Gushers & Dusters: A weekly look at what we liked -- and didn't
Dec. 28, 2017 at 11:27 p.m.
GUSHER: For donations that lifted several Christmastime drives to or near their goals. After a slow start, the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign nearly hit its fundraising goal, while Toys for Tots, Blue Santa and Newgate's Angel Tree programs all reported helping hundreds of children and families have a joyful Christmas. Thanks to all who worked on the drives and those who donated.
DUSTER: For increasing poverty levels in Gregg, Rusk, Panola and Harrison counties. At rates already exceeding state and national averages, the data show East Texas has much work to do in education, job creation and health to begin reversing the troubling trend.
GUSHER: For the Carthage Bulldogs, the state champions — again. Their state final victory over Kennedale gave the Dawgs back-to-back championships and their sixth in 11 years. Congratulations to the players, their parents, coaches, boosters, the band and all others who helped make them, as the headline said, "Top 'dogs, again."
GUSHER: For new experimentation into efforts to control feral hog populations, which cause costly damage in Texas and across the nation. Unlike an ill-considered plan by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller that was shut down earlier this year, the new effort being tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture appears to be taking care to target hogs and avoid poisoning other animals.
DUSTER: For police and other officials in Laredo for apparently trying to silence a journalist who has shone a light on their activities. A lawsuit filed by Laredo officials against Priscilla Villareal, whose online reporting has drawn hundreds of thousands of views, appears aimed at silencing her. That is unconstitutional and shameful, if so.
GUSHER: For the FBI's efforts to increase diversity in its ranks, but DUSTER for the fact the bureau and other law enforcement agencies increasingly struggle to find candidates of any race. That reflects a decline in respect for law enforcement that must be rectified.
GUSHER: For the Longview police SWAT team "superheroes" who brought joy to hospitalized children by rappelling from the roof of Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center-Longview. Dressed as Spider-Man, Captain America, Superman and Batman, the officers reminded us of the many ways their skills can be put to use to help our community.
GUSHER: For 100+ Women Who Care, a new organization of businesswomen that already has raised several thousand dollars for worthy causes in our city. Through a quarterly financial commitment, the group accumulates funds disbursed to organizations chosen through an application process. Wonderful.
GUSHER: For the anonymous donor who made it possible for Gregg County sheriff's deputies to spread Christmas cheer during traffic stops. Stopped for actual traffic violations, motorists were advised the reason for the stop then surprised with money in accordance with the donor's request. Thanks, secret Santa!
— Readers are invited to nominate events as gushers or dusters. They may be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to Letters, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.