GUSHER: For the Longview-area real estate market, which so far appears to be a bright spot amid business downturns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While home sales nationally nosedived in April, they actually increased in the Longview area. The solid performance extended to home building, too, with builders in the city doubling the number of homes they’re planning this April from a year ago.
GUSHER: For state officials taking a baby step toward adjusting the Texas budget for the realities of the pandemic. The order for 5% reductions by many state agencies is movement in the right direction, but probably will not be enough. Other levels of government should be following suit to reduce the burden on taxpayers during this difficult time. As businesses and individuals are cutting, so must government.
DUSTER: For the failure by local officials and law enforcement to enforce restrictions intended to contain the pandemic. As bars and other businesses publicly flout Gov. Abbott’s rules on reopening, the response from local officials seems essentially to be “it’s not our job.” What a disappointment.
GUSHER: For “Strongview, Texas,” and “We’re open. We’re here for you.” Both are promotional projects to send a message that our city is working together to get through challenges presented by the pandemic. “Strongview” is the slogan on T-shirts being printed by Global Graphics to remind residents of our city’s strength, while “We’re open” is part of a signage project by the Longview Chamber of Commerce. Such community efforts are welcome and necessary in these unusual times.
GUSHER: For Longview police taking time to celebrate the 80th birthday of Beulah “Bebe” Jones, a local law enforcement trailblazer. Jones was the city’s first female police officer and the department’s first detective. Officers, friends and family members couldn’t have a traditional party, but gave her a surprise drive-by birthday party — complete with sirens.
GUSHER: For the Longview Arboretum and Nature Center’s pandemic-safe presentation of the Longview String Quartet. The event kicked off the arboretum’s concert series, which had been curtailed by restrictions on gatherings. Cleverly dubbed “Carboretum,” it drew a few hundred people to hear the quartet over car radios tuned to a station broadcasting the performance.