5 things to know: Wednesday

5 things to know: Wednesday

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Officer East honored during National Peace Officer Memorial Service

LUBBOCK, Texas -199 police officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide last year. This includes Texas Tech Officer Floyd East Junior. On May 15, their lives are honored for National Peace Officer Memorial day. 

Families, national leaders and the public joined in the mourning of these fallen officers. In Officer East's honor, three Texas Tech PD officers attended the ceremony on Capitol Hill. 

University President Lawrence Schovanec said it is a tragedy that will stick with him indefinitely. 

"I think it's important that Texas Tech always be cognizant of what happened, remain supportive of that family whenever such an opportunity comes up," Schovanec said. "As we honor the memory of Officer East, it's also a chance to let our police department know that we appreciate them."

For Lubbock Police Department, there were six roses for the six lives lost over the history of the department. 

"When something like this happens, It certainly has an impact on the officers family that none of us can truly and fully understand," Chief Greg Stevens said.

Stevens said these tragic events take a toll on the families of active officers. 

This is the 37th Peace Officer Memorial Day. President Kennedy signed the proclamation back in 1962. 


Despite rain Tuesday night, region is still gripped by drought

LUBBOCK, Texas - The rain received Tuesday night is not enough to bust the drought gripping the South Plains.

"It's becoming such a bad thing that even the weeds don't want to grow right now," said Justin Light, a cotton farmer in Idalou, Texas. "There's always a challenge, there's a challenge in everything. We had challenges last year with it being too wet and not being able to get things planted before the insurance deadline."

This year it is a different story. He can get seed in the ground however there is a chance it will not grow. He mostly farms dry land so he will likely have to rely on crop insurance this year, meaning his budget is going to be tight this next year. If this drought persists it is not just producers that will be struggling.

"If we do have a crop that's not as productive this year, we're certainly going to see the impacts of that in Lubbock," said Mary Jane Buerkle, Director of Communications for Plains Cotton Growers. "It is felt even more in our surrounding communities who depend even more heavily on agriculture."

While the economic impact is bleak for 2018-19 in regards to agriculture, Light said the only forecast he is look at is the one dealing with the skies.

"I look at that thing once, twice a day just to see, but yeah you're always looking at forecasts and hoping and praying that the rain they put a week out is actually going to take," Light said.

The region is supposed to receive more scattered thunder showers over the next week. 


Opioid epidemic hits close to home

LUBBOCK, Texas - More than 115 people die each day from opioid related overdoses and those numbers are increasing.

Danny and June Koch lost their son jay to a heroine overdose in November.

Clearly Broken, written by Jay Koch, is a collection of his poems. Some of those penned right before his death.

All of the proceeds from the book go towards Judge William Sowder's Freedom Court, a program providing a rehabilitation alternative instead of prison.

"It's all built on a lot of research," Sowder said. "A lot of positive reinforcement as opposed to warehousing people into a penitentiary where nobody gets any treatment and then they do their time, get out and get back to doing what they're doing."

Koch's book is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Banks indicted on insurance fraud charge

LUBBOCK, Texas - Lubbock grand jurors have indicted a former candidate for the Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees. 

Amanda Banks is indicted on a charge of insurance fraud between $2,500 and $30,000.

She was running for the at-large trustee position. She was arrested earlier this month, during early voting, on the charge. Court documents show she staged a break-in at her home in August 2016, reportedly spray-painting racial slurs and damaging her own property. She then claimed it as a burglary to the police.

She has since bonded out of jail. Beth Bridges won the trustee position with 44% of the vote. Banks drew 28%.


WATCH: Lubbock County Judge GOP Primary Runoff Forum

LUBBOCK, Texas - Early voting is underway in the Republican Primary Run-Off for Lubbock County judge.

Candidates Gary Boren and Curtis Parrish were in the FOX34 studio earlier for a forum .

Bore, a business man with time on the Lubbock ISD school board and City Council said his experience will help better administer the county.

Parrish, an attorney, practices probate and guardianship laws, specifically under the purview of county judge. Parrish targeted Boren's comments about delegating some judicial responsibility more to the county courts of law.

"If you plan on pawning off this job to another court or that the commissioners have to hire another judge, how do you justify that given the fact you said it was both, uh, wrong and greedy for commissioners to give themselves a raise and yet your scheme of passing this on would cause Lubbock County about $150-200 thousand a year in salary to make up for the job you don't want to do as county judge?" Parrish said.

Boren said he doesn't know where Parrish got his estimates, but he knows full well all the responsibilities of county judge.

"If you were the dean of Harvard Law School and came to Texas wanting to be a Lubbock County judge, he's going to take the same course that I would take, that Curtis would take, in Austin -- 16 hours -- because it doesn't matter what your background is, it's a citizen's court," Boren said. "They're going to train you the way they want it done, it's restricted, it's non-contested, and all these other hearings they're restricted to what you have to do, but but you have to give them the time so you don't have an overloaded docket."

Boren squeezed in his question in the last few seconds asking whether Parrish would turn down a $25,000 bonus from the state that Boren said county judges receive if they devote 40 percent of their work managing court cases.

Early voting runs through Friday night. Election day is next Tuesday.

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