Archive for the ‘Area Information’ Category

Fort Hood Homes – Fort Hood Soldiers tell students about life in military

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
First Lt. Sarah Hernandez, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, talks to Elisabeth Thomas, a kindergartner at Martin Walker Elementary School, during the students’ lunch hour Wednesday in Copperas Cove. Soldiers spent the day with students, answering questions about the Army and what deployment is really like for soldiers
Avery Gleason, a third-grader at Martin Walker Elementary School, asks a soldier a question while participating in a lunchtime adopt-a-school program Wednesday in Copperas Cove.
From left, Peyton Dozier, Savannah Caudle and Zoe Charles, all second-grade students at Martin Walker Elementary, listen to soldiers and ask questions during lunch Wednesday in Copperas Cove

By Chris McGuinness
Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE — With a serious expression, Cpl. Timothy Slater stopped and thought before answering a very important question: Are there any Applebee’s restaurants in Iraq or Afghanistan?

The answer: There is one in Kuwait.

The query was one of many from students at Martin Walker Elementary School in Copperas Cove Wednesday. Slater and other members of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion fielded inquiries during a special event for children with parents in the military.

The battalion is the school’s adopted unit, and about 60 students shared lunch and conversation with the soldiers.

“Sometimes it is hard for these students when one of their parents is deployed and they have a lot of questions,” said Heather Welch, site coordinator for Communities in Schools, a nonprofit organization. “Being able to meet other kids in the same situation and ask (the soldiers) those questions can give them a better understanding about what’s going on.”

The monthly gatherings are hosted by the Copperas Cove Independent School District, CIS and the Military Child Education Coalition. This is the program’s second year.

“I think being able to have the soldiers there to answer their questions, or just talk to them, can make them feel closer to their parents,” said Marla Sullivan, Martin Walker’s principal. “It gives them a sense of safety and someone to talk to.”

Slater and the other soldiers answered all sorts of questions, ranging from how many pets they have to how they stay in touch with their families.

Lt. Col. Jeff Gorres said it was important to answer even the most mundane questions. “(Children) always want to have more information,” he said. “I think the more information they have, the more they feel like they understand what is going on.”

Knowing more about what daily life is like for deployed troops appeared to help third-grader John Peterson, who asked about the terrain and weather in Iraq, which a soldier explained. “Oh, so that’s what it’s like for my dad,” he said.

Peterson not only used the opportunity to ask questions, but he and the other students also got an opportunity to talk about life without their deployed parents.

“I have to be the man of the house, and help out with things like showing my mom how to use the computer,” said Peterson. “It’s quite lonely when you don’t have anyone to play video games with.”

The students said they were glad when they got a chance to talk with their deployed parents via the telephone or the Internet.

It was a luxury Slater said he did not have as a child. “My father was a military man, and when he was gone, we would have to wait weeks for a letter,” said Slater. “I think it’s great that we can talk with our families, and these kids get so much support during deployments.”

In the end, the battalion’s soldiers might have learned a little something from the children, too.

First Lt. Sarah Hernandez’s husband, Edwin, is deployed in Iraq with the 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.

The couple’s daughter, Daisy, is 4, about the same age as some of the children she visited with at the school Wednesday.

“Listening to them talk, and listening to the questions they had, it made me wonder if she has the same questions,” Hernandez said.

Killeen Homes – Scott & White Hospital opens children’s hospital

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
Sara Adams, 6, was the first patient transferred to the new Children’s Hospital at Scott & White, about a mile down the road from Scott & White Hospital in Temple. The $50 million facility officially opened on Tuesday.
Brittney Keeton, 17, enters Children’s Hospital at Scott & White Tuesday in Temple. The new facility will give children specialized care without having to travel to larger Texas cities.

By Rose L. Thayer
Killeen Daily Herald

TEMPLE — One by one, 19 patients on the fourth floor children’s wing of the Scott & White Hospital were loaded onto ambulance stretchers.

Their destination was just under a mile away at the new Children’s Hospital at Scott & White, which officially opened Tuesday.

Six-year-old Sara Adams was the first patient wheeled through the emergency room doors at the new facility. She was greeted by cheers and a teddy bear as she headed to her new room.

“It’s nice,” said Eddie Adams, of Killeen, after his daughter settled in her new room. Sara has been at Scott & White for the last month, receiving treatment for nephrotic syndrome, which affects her kidneys.

“I like the security and the staff,” Adams said. “It’s like the A-Team to me.”

The move to the $50 million hospital was orchestrated from a command center set up in the new facility’s boardroom.

“We are keeping our finger on the pulse of everything to do with the patients,” said Audrey Hubbard, director of critical care services.

As the first patients and their families entered the new hospital, Dr. John Boyd, CEO and chief medical officer, watched with a smile. “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work over many years,” he said. “It’s just an exciting, historic day for Central Texas.”

Hospital officials estimate 3,000 children will be admitted each year, and some 250,000 children will visit the hospital clinic on the 47-acre campus.

“What I most look forward to is families not having to travel so far for care,” Boyd said. “They can stay close to their loved ones and support systems. That’s the really exciting thing for us.”

To prepare the young patients for the move, Hubbard said hospital staff members briefed parents Monday and registered them for access badges. The new hospital has one entrance and everyone must have identification and access badges.

“There’s been a lot of planning and simulations to make sure all patients are moved safely and comfortably,” Hubbard said.

Last week, Temple College medical students used medical simulation mannequins to perform a dry run of the move and work out the kinks.

Killeen Homes – Killeen City Council to discuss U.S. Highway 190 expansion

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald

The recently announced expansion of U.S. Highway 190 from four to six lanes is slated for discussion at today’s Killeen’s City Council workshop.

Last Thursday, the Texas Department of Transportation announced the $58 million project at a meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission in Austin, where Killeen Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper was in attendance.

Expected to begin sometime in the summer of 2012, the expansion will take place between Fort Hood’s main gate and W.S. Young Drive. From there, the work will proceed in increments until it meets Interstate 35.

Funding for the project comes from Proposition 12, passed by Texas voters in 2007, which authorized $5 billion in general obligation funds.

The council also will resume discussions on forming outside groups to develop plans to bring a children’s museum and dog park to Killeen. The council had planned to start these discussions on Sept. 27, but tabled the proposal for a week because of time constraints.

Also listed for discussion today are a legislative update and term limits for city boards and committees.

The workshop will begin at 5 p.m. in the large conference room of the utilities collection building, located at 210 W. Avenue C.

Belton Homes – Williams, Belton Tigers run past Harker Heights

Saturday, October 1st, 2011
Belton running back Donavan Williams (11) breaks loose for a big gain after teammate Levi Jordan (21) makes a block on Harker Heights Samson Gray in the first quarter Friday at Belton.

By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON — Not wanting to go down 0-2 in District 12-5A, the pass-friendly Belton offense switched gears a bit.

Bruising senior tailback Donavan Williams ran for a career-high 188 yards on 30 carries and caught a pivotal fourth-quarter touchdown to lead the host Tigers back into the district race with a 35-25 win over Harker Heights on Friday night at Tiger Stadium.

“I told him yesterday when we did our walk through, ‘You’re probably going to carry it 30 times and I need 200 yards,'” Belton coach Rodney Southern said. “Because I knew at that point … that we had to run the ball.

“And the good thing was he never put the ball on the ground either.”

Williams even admitted after the game even he never expected to see that many carries in a game.

“Not really, but if the team counts on me, then I have to do my job,” Williams said.

Under Southern, the Tigers (4-1, 1-1 12-5A) have traditionally been a pass-first team, with Texas Longhorns freshman David Ash setting records during his three years with the program.

Even this year, junior quarterback Peter Shelburne led the district with 64 completions for 961 yards entering Friday’s game.

But against Harker Heights’ top-ranked run defense in 12-5A, the Tigers went to the ground from their second possession as Williams bounced off a pile at the line of scrimmage and broke a 35-yard run that set up a 24-yard Shelburne-to-Durham Smythe touchdown pass. The score gave Belton a 7-3 lead after Heights kicker Jake Harler nailed a 40-yard field goal on its opening possession.

The Knights (3-2, 1-1) had no problem running the ball either, with quarterback C.J. Rodriguez rushing for three touchdowns and diminutive senior tailback Marvin Jackson carrying 17 times for 142 yards — including 100 in the first half. Their issue was holding onto the football.

With the ball on Belton’s 2-yard line midway through the third quarter and a chance to take the lead, Heights tailback Jonte Burton fumbled trying to get extra yardage at the goal line as Tigers linebacker Davis Butler jumped on it for a touchback.

Eleven plays later, Shelburne — who’s second interception of the game helped set up Heights inside the Tigers’ 15-yard line — did what the Knights could not and crossed the goal line from 4 yards out to put Belton ahead 28-17 with 48 seconds left in the third.

“It’s a red-zone momentum changer that deflates you, when you have a chance to actually go ahead of us, and then we get the ball back and of course end up driving down and scoring,” Southern said.

Emotions boiled over for both teams early in the fourth quarter after a 1-yard touchdown run by Rodriguez cut Belton’s lead to 28-24.

Trying for the two-point conversion, Rodriguez found receiver Jonathan Nava in the end zone but he was quickly dogpiled by a host of Tigers.

As the referees began pulling players off, Nava and Butler emerged from the pile throwing punches. When flags were thrown, the officials removed Nava from the game. The conversion made it 28-25 with under 10 minutes to go.

“I still love this team, I’m going to always, but we have to understand that bad things are going to happen and how we react to it,” Heights coach Mike Mullins said. “If we want to be in the top four we’ve got to be ready to go and be ready for next Thursday.”

On the ensuing Belton drive, Shelburne and Williams combined on 50 of the Tigers’ 52 yards, including connecting on a 7-yard touchdown pass for the final score.

The Knights put up one final scoring attempt, but a Rodriguez interception — his first of the season — let the Tigers simply run out the clock.

Killeen Homes – Killeen Independent School District gets superior financial integrity rating for 2009-10

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

By Chris McGuinness
The Killeen Daily Herald

Killeen Independent School District officials reported Tuesday that the district received a top rating for financial integrity from the Texas Education Agency.

The school system earned a “superior achievement” rating for 2009-10, which is the highest designation possible, said Megan Bradley, the district’s chief financial officer, during a school board workshop.

“(The rating) really affirms the good quality of the work our business services office is doing,” said KISD Superintendent Robert Muller.

Texas has 1,029 school districts, and KISD was one of the 784 to receive the highest financial rating.

Bradley said the district met 20 of the state agency’s 22 indicators in the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, which gauges things such as a district’s fund balances, financial controls and student-to-teacher ratios.

At a public meeting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11, Bradley will present the state agency’s complete findings and provide copies of the financial report.

Last year, the Killeen school district also received a “superior achievement” rating.

At the workshop, school board members also discussed, among other items, an application to send the Harker Heights High School Choir on a trip to Germany in 2013.

Temple Homes – First Bell Co. children’s hospital opens Oct. 4

Monday, September 26th, 2011
John L. Boyd III, chief executive officer and chief medical officer for Children’s Hospital at Scott & White, with scissors, helped organize the ribbon-cutting ceremony with fellow attendees for the grand opening Saturday at the hospital in Temple

By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald

TEMPLE — Scott & White officials cut the ribbon Saturday for Bell County’s first hospital for children.

A $40-million renovation transformed the former King’s Daughters Hospital into the new Children’s Hospital at Scott & White. It will begin services Oct. 4, but the weekend ceremony provided a sneak peek at the state-of-the-art facility.

The 400-staff facility is expected to serve about 2,500 patients a year, with the first ones arriving in four ambulances from Scott & White Hospital on opening day.

The new children’s hospital, which will serve 32 counties, has 64 beds for full-time care and 48 beds in the neonatal intensive care unity. It also is equipped with four operating rooms and an emergency room.

But the jewel in the new facility’s crown is a $2 million computerized tomography (CT) flash scanner that creates detailed images of the internal body.

Some CT scans can take six minutes to complete, which means doctors may have to sedate children so they will remain still during the procedure. The flash scanner finishes in 0.6 seconds, and that speed also minimizes radiation exposure to children, said Craig Davis, director of diagnostic and therapeutic services at Scott & White.

“It’s like getting off a Schwinn and getting into a Ferrari,” Davis said.

Shawn Kelly, supervisor of medicine and surgery, said the flash scanner fits into the hospital’s philosophy that the treatment of children should not be invasive, and staff members should work to create the most comfortable environment possible for their young patients.

In that regard, the hospital has play rooms and facilities that allow parents to remain at their child’s side. Parents will have access to kitchens and laundry rooms, so they can stay for extended periods of time.

“They’re not just visitors, they’re part of the care team,” Kelly said.

Officials expect the children’s hospital to have a $66 million annual economic impact on the area and create 150 new jobs in Temple.

Harker Heights Homes – Heights celebrates return of veterans

Sunday, September 25th, 2011
Spc. Chris Cunningham, right, shows Daezion Turner, 10, the first aid kit in a uniform Saturday during the Welcome Home celebration at Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights.

By Rebecca Rose
Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS — When J.J. Russell, 30, of Harker Heights, realized she had walked into a free event for veterans Saturday at Carl Levin Park, she began to tear up.

The former Army captain thought it was just another day at the park with her children and their friends, when she discovered the third annual Welcome Home celebration at Carl Levin Park in full swing, as crowds of people took over the park grounds to thank area veterans.

Hosted by the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System from the Veterans Affairs office in Temple, the event served to pay tribute to veterans and returning soldiers from Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and other U.S. military actions in the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The free event also featured live music, vendor booths and several VA benefit booths, which provided materials to interested veterans and their families. In addition, local universities and colleges were on hand to provide veterans information about their educational options.

Guest speaker Brig. Gen. Joseph DiSalvo, III Corps deputy commanding general of Fort Hood, spoke about the important role spouses and families play in veterans’ lives. He thanked all the branches of the military, which he referred to as “a team.”

Addressing the crowd of veterans and area residents who came for the event, DiSalvo said it takes “commitment, dedication and sacrifice to go in harm’s way.”

“What better way to honor our veterans and families,” Harker Heights Mayor Mike Aycock said as he waved to the large crowd of attendees. “I’m here to welcome all of you.”

Attendees were treated to an array of free food, courtesy of organizations such as the Knights of Columbus. Serving up fresh popcorn and colorful snow cones were members of the Squires, the youth branch of the Knights of Columbus.

“We’re here to serve our troops,” said Logan Melvin, 15, a Harker Heights High School sophomore.

The event had special significance for Melvin.

“A lot of the veterans here are our families,” he said. “My dad is in the Army. You really see how the military affects a community when you live in a place like this.”

Melvin said he wished he could personally thank veterans who served their country, and ask them questions about what it was like.

“I want to make them feel welcome,” he said. “Even though I wasn’t alive at the time, I still respect the sacrifices they made.”

“Our community is a military community,” said Harker Heights Councilman Pat Christ. “We need to do all we can to say thank you for what they’ve given and for what they’re going to give.”

Jarrett Lott, 59, served in Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. The former Army sergeant spoke proudly of the strong community of veterans and their supporters in the area.

“They sacrificed all,” he said, speaking of his fellow veterans.

“Some didn’t come back at all. They did everything for our right to freedom.”

Looking around at the large crowds gathered for the event, Lott smiled.

“It’s good you when you can come out to something like this,” he said. “To see so many people celebrate that you were a veteran.”

For Russell, the event was one more reminder of the meaning of service to her and thousands of others like her.

“People join (the military) because they want to serve. They want to give back,” she said. “They do it because they love it.”

The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System provides outreach and treatment programs designed to better care for a veteran’s mind, body and spirit. The organization treats more than 79,000 veterans annually.

Copperas Cove Homes – Copperas Cove Bulldawgs beat fumbling Tigers in early showdown of 12-5A favorites

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
Copperas Cove punt returner Orlando Thomas is grabbed by Belton’s Nate Mitchell on Friday night as Tiger defenders Michael Gall (62) and Kyle Battle close in at Bulldawg Stadium.

By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE — One quarter Friday night may have just determined the top of District 12-5A.

Belton and Copperas Cove went into their meeting as two favorites to contend for the district title.

But in 12 minutes, the Bulldawgs made a statement — first place will likely go through Cove.

The Dawgs took advantage of three Belton turnovers in the third quarter, turning a close game into a runaway 37-15 win at Bulldawg Stadium.

“We can’t turn it over — that’s the game. That’s the difference in the game,” said Belton head coach Rodney Southern. “You can’t blame one person but we can’t turn the ball over four or five times against anybody, and you dang sure can’t turn it over four or five times against Copperas Cove.”

The Tigers (3-1, 0-1) fumbled four times, losing three of them. Each time, the Dawgs (3-1, 1-0) answered with points — 17 in all. Cove’s defense also stopped Belton in the shadow of its own end zone. The Tigers were at the Cove 19 when Chris Rhodes intercepted a Peter Shelburne pass in the third quarter, returning it to midfield and stopping Belton from cutting into the Dawgs’ 31-7 lead.

“Our defense was able to play and sustain. I imagine they got a lot of yards,” Cove head coach Jack Welch said of a Belton offense that finished with 417 yards of offense. “I saw a lot of first downs, but they didn’t get behind us.

“They didn’t get behind us.”

Up 10-7 going into the third quarter, Cove went right down the field and scored. Brandon Hamilton, who ran for 100 yards in the quarter, scored from 2 yards out — the first of two scores in a seven-minute stretch. Hamilton finished with 141 yards and three touchdowns.

On Belton’s ensuing drive, the Tigers lost the football on first down to give it right back to Cove. The Dawgs took advantage of the gift as Orlando Thomas ran in the short 8-yard score, pushing Cove’s lead to 24-7 less than three minutes into the quarter.

Belton fumbled again on its next drive, and Cove turned it around for a 13-play, 76-yard drive capped by a Hamilton 9-yard score. Rhodes, Sean Harris and Darian Childers recovered the three Belton fumbles.

“I thought our defense played well and our coaches coached well,” Welch said. “It’s all together.”

Belton scored midway through the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 31-15. Donavan Williams went in from 8 yards out to cap an 84-yard drive. He had 59 yards to lead Belton while Shelburne completed 26 of 35 passes for 342 yards and a second-quarter touchdown to Durham Smythe.

“They made some plays — they’re a good football team,” Southern said. “I knew they were a good football team and so did our kids. We made some plays but we shot ourselves in the foot four times.”

Killeen Homes – Killeen’s Vive Les Arts Theatre kicks off season with a classic

Friday, September 23rd, 2011
Dannea Guess, who plays the part of Maria in the musical, “The Sound of Music,” sings during their dress rehearsal Wednesday at the Vive Les Arts Theatre.

By Danielle Church
Killeen Daily Herald

Vive Les Arts Theatre will kick off the 2011-12 season tonight with a few of its favorite things.

Making its debut at VLA is “The Sound of Music,” which opens at 7 p.m.

More than 140 people auditioned for the 1959 musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, said Eric Shephard, artistic director at the theater.

“About a quarter of this cast are people I’ve never even met before,” he said. “I’m really impressed with my cast.”

On Tuesday evening, cast and directors worked out a few final kinks during dress rehearsal. They used every inch of the theater, including the foyer, to perfect their performance of the production about a woman who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a widowed Navy captain.

Back stage, Fort Hood resident Dorshan Millhouse, 30, walked around in costume for her part as Sister Berthe, a nun at the Austrian convent. Her 10-year-old daughter, Emmeline, is playing Louisa von Trapp, one of the Navy captain’s many children.

“This is my sixth play so far,” said Emmeline, standing beneath the stage rehearsing vocals with music director, Elaine Garcia. The young actress added that she’s “pretty confident” about opening night.

Killeen resident Scott Mather will play Max Detweiler, or better known to the von Trapp bunch as “Uncle Max.”

He said the musical is his 28th or 29th show at VLA, and he is excited about the debut production.

“They’ve been focusing a lot on the musical aspect of the show,” Mather said, mentioning that rehearsals have been pretty sporadic, catering to the needs of the vocalists.

Cast members said they have been rehearsing for about a month and are ready to showcase their hard work to an audience.

“I feel pretty good,” said Millhouse, noting that VLA takes cast members as they are and helps them build skills as theatrical performers.

Copperas Cove Homes – Copperas Cove, CCISD team up to showcase city’s progress, departments

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

By Audrey Spencer
Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE — The city, in conjunction with the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce, the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation and the Copperas Cove Independent Schoool District, will offer the State of the City address and host the Meet the City event Wednesday.

“It’s a great opportunity for citizens, individuals, businesses and leaders of other cities to see the growth and development coming to the city,” said Betty Price, vice president of the Cove Chamber of Commerce.

The State of the City 2011: Progress on the Horizon event will be held at 10 a.m. in the Lea Ledger Auditorium at Copperas Cove High School, at 200 S. 25th St.

The event will feature a presentation on the growth, development and progress in the community given by City Manager Andrea Gardner, according to a news release.

The tagline “Progress on the Horizon” comes from major projects started in the city this year, Price said.

“We’ve had two groundbreakings for two major highways,” she said. “There’s so much on the horizon, and we want to highlight the progress.”

The Meet the City event will be from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Copperas Cove Civic Center, located at 1206 W. Avenue B.

The event offers an opportunity for the community to meet employees with different city departments and learn what they do, and will include games, a bounce house and photos with Sparky and McGruff the Crime Dog, a release stated.

Hot dogs, chips and drinks will also be provided at no charge, and those who attend can register for a chance to win door prizes, such as Apple iPod products.

“We want to encourage every citizen to attend,” Price said. “You don’t always get to see or hear everything that’s going on in a city, and there’s quite a bit of development and constant improvement.”