GUSHER: For Rhonda Daniel, the East Texan taking over the Big Green Marching Machine at Longview High School. The Center native comes with respect for and connections to the Longview band, and brings a great record of success with bands she’s led elsewhere in Texas. GUSHER, too, for Michael Moody, who will be taking over the Blue Brigade Band at Spring Hill High School, his alma mater. Welcome to both of you, and good luck.
DUSTER: For the number of homeless people in Longview remaining stubbornly unchanged despite increasing efforts from City Hall and others in the past few years to cut into the tally. According to data from an annual census taken earlier this year, the total in Longview stayed about 230, where it’s been the past three years. It’s stayed there even as the overall count in the six-county region including Longview has dropped over the past five years.
GUSHER: For the latest crop of East Texas CASA volunteers sworn in this week by Judge Tim Womack. The court appointed special advocates make substantial commitments to serve, both through screening and training, then working to represent youngsters in the child protection system. We thank all who work in this valuable program.
GUSHER: For Ashly James, the Pine Tree High School senior who is one of only two students from Texas taking part in Girls Nation later this month in Washington, D.C. The program, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, provides wonderful training and experiences for students like James, who tells us she wants to see more women in government. To that we say good luck, Madam senator.
DUSTER: For the unauthorized use of drivers license photos by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to create a facial recognition database. It may make sense to do this, but without approval from elected officials, no notice to those whose photos are used and no oversight, it amounts to an improper invasion of privacy and opens the door to abuse.
GUSHER: For the positive message about the area economy shown through increases in sales taxes collected in Longview and Gladewater, which both saw gains of about 16 percent in the most recent month. Gilmer was up about 5 percent. Kilgore saw a decline of more than 8 percent.
DUSTER: Though not unexpected, for the heat and humidity clamping down on our region in recent days. The combination of air temperatures in the mid-90s with relative humidities nearing 60 percent make it feel like it’s over 105 degrees. That’s dangerous for those without shelter, for outdoor pets and those who work outdoors. And we still haven’t had our first day with air temperatures in the triple digits. But it’s coming.