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Gushers & Dusters: A weekly look at what we liked — and didn't

March 17, 2017 at 4 a.m.


GUSHER: For Mayor Andy Mack's efforts to address the issues raised by homelessness in Longview. His idea of a task force, apparently being made up of a cross section of concerned residents, to come up with ideas for the city to consider is a smart step in the right direction.

DUSTER: For a Longview-area jobless rate that increased for a second straight month in February — and continues to eclipse both the statewide and national unemployment rate. It is a vivid reminder we still have work to do to diversify our area's economy so it can better weather downturns in the energy industry.

GUSHER: For Brookshire Grocery Co., which is undertaking its 13th World War II Heroes Flight to give veterans an opportunity to visit the national World War II Memorial and other memorials and sites in our nation's capital.

DUSTER: For the Obama administration's costly battle to keep public records from their owners — the public. The Associated Press analyzed records from Obama's final year in office and found his administration spent a record $36.2 million defending decisions to avoid turning over requested documents.

GUSHER: For elected and appointed officials in East Mountain finally stepping aside to allow the community just north of Longview to move ahead from a period of tainted and troubled government. There are still many questions to be answered, but the city appears to be headed back toward the right track.

DUSTER: For a Republican health care plan that would cost 14 million Americans health coverage in the first year while bestowing tax breaks on the nation's wealthiest individuals. The Trump administration and Congress surely can do better than this — and will have to before Americans will support their efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act.

GUSHER: For what may be the beginning of a turnaround in the East Texas economy after a long down period. The latest report on sales tax revenues showed Gregg County's four largest cities saw increases during January. In Longview, that brought year-to-date revenue into line with the city budget — though it was still down from this time a year ago. We also are seeing signs the energy industry is bouncing back, and other economic indicators seem to be edging in a positive direction, too.

GUSHER: For a plan approved by the Texas Senate to set aside $25 million to provide bullet-resistant vests to law officers statewide. The decisions comes shortly after news that Longview businessman Tom Chinn donated nearly $76,000 for Longview police to purchase bulletproof vests for its officers.

GUSHER: For the four Longview-area students who have been named National Merit scholarship finalists. Four is an unusually high number from our area to land on the prestigious list and reflects hard work and dedication by the young scholars, their parents and teachers. We wish the best to Neal Rangu of Longview High School, Jenny Kim of Spring Hill High School, Ian Price of Trinity School of Texas and Devin Thompson of Sabine High School. You are doing East Texas proud.

GUSHER: For news that a program begun in Longview to offer an alternative to payday lenders is working and will be expanded to a 14-county region of Northeast Texas. We salute City Councilwoman Kristen Ishihara for leading the charge for our city not just on restricting payday lenders but in finding alternatives for residents who have relied on them. We also appreciate the council members who supported the effort and the East Texas Council of Governments, which is carrying it to a broader area.

— Readers are invited to nominate events as gushers or dusters. They may be emailed to lnjletters@news-journal.com or mailed to Letters, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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