El Grito," The Cry that launched Mexican Independence on September 15, 1810. The countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica also commemorate independence during this timeframe

Let us, as a community, on this day of celebration of Mexican Independence Day,  celebrate the many cultures and blessing of our nation and our community.

Mike Hernandez
Arroyo Catclaw Digital
Abilene, TX

Dyess AFB "Fiesta In The Park", Aug. 25, 2012

Dyess 7th EMS Unit food booth

Friends of Budweiser Beer 

Grupo Maldad with (second from left) Col. Kristina M. O'Brien Commander, Mission Support Group

Tejano grupo Stampede

Myra P. Martinez Elementary dedication, North 12th and Merchant, Aug. 15, 2012
Arroyo Catclaw Digital photo

Nelson Splash Park, Aug. 4, 2012
(Photo courtesy David Reese)

12th Armored Division Parade, Downtown Abilene, Aug. 4, 2012
(Arroyo Catclaw Photo, copyright)


Abilene Care Van, Medical Care Mission of Abilene and Texas Medical Association to offer students the opportunity to get vaccinated FREE before the beginning of the school term

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and kids need their shots before heading back to school. The Abilene Care Van, collaborating with the Medical Care Mission of Abilene and Texas Medical Association will be offering vaccinations FREE to VFC eligible students at the Medical Care Mission, 1857 Pine, Abilene, TX 79601 on Thursday, August 2 and Thursday, August 23 from 5pm to 7pm.

As of January 1, 2012 Texas law requires meningococcal vaccination for college admission. Students who have not turned 19 and who are VFC eligible may receive the meningococcal vaccination as well as other highly recommended vaccinations at these clinics.  

To receive these free vaccinations a student must be Texas Vaccine for Children eligible. Your child is eligible if he/she:

· Has no insurance or has insurance that does not cover vaccines. Families with insurance are encouraged to check with their insurance company to verify covered vaccines. Specifically HPV for boys may not be covered by insurance.

· CHIP or Medicaid

· American Indian or Alaskan Native 

Parents or guardians must bring child’s immunization record. Children 17 and under must be accompanied by parent or guardian.

Contact: Lynda Shirley (800) 258.5437 #4; cell: (214) 673-2410; email: Lynda_Shirley@bcbstx.com.


Second Graduation Ceremony Scheduled for “Fast-Track” Welding Graduates 

Abilene, Texas—On Thursday, June 7th, 2012, at 6:30 p.m., on the Abilene campus of Cisco  College. The Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas Board, Development Corporation of Abilene and, Cisco College, will participate in the graduation of the second of three scheduled “Fast-Track” Welding Classes.  The welding class is a partnership with DCOA, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas Board, Cisco College and Abilene employers. In an effort to address the labor shortages of qualified welders, Cisco College developed a training curriculum in coordination with local employers. Workforce Solutions assisted with the application, assessments, and screening of potential students.  Twelve welders have completed a seven (7) week training program and will receive a Welding Certification and OSHA Safety Certification. The Safety Certification has been taught by Canada and Associates. In addition to these certifications, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas has provided employability skills training, resume writing and job application techniques to all participants.  A hiring event, with several local employers will be held on Friday, June 8thth 2012 from 8:30 to 11:00 at the Abilene Workforce Center.

Zoolute to Dyess: Free Zoo festivities for military families 

ABILENE, TX. – Zoolute to Dyess kicks off Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with free lunch, entry to the Abilene Zoo and special entertainment for military families.  Active and retired members of the military, National Guard and Reserves along with their families are invited to enjoy the day’s festivities. Those attending Zoolute to Dyess must provide military I.D.

Special Zoolute entertainment includes the Presentation of the Colors at 9 a.m., Zoo Keeper talks, local musicians, a children’s bounce house, drawings and more.  A free lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. while supplies last in the concession area.  Zoolute to Dyess is made possible through generous sponsorships and volunteer efforts. 

The Abilene Zoo is located at 2070 Zoo Lane and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information about events at the Zoo, visit www.abilenezoo.org.

Cinco de Mayo 2012, St. Vincent Catholic Church, Abilene
See more photos from Carlos Photography, click here Carlos Photos

AirFest, Dyess Air Force Base, 4-28-2012

Spring Clean and Tire Amnesty Days coming April 12- 14  

ABILENE, Texas – Clear out unwanted items from your property and recycle them during the upcoming Spring Clean and Tire Amnesty Days. During this annual event, citizens have a chance to spruce up their homes and properties while conveniently dropping off their cast-off items at the City of Abilene’s Environmental Recycling Center (ERC) located at 2209 Oak St.

The event will take place Thursday, April 12 through Saturday, April 14. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Due to safety concerns, Oak Street will turn into a one way street with vehicles entering from South 25th Street, on Saturday, April 14.  

Typically, the ERC is a drop-off point for citizens to bring almost any type of recyclable materials including plastics, glass and cardboard to bulkier items such as outdated electronics, furniture and old appliances. However, certain items such as large-scale remodeling project materials will not be accepted. While most items may be dropped off free of charge, citizens will be asked to off-load their own items.

At this year’s Spring Clean, citizens may bring up to eight passenger tires without rims, free of charge with proof of residency (current water bill). However, truck tires without rims are $6 per tire and with rims $8 per tire. Ag tires will be accepted without rims only for a $35 per tire service fee. No commercial or business tires will be accepted.

For more information on recycling or the Spring Clean event, call 325-672-2209.


Abilene, TEXAS—tickets are now on sale for the upcoming live, professional theatrical performance of “Alice in Wonderland,” presented by the Children’s Performing Arts Series.

The show will be performed on Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress Street.

Single tickets are only $8.

“Alice in Wonderland” is the last of three productions in the CPAS 2011-2012 season.

Audiences will enjoy this exciting, full scale musical production from American Family Theater featuring colorful sets, inventive costumes, creative staging and iconic characters like the Mad Hatter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the White Rabbit, and of course, Alice herself.

Leslie Bennett of the N. Y. Times says this about American Family Theater productions:

“Their shows burst with energy, song, and special effects. Again and again, American Family Theater proves how strong it is in creating original contemporary theater. Their engaging productions wonderfully command the attention of young audiences and their sprit is contagious.”

Season tickets for next year’s 2012-2013 season will go on sale in late March. The lineup of new shows includes “Sleeping Beauty,” scheduled for Oct. 14, 2012, “ImaginOcean,” to be performed on Feb. 17, 2013 and “Pinkalicious,” scheduled for April 21. 2013.”

2011-2012 Season tickets are $25 and $40 for all three shows. The $40 VIP level includes admission to two after parties, where children and their families can enjoy refreshments, craft activities and meet the cast of the shows.

The first 50 people purchasing new season tickets for next season will receive an invitation to the special “Mad Hatter’s tea party” following the Alice in Wonderland show.

Military and group discounts are also available. Tickets may be purchased online at abilenecac.org or by calling 677-1161. On the day of the show, tickets will be available at the Paramount Theatre box office beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The Children’s Performing Arts Series is a division of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, a non profit organization.

CPAS brings live professional theater productions to Abilene for the benefit and enjoyment of the area’s youngest audiences and their families. Ticket prices are made affordable though the generous underwriting of individuals and businesses in the community.

Tickets may be purchased online at abilenecac.org. Tickets can also be purchased over the phone by calling 677-1161 or in person by visiting the CPAS office in the T&P Depot at 1101 North 1st Street, Monday – Friday between 8:30 – 5 p.m.

For more information, call CPAS director Hollye Jaklewicz at 677-1161 or send an email to cpas@abilene.com. 

The Abilene Volunteer Services Council is announcing for the 28th year the Oakwood Trails Golf Classic to
benefit Abilene Supported Living center (formerly Abilene State School). All proceeds from the event go directly to impove the
quality of life for the residents of the Center. This year all proceeds will go to the new Fitness Park which includes walking and
biking trails and activity pads for other activities. Some funds have been raised for the Park still in the planning stage.''
The tournament is for the golfing public with an affordable fee of $95 per person which includes a cart use, breakfast, lunch, range
balls, door prizes and goody bags. There's a shotgun start at 9 am with check-in at 8 am. Oakwood Trails Golf Classic has become
very popular through the years. Location for the Classic is at Diamondback Golf Club as usual.
Call 795-3547 for more information and registration particulars. Golfers may form their own teams of four.

th Annual Youth Job Fair Assists Youth & Employers With Summer Employment Opportunities

Abilene, Texas--In an effort to assist young job seekers in finding summer and part-time employment, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas, and the Abilene Chamber of Commerce  will sponsor "Hot Dog--I Got a Job!" Area Youth Job Fair on Friday, March 9th, 2012 from 1:00-5:00p.m. at the Abilene Civic Center, 1100 N. 6th Street.  Job seekers, age 16-21, are invited to meet representatives from businesses and to complete applications for employment.  Over 35 businesses have registered to attend, with multiple job openings. Job opportunities include sales, customer service, cooks, and wait staff at the afternoon event. Registration is FREE to all job seekers and employers seeking to hire for summer job openings. In addition, this years event will promote job training through volunteer opportunities.  Applicants will receive assistance from professional staff in completing applications and marketing themselves to potential employers.  In preparation for meeting employers and completing applications, job seekers should bring a pen, their social security number, and dress appropriately for an interview. 

Job seekers will receive a coupon for a hot dog, courtesy of Sonic Drive-In..  "This event allows us to assist local employers in obtaining summer help and provides applicants the convenience of applying for a number of jobs in one location.  It's a win-win opportunity for employers and applicants," states Mary Ross, Executive Director of the Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas. Job seekers may complete pre-registration forms by visiting the Workforce Solutions website at   www.workforcesystem.org. or by e-mail youthjobfair@workforcesystem.org  For more information about the job fair or other services for job seekers, contact Workforce Solutions at (325)795-4397.

The Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas Board is an equal opportunity employer.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to           individuals with disabilities (1-800-735-2989 TDD or 1-800-735-2988 voice) for accessible communication.

Workshop Offers Assistance to Entrepreneurs and New Business Start-ups  

ABILENE, TEXAS---The West Texas Innovation Network is sponsoring a “Mentor Forum” on Thursday, March 8th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Small Business Development Center, Conference Room, 6th Floor of the Enterprise Building, 500 Chestnut, Abilene, Texas. There is no registration fee for this event 

Local, successful business owners will provide guidance, advice and encouragement for those who are considering and/or have taken steps to start a business.  The business owners offer their expertise and perspectives as a gesture of appreciation for those who have mentored them in their own entrepreneurship development.   Bring your questions and become involved in a new business dialogue.

The WEST TEXAS INNOVATION NETWORK (WTIN) provides access to training opportunities for entrepreneurs aspiring to start their own businesses.  Mike Mikeworth, Project Manager states “We work with a variety of community partners, small business owners and other entrepreneurship interests in the Big Country in order to make available quality training, consulting and events to local entrepreneurs.”  Most of these services are at NO COST to the attendees, but require registration. For more information and to register online, visit www.wtin.org   All Big Country residents are invited to attend this forum. Funding for the West Texas Innovation Network was provided through a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

The West Texas Innovation Network is a collaborative effort of the ACU Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy, the Texas Tech Small Business Development Center and the Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas Board focused on supporting entrepreneurs by providing networking, training, mentoring and resources.  Additional information about WTIN may be obtained by visiting our website at  www.wtin.org. Mike Mikeworth
WTIN Project Manager 325-795-4313 , Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas

25th annual TET Reunion 2012, Feb. 4th, Taylor County Display Bldg.
Granddaughter holds flag with grandfather, who served in the Vietnam War


Abilene, Texas – December 30, 2011 – If you or someone you care for has memory problems, developing a partnership with your physician and honing communication skills can result in increased knowledge of the situation and less stress, helping the partners make informed decisions about care and services. 

The Alzheimer’s Association –North Central Texas Chapter is offering a workshop, “Partnering With Your Doctor: A Workshop for Persons with Memory Problems  and Their Care Partners,” on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. at Anson Park Seniors, located at 2249 Vogel St., in Abilene 

The workshop will provide strategies to form a doctor/patient/care partner relationship that allows you to more effectively manage and be a part of your healthcare.  Workshop leaders will discuss communicating with your doctor, improving how patients and care partners work together, getting organized and prepared for doctor visits, reducing your stress, and ways to ensure the best health care possible for the patient.

There is no charge to attend the workshop; however, reservations are required.  For more information or to register, contact the Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter at 325-672-2907 or 1-800-272-3900, or e-mail mbannister@alz.org

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support.  Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.  Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s.    

Workforce Solutions Provides Opportunity for Youth to Earn a National Career Readiness Certificate

Abilene, Texas—Through a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas along with four other Texas areas (totaling 75 counties) has received funding through August 2012 to offer 1,500+ juniors, seniors, and out-of-school youth an opportunity to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) which was developed by the internationally recognized assessment organization American College Testing (ACT). Testing for this certificate is being coordinated through schools, organizations, and on an individual basis. Another important objective of the grant is to obtain letters of commitment from employers stating they will recognize and promote the certificate in their interview, hiring, and/or promotion processes. The services provided through the grant are focused on creating work-ready communities and continuing to build regional capacity for meeting the current and future workforce needs.  

The NCRC provides fair and objective measurement of workplace skills and can be accepted nationwide. This credential is also used across all sectors of the economy at all levels. The NCRC is comprised of three assessments in the following areas: math, reading, and locating information which tap into the youth’s problem-solving and communication skills. When ACT profiled 6,000 jobs over five years they found that 77% of the jobs utilized these skills.

In order for youth to earn a certificate they will be provided with access to a web-based pre-assessment and remediation tools. Following these activities, they will take a three and a half hour proctored assessment which will indicate if they have earned one of the four certificate levels. Once earned, the certificate is good for five years. Such testing normally costs $22 per person along with licensing fees; however, all testing expenses are covered under the grant. Testing is also coordinated and administered by Workforce staff at the participating school/organization.

Along with students earning career readiness certificates, there is also a focus on educating employers about the certificate and gaining their support in recognizing applicants/incumbents who obtain this credential. The certificate is intended to help employers make informed decisions in the screening and selection process, training and development, and succession planning. Employers throughout the region are being asked to sign a letter of commitment stating they will recognize and promote the NCRC as a valuable credential and take it into account during their interview, hiring, and/or promotion processes.

This initiative is designed to provide youth with an opportunity to identify, develop, and communicate essential workplace skills as well as gain regional employer support for a nationally recognized certificate. Several schools and employers throughout the 19 county region have committed to participate in this initiative. If you are affiliated with a school or organization and would like to offer this assessment, or are an employer and would like to sign a letter of commitment, please see contact information below. 

Contact Garolyn Jergins, Readiness Navigator for the Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas Board, at (325) 795-4327 for more information about this initiative.  E-mail requests should be sent to garolyn.jergins@workforcesystem.org.  

In keeping with "there's always something new at Abilene ZOO"
another first occurs on Saturday, December 17th. At 9am a
delicious continental breakfast will be served to lucky ticket
holders. Hosting Breakfast with Santa will, of course, be Santa
himself. Imagine your child or grandchild excited by this
prospect. Tickets may be purchased by calling (325) 437-4683
and saying I want to have breakfast with Santa. Attendance is
by reservation only, adults are $15 and children 4-12 are $10.
Children 3 and under are free when accompanied by a ticket
holder. Reservations are limited, so they must be made by
December 15th. There will be activities, and a photo with
Santa will be available (one per paying child or adult).
Remember call soon (325) 437-4683. It's your Abilene ZOO!

Capt Flynn Advertising

Big Brothers Big Sisters wants to give YOU a car!  

But not just any car, a 2011 BMW X3! Autobahn Motorcar Group has graciously donated a 2011 BMW X3 as the Grand Prize for this local BBBS fundraiser in celebration of the event’s 13th anniversary. Since this luxurious vehicle was donated, 100% of the proceeds will benefit the one-to-one mentoring relationships serving the children of Abilene.  

When and where is the drawing? The drawing will be held at Autobahn Motor Cars in Fort Worth on Saturday, December 17, 2011. Tickets are available for sale until Thursday, Dec. 15th. 

Do I have to be present to win? No! Winners will be contacted.  

Why should I buy a ticket? The odds are in your favor! There are only 4000 tickets available for purchase and 100% of proceeds are supporting mentoring relationships in Abilene. Every five tickets sold help support a mentoring relationship for an entire year in the Abilene community. “Your purchase helps support Bigs and Littles like Colton and me” says Tim Yandell, Regional Executive Director of BBBS in Abilene.  

How can I get my hands on a ticket?  Tickets are priced at $100 each. To purchase a ticket, visit www.bbbstx.org/raffle or contact Michelle Parrish at 325-674-3115 or mparrish@bbbstx.org. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a volunteer organization that provides children in support, guidance, friendship and fun by matching them with adult role models. Since 1979, BBBS Abilene has fulfilled their mission of enriching, encouraging and empowering children to reach their highest potential through safe, positive one-to-one mentoring relationships. Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is about making a lasting difference in a child’s life through friendship. BBBS is celebrating 31 years of serving the Abilene community. To get involved, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters at 325-674-3113.  Start Something.

Christmas Lane 2011 opens officially at Abilene State Supported Living Center
(Abilene State School) on December 6th at 6pm with a ribbon-cutting by the
Redcoats at that time in front of Shirley's Cinema. Santa will be available for
photos which may be purchased for five dollars each. The DTP Motorcycle
Club will escort Santa to the Cinema. With over 83 lighted display exhibitors,
Christmas Lane promises to be a most exciting event. Made possible by
various merchants, civic organizations and companies in the area, it has been
coordinated annually for 21 years by Volunteer Services Council. It is open
through Christmas Eve nightly until 10pm. Christmas Lane is free to the public
as a way of saying "thank you" for supporting the Center residents. While it
is a totally lighted drive-thru, there is a stop at Quanna's Winter Wonderland
which is indoor and has a recently expanded parking lot. Visitors can enjoy
popcorn and hot cocoa and view the railroad and animated displays. Santa
will not be available on Christmas Eve. CitiLink will be giving tours of up to
four each evening. Schedules are available at CitiLink. The Center is located
on Maple.
For media questions, please call 795-3547.

Veteran's Day Parade, Downtown Abilene, Nov. 12, 2010

Sears Park Annual Thanksgiving Dinner, Nov. 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Marines! 236th Marine Corps Birthday, West Texas Rehabilitation Center
November 10, 2010