5 things to know: Monday - FOX34 Lubbock

5 things to know: Monday

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Jazzercise: moving for Autism Awareness

LUBBOCK, Texas - It is a movement towards acceptance and appreciation. April marks Autism Awareness Month. 

One in every 68 children in the United States are on the spectrum. 

For Spencer Ragland, she uses jazzercise as a way to help inspire other autistic adults. She said it challenges herself both mentally and physically. 

"I work my butt off and I exercise and I try my best that I can and I just always want to do the best of my ability," Ragland said. 

She has been attending classes at the YWCA for four years. Instructor Gina Morris said it is Spencer's positivity that inspires her. 

"Spencer walked in and changed my life a little bit," Morris said. "She walks into class and just brightens the room." 

Spencer hopes she can encourage other adults with autism to not let the disorder hold them back. 

"I just hope people who have autism, or have children who have autism can realize that your child can do anything they want, just as long as you stick with it, you can do anything in the world," Ragland said.

Morris said Spencer has done more for them then she realizes. 

"When she comes in, she tries really hard every class and it's inspiring to us, " Morris said. "It helps us to try harder and just with her big smile and her hugs, it makes us feel happy." 


Sorghum producers feel effects of looming trade war

LUBBOCK, Texas - As the trade war between the U.S. and China heats up, farmers on the South Plains are caught in the crossfire. 

The U.S. by and large is the world's top producer of sorghum, growing more than 11.5 million metric tons of the grain. 

The largest consumer of the plant is China which puts producers in a tough situation considering the country is looking at placing a 25 percent tariff on all imported U.S. sorghum in retaliation to the proposed tariffs by President Trump.

"The government actions right now going on and these tariff discussions are a grave concern," said Tim Lust, CEO of the National Sorghum Producers. "We saw our product drop 20 percent in value and that's well above any profit margin that our farmers have to where prices are today."

Lust said given the outlook, he is urging producers to settle in for the long haul.

"Don't expect that it's going to be resolved over night but for the good of both of the two largest economies in the world, getting to the negotiations table and figuring out a solution to this that will allow us to go on and do what we do best and that's the efficient production, in our industry's case, U.S. sorghum," he said.

No tariffs have actually gone into effect yet. Pressure is mounting on the White House to meet at the negotiating table in an attempt to minimize any potential damage.


Migrants in Texas continue to fuel state economy

LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas relies on a large and sustained influx of workers from other states and countries to fuel and strengthen the economy. The jobs in Texas have nearly doubled in the past quarter century, according to a new study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. 

"The state of Texas has been able to create quite a lot of jobs compared to other states even though it has had a lot of immigration," said Armando Lopez, economics professor at Texas Tech.

"That immigration might be one of the drivers of these jobs, because sometimes firms move where the workers are and sometimes workers move where the firms are."

According to the study migrant workers in the state of Texas contributed significantly to that growth. More than half of construction and landscaping workers as well as 63% of housekeepers are from foreign countries. 

Low tax rates, less regulation, and an accommodating business climate has helped attract both workers and jobs. Well-educated migrant workers benefit the most. Those at the top of the distribution grew the most in Texas as compared to the rest of the country. So that means Texas is not only generating jobs, but it's generating well paying jobs. 


North Lubbock development could solve what to do with Coliseum

LUBBOCK, Texas - Arizona based Dominion Real Estate Investments group announced plans to develop a plot of land in North Lubbock.

288 acres of land next to the airport will soon be home to a mixed use development. It will be an agrarian community and includes an equestrian K-12 charter school, horse trails, multifamily housing and commercial properties.

The development is designed to be sustainable with two inches of water on site.

Perhaps the largest development though is an 8,000 seat dirt arena.

With a looming vote to abandon the Municipal Coliseum, developers intend for it to host the Lubbock ABC Pro Rodeo.

"It would be great for the ABC Rodeo," said Ray Short, Chairman of the Board for ABC Rodeo. "Never miss a beat, keep our momentum going. If we move right out of the coliseum and into this equestrian center, it would be momentum for us and the Boy's and Girl's club and it would be good for the city of Lubbock also."

The goal of the developers is to break ground on the school and the arena by the end of the year with completion around 2020. The entire project is expected to be finished in 15 to 20 years.


Arrington: We need to negotiate with NAFTA before China

LUBBOCK, Texas - The trade clash with China is escalating, and the potential for more retaliation is worrying some producers.

Lubbock congressman Jodey Arrington says he trusts the President's judgment.

"The president is trying to hit reset for a fair trade environment and is holding people accountable who don't play by the rules like China," Arrington said. 

"Let's get the NAFTA done, let's make sure that we do no harm to the industry where it is working. Let's fix the broken pieces of it, and then let's do more free trade. We can deal with China in a way that has much less consequences and adverse impacts on our own economy," Arrington said. 

Arrington also believes that the more free trade we can have, the better.

"We've gotta open up more free trade markets. I'm a big free trade open market kind of guy. I think that has been a huge benefit to our United States economy. There is no such thing as free trade, and the benefits of free trade competition without the people playing fairly and engaging and competing by the rules that are set with everyone else," Arrington said. 

 Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the administration is negotiating with Chinese leaders, but he says President Trump will remain tough with his "America first" policies.

Mnuchin says this isn't the start of a trade war, and he's still optimistic it'll all work out in the end.

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