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.
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.