GUSHER: For the hundreds of Longview residents who turned out for National Night Out parties across the city, and for all those who took part in the annual event across our region. The parties over the years have provided big steps toward an increased sense of community and improved ties between residents and law enforcement. That, we are sure, has helped lead to declines in crime in Longview and elsewhere.
DUSTER: For the steady and continuing widening of the gap between this nation’s haves and have-nots. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that gap in 2018 grew to its widest in 50 years. The regular expansion in inequality even as median incomes are rising indicate policies favor the wealthy over other classes in the U.S.
GUSHER: For progress toward completion of an outer loop around the city of Tyler — which is a step toward a long-sought East Texas Hourglass system of roads providing direct connection as far east as Marshall and Harrison County. The project emphasizes the connected nature of our region, and enhances it.
GUSHER: For completion of improvements in White Oak ISD made possible by voters’ approval of a 2017 bond issue. The $19 million in projects will be a lasting part of the legacy of Superintendent Mike Gilbert, whose leadership era has been marked by many strides in the district. He’s leaving at the end of the fall semester, and will be missed.
DUSTER: For increases in crime on some Longview-area college campuses during 2018. Though the federally required data generally don’t indicate it, our guess is many occurrences are connected to off-campus actors. Still, the increases are cause for concern and we’re confident educators are taking them seriously and looking at ways to safeguard students and property.
GUSHER: For Marshall commissioners working to create an ordinance allowing food trucks in the city. The complaints and concerns the city is seeing as it works to increase food service business are the same as those raised anywhere mobile food vendors have been permitted, and officials seem to be working toward an appropriate balance of concerns.
DUSTER: For a Henderson ISD political campaign that’s edged into dangerous territory. According to a criminal complaint filed in Rusk County, a sitting school board trustee is behind criminal mischief targeting his opponent. The allegations are serious — especially if, as a criminal complaint indicates, the incumbent involved teenagers in his actions.
GUSHER: For 25 years of great shows supporting a great and worthy cause. Not only are the shows wonderful, the Neal McCoy & Friends Benefit Concert for the East Texas Angel Network has raised more than $9 million over the years and has helped more than 600 families across our region. Here’s to the next 25 — and those yet to be helped.