veterans

Mark Gwin for KUT News

A diverse group of volunteers braved the heat Thursday to upgrade the residence of 107-year-old World War II veteran Richard Overton – the country’s oldest living World War II veteran.

The East Austin house has been Overton's home since he built it in 1945, when he returned from war. And though he’s done some upgrades over the years, it was beginning to have some serious issues: broken windows, a failing refrigerator and more.

But then a team of several dozen volunteers came to fix it all.

Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

The Texas State Preservation Board voted Friday to move forward with a proposed Vietnam War veterans' monument at the Texas Capitol. The final design features American combat troops – and not a South Vietnamese solider as initially proposed.

In 2005, the Texas Legislature authorized a Vietnam War memorial for the Texas Capitol grounds. The proposed design featured several combat-weary soldiers – one of them a South Vietnamese solider. But the backers of the memorial, the Texas Capitol Vietnam Monument Committee, chose to remove that figure. The preservation board approved the final design Friday. 

Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System

Austin’s new VA clinic opened this week, becoming the largest free-standing VA outpatient clinic in the U.S. The new, state-of-the-art clinic will to help accommodate Central Texas’s fast growing veteran population across 39 counties.

The clinic currently serves 23,000 veterans. The VA hopes to increase that number to 30,000 by 2025 with the expanded facilities, according to Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System spokeswoman Deborah Meyer.

flickr.com/bright_idea

The Texas Workforce Commission is awarding Austin Community College over $90,000 as part of its College Credit for Heroes program.

ACC is one of six colleges joining the program, which is designed to translate veterans’ military experience into college credit hours.

KUT News

Texas was given a $750,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help U.S. veterans find jobs when they come home.

Along with Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina, the grant will reach out to active-duty soldiers within 90 days of their return from the Army, Texas Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Marissa Barnett, KUT News

35 Central Texas World War II veterans, including Texas’ oldest living veteran, are flying to Washington D.C. today as part of the Honor Flight program.

The flight leaves Austin Bergstrom International Airport at 12:30 p.m. after a ceremonial send off from Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. Honor Flight Austin Chairman Allen Bergeron, a flight nurse and one guardian per veteran will also be on the flight. The trip is just one day, but the itinerary is packed with memorial visits and a trip to Arlington National Cemetery.

Missing in America Project

Funeral homes across the country face a challenge that might surprise you. They’re storing thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of unclaimed cremated human remains.

A bill before the Texas Senate today would address part of the problem – at least for deceased veterans.

Cherie A. Thurlby

The Texas Veterans Commission gave out $3 million in grants today to more than two dozen organizations across the state that help veterans readjust to civilian life.

About $800,000 of it will go to programs that assist veterans here in Central Texas.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News.

Unemployment among U.S. veterans fell in 2012 but is still higher than the rest of the workforce. Two bills dealing with vets and employment are before the Texas Senate Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee. One would help veterans find work in Texas agencies; the other would ensure they could take time off from work.

Both bills are aimed at reintegrating veterans into civilian life and jobs.

Teresa Vieira for KUT News

Colleges and universities in Texas are struggling to pay for the tuition benefits they give to qualifying veterans and their dependents as part of a program called the Hazlewood Act.

As the number of veterans rises, higher education leaders say their institutions need help tackling the costs.

“We continuously get pulled at not to increase tuition. We don’t want to increase tuition. But those are the issues that we follow," Kenth Hance, Texas Tech University Systems Chancellor, says.

flickr.com/ennuiislife

Update: The council gave preliminary approval to an independent Austin Energy board Thursday night. You can read more here.

Original Post:The Austin City Council has made short work of today’s agenda, passing most items early.

One agenda item is still outstanding, and should create some sparks: a resolution calling for an independent governance board to oversee operations at Austin Energy.

KUT News

The theme of this year's Texas Veterans' Expo was simple: Answering the call.

But meeting that call has been difficult.

The Texas Veterans Commission's job is to connect veterans with benefits. But the TVC's Executive Director Thomas Palladino said disabled veterans in this state have had a hard time getting their requests answered.

KUT News

Good morning. Austin’s in for a sunny and mild day according to the National Weather Service, with highs in the low to mid-60s.

Lead Story: Despite crowded conditions and a longer-than-expected “kitten season,” the Austin Animal Center finished 2012 with its “no-kill” record intact.

The city shelter ended the fourth quarter of 2012 with a 91 percent live outcome rate. The no-kill benchmark is a 90 percent live outcome rate.

Luke Quinton for KUT News

The funeral procession for ex-Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle drew hundreds to the Texas State Cemetery today. Crowds of spectators filled overpasses along the motorcade's procession route, from Midlothian, Texas to Austin, in order to offer their respects.

Howard Herring served in the Marine Corps in the sixties. Today was his first funeral service as a member of the Patriot Guard, a group of motorcycle riders who attend military funerals as guests of the family. Herring summed up the mood of many in attendance.

Luke Quinton for KUT News

Update: The funeral procession of Chris Kyle arrived in Austin around noon. Crowds of watchers lined  Interstate 35 and the Texas State Cemetery with flags and signs.

The procession was escorted by a motorcade which included 200 motorcycles, motor coaches, police cruisers, military personnel and first responders.

At least two Patriot Guard Riders who were riding ahead of the procession on its way to Austin were involved in an accident near Bell County according to Texas Department of Public Safety officials. They remain hospitalized.

Original Story:
Former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle will be buried in Austin today.

Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin can expect continued chances for rain and highs in the 60s today.

Lead Story: Former Williamson County district attorney Ken Anderson has denied any misconduct in the case of Michael Morton, the man who was wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder and spent 25 years in prison.

Anderson, now a judge in Georgetown, is facing allegations that as a prosecutor he hid evidence that would have proved Morton’s innocence.

flickr.com/austincameraguy

Services were held for Chad Littleton today at the First Baptist Church in Midlothian, Texas. He, along with former Navy SEAL and best-selling “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle were killed Saturday at a gun range outside of Fort Worth. Kyle was reportedly killed by a fellow veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kyle will be buried Tuesday at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, following a Monday service at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Thousands are expected to attend the public ceremony Monday to remember the man widely recognized as “America’s deadliest sniper.”

More is being learned today about former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and the man accused of killing the decorated Iraq War veteran.

At least four people are dead and several others injured after a train crashed into a trailer carrying veterans during a parade in West Texas.

The Midland Reporter-Telegram spoke to Midland Chief of Police Price Robinson. Here's what the paper says:

KUT News

Sunday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. On Monday, city, state and federal government offices will be closed in observance of the holiday.

There are several events planned over the two days to celebrate the service of U.S. military veterans. 

On Sunday, Austin and Travis County will host a Veterans Day Parade downtown. The parade will kick off at 9 a.m. on the South Congress Bridge and head to the Texas Capitol.  At 11 a.m., the Commemorative Air Force of San Marcos will hold a memorial and flyover at the south steps of the Capitol. (You can find information about street closures here.)

Pages