QUESTION: Do you know when the shredder thing will be coming to town?

ANSWER: Paper shredding is one of the services offered at Longview Green and Clean, which will be held 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 9 at Lear Park.

Mike Wiginton, the city’s recycling coordinator, told me Ark-La-Tex shredding brings a truck to the event and shreds on the spot. The service is available to anyone that day.

You also might check with your financial institution. I’m a member of the East Texas Professional Credit Union, which offers members the ability to shred up to 10 pounds of documents twice a year, in October and April. Members wait while a credit union employee shreds the paper. I’m guessing at least some other banks and credit unions offer similar services.

Q: I read the article in the Longview News-Journal about the new principal at Forest Park Middle School. He says he wants to make it a charter school. Exactly what is a charter a school? I’ve seen that term many times.

A: You’re speaking about an article the News-Journal ran earlier this month about Wilbert Andrews, the new principal at Forest Park Middle School. In the article, he said he is “interested in the charter school movement” in relation to Forest Park. That’s because Forest Park is one of six campuses that Longview ISD has moved under its newly created nonprofit charter school East Texas Advanced Academies. The other five campuses that are part of East Texas Advanced Academies are East Texas Montessori Prep, Bramlette STEAM and Ware East Texas Montessori academies; and Johnston-McQueen and J.L. Everhart elementary schools.

The move happened after SB 1882 made it possible for nonprofit charter school groups to operate public school campuses. Longview ISD officials have previously said the move provides additional funding for the school district that can be used for innovative education. This week, for instance, we saw the East Texas Advanced Academies’ board approved the purchase of some new technology for academy classrooms, such as something called “Z Space,” which reporter Kristen Barton’s story this week described as “a virtual and augmented reality program with applications for different subjects and lessons that line up with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.”

Q: Does the Publishers Clearing House really give away the money they advertise giving away in their mailings and on television? If so, where does the money come from?

A: Publishers Clearing House is a real thing, a privately held company that sells magazine subscriptions and other products, offers online games and advertising opportunities. A visit to the company’s website gives you the opportunity to never return again as you respond to one request after another to enter drawings or buy something, or both. I had never actually visited the company’s site before and was exhausted after about 5 minutes there. Of course, I also entered a drawing to win $1,000 a day for life! (If I win, I promise to keep writing Answer Line. Maybe.)

But I digress....

So yes, the company does actually give away money (I found real news reports about real people who have won.) Those TV commercials you see are real people winning actual money. The company’s website says, “Our famous prizes are funded primarily by company revenues derived from the sale of our varied merchandise and magazine offers. Of course no purchase is ever necessary to enter or win. Other sources of revenue for the company come from advertising on PCH’s many online properties. Real people really do win!”

It’s so real, in fact, that the bad guys try invoke the Publishers Clearing House name in a number of scams. That’s prompted the Federal Trade Commission, and Publishers Clearing House to issue a few warnings. The root warning is that Publishers Clearing House will never require you to send the company money first or pay first in order for you to claim a prize, including paying taxes on the money. The company doesn’t call first or contact winners in any way before representatives show up at their door. Here’s a word from the Federal Trade Commission:

“If you think you’ve won a prize, here are a few things to know: Never send money to collect a prize, sweepstakes check, or lottery winnings. If you have to pay, it’s a scam; Never deposit a check and send back money, even if the funds appear in your account. That’s a sure sign of a scam; If anyone calls asking you to pay for a prize, hang up and report it to the FTC.”

You can also read more from Publishers Clearing House here: .

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.