GUSHER: For the life of Tom Hayes, who served Longview for nine years as a member of the City Council, and as a member of the Parks and Leisure Advisory Board, Longview Soccer Association and in other capacities. Hayes, who was 78, was remembered after his death this week as one who inspired service in others, who always had time to offer advice, and always wanted what was best for the whole community. Rest in peace, councilman.
DUSTER: For those who think firing rounds from a weapon into the air is an acceptable way to celebrate a new year or anything else. Despite regular warnings, numbskulls who can’t be trusted with guns just keep firing away. The result, as we saw again this year with the death of a Houston woman killed by a stray bullet, can be fatal. We’ve seen it too often, and it’s always a reminder that too many guns are in the hands of those who lack the sense to use them properly.
GUSHER: For the interagency partnership that works to provide a free lifetime pass for disabled veterans to use parks and other facilities in our national parks system. In Northeast Texas, the pass allows veterans free access to Lake ‘O the Pines and Wright Patman Lake.
DUSTER: For the continuing encroachment of feral hogs into urban areas in Texas. This is a costly problem, with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension estimating annual agricultural damage caused by the 2.6 million wild hogs in the state exceeds $52 million. Now they’re pushing further into urban areas, and even threatening to cross the border into Canada. Solutions are needed.
GUSHER: For the Longview Lobos team that kept the Texas Bank and Trust/Longview Regional Medical Center Romines Hoopfest trophy at home for a third straight year. The strong Lobo basketball team has put together a great season, and we look forward to more victories ahead. They start their 11-6A conference schedule today, and we expect great things.
DUSTER: For contraction of the state’s oil and gas industry in the final three months of 2019, and prospects for the slowdown to continue into the new year. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said shale producers cut back on spending and jobs from October through December in Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico.
DUSTER: For Engage Texas, an organization whose voter registration efforts, at best, are leading to confusion among voters and elections officials. Through a mailer that points recipients to their local elections office, voters are told they’re not registered even though many recipients are. The mailer has caused “more trouble than it’s worth,” Gregg County Elections Administrator Kathryn Nealy said.
GUSHER: For impending completion of Alton Plaza, the redevelopment project turning downtown Longview’s Petroleum Building from a longtime eyesore to badly needed housing. The developer told us work could be done by the end of the month, and that about 60% of the project’s 48 apartment units have been leased. This is good news for our city, and among those worthy of applause is City Hall, for providing help to make the creative idea a reality.