5 things to know: Monday

5 things to know: Monday

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Retired teachers scraping by on fixed pension income, health-care costs

LUBBOCK, Texas - A Teacher Retirement System vote reduced the rate from 8 percent to 7.5 percent. That is a lot to retirees, since it is unlikely they will get a cost of living increase in fixed pensions. Factor in skyrocketing health care costs, and some will barely scrape by. 

"If you retired after September 1, 2004, which I did. Those people have not received a cost of living raise in 14 years," Terri Navrkal, president of the Lubbock Retired Teacher Association said. "Health care costs have increased, our cost of living have increased, and we receive an annuity that has stayed the same."

After TRS vote to decrease the assumed rate of return, that cost of living increase may not happen anytime soon. 

Right now, the defined benefit plan is about 80 percent funded. 

Retired teachers are also urging lawmakers to make adjustments to an underfunded health care program that has caused soaring deductible and out of pocket costs. While the legislature added funding to the program, retirees claim it is still not enough. The legislature reconvenes in January.


IABC family camp teaches kids importance of service

LUBBOCK, Texas - Families at Indiana Avenue Baptist Church are teaching their kids the importance of serving others. 

"They see that it's not just something parents do, but it's a way they can give back and they see the importance of it, they see the joy it really brings in them as well so it's a learning experience for all of us," volunteer, Byron Campbell, said. 

This is the fourth year of family camp, but the first year it's focused on service. Sixty volunteers were spread out across Lubbock at Habitat for Humanity, the children's home and the Brookdale nursing home.

The volunteers wore shirts that said, "Paxton's Miracle" in honor of their seven-year-old friend, Paxton, who is battling cancer. Proceeds from the t-shirts go toward activity bags for other kids battling cancer


Chief Medical Examiner to retire, Lubbock County searching for replacement

LUBBOCK, Texas - After performing or supervising more than ten thousand autopsies, and years in the business, Dr. Sridhar Natarajan is calling it quits. The commissioners believe the chief made this announcement at the right time. 

When he took over as Chief in 2009, Natarajan said there was a lot of work to be done. 

"I would say the office was essentially in shambles in how things were being managed. I think the Commissioners understood that and were looking to improve it and move it to the highest standard. We've proven ourselves time after time in going to trial and having the sides both on prosecution and criminal defense on cases," Natarajan said. 

The county has just over two months to find Natarajan's replacement, as his retirement date is set for October 1st.


LP&L not cutting power during extreme heat

LUBBOCK, Texas - This summer has been hot to say the least. There have been 24 days of 100 degrees or hotter, with a few record breaking days. The heat is resulting in skyrocketing utility bills, leaving some struggling to pay.

"When you have days that are over a hundred degrees, even if you're taking in all of these energy efficiency tips, you're bill is still going to be higher than it would traditionally be just because your a/c unit is the number one consumer of electricity inside your home," said Matt Rose, Lubbock Power and Light spokesman.

When the heat becomes dangerous, Rose said LP&L will not be cutting power to anyone's home.

If you are struggling to keep up and are not able to make your next utility payment, he said give LP&L a call. The customer service representative on the other end of the line will give you a list of resources to help.


Trump threatens border security shutdown, GOP cool to idea
  
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans anxious about keeping control of Congress think it's a bad idea, but President Donald Trump says he's still willing to close the government over border security issues, including money to build a promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
  
Trump tweeted Sunday: "I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!"
  
Trump met at the White House last week with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  
McConnell later told a radio interviewer that a shutdown so close to the Nov. 6 midterm elections won't happen.
  
Government funding expires midnight Sept. 30.

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