QUESTION: My question is about Longview Safety City on Cotton Street. I go to the library over there and I’ve never seen anyone over there at Longview Safety City. I’ve just wondered what it’s for, who uses it. It’s so cute I just can’t imagine there’s not someone using it.
ANSWER: My guess is you just haven’t been by there at the right time. Safety City was established in 1991, and its website describes the organization and facility as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for our local and surrounding communities by offering hands-on safety education. Safety City is a joint effort of the Longview Area Educators, Longview Business Community, the Longview Fire Department and the Longview Police Department. The Safety City facility is a child-size city with buildings, streets, sidewalks, red lights, stop signs, etc.; the only one of its kind in the East Texas Area.”
I know I’ve seen school groups and other organizations there in the past using the facility. It’s also open for private parties, and I saw on the Safety City Facebook page that it has a free, public event coming up on Oct. 19, a week from today.
“Longview Safety City Presents —Safety Tips for Halloween Night” is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the facility at 315 W. Cotton St.
“Please save the date and join us as we share practical safety tips for Halloween night,” the Facebook event information says. “Costumes are welcome! Gift bags will be available until all are gone. This is a come and go event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.”
Q: What is this purple flowering vine that is climbing all over Longview right now?
A: Answer Line’s plant expertise stops at letting them die slow, painful deaths because of neglect. Good news, though — the News-Journal has a plant expert working right in our newsroom. City Editor Belinda McCoy McLaughlin is a native plant expert who owns her own seasonal plant nursery. She told me the plant you asked about (and that is pictured with today’s column) is commonly known as a “wild morning glory.”
She also pointed me to a great resource to research plants: the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s website at www.wildflower.org/plants provides information about native North American plants.
Answer Line Follow-up: On Oct. 3, I responded to a question about the number of Longview ISD classes that were being led by long-term substitutes. The district provided me information about the number of long-term substitutes as of the beginning of October but hadn’t yet provided me information about the number of long-term substitutes who were leading classrooms at the beginning of the school year.
This week, Assistant Superintendent Jody Clements told me the district started the school year off with 21 full-time substitutes (who man classrooms while the district recruits the “teacher of record”) at the following schools: three at East Texas Montessori Prep Academy; three at J.L. Everhart; five at Longview High School; two in Longview High School Career Tech classes; three at Forest Park; two at Ware; one at South Ward; one at Johnston-McQueen and one at Bramlette.
The district has hired for all of those positions except for the nine I previously reported on: one at Bramlette; one at J. L. Everhart; three at Forest Park; one at Johnston-McQueen; one at South Ward; and two at Ware.