5 things to know: Wednesday - FOX34 Lubbock

5 things to know: Wednesday

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Solar power push continues in Lamesa

LAMESA, Texas - Solar energy is becoming more cost effective and affordable to build. It's easy to maintain and renewable energy's continues to be an appealing option especially on the plains. OCI Solar Power is extending Project Ivy installing 197,000 solar modules on the southeast part of town. It covers about 380 acres and will service 35,000 homes.

"It's a twenty five year plan that will be in operations," said Raymond Selves, field operations manager with RES America. "Its good consistent renewable, clean energy, that we need." 

After a successful first phase, Lamesa One, OCI Solar and RES Renewable Energy Systems America decided to expanding their operations. This new renewable energy option is expected to bring new economic opportunities for the city of Lamesa. 

"It brought in about a 100 people to construct the solar panels and that has been up and going for a while," said Sandra Adams, president of the Lamesa Chamber of Commerce "Now we are in phase two and we are excited about that bringing in another 100 people." 

For small towns like Lamesa, big projects like this one also brings hope to its residents, phase two of this solar panel project will begin next month and is expected to finish by the end of this year. 

TTU System's facility administrator leaves his legacy on campus

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech campus is always changing as new buildings and renovations are constantly in the works. 

For eight years, Michael Molina has been the driving force behind these projects. He's administrated more than 70 projects and said it's in his heritage to maintain spanish renaissance architectural style.

"It's very unique in nature and it's based not around a brick and a tile and mortar, colors and the palet," Molina said. "It's the science of how you harmonize those together as one musical statement."

Molina has been named named SMU's associate vice president of facilities planning and management and chief architect. 

Fatal hit and run suspect claims he 'thought he ran over a dog'

LUBBOCK, Texas - The suspect accused of running over and killing a teenager at the beginning of the month claims he thought he ran over a dog.

In an arrest warrant, 46-year-old Melvin Keele said he was driving on Inler and collided with an unknown object that he assumed was a dog. He said he checked his mirrors, but didn't see anything in the road and kept going.

In the warrant, Keele said he eventually parked his truck at Walmart, went in to get groceries and then came out and the noticed the damage to his truck. He then called a friend to take him home.

Upon questioning by police, Keele said he would've stopped if he had known he hit 18-year old Joey Augero and he had no reason to believe a person was in the road.

Keele did not return to the scene to check what he hit. He is charged with failure to stop and render aid, a felony. He's held on a $60,000 bond.

Sessions announces new task force in the war on opioids

WASHINGTON (AP) -The Justice Department fired its next volley in the war on opioid addiction.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new task force focusing on manufacturers and distributors.

He said the "prescriptions interdiction and litigation unit" will hold everyone accountable and attack the crisis at its root.

"We will use criminal penalties, we will use civil penalties," Sessions said. "We will use whatever laws and tools we have to hold people accountable if they break our laws."

Sessions said the task force will coordinate with law enforcement at all levels, examine new legislative and regulatory changes and examine existing lawsuits against manufacturers to figure out where the DOJ can help.

Kushner's security clearance downgraded per Kelly policy

WASHINGTON (AP) - The security clearance of White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, has been downgraded.

That's according to two people informed of the decision.

Kushner had been operating with an interim clearance at the "top secret/sensitive compartmented information" level for more than a year.

Now, a White House official and a person familiar with the decision said he is only authorized to access information at the lower "secret" level.

Neither source was authorized to discuss the decision publicly.

Chief of Staff John Kelly ordered that White House officials with interim clearances pending since before June 1, 2017, lose their access to the nation's deepest secrets if they hadn't received permanent clearances by last Friday.

A White House official confirms that Kelly's order has been implemented.

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