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It was Veterans Day, yes, but Victor Boyd shared a memorial as well.

While he was serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Wisconsin, the Kilgore native remembers the day – April 19, 1989 – when an explosion rocked the battleship Iowa, his former assignment. “47 men died that day,” he told the men and women gathered for this year’s Veterans Day ceremony Monday morning at Harris Street Park. “Out of those 47 men, 26 of them I knew personally. So, I vow to always remember the Iowa 47.”

Two significant ‘adjustments’ by the state comptroller’s office put a major dent in the City of Kilgore’s sales tax revenues this month. Accepting that, Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck says, the sky’s not falling – actual collections are still in line with expectations.

In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, ETCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of East Texas has joined with the St. Louis Baptist Church of Tyler’s Comfort and Care Ministry to bring a free conference for caregivers, “Who cares? We do!”

Appointees of Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov Dan Patrick raised a record-setting $5.3 million for the 2019 inaugural festivities, two days’ worth of VIP events that included a ball with country crooner George Strait and a candlelight dinner with the state’s top elected officials. They reported spending every dollar of it. But don’t ask for any receipts.

Scott Mulvahill has shared the spotlight with a number of big name artists – Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, Peter Frampton, Steve Curtis Chapman and more – but he’ll have a Kilgore stage to himself next week as he brings his skills on the double-bass to the Texan Theater.

Cristefer Bohannon’s lungs don’t work so well, and a congenital heart defect tries to slow him down, but the 11-year-old wasn’t having any of that Saturday afternoon – not on SAFFE Day.

Kilgore Chamber of Commerce and its partners in the East Texas Coalition have officially sold out their seats at the 2019 Capitol Connect, but they might be able to squeeze just a few more folks into the Devall Ballroom later this month. Reservations include about 30 tables with 250 chairs, reserved by business leaders from across the region after the event was significantly expanded this fall. Set Sept. 30 at Kilgore College, the initiative now encompasses nine East Texas chambers of commerce.

After time back at the drawing board, SWEPCO has crafted a new plan to add wind energy into its power mix. About this time in 2017, the utility’s representatives were spreading the word about the Wind Catcher initiative. That $4.5 billion proposal was ultimately canceled in July 2018 after meeting resistance and being rejected by the Texas Public Utility Commission. Still committed to diversifying its generation capacity through green means, wind and solar, SWEPCO took the feedback and crafted a new proposal, aiming to add 810 megawatts in wind energy by 2022.

An incorrect banner in the City of Kilgore’s ‘Six flags over Texas’ display was ultimately sorted out this week following a brief but contentious dialogue between a local couple and City Hall. The flag in question is one of three official banners flown by the Confederate States of America, in power here from March 1861 through 1865. For at least several weeks, another flag was flying in its place in the six flags display in front of Kilgore Police Department – the so-called ‘Betsy Ross flag’ is similar in design. It was a mistake, according to city officials. One that needed to be rectified immediately, according to Kiefer and Cody Bounds.

Texas District 7 Representative and former Longview mayor Jay Dean spoke to Kilgore Lions Club this week with an important message: a report on what he and his colleagues in the legislature were able to accomplish.

For three decades, he’s been ‘The Man on the Wichita Truck,’ but one of East Texas Oil Museum’s familiar faces has a new moniker after he was renamed in honor of a 40-year veteran oilhand and all his comrades in the oilfield. Always hard at work, frozen in time in the middle of the museum’s central diorama, ‘Gwynn’ symbolizes the then-and-now contributions of oil-and-gas workers, immortalized in Boomtown, USA.

An often tense back-and-forth at this week’s meeting of the Rusk County School Board revealed some of the underlying discord surrounding the decades-old county school equalization tax. On one hand, the tax – about $26.50 per year on a $100,000 home – helps fuel school budgets at 13 districts operating in the county. At the same time, a growing group of taxpayers is questioning a tax that, in some cases, sees residents paying twice into the same public coffers.

For more than a decade, East Texas residents have been a part of the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, which helps millions of children in need through gift-filled shoeboxes. Alex Nsengimana, who received a shoebox gift as an orphan during the height of Rwanda’s genocide, is coming to Longview on Wednesday, Aug. 28, to share how this gift, just like those packed here locally, changed his life.

“All of the above.” David Stanley knows that’s not how multiple choice works on comprehensive planning priorities, but it was still hard to narrow things down Thursday evening during the City of Kilgore’s open house-meets-town hall reception in the Old Post Office.

Gary Boyd won’t be running for re-election as commissioner of Gregg County Precinct 3. That said, there’s still 17 months and change left in the term. The Kilgore resident is at work and will stay there; some folks just needed a heads-up as he stands down from the upcoming election cycle.

Jerry Camp is in his final stretch as treasurer for the Gregg Home board, working with its remaining volunteers to officially close the books on the nonprofit. “When you’re a 501(c)3 and you close you have to distribute the money to other 501(c)3 charities,” he noted. “Since we sold to Arbor Grace six years ago, we had to wait so-many years to make sure people didn’t have a claim against the home itself." After waiting the requisite time, “Now we’re in the process of dispersing all the funds. Hopefully we will have it all closed out before the end of the year.”

The Sabine River Authority of Texas (SRA) was pleased to award the Liberty City Water Supply Corporation (WSC) a Community Assistance Program Grant on August 1st as part of SRA’s Fiscal Year 2019 Economic Development Initiative.

Many of the documents are still fresh and crisp. Some are yellowed with age, some in tatters. Others have been laminated as a stopgap against further deterioration. Whatever their state, every one of the records stored in the Kilgore district office of the Texas Railroad Commission will be individually inspected in the coming year. About half will be set aside, ready to be scanned and uploaded to a massive public database – the history of the East Texas Oilfield digitized and open for business, free for any interested person or party.

The Perryman Group estimates the Texas oil and gas business and related industries generate nearly two million jobs around Texas when multiplier effects are considered (as described in a recent column). The energy sector includes oil and natural gas exploration and drilling, as well as the industries required to produce, transport, transform, and deliver it to markets throughout the world.

Once again, Kilgore’s sales tax check from the Texas Comptroller’s office is ‘flat’ compared to the same month in 2018 – at $826,518, it shows an increase of just less than two percent compared to last July. Notably, the figure also includes a $23,000 audit collection, money held back by the state in a previous month and added into July’s allocation. All those numbers aside, the big picture, Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck says, is that the municipality’s collections are holding steady. It’s good news.

The Chinese visitors took a lot of photographs of the various rooms and equipment during the tour of Kilgore Middle School.

In most cases, the first person who responds to an incident is never on scene – not in person, anyway – but emergency dispatchers man the literal front lines, taking calls from people facing the worst of life, providing a calm voice in chaos and sending whatever help is needed.

For well over a century, the vast reserves of oil and natural gas in Texas have contributed to business activity and job creation. We recently took a close look at the overall impact of the sector on business activity across the state and found that it directly or indirectly supports about one of every six Texas jobs.

“Oppressive heat” will continue building across a four-state region this week, the National Weather Service warns, and a heat advisory is in effect through Wednesday evening for areas including Kilgore and Northeast Texas.

If Victor Olowo wakes up tomorrow and wants to teach literature, he has that opportunity. He has that choice – as an American citizen. It’s a freedom others across the world, including in his native country of Nigeria, can’t embrace as Americans do. “The freedom to choose what one wants to do is something that’s pretty much practiced here,” he said. “It’s not easily attainable in most other places in the world.”

Far from the disastrous dives of The Great Recession, decreases in the City of Kilgore’s monthly sales tax allocations aren’t ringing alarm bells at City Hall. Rather, they’re an indication the community is back on par with where its sales tax revenues should be, Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck said; even in a healthy economy the checks from the state won’t continually show increases year-to-year.

Twitter had Kilgore’s B.J. Owen breathing a sigh of relief Tuesday at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s social media pledge to plumbers the state will plunge into a quagmire of its own creation and fix the flow.

The men and women serving America in the armed forces today aren’t bothered by politics, Dr. Larry Gilbert says: they have their mission. “By the time you get to what you have to do, you’re not worried about politics. As matter of fact, that’s the last thing on your mind,” he said Monday. “You’re worried about your teammates and who’s in the foxhole with you.”

AUSTIN – This Memorial Day weekend, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is joining law enforcement efforts across the state to help keep Texas roadways safe and encourage motorists to practice safe driving habits. From Friday, May 24, through Monday, May 27, DPS Troopers will be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers, as well as drivers violating speed limit, seat belt and other traffic laws.

Texas House Bill 684, which contains a measure known as Sam’s Law, appeared before the Senate Education Committee Tuesday, April 30, for consideration before it could be allowed onto the Senate floor for a vote.

Sam’s Law, named after Kilgore student Sam Watkins, who died in December 2016 after suffering a seizure, is intended to mandate seizure response and recognition training at public schools throughout Texas.