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Answer Line: If you missed Green & Clean, that's your fault

Nov. 17, 2017 at 11:47 p.m.


QUESTION: Why do they not mention the recycle thing at Lear Park ahead of time? I got home from work at 6 a.m. (Saturday a week ago) and saw in the newspaper they were having it that morning. There was no mention earlier in week so you can load up stuff and go out there. Last time they had something earlier so I loaded up and stayed awake so I could go by and recycle stuff.

ANSWER: Answer Line did a News-Journal archive check and found the newspaper did not just mention Longview Green and Clean on the Saturday it was conducted, there was a story in the paper two days before it detailing the need for volunteers at the event and providing information about the recycling services that would be provided. Answer Line usually ends up writing about the event a couple of times a year, and I found that I mentioned it in this column on Aug. 17.

The city of Longview hosts the event in conjunction with Keep Longview Beautiful, and folks there told me about all the steps the city took to inform the public about the event. News releases went to all local media outfits and to people who subscribe to the "Notify Me" service at longviewtexas.gov. Information about the event is listed on KeepLongviewBeautiful.com and year-round on the city sanitation department pages and in other areas on the websites.

The sanitation department also paid for two advertisements in the News-Journal, one that appeared Nov. 5 and one the day of the event. City View Municipal Television ran repeated information about the event, and announcements were distributed on social media.

Mailers went to 2,000 Keep Longview Beautiful contacts. Water bills sent to the city's more than 28,000 utility customers included information about Longview Green and Clean as part of the calendar. Keep Longview Beautiful had eight billboards beginning Oct. 1 that announced the event, covering every part of the city, according to information I received from the city.

There were other efforts to reach the public as well.

Longview Green and Clean is conducted twice a year, the second Saturday in November and the second Saturday in April. That means the next one is April 14.

Q: My neighbor won a large amount from the Texas Lottery. He wants to put the cash in separate accounts in a bank because he wants to use the money to buy some things for the police and fire departments and to assist families in need. However, he said the Texas Lottery told him he has to invest a certain percentage of it. Can the Texas Lottery dictate to him the amount of money he has to invest?

A: My first thought was that your friend was being scammed. I've since talked to you on the phone, and it appears that might not be the case. Still, I thought some of what we talked about is worth sharing.

First, the Texas Lottery will never call someone to inform him or her he has won. So if that happens, think scam.

Second, people who play the Texas Lottery must decide at the time they purchase a ticket whether they will take a cash value option or annual payments if they win. They cannot change their mind, according to information I found on the Texas Lottery web site, under policy created because of IRS rulings on taxing jackpots.

It's also possible your neighbor won on a Texas Lottery game that doesn't make lump sum payments. It's an annuity prize paid in annual installments and there's no option for a lump sum payment. In such instances, the Texas Lottery essentially works with an investment firm to use sales from that game to buy the investment that will provide the annual payout. It's possible Lottery officials tried to explain that to your neighbor.

In the end, I advised you to suggest your neighbor see a financial planner or lawyer to help him work through what could be a very complicated process of setting up accounts and a method to ensure money goes where he wants it to after his death.

— 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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