Gushers & Dusters: A weekly look at what we liked — and didn’t

June 24, 2016 at 2 a.m.

GUSHER: For news that some Texas lawmakers will be working in the 2017 legislative session to increase allowable uses of medical marijuana. They are looking at ways of expanding a law approved in 2015 that lets patients with a rare form of epilepsy be legally treated with cannabidiol, or CBD. That was a good step, but it fell far short of the needs of many who could be helped. Because other states have approved such uses of medical marijuana, Texas is creating a class of medical refugees who leave the state to receive treatments.

DUSTER: For a disagreement over language that is being cited as the reason for $142,000 in donations made for a new Longview animal shelter to be withheld from the intended recipient. We believe most who donated to Fete for Pets meant their money to go to the shelter that is about to open, and hope that is where the funds wind up after the various definitions of no-kill are parsed.

GUSHER: For efforts made two years ago to educate Longview residents about the importance of eliminating mosquito-breeding grounds across the city. Then, the educational push was to fight West Nile virus, but it is paying dividends again as the Zika virus continues its march toward our region.

GUSHER: For LeTourneau University, whose bachelor’s degree holders enter the workforce with great prospects for respectable starting pay. A new survey this week showed the Longview-based university’s grads tied for fifth place in Texas and 72nd among more than 1,000 colleges surveyed in terms of starting pay.

DUSTER: For Texas officials who are continuing to throw good money after bad — to the tune of more than $3.5 million so far — fighting legal battles over the state’s strictest-in-the-nation voter ID law. Three federal courts so far have struck down the law, which they have said amounts to voter suppression. But rather than fix the law, Texas for more than five years has been running up the tab on taxpayers to put off doing that. The state eventually will have to make its voter ID rules comply with the Constitution, but apparently is happy to keep spending to put off that day.

GUSHER: For the Gregg County department of information technology, which received one of just three excellence awards bestowed this year by the Texas Association of Governmental Information Technology Managers. The award recognizes the county’s department for a three-year effort to increase its system’s reliability and security after a 2010 hacking incident exposed weaknesses.

GUSHER: For Juneteenth celebrations in Longview and across the area during the past week. Juneteenth celebrates the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, putting an end to human slavery. For many years, Juneteenth was almost an underground holiday, but no more. This is history worthy of celebration — and history that must never be forgotten.

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