Business notebook: First Financial offering wildfire relief loans

Flames and smoke rise high above the trees in the Mesquite Heat Fire, which started near View on Tuesday, May 17.

First Financial Bank announced in a news release Wednesday that it was introducing a new loan option to help people directly affected by the Mesquite Heat Fire, which started May 17 southwest of Abilene and destroyed more than two dozen structures, including about 20 houses.

The bank's new Mesquite Heat Fire Relief Loan Program features a low rate and deferred payment option, the release said, with up to $20,000 available to offset short-term expenses with a three-month deferred payment period.

“The wildfires directly impacted many people in our community, but we are grateful those in its path were able to evacuate to safety,” Marelyn Shedd, First Financial's Abilene Region president, said in the release. “We hope this loan program delivers some peace of mind for those who lost property and possessions. Our hearts and prayers continue to be with our community.”

Brown, Scurry counties get recreational trail grants

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved grants totaling more than $4.8 million dollars for 17 motorized and non-motorized recreational trail-related projects around Texas, the TPWD said in a news release Thursday, including two projects in the Big Country.

In Brown County, the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation received a grant of $188,000 for the Texas 4-H Center Trail System project, which includes construction of 2.5 miles of new trail and renovation of existing trails.

Scurry County received a grant of $228,100 for the Scurry County Recreational Trails project, which includes the construction of five miles of bike trail and renovation of 2.5 miles of existing trails.

The grants were funded in part by the state's Sporting Good Sales Tax, the National Recreational Trails Fund and the cancellation of projects approved in previous years, the release said.

Special Olympics fundraiser begins at United Express

United Express fuel and convenience stores on Tuesday launched a donate-at-the-register fundraiser campaign benefiting Special Olympics, the United Family said in a news release.

Through June 8, guests will be able to add any dollar amount to their bill at checkout at any of the 38 United Express locations in Texas and New Mexico, the release said, with all money staying in the market it was raised in.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Business notebook: First Financial offering wildfire relief loans