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Double dose of winter weather expected in Longview area next week
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Expect hazardous road conditions and area power outages next week as two rounds of winter weather hit the Longview area in the coming days.

And area school districts already are making changes and canceling classes in anticipation of next week’s expected snow.

The National Weather Service said Friday during a briefing that temperatures are expected in the single-digits Monday night with a high that day only in the teens. That would shatter Longview’s record low temperature for that day of 25 degrees set Feb. 15, 1909.

And temperatures in the area might not rise above freezing Sunday through Thursday.

Meteorologist Charlie Woodrum said the first major, region-wide storm will begin arriving Sunday as an arctic air mass filters into the area and brings even colder temperatures. Sunday morning should see some sleet and freezing rain across the Longview area, with snow in the northwest part of the region.

By Sunday afternoon and evening, a wave of precipitation will arrive, and by Monday morning the area should see heavier precipitation of sleet and snow, Woodrum said.

That will switch to snow or heavy snow Monday afternoon into Tuesday night, he said.

The region should get a break on Tuesday from precipitation, Woodrum said, but another round of snow is expected Wednesday and Thursday.

Temperature will be a big concern because it means the winter precipitation will accumulate, Woodrum said.

“Temperatures are going to continue to fall,” he said, adding they would “not even really get above the 40-degree mark across all of our area for quite a while.”

Woodrum said the weather service has been watching soil temperatures drop as well: It was 50 degrees on Wednesday, 44 degrees on Thursday night and 41 degrees Friday morning.

“With that colder air moving in, we’re seeing the soil respond to that, and it’s on its way,” he said.

With the first storm, Woodrum said the region should see between 3 and 5 inches of snow with some sleet mixed in north of Interstate 20 and further west. Areas south of I-20 in the middle of the Ark-La-Tex should see between 1 to 3 inches of snow and sleet.

“The further south and east you go, the more sleet will mix in,” Woodrum said. “The further north you go, the more snow it will be... Either way, it’ll be a wintry mess across our area roadways.”

Meanwhile, Longview ISD on Friday canceled Monday classes.

“Due to the climate that is presenting and with the purpose of keeping our families, bus drivers and the rest of our employees safe, Longview ISD will be closing their campuses on Monday,” the district said in a statement. “All campuses and district offices will close.”

The district’s administration will continue to monitor the storm for possible changes Tuesday.

“If we must stay closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday, families will be asked to participate in the asynchronous learning model,” the district said. “Assignments will be in the students’ Google classroom and Chromebooks will be leaving with students home (Friday).”

Gladewater ISD also announced it would use virtual learning Tuesday and Wednesday because of the weather. Buses will not run and campuses will be closed. The district said students are expected to use Google Classroom or email to communicate with teachers and complete assignments.

Gilmer ISD Superintendent Rick Albritton posted on his Facebook page that the district will have remote instruction Monday through Wednesday.

Panola College and the Panola Charter Schools System decided Thursday to move to virtual instruction Monday through Thursday.

Also, the city of Longview has shifted its schedule for trash and recycling pick up next week.

All customers will have their collection pushed back one day. Residents whose trash is usually picked up on Monday will have it picked up on Tuesday next week. Tuesday customers will have it picked up on Wednesday. Wednesday customers will have their trash picked up on Thursday. Customers whose trash is normally picked up on Thursday will have it picked up on Friday this coming week.

The shift in collection scheduled applies only to this coming week.

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Gregg County rallies behind justice of the peace after heart attack

Gregg County leaders and those in the community are looking forward to when Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Tim Bryan returns to his courtroom with his “big smile,” his “contagious personality” and his love for the community he has served for the past 20-plus years.

On Feb. 4 — his 49th birthday — Bryan suffered a heart attack before a Gladewater Rotary Club meeting during which he was scheduled to be the guest speaker. Gladewater Rotarian Leon Word, who had arrived early for the meeting, performed life-saving CPR until EMS arrived.

Today, Bryan is at a Dallas hospital where is stable, alert and beginning to talk again.

“Tim is one of those really special guys who our county is very lucky to have,” Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said Friday. “He’s an excellent judge. He loves his community. He’s a strong guy, a smart guy, and I just look forward to seeing him back here and getting to talk to him again. I usually talk to him every day and I miss that right now. He’s got a contagious personality in terms of his happiness. Tim’s just a great guy to be around.”

Bryan also has served as municipal court judge for Gladewater since December.

The Gladewater Rotary Club was to meet at noon Feb. 4 at the BlueByrd Room, a rental venue in Gladewater. Owner Karla Byrd said most weeks the Rotarians arrive close to noon, but on Feb. 4, Word happened to arrive about 30 minutes early to pick up the key from arrive. Bryan also arrived about 30 minutes early.

Word had never met Bryan, but when he saw him arrive, he asked if Bryan was the group’s scheduled speaker. He unlocked the meeting room and the two men went inside.

“Tim put his leather bag down on the stage, and we were standing there face to face talking. We hadn’t been talking but a minute or two when I looked away from him for a split second. When I turned back around, he was on the floor,” Word said.

Word quickly recalled CPR training that he’d taken decades before while working at Eastman Chemical Co. He immediately began performing CPR. He also called 911 on speakerphone.

“The dispatcher, she got me in rhythm the way it needed to be,” he recalled. “When EMS arrived, they slid my hands out of the way and they took over. I was so shaken. I have never felt that way inside before.”

Byrd said it took about seven minutes for EMS to arrive, but Word played a crucial role in those early moments.

“God wasn’t ready for Mr. Bryan to leave our community,” Byrd said.

She hopes more people in the community will consider taking a CPR class. Word hopes for the same thing.

“Take a class. Whether you use it right away or not, it’s in your memory bank and it’ll come back,” he said.

Word, Byrd and many other people in the community have kept up with Bryan’s progress on Facebook.

On Wednesday, Bryan’s wife Tina posted that he had been taken off a ventilator and was beginning to talk. On Thursday, she posted that Bryan had sat up on the side of his bed, and she hoped that he would be walking again soon. Meanwhile, on Friday, Bryan’s brother Jeff posted that Bryan is undergoing speech therapy and that “medical staff here are very encouraged at his progress.”

Sheriff Maxey Cerliano said he, too, has been following Bryan’s progress and talking with the family. He’s encouraged by Bryan’s progress and hopes to see his longtime friend back in Gregg County soon.

Bryan worked with Cerliano at Kilgore Police Department before 2001, when Cerliano was first elected Gregg County sheriff. Bryan served in the sheriff’s office until 2014. when he first was elected as Pct. 2 justice of the peace. Cerliano and Bryan were each recognized during January Commissioners Court meeting for 20 years of service to the county.

“Tim has been very active in the community. I don’t know that you could find anybody that would say anything bad about Tim Bryan,” Cerliano said. “He’s a person that is very much about doing the right thing. That’s what he strives to do, and that just radiates out to the people that he talks to, and I think that’s why they know him, love him and respect him.”

To help support the Bryan family with medical expenses, a GoFundMe account has been created. To contribute, visit www.gofundme.com/f/tim-tina-bryan-medical-expenses .

Longview councilwoman draws challenger in May election

Filing for the May 1 election ended Friday with a new challenger for a Longview City Council seat.

Marisa R. Ward filed Friday to seek the District 2 seat held by Nona Snoddy. Snoddy is seeking her third and final term.

Longview Mayor Andy Mack filed to seek his third and final term of office and will run unopposed.

District 1 Councilman Ed Moore chose not to file for reelection. The race for the District 1 seat is split three ways between Temple “Tem” Carpenter III, Jeremiah Hunter and former District 1 Councilman John Sims.

The mayor and Longview City Council members are elected to serve three-year terms. In Longview, the city has term limits, and each person may be elected to serve up to three terms. Mack and Snoddy each were first elected to office in May 2015.

Elsewhere in Gregg County, Kilgore, Gladewater and White Oak have council seats up for election.

In Kilgore, Mayor Ronnie Spradlin filed for reelection as well as Place 2 Councilman Harvey McClendon, who also is the city’s mayor pro tem. Spradlin will run unopposed. Place 2 will be a contested race as Brandon Bigos filed to oppose McClendon.

Kilgore council members are elected to serve two-year terms, and the city does not have term limits.

In Gladewater, Dennis Robertson filed Friday to challenge Place 4 Councilman Michael Webber. The winner will replace current councilman Nick Foster. Place 5 Councilman Elijah “Sonny” Anderson, Place 6 Councilman Rocky Hawkins and Place 7 Councilman Kevin Clark are unopposed in May.

Gladewater council members are elected to serve two-year terms, and the city does not have term limits.

In White Oak, Places 1, 2 and 3 are up for election. Place 1 is held by Dana Mizell; Place 2 is held by Joseph Stephens; and Place 3 is held by Thomas Cash.

Election filings for White Oak City Council were not available Friday afternoon.

White Oak council members are elected to serve two-year terms, and the city does not have term limits.

The last day to register to vote is April 1. Early voting is set April 19 to 27 with Election Day on May 1.

Trump lawyers argue impeachment based on 'hatred,' not facts
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WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers accused Democrats of waging a campaign of “hatred” against the former president as they sped through their defense of his actions and words before the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, hurtling the Senate toward a final vote in his trial.

The defense team vigorously denied Friday that Trump had incited the riot and said his encouragement of followers to “fight like hell” at a rally that preceded it was routine political speech. They played dozens of clips showing Democrats, some of them senators now serving as jurors, also telling supporters to “fight,” aiming to establish a parallel with Trump’s rhetoric.

“This is ordinarily political rhetoric that is virtually indistinguishable from the language that has been used by people across the political spectrum for hundreds of years,” said Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen. “Countless politicians have spoken of fighting for our principles.”

But the presentation blurred the difference between general encouragement to battle for causes and Trump’s fight against officially accepted national election results. Trump was telling his supporters to fight on after every state had verified its results, after the Electoral College had affirmed them and after nearly every election lawsuit filed by Trump and his allies had been rejected in court.

The case is speeding toward a vote and likely acquittal, perhaps as soon as today, with the Senate evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans and a two-thirds majority required for conviction. Trump’s lawyers made an abbreviated presentation that used less than three of their allotted 16 hours.

Their quick pivot to the Democrats’ own words deflected from the central question of the trial — whether Trump incited the assault on the Capitol — and instead aimed to place impeachment managers and Trump adversaries on the defensive.

His lawyers contended he was merely telling his rally crowd to support primary challenges against his adversaries and to press for sweeping election reform.

After a two-day effort by Democrats to sync up Trump’s words to the violence that followed, including through raw and emotive video footage, defense lawyers suggested that Democrats have typically engaged in the same overheated rhetoric as Trump.

But in trying to draw that equivalency, the lawyers minimized Trump’s months-long efforts to overturn the election results and his urging of followers to do the same. Democrats say that long campaign, rooted in a “big lie,” laid the groundwork for the mob that assembled outside the Capitol and stormed inside. Five people died.

“And so they came, draped in Trump’s flag, and used our flag, the American flag, to batter and to bludgeon,” Rep. Madeleine Dean, one of the impeachment managers, said Thursday as she choked back emotion.

On Friday, as defense lawyers repeated their own videos over and over, some Democrats chuckled and whispered among themselves as many of their faces flashed on the screen. Some passed notes. Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal threw up his hands, apparently amused, when his face appeared. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar rolled her eyes. Most Republicans watched intently.

During a break, some joked about the videos and others said they were a distraction or a “false equivalence” with Trump’s behavior.

“Well, we heard the word ‘fight’ a lot,” said Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett said it felt like the lawyers were “erecting straw men to then take them down rather than deal with the facts.”

“Show me any time that the result was that one of our supporters pulled someone out of the crowd, and then we said, ‘That’s great, good for you,’ ” said Delaware Sen. Chris Coons.

Trump’s defenders told senators that Trump was entitled to dispute the 2020 election results and that his doing so did not amount to inciting the violence. They sought to turn the tables on prosecutors by likening the Democrats’ questioning of the legitimacy of Trump’s 2016 win to his challenge of his election loss.

The defense team did not dispute the horror of the violence, painstakingly reconstructed by impeachment managers earlier in the week, but said it had been carried out by people who had “hijacked” what was supposed to be a peaceful event and had planned violence before Trump had spoken.

“You can’t incite what was going to happen,” he said.