Answer Line: Answers to some good questions you may have missed
Nov. 10, 2017 at 11:15 p.m.
Answer Line is taking a little break today, so I'm going to leave y'all with answers to some questions I've received this year that are worth repeating:
QUESTION: How do I report street lights that are out? How do I go about requesting additional street lights in an area?
ANSWER: Assuming you live in Southwestern Electric Power Co.'s service area, you have a couple of options in both cases.
To report a street light that's out, visit swepco.com/outages/report/StreetlightProblem.aspx. You can also log into your account and then go to My Account, Outages and Problems. You'll need as many details as you can provide about the light's location, including, if possible, the pole number that is located on an oval metal tag about 5 feet off the ground. SWEPCO previously has told me it tries to restore all street lights within 72 hours.
If you live inside the city of Longview, you also can report it through the city's online reporting system CitySend at longviewtexas.gov or by calling (903) 237-1240.
If you're hoping for additional city street lights in your neck of the woods, you must contact that city you live in to make your request. If the city agrees that more street lights are needed in an area, the city will make the request to SWEPCO.
If you live in a subdivision with a homeowners association, it's possible the association pays for the street lights. You can start by asking your association manager. You also can contact the SWEPCO Customer Solutions Center at (888) 216-3523 so that employees will contact you about your request.
Q: Who oversees the courthouse Christmas lights each year?
A: I was reminded of this question when I was downtown with my 3-year-old the other day and saw sheriff's officers outside, supervising Gregg County Jail inmates as they hung lights on the trees around the courthouse. (The preschooler thought it was pretty cool to see a grown man sitting on a tree branch, helping hang Christmas lights.)
When I answered this question earlier this year, I simply said the sheriff and his office oversee those decorations and activities at the courthouse each year. (And they are quite nice.)
A former jail inmate later sent me an email that was a little indignant because I had not mentioned the inmates' labor that is part of that process. I realized people who don't work downtown or drive through there regularly might not know they're a part of that process.
Q: Is there a law regulating those motorized chairs on the road?
A: It seems I've seen this several times lately, so I thought it was worth repeating. People using these chairs are considered pedestrians under state law. That law requires pedestrians to use a sidewalk if one is available. If there's not one available, the pedestrian should, if possible, stay on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
Q: Is it legal for someone to park their car on the street in front of their house all of the time? The car is there day and night. Who can I call about this situation?
A: In Longview it is illegal to habitually park on the street overnight. Here's what city ordinance says: "Overnight parking for storage on any paved street is hereby prohibited. 'Overnight parking for storage' is hereby defined as the habitual parking or storing of cars, trucks, tractors or other vehicles on paved streets during the hours from sundown to sunup, except temporarily disabled vehicles which are protected by flares or other approved signal devices. It is not the intention of this section to prohibit or interfere with passenger cars temporarily parked at night, where such parking is not done regularly and during the entire night."
Remember, the best starting places are usually to have a friendly conversation with your neighbor about a problem. If that's not possible, or if that attempt fails, you can call the police area representative for your area. If you don't know who that person is, visit: longviewtexas.gov/2647/Police-Area-Representatives.
You also can report parking violations by calling the police department's nonemergency number at (903) 237-1199.
A NOTE ABOUT NEIL SPERRY: A couple of you have inquired about Neil Sperry's absence from our weekly @Play section the past couple of weeks. Please accept our apologies. We had some issues on our end, but you should see his column return to next week's @Play.
— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.