GUSHER: For Johnny Zackary, who gave 24 years to our city through his outstanding service to the Longview Fire Department. It is no surprise a retirement reception for the fire marshal was standing room only, as he always gave his all to his duty, educating countless children and adults about fire safety while always comporting himself as nothing less than a gentleman. It is fitting there were no fires reported in Longview in May, his last full month on the job. That will stand as a testament to the difference he made for Longview, as will his continuing efforts to expand the Safety City educational facility.

DUSTER: For a shortage of applicants to fill some city boards and commissions, leaving the City Council appointments committee five shy of enough people to fill all vacancies. The shortfall comes just a year after a relaxation of rules for nominations, a move aimed at reaching full slates after several years of shortfalls. But GUSHER for those who step up to serve on these bodies, which are where the rubber meets the road in city government.

GUSHER: For the business and other organizations that provided teams and the work those teams did to prepare for the annual Bee for Literacy. The East Texas Literacy Council's annual spelling bee fundraiser is one of the highlights of spring, with the competitive spelling prowess on display a reminder of how fun learning — and study — can be. We are enthusiastic supporters of the council, which can always use more volunteers and donors. Learn more at

GUSHER: For expansion of Kilgore College's East Texas Police Academy under a new agreement with Northeast Texas Community College. Pushing into three additional counties served by the college in Mount Pleasant will be a benefit to law enforcement across our region — and to the students of both colleges.

DUSTER: For the continuing mess at East Mountain City Hall, which now has cost taxpayers a dedicated law officer on top of the financial losses already suffered. Meanwhile, some whose multiple failures of leadership are responsible for this sad state of affairs continue to snipe like petulant children about those who are working to clean up the mess they left behind. Shameful.

GUSHER: For Devin Thompson, the Sabine High School graduate who is our area's most recent National Merit Scholar. He will use his scholarship to attend the University of Oklahoma. Thompson, his family and teachers all have reason to be proud of this accomplishment, for which they all share responsibility.

GUSHER: For progress toward cleaning up the eyesore that Eden Specialty Care became after being hit by a tornado a few years ago. While we are disappointed this blue-tarped mess was allowed to remain for so long at one of our city's most-traveled intersections, the fact demolition is beginning is testament to the fact the City of Longview never gave up on getting it done — and that the system works.

GUSHER: For the hundreds of Longview-area high school graduates who received scholarships totaling well more than $14 million to continue their education at colleges and universities. Like our area's annual crop of National Merit Finalists, these are a reminder of the fine work being done by educators in our schools, but also of something even more important: the fact dozens of organizations, clubs, business and individuals enthusiastically support education.

— 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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