Thursday, February 22, 2018

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

Feb. 8, 2018 at 11:42 p.m.

GUSHER: For the long career of Carlos Samples and the fine example he set for so many both inside and outside of the Longview Police Department, from which he recently retired. Samples, who rose through the ranks in his 30 years on the force and retired as assistant chief, helped make the department better reflect the community it serves — and those officers he helped recruit are a big part of his legacy.

DUSTER: For a sickening increase in the number of child abuse deaths in Texas — and the fact state lawmakers and officials still appear not to be doing enough to repair disarray in child-welfare agencies. New data showed the number of abuse fatalities jumped 34 percent in Texas in 2016 as the national rate increased by 7 percent. We must do better by our children.

GUSHER: For moves by Community HealthCore aimed at increasing the availability of mental health services in our region. Though we are disappointed facilities in Kilgore and Nesbitt are being closed, it is good news that the moves will allow the agency to offer more beds for licensed crisis care stabilization in East Texas. They are badly needed.

GUSHER: For the long-overdue first treatment in Texas of a patient using medical cannabis oil. But DUSTER for the fact our state laws remain far too tight regarding medical uses of this substance as lawmakers pretend denying it equates to being tough on illegal drugs. That's a shame, because many Texans could be helped by it. At least some with intractable epilepsy now have a chance for relief.

GUSHER: For Eastman Chemical Co.'s strong 2017 financial performance and projections for more growth this year. Tennesee-based Eastman, which is Longview's largest industrial employer, finished the year with a 13 percent increase in earnings and nearly 8 percent in revenues — and CEO Mark Costa said the company is poised to rack up gains from 8 percent to 12 percent this year.

GUSHER: For the 350 or more cyclists — and more runners — who turned out for the annual Freeze your Fanny races. It was definitely freezing, but as the event raises funds for special needs athletes, we agree with what one volunteer told us: "We are freezing for a reason."

GUSHER: For a proposal by Gov. Greg Abbott that aims to better protect victims of humans trafficking. He is calling for creation of regional squads to investigate human trafficking cases and to help train local law enforcement officers — and the plan targets other sex crimes, too. We hope the idea gets a good look and has a chance to help fight trafficking and other crimes.

GUSHER: For the Gregg County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, which has been growing in force and accomplishment. We are proud of the cadets and others who have stepped up recruiting and activity to invigorate the squadron and to earn group and individual honors. Keep 'em flying!

— 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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