Trib staff writer Cassie L. Smith’s story about McLennan County pressing the state to reimburse $600,000 in costs associated with the first Twin Peaks trial sparked plenty of outrage from readers — not over the Trib’s account but because of District Attorney Abel Reyna, subject of allegations he hijacked a murder investigation from Waco police after the 2015 biker shootout and threw 177 individuals in jail on dubious charges. He is now fighting for re-election amid county concerns about not only criminal trials but civil lawsuits piling up. Here’s a sampling of comments on the Waco Trib Facebook page:

We have our first confirmed federal Twitter judge, Judge Don Willett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, a Baylor University alumnus who has more recently served on the Texas Supreme Court. More than 500 legal scholars both young and old, as well as sophisticated practitioners, use Twitter to comment, analyze and argue. From a practical perspective, legal Twitter is thriving.

Findings just released by the U.S. Department of Education officially confirm that the Texas Education Agency failed to comply with federal law for more than a decade by excluding an unknown number of students with disabilities from receiving special education services. Although Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an immediate letter to the TEA demanding that it take action, the case highlights the critical need for attention to disability rights in our state. In other words, it must be a call to action.

The void left by Wilton Lanning’s death at age 81 isn’t hard to understand. Civic leader, successful businessman, founding president of the Dr Pepper Museum and W.W. Clements Free Enterprise Institute and regular Trib contributing columnist, Wilton was a genial presence about Waco, mixing with all walks of life, furthering worthy causes big and small and spreading optimism wherever he went. His departure is especially sorrowful because we need his encouragement now more than ever.

First, I thank Congressman Bill Flores for his Dec. 30 column detailing and defending how the recently passed tax-reform law “helps you.” His expertise as a CPA and a businessman is not in question. I appreciate the column’s intent, which was to provide real information to constituents in a public forum that allows us to read and to respond. That has not been the case in the telephone town halls or in his office policy to delete most critical comments to posts on his Facebook page about the tax plan. In the Waco Trib, then, we can have a dialogue.

After leaving office, President Ronald Reagan created the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award to recognize individuals who have fought to spread liberty worldwide. Nancy Reagan continued the tradition after her husband’s death, and in 2008 she bestowed the honor on human rights icon Natan Sharansky, who credited Reagan’s strong defense of freedom for his own survival in Soviet gulags. Reagan recognized that as leader of the free world, his words carried enormous weight, and he used it to inspire the unprecedented spread of democracy around the world.

Flashback

What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.