QUESTION: I’m being stopped again on 149 for a train crossing going to Texas Eastman. I can walk faster than this train goes across the highway. Why does it go so slow and block traffic so often?
ANSWER: I feel like I should clarify first that there are three companies on Eastman’s Longview campus, so those trains crossing over Texas 149 are carrying products to Eastman, Flint Hills Resources and Westlake Chemical.
“Deliveries on the trains include various intermediate chemicals and plastics used in manufacturing process of the companies on site,” Kristin Parker, an Eastman representative told me in an email.
Union Pacific representative Raquel Espinoza describe what’s going on as those trains are moving slowly across 149.
“Union Pacific moves shipments based on customer needs. This determines the number of rail cars on the train,” Espinoza said. “Every rail car on the train has to move to a specific railroad track in the customer’s facility. Once the train crew drops off the first section of rail cars, they move the next block of rail cars onto a different track. The process repeats until every rail shipment is delivered. The maximum track speed is 10 mph in this area, but trains move at slower speeds in order to stop and remove rail cars as they go.”
Q: We went through the storm and lost our telephone May 8. It is still not on — the landline. We cannot get through to AT&T. The last I got hold of someone at AT&T, they said we don’t know when will it ever get fixed. That’s not right. We need it. My husband is deaf. He has a caption phone and has to have a landline. Can you do anything about this? We would appreciate it very much.
A: You called me on Sunday, and, because of the holiday, I did not contact AT&T until Tuesday. The company told me Wednesday your service had been restored.
I can’t take any credit for that, and I’m so glad you have your service back. It sounds like you weren’t alone.
“Damage caused by recent severe weather in parts of Longview may be affecting service for some customers. We are working to repair affected equipment and restore service as quickly as possible,” an AT&T spokesperson said.
Q: Did Longview ISD have any bad weather days this year? What about the three campuses that closed one day because they didn’t have power? Do teachers and students at those campuses have to make those days up?
A: There weren’t any districtwide days off because of weather, but, like you said, there were three campuses that closed for a day because they didn’t have electricity after the big storm in May — Forest Park Middle School, Bramlette STEAM Academy and J.L. Everhart Elementary.
“For our teachers at the three campuses that were out, they work one additional day at the end of the school year to make that day up,” district spokeswoman Elizabeth Ross told me in an email. “Their contract has them working with the district a certain number of days and so if they miss due to bad weather day, that day has to be made up. What we have told our teachers on those three campuses is they have to spend one extra day with the district, but they also have the option to use a personal day if they have them available.”
Students must attend school each year for a certain number of minutes. Ross said there was some cushion built into the schedule this year, so the students at those three campuses do not have to make up that missed day.
“We are not counting against anyone who could not make it due to displacement or storm-related issues,” she said.