GUSHER: For another strong month for home building in Longview. After a record-setting 2019, home builders are roaring into 2020. In January, builders received permits for construction of 13 homes, up from just three in the same month a year ago. A booming real estate market is an indicator of a strong local economy, and by this measure Longview is on a roll.
DUSTER: For the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ ratings for Longview’s two medical centers. Longview Regional Medical Center fell to two stars from four a year ago, while Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center-Longview fell to two from three stars a year ago. Such simple ratings don’t fairly represent all that’s provided by complex organizations like these, so we hope patients delve into the data to truly understand the strengths and weaknesses of our hospitals.
GUSHER: For no reported deaths or serious injuries in this week’s flooding. Though we saw vehicles swept off flooded roadways and into creeks and streams — and at least one water rescue — damaged vehicles, soaked shoes and flooded parks appeared to be the worst of it. We hope area motorists learn to stay off the roads under such travel conditions, which may be returning this weekend.
DUSTER: For the Gregg County Jail employees who failed to follow procedures and blatantly ignored their duties in the days leading up to and after the escape of inmate Jace Laws. If they had been doing their jobs according to their training, Laws’ absence would have been noted almost immediately. Instead, he was on the loose for 57 hours. These malingerers’ behavior put lives at risk and brought shame on the county — and themselves.
GUSHER: For the Fallen First Responder Home Program of the Stephen Sillers Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The foundation is giving the widow and daughters of slain Panola County Deputy Chris Dickerson a home. We agree with foundation Chairman and CEO Frank Siller that a house doesn’t replace what they lost when Dickerson was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 31, but it means one less worry for them.
GUSHER: For Barbara Richardson McClellan and all she has brought to the pages of this newspaper for the past 50 years. Since she began writing her food column Feb. 11, 1970, McClellan has searched out recipes that may have been one family’s favorite and made them favorites of families across East Texas by wrapping them in her warmly worded tales and sharing them in these pages. Thank you, Barbara.