Thursday, February 22, 2018

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

Feb. 2, 2018 at 12:04 a.m.

GUSHER: For progress toward meeting goals identified through Longview's ongoing comprehensive plan process. One of the latest examples is an effort to address residents' strong desire for more parks, park improvements and new recreational opportunities. The process may culminate in a proposal for a bond issue to fund the projects, which would improve quality of life and make Longview a more attractive place to live and work. We look forward to further public discussion.

DUSTER: For this year's stubborn and deadly flu season, which had been blamed by late last week for about 200 deaths in the region that included Gregg, Rusk, Upshur and surrounding counties. Statewide, more than 2,300 people had died of the flu since Oct. 1, state data show. Even if you've already suffered one strain of the flu you may be at risk for another. If you haven't been vaccinated, you should be.

GUSHER: For Denzel Washington, the actor whose movie "The Great Debaters" led to the reformation of the debate team at Wiley College, and who returned to its Marshall campus to be inducted into the National HBCU Speech and Debate League Hall of Fame. Without his work and financial support, neither the college's winning program nor the new debate league founded at Wiley would likely exist.

GUSHER: For Big Techs, a Feb. 24 event that will give the public a rare opportunity to tour some of our city's largest employers. It's a great idea by the Longview Economic Development Corp. and Longview Convention and Visitors Bureau to help residents understand what makes Longview tick.

DUSTER: For drought and wildfires dogging the state much earlier than usual. With dry conditions creeping back into East Texas in recent days, we have seen dozens of wildland fires across the region. Similar conditions are being seen across the state, leading 120 counties statewide to have issued burn bans as of Thursday. Unless conditions change, Texas could be in for a tough summer.

GUSHER: For Mike and Amy Clements, who donated a beautifully restored 1929 Mack truck to the collection of the East Texas Oil Museum at Kilgore College. The truck, outfitted to deliver ice used to keep provisions cool in iceboxes like those seen during the early days of the East Texas oil boom, will help the museum more fully tell the story of life in those times.

GUSHER: For LeTourneau University's aviation program, which grew again with the addition of two new twin-engine Piper Seminole aircraft to its fleet. The new trainers join other craft already in service at the busy LeTourneau facility at East Texas Regional Airport.

GUSHER: For the Kilgore College Fire Department, which was honored as one of the state's top departments with the Texas Fire Chiefs Association's best practices recognition. Fire Chief Johnny Bellows and his team are rightly proud of the recognition, which is the culmination of a two-year analysis of the department's practices, prevention efforts and training.

— 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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