Gushers & Dusters: A weekly look at what we liked -- and didn't
Jan. 18, 2018 at 11:58 p.m.
GUSHER: For data showing the Christmas shopping season in Gregg County got off to a strong start, continuing a recent trend of increases in area sales tax revenues. The latest report from the Texas comptroller showed Longview sales taxes collected in November were up nearly 11 percent from a year earlier, while Gregg County as a whole gained nearly 30 percent. That's good news about the progress of our local economy.
DUSTER: For the toll that influenza has been taking on our area, and which led to a shortage at Longview hospitals of some supplies being used in treatment of those stricken with this year's strain of the bug. Through the end of last week, Christus Health System medical centers in Longview and Marshall had admitted twice as many flu patients as they did this time a year ago, and Longview Regional Medical Center reported a "high volume." Get your flu shot!
GUSHER: For the combination of state, local and private funds that have come together to provide bulletproof vests for law enforcement officers in the Longview area. A state grant program is providing the life-saving equipment for the Gregg County Sheriff's Office and Gladewater Police Department. Other agencies have received vests through private donations, fundraisers and other programs.
GUSHER: For continued healing in Sutherland Springs, the site of a church massacre in November that left more than two dozen worshippers at the First Baptist Church dead and nearly that many more wounded. We were pleased to learn the final of those, a 6-year-old boy who was shot several times by the gun-wielding domestic terrorist, has been released from the hospital. The emotional wounds of the attack will take much longer to heal.
DUSTER: For deepening questions about hiring and operations at Elderville Water Supply Corp. The latest revelation, that the general manager is a convicted felon, raise more concerns about oversight at the water supply and how much has been lost to apparent mismanagement and possible malfeasance.
DUSTER: For the storm that dropped a couple of inches of sleet and snow that re-froze to coat East Texas in a sheet of ice. The resulting mess shut down schools, governments and businesses for a couple of days. But GUSHER for the fact that most of our area never lost electricity during the storm, and that despite a bumper crop of auto wrecks, there were no serious injuries. And another GUSHER for those who coped with tough conditions to keep us safe and the lights on during the storm.
— Readers are invited to nominate events as gushers or dusters. They may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Letters, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.