QUESTION: The city of Longview has had public meetings labeled as informational meetings, community meetings and town hall meetings. Please explain the differences.

ANSWER: They are sometimes interchangeable, but city spokesman Shawn Hara told me there are reasons behind the name selections for different kinds of meetings. The department planning the meeting and the style of the meeting are determining factors as well.

“Usually, we have used the term town meeting to refer to a meeting hosted by the mayor or city council member often within a particular district (or citywide in the case of the mayor), and usually there will be an opportunity to discuss a wide variety of topics,” Hara said in an email. “We’ll usually use different terminology such as informational meeting or public meeting if we are meeting to help disseminate info and/or get feedback on a particular topic. For instance, we used the term public meeting for a meeting about the entryway sign at High/Mobberly intersection on July 30, but we could have used community meeting or informational meeting.”

You might also notice that there are sometimes “public hearings.” That designation is often used for a meeting required by law or statue or in the requirements of a grant application.

So, it’s not an exact science, but the intent is the same — opportunities for us to participate in our local government.

(That entryway sign meeting, by the way, is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Allen Room at LeTourneau University’s Belcher Center. The meeting will gather input on a planned welcome monument that will be built at the intersection of High Street, Mobberly Avenue and Estes Parkway, which will be reconfigured as part of the 2018 bond package.)

Q: I enjoyed the article on the Dollar General distribution center. I wonder how many trucks are in and out of there every day? I see so many on the road every time I’m in town.

A: When the Dollar General project was announced a few years ago, the company said the distribution center would generate about 275 truck trips per day. Also, our reporter who wrote that story told me the company has 200 trucks in its fleet in Longview. I tried to get updated information from the company about the number of truck trips each day, but didn’t get a response from a company representative.

Q: My husband died, and we’ve been trying to clean out an old storage building. We’ve got several containers of things like Roundup, herbicide. What does a person do with this stuff? How do you dispose of it? Is there a place in Longview where you can dispose of this safely?

A: There doesn’t appear to be a magic bullet, but Gene Keenon, a representative of waste disposal company Republic Services, suggested the first thing you should do is see if you have any friends or relatives who would want the unused products.

After that, at least in this area at this time, it appears your only option is to throw it away (provided we’re talking about a household product and not large volumes). Todd Gibbs, Longview’s sanitation and beautification manager, said you should mix it with kitty litter or an oil absorbent until the product is dry. Then, place it in a closed container to dispose of it with your trash.

— 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.