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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Amarillo built Ospreys rescue downed F-15 pilot and WSO

- A U.S. Air Force fighter jet crashed in Libya after experiencing an equipment malfunction, but both crew members ejected safely and are now out of Libya and in U.S. hands, the U.S. military and a senior U.S. defense official said Tuesday.
A pilot and weapons officer aboard an F-15E Strike Eagle had flown from Aviano Air Base in Italy to Libya when the fighter experienced problems, the U.S. military command for Africa said in a statement. Both pilots ejected, the statement said.

The pilot and weapons officer suffered minor injuries but landed safely in two different places on Libyan soil, the military said.

The U.S. military dispatched a pair of Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, about 100 miles off the coast of Libya, to pick up the pilot. He was then flown to the vessel, which has extensive medical facilities, military officials said.

The MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor aircraft is assembled at the Textron-Bell-Boeing plant in Amarillo.

Libyan rebels recovered the second crew member and "took good care of him" until coalition forces were able to reach him, a senior defense official said.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Amarillo is ranked as in top ten happy places to live.

KVII: AMARILLO, TEXAS -- This weekend Amarillo was honored by bring ranked in the top 10 smallest but happiest cities in America.

After telling some of the residents about the ranking, there was a little shock at first but in the end the feelings were mutual.

It something residents all say had a lot to do with the people of the city.

As the saying goes, good things come in small packages and in this case it's right.

But what makes our fair city so appealing?

"I think it's a good community to live in, we have everything here, it's kind of small but it's not as big as Dallas, it's just the right size," said George Parrie.

But Amarillo also has a lot more to offer than just the community and it's size, there is also the people.

"You know they're just more curious, they're nice, they're more generous than most places, they seem to care and they like to have fun," said James Falkey.

"Everyone's super nice and there's always something to do, it's nice other than the wind but you learn to love that," said Cristall Cann.


Amarillo mega moon

Photographed near 45th and Soncy - by Steve Douglass

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Severe Weather Workshop This Weekend!

Don't forget - Severe Weather Workshop this weekend. I'll be showing my short video "Panhandle Skies" to kick off the lectures after lunch.

Click to enlarge:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spectres over Amarillo ...

Residents may notice a little more action in the night sky in the next month. That's because crews from the U.S. Air Force Weapons School AC-130 Weapons Instructor Course will be performing night training missions at Cannon Air Force Base.

The missions will involve both ground and air movements around the area, including Clovis, Portales, Elida and Amarillo. They are scheduled to take place between 8 p.m. And 1 a.m.

Here is the schedule and locations of the missions according to a news release:

• March 14 - Clovis

• March 16 - Portales

• March 21 - Elida

• March 23 - Amarillo

Notes: The bulk of Cannon's C-13Os are the modified MC-130Ws known as "Dragon Spear." They have twelve so far.Mods include sensor upgrades, the integration of a standoff precision-guided munitions system and supporting 30 mm gun, a new sensor operator console as well as new communication equipment and flight deck hardware.

The exercise over Amarillo is part of "Emerald Warrior"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Amarillo - great western city...

Amarillo's authentic Western appeal has earned it recognition from a leading Western lifestyle magazine.

American Cowboy placed the city on its list of 20 Best Places to Live in the West.

The fourth annual list is featured in the publication's current edition, which hit newsstands Tuesday.

Amarillo is featured on Page 60 of the bimonthly publication.

The distinction was announced locally at a Wednesday afternoon news conference at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum.

"Amarillo is a hub of Western lifestyle activity, which makes it a great choice for this list," said DeAnna Jarnagin, associate publisher of American Cowboy.

American Cowboy editors base their selections for the list on a city's outdoor appeal, historical significance, regional ranching activity and tourism. Factors also considered include a city's population, average land price, average household price, median age and the number of Western events it hosts.

"Amarillo is a true gateway to the West," Jarnagin said. "When you get to Amarillo, there's no doubt you've arrived in the West."

The list, which is not ranked, includes cities from five regions: Texas and the Plains, California and Nevada, the Rockies, the Southwest and the Northwest.

Amarillo is the only Texas city on the 2011 list, and it also is the largest in terms of population.

"Amarillo is a perfect pick because we have so much to offer that reflects that Western heritage," said Amarillo Mayor Debra McCartt.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mayoral race sports 7 contenders ...

The next Amarillo mayor will have to knock out a half-dozen other candidates to get the job.

Seven candidates have entered the mayor's race, making a runoff election a possibility if no hopeful can pull in at least 51 percent of the votes in the May 14 municipal election.

Steve Dawson, 42, filed paperwork on Wednesday to compete for the post, and Roy McDowell, 69, has said he will announce his campaign for the position at 2 p.m. Friday on the front steps of Amarillo City Hall, 509 S.E. Seventh Ave.

Dawson works as a business developer with Express Employment Professionals.

McDowell owns Amarillo Truck Parts and McDowell Haynes Inc., a truck sales business, said his wife, Terry McDowell.

The entries of Dawson and McDowell came on the heels of filings by Pantex employee Gary Wayne Funderburk, 60, and city emergency communications dispatcher Ryan Vigil, 21.

Already in the race were full-time student Sandra Dunn, 53; Pantex security officer and fundamentalist pastor David H. Grisham Jr., 50; and car salesman and former Amarillo City Commissioner Paul Harpole, 60.

Candidates can file through March 14 to run for the next two-year term as mayor or as one of the city's four Amarillo city commissioners.

Three candidates who filed this week described the reasons behind their campaigns.

Dawson, a Desert Storm veteran, wants to create jobs and provide transportation and vocational rehabilitation assistance.

"I want to increase awareness and support for our veterans," he said.

Funderburk, who said he works on classified projects at Pantex, said he has "no political agenda."

"I think we have a good mayor already," he said, referring to Mayor Debra McCartt, who is not seeking re-election.

"I've lived in Amarillo all my life and thought it (serving) would be a way of making a contribution. You know, your time's your most valuable asset."

The 911 dispatcher, Vigil said he hopes to prompt voters to act. "I'm just a young patriot who'd like to see a youthful perspective in local politics," he said. "I'd like to see more people actually getting out and voting. If I get people to think and consider voting for me or voting against me, I think I've done well."

McDowell could not immediately be reached for comment on his campaign.

The newest candidates to the race also weighed in on issues the Amarillo City Commission has placed on the May ballot due to a petition drive mounted by the Amarillo Citizens for Property Rights political action committee.

Voters will choose:

• Whether to change the city's election system so that each commissioner must reside in and be elected by the voters of a specific geographic district of the city

• Whether to repeal new urban design zoning standards for downtown properties

• Whether to repeal regulations that limit the size and placement of on-premises business signs.

Dawson, Funderburk and Vigil all said they would support a single-member district election system.

"I can see both sides of it," Vigil said. "I believe more diversity on the commission would bring about more discussion and, ultimately, more progress. I think it would be a bumpy road to start down, but I think it's safe to say I'd support it."

If elected, the city charter would require Vigil to resign his full-time job.

The property rights group has pushed to overturn the design standards, claiming the standards infringe on individual rights. The standards only apply when a property owner initiates exterior changes to a property in the downtown area, city officials have said.

Funderburk and Vigil said the property rights concern leads them to support the repeal of the standards.

Dawson believes the standards could be modified and incentives could be provided to help property owners make changes.

"I know that there are costs, but I think there are some things we can do to reward people for taking that chance," he said.

Funderburk and Vigil also support the repeal of the sign ordinance.

"We need our small businesses, and I think it's hurting our small businesses," Funderburk said.

Dawson said he would favor tweaking the ordinance but leaving it in place because sign clutter "does tend to be a distraction, if you have more and more opportunities to take your eyes off the road."

Dunn and Grisham previously stated support for single-member district voting and for the repeal of the sign and urban design standards ordinances. Harpole is against single-member districts, has ideas for revamping the sign ordinance and believes the urban design standards are important to downtown revitalization.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

27th Annual Make A Wish Car show this weekend!

27th Annual Make-A-Wish Car Show
Date: March 05, 2011
Time: Saturday (10am - 6pm), Sunday (10am - 5pm)

Join the Panhandle Council of Car Clubs for the 27th Annual Car Show benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Texas Plains. This two day Car Show features 300+ cars all under one roof. Cars of all shapes, sizes, models, colors, etc. Last year, the Car Show was able to rasie over $60,000 for the children with life-threatening medical conditions in the Texas Panhandle. That is enough to grant between 8-10 wishes!

PRICE: Adults ($5), Kids ($3), Under 5 Free

Live: Amarillo Area Air Traffic Radio

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