5 things to know: Wednesday - FOX34 Lubbock

5 things to know: Wednesday

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Drought in West Texas has lasting effects

LUBBOCK, Texas - There's a strain on our region's water supply, according to the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District. It reports this year's drought has dropped levels by nearly two inches district-wide.

"I think by now we are about 7 or 8 inches of precipitation for the year," said Katherine Drury, with the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District. "That is extremely low."

The city of Lubbock gets most of its water from the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, or CRMWA, which includes Lake Meredith, Lake Allen Henry, and ground water from well fields in Roberts and Bailey counties.

Unlike Lubbock, Wolforth doesn't benefit from CRMWA and relies solely on well water. Wolforth couldn't afford joining when the option came up decades ago. The city also does not benefit from Lake Allen Henry and remote well fields in Bailey and Roberts counties. The city's currently testing its well farms hoping to expand and grow in the near future. 

SNAP program is biggest roadblock in Farm Bill deal before deadline

LUBBOCK, Texas - Congress has four days to pass a $430 billion Farm Bill, as funding for safety net programs for farmers is set to run out on September 30. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) carries the largest percentage of the Farm Bill budget. Almost four million Texans benefit from the program, according to the Texas Department of Health and Services. 

Shawn Wade, with Plains Cotton Growers, said there are several security measures farmers need in this year's bill.

"Our Title One safety net programs, the conservation programs, marketing loan programs... those are the types of programs that are directly authorized by the Farm Bill and would then fall under the need for an extension for the bill if a final agreement cannot be reached, or the best case scenario is they get this conference done and get it passed as soon as possible," Wade said.

Wade said farmers have worked hard to get cotton back into the Title One safety nets, which he said are now at risk if a deal for the Farm Bill is not reached. 

Sheriff: 'Key to solving rising gang problem lies in prevention'

LUBBOCK COUNTY, Texas - The first Texas Anti-Gang Center (TAG) opened in Houston six years ago. The Governor's 'Securing Texas' plan capitalized on its effectiveness, replicating the center across the state including in Lubbock.

TAG is often involved in investigations surrounding violent crimes. Sheriff Rowe said it all goes back to one rooting problem, narcotics. He said due to our highways, drugs are flowing in and out of Lubbock constantly. The most prominent is methamphetamine. 

"We're talking about burglaries, robberies, the gang-violence, which is gang-on-gang, typically violence, issues that come up with various gang, gang members in regard to the narcotics trade, is what we see is the most prolific issue we see on a daily basis," said Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe. 

TAG reports about 60 different gangs active in Lubbock County, with 1,700 suspected members.

Cosby accusers say he got what he deserved

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Bill Cosby's accusers say the comedian got what he deserved when a judge sentenced him to prison for sexual assault.

Some of the women who allege Cosby drugged and raped them spoke out Tuesday after he was sentenced to three to 10 years behind bars.

Accuser Victoria Valentino says "this is a great day for women and a great day for rape survivors."

Another accuser, Lili Bernard, says she hopes the sentence will "send a message to other powerful perpetrators that they will be caught and punished.

Cosby was convicted in April of drugging and molesting a Temple University women's basketball administrator. The case helped prompt dozens of other accusers to come forward with similar allegations.

Sunni Welles, who says Cosby drugged and raped her in 1965, called Cosby "an unforgivable, disgusting, sexual deviant."

GOP lines up Kavanaugh vote plan as showdown hearing nears

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Republicans are beginning to schedule votes aimed at putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

GOP leaders set a Senate Judiciary Committee vote for Friday and hoped to confirm Kavanaugh early next week. That's even as Thursday's showdown hearing approaches.

Senate Republicans are bringing in a veteran Arizona prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, to handle questioning about allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a fellow teenager in the 1980s.

Mitchell comes from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix. She is the chief of the Special Victims Division, which covers sex crimes and family violence.

A handful of undeclared GOP moderates leave Kavanaugh's fate uncertain because the party runs the Senate with just a 51-49 advantage. There's no telling how Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, will perform at the hearing.

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