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Answer Line: No public development on private Lake Lomond

Dec. 29, 2017 at 10:57 p.m.


QUESTION: I saw some articles recently in the News-Journal regarding funding for parks and for upgrading our walking trails and the park system in general. I have always wondered why the area around Lake Lamond could not be cleaned off and developed as walking trails or a picnic area. It's so nice to have a water feature in the middle of town right off the main highway.

ANSWER: Actually, Lake Lamond started off with that kind of recreational purpose, but as a private business venture. (I'll note our local historian and newspaper columnist, Van Craddock, has previously written about Lake Lamond and pointed out that we've been misspelling the name for a long time. It was named for Loch Lomond in Scotland.)

A group of investors built it as a place where people could swim, fish and go boating, but as I understand it, it wasn't a very successful business venture.

The property remains privately owned by the descendants of some of the original owners, so the city would have to own it first before it could become park property.

I know there have been some discussions to that end between the owners and city officials in the past, but nothing has come of that to this point.

In the meantime, it's fenced and not open to the public for use.

Q: Is there burial or funeral assistance available after the death of a disabled person who receives government benefits and does not work?

A: I've found at least a couple of possibilities. In Gregg County (and you'll likely find similar programs elsewhere), the Gregg County Health Department pays for cremations for indigent county residents who die in Gregg County and who meet certain guidelines.

The person's next of kin must fill out an application to determine if the deceased person qualifies, including the family signing a notarized statement that the family cannot pay for the costs. Income requirements and other considerations would factor into the decision about whether the deceased person qualifies, and the county would choose the funeral home where the cremation would take place inside Gregg County.

Medicare and Medicaid do not provide any assistance in this kind of situation, but Social Security provides a lump-sum death payment of $255 to a surviving spouse, unmarried child younger than 18 or a disabled adult child in certain situations.

For information, visit www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/.

ANSWER LINE NOTE: I was so busy on my eternal search for truth (AKA Answer Line responses) that I almost forgot that this is the last column I'll write in 2017.

I'll admit I'm so very glad to see 2018 and so hopeful for all the good things it will bring. My New Year's Eve celebration will include the same happy dance I did when I finished chemotherapy in November.

I hope y'all have as many reasons to celebrate as I do. Happy New Year.

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

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