GUSHER: For the final chapter of what’s been called a landmark of ill repute in our city, and the possibility of an exciting future for the land it occupies. The Globe Inn, one of several East Marshall Avenue motels that in recent years had become magnets for crime, is being demolished by its new owner. Even more exciting is the possibility the property could become a new entryway to Teague Park, a future that would have a positive impact on the entire area.
DUSTER: For the latest reminder that our justice system’s treatment of criminals may not always be equal. A visiting judge’s seemingly soft treatment of a former Gregg County District Attorney convicted of a felony drug possession charge after being nabbed driving drunk and unlawfully carrying a weapon sends a poor message. We appreciated District Attorney Tom Watson’s response: “I definitely do not agree with the early termination in this case,” he said of the judge’s decision to end probation, but will abide by it.
GUSHER: For Cynthia Hellen, who has led LeTourneau University’s Belcher Center to its position as our region’s premier venue for performing arts and entertainment. She will retire at the end of December from the post she’s held since the center opened 13 years ago. We wish Hellen the very best in her next chapter and are confident she’s leaving the Belcher in good hands for the future.
GUSHER: For the Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition, a new Longview-based group working to decrease teen suicide through education and increasing awareness. We’re pleased to see our city’s two major medical centers teaming up on what both say is a growing problem, and helping to provide resources to the city’s school districts to save young lives.
DUSTER: For whatever behind-the-scenes turmoil is continuing to roil Meals on Wheels East Texas. We’d hoped that after the resignation of the former chief administrative officer, the hiring of a new executive director and other changes, that the agency that serves meals in six East Texas counties was on a trajectory for recovery. The resignation of the new executive after only six months indicates trouble remains.
GUSHER: For a new partnership between Kilgore ISD and LeTourneau University that will allow district employees to receive tuition discounts at the Longview-based university. Such cooperative partnerships between area colleges and universities and school districts bring many benefits to East Texas.
DUSTER: For continuing uncertainty over the cause of Legionnaires’ disease tied to Harvey Convention Center in Tyler. We’re pleased the city of Tyler has decided to close the center until health officials can get to the bottom of the situation. Only a complete and transparent investigation will assuage concerns raised by the outbreak that began during this year’s East Texas State Fair.
GUSHER: For the colorful displays and sacred beauty popping up around the region as East Texans prepare to celebrate Christmas. Two of our favorites — Carmela’s Magical Santa Land and Kilgore’s downtown derrick lighting — got us started. Still to come is Marshall’s Wonderland of Lights, which will turn that city’s downtown into a twinkling wonderland on Thanksgiving eve, Christmas at the Courthouse in Longview, Longview’s community Christmas tree lighting, parades and many other events across the region. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.