Take for instance, the time he decided to tackle the tricky world of politics. In 1974, culminating nearly two decades of service to the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, he was elected president and embraced the idea of a one-cent sales tax to fund construction of a domed stadium/convention arena. KLFY News Director JimÂ Baronet disagreed, saying residents would not support a tax increase bearing the name of theÂ then-controversial mayor,Â in calling for a downtown arena. Predictably, it led to days of discussion. Pears could not see the political intrigue. For him itÂ simply wasÂ the right thing to do.
The tax proposal predictably failed,Â but he remained undeterred. Working closely withÂ his friend Dr. Ray Authement, president of Pears' much-loved USL, and state Sen. Edgar Mouton, he saw the Cajundome become a reality.
Under Pears' leadership, KLFY TV-10 became a powerhouse of community influence. An endorsement from TV-10Â might have altered political races, but Pears would not use thatÂ kind of clout.
The worth of a man cannot be measured in ink, but it's certainly impressive to see the life of Tom Pears in print. Somehow, he found the time to impact an amazing cross-section of the community. As an Eagle Scout, he was devoted to the Evangeline Area Boy Scout Council. He served on a number of planning commissions, guiding the growth of Lafayette, and was committed to improving race relations, the economy and the social fiber of his community. He loved God openly and was a member of Asbury Methodist Church. He was a Shriner, a Mason and a veteran.
ThereÂ will be someÂ who will say, "That's not the Tom Pears I knew." And, in a way, they will be right. In 1947, when Pears launched his broadcasting career, Evan Hughes was his mentor at KVOL-Radio. Hughes has always said Pears "could sell iceboxes to Eskimos." In the quest for land to build a new TV-10, one of his salesmen securedÂ what he thought was a real bargain. HeÂ proudly outlined the deal to Mr. Pears, only to be told to go back and offer half of the asking price.
In 1963, Pears accepted the position of sales manager for KLFY. Three years later, he was the general manager and was later made president. When Texoma Broadcasting sold KLFY to Young Broadcasting in 1988, Mr. Pears moved to Waco, Texas, as the CEO for the Texoma Stations. His retirement in 1997 brought him and Laura back home to Acadiana.
Dubbed by many as the best-looking couple in Lafayette, Tom Pears and Laura Langlinais wed in 1951. She was already his best friend. They had three sons ' Thomas, III, Mike, Kelly ' and a daughter, Tracey. His dedication to KLFY's success cut into his family time, but he was there when it mattered, and each of his children know they were well loved.
We also know we were loved, and we also knew how unbending he could be. My first job at TV-10 was as the receptionist. Sometimes on beautiful, spring days, I would go on picnics with my boyfriend. One day when I was half an hour late, I got a lecture about the dangers of boys and a severe reprimand. I think he was disappointed that he couldn't ground me.
He was not perfect nor was he a giant. He was simply a man who tried to do his best every day of his life. Acadiana, and especially those of us who knew and loved him, are the beneficiaries ofÂ the results of that struggle.
Maria Placer is the Station Manager/Chief Community Relations Officer for KLFY TV-10.
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 23, 2014:
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand:
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”