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.
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.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
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.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.