GUSHER: For the compassion and community service shown by 16-year-old Arya Germanwala. Arya started the nonprofit Simple Bare Necessities to provide hygiene products to fellow Longview ISD students in need. Donations to Arya’s organization can be dropped off at Hudson PEP Elementary School, 1311 Lilly St., but anyone can make a monetary donation at simplebarenecessities.org or through an Amazon wish list on the group’s website.
GUSHER: For the state cultural district designation that has turned on the spigot allowing grant funding to flow to Longview arts groups. Arts!Longview, ArtsView Children’s Theater, the Longview Museum of Fine Arts and the Longview Symphony will receive a total of more than $200,000 next month through the Texas Commission on the Arts. The cultural district designation that the city received in 2019 is directly responsible for that funding. We expect more good things to come from the designation in the future that will benefit Longview’s arts community.
GUSHER: For the new transparency required of public school districts in reporting COVID-19 cases. Districts this week must begin reporting coronavirus cases to the state, and that data will be made available to the public. Schools previously were required only to report virus cases to parents and staff members associated with the campus where the cases are identified. A public database will bring clarity to the overall impact of the virus on our schools and provide much-needed data to parents and other stakeholders.
DUSTER: For the discrepancy in COVID-19 data between the Gregg County Health Department and Northeast Texas Public Health District. When NET Health began reporting daily COVID-19 figures this past week, the number of cases, recoveries and deaths in the county differed from the last report by the health department. Why the difference? No one can say for sure. County Health Authority Dr. Lewis Browne said NET Health’s count has always been behind the county’s since the pandemic began and just hasn’t caught up. Terrence Ates, spokesman for NET Health, was even more blunt in failing to shine light on the disparity. “NET Health does not know the exact reasons why the reported COVID statistics from Gregg County are different from our dashboards,” he said. The lack of clarity is frustrating — as is the confusing data, which makes it more difficult to asses the true picture of the pandemic in the county.