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Longview Councilman Ed Moore to end public service career where it began

Ed Moore will close another chapter of his public service in Longview right where it started in 1980.

That’s when Moore, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, came to Longview to become assistant city manager under City Manager Ray Jackson. Moore was 32, he said. Jackson was 35.

Moore said he would sit at a table on the left side of the City Council chambers at City Hall during council meetings, with members at the front of the room.

Now, with social distancing guidelines in place during City Council meetings, Moore’s seat as the District 1 council representative is in the same spot where he sat as assistant city manager.

Moore will take that seat for the last time today when the City Council meets at 5:30 p.m.

Moore, who served a total of six years, or two terms on the council, chose not to seek re-election. He said he and his wife, Jean, want to travel more, including visiting their two children and two grandchildren in California. Temple “Tem” Carpenter III will be sworn in to replace him this evening.

“I’ve enjoyed what we’ve accomplished over six years,” Moore said, and quickly added that he couldn’t take full credit for those accomplishments.

He chaired the task force that successfully proposed changes to city ordinances so that food trucks could operate here. City voters also approved a $104 million bond package by an approximately 2-to-1 margin that’s providing for improvements to city parks and roads as well as public safety projects that include constructing a new police headquarters.

Moore’s influence in East Texas, though, stretches beyond his six years on the City Council. After the Navy, Moore earned a master’s in public administration with the intention of working in government. He came to Longview after stints as city manager in Sanger and Edna. He and Jackson had met each other in graduate school.

A couple of years after arriving in Longview, an opportunity came along that would ensure the family could stay here, something he wouldn’t have control over working in city management.

“We just loved living in Longview, Moore said.

He left city government to become a financial adviser who worked for decades with local governments on financial planning, addressing city councils and school districts, for instance, about refinancing debt or selling bonds to fund large projects. He was active in a number of other ways in the community, including serving 30 years as a trustee for the Longview Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund.

Moore decided to return to city government in a different way after he retired.

“I had accomplished all the home improvement projects I set out to do after I retired from public finance,” he said. “I decided there’s more I can do for the city of Longview.”

He was elected in 2015 to represent District 1 in West Longview, after people in his district and former Mayor Earl Roberts, now deceased, encouraged him to run for office. From Moore’s perspective, he had “unique” knowledge and experience to bring to the office, considering his financial background and how that could be of use during city budgeting.

“I like to think, together, the six of us have made Longview a better place to live and work,” Moore said of the City Council.

He said there were a few projects he wishes he had been able to complete in his district, including getting a welcome monument built at the West Marshall Avenue entrance into the city. The funding wasn’t available, he said.

He had also wanted to see improvements to a shopping center on Pine Tree Road that has been deteriorating since its previous owners were caught up in a 2014 synthetic marijuana case. A group of investors purchased the property in 2019 and announced this year that the property will be renovated.

He also had wanted to see the old Longview refinery on Premiere Road cleaned up — it had long been under an EPA cleanup order — and put back into use as a site for industry.

“I always prided myself on being responsive to citizens,” Moore said, adding that he made a commitment to return phone calls within 24 hours.

Moore has met with his replacement, Carpenter, and plans to do so again. He advised any council member or representative to be “true to your convictions” and be honest and forthright.

“And be willing to compromise. That’s probably the biggest (advice) — be willing to compromise,” he said

'The adrenaline kicked in': UPS driver in right place, right time to help Longview man in burning home

In the early hours of May 3, packages headed for the Pine Tree area of Longview were loaded onto Daniel Carmical’s UPS truck, although his regular route takes him to Liberty City. Unbeknownst to the delivery driver, that logistical mistake put him in the right place at the right time.

Carmical, 36, broke down a door to rescue a man inside a burning home that day in a Pine Tree neighborhood.

Homeowners Ben and Kateland Slater said they’re grateful for Carmical’s quick thinking.

“It would have probably been way worse,” Ben Slater said.

While making his last deliveries about 8 p.m. at a residence in the 100 block of West Primrose Lane, Carmical said he smelled smoke and saw flames coming out of the roof vents of a house across the street.

“As I was walking up to the house, I could smell an odd type of smoke,” he said, noting that it didn’t smell like burning leaves. He said he looked around to see what was burning.

Neighbors outside yelled that the house across the street was on fire.

Carmical said it appeared as if no one was home because there was no vehicle in the driveway.

“Someone started yelling that there is someone home and the truck was in the back,” he said. “The adrenaline kicked in.”

Doorbell video posted on Facebook from the home where Carmical made his delivery shows flames coming out of the roof vent and the driver take off running into the street toward the house.

Carmical said he yelled and knocked on the door first to try to get the attention of anyone inside before busting through the door.

Kicking the door in was more difficult than he expected.

“You see people kicking doors in on TV and movies,” he said, chuckling. “It’s not that easy. It did not budge the first time. After that first kick when it didn’t move, I could feel my heart going crazy.”

It took two more good kicks to get the door open. Surprisingly, the door looks unharmed — it’s the frame that was damaged.

“I see now why the SWAT teams have that big ramrod,” Carmical said.

He said Ben Slater walked down the hallway, and Carmical said he assumed he must have been asleep.

“I was watching TV in bed with the sound up,” Ben Slater said, laughing. He didn’t see any smoke in the bedroom and was startled by the sound of Carmical breaking in and yelling “UPS.”

“I told him his house was on fire,” Carmical said.

“I was like, ‘Oh that’s weird,’ ” Ben Slater said, laughing.

“It was oddly quiet throughout the house. I mean, you would expect to hear popping or something,” Carmical said.

The fire started in the back of the oldest part of the house where the laundry was located and traveled up into the attic. The bedroom was in a newer addition to the house.

The home was otherwise empty except for a cat and dog. Carmical went with Ben Slater to get the dog out of the backyard, and the cat was found later in another part of the house, scared but unharmed.

“It amazes me how quickly it spread,” Carmical said. Within 15 to 20 seconds, he said, the flames were shooting 8 to 10 feet high.

Longview firefighters arrived shortly after and found flames coming from the roof of the house, said Fire Marshal Kevin May. The crews accessed the attic and found heavy smoke and flames.

No one was injured.

May credits Carmical, neighbors and the fire department’s quick response with preventing the house from completely burning.

“I was laying there in bed, but you never really know with the fire situations what could have happened,” Ben Slater said. “We’re thankful.”

“It all happened very fast,” Carmical said. “I don’t know why, but I apologized to him for kicking in his door.”

He left his information and finished working.

“I noticed that my next delivery was supposed to be to their house,” Carmical said, adding that he took the box and drove it back over after work where he met the Slaters.

“The ironic part of everything is that’s not my delivery area,” Carmical said. “I did it for 12 years and just happened to come in Monday and part of Pine Tree had been put on my truck. I wasn’t supposed to be there.”

But he said he grew up in the neighborhood and lives about a mile-and-a-half away from Primrose Lane.

“I rode bicycles up and down that street as a kid,” Carmical said. “That makes it rewarding that I could help someone in my community.”

Carmical said it was fortunate that the Slaters’ neighbors were outside and that he happened to be making a delivery at that time.

“I think it was God’s will for me to get over there that day,” Carmical said. “Come to find out, one of my old neighbors, he was one of the first firefighters on scene and the first to go through that house.”

The Slaters had remodeled part of the 1950s house fairly recently. When firefighters arrived, they tried to save wedding pictures and personal items off of the walls.

Kateland Slater said the material things are replaceable, but her husband is not.

“I contacted (Carmical’s) supervisor the next day or two days after,” she said. “I just wanted to tell him that (Carmical) is amazing and we wanted to say thank you.”

She said she wanted to make sure he was recognized for his heroism.

The Slater family and Carmical were surprised by the amount of attention on social media and the praise Carmical received for his actions.

“I don’t think I deserve it,” he said. “This is the first time I ever had to run into a burning house, but our first responders do it on a daily basis. It’s definitely given me an appreciation for what our firemen do.”

Carmical said he told his family that he didn’t know what to do with all the attention, but he was reminded that the world needs good, positive stories.

“Think of all the negative news you read,” he said. “If there is a good story, I need to talk about it. It puts a little faith back in people.”

The Slaters expect that they will be able to rebuild and renovate without a complete demolition, and a GoFundMe fundraising page has been set up.

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White Oak High School bass fishing team prepares for state tournament

Blake Whatley has advice for White Oak High School students who want to pursue a professional angling career: “You better love it if you’re going to chase it for a long time.”

Whatley, a professional angler and past winner of the KYKX Big Bass Bonanza on Lake O’ The Pines, spoke this week to members of the school’s bass fishing team before members traveled to compete in this weekend’s Texas High School Bass Association tournament. This year’s event is at Lake Texoma in Denison.

The tournament isn’t sanctioned by the UIL as bass fishing it’s an official UIL sport.

While Whatley offered the students tips on competing and professional angling, he also spent time talking to them about integrity and the value of a good work ethic.

“This is a humbling, humbling sport,” Whatley said. “You’re going to get your teeth kicked in nine times out of 10.”

Ninth-grader Ethan Williams, one of the team members headed to this weekend’s tournament, said Whatley’s visit helped give him more confidence going into the contest.

During tournaments, the students compete in teams of two. Ethan’s teammate, classmate Kash Y’Barbo, said he is feeling some nerves going into the event at Lake Texoma.

White Oak High School won the state tournament in 2018, and former Superintendent Mike Gilbert still helps the team.

“For this tournament our boat captain, Mr. Gilbert, he’s been up there for a week, and he’s been giving us information,” Kash said. “It’s kind of making the stress level easier.”

A boat captain is the adult sponsor on the boat with the students during the tournament making sure they follow the rules.

None of the students who qualified have fished on Lake Texoma. Senior Michael Stevens said his dad and brother, who is going to the tournament with him, took a trip to scope out the lake and said it would be a hard meet.

During the contest, the competitors can only keep five fish that are at least 14 inches long, Michael said. The team that has the most total weight wins.

The fishing team competes throughout the year, but the season will end this weekend. That means it’s Michael’s last high school tournament.

And he’s going in focused.

“We never have (our cellphones while fishing). Personally, I don’t even eat until we have five fish,” he said. “I’m so focused, and a lot of times I don’t eat at all.”

Texas law now allows alcohol to-go from restaurants after Abbott signs bill
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Alcohol to go is now law in Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday signed a bill to permanently allow Texans to include alcohol in take-out orders from restaurants, achieving a shared goal of Abbott and restaurateurs.

House Bill 1024 allows beer, wine and mixed drinks to be included in pickup and delivery food orders, securing a revenue stream made available to restaurants during the pandemic when their dining areas were forced to close. Because the measure was approved by more than two-thirds of the House and Senate, it went into effect as soon as Abbott signed it.

“Today is a great day for Texas restaurants, as well as for customers,” Abbott said as he signed the bill, filed by Republican state Rep. Charlie Geren, a restaurant owner in Fort Worth.

Abbott signed a waiver in March last year to allow to-go alcohol sales. The waiver was originally to last until May 2020, but it was extended indefinitely. As lawmakers began their work during the legislative session, expanding Texans’ access to booze picked up bipartisan support.

“It turned out that Texas liked [alcohol to go] so much, the Texas Legislature wanted to make that permanent law in the state of Texas,” Abbott said Wednesday.

Texas has historically had restrictive alcohol laws. Since the repeal of Prohibition, the state has banned selling alcohol on Sundays in liquor stores, and distilleries have limits on the amount of bottles a person can buy, among other limitations.

The permanent alcohol-to-go option could benefit the restaurant industry after it was devastated during the pandemic. According to the Texas Restaurant Association, 700,000 restaurant employees in Texas lost their jobs in the early days of the pandemic, and thousands of Texas restaurants have closed.

“This new law will help businesses keep their doors open and ensure Texans keep their jobs,” said Bentley Nettles, executive director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, in a press release. “TABC is grateful to Governor Abbott and members of the Texas Legislature for their leadership on this critically important measure. And a big thank you goes out to the efforts of alcohol retailers who have been safely and responsibly selling alcohol to go under last year’s waiver.”