Saturday, December 16, 2017

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

Nov. 30, 2017 at 11:07 p.m.

GUSHER: For the families, foundations and others that donate funds for scholarships at Kilgore College. A luncheon this week provided scholars an opportunity to meet those who are helping fund their educations — and to thank them. We were especially taken by the sentiment expressed by Nathan Essary, who credited scholarship support with helping him to overcome severe dyslexia and embrace higher education.

DUSTER: For the strange turn of events that led to U.S. Rep. Joe Barton's decision to retire from Congress. The Ennis Republican's decision came after a surreal week in which a nude photograph of Barton surfaced on social media. In 33 years in Congress, he has been known for his staunch conservatism, a record seemingly at odds with recent events.

GUSHER: For Rolin McPhee, and for the board of directors of the Longview Economic Development Corp. for recognizing his key role in an effort to complete a city trails system. McPhee, the city's public works director, was applauded by the board for helping secure a $3.03 million grant for the trails system. We have seen his behind-the-scenes influence in many other positive developments in our city, and know all praise is warranted.

DUSTER: For the lack of access to recovery funds that, according to a report by The Texas Tribune, has led to more than 50 Texas child care centers closing in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Another 62 have suspended operations. The shortage of child care is making recovery more difficult in the hardest-hit areas, and the lack of funds points up a problem that needs to be addressed in the availability of federal disaster funds.

GUSHER: For heads-up work by an off-duty Longview police officer, which landed two armed robbery suspects in jail. According to police, the pair demanded cigarettes before one of them pulled a gun and demanded cash, police said. The off-duty officer spotted them fleeing the store on South High Street and swung into action. Good work, officer.

DUSTER: For the ridiculously named Project Veritas and James O'Keefe, the fake news purveyor's founder. After being exposed as he tried to sucker The Washington Post into a bogus story about a phony rape victim — and being outed by the Post for the attempt to show media bias — he tried to portray himself and his organization as the victim. Shameful. And it is sad to realize there are those gullible enough to believe him.

GUSHER: For excellence at LeTourneau University, most recently highlighted by the award of a patent to an engineering professor emeritus and three of his students for a welding diagnostic device. That two of the students were undergraduates at the time of the patent filing speaks to the rich opportunities offered by LeTourneau to students at all levels. And the patent itself represents the groundbreaking work being done.

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



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