2016 PROGRESS >
Central Texas shows signs of progress Progress is an annual publication that focuses on the developments of the past year in the Central Texas communities the Killeen Daily Herald serves. The section also takes an in-depth look at the changes in store in the year ahead. This yearâ€™s 148-page edition includes news, information, photographs and advertisements that highlight the positive developments in Killeen and its neighboring communities of Harker Heights, Fort Hood, Copperas Cove, Belton, Nolanville, Florence, Salado, Kempner, Gatesville and Lampasas. In addition to chronicling developments in the business sector, Progress also features news accounts, interviews and analysis from the areas of education, real estate, recreation, religion and the medical community. The content for the 2016 Progress edition was created by staff of the Killeen Daily Heraldâ€™s editorial and advertising departments.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Business Roll of Honor Real Estate Medical Fort Hood Education Harker Heights Copperas Cove Religion Recreation Yellow Pages
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2016 PROGRESS >
Killeen population climbing BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Killeen’s population keeps on growing. City spokeswoman Hilary Shine said the most current census estimate has Killeen’s population at 138,154 in 2014, an increase of 10,233 people from the 2010 census. After surpassing the 130,000 mark in 2012 — nearly double what it was a decade before — the number has been expected to keep rising. The city’s growth and economy rely heavily on neighboring Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in the world. “The state of Texas continues to
experience significant growth,” said City Manager Glenn Morrison. “Our centralized location and our proximity to Fort Hood continue to be the drivers when it comes to our increasing population.” Morrison, who will retire in April, said the city also continues to see an increasing number of non-military families moving to Killeen as well. “We are seeing more nonmilitaryconnected families locate to this area, and I believe it speaks to not only our central location in Texas but also our affordable cost of living,” he said. Shine said the latest estimates have Killeen’s population reaching 149,998 by 2020 and 178,292 for 2032. As the city grows, it will need to
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
As Killeen works to keep up with a growing population, the city has authorized several road projects, including streetscaping downtown.
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continue to invest in infrastructure. Morrison said the city reviews its master plans to ensure those investments are made. “Our various master plans are designed to keep us informed and focused on short, moderate and long-term needs. We continue to review those plans to ensure they are updated and reflect the growth and the needs we are experiencing,” Morrison said. In the last year, the city broke ground on Fire Station No. 9, opened Rosewood Drive under the U.S. 190 overpass and made headway on several other road projects. The city also continues to work alongside Fort Hood and other neighboring communities and organizations, such as Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, which made progress last year toward opening a new treatment plant at Stillhouse Hollow Lake in 2018. “Regional awareness and partnerships are critical for all communities,” Morrison said. “Our efforts with other municipalities and entities in the area of transportation and water and wastewater planning are essential.”
Richard House Jr., D.D.S.
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
A construction worker moves dirt on a lot where a new home being built near Stagecoach Road in Killeen. Builders are keeping up with demand for housing as more people call the city home.
Dr. Richard House Jr., Retiring After 30 years!
Announcing...Dr. Aditi Saxena, New Owner of House of Smiles.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your trust and confidence in permitting me to take care of your dental needs through the years. It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my decision to retire and have another dentist acquire my practice.
Dr. Saxena earned her DDS from the University of Minnesota. She practiced general dentistry in Martin, South Dakota. Dr. Saxena serves proudly in the US Army reserves as a Captain. She is trained in all the aspects of General and Cosmetic Dentistry.
Aditi Saxena, D.D.S.
I want my patients to continue to receive the best possible care and I have carefully selected Dr. Aditi R. Saxena to carry on my practice. I believe that she is a competent and caring person who has the qualifications and desire to continue the practice in a highly professional manner. To insure the continuity of the practice during the next several months, I will be assisting Dr. Saxena in reviewing patient records and familiarizing her with my practice. Your records will remain safely at this location. Also, Dr. Pundt will continue to be a provider at the “House of Smiles” and take care of his patients. Feel free to stop by and let us introduce you to Dr. Saxena. She will continue to provide you and your family with the best possible dental care. Please give us a call if you have any questions.
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Killeen draws more entertainment downtown amid revitalization BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Photos by Eric J. Shelton and Rod Lewis | Herald
ABOVE: Kim BatesWallace, right, owner of Over the Plate Food Truck and Catering, shows Gloria Nelson, center, and Mike Nelson their tacos June 14 at the Killeen Farmers Market and Food Truck Fridays event at Green Avenue Park in Killeen. AT RIGHT: Jazz saxophonist Rashad Maybell was the opening performance for the first Killeen Jazz Fest in September.
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Downtown Killeen experienced quite a bit of excitement in 2015. In the Historic District of downtown, the city hosted the 2nd Annual Army Birthday Celebration in June, complete with a cake-cutting ceremony, food trucks, vendors and live music and fun for the whole family. In September, the city hosted the first Jazz Festival in downtown, which senior planner Charlotte Hitchman said was a tremendous success. More than 2,000 attendees from around Central Texas attended, Hitchman said. They enjoyed cuisine and multiple live jazz bands, including Althea Renee and Rashad Maybell. Downtown merchants kept the live music and community event vibe going by hosting First Friday celebrations every first Friday of the month. During 2015, City Hall received a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. As an alternative incentive for economic development, the City Council agreed to waive all permit fees in the Historic District of downtown for a period of five years, Hitchman said. Several new businesses opened and call downtown Killeen home, including Scratch Elevated Bistro, the reopening of Tyku Wine Bar and Lounge and Rincon-de-panama. Hitchman said downtown revitalization efforts remain ongoing. “Many property owners have taken advantage of the $10,000 façade grant opportunity available in the Historic District of downtown and greatly improved the appearance of their buildings while preserving the historic character,” Hitchman said. “Many have also utilized the sign grant that is offered in the Historic District to advertise their new businesses.” The grant offers reimbursement to business owners for 50 percent of the cost of their sign up to $800. Hitchman said planning has already begun for this year’s Army Birthday Celebration and Jazz Festival. The city is also working with the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce Place Design Team and the
Killeen Arts Commission to develop projects to improve the art scene. “Several of these efforts will be displayed and enjoyed throughout the year,” Hitchman said.
Hitchman said streetscaping repairs and improvements were completed in 2015 as needed. During 2016, the city will implement phase II of the streetscaping effort, which will extend from Eighth Street to 10th Street along Avenue D. According to previous Herald reports, phase II will add new lighting, decorative crosswalks, retaining walls and landscaping to the area. The second phase also will address “major historic drainage issues” in the area. Phase II comes at a cost of $1.6 million, with the Killeen Economic Development Corporation funding $300,000 of the project. In December, streetscaping and drainage improvements in downtown Killeen were put on hold until the city could identify additional funding for the project. The Killeen City Council voted 6-1 on Dec. 8 to reject both bids the city re-
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Crews work on a streetscaping project in downtown Killeen.
ceived to complete the street enhancements. According to a city memorandum, two contractors submitted bids, with the lesser bid about $2.3 million.
The city has only about $1.5 million available for the project, said Public Works Director Scott Osburn, leaving the city with a shortfall of more than $800,000.
Osburn attributed the higher cost to necessary drainage improvements on 10th Street from north of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad line to the Avenue D and 10th Street intersection.
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Photos by Eric J. Shelton | Herald
A vision became reality in December when Killeen’s first homeless shelter opened to the public. Families In Crisis operates the shelter, at 412 E. Sprott St.
Killeen opens homeless shelter after years of planning BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
A vision became reality in December when Killeen’s first homeless shelter opened to the public. Families In Crisis operates the shelter, located at 412 E. Sprott St. The $1.4 million facility has capacity to house 74 people, including bed space for 56 men and 18 women and children. The facility also has a dining hall, a kitchen, laundry machines and a medical examination room operated by the Greater Killeen Free Clinic. The shelter provides all services at no cost to the residents. Larry Moehnke, board president for Families In Crisis, said the shelter has had 251 unique residents come through since it opened. In January and February, 2,982 people stayed in the shelter, an average of 49.7 per night, including an average of 14 veterans. “We have the Veterans Administration support group on site four days a week to assist veterans, the Central Counties for MHMR two days a week and a Lion’s Club providing eye test weekly. We will be expanding medical services as soon as the Free Clinic finalizes its plan and expect Cenikor to provide substance abuse counseling and assistance on site soon.” In April 2013, Families in Crisis — a local nonprofit providing shelter and 10 < 2016 PROGRESS
Marlin and Kathy Bostdof, of Austin, wait for the Families In Crisis homeless shelter to open Jan. 15 in Killeen. They left Austin because they felt unsafe in the city’s homeless shelters. “This shelter is safe and it has helped us a lot,” Kathy Bostdof said.
services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence — threw its hat in the ring to bid for federal funding to start the first general-use homeless shelter in downtown Killeen. Three months later, in June 2013, Families in Crisis received $500,000 of a $1.6 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the beginning of 2014, the Killeen City Council gave the agency an additional $250,000.
Moehnke said the shelter has been a necessity in Killeen for a long time, and he is glad people are taking advantage of the services it provides. “Our goal is get people back to being functional in society,” Moehnke said.
The Heritage House of Central Texas opened its doors in October 2013 to bridge the gap between the homeless and local agencies offering services.
“We work with people to make them self-sufficient,” said Michael Christ, director of Heritage House. “Other agencies do referrals. We help them get food stamps, health care, etc.” In 2015, Christ said, Heritage House helped get 177 people off the street. Last year, Heritage House, formed a partnership to move in with The Front Door, 1103 N. Gray St., giving Heritage House more space to operate. The center is equipped with a computer lab and staff to aid individuals in job searches and creating resumes. The Front Door provides day-shelter services, and in 2014 provided 300 homeless people with mail drop services, restrooms, blankets, coats, food and hygiene products. In 2016, Christ said, the goal is to keep up with demand, which has increased since the homeless shelter opened. “They refer people out to get put on our program,” Christ said. “We have also seen a huge increase in people that are not from Killeen. There are many people here because this shelter is safer, so we have not only our regular base but also outside people.” On June 17, Heritage House will host its Musical Night of Hope, the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, at the Arts and Activities Center. Tickets will go on sale in May. Those interested in making a donation to the organization can donate online at hhct.org.
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Herald | FILE
Svetlana Williams, Liana Williams, 6, and Adrian Gallant during a July 16 Walk Club gathering at the Andy K. Wells Hike and Bike Trail in Killeen.
Killeen continues widening U.S. 190 as it develops city’s infrastructure BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Killeen has several ongoing infrastructure projects, along with a list of a few slated to begin as the city continues to plan for expected growth. The biggest project set for completion this year is the U.S. Highway 190 widening project, which officials said should be done by the end of the summer. Once complete, U.S. 190 will be six lanes from Farm-to-Market 2410 in Harker Heights to the Fort Hood main gate. In October 2015, Killeen opened Rosewood Drive to motorists, two years after officials broke ground on the project. The project raised U.S. Highway 190 over its intersection with Rosewood Drive and extended Rosewood Drive south to Fawn Drive. The completed roadway creates a major north-south artery through the city running under the highway overpass. Work on Stagecoach Road also continues. 12 < 2016 PROGRESS
Public Works Directors Scott Osburn said phase II of the Stagecoach Road construction project is currently estimated to be completed this summer, which will complete the entire reconstruction of Stagecoach Road from the eastern city to State Highway 195. The Elms Road connection project was completed in late 2015, connecting east Elms Road to west Elms Road and providing another east-west route spanning from State Highway 201 on the west to Stan Schlueter Loop and U.S. 190 on the east. “This connection has also triggered commercial viability and development along this corridor,” Osburn said. Improvements to Trimmier Road, Lowe’s Boulevard and W.S. Young Drive are slated to be completed in 2017. Osburn said work will ramp up on Trimmier to add a continuous centerturn lane and address ingress and egress along with sidewalks. Lowe’s has been partially extended and will eventually connect west to Florence Road. W.S. Young now has a continuous
Josh Bachman | Herald
Traffic passes near the U.S. Highway 190 overpass at Rosewood Drive in Killeen. The completed roadway creates a major north-south artery through the city running under the highway overpass.
center-turn lane. Design is underway for segment 4 of Heritage Oaks Hike and Bike Trail and the Brookhaven/Rancier Hike and Bike Trail. Design could begin soon for segment 3 of the Rosewood/Heritage Oaks Hike and Bike Trail. Segment 3 of the Killeen Fort Hood Regional Trail, from Watercrest to Elms, is estimated to be completed in early summer. During 2015 the city completed the Gateway Monument on south State Highway 195.
In February, the City Council approved an agreement with Insituform Technologies LLC to perform rehabilitation of 13,596 feet of wastewater mains costing $1.07 million. According to a council memorandum, Insituform will use cured-in-place pipe to repair wastewater mains ranging in size from 8 inches to 21 inches.
WATER TREATMENT PLANT
Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 continues to move forward with construction of
a new water treatment plant on Stillhouse Hollow Lake, Ricky Garrett, general manager for WCID No. 1, said surveying has been completed and the district has acquired 90 percent of the necessary easements for the project. “Final design is proceeding, and the plant is still scheduled to be online in 2018,” Garrett said in a Feb. 29 email. The plant is expected to cost $56.3 million, with several local entities helping fund construction costs. Killeen’s portion is an estimated $31.4
million, Copperas Cove is contributing $8.92 million, Harker Heights is chipping in $7.13 million, and the 439 Water Supply Corporation is contributing $5.35 million. WCID No. 1 is funding the remaining $3.56 million. According to previous Herald reports, the Stillhouse treatment plant will expand the district’s treatment capacity to more than 100 million gallons per day, adding 10 million gallons of treated water per day to Killeen’s existing 32 million gallons per day out of Belton Lake.
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U.S. 190 to become Interstate 14 as expansion nears end BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
The long-awaited completion of widening U.S. Highway 190 through Harker Heights and Killeen may finally be completed this summer. Over the last decade, drivers working at and around Fort Hood have dealt with various construction obstacles as the Texas Department of Transportation has worked on three major road projects totaling more than $100 million. The multifaceted project, which includes the widening of the highway and Farm-to-Market 2410, and the extension of Rosewood Drive, is expected to be finished this summer. According to TxDOT spokesman Ken Roberts, the majority of the work is mostly completed, including the addition of several lanes to U.S. 190 in Bell and Coryell counties from Constitution Drive in Copperas Cove to Spur 172 (Fort Hood’s main gate) west of Killeen. Once the project is complete, it will be six lanes from FM 2410 in Heights to the Fort Hood main gate. In March 2013, TxDOT then made its way toward Killeen and Harker Heights, replacing much of U.S. 190 in both directions from Fort Hood’s main gate to W.S. Young Drive for a contract cost of at least $55 million. Most of that work was completed in 2015. “That one is for all intents and purposes complete,” Roberts said, adding some grass and trees still must be added to the area. “It’s like 99 percent complete. There’s some springtime vegetation. … We have to wait for that.” By this summer, Roberts said TxDOT should completed widening on U.S. 190 from W.S. Young Drive to Farm-to-Market 2410 (Knights Way). The project has been ongoing since August 2013. The project, which has a $.95 million price tag, includes adding an inside travel lane in both the east and westbound directions of U.S. 190, as well as a turnaround at the FM 2410 bridge. In October, Killeen opened Rosewood Drive to motorists, two years after officials broke ground on the project. The project raised U.S. Highway 190 over its intersection with Rosewood Drive and extended Rosewood Drive south to Fawn Drive. The completed roadway creates a major north-south 14 < 2016 PROGRESS
Herald | FILE
Construction signs along U.S. Highway 190 between Harker Heights and Killeen should be complete later this year.
artery through the city running under the highway overpass. “It will help access and safety in that part of town,” Mayor Scott Cosper said shortly before the roadway opened. “It creates connectivity to the south part of town, and we are very proud of that project.”
INTERSTATE HIGHWAY DESIGNATION
Officials announced in December that U.S. Highway 190 will be renamed Interstate 14, possibly as soon as this year, and added to the national interstate highway system, part of a plan to connect Texas’ major U.S. Army installations to major Gulf Coast ports. The highway must undergo a technical review and the new designation has to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of Highway and Transportation
Officials and the Texas Transportation Commission. John Thompson, a spokesman for the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, said in December the process could be completed in 2016. The interstate will follow U.S. 190 through Killeen, Belton, Bryan-College Station, Livingston, Huntsville and down into southeast Texas in Woodville and Jasper before ending at State Highway 63 at the Sabine River. Thompson said a stretch of U.S. 190 serving the Fort Hood-Killeen area and extending from Interstate 35 at Belton to Copperas Cove already meets interstate highway standards. According to previous Herald reports, a five-year transportation bill was signed into law Dec. 4 and sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. The bill was authored in the U.S. House
of Representatives by Texas Congressman Brian Babin of Woodville along with support from Congressman Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi. Killeen Mayor Scott Cosper, who dedicated much of the last 15 years to securing the designation, said in December he was proud of the region for securing the designation and thinks it will help give Killeen an economic boost. “Many times over the past 15 years, we have bid on or tried to entice larger companies to come into Killeen, and it’s almost always a prerequisite that they want to be located on an interstate,” Cosper said. “Until now, that was an unattainable goal. Now, it’s our belief that as it relates to economic development, it will help us to have an equal competitive edge with many other communities as we try to sell the greater Killeen area.”
Josh Bachman | Herald
In October, Killeen opened Rosewood Drive to motorists, two years after officials broke ground on the project, which raised U.S. Highway 190 over Rosewood and extended Rosewood south to Fawn Drive.
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Killeen’s newest ordinance protects residents from shady lenders For a $500 loan, Allmon said, borrowers pay an average of $1,300 in fees plus the $500 they owe for the loan. The ordinance passed on Feb. 9, 2016, and will take effect on May 9.
BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
In an effort to protect residents from ending up in a spiral of endless debt, the Killeen City Council passed an ordinance in February restricting payday and auto title lending. The ordinance, drafted by the Texas Municipal League and adopted in 31 other Texas cities, requires payday lenders to obtain a permit signed by the city’s building official or a designee and restricts cash advances from exceeding 20 percent of a consumer’s gross monthly income. The ordinance also limits the number of fee installments to four, requires at least 25 percent of any monthly payments go to the remaining principal balance of the loan and limits the number of times a lender can roll over or refinance a borrower’s loan to three. City Councilwoman Shirley Fleming brought the issue to the council’s attention after members of her church, including the pastor, asked her to get involved.
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AIRPORT PARKING EXEMPTIONS
Herald | FILE
In June, the Killeen council approved an ordinance codifying the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport’s decades-long parking exemption practice for disabled veterans and recipients of certain military awards, requiring ID to prove eligibility.
“This is what I am here for. That is what I was elected for,” Fleming said at a Dec. 1, 2015, workshop. At that workshop, Jennifer Carr Allmon, associate director of the Texas Catholic Conference, described to the council how state inaction has allowed lenders to use predatory practices to make money off of people struggling to make a living.
The Killeen-Fort Hood metropolitan region has 51 licensed stores, Allmon said, and lenders particularly take advantage of soldiers. Although the Federal Military Protection Act prohibits lenders from lending to active-duty soldiers and their family members at rates above 36 percent, Allmon said she has seen rates of more than 500 percent.
The council also approved an ordinance codifying the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport’s decades-long parking exemption practice for disabled veterans and recipients of certain military awards. The ordinance requires drivers with exempt license plates to provide their ID and vehicle registration to prove they are eligible for the exemption. During workshops, the ordinance received criticism from some veterans who did not think veterans should have to show ID to civilians when they already display the appropriate state-issued license plates. Killeen Councilman Jonathan Okray characterized the practice as “harassment.” On June 9, 2015, the council passed the ordinance 4-1.
Killeen studies feasibility of citywide, single-stream curbside recycling BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Killeen completed its feasibility study for starting a regional material recovery facility, but the City Council decided to hold off on proceeding with the projects because of its price tag. In January 2015, the council received the solid waste master plan and rate study from its consultant, SCS Engineers, which recommended several options for recycling programs. SCS Engineers was hired by the city in March 2014 to develop a plan and rate model analyzing the city’s current programs and various viable options for the future. The city’s current subscription service recycling program costs participants $2.48 per month for a 22 gallon bin. The program costs the city about $10 per resident. SCS Engineers recommended building a regional materials recovery facility adjacent to its current transfer station through a joint effort with Fort Hood, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights. In February 2016, Jeff Arrington of SCS Engineers presented the results of a feasi-
bility study for the facility to the council. The 44,800-square-foot building would be a single-stream material recovery facility and include an automated sorting system. The building’s structure would “allow for significant growth to accommodate the region,” Arrington said. The facility would not handle glass because it is a difficult material to process, Arrington said, and does not bring much money back in return. Arrington estimated the project’s total cost at $11.8 million and said the project would probably “be in the red” for a while because of a struggling commodities market, but it would have potential for long-term success. “I can’t say that I would project into the black in this five-year period,” he said. “Five to 10 years is a possibility.” The council elected to hold off on approving the project, but asked staff to develop interlocal agreements with Fort Hood and other municipalities. Council members said they hope staff comes back with another proposal in the future with a lower cost for the city.
Herald | FILE
Killeen currently offers recycling bins to residents who opt in to the program, but officials continue to mull options for single-stream recycling throughout the city.
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New options for foodies in Killeen and Harker Heights by clay thorp killeen daily herald
Over the past year, the Killeen area added plenty of new eateries to satisfy the hungriest of famished foodies. Residents living in Killeen can now enjoy several new locally owned and chain restaurants throughout the city. Geechie’s Southern Style Restaurant, which opened its doors in May 2015, boasts some of the best homemade Southern food in town. Geechie’s executive chef is ready for walk-ins, groups, kids or take out dining, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Geechies is at 2904 E Stan Schlueter Loop in Killeen. Dickey’s Barbeque Pit is one of several new chains that opened in 2015 and is located at 1100 Lowe’s Boulevard in Killeen. The barbecue chain offers a variety of to-go and dine-in options and can cater family gatherings or parties. Red Robin opened late in 2015 at its new location at 2800 E Central Texas Expressway. The building was formerly occupied by Boston’s Gourmet Pizza. According to its website, Red Robin is the self-proclaimed “gourmet burger authority” and offers bottomless steak fries (free refills) and more than 100 different topings for your beef and bun. Ci-Ci’s Pizza reopened in its renovated location at 832 S. Fort Hood St. The chain had a brief hiatus in 2015 as its facility was being renovated, but
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Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Waitress Teri Watson, right, takes Chester Ruffin, left, Michelle Ruffin’s order at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers at 2800 E. Central Texas Expressway.
now the location in close proximity to Fort Hood is serving the usual pizza, salads and pastas in their famous allyou-can eat, buffet style restaurant. Also in 2015, a new Starbucks coffee shop opened at 2108 S. Clear Creek Road across from Metroplex Hospital.
The new Starbucks is the third location in Killeen.
As development increases in Harker Heights, new restaurants have jumped on the opportunity to serve the city
with new chain and locally owned restaurants. The new Taco Bell, which opened in December on Knights Way, is a good example. The new facility is a beacon for to-go taco lovers in a hurry and is bringing more competition to an
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Bones Cracked Rib BBQ’s Tanya Belviy prepares brisket for a customer May 29 after the restaurant’s ribbon-cutting at 3401 W. Stan Schlueter Loop in Killeen.
already saturated food corridor on Knights Way. Wing Stop at 300 E. Farmto-Market 2410 is another addition. Republic Bar and Grill at 302 W. Veterans Memorial Blvd. opened in December. It has a well-lit bar and is ready to serve hot American meals. A new Smoothie King opened in
Harker Heights at 560 E. Central Texas Expressway #101 in September. Bahama Buck’s opened its doors at 200 Commercial Drive, Suite 101. The snow cone and smoothie franchise opened its doors in July 2015. Next door is the Gyro Nook, which serves sandwiches, gyro plates and salads.
Herald | FILE
Tammy Mader makes shaved ice during the grand opening celebration in July at Bahama Buck’s.
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New leadership takes over at Killeen Food Care Center BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
The Killeen Food Care Center saw a change in leadership at the end of 2015 when Ann and Gerald Farris retired after 10 years of serving as co-executive directors. The couple officially turned responsibility over to new Executive Director Ken Adams on Jan. 1 after three months of training. The organization serves about 250,000 pounds of food per month, or about 3 million pounds per year. Adams said the organization serves about 60,000 people a year. In the nonprofit’s 2015 fiscal year — Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 — it served 26,589 families, of them, 1,232 were military families. It served 78,629 people: 59,074 adults and 19,555 children. Farris said it takes collaboration from members of the community to make the center work successfully, and she is most proud of the center’s ability to provide meals at a cost of only 14 cents each. “It is a network of friends and family,” Farris said. “The Food Care Center belongs to the community, not the government. People fund it and volunteer in it.” Adams said the center serves an “unbelievable function” most people in the community do not realize. The center’s five paid employees, some 70 volunteers and himself, are motivated by seeing the smiles on people’s faces after receiving a meal. “Without the center, these people would not have enough food.” Clients can get assistance from the food pantry once each month. The organization relies on partners like H-E-B,
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Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Ken Adams, executive director of the Killeen Food Care Center, checks canned goods on shelves Jan. 14 at the center at 210 N. 16th St.
Wal-Mart, Starbucks and Papa John’s Pizza, along with grants from United Way, the Officers’ Spouses’ Club and the Baptist General Convention of Texas, area churches and private donations. The Killeen Food Care Center provides fresh bread and pastries, canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs and dairy products, baby formula, water, juices, and fresh and frozen meats.
Its services also extend to provided those in need with clothing, shoes, dishes, pots, pans, other kitchen items, bedding and linens. The Food Care Center, 210 N. 16th St., operates from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first and third Friday of the month. To contact the center, call 254-554-3400 during operating hours.
Other area food pantries include the Baptist Benevolence Ministry at 307 N. Fifth St. in Copperas Cove, Cove House at 108 E. Halstead Ave. in Copperas Cove, the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen at 201 N. 1st St. in Copperas Cove, the Nolanville Food Pantry at 200 N. Main St. in Nolanville and the Harker Heights Food Center at 100 E. Ruby Road in Harker Heights.
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Fort Hood memorial opens near Killeen Civic and Conference Center BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Leaders from across the state of Texas attended a ceremony on March 11 to dedicate the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood Memorial. About 5,000 people attended the ceremony. The memorial honors the 13 killed and 32 injured in the 2009 on-post shooting. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott presented Texas Purple Heart awards to the families of the victims. State Sen. Troy Fraser helped get legislation passed for the Texas Purple Hearts in the 2015 legislative session. “The bill ... recognizes that these warriors came under fire in service of their country,” Fraser said in an email in November. “I look forward to the presentation of the medal to surviving veterans and families at the unveiling of the Fort Hood memorial, located in Killeen. The memorial will serve a fitting tribute to the sacrifice of so many.” The memorial features a circular, open-air pavilion with 13 black granite columns. Each column is inscribed with a victim’s name and likeness with a bronze sculpture representing aspects of the victim’s interests and personality on top. “The families are very humble about us doing this for them and the bronzes are just so neat,” said Connie Kuehl, Civic and Conference Center director. Temple-based Cloud Construction oversaw the work at the memorial, Kuehl said. Kuehl served on a committee led by former Killeen Mayors Timothy Hancock and Fred Latham that was formed in 2010 to spearhead fundraising efforts for the structure, which is located between the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and the Shilo Inn on W.S. Young Drive. The committee reached its fundraising goal in July and secured $80,000 for the roof. Mayor Scott Cosper said the effects of that day six years ago are still felt by the victims, their loved ones and city residents, but he is proud of how the city came together to support the military and Fort Hood. He had long anticipated the dedication of the memorial. “It was a day that showed the true 22 < 2016 PROGRESS
Gabe Wolf | Herald
Leaders from across the state of Texas attended a ceremony on March 11 to dedicate the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood Memorial at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
that serve Fort Hood and our nation. It is important that we never forget the victims of this tragedy, and it is equally important that we stay united in our support of the Great Place.”
CIVIC AND CONFERENCE CENTER
Josh Bachman | Herald
Muralist Anat Ronen paints a large image of Oveta Culp Hobby on a stand in the lobby of the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on March 5 as part of the annual Take 190 West Arts Festival.
character of the greater Fort Hood area,” Cosper said in November. “Thousands of people reached out to
help victims they didn’t even know because they care greatly about the men and women, soldiers and civilians
The Killeen Civic and Conference Center hosted 664 events and about 150,635 guests in 2015, Kuehl said. Among the events the city hosted were the Texas Hawking Association, the National Association for Retired Federal Employees, 1st Cavalry Convention, the Water Utilities Short School, the Killeen Volunteers Youth Conference and several others. During 2015, Kuehl said, the center installed a new interior sound system and hosted events every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the year except for three Fridays. This year, the center will host the first World Raw Powerlift with over 20 countries participating. There are four other conventions slated for this year, and seven already booked for 2017. Kuehl said the events hosted at the center have an impact on the local economy with bringing in people, who then take advantage of services offered in the city. The center will see a change later this year when Kuehl retires. No replacement has been named yet.
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Killeen police and firemen serve and protect community By clay thorp killeen daily herald
The Killeen Police Department and fire department are always on call to ensure the safety of Central Texas residents in and around Fort Hood. As the population of the area continues to grow, so, too, have calls for service in both departments, which are working to stamp out fires and crime in Killeen.
As of mid-March, the Killeen Fire Department employed 194 commissioned officers and eight civilian positions. According to Deputy Chief Cody Simmons, calls for service in the Killeen area keep rising. “Calls for service continue to steadily increase by 12 to 15 percent each year,” Simmons said. “Calls for service, both fire and EMS, for 2015 were approximately 23,000.” As development in Killeen moves south, Simmons said, so has KFD. “The development of the southernmost portion of Killeen has increased response times in that area,” Simmons said. “The addition of Fire Station 9 will most definitely alleviate these issues and provide marked improvement in fire services in that area.” The new station will cost about $229,048 and will be paid for using a 2002 public safety bond approved by voters, according to previous Herald reports. To keep up with the new development, KFD has applied for and received millions in grant money to help hire the additional staff needed to fill the new station. “The Fire Department applied for and received a SAFER grant for $4.44 million for 37 additional firefighter positions,” Simmons said. “Those positions will start in May and will staff Fire Station 9 on Bunny Trail.” Another area of worry that may keep KFD’s administration up at night is the risk of wildfire. What was supposed to be a wet and cold winter caused by “Godzilla El Nino,” has instead given way to drying, fire-ready grass and brush. But, Simmons said his men and women are ready. “In 2015, a number of firefighters received certification in Wildland Urban 24 < 2016 PROGRESS
Herald | FILE
Killeen police officers respond to an accident to keep traffic out of a blocked lane on Stan Schlueter Loop.
rating in March 2015,” Simmons said. “This was a citywide collaboration to lower the fire insurance rates of our citizens. Killeen is one of just 61 cities nationwide with this rating out of about 48,500 cities.”
Josh Bachman | Herald
A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for the fire station on Bunny Trail. It will be the city’s ninth.
Interface firefighting,” Simmons said. “This class will improve knowledge and abilities to combat wildland fires in areas where suburban growth adjoins undeveloped areas. This class was funded by a grant from the Texas Forestry Service.” Homeowners and landowners are benefitting from KFD’s ability to provide fire prevention services to Killeen residents, Simmons said. “Killeen achieved an ISO Class 1
A recipient of the National Terrorism Prevention Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Killeen Police Department announced the promotion of the department’s first female assistant chief of police in 2015. Currently, the department employs 281 officers and 105 civilians for a total of 386 employees. Not only has the department utilized its 20 new Tahoes bought in 2014 for about $1.15 million, but KPD has continued to secure grants that will help the department fight crime in the city. “The department was awarded another COPS grant for $1.625 million to hire an additional 13 police officers,” said Carroll Smith, a KPD spokeswoman. “This latest COPS grant award is one of three over the past five years netting 35 additional police officers for our community.” With the recent passage of Texas open carry law, KPD published an educational video about the open carrying of handguns. Police Chief Dennis Baldwin could often be seen at community events speaking to residents about
the law and other concerns. Baldwin has also reorganized the department to better serve Killeen residents and to combat the increased number of Killeen homicides in 2015. “Organizational changes occurred during 2015 to provide better accountability and oversight of police operations and personnel,” Smith said. “For example, the Traffic Unit was moved from the Patrol Division to the Special Investigation Division; the Special Missions Unit was expanded to bring about an elevated capability when dealing with high-risk operations and counterterrorism; and personnel reassignments were made throughout the department to enhance its overall operational readiness.” KPD is also close to fitting body cameras to all patrol officers and been tested their capability and cost in 2015. “During 2016, the department will expand the capabilities of the Digital Forensics Unit by adding an additional officer and equipment, begin implementing body worn cameras for the Patrol Division, and continue to retool the organization to improve services to the public,” Smith said. “Moreover, in an effort to reduce homicides related to domestic violence and sexual assaults within our community, the department will work with community leaders and organizations to create innovative approaches to reduce the likelihood of domestic violence and sexual assaults.”
Red-light cameras in Killeen help enforce traffic laws at key intersections by clay thorp killeen daily herald
Red-light traffic cameras have been a controversial topic for many residents of Killeen in recent years, with CEOs and other high-level company officials from the city’s vendor, Red Flex Traffic Systems, resigning in scandal or pleading guilty to bribery and fraud in cities across the U.S. But that hasn’t stopped the city of Killeen and its police department from deploying the cameras and employing the resulting revenue. According to data obtained through a freedom of information request, the number of citations handed out by the red-light cameras has largely increased in the last few years — from 16,678 in 2013, to 26,891 total notices in 2014, then down to 25,038 total notices in 2015. This led to $1,166,716 collected in 2013, and $1,262,919 collected in 2014. The dollar amount collected jumped substantially in 2015 to $1,933,105, despite a slight decrease in the number of notices given out by the red-light cameras. The city of Killeen shares about half of each year’s collections with Red Flex Traffic Systems, which reviews each citation before passing them to the city for prosecution. Although KPD did not respond to questions pertaining to this report, including how any revenue from such cameras is spent, the increased
Herald | FILE
A motorist runs a red light at Trimmier Road and Central Texas Expressway in Killeen. Cameras help catch violators in seven busy intersections.
REd-Light Cameras in Killeen 2015 2014 2013
Collected $1,933,105.91 $1,262,919.42 $1,166,716.09
Shared $974,591 $604,866 $565,095
amounts collected in 2015 could be the result of residents paying old citations from previous years. There are a total of seven red-light cameras at intersections across Killeen,
but each give out a fluctuating number of notices from year to year. In 2015, the camera that handed out the most notices was at the intersection of Stan Schlueter and Central Texas Expressway, which gave unsuspecting commuters 9,984 notices, almost double that of the camera on South Fort Hood Street and Central Texas Expressway, which handed out the second-most number of notices last year at 6,400. The camera on the opposite, northern side of Fort Hood came in third with
3,205 total notices in 2015 followed by the red light camera at the intersections of North Trimmier and Central Texas Expressway with 2,843, the intersection of Lowe’s Boulevard and Trimmier Road with 1,548 and lastly the intersection of West Central Texas Expressway and Trimmier Road with 1,058. There were a total of 6,042 rejected red-light camera incidents and 1,206 rejected violations for an issuance rate of 95 percent in 2015, according to the data.
Bell County jails are new, modern facilities after recent renovations by clay thorp killeen daily herald
After the completion of a $5.7 million renovation to Bell County’s Central Jail in Belton with much fanfare in early 2015, Bell County’s jails now have plenty of room for those who break the law. According to the Bell County Sheriff ’s Office, the jails in Bell County currently employ 228 corrections officers and other jail staff, an increase of seven from 2014 to 2015. Once the Central Jail was completed, it increased the number of beds
available to prisoners in Bell County to 1,157 and both jails averaged 667 inmates per day, according to the sheriff ’s office. Many of those inmates end up being active duty or separated veterans who live near Fort Hood. Some four years ago, the Bell County Sheriff instituted the Military Veteran Peer Support Program to help veterans caught up in the criminal justice system. “(It was) established to help support veterans that have experienced traumatic events,” said Lt. T.J. Cruz in an email. “The program was established so that inmates could have peer to
peer support and speak to people that have experienced similar problems.” The sheriff ’s office said they are proud to still have the program, but when they aren’t helping veterans get back on track, they’re trying to keep up with state legislative changes that come down the pipeline each session. Now, Bell County’s jails are required to provide legal guardian’s access to an inmate even when the guardian is not on the inmate’s approved visitation list. The jail is also now required to track veterans who enter the jail and send a list of such inmates to the Department of Defense, who helps troubled veter-
ans finding benefits and other services including pairing the veteran with a fellow peer who can counsel them. New legislative updates also require Bell County’s jails to track data on miscarriages and to send that data to the Texas Jail Commission every year. County jails must also now provide two in-person noncontact visits per week lasting at least 20 minutes, but the Bell County Jail had already set up video conferencing at the jail. “We encourage loved ones to visit,” Cruz said of jails in Bell County. “It helps maintain a positive morale among the inmates.”
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Killeen job market strong despite possible troop reductions by clay thorp killeen daily herald
Though the labor force may be falling as troop reductions begin to take effect on Fort Hood, data obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Killeen’s job market thrived in 2015. According to the data, Killeen started the year in January 2015 with a labor force of more than 170,000 and an unemployment rate of nearly 6 percent, or nearly 9,000 jobless residents. That was higher than the state average in January 2015 of 4.4 percent. But as the year progressed, the unemployment rate of the Killeen-TempleFort Hood region began to fall, with the labor force dipping below 165,000 near the end of 2015 culminating in a 4.8 percent unemployment rate, or 7,900 unemployed residents. “We enjoy a strong, consistent labor market,” said John Crutchfield, president and CEO of the Greater
Killeen Chamber of Commerce. “Jobs increased by 4.2 percent in 2015 in the MSA. Historically, if you look at January of each year for the past 10 years, the number of jobs has increased an average of 1.44 percent.” A closer look at 2015 reveals ebbs and flows as the year progressed. According to the bureau, the unemployment rate began a steady climb and was up almost an entire percentage point from April to July of 2015, coming close to 5 percent before finally falling to December 2015’s 4.4 percent mark. Much of those gained jobs were in the trade, transportation and utilities. “Trade, Transportation & Utilities experienced a 5.9 percent increase in jobs in the MSA,” Crutchfield said. “This includes retail. Education & Health Services experienced a 5.4 percent increase in jobs. This includes our educational and health care institutions and medical specialities. Government increased 1.6 percent. This includes defense con-
tractors like Northrup Grumman.” All in all, 2015’s data were a little bit more rosy than 2014’s. The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area saw the year 2014 start out at an unemployment rate of 6,5 percent. It has since dropped almost 2 percent in the last two years. “According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the labor force in Killeen consisted of 53,336 in January 2016,” Crutchfield said. “At the same time, there were 4,225 unemployed.” While many are concerned that Army troop reductions will negatively affect Killeen’s job market and economy, Crutchfield is confident troop reductions will have little effect. “Indications are that the labor market will be unaffected for several reasons,” Crutchfield explained. “Reductions will take place slowly over time. At the same time, we will be adding jobs to offset any losses. For example, we have experienced reductions in the recent past and, at the same time, jobs have
increased. In addition, given budget uncertainties at the federal level, an upcoming change in administrations and evolving defense requirements, it is possible that planned reductions at Fort Hood could be minimized or reversed over the long haul.” Meanwhile, the state’s job market continues to grow. Texas added tens of thousands of jobs in 2015, regularly exceeding the addition of 20,000 jobs each month since January 2015 and leading the nation in job growth. “Texas is continuing to lead the nation in job growth by leveraging our state’s greatest natural resource — the people of Texas who’ve developed an incredibly robust and resilient economy,” said Gov. Greg Abbott. “By diversifying investments, streamlining regulations and reducing the business franchise tax, we will cultivate an even stronger, more effective economy where all Texans are afforded the opportunity to innovate and to prosper.”
Workforce Solutions of Central Texas helps connect job seekers with employers Special to the Herald
Workforce Solutions of Central Texas is known for its award-winning strategies that connect job seekers with local employment opportunities. The Workforce Center in Killeen assists thousands of job seekers every month – their professional staff and latest technologies support a variety of services ranging from career planning and job search to child care subsidies and vocational training assistance. Demonstrating overall impact in 2015, Workforce Solutions of Central Texas assisted 2,059 businesses and 28,358 job seekers including 10,358 dislocated workers and 7,906 veterans. Of the job seekers sponsored in training, 88.57 percent entered employment and increased their pre-training earnings by $11,020. Additionally, 53.24 percent of the laid-off workers seeking assistance were reemployed within 10 weeks of enrolling in Workforce Solutions of Central Texas services. Using local labor market data, the Workforce Centers in Central Texas support training in high-skill, high-wage jobs that are predicted to have a consistent or growing need for more employees. Workforce Solutions is an award-winning organization. In 2015 it was selected to receive the statewide “Child Care Quality Award” from the Texas Workforce Commission, and the “Workforce Excellence Award” from the Texas Economic Development Council. It has also won the Best Company to Work 26 < 2016 PROGRESS
High-Skill, High-Wage Jobs In Central Texas
Salary Range Low High Aircraft Mechanics/Service Techs $17.94 $33.13 Auto Service Techs/Mechanics $12.06 $21.56 Bookkeeping/Accounting/Auditing/Clerks $9.71 $17.70 Computer Support Specialists $14.06 $27.13 Correctional Officers and Jailers $14.25 $17.41 Dental Assistants $12.49 $17.63 Exec Secretaries/Admin Assistants $13.84 $20.97 Fire Fighters $14.15 $22.37 Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses $16.09 $21.12 Machinists $11.99 $19.61 Maintenance and Repair Workers, General $8.70 $17.10 Medical Records and Health Information Technicians $11.83 $21.31 Middle School Teachers (Math & Science) $19.85 $25.31 Network and Computer Systems Administrators $20.18 $31.53 Nursing Assistants (formerly Nursing Aides, Orderlies, Attendants) $9.16 $12.75 Police and Sheriffs Patrol Officers $15.79 $23.63 Radiologic Technologists and Technicians $16.92 $25.45 Registered Nurses $23.93 $36.05 Respiratory Therapists $18.99 $25.12 Secondary School Teachers (Math & Science) $19.66 $26.90 Social and Human Service Assistants $12.96 $18.33 Surgical Technologists $13.41 $27.88 Truck Drivers, Heavy/Tractor-Trailer $12.24 $23.31 Truck Drivers, Light or Delivery $9.16 $18.95 Welders/Cutters/Solderers/Brazer $15.62 $22.18 for in Texas for 11 consecutive years. Workforce Solutions of Central Texas is at 300 Chey-
Required Education Associate Degree, or Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Certification Bachelor Degree and License Associate Degree, or Certification Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Bachelor Degree and License Associate Degree, or Certification Associate Degree, or Certification Certification Certification Certification
enne Drive in Killeen. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 254-200-2000.
Bell County commissioners using reserves to balance budget by clay Thorp killeen daily Herald
Bell County continues to grow despite unfunded legislation from the state Legislature. According to Bell County Judge Jon H. Burrows, unfunded mandates and population growth have increased Bell County’s 2016 budget by 5.5 percent: from about $82.9 million in 2015 to about $87.5 million this year. A big part of that budget growth came from population growth. In 2010, the U.S. Census placed Bell County’s population at 310,235. That number was likely up to 352,210 in 2015, according to estimates from the Texas Department of State Health Services. “Continued increased growth and unfunded mandates are the driving budget factors,” Burrows said. In a rare move, Bell County is using money in its reserve fund to help balance the 2016 budget. “The 2016 budget projects using $4,500,000 from reserves to balance the 2016 budget,” Burrows said. “But history has been that reserves have been used but one time (2011) in the past five budget cycles.” In 2011, Burrows said the county used $1,669,759 to make up the difference. Still, Burrows said the county’s financial standing is strong, as it has maintained a AA+ bond rating with
Standard and Poor’s, who said Bell County is “strong due to conservative budgeting practices” and “we view the county’s management as very strong, with strong financial policies and practices.”
Bell County is gearing up for renovations to one of the largest conference centers in the area. The Bell County Expo Center is getting a facelift that will include development and construction of a new 101,000square-foot livestock and equestrian facility, a 59,000 square-foot warm-up area, upgraded air conditioning and additional parking. County officials said they are in the process of selecting a contractor for the work, which will be paid for using the county’s estimated construction budget of $24 million. Burrows said the estimated start date for the project is August 2016 and the estimated end date is August 2017. “Funding for the operational costs of the Expo Center is being offset by the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HB 4037) passed in the 2015 Legislature with County-wide support of the cities, chambers of commerce and the economic development offices,” Burrows said. Other projects include heating and air conditioning renovations to the aging Killeen Annex downtown and
renovations to the Temple Annex. County officials have also demolished the old county jail and juvenile probation office, both located in downtown Belton. “Public parking will be constructed in 2016 in the area where those buildings were located,” Burrows said.
About 6.82 cents of the current tax rate goes to unfunded mandates, Burrows said. Eighteen cents goes to Juvenile Justice Alternative Education, 2.59 cents goes to indigent defense, 3.68 cents goes to indigent health care, 0.09 cents goes to the Texas Department of Public Safety and 0.28 cents goes to the local Texas AgriLife Extension Service. But a new unfunded mandate has come down after the most recent Texas legislative session even as the county tries to grapple with others. “A newly unfunded mandate from the 2015 legislative session was the requirement to video Commissioner Court Agendas and replay the court sessions on the county website,” Burrows said. The bill, HB 283, had an initial setup cost of $10,970 and the county now pays a monthly fee of $950 for hosting and editing the video by an outside provider. One decade-old mandate continues
to affect Bell County disproportionately. Disabled seniors over the age of 65 had their property taxes frozen by the Legislature in 2005, resulting in about $1.4 million in exempted taxes in 2015. But it’s the newer HB 3613 passed in 2009 that gives disabled veterans — and now their surviving spouses — a partial or complete break on their property taxes in a county that depends on the tax base from homeowning veterans. “The exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans and surviving spouse homesteads was begun in 2009 with 701 individuals applying and resulting in exempting $353,905 in taxes for fiscal year 2010,” Burrows said in an email. In fiscal year 2015, there were 4,119 individuals applying, which resulted in exempting $2,614,874 in taxes for fiscal year 2015 — a tax effect of 2 cents on the tax rate.” The Legislature was able to amend the law during the last session to help counties such as Bell that have high populations of veterans pay for the hole in their budgets caused by HB 3613. Burrows said that update — HB 7 — “will result in reimbursement from the state in the amount of approximately $1.2 million to offset the $2,614,874 disproportionate effect the 100 percent disabled veteran exemption had on Bell County.”
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Herald | FILE
The U.S. Highway 190-Interstate 35 flyover is seen in Belton. Construction on I-35 through Belton and Salado should be ending this year, but much more is ahead on road widening in Temple.
Interstate 35 work ending in Belton and Salado, ramping up in Temple By clay thorp killeen daily herald
Drivers in Central Texas who work or play in Austin are all too familiar with the challenges of travelling on Interstate Highway 35. For years, drivers have weaved in and out of cones and concrete barriers, crept slowly as they waited to drive past a collision scene or avoided 18-wheelers on the road. Three major projects have delayed drivers in Central Texas coming through Belton’s $106.8 million Interstate 35 road work, Salado’s $70.4 million in construction and Temple’s $243.1 million project. 28 < 2016 PROGRESS
The construction delays caused the mayor of Salado to pen an angry letter in October to the Texas Department of Transportation and to James Construction, which is in charge of the work. Many Salado businesses have closed since construction began in 2012. But Jodi Wheatley, an Interstate 35 specialist with TxDOT, said much of the suffering endured by residents of Salado and Belton is coming to an end. “They’re currently expected to be complete early this summer, maybe late summer,” Wheatley said, adding weather and other factors may affect that timeline. “But it’s hard to make that sort of estimate.” In mid-February, the Texas Transpo-
ration Commission approved amending the Texas Administrative Code to allow for several new methods of applying sanctions to companies who contract with TXDOT in the event that contractor fails to complete their work on time. “No specific projects or contractors were named in the proposal, and any sanctions approved would not be applicable to existing contracts,” Wheatley said. Drivers in Temple will be dealing with roadwork headaches in that city until at least the spring of 2019. “It’s a big job and there’s an awful lot to work with,” Wheatley said. “$243.1 million — to date, that’s the single largest contract that’s ever been bid by
TxDOT in the Waco district.” But when it’s all done, Interstate 35 will be the highway of the future connecting to the newly-finished section in Waco with four lanes of interstate through Temple and three lanes through Belton and Salado on the way to the Texas capital. “This is tremendously important,” Wheatley said of the Interstate 35 work. “They’ve taken to calling I-35 Main Street, Texas. We carry more traffic and more truck traffic, more freight hauling than any other place in the state.” “It’s a huge freight route and our headquarters in Austin is paying a lot of attention to it on the basis of freight,” Wheatley said.
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Runway improvements part of projects at Killeen airport ments for the year, the facility ended the fiscal year in the black. According to financial reports, the airport closed out the fiscal year with a $2.98 million ending fund balance — $573,917 more than the previous year. The airport is at 8101 S. Clear Creek Road in Killeen. Call 254-501-6100 or go to flykilleen.net.
BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport continues to see improvements. Matt Van Valkenburgh, Killeen’s aviation director, said the city completed improvements to the glycol storage facility and finished drainage improvements. The city also completed runway, taxiway, and ramp maintenance projects. These projects were completed “in-house” and saved the airport $50,000-$75,000 while extending the pavement life three to five years Security upgrades costing $1.8 million were completed as well. According to city documents, the City Council previously approved the contract with G4S Technology to upgrade the security system in May 2014. In 2016, the city will initiate its first airport master plan. “The Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport has never had a stand-alone master plan; thus, it is time, after 11 years of operations to look at the airport, its operations, and its processes to improve the facility,” Van Valkenburgh said. The city will also perform engineering studies for the replacement of four passenger boarding bridges. “The studies are intended to ascertain the physical condition of the existing passenger boarding bridges and make recommendations for equipment upgrades or replacements,” Van Valkenburgh said.
The airport saw an 11 percent decrease in the number of passengers
30 < 2016 PROGRESS
Craig Lifton | Herald
Rocio Stryker, her son Obel, 15, and 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Stryker are led out to a plane by volunteer Flying Viking pilot Mike Laplant at the Central Texas College hangar at Skylark Field in Killeen.
flying out of the facility in 2015, with 144,713 total enplanements. The airport had 163,162 enplanements in 2014. The number of deplanements — passengers getting off a plane at the airport— decreased by 9.6 percent. In 2015, there were 144,307 deplanements at the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport. There were 159,593 in 2014. Van Valkenburgh attributed the decreases in enplanements and deplanements to lower fuel costs and Killeen’s proximity to Austin, which has a wider selection of nonstop destinations. It also costs less to fly out of Austin than Killeen, in general. “The cost of fuel is lower; thus, more
people driving. Our airfares have not seen a corresponding ‘dip’ in prices to reflect airline savings in fuel costs,” he said. “... These factors are reality and affect travel from our region. We offer a fantastic service and will continue to do so while we work to make our airport passengers’ first choice.” According to previous Herald reports, bad weather caused a lot of cancellations and delays early on in 2015. The Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport had 96 cancellations and 18 delays in January, and 58 cancellations and 92 delays in February. Although the airport experienced a decrease in its number of enplane-
The city’s general aviation airport, Skylark Field, provides runway and storage for corporate jets, trainer planes and other light aircraft. The council unanimously approved a lease agreement between Texas State Technical College and the city for the leasing of hangar space at Skylark Field that will create $37,200 additional revenue for the aviation department, with even more revenue coming from fuel sales. The 6,400-square-foot hangar is designed to accommodate common corporate jets, turboprop aircraft or helicopters and includes administration space, Van Valkenburgh said in June. The hangar has been available for lease since December. “Through the use of this facility, TSTC will bring a rotary-based curriculum and flight training program to Skylark and the Central Texas region and provide quality education and training for future rotary-wing pilots and air crew,” according to a city memorandum. The airport saw a loss for the year financially, finishing with a fund balance of $584,317, a decrease of $42,239 from 2014. Skylark Field is at 1523 Stonetree Drive in Killeen. Call 254-501-8728.
HOP adds makes route changes to bus service as 2016 begins By Rachael Riley Killeen daily herald
The Hill Country Transit District’s urban bus system, the HOP, maintained its services in 2015, starting 2016 with a few route changes. In April, the HOP was named Region VI Transit System of the Year by the Federal Transit Administration based on 17 compliance categories. “It is no small task to provide quality transportation service over a 9,000square-mile area and at the same time meet all the federal and state regulatory requirements,” said Carole Warlick, general manager of Hill Country Transit District. The HOP provides urban bus service to Harker Heights, as well as Copperas Cove, Killeen, Belton and Temple. Between 400,000 and 500,000 patrons board the HOP in Killeen annually, said Robert Ator, director of Urban Operations for the Hill Country Transit District. In January 2015, a few changes were
Herald | FILE
A HOP bus drops off passengers at Wal-Mart on Lowe’s Boulevard in Killeen.
made to shorten Route 30 and place some of its stops along Route 4, after noticing increased ridership, Ator said. Two other route changes were necessary because of growth in south Killeen, he said.
The HOP’s Route 7 was modified to stop at the new Wal-Mart Supercenter on Stan Schlueter Loop near Bunny Trail, as well as continuing service to Texas A&M University-Central Texas. The new route continues to serve Central Texas College and Metroplex Hospital, as well as connect with Route 5. Route 21 was modified to provide better service along Elms Road, Ator said. In addition to new routes, the HOP added four new fixed-route buses to its fleet to replace existing aged buses in May. The new buses include several features to make accessing them easier for patrons. Ator said the buses “kneel,” meaning they lower 6 inches to allow people to board more easily and have electronic wheelchair ramps along with lock-in positions on the bus. “We try very hard to make the transit as seamless as possible,” he said. “We really work very hard to make it userfriendly and to have a nice, dignified system.”
They allow for more patrons to board with a seating capacity for 35, plus 17 standing passengers. Ator said before the new buses were added, the highest-capacity buses carried 26 commuters. “We really needed this capacity,” he said. “Route 4 in Killeen is our biggest route, and it’s packed with a lot of people. It will be nice to have the additional capacity.” Route 4 has stops at the Killeen WalMart, the Killeen Mall, Scott & White Clinic and the Harker Heights WalMart. The new $396,000, 35-foot-long, 102inch-wide buses have a life expectancy of 12 years, or 500,000 miles. Mark Collier, senior planner for the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the organization provided 80 percent of the funding for two of the buses through Category 7 funding. More information on HOP routes, including maps and time schedules can be found at www.takethehop.com.
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Clearwater district compiling report on area’s groundwater The map shows the location of wells in the area that draw from the Middle Trinity Aquifer. Wells in Bell County are in blue, and wells in Williamson County are represented in yellow. The location of the wells are based on the most recent data from the Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District, which monitors groundwater activity in Bell County.
By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily Herald
The Clearwater Underground Water District was established in 1999 by the residents of Bell County to manage and protect the groundwater resources of the county. “We are a political subdivision in the state of Texas, and we oversee the protection of the resource in the area,” Clearwater general manager Dirk Aaron said. “We are issue driven, and conduct a lot of research about the state of groundwater in Bell County.” This year, the district is preparing to present a report on the state of groundwater in the county, something the district does every five years. “We are deep into preparing for that,” Aaron said. “We start research for this almost three years before we present our findings, and continue to work on it for some time after, so as soon as we get done with one five-year report, we are starting on the next one.” “We want to protect the groundwa-
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COURTESY OF CLEARWATER UNDERGROUND WATER DISTRICT
ter of the area so that it is available to future generations,” he said. The Clearwater District also monitors well water in the county, and has several wells in place in Bell County that are not drawn from, but are there to allow researchers to take measurements of the groundwater in various areas of the district. There are more than 5,000 wells in
Bell County, so the quality of groundwater is important to the district. “We are a single-county district, and when we were formed, the taxpayers and owners wanted a single-county district so there would be more accountability and oversight,” Aaron said. “Every year we have met and exceeded our performance goals, and it’s in part because the taxpayers have
been able to really oversee what we are doing.” The Clearwater Underground Water District is also focused on continuing its educational outreach through the Texas Agrilife Extension Service, helping residents of Bell County to better understand the goals of the district and the importance of groundwater preservation.
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Killeen chamber continues rollout of membership model By Jennifer Hetzel Special to the Herald
During the past year, the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce continued to develop and roll out a new membership model developed in 2013. This transition has greatly enhanced the programs and services the chamber provides its members, including the establishment of leadership and business councils designed to segment members with common interest and needs. The Military Relations Council launched a new program to help tell the Fort Hood and Army story to influencers and decision makers in the region and beyond — through group trips to the U. S. Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. Conducted in collaboration with the 1st Cavalry Division and the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance, the trips are timed to occur when Fort Hood-based units are training at Fort Irwin. The long-term objective is to use the chamber network to attract participants from outside a 60-mile radius of Fort Hood. In addition, the council organized a Senior Command Team Welcome Dinner, a social for new battalion and brigade commanders, tours of the new Darnall Army Medical Center and other events. The Public Policy Council collaborated with the city of Killeen, Killeen Economic Development Corporation and the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition to achieve a goal that has been in the works for years. The group was successful in inserting language in the federal transportation bill, passed in December, authorizing the creation of Interstate 14 and creating the Interstate 14 Corridor. Support from Congressmen Roger Williams and Bryan Babin, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and the Texas Department of Transportation was critical to this accomplishment. Once the American Association of State Transportation Officials certifies that the portion of U.S. 190 from the western edge of Copperas Cove to Interstate 35 is built to interstate 34 < 2016 PROGRESS
CHAMBER RIBBON CUTTINGS IN 2015 January
• Corner Store #1569 • Title Boxing Club
• OS2 Healthcare Solutions, LLC • Stanton Realty Group, LLC
• CT Leadership Training and Development LLC • Gateway Mortgage Group • State Farm- Joaquin Carrasquillo
• A’Gaci • KISD Transportation Facility • The Park @ MTM • Toyota of Killeen Re-Grand Opening
• McAlister’s Re-Grand Opening
• First National Bank Texas (inside Walmart #6286) • Happy Kids Autism Intervention Services • Walmart #6286 (Stan Schlueter)
• CVS (Stan Schlueter) • Residence Inn by Marriott ReGrand Opening
• Aluna Skin Care and Massage • Gym X Fitness • Operation Phantom Support • Texas First State Bank • Wright Class Financial Professionals
standards, TxDOT will schedule a signing ceremony. John Crutchfield, GKCC president, explained, “Interstate highways are highly desirable from an economic development standpoint because they enhance access and speed to market. Many times corporations want to be on an interstate highway.” In addition, the Public Policy Council organized a State of the City and Region Luncheon, a Transportation Luncheon and hosted the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts among other events. The Nonprofit Council organized and conducted a Nonprofit Expo and is planning governance training. The Welcome Council organized and conducted Customer Service Training, mentoring and ribbon cuttings.
• Central Texas College Computer Science and Academic Buildings • Enilsa Skin Essentials, LLC • Dickey’s Barbecue Pit • KPLE-TV
• Mission Resiliency at Laurel Ridge Treatment Center • University of the Incarnate Word • Works of Art Cakes
• Families in Crisis Homeless Shelter • Furniture Factory Outlet, LLC
• VIP Eyelash & Wax
The Information Technology Council held its second Digital Forensics Conference. The Public Education Council held its Dialogue on the State of Public Education Series at KISD, CTC, TAMUCT and Workforce Solutions. The group also organized eighthgrade and high school career days and New Teacher Welcome among other events. The Retail Council organized and conducted a FOG Seminar (Fats, Oils and Grease) for restaurant members. The chamber continues to provide the programs and services members have come to expect, such as monthly mixers, Flavors of Central Texas and the membership banquet. There has been considerable progress in the business sector over the past year.
Major employers continue to increase jobs. When Sallie Mae left the community in 2009, the Killeen location employed 450 people. Teleperformance owns the facility today. It employs 1,700 and is likely to grow larger. A number of years ago, the chamber began using a Retail Leakage Analysis to document pent-up retail demand. The analysis quantifies retail purchasing power residing in the city and in the trade area by category and documents how much of that “leaks” to areas outside the city and trade area. The tool has been useful in attracting new retailers to this market. Work was completed on a new retail center at the intersection of Bunny Trail and Stan Schlueter Loop. The 26.5-acre tract was developed by Houston-based Northwest Tidwell. It is anchored by a Super Wal-Mart that opened in April. The development will create 340 direct jobs in the first five years of operation. Northwest Tidwell also developed a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on the east side of the city at the intersection of Elms Road and Stan Schlueter Loop. The facility opened in January and will employ approximately 100. The company is currently constructing a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on the west side of the city on Clear Creek that will employ, when complete, approximately 100. In December, the city and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 2 executed a development agreement with The Retail Connection, a Dallasbased retail developer, to construct the La Cascata Retail Village on 40 acres at the intersection of FM2410 and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The project will consist of 360,000 square feet of retail. The project will create approximately $65 million in capital investment and, when complete, will provide approximately 1100 jobs. Other retail developments are currently being planned in the city. There were significant retail openings in the city during 2015, including Aldi’s, CVS Pharmacy at Stan Schlueter Loop, Gander Mountain and Red Robin.
Top 25 Killeen area employers
Craig Lifton | Herald
Ann Farris and Gerald Farris show off their Roy J. Smith Award, which was presented Sept. 24 during the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce Banquet at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
1. III Corps & Fort Hood: 39,067 2. Military Defense Contractors & Others: 15,745 3. Civilian Personnel Office HQ III: 5,472 4. Killeen ISD: 6,000 5. Central Texas College: 1,487 6. Metroplex Health System: 1,200 7. City of Killeen: 1,100 8. Teleperformance: 1,700 9. ESP Incorporated: 420 10. Scott & White Clinic-Killeen: 361 11. Seton Medical Center Harker Heights: 350 12. Blackboard Student Services: 238 13. City of Harker Heights: 189 14. Texas A&M University-Central Texas: 188 15. Time Warner Cable: 153 16. EG & G Technical Services: 128 17. Killeen Daily Herald: 105 18. Solix Inc.: 105 19. First Community Services: 90 20. Advanced Electrical Systems: 81 21. Hill Country Transit District: 80 22. Central Texas Workforce: 65 23. Medical Office Management: 60 24. Blackhawk Management Corporation: 56 25. System Studies & Simulation, Inc.: 55
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Killeen Daily Herald marks 125 years as city’s newspaper By Dave Miller Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen Daily Herald last year marked 125 years in business as the city’s newspaper, making it one of the oldest businesses in the community. Yet it has continued to evolve from a small, weekly publication to a multifaceted media company. As part of that evolution, the Herald continued to expand its reach and accessibility with the introduction of the Central Texas News App last fall. Launched in November in conjunction with the Temple Daily Telegram, the app provides one-button access to local news, event, businesses and services across Bell County. The app can be downloaded for free on Android smartphones, iPhones or iPads and has 12 features ranging from news and sports to movie times, event calendars and job listings. In addition to the new app, the Herald continued to expand its offerings of news and information via social media, with an increased emphasis on Facebook posts and Twitter feeds to keep Central Texans up-to-date on the latest news and information, as well as sporting events. The Herald also increased its online presence over the past year, including a greatly expanded Center for Politics site that offers comprehensive coverage of elections of interest to Central Texas residents — including candidate biographies, Q&As, video interviews and election-related articles and information. The Herald expanded its offerings on the print side as well, producing a special 10-week series on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War that was incorporated into a commemorative magazine. Earlier this year, the Herald took a retrospective look at the 25th anniversary of Desert Storm, from the military’s perspective, as well as that of the Fort Hood community. Over the course of the past seven months, the Herald has continued an investigative series that focuses on the Killeen school district’s special education department, in the wake of a state agency’s report criticizing the department’s testing and reporting procedures. 36 < 2016 PROGRESS
Herald | FILE
Killeen Daily Herald Digital Services manager Kristen Carmona conducts a social media marketing workshop for local business owners and other professionals at the Texas Home Builders Association building in Harker Heights.
Responding to public feedback from the series, the Herald co-sponsored a community forum on special education that featured legal experts, parents advocates and the president of the Texas State Teachers Association among its presenters. The Herald also published a series of investigative articles looking into Killeen’s municipal finances, as well as Water Watch, an ongoing series examining issues related to the Central Texas area’s water resources. Also, for the second time in three years, a Herald reporter traveled to South Korea with the military to provide a firsthand account of what Fort Hood soldiers are doing to keep the peace and train for the possibility of hostilities in the shadow of the Demilitarized Zone. The newspaper continued to receive professional accolades for its
commitment to timely, thorough and accurate reporting of local, regional and state news, as well as quality photography and innovative design. In 2015, the Herald earned 15 awards at the annual Texas Associated Press Managing Editors conference, competing with more than a dozen other newspapers in its circulation category. The TAPME named the Herald as Newspaper of the Year in 2011 and 2013, and the paper took second-place honors in 2009, 2010 and 2012. The Herald operates as part of the KDH Media Group, which expanded its services as well during the past year. KDH Digital Services offered a series of seminars designed to help small businesses with management of online reputation and social media, as well as mobile marketing consulting and other services
dedicated to increased visibility and revenue maximization. The seminars complemented a growing list of client services provided to Central Texas businesses. The Herald’s full-spectrum commercial printing service, KDH Printing, continues to expand its array of services and client base as well. As part of its involvement with the local community, the Herald sponsored a bridal show at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, as well as two job fairs, and was heavily involved in the promotion and fundraising for the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood Memorial, which was dedicated earlier this month. In addition to its award-winning daily publication, the Herald also produces three established weekly publications. The Harker Heights Herald and Copperas Cove Herald are published each Friday, offering expanded coverage of news and events in those communities. The Fort Hood Herald, the longest-running weekly, publishes each Wednesday, providing soldiers and their families with in-depth news and information about the military and the Fort Hood community. In addition, the Herald publishes several monthly magazines for its readers: Health and Fitness, Homefront and the Homefinder real estate magazine. In conjunction with the Temple Daily Telegram, the Herald also publishes a regional magazine called Tex Appeal. Now entering its fourth year, the high-gloss monthly publication offers news and features focusing on local individuals and businesses. After more than 125 years of operation, the Killeen Daily Herald remains a trusted source for news and information in Central Texas. “It is exciting to be a part of the growth and development of this community,” said Sue Mayborn, the Herald’s editor and publisher. “We take very seriously our role and responsibility of being a credible news source for the area.” Today, more than 70,000 Central Texas readers and viewers depend on the Herald’s print and online publishing for their news and for their primary source of advertising.
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42 < 2016 PROGRESS
Killeen housing market grows more than 4 percent in 2015 BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Killeen’s housing market continues to grow. According to data from the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors and Texas A&M University, home sales averaged 142 per month in 2015 and increased by 4.7 percent from 2014. There were 1,698 homes sold in 2015, compared to 1,582 in 2014. “The local real estate market continues to be positive,” said Michael DeHart, executive officer for the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors. “While national trends seem to swing from one extreme to another, locally our market tends to remain fairly stable.” In November, when home sales nationally fell 3 percent, Killeen’s sales continued to grow. “If you look at the data nationally, it looks like a sine wave with huge differences,” DeHart said at the time. “Around here, there is a lot less vari-
Building permits granted in 2015 KILLEEN TOTAL PERMITS: 8,506 VALUE: $187.28 million SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES: 778 VALUE: $117.64 million COMMERCIAL PERMITS: 26 VALUE: $21.59 million
HARKER HEIGHTS TOTAL PERMITS: 2,157 VALUE: $79.38 million HARKER HEIGHTS SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES: 207 VALUE: $47.13 million COMMERCIAL PERMITS: 4 VALUE: $17.05 million
ance. The market is proving to be constant.” Killeen’s inventory tends to hover around five months, which DeHart said is about average. The state has an overall inventory of about three months. “The amount of inventory is a relative indicator. It is normally accepted that 5-6 months of available inventory indicates a balanced and healthy market,” DeHart said this month. “A much lower market would tend to drive prices up — less inventory, more demand. Higher inventory would cause lower
COPPERAS COVE TOTAL PERMITS: 3,296 VALUE: $40.97 million permits SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES: 124 VALUE: $17.63 million COMMERCIAL PERMITS: 4 VALUE: $3.25 million
prices because there is more competition among sellers for buyers.” Data shows the average home price in Killeen increased by 7.5 percent from 2014, going from $121,165 to $130,285. Area home prices are still about $126,000 lower than the state average of $250,788, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M. Median home prices increased by 2.3 percent. Jose Segarra, a broker and owner of Exit Homevets Realty, said there was a bit of a downturn in November 2015 be-
NOLANVILLE TOTAL PERMITS: 204 VALUE: $13.5 million SINGLE-FAMILY HOME PERMITS (TOTAL, ALL CATEGORIES): 63 VALUE: $12,588,835 SOURCE: City offices
cause of new rules and regulations for mortgage companies, but home sales began to increase again in December and 2016. “The new regulations created a bit of a backlog, but in December, which is usually slow, the numbers went up,” Segarra said. “The market goes up and down but over the whole year ours tends to always have a steady increase.” Most experts said that inventory is seasonal and homes will begin to sell Continued, 44
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Photos by Eric J. Shelton | Herald
New homes are being built south of Stan Schlueter Loop in Killeen. The city approved more than 50 new single-family homes in eight different months last year, including a high of 106 in December. from Page 43
more quickly during summer months, bringing down inventory levels.
Another possible contributor to Killeen’s affordable homes is the pace at which Killeen’s building officials are approving new home permits. The city approved construction permits for 778 homes, which was 56 fewer than the year before. Killeen approved more than 50 new single-family homes in eight different months last year, including a high of 106 in December. Segarra said if the home construction were to stop, home prices would “sky-rocket” but there would be fewer buyers. When people have trouble selling homes in Killeen, Segarra said, it is usually because they bought a new home and are moving before they give the home a chance to appreciate. “Some people can’t sell their homes because they haven’t lived there long 44 < 2016 PROGRESS
enough,” Segarra said. “The value of the home has gone up, but it has not caught up to the market.” Segarra also said about 70 percent of Killeen-area homebuyers are military buyers using Veterans Affairs home loans. Those home owners need to give their house time to appreciate, Segarra said because after one or two years a person does not have enough equity to make money on the sale. “Buying is easy, but when you sell you have to also pay the 3 to 4 percent of the closing costs,” Segarra said. “That is not a law, but the market dictates it.”
So far in 2016, Killeen has issued housing permits worth a total estimated value of $26.15 million. Harker Heights has issued permits worth $22.37 million and Copperas Cove has issued permits exceeding $11 million. Nolanville has issued permits worth an estimated value of $2 million.
New houses are also going up off Stagecoach Road in Killeen.
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Several commercial projects completed in greater Killeen area BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
The area saw several major commercial projects completed last year. Killeen approved 17 major commercial construction projects in 2015, including two permits for the construction of Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets. In Harker Heights, the Armed Services YMCA constructed its new facility and the A-Plus Federal Credit Union opened. On March 3, Copperas Cove issued a permit for a Gold’s Gym valued at $5.78 million at 249 Robert Griffin III Boulevard. Killeen’s permits had a total value of $13.63 million. In 2014, the city issued 20 commercial permits with a total estimated value of $20.5 million. According to Killeen permit reports: Ebco received a $378,000 permit for a Starbuck shell at 2108 Clear Creek Road. Martinka Construction received
46 < 2016 PROGRESS
a permit for construction of Agape Church of Christ valued at $298,360 in the 3000 block of Little Nolan Road. Daniel Lemon received a permit for Lemon’s Dance Studio valued at $70,000 at 4205 Old Florence Road. MR Construction received a permit for construction of a building for Cleo Bay Subaru at 2125 E. Stan Schlueter Loop valued at $728,000. Lange Roofing received a permit for construction of a shell building at 1600 W. Stan Schlueter Loop valued at $42,250. Stefek and Sears received two permits for construction of shell buildings at 3800 South W.S. Young Drive with a combined total value of $1.13 million. Jamie Herring Homes received a permit for construction of a shell building at 1507 W. Stan Schlueter Loop valued at $73,000. Dream Home Builders received a permit for Performance Motors 2 at 1803 E. Rancier Ave. valued at $40,000. G3 Church received a permit for construction of its church at 1925 E. Elms
Road valued at $2 million. Daniel Lemon received a permit for Hang Time Day Care at 4205 Old Florence Road valued at $65,000. Crossland Construction received a permit for construction of a Wal-Mart fuel station at 3807 E. Stan Schlueter Loop valued at $400,000. Henderson received a permit for construction of a Wendy’s restaurant at 3800 Clear Creek Road valued at $965,000. Dream Home Builders receive a permit for Auto Euphoria at E. Elms Road valued at $161,000. Crossland Construction received a permit for construction of a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at 3801 E. Stan Schlueter Loop valued at $3.012 million. Sword Construction received a permit for construction of an O’Reilly Auto Parts at 2200 E. Stan Schlueter Loop valued at $637,950. Crossland Construction received a permit for construction of a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at 2900 Clear Creek Road valued at $3.625 million.
Harker Heights issued four commercial permits in 2015 with a total value of $17.05 million, including the new Armed Services YMCA recreational facility. In 2014, Harker Heights officials issued 12 commercial permits with a total estimated value of $13.4 million. According to 2015 city permit reports: Phase One Design received a permit for construction of Texas Partner at 701 W. Central Texas Expressway valued at $1.8 million. Hill and Wilkinson General received a permit for construction of the Armed Services YMCA facility at 100 W. Mountain Lion Road valued at $12.1 million. Ebco General Contractor, Ltd., received a permit for construction of a Taco Bell at 521 E. Farm-to-Market 2410 valued at $450,000. Austin Canyon Corporation received a permit for construction of an A-Plus Federal Credit Union at 400 W. Central Texas Expressway valued at $2.7 million.
Killeen increases number of permits for new duplexes during 2015 BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
After a decrease in 2014, Central Texas cities saw an increase in the number of duplexes constructed in 2015. According to permit reports, Killeen approved construction of 121 duplexes last year with a total valuation of $30.08 million. In 2014, the city approved 71 duplexes and in 2013 it approved 77. The biggest month for Killeen’s duplexes was in December 2015, when the city approved 36 duplexes totaling approximately $5.06 million. That same month the city approved its most permits for construction of single-family homes — 106 valued at $14.9 million. The city did not approve any permits for construction of new multifamily complexes.
According to permit reports, Harker Heights officials approved construction of 24 new duplexes in 2015 valued at $4.3 million. The city approved 18 new duplexes in 2014, with a valuation
New affordable housing complex approved On Feb. 23, the Killeen City Council unanimously approved a letter of support for a proposed affordable housing project. The Killeen Housing Authority and a representative of developer Housing Solutions Alliance LLC proposed a 76-unit affordable-housing development to be constructed on a 13-acre tract of land at Cunningham Road and Stan Schlueter Loop at a Feb. 16 City Council workshop, Art Schuldt, representing Housing Solutions Alliance, said his company and the Killeen Housing Authority have partnered together and will fund construction of the $9.5 million project through a series of funding programs offered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The complex, called Hyde Estates LP, will include 17 one-bedroom units, 37 two-bedroom units, 16 three-bedroom units and four four-bedroom units. Only residents earning at or below 60 percent of the area median family income, which for a family of four in Killeen is $35,460, will be eligible to live at the complex. The buildings will consist of single-story quadplexes and three two-story duplexes. All of the buildings will be brick with Hardie board siding and have front and back porches. Inside, the units will have vinyl plank flooring and granite countertops. “The intent is to create a development the city can be proud of for affordable housing,” Schuldt said. “We are quite excited for the opportunity.”
of about $2.8 million. In 2013, Harker Heights approved three duplexes. The priciest duplex was worth
$194,900 in the 1500 block of Pima Trail. In September, Harker Heights council members approved a preliminary plat for
the 96-unit, two- and three-story, six-building apartment complex. In Feb. 2016, Harker Heights issued six permits to Pinroc Construction LLC for the Stillhouse Falts multifamily housing project in the 2900 block of Cedar Knob Road with a total estimated value of $9.64 million. The complex will be for an affordable workforce housing site through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ competitive tax credit program.
There were eight permits approved in 2015 for new duplexes in Copperas Cove totaling about $1.07 million, according to permit reports. The city also approved six permits for new multifamily complexes valued at about $9.86 million. In 2014, the city approved eight permits for duplexes totaling $1.2 million, and in 2013 the city approved three permits totaling $421,657.
Nolanville did not issue any multifamily permits last year.
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Shopping opportunities in Killeen-Harker Heights area expand by clay thorp killeen daily herald
Though troop levels at Fort Hood may be decreasing, that isn’t stopping retailers from expanding their operations in the Killeen-Fort Hood market. Take a drive down Clear Creek Road and residents will see why: home building and other development isn’t slowing in southern Killeen, and some big-box retailers are beginning to take notice. Wal-Mart decided 2015 was the perfect time to build a massive, 187,000-squarefoot superstore at 3404 W. Stan Schlueter Loop in April to feed the need for consumer goods in southern Killeen. The new store was crucial to WalMart’s strategy for the market near Fort Hood, as management said existing Killeen locations have heavy consumer traffic. “So, the Harker Heights store, the last Supercenter built in the last 10 years, was to relieve some pressure from the Killeen store because that much money coming out of one building, that was a stressor,” said Benjamin Hunt, WalMart’s operations manager during the Stan Schlueter Loop Wal-Mart’s grand opening. Aldi grocery also added a location at 2500 E. Central Texas Expressway in Killeen. The grocer uses a several unique tricks to cut costs and pass savings on to customers, according to the chain’s website. These include the use of recycled bags and encouraging customers to use their own, maintaining a smaller and selective inventory and Aldi’s cart system. “We keep our carts in one convenient place,” according to the website. “You put a quarter in the cart, shop and then return the cart to get your quarter back. This helps to keep prices low because we don’t spend time retrieving carts.” Gander Mountain is yet another retailer, with a large selection of sporting goods to satisfy any avid outdoorsman. With its new log cabin-like facility at 701 E Central Texas Expressway, Gander Mountain carries many specialized brands such as North Face, Browning, Glock and many others. Killeen also added the following retailers in 2015: Dollar Tree at 2802 48 < 2016 PROGRESS
Photos by Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Workers put the finishing touches on the area’s newest Wal-Mart, a Neighborhood Market that opened on E. Stan Schlueter Loop near Elms Road.
Aldi grocery added a location at 2500 E. Central Texas Expressway in Killeen. The grocer uses a several unique tricks to cut costs and pass savings on to customers, according to the chain’s website.
W. Stan Schlueter Loop #200, CVS at 3300 W. Stan Schlueter Loop, and a new Agaci Shoes store in the Killeen Mall.
Several new specialty stores have
opened their doors last year in Harker Heights. Anytime Fitness at 560 E. Central Texas Expressway Ste. 103-107 offers customizable fitness programs for the beginner or the more advanced
physical fitness guru. With small group training, one-on-one personal training or workout classes or bootcamps, Anytime Fitness is open 24/7 to accommodate all members’ schedules. Harker Heights also added a law firm, Criss & Rousseau Law Firm LLP, in 2015. The firm specializes in several areas of law including criminal, educational, disability, estate planning and probate, medical malpractice, military law, personal injury and tax law. The firm is headed by retired Col. Rick Rousseau, a former JAG officer and former Galveston Judge Susan Criss. Criss is more widely known for having presided over the Robert Durst trial in Galveston, which garnered extra attention after an HBO special aired this spring. Specializing in repairing broken smartphones and personal data devices, Cell Doctors opened a new location at 200 Commercial Drive next to Bahama Buck’s. According to its website, Cell Doctors handles broken screens, custom colors and finishes for phones as well as full service and repair of most smartphones and tablets. The new Harker Heights location is one of three Cell Doctors locations nationwide, according to the website.
Federal credit unions expanding in Killeen, Harker Heights By clay thorp killeen daily herald
To keep up with an increasing population in Killeen, several names in the local banking industry are setting up roots and expanding in Killeen and Harker Heights. Following the addition of a new Navy Federal Credit Union location at South Fort Hood Street and Central Texas Expressway late in 2014, other banks have added new locations in 2015. Texas Partners Federal Credit Union recently held the grand opening of its new location Feb. 10 in Harker Heights at 701 W Central Texas Expressway. The building is a shiny new structure inside and out, with natural Central Texas white stone as an outer facade and sparkling marble floors and tellers counters inside. According to Texas Partners’ website, the new location is a full-service banking branch offering two drive-up ATMs, a coin machine, easy access from the freeway feeder or Farm-to-Market Road 2410 behind the new branch and extended hours for the working professional. “We’re really excited, said Phyllis Love, executive vice president of Texas Partners FCU. “We’re hoping that it will give the credit union a little more visibility and our members better access having two entrances; one on the frontage road and one on (Farm-to-Market Road) 2410.” The hours of the new location are Monday
Bank of America
2551 Trimmier Road, Killeen. 201 E. Central Texas Expressway, Suite 1900, Harker Heights.
201 E. Central Texas Expy, Unit 1800, Harker Heights. 1500 Lowes Blvd., Killeen. (ATM only)
Eisenhower National Bank
1002 W. Central Texas Expressway, Killeen.
201 W. Jasper Drive, Killeen. 100 W. Central Texas Expressway in Harker Heights. 1003 E. U.S. Highway 190, Copperas Cove.
First National Bank Texas
507 N. Gray St., Killeen. 2201 Trimmier Road, Killeen. 4304 E. Central Texas Expressway, Killeen. 1002 N. 38th St., Killeen.
through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The new Texas Partners Federal Credit Union is also open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., but closed on Sundays.
A+ Federal Credit Union
Another shining example of modern Central Texas architecture is the new A+ Federal Credit Union located across U.S. Highway 190 near Memory Lane at U.S. Highway 190. A+ FCU was No. 3 in Austin-area deposits in March 2013, according to the Austin Business Journal, with $918.5 million. The credit union, which opened in February, sits near the Seton Medical Center. just north of Sam’s Club along Central Texas Expressway. The tall, glass front of the building extends out toward Fort Hood with an angled roof and other modern architectural designs. According to previous Herald reports, A+ sought to make the Harker Heights their “flagship” location after buying more than two acres to build their property. In an interview with Dennis Loftis, A+ Federal Credit Union’s executive vice president, he said the credit union had between 800 and 900 members within a six-mile radius of the Harker Heights location. “It is quite a few for an area where we don’t have a branch,” Loftis said in February 2014. “We are looking forward to directly serving those folks and cutting down their commutes.”
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Navy Federal Credit Union is expanding its footprint in the area, including this location in Harker Heights.
201 E. Central Texas Expressway, Harker Heights. 107 W. U.S. Highway 190, Copperas Cove. There are also First National Bank Texas services in these Wal-Marts: 1400 Lowes Blvd., Killeen. 2020 Heights Drive, Harker Heights. 3404 W Stan Schlueter Loop, Killeen H-E-B also houses several banking locations: 2511 Trimmier Road, Killeen. 601 Indian Trail, Harker Heights. 2990 E. U.S. Highway 190, Copperas Cove.
First State Bank Central Texas
United Central Bank
914 S. Main St., Suite D, Copperas Cove. 661 W. Central Texas Expressway, Harker Heights.
Fort Hood National Bank
210 Constitution Drive, Suite A, Copperas Cove. Bldg. 109 TJ Mills Blvd., Fort Hood. Bldg. 50005 Clear Creek Road, Fort Hood. Bldg. 50004 Clear Creek Road, Fort Hood. Bldg. 87030 Old Ironside Ave., Fort Hood. Bldg. 91079 Clarke Road, Fort Hood. Bldg. 85006 Warrior Way, Fort Hood. Bldg. 18010 Hood Road, Fort Hood.
4103 E. Central Texas Expressway, Killeen. 408 S. Main St., Copperas Cove.
Texas Star Bank
905 E. Farm-to-Market 2410, Harker Heights.
Union State Bank
120 N. Gray St., Killeen. 100 E. Main St., Florence. 345 E. Farm-to-Market 2410, Harker Heights.
404 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., Killeen.
Covenant Savings Federal Credit Union Educators Credit Union Greater Central Texas Federal Credit Union Heart O’ Texas Federal Credit Union Navy Federal Credit Union Pentagon Federal Credit Union Texas Partners Federal Credit Union Texell Credit Union USAA Financial Center
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Property values going up in Bell County despite no tax increase By clay thorp killeen daily herald
If you’re a homeowner in Bell County, it’s always nice to look at your annual property taxes and see no increase. Taxing entities such as the Killeen Independent School District, Bell County and the City of Killeen each have their own tax rates for every $100 in property value, and many have remained largely the same from 2014 to 2015. Officials in Bell County say property tax revenue to the county and all other jurisdictions increased by about 4 percent or $14 million in 2015. Currently, Bell County charges 42 cents for every $100 in value. “Now, we have continued growth in new construction; Temple, Belton, Killeen, all over the county,” said Marvin Hahn, chief appraiser at the Bell County Appraisal District. “New subdivisions are going in and new houses are going up so that’s a large
Bell County property tax
2015 levy $367,698,405 2014 levy 353,467,114 Difference +$14,234,291 or +4.03% 2015 value $20,006,714,629 2014 value 18,819,404,946 Difference +$1,187,309,683 or +6.31%
part of our growth in value — more so from that than the increase in value on existing properties.” Hahn said all of Bell County’s taxable property value now sits at about $20 billion, an increase in value of more than $1 billion or 6.3 percent from 2014 to 2015 — all this despite no increase in tax rates. “Those rates are staying pretty much the same because the entities can pretty much charge the same rate, but still raise additional money because of the new construction,” Hahn said. “If that’s enough to keep up with the demands of their budgets,
they can do it without raising rates.” But all this new commercial and residential development is a doubleedged sword. Although all the new commercial development doesn’t necessarily hurt existing home values, it isn’t exactly helping. “That doesn’t do anything to help the value of existing homes,” Hahn said. “Everybody doesn’t want a brand new house. Everybody doesn’t want to live in a cookie cutter neighborhood and that’s what we see a lot of in this county and everywhere else.” Roger Chesser, Bell County’s deputy chief appraiser, said as development in areas such as southern Killeen continues, infrastructure in the area such as water will need to keep up with the pace of building. If not enough infrastructure is available, it could affect the taxable values of those new homes. “The south of Killeen is definitely something that’s growing south and pushing out and the infrastructure is
fighting to stay up with it,” Chesser said. “We haven’t seen any negative impact on home prices yet because of that, but sometimes if the development outraces the infrastructure, it can affect it. But that hasn’t quite happened yet.” Chesser said existing neighborhoods such as North Killeen are most affected by a slower rise in property values, or no rise at all, as new development leaves the older parts of Killeen for greener pastures south of town. He said sometimes the rental market in North Killeen picks up, as residents revamp those existing homes and rent them. “We don’t have a whole lot of that going on due to the fact that there are so many duplexes and quadplexes in Killeen,” Chesser said of North Killeen’s existing home rental market. “So, those have been more flat. They’re not depreciating too heavily, but they’re not appreciating like some of the homes that are going to be sitting in the $150,000 to $200,000 range.”
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2016 PROGRESS > 51
Habitat for Humanity gets new director, plans to increase building Special to the Herald
Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity has experienced its fair share of ups and downs over the past year. From the transition of executive directors and the Christmas weekend theft of portable power tools, the community has stepped up to help, and Habitat persevered through it all. The local Habitat affiliate hired Army retiree Ken Cates as its new executive director in August. Cates spent his last eight years of service at Fort Hood. He was selected for the Habitat post because of his years of leadership and operational expertise for the Army and his success in program management. Dick Chapin, president of the Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity board, said, “Our local affiliate had been blessed, starting late last year, with the hiring of Ken Cates, as our executive director. He has made some staff changes and pulled them together as a smooth functioning team, along with establishing new partnerships, new fundraising events and a complete revamping and energizing of our Restore. “We are on the threshold of doubling and maybe tripling our construction effort, in the years to come,” Chapin said. “We are excited about the energy he has brought, while he keeps adding more innovative fund raising ideas that help us fund the additional homes. Cates accepted Habitat’s challenge of increasing homes built, from fewer than two per year, to five to six per year. Cates said “six per year is achievable with strong community support.” Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based
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Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Habitat for Humanity’s newest home on Velencia Street in Killeen is seen March 2.
nonprofit organization that builds strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties. Selected families provide at least 300 hours of “sweat equity,” of which 100 hours must be construction of homes. The family then signs a no-interest mortgage for the cost of building the home. Cates said having volunteers build the homes removes labor from the overall cost of the home, reducing the final cost. In the past year, more than 300 volunteers logged over 11,000 hours building homes, improving the ReStore, assisting with fundraising events and serving on committees. Since 1994, FHAHFH has built 68 homes and plans to dedicate its 69th home this month. Two more homes will begin in Copperas Cove and north Killeen. The city of Temple has also renewed a partnership with Habitat and looking forward to Cates’ focus on completing a community with four more homes. Cates challenged businesses to look
into opportunities to sponsor these builds, programs, and events in the 2016 “Raise the Roof” campaign. The first major event in their fund raising campaign is the Fort Hood Area Habitat “5K Donut Challenge,” planned for April 23. Runners eat a dozen donuts at the halfway point and continue to the finish after. Cates said, “Those not wanting to test their gastro-intestinal fortitude can opt for the standard 5K timed run,” At the end of the 5K Habitat will draw for their large raffle. Call 254-680-4007 for details. Businesses have an opportunity to sponsor the 5K or can contact Cates at Habitat for other business opportunities such as “Dine & Donate.” By following Fort Hood Habitat’s Dine & Donate Facebook page, area residents can dine at their favorite place, while Habitat receives a portion of that purchase as a donation from various restaurants. Cates noted the recent Dine and Donate event at the Harker Heights Chickfil-A, where Cates was dressed up as the chain’s cow mascot.
“Roundup” is another opportunity where businesses simply ask if customers would like to round their purchase up to the nearest dollar. The business then sends the collected amount to Habitat on behalf of their customers. Cates also has stated they are planning a demolition of a couple donated properties to benefit their ReStore. The Restore is a home improvement thrift store that is open to the public. “Don’t let the word ‘thrift’ throw you off, “ Cates said. “We have plenty of brand new products and great products from recycling programs available.” ReStore is the primary income to offset operating expenses, allowing Habitat to dedicate grants and monetary donations to build homes. Over the past year, several organizations, Fort Hood soldiers/families/civilians and businesses assisted Fort Hood Area Habitat, Most recently, soldiers form 44th Chemical achieved in three hours what the two-person ReStore staff would have taken over a week to accomplish. Lowe’s/Killeen and Texas Area Builders Association have donated thousands of dollars in products. Baylor University and UMHB students have assisted the ReStore staff with its improvements as well. “Shop, Volunteer, or Donate. It all helps us continue supporting the Greater Fort Hood Area and buildup our surrounding communities,” Cates said. Visit Fort Hood Habitat for Humanity at www.fhahfh.org, or 2601 Atkinson Ave., Killeen or call 254-680-4007 for information and ways to donate or volunteer.
>>> MEDICAL >>>
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Metroplex to open Heart and Vascular Center this summer By JC Jones Killeen Daily Herald
For 38 years, Metroplex Health System has stayed true to one mission: Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ. “Metroplex Health System works every day to develop and implement care processes that have the potential to create better health for our patients,” said Carlyle Walton, president and CEO of Metroplex Health System. “We are committed to providing the highest quality health care to our patients and are honored to serve the communities of Central Texas.” In 2015, more than 46,000 patients visited the emergency department, the hospital served more than 140,000 patients, and 1,300 babies were born at the Sue Mayborn Women’s Center. Metroplex Health System includes a 232-bed, multi-campus facility in Killeen, a 60-bed Behavioral Health Center in Killeen and the 25-bed Rollins Brook Community Hospital in Lampasas. Metroplex Health System is a faithbased organization, member of the Adventist Health System and partner with Baylor Scott & White Health, and is equipped with more than 300 physicians offering 43 medical specialties.
New Facilities and Services
The medical system also expanded its facilities in 2015, beginning construction on a $4.35 million Metroplex Heart and Vascular Center in the fall. “The Heart and Vascular Center is an expansion of our current cardiac catheterization facilities. We are a third catheter lab, as well as increasing the number of holding beds and procedure rooms,” said Valerie Romero, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Metroplex. “The expansion will allow us to treat more heart and vascular patients right here in the community.” The state-of-the-art center will boast the most advanced technology in Central Texas, allowing physicians to diagnose and treat heart and vascular issues of all kinds. Physicians will be able to perform angioplasty and stenting for heart blockages and treatment of heart attacks, radiofrequency ablation for cardiac arrhythmias, placement of cardiac pacemakers, and much more. 54 < 2016 PROGRESS
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Dr. Glennon R. Einspanier, medical director of Metroplex Hospital’s Lampasas wound care center, talks about a hyperbaric oxygen chamber at the Killeen location in February. Metroplex began construction this month on a new Wound Care Center in Harker Heights.
The Metroplex Heart and Vascular Center is expected to open in late summer.
Metroplex Adventist Hospital and Rollins Brook Community Hospital received several top honors in 2015. Metroplex Hospital was once again honored with an “A” grade for both the Spring and Fall 2015 Hospital Safety Score, which rates how well hospitals protect patients from errors, injuries and infections. The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety and is administered by The Leapfrog Group, an independent industry watchdog. For the second year in a row, The Leapfrog Group named Metroplex Adventist Hospital to its annual list of Top Hospitals, and Rollins Brook Community Hospital to its annual list of Top Rural Hospitals. Metroplex was one of 98 Top Hospitals recognized and selected from hospitals participating in The Leapfrog Group’s annual survey, and Rollins Brook was one of 24 Top Rural Hospitals. Metroplex was recognized as a finalist for the QUEST Award for HighValue Healthcare. Only seven hospitals received finalist recognition for achieving top performance in any six of the
seven areas measured in Premier’s QUEST collaborative. Metroplex received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Bronze Receiving Quality Achievement Award for achieving specific quality improvement measures outlined by the association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks. The hospital also received the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Bronze-Plus Award for achieving a score of 75 percent or greater for treating cardiac transfer patients within 120 minutes. The Lampasas Wound Care Center, located within Rollins Brook Community Hospital, received the Center for Distinction Award by Healogics, Inc., the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. The center achieved outstanding clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months, and its minimum wound healing rate was at least 91 percent within 30 median days to heal. The center also maintained a patient satisfaction rate of 92 percent. Metroplex Adventist Hospital and Rollins Brook Community Hospital were two of 18 hospitals within the Adventist Health System to be recognized at the annual Adventist Health System Patient Experience Summit held in
Orlando, Fla., for performing in the top quartile of the nation in the areas of inpatient, emergency department and ambulatory surgery services. Metroplex Hospital was recognized as a Top Performer in the area of cleanliness and the area of physician/nurse rounding. It was also recognized for having the most improved HCAHPS scores out of all 44 Adventist Health System hospitals. Rollins Brook was recognize as a Top Performer in the area of regular patient rounding in its emergency and surgical technology departments, as well as performing, on average, above 80 percent of the rest of the nation in the inpatient area and better than 75 percent of the rest of the nation in the Emergency Department area. The Metroplex Sleep Center received accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for a five-year period. To qualify for accreditation, the sleep center had to meet or exceed all standards for professional health care as designated by the AASM. These standards address core areas such as personnel, facility and equipment, policies and procedures, data acquisition, patient care and quality assurance. Additionally, the sleep center’s goals must be clearly stated and include plans for positively affecting the quality of medical care in the community it serves.
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Metroplex Health System Foundation funds life-saving equipment By JC Jones Killeen Daily Herald
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
EMT Shane Jones, left, and Paramedic Albert Shiller demonstrate the uses of LIFENET on emergency room volunteer Noel Del Rosario in June at the Metroplex Hospital Emergency Department.
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Through events such as its Spring Golf Classic, Sporting Clays Golf Tournament, and the Gold Star Gala, the Metroplex Health System Foundation raised enough money to fund several projects throughout the community in 2015. In February, the Metroplex Health System Foundation donated two Automatic External Defibrillators to two local public facilities — The Killeen Special Events Center and the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation — which both host a number of large public events drawing sizeable crowds. “We hope that the ADEs never have to be used,” said Daphne Meade, manager of Metroplex Health System Foundation, “but if something does happen, these facilities are now equipped to save precious time and lives.” Additionally, in March, the Foundation announced it would purchase equipment and software for ambu-
lances called LifeNet that would allow Killeen and Harker Heights ambulances to wirelessly transmit electrocardiogram results from the ambulance to the emergency room at the touch of a button. “The biggest thing about having a heart attack is being able to save time. The faster we can fix the issue going on with the heart, the better your chance for long-term survival,” said Valerie Romero, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Metroplex. The LifeNet equipment went into operation in June. ”We are extremely grateful to the Metroplex Foundation Board of Trustees and Carlyle Walton, our CEO, for funding this life-saving equipment,” said Umad Ahmad, M.D., cardiologist and chief of staff at Metroplex Hospital. The final project the Foundation funded in 2105 was the purchase of a new wellness bus. Throughout the year, the Wellness department at Metroplex provides various health initiatives and opportunities to the communities of Central
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Several hundred people attended the annual Gold Star Gala to raise funds for the Metroplex Health System Foundation to use for community programs.
Texas as part of the hospital’s mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ. “The new wellness bus has allowed us to not only participate in more
community events but also expand the community wellness services we offer,” said LaToya Ellis, wellness coordinator for Metroplex Health system. In addition to free monthly vaccina-
tion clinics for local children, the Wellness department provides free community health screenings, free exercise classes, kickboxing, Tai Chi, yoga and Zumba, and free parenting and health
education classes. All totaled, Metroplex Health System provided approximately $10,828,740 in free services, averaging $29,668 worth of charity health services per day.
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Scott & White Killeen clinic celebrates 35 years of service by JC Jones Killeen Daily Herald
In November, Scott & White celebrated 35 years of service in Killeen, as it marked the anniversary of its Killeen clinic, which opened its doors in 1980. As the facility continues to grow, in 2015 the Killeen Main Clinic added the Nephrology clinic, formerly at the Hemingway clinic on Clear Creek Road, under its roof, to be adjacent to the dialysis center. Throughout last year Baylor Scott & White Health’s hospitals and clinics across the Central Texas area, including in Killeen, continued in 2015 to expand care for local patients.
Services expanded in the areas of cardiology, neurology, pulmonology and adolescent medicine at Scott & White’s McLane Children’s hospital in Temple, and the hospital added new staff to its growing team, including a new pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Dhruve Jeevan, and a pediatric neuropsychologist Dr. Kerry O’Mahar. “We are so pleased to have added services for our community over the past year. With the addition of Pediatric Neurosurgery specifically, many children and families will no longer have to travel to Houston for their care. Safely keeping our families as close to home as possible for their care is a constant goal of ours,” said John L. Boyd, McLane Children’s President and Chief Medical Officer. “Now that we have all of our subspecialties represented at McLane Children’s, we now move into the mode of ‘deepening our bench strength’. By doing so we can be more responsive to the needs of the children and families in the communities we serve.” The health system also added new staff at its Memorial hospital in Temple, including at new general neurosurgeon and a new neuropsychologist, doubled its number of genetics physicians and expanded its heart failure providers.
Technological and medicine
Advances in technology helped Scott & White increase the scope of care last year for patients of all ages. 58 < 2016 PROGRESS
JC JONES | Herald
Mary Walker, registered nurse, checks the blood pressure of 13-year-old Ashley Claypool at the For Women For Life health and wellness event hosted by the Baylor Scott & White Clinic in Killeen in April. Ashley and her mom, Traci Claypool, attended the event to learn more about healthy lifestyles.
In June, Scott & White hospital in Temple became one of only six hospitals in the state to implant a miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor to help manage heart failure, known as the CardioMEMS Heart Failure System. It is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions. The device is a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery during a minimally invasive procedure. Once implanted, the device can measure and transmit pulmonary artery pressure from the patient back to their health care team. “Heart failure can rob patients’
quality of life and frequently results in repeated hospitalizations,” said Dr. John Erwin III, cardiologist at Scott & White Memorial. “We think that we can provide significantly improved quality of life by partnering with the patient in acting preventively as opposed to responding when an adverse event occurs.” Also in June Scott & White’s McLane Children’s in Temple began piloting new technology to alleviate hospital visits for some of its younger patients. The Video Visit Program allows patients who live far from the hospital to see their physician from the comfort of their own home using an online program and a computer with a camera.
The health care provider hosts the visit through a computer in the McLane Children’s Specialty Clinic in Temple, visiting with the family remotely while the family remains at home. “The ability to follow patients and their families dealing with a disease such as diabetes right into their very living rooms empowers and motivates them in ways too numerous to mention,” said Dr. Stephen Ponder, a McLane pediatric endocrinologist. “Cost savings and convenience for families is blended with quality care to provide a unique encounter for children and their parents living hundreds of miles away.”
Scott & White received recognition for its advancement in breast care in 2015 from the American College of Radiology, receiving its Breast MRI accreditation and being named a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in breast ultrasound, mammography
Eighth-grade students from Travis Science Academy examine a da Vinci surgical system in February at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple. FME News Service | FILE
and stereotactic. â€œWe were among the first in the nation to be recognized as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence and have continued to be recognized as such since the designation has been available,â€œ said Dr. Debra Monticciolo, Scott & White breast imaging physician.
Other awards and recognitions for the hospital last year included designation as a lung cancer screening facility; accreditation as a facility for MRI from the American College of radiology; Platinum Performance Achievement Award from the American College of Cardiology for the bational Cardiovas-
cular data Registry Acute Coronary Treatment and Intervention Outcomes Network Registry; Stroke Honor RollElite Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association; and the 2016 CareChex Quality Award for being ranked number one in Texas in medical excellence and patient safety.
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Seton makes advances in heart, trauma care in 2015 by jc jones killeen daily herald
HARKER HEIGHTS — As Seton Medical Center Harker Heights nears its fourth-year anniversary in Bell County, the hospital has seen much progress in the past year. Seton now has 425 associates and over 300 physicians on staff. All Seton physicians are board eligible or board certified. “Our goal is to exceed our patients’ expectations for service and quality. We have successfully met this challenge as proven by our CMS Four Star Rating for Patient Satisfaction,” said Matt Maxfield, CEO. Maxfield and the team at Seton Harker Heights realize there is nothing casual about taking care of the community. In light of this, they have worked hard to complete several new certifications in the past year, and are proud of these accomplishments. “We achieved Chest Pain Accreditation with PCI this past year. That is a huge accomplishment for us,” said Pam Craig, Chief Nursing Officer. Chest Pain Accreditation means that after two years of data collection and many hours of work by staff to refine its cardiology services, the hospital was recognized by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, an Institute of the American College of Cardiology, as an accredited Chest Pain Center, signifying that the hospital meets strict standards in cardiovascular care. “The standards that are required to achieve this designation are the most rigorous standards in the cardiology industry and require that our team perform at the nation’s highest level of quality for each and every patient,” Maxfield said. Some of the areas of expertise measured during the accreditation process include integrating the hospital’s emergency department with the local emergency medical system; assessing, diagnosing and treating patients quickly; ensuring competence and training of personnel; and continually seeking to improve procedures. Mitch Simons, director of the Seton Heart and Vascular Center, said receiving the accreditation will not change how the hospital operates, but will add 60 < 2016 PROGRESS
Herald | FILE
Participants of the third annual Bell Country Heart Walk at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights start their five laps around the hospital April 11.
to the community’s confidence in the quality of care they can count on at Seton. The standards “ensure nothing is missed on each of these patients, that way you have the same continuity and care across the board. It’s just increasing the level of care,” Simons said. The hospital also achieved Level IV Trauma Certification from Texas Department of State Health Services in May, which means it is able to take trauma patients into the Emergency Department for stabilization. Receiving the distinction was an 18-month process for the hospital. “As a designated level IV trauma center, Seton Medical Center Harker
Heights will provide exceptional care to victims of trauma with a staff of board-certified ER physicians, orthopedic and general surgeons, and specially trained nursing staff,” said Joy Custer, trauma coordinator at the hospital. Throughout 2015, Seton also continued its mission to give back to the community through fundraising and donations. At its annual basket raffle event, Seton staff raised more than $4,000 for its annual United Way campaign. “Going back to when the hospital first opened, we decided the United Way was going to be the one fundraiser that we focused on and encouraged all of our employees to participate in,” said Zach
Dietze, Seton’s assistant administrator. “The United Way is a very comprehensive organization that supports the community that we live in and the patients that we serve live in, so we thought that it was a great fit.” In total, the hospital raised $20,500 and donated $27,000 in charitable contributions to the community, and also gave $20,000 to the Greater Killeen Free Clinic. New growth plans for Seton in 2016 include working closely with the Armed Services YMCA in Harker Height to facilitate its opening, as Seton will have outpatient cardiac and physical therapy care in the new facility, slated to open in late summer.
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Entering its fourth year of operation, Seton Medical Center Harker Heights continues to expand the care it offers to Central Texas residents.
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Greater Killeen Free Clinic recognized as nonprofit of the year BY HOLDEN WILEN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
J.C. Jones | Herald
David Pryor passes around samples of various essential oils for attendees of the Greater Killeen Free Clinic Lunch n’ Learn event to sample. Pryor’s wife, registered nurse Deleese Pryor, led the educational seminar in May.
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The Greater Killeen Free Clinic continued to provide much-needed services to the area in 2015 and was named “Nonprofit of the Year” by the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce. “The clinic is successful because it is supported by a dedicated group of volunteers and staff who provide medical care to low-income families,” Executive Director Marlene DiLillo said. Winning the award, she said, was a “big achievement” for the organization. The clinic got its start in 1994 to provide health care to people who didn’t have access. Located in downtown Killeen, the clinic offers acute care, well women’s care and chronic care to the uninsured in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties. Since 1994, more than 55,000 patients have been treated, with the number of patients growing annually. In 2015, the clinic saw 6,783 patients, according to DiLillo, after seeing 6,865 in 2014.
Photos by Eric J. Shelton | Herald
The Greater Killeen Free Clinic continued to provide much-needed services to the area in 2015 and was named “Nonprofit of the Year” by the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.
“We are expecting more patients this year,” she said. Located four blocks away from the new Families In Crisis homeless shelter, the clinic and shelter are working together. The shelter refers people to the clinic, DiLillo said, and the clinic is setting up a station at the shelter which should open by the end of March. “That clinic is being set up as we speak. We are recruiting volunteers to serve in a medical capacity,” she said. In 2015, the clinic launched its free monthly Lunch n’ Learn wellness program as a way for the clinic to educate the community on various health topics. The group meets the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. in the community development room at the Killeen Arts and Activities Center, 802 N. Second St. DiLillo said she is also developing a community-wide health calendar so people can become more aware of events, such as a community-wide dental day in January. She said 88 people received dental service at the event, but hopes more people can participate in the future. The clinic, at 718 N. Second St., sees patients on a first-come, first-serve basis. Photo identification is required, as is proof of area residency, proof of previous month’s income and a Social Security number, if applicable. For more information, go to www. gkfclinic.org or call 254-618-4211.
Board Chair Greater Killeen Free Clinic Pete Taylor, left, recognizes Dr. Richard House, of House of Smiles in Killeen, during the Greater Killeen Free Clinic board meeting at the free clinic in March. Volunteers who participated in the first annual Day of Smiles were recognized during the meeting. Seven dental providers and other volunteers provided services to 89 patients with a total value of services received at $35,740.
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Medical Homes, clinics serve Fort Hood soldiers, families outside main hospital By jc Jones Killeen daily herald
To provide treatment without requiring patients to go to the main hospital at Fort Hood, U.S. Army Medical Homes offer medical care for active-duty soldiers, retirees and their families. Army medical facilities function as family-practice clinics off post, and work in conjunction with Carl. R. Darnall Army Medical Center. The Killeen facility serves soldiers and their family members in Killeen. Those living in Harker Heights, Belton and Salado are served by the Harker Heights clinic, and the Copperas Cove Clinic serves Cove, Kempner and Lampasas. In 2012, the three community-based clinics received their initial National Committee for Quality Assurance certification, and are in the review process for recertification. The community-based clinics are under the umbrella of the Armyâ€™s Patient Centered Medical Homes, which are
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Herald | FILE
The Harker Heights Medical Home in the Market Heights shopping center treats soldiers, retirees and their families living in Harker Heights, Belton and Salado. The facility functions as an off-post option for people eligible to receive care through the Army at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.
intended to transform its health care to a system completely focused on the needs of the patient. Other clinics based at Fort Hood include the Bennett Health Clinic, a Soldier-Centered Medical Home which serves active-duty troops, the Thomas Moore Health Clinic, and the Russell Collier Health Clinic.
In the past year, all three of the medical homes, as well as other Fort Hood clinics, have expanded their pharmacy services. The pharmacies at all three medical homes are able to provide services to their patients, and pharmacy, lab and radiology services will be available in a new After Hours Clinic, which
is scheduled to open April 4 at the Thomas Moore Health Clinic. The After Hours Clinic will be open Monday through Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The clinic is designed to accommodate same day urgent/acute care appointments.
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New Darnall hospital complete; patient care begins soon by jc jones killeen daily herald
Five years after its groundbreaking, the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood is days away from opening its doors for service. On April 3, staff at the 1 millionsquare-foot facility will begin treating patients there for the first time. Throughout the past year, final touches have been completed on the hospital, and medical equipment and furniture were placed inside its rooms. In March, hospital staff moved their offices into the new building, as the last days of the transition ticked by. The hospital system will have 3,500 to 3,800 people on staff, and the new building has space capacity for 145 beds, 10 more than the old building. “There has been a great deal of activity, and everyone has been really engaged during this transition. ... We are on track to open for patient care on April 3, and will look forward to continuing to provide exceptional care to the Fort Hood community in this new state-of-the art facility,” said Col. Mark Thompson, commander of Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center. With so many details to consider, the road toward constructing a $500 million hospital and to making it operational, has been full of preparation.
In February and March, during the final phases of the move-in process, Darnall staff hosted two Day in the Life events. These full-scale simulations allowed doctors, nurses and other staff members to rehearse what a day in the new facility would look like, and helped work out any last-minute details. The rehearsals involved hundreds of volunteers from the community, and played out multiple scenarios, including medical and security situations that might occur. “Both the staff and the volunteers have done an awesome job of trying to work out what it’s going to be like to deliver care, particularly in this building moving patients around and all of the emergency situations you encounter,” Thompson said at the first Day in the Life event on Feb. 6. “I think they’ve done a real good job. 66 < 2016 PROGRESS
Craig Lifton | Herald
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center staff work on a simulated patient in an operating room as part of a Feb. 6 rehearsal to get acclimated to the new hospital, which opens for patients April 3.
Most importantly, they have learned a few things they will need to do differently in this building than they do in the other building.” In the midst of the new hospital’s construction, Darnall also continued its work caring for soldiers and their families, including the birth of 2,420 babies at the hospital in 2015. In January, the Fort Hood Intrepid Spirit center opened its doors and began patient treatment, caring for soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injuries, as well as post-traumatic stress and other psychological health conditions. Construction on the building began in June 2014.
The $11 million dollar facility was privately funded through the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, It is the fourth in a series of nine such facilities to open on military bases across the country. “I can honestly say that this building, from an Army medicine perspective, is vitally important in helping us keep our commitment to exceptional health care delivery. Army medicine’s fundamental tasks are promoting, improving and restoring the behavioral and physical well being of our soldiers, family members and soldiers for life,” Thompson said at the Intrepid center’s dedication ceremony on March 9. In December, Darnall expanded its
pharmacy services for patients, when the hospital launched a new option for filling prescriptions. Darnall patients now can fill electronic or handwritten prescriptions at the Clear Creek Pharmacy, located at the new Clear Creek PX. Patients also can turn in unused or expired medications at the Clear Creek Pharmacy, at a locked MEDSAFE box. “At the old PX, we only had a refill pharmacy,” Maj. Lyle Kolnik, deputy chief pharmacy services said. “These new services essentially make the Clear Creek PX a full-service pharmacy, which is a great benefit to the Fort Hood Community.”
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Five years after its groundbreaking, the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood is days away from opening its doors for service. On April 3, staff at the 1 million-square-foot facility will begin treating patients there for the first time.
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Herald | FILE
The Frensius Dialysis Center in Harker Heights offers a full range of dialysis services, said Amanda ReCupido, a Fresenius Medical Care representative. Beginning in April, center will offer 24-hour treatment services three days a week.
Dialysis center expands care in Heights By Rachael Riley Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS — Fresenius Medical Care opened its dialysis center in December 2014 at 625 W. Central Expressway in Harker Heights and continued to provide a high level of patient care in 2015. The center offers a full range of dialysis services, said Amanda ReCupido, a Fresenius Medical Care representative. Beginning in April, center will offer 24-hour treatment services three days a week. “Our approach is to empower people living with kidney disease — both the patients and their families/caregivers,” ReCupido said. We want to inspire hope to our patients. Dialysis is a life-saving treatment that allows our patients to continue living life and doing what is important to them.” Patients are encouraged to take control of their health by being involved in their treatment, which includes choosing the type of dialysis that best fits their lifestyle to setting up their own machines and monitoring their own progress alongside the Fresenius Medical Care professional care team, she said. “When we opened Harker Heights, 68 < 2016 PROGRESS
we decided to make it an “empowered dialysis center” by training every new patient to practice empowered self-care: building their own machines, selfcannulating, taking vitals and documenting and even breaking down the machine afterward,” ReCupido said. “We found that the benefits of this engagement has led these patients to take control of their health in other ways.” Different treatment options at Fresenius Medical Care includes peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis as home therapies, and in-center Empowered Hemodialysis to teach patients about conducting their own treatments, ReCupido said. In-center treatment options also include a nocturnal shift during which patients run a longer, slower treatment that is gentler on the body. Morning, afternoon and businessclass treatment shifts are available to accommodate work schedules. The center is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Starting in April, it will be open 24 hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Patients for all dialysis treatment options with all types of insurance, from commercial providers to Medicare and Medicaid, are currently being accepted.
>>> FORT HOOD >>>
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Gabe Wolf | Herald
From left, Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, incoming 1st Cavalry Division commander; Maj. Gen. Michael Bills, outgoing 1st Cavalry Division commander; and Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, inspect the troops on horseback during the 1st Cavalry change-of-command ceremony at Fort Hood’s Cooper Field.
Fort Hood continues improving services for soldiers, veterans By Jacob Brooks Killeen Daily Herald
From solar energy to state-of-the art medical facilities, Fort Hood continues to progress with a variety of projects around post that serve soldiers, families, veterans and others. Fort Hood’s biggest project in decades — the construction of a new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center — is complete, and officials are preparing to open the hospital to patients in April. U.S. Reps. Chet Edwards and John Carter originally advocated for the new $500 million medical center, which became the largest Defense Department contract funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or the 2009 stimulus package. Officials broke ground on the project in 2010. Col. Mark Thompson, the hospital’s commander, said the hospital system will have 3,500 to 3,800 people on staff, and the new building has space capac70 < 2016 PROGRESS
ity for 145 beds, 10 more than old building, set to open on April 3. The hospital will be staffed for 98 beds, the same as the old building. “This building does allow for some expansion compared to the old hospital,” Thompson said.
Solar energy is a well-used term at Fort Hood this year, after the Army in January announced a $497 million, 28year agreement between Apex and the federal government to supply the post with solar and wind energy. Officials broke ground on a $100 million solar-panel project Jan. 28, part of a renewable energy plan that will provide about 40 percent of the post’s power and potentially save upward of $168 million in energy costs during the next three decades. The joint project between the Department of the Army, Fort Hood, Apex Clean Energy, the Defense Logistics
Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality will utilize energy from wind mills in West Texas and approximately 138 acres of solar panels on the southwestern portion of the installation to provide the power. The field of solar panels on post is expected to be completed by the end of September.
Fort Hood soldiers continue to deploy around the world, with more than 4,000 arriving in South Korea last month. Those soldiers — from 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Brigade — replaced more than 4,000 from the division’s 2nd Brigade as part of an ongoing armored brigade rotation to South Korea. The Army has not yet announced where the next brigade in the rotation will come from. Other deployments include ... The Korea rotation, paired with ongoing deployments elsewhere caused the
number of Fort Hood deployed soldiers to spike above 7,400 in February, the highest since December 2012.
The Army’s continued drawdown will continue to play out this year, including fewer troops at Fort Hood. A troop drawdown forced by budget cuts has resulted in the active-duty component shrinking during the last four years, down from a high of 570,000 soldiers in 2012. There are currently about 490,000 soldiers on active duty, with a planned reduction to about 450,000 by the end of 2017. Fort Hood is scheduled to lose about 3,300 troops in the next two years, dropping to an authorized 34,125 soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2017. That’s a 17 percent decrease since 2001, when the installation boasted more than 41,000 troops, and far below the 1990s when Fort Hood had about 50,000 soldiers.
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Retail, medical facilities and more going up across post By Jacob Brooks and JC Jones Killeen Daily Herald
New retail, medical and other facilities continue to open at Fort Hood, providing new services to soldiers, military families and retirees. The National Intrepid Center of Excellence Satellite Center at Fort Hood opened its doors to patients for the first time Jan. 11, ushering in a new era of care on post. The 25,000-square-foot facility includes state-of-the-art technology, a fully functioning gym, a yoga and meditation area, group session rooms, an outdoor patio and a staff of health care and mental health professionals, all to offer a multidisciplinary, holistic approach to treating TBI, PTSD and other conditions. “Some of the equipment that we have here now is going to allow us to be better able to quantify objectively how service members are doing upon their initiation of treatment, and then what happens while they’re going through treatment,” said the center’s director, Dr. Scot Engel. Ground broke on the center in June 2014. It is the fifth of its kind on military installations across the country, all part of a joint effort by the government and the private sector. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a nonprofit organization, donated $11 million to Fort Hood’s Intrepid Center. A similar facility at Fort Bragg, N.C., also opened recently. “The building in and of itself is something you would see in the private sector, and to see it here in Fort Hood and in the midst of this medical campus, it’s quite phenomenal. I think it is a new way of treatment across the Army,” Engel said.
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
The National Intrepid Center of Excellence is seen at Fort Hood. It opened its doors to patients in January.
Cabela’s are happy at the end of that trial period,” Goetz said. The Fort Hood seasonal store is located inside the old Clear Creek Main Exchange, 5004 Clear Creek Road.
The room for Cabela’s was made possible by the opening of Fort Hood’s newest post exchange — the Clear Creek Shopping Center, a new 270,000square-foot store across the street from the older Clear Creek Main Exchange. The new PX — $47 million project that broke ground in June 2013 — opened in October.
Cabela’s, a national chain of sports and outdoor stores, opened a temporary store on post Nov. 23. It grossed about $9,000 on Black Friday, said the store’s manager Rebecca Goetz. On a daily basis, Goetz said the store averages about $3,000 in sales; numbers she hopes will help turn the temporary on-post hunting, fishing and outdoor supplier into a permanent fixture at 72 < 2016 PROGRESS
Gabe Wolf | Herald
Brian Dosa, director of Public Works for Fort Hood, speaks Jan. 28 during a groundbreaking for a $100 million solar-panel project at Fort Hood.
Fort Hood. The facility is part of a trial run to expand Cabela’s locations onto military posts across the country. The Fort Hood location is one of three to recently pilot the experiment, which also includes seasonal locations at Fort
Bliss and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Around the end of May, it will be determined if the facilities will close or become permanent locations, a decision “based off of sales, and if (Army and Air Force Exchange Service) and
The older Clear Creek Main Exchange will house military clothing, alterations, embroidery, furniture, a barber and some name-brand concessions. The post will convert the rest of the space for administrative and warehouse functions. The Warrior Way store will still sell concessions and food including GNC, Firestone, Charley’s (Grilled Subs) and Domino’s. Fort Hood will take possession of the rest of the space, part of which will be converted into a gym, officials said. Fort Hood also expanded its fast food options in the past year, with Jack in the Box, Jimmy John’s and Dunkin Donuts opening locations.
Consultants to help boost fundraising for Mounted Warfare Museum By Jacob Brooks Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen-based National Mounted Warfare Foundation — the nonprofit tasked with raising $37.8 million for the Mounted Warrior Museum to be built at Fort Hood — now has a team of fundraising consultants that could propel the effort to meet its goal of breaking ground by the end of 2017. “Our goal is to break ground by the end of 2017,” retired Lt. Col Bob Crouch, the foundation’s vice president, said recently. It’s a “very aggressive” goal, said Crouch, and if fundraising goes as planned, the doors to the 66,000square-foot museum could open by 2019. It’s a goal that relies heavily on ongoing fundraising efforts, which currently stand at $18 million, foundation officials said recently. Not all of that is in cash. The bulk of it — $10 million — is the value of the 65 acres where the proposed museum will sit, near the Fort Hood visitor’s center overlooking U.S. Highway 190. Fort Hood donated the land, and the Army will retain ownership and management of the museum once it opens, Crouch said. In April 2014, a $5 million donation came from an anonymous donor, and the rest of the money raised — some of it is in the form of pledges — comes to $3 million. That includes a $1.3 million donation from
Fundraising continues for the Mounted Warrior Museum.
the city of Killeen in 2011 that helped establish the foundation, officials said. About $19.8 million still needs to be raised to complete fundraising for Phase 1 of the museum project, which includes the main building, exhibit space and an outdoor playscape. The 65 acres also will have plenty of room for outdoor exhibits and walking trails. To help raise the remaining funds, the foundation has hired a team of consultants and a grant writer, Crouch said. The team consists of Todd Smith, who handles the foundation’s social media and has political ties in Texas; Glen Cosper, president of Beltonbased Relationship Fundraising; Joseph “Huey” Donahue, a former Special Forces captain who is
focused on government and former military personnel fundraising; and Susan Duecy, a grant writer based in Waco. Crouch said the foundation was able to hire the team after getting a donation from an anonymous donor made in May, but did not specify the amount of the donation. Crouch said the foundation’s annual operating budget is about $245,000 per year, an amount included in the overall project goal of $37.8 million. Cosper, a longtime professional fundraising expert and Scott & White retiree, said the foundation is forming relationships with potential donors and spreading the word about the museum throughout Texas. “We’re just in the beginning stages of that ... making contacts and telling the story,” Cosper said. “In the future, we will be expanding that geographical area (to beyond Texas).” Officials said the ground-breaking may occur, with board approval, if the fundraising hits 70 percent of the goal, which amounts to about $26.5 million. So, what happens if late 2017 comes and the fundraising effort has not reached at least 70 percent of the goal? “I’m thinking positive,” Cosper said. “We are going to meet the goal.”
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III Corps continues yearlong deployment to Middle East By Jacob Brooks Killeen Daily Herald
While many of the soldiers who make up Fort Hood’s leading headquarters unit — III Corps — are continuing to progress through a yearlong deployment in the Middle East, other leaders in the top unit helping Fort Hood and subordinate units are running on all cylinders. About 500 III Corps soldiers, including III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, deployed to Kuwait and Iraq last September, and now are a little more than halfway done with the deployment. While deployed, MacFarland is also the commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, tasked with leading the fight against Islamic State in the region. With MacFarland overseas, Maj. Gen. John Uberti, the III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander, is the senior officer on post. Uberti arrived to Fort Hood last August as one of two new deputy commanders of the corps. The other deputy commander is British Maj. Gen. Douglas Chalmers, who also deployed with III Corps to the Middle East. III Corps Command Sgt. Maj. Alonzo J. Smith and the III Corps chief of staff, Col. James Markert, also deployed to the Middle East. While many leaders are deployed, other leaders, including Uberti, are keeping things running in Texas and elsewhere in the III Corps command range. Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick K. Akuna Jr. is the top enlisted soldier for III Corps while Smith is deployed. In recent years, the corps’ command range expanded due to Army reorganization. Oversight grew from one division — 1st Cavalry Division — to a total of 18 brigades in four divisions across four installations. MacFarland’s command scope includes his former division, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, as well as the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan., and the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo. In total, MacFarland leads about 120,000 soldiers. The units under III Corps at Fort 74 < 2016 PROGRESS
Photos by Eric J. Shelton and AMY PROCTOR | Herald
ABOVE: Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, speaks during a welcome ceremony Aug. 4 for Maj. Gen. John Uberti, incoming deputy commander for maneuver. BELOW: III Corps Rear Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Akuna attends the Fort Hood National Prayer Breakfast.
Hood regularly train with other Army units, as well. In February, about 800 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division parachuted into Fort Hood. After the jump, Brig. Gen. Brian E. Winski, 82nd Airborne Division’s deputy commander, discussed joint operations with III Corps. “As we speak, III Corps is fighting with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq,” Winski said. “The 82nd is a land component command subordinate to the joint task force, with Lt. Gen. MacFarland and his team. We’re fighting together in Iraq, and we’re training hard together at Fort Hood right now, too.”
Fort Hood troops help lead fight against Islamic State By Jacob Brooks Killeen Daily Herald
Fort Hood’s top headquarters unit, III Corps, deployed with about 500 troops to the Middle East in September to lead the fight against Islamic State. Led by III Corps and Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the deployment is expected to last one year. In early February, MacFarland briefed reporters via a live video feed from Baghdad on the progress of continuing efforts in Iraq and Syria to help local troops win against Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. The task force is the operational-level headquarters charged with synchronizing combat operations and supporting coalition efforts against ISIL. MacFarland said the coalition conducted its first airstrike in Iraq in August 2014 and its first in Syria a month later. Since then, the coalition has conducted more than 10,000 strikes — twothirds in Iraq and a third in Syria. “The cumulative impact of our air
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Soldiers salute during a colors-casing ceremony for III Corps on Aug. 31 at Fort Hood before a deployment to the Middle East.
strikes has ground the enemy down. When applied in support of our partners,” the general said, “we’ve forced the enemy to give up terrain.” Since ISIL’s May 2015 seizure of Ramadi, Iraq, Iraqi forces — supported by the volunteer “popular mobilization
forces” — ejected ISIL from Beiji and the nearby oil refinery, he added. Then, more recently, Iraqi forces, with Sunni tribal forces fighting alongside, recaptured Ramadi — which MacFarland called “symbolically and operationally important.”
“Make no mistake, the recapture of Ramadi was a turning point in this campaign,” he said. In addition to coordinating attacks against Islamic State, the Fort Hood troops do get some downtime during the yearlong deployment. They got a special “Star Wars” treat a week before Christmas. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service debuted the latest installment in the sci-fi saga, “The Force Awakens,” at theaters in Kuwait on the same day it debuted at U.S. movie theaters — Dec. 18. III Corps soldiers who saw the movie had mixed reviews, but all were glad to watch it during the movie’s opening weekend, just like many of their family and friends back home. “I’d say it’s a solid movie,” said Lt. Col. Gabriel Ramirez, one of more than 400 III Corps soldiers who deployed in September. He said “The Force Awakens” sets things up well for the next two movies in the series, expected to be released in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
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Gabe Wolf | Herald
After two years as commander, Col. Cameron Cantlon bid farewell to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment in a ceremony on Aug. 12 at Fort Hood’s Cooper Field. Col. Kevin Admiral took command of the regiment.
1st Cavalry, several brigades change leadership in past year 69th ADA
By Jacob Brooks
Col. Brian Gibson relinquished command of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade to Col. Richard Harrison during a change of command ceremony at Sadowski Field on June 3. “Long-term, I tried to establish a teamwork environment and a family environment where folks have the ability to ... accomplish incredible things and folks are proud about what they’ve done,” Gibson said.
Killeen Daily Herald
While Fort Hood did not see a change with the top commander on post, the installation did see several brigade command changes and a new commander at the 1st Cavalry Division in the past year.
1st Cavalry Division
The largest unit at Fort Hood, the 1st Cavalry Division, bid farewell earlier this year to its commander of two years, Maj. Gen. Michael A. Bills, and welcomed a new leader, Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III. A Jan. 7 ceremony at Cooper Field, outside the division’s headquarters, signified the exchange of command, and drew a large crowd of soldiers, family members, community leaders and former Fort Hood generals.
3rd Brigade Combat Team
The 5,000 soldiers in 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team received a new commander in early March. Col. John K. Woodward, who has ties to the Killeen community going back more than 30 years, took charge of the brigade during a command-change ceremony in front of the division headquarters. He replaced Col. Matthew J. Van 76 < 2016 PROGRESS
Darnall Army Medical Center
Josh Bachman | Herald
Incoming Commander Col. John Woodard, center, receives the brigade colors during the 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s change of command ceremony in March at Fort Hood.
Wagenen, who led the brigade since June 2014.
college fellow at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.
3rd Cavalry Regiment
11th Signal Brigade
After two years as commander, Col. Cameron Cantlon bid farewell to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment in a ceremony on Aug. 12 at Fort Hood’s Cooper Field. Col. Kevin Admiral took command of the regiment upon Cantlon’s departure. He comes to Fort Hood from his most recent assignment as a senior service
In an emotional farewell speech last July to the 11th Signal Brigade, Col. James Parks III said goodbye to the unit he helped move from Fort Huachuca, Ariz., two years earlier. “The past two years have been a blessing,” said Parks, who relinquished command of the brigade to Col. Gary Ridenhour.
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center hosted a change of command ceremony June 30 to bid farewell to its leader of two years, Col. Patricia Darnauer. Col. Mark Thompson assumed command of Darnall at the ceremony.
Warrior Transition Unit
Fort Hood’s Warrior Transition Unit welcomed its newest commander in early March during an assumption of command ceremony at Abrams Physical Fitness Center. Lt. Col. Bruce Gannaway took command of the unit from Lt. Col. Jolanda Walker, who was serving as the WTU interim commander since December. The previous commander was Col. Douglas Woodall, who bid farewell to the unit in December. The unit has downsized recently.
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America’s First Team welcomes new commander By Jacob Brooks and JC Jones Killeen Daily Herald
Fort Hood’s largest unit — the 1st Cavalry Division — welcomed new leaders and said farewell to others as it continues to be one of the busiest and largest Army division’s in the world. In January, the division bid farewell to its commander of two years, Maj. Gen. Michael A. Bills, and welcomed a new leader, Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III. Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, returned from the Middle East, where he is leading U.S. forces in the fight against the Islamic State, to preside over the ceremony at Cooper Field. “It’s a tremendous honor for me to be the reviewing officer for this change of command between two great Army leaders. ... As it goes in our Army, when one great commander leaves, we open our arms to another,” MacFarland said. Bills left Fort Hood for his next assignment as senior operations officer for U.S. Forces Korea. A native Texan, Thomson is no stranger to the area, having previously held leadership positions at two former Fort Hood units, the 41st Fires Brigade and the 4th Infantry Division. His most recent assignment was as commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy. “It’s absolutely fantastic to be back home at Fort Hood,” Thomson said. “I take great pride in joining the team and being a part of your high standards and your excellence.”
Photos by Gabe Wolf | Herald
Maj. Gen. Michael Bills, right, outgoing 1st Cavalry Division commander, hugs Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, during a 1st Cavalry change-of-command ceremony Jan. 7 at Fort Hood’s Cooper Field as incoming commander Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III looks on at left.
It was the first brigade-sized unit in a rotation to support and train alongside the South Korean army. “As the first rotational brigade to South Korea, they set a very high standard,” said Maj. Gen. Theodore Martin, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, which has been headquartered in South Korea for decades. The Fort Hood soldiers fell under his chain of command while deployed to the country. The brigade was replaced in Korea by the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. The 2nd Brigade is led by Col. Sean Bernabe and Command Sgt. Maj. James Scullion.
The division’s 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team marked the official start of a nine-month deployment to South Korea on Feb. 26, as part an Army plan to rotate brigades to the Asian country. Though the rotational plan is new — 1st Brigade is the second brigade to go on the rotating deployment — it’s part of a longstanding alliance with South Korea to have American troops in the country as a deterrent to North Korea. Since the Korean War in the 1950s, tension continues to flare up between the two countries. 78 < 2016 PROGRESS
Ironhorse soldiers prepared for the rotation for months by training at Fort Hood and at Fort Irwin, Calif., home to the National Training Center. The brigade began arriving in South Korea in mid January, where it replaced the division’s 2nd Brigade. “We are proud and pleased to finally join our partners here in Korea,” said Col. John DiGiambattista, Ironhorse commander. The brigade’s top enlisted soldier is
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Coffey.
After spending the previous nine months in South Korea, the division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team closed out its mission on the Asian peninsula in a transfer of authority ceremony on Feb. 26 at Camp Casey, South Korea.. The “Black Jack” Brigade, which has more than 4,000 soldiers, returned to Fort Hood several days later.
The 5,000 soldiers in 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team got a new commander in early March. Col. John K. Woodward, who has ties to the Killeen community going back more than 30 years, took charge of the brigade during a command-change ceremony March 4 in front of the division headquarters. He replaced Col. Matthew J. Van
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Soldiers salute during the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery activation ceremony April 2 at Cooper Field.
Wagenen, who led the brigade since June 2014. It was an emotional goodbye for Van Wagenen, who was heralded by senior leaders for his work with the brigade, which included sending rotational battalions to South Korea, intense training with the Mississippi National Guard as part of the Army’s “Total Force” integration plan and maintaining combat readiness at all times. Van Wagenen is an “absolutely tremendous leader,” said division commander Thomson, who pinned a Legion of Merit medal on the outgoing colonel prior to the command-change ceremony. Van Wagenen was quick to credit the soldiers for the brigade’s successes during the past two years. Woodward said he is “grateful for the opportunity to lead the brigade.” The officer’s history with the Killeen area goes back decades. Woodward’s father, retired Col. Jim Woodward, was stationed at Fort Hood twice: from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1984 to 1987. During those years, the younger Woodward attended several schools in the area, including Manor Middle School and Killeen High School.
In April 2015, the division added another brigade when the 41st Field Artillery Brigade inactivated and the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery activated. It was the first time such a unit, known as Divarty, has been active at the “Great Place” in 10 years. During the ceremony, the unit transferred its colors and switched out its patches, joining America’s First Team. Col. Patrick Gaydon, who had commanded the 41st Field Artillery Brigade for eight months, took leadership of the
Divarty, and spoke of unity among the division. “There will be no ‘us’ and ‘them,’ only one team — the First Team,” Gaydon said. Divarty’s top enlisted soldier is Command Sgt. Maj. Berkeley Parsons.
The division’s 1st Air Cavalry Brigade continues to be the division’s air power, providing attack and transport helicopters and other aircraft. The Air Cavalry Brigade is led by Col. Jeffery Thompson and Command Sgt. Maj. Sean Dunn. Portions of the of brigade are deployed, including about 450 soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, which left for Germany in November. “The battalion will execute medical transport and aviation operations throughout Europe, partnering with NATO, as well as United States Joint Forces,” according to a news release from the Army.
The 1st Cavalry Division welcomed another brigade in June as Fort Hood’s 4th Sustainment Brigade deactivated, and reactivated as the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade. The move added about 2,000 more soldiers to the division, bringing it up to more than 25,000 total troops. In 2006, the brigade established its operations at Fort Hood under the 13th Sustainment Command, and had returned from a deployment to Afghanistan earlier in 2015. The brigade, known as the “Wagonmasters,” is led by Col. Christopher H. Colavita and Command Sgt. Maj. Jill L. Crosby.
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Staff Sgt. Alex Manne | U.S. Army
Soldiers assigned 3rd Cavalry Regiment evacuate a casualty during a clearance operation on a mock town at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., on Feb. 18. NTC provides soldiers with tough, realistic, training to prepare brigade combat teams and other units for combat.
3rd Cavalry Regiment preparing for Afghan deployment By Jacob Brooks Killeen Daily Herald
In the past year, Fort Hood’s 3rd Cavalry Regiment underwent a command change and learned of an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. “The 3rd Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood ... will deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in spring 2016,” according to an Army release in early March. The memo did not specify which squadron or squadrons within the regiment will deploy. All told, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment has more than 4,000 soldiers stationed at Fort Hood. The regiment, which is equipped with over 600 wheeled armored vehicles known as Strykers, finished up a one-month training mission at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, 80 < 2016 PROGRESS
Calif., this month. “Our mission was to defend the borders from the enemies of Atropia and provide assistance to the Atropian government,” said Maj. Frank Hooker, the regiment’s executive officer, of the scenario at NTC. It’s a scenario the 3rd Cavalry troopers may see in Afghanistan, and the soldiers say they are ready. “Without a shadow of a doubt, we are ready for whatever mission that we deploy to because of the training we received at NTC,” Hooker said. The regiment falls under the command of Fort Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division. “Since 1846, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment has answered when our Army called. Now they are called again, to support Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan,” said 1st Cavalry Division
commander Maj. Gen. John Thomson III about the upcoming deployment. “The troopers of the regiment are well trained, well equipped, and most importantly well-led. They are absolutely ready for this important mission.” The regiment last went to Afghanistan in June 2014, when 2,200 troopers were deployed for nine months. The upcoming deployment is also expected to last nine months, according to 1st Cavalry Division officials. Last August, the regiment went through a command change, bidding farewell to Col. Cameron Cantlon, who led the unit for two years. “Troopers of 3rd Cavalry Regiment, I will cherish my time serving with you. It’s been a privilege,” Cantlon said. His tenure as commander included the regiment’s simultaneous deployments to Afghanistan, Egypt and Cuba,
as well as the addition of a seventh squadron to the regiment. The command marked Cantlon’s third assignment to Fort Hood in his 22-year Army career. After relinquishing command, he headed to Washington, D.C., to join the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Col. Kevin Admiral took command of the regiment upon Cantlon’s departure. He came to Fort Hood after an assignment as a senior service college fellow at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. Admiral’s Army career includes two deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, as well as command of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Bliss. Command Sgt. Maj, Bryan D. Barker is the top enlisted soldier in the regiment.
First Army Division West restructuring role at West Fort Hood By Jacob Brooks Killeen Daily Herald
First Army Division West, a training division headquartered at Fort Hood, continued a restructuring plan in the past year, downsizing while still training National Guard and other units that are on deployment or other missions around the world. Last June, one of the division’s aviation training brigades inactivated, part of a broader plan to reshape the division as fewer Guard and Reserve units are deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. The 166th Aviation Brigade, which came to Fort Hood with First Army Division West in 2009, cased the brigade’s colors, symbolically inactivating the unit. “Should the need arise, we will see the colors for the 166th unfurled again,” Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Colt, the division commander, said at the time. It’s all part of “Operation
Bold Shift.” The division’s 479th Field Artillery Brigade also inactivated last year. National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers for deployment and shift training support focus,” according to a document from First Army, based at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., which oversees the West and East divisions. The changes reduce the training brigades within First Army Division West from eight to four, with only one — the 120th Infantry Brigade — remaining at Fort Hood, officials said. The division has brigades at three other installations. The division has more than 3,000 soldiers and dozens of civilians, with cuts expected to continue until this fall. The division saw tragedy last November, when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed on post, killing the four Division West soldiers on board. The Army is still investigating the crash, and no cause has been released.
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick K. Akuna Jr., right, passes the First Army Division West colors to Maj. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt, Division West commander, during the division’s change-of-responsibility ceremony Oct. 20 at Fort Hood’s Cameron Field.
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13th Sustainment Command completes Kuwait mission, returns to Fort Hood by jc jones killeen daily herald
After a nine-month deployment to Kuwait, the 13th Sustainment Command returned to Fort Hood in August, assuming its homefront mission from the U.S.. Army Reserve unit, the 310th Sustainment Command, which took over at Fort Hood while the 13th was deployed. The 13th Sustainment Command provides sustainment support to all III Corps units across the Corps area of responsibility, as well as reinforcing support to the Fort Hood Directorate of Logistics. During last year’s deployment, the unit assumed the role as the Operational Command Post for the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, with missions spanning across Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Oman and Afghanistan. The unit’s primary task during the deployment was to provide logistical support by making sure all required transportation, supplies and equipment were available. “We accomplished the mission and we brought everyone home,” said Brig. Gen. Rodney Fogg, commander of the 13th Sustainment Command, at a color uncasing ceremony at Fort Hood following the deployment. As part of a restructuring process, the 13th Sustainment Brigade bid farewell in June to one of its units, the 4th Sustainment Brigade, which established its operations at Fort Hood under the 13th Sustainment Command in 2006. The 4th Sustainment Brigade reactivated under
1st Lt. Barry Stevenson | U.S. Army
A family with the 13th Sustainment Command is reunited after a nine-month deployment to the Middle East.
Fort Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division, adding another 2,000 soldiers to the First Team. Already in 2016, big changes are underway with the 13th Sustainment Command, which on Jan. 22 activated the 61st Quartermaster Battalion, the first active-duty petroleum supply battalion in almost four years, returning an extraordinarily important expeditionary support capability to the active force. In 2012, petroleum distribution battalions had moved exclusively to the Army Reserve.
On Feb. 19, the unit welcomed Command Sgt. Major Marco Torres, who took over the role from Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Burton, who served as the 13th Sustainment Command’s command sergeant major for two years. Currently, the unit is conducting steady-state operations and training events through ranges, staff exercises, field training exercises and warfighter exercises in preparation for potential future operations worldwide.
Operational Test Command welcomes new leader, executes more than 60 tests By JC Jones Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD — The U.S. Army Operational Test Command, the Army’s only independent operational tester, executed more than 66 operational tests at test sites both in and out of the U.S. last year. Composed of seven test directorates, staff directorates and special staff from Fort Hood, as well as Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Sill, Okla.; the command tests and assesses equipment, systems and technology in a realistic operational environment using soldiers to determine whether these products are effective, suitable and survivable. 82 < 2016 PROGRESS
Major systems and equipment tested in 2015 include the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, Gray Eagle, Distributed Common Ground System, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System and the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection (MRAP) MAXXPRO Ambulance. The command’s participation in two Network Integration Evaluations at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., and Fort Bliss, in the spring and fall broadened the partnership of the TRIAD team consisting of ATEC, Brigade Modernization Command and System of Systems Integration. Though testing carried on as usual last year, major changes occurred in several of the command’s leadership positions.
Brig. Gen. Kenneth L. Kamper took command of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command during a ceremony Aug. 19, 2015, at the command’s headquarters at West Fort Hood. Kamper’s last assignment was as chief of staff for the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan. On Feb. 26, 2016, OTC welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Schmidt as he took his first opportunity to serve at “The Great Place,” arriving from Fort Riley, Kan., where he was the garrison command sergeant major. “My family and I are excited to be joining such a great organization as the Operational Test Command,” Schmidt said. “It’s my honor to be joining such a storied organization
with a vital mission for our Army. It’s impressive to see what this command touches on a daily basis.” Col. Ronald W. McNamara took over as the unit’s chief of staff during March, having previously served as the command’s director, Maneuver and Maneuver Support Test Directorate. The unit also honored one of its veterans last year as the 36th member of the Army’s Operational Testers’ Hall of Fame. Phillip H. Riley, who served a combined 50 years in military and civilian service to the Army, including 37 years in the operational testing field, was honored with the prestigious recognition in October, at the OTC headquarters at West Fort Hood.
From left, Lt. Col. Peter Grijspaardt, Air Commodore JanWillem Westerbeek and Lt. Col. Ijmke Jellema participate in the Royal Netherlands Air Force 302nd Squadron change of command ceremony at Fort Hood’s Robert Gray Army Airfield in August. Lt. Col. Peter Grijspaardt assumed command from Lt. Col. IJmke Jellema, who had been in command of the 302nd under various unit designations since May 2008. Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Royal Netherlands air force unit continues joint training at Fort Hood By Jacob Brooks Killeen Daily Herald
A Royal Netherlands air force training unit based at West Fort Hood is continuing its mission on post under a long-standing Joint-training initiative. The unit in August also received a new commander, its first command change in seven years.
Lt. Col. Peter Grijspaardt assumed command from Lt. Col. IJmke Jellema, who had been in command of the Dutch air force’s 302nd Squadron under various unit designations since May 2008. The Dutch unit includes Apaches, Chinooks and Black Hawks, and has been training at Fort Hood since the mid-1990s. Jellema said the unit’s presence at
Fort Hood is a “unique” program with “rewarding partnerships and lifelong friendships.” “This model had never been tried before, but it succeeded,” he said. Officials with the First Army Division West’s 120th Infantry Brigade, which oversees the 302nd Squadron at Fort Hood, said the Dutch unit has a core of about 30 troops stationed at Fort
Hood, but that number swells to about 500 during various training missions every year. In addition to the helicopter training, the Dutch will also bring in a company of air-mobile infantry soldiers to train at Fort Hood. Grijspaardt said he’s proud to be the commander of the unit, and he and his family have felt welcomed in Texas.
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Smaller Fort Hood units deploy troops worldwide in 2015 possess a unique skill set when it comes to cabling and installation, making them crucial in many deployment operations. In October, a month after the soldiers of 16th TIN deployed, another 120 signaleers from Company C, 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, deployed in support of the same campaign, under the command of Capt. Will Zorn and 1st Sgt. Hector Fontanez, to provide tactical network support for the combined joint task force. Both deployments are scheduled to last nine months.
by jc jones killeen daily herald
11th Signal Brigade
The 11th Signal Brigade welcomed a new command team in July, as Col. Gary G. Ridenhour and Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Fernandez II, joined the Thunderbird team. Ridenhour came to Fort Hood from his most recent assignment as a student at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Prior to that, Ridenhour was plans branch chief for the J6 U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. The 11th Signal Brigade, which deploys and executes operations of expeditionary communication systems in support of III Corps, currently has two units deployed overseas in support of U.S. Central Command. About 120 soldiers from 16th Tactical Installation Networking Company, led by Capt. Jamale Ellison and 1st Sgt. David Brown, deployed in September in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
504TH MILITARY INTELLIGENCE BRIGADE Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Members of the 504th Military Intelligence Brigade sing the official Army song during the brigade’s re-designation ceremony Oct. 26.
The company is one of only two tactical installation networking companies in the regular Army, and their soldiers
As part of Army transformation efforts, the 504th re-designated as a Military Intelligence Brigade from a Battlefield Surveillance Brigade in late October 2015. “We may change our name today. We may reorganize formations and footprints,” Col. Ryan Janovic, commander of the 504th MI Brigade, said. “But we will always be the Always Ready team.”
With the re-designation, came the deactivation earlier in the fall of the brigade’s 2-38 Cavalry Squadron, the 268th Brigade Signal Company and the 509th Brigade Support Company. Currently, the 504th has the 163rd and 303rd Military Intelligence Battalions, and a headquarters company. The brigade also welcomed a new senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Ryan Hipsley, who assumed responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Bernardo Serna. More than 100 soldiers from the 504th deployed to Afghanistan in September to provide intelligence support to NATO and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. The team of intelligence soldiers formed Task Force Longhorn, and will redeploy to Fort Hood in the summer of 2016. Under Army modernization, the 504th also participated last year in fielding the Prophet-Enhanced system, which is an all-weather, ground-based signals intelligence capability mounted on a MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle.
About 5,000 Fort Hood soldiers serve around the world each month Soldiers from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment take part in a comprehensive live-fire exercise at Fort Hood. Soldiers deploy to Afghanistan this spring.
Herald Staff Reports
Fort Hood soldiers continue to deploy around the globe, with some units finishing up deployments earlier this year and other units preparing to ship out in the months ahead. The number of deployed Fort Hood soldiers hit a three-year high — 7,444 — in February. That was the highest it’s been since December 2012, and officials said the number was more reflective of the transition going on at the time in South Korea rather than an increased amount of deployments coming out of Fort Hood. Usually, there are about 5,000 Fort Hood soldiers deployed from month to month. Most of the Fort Hood’s currently deployed soldiers are with 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, which replaced the division’s 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade for a nine-month rotation in February. The Army has yet to announce
Herald | FILE
what brigade will replace 1st Brigade nine months from now. The 1st Cavalry Division has soldiers with its 1st Air Cavalry Brigade deployed to Europe, and 1,000 soldiers from 3rd Cavalry Regiment will deploy this spring to Afghanistan.
• The 89th Military Police Brigade has about 500 soldiers deployed. • The 36th Engineer Brigade has about 500 soldiers deployed. • The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade has more than 100 soldiers deployed
• The 11th Signal Brigade has about 250 soldiers deployed. • 1st Medical Brigade has more than 200 soldiers deployed. • III Corps has about 380 troops deployed. • The 504th Military Intelligence Brigade has about 100 soldiers deployed.
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$47M post exchange opens at Fort Hood in 2015 BY Jacob Brooks Killeen Daily Herald
Fort Hood saw the opening of a new $47 million post exchange on the installation, and its pair of commissaries continued on a path in the past year that may one day lead to diverting all of the grocery stores’ waste from the landfill. In the biggest opening of the year on post, officials with Army and Air Force Exchange Service opened the Clear Creek Shopping Center on Oct. 1. Thousands of shoppers flocked to the main post exchange as the 270,000square-foot store had its grand opening that morning, with some people lining up hours before the opening hoping to catch a good deal. The first 150 customers received goody bags, and the store gave away prizes, including a washer and dryer, gift cards and television sets. The new post exchange includes a food court and a mall area with about 20 small stores, including candy store It’sugar, MAC Cosmetics, GameStop, GNC, Truly Texas, baby store Giggle and others. During the opening ceremony, Fort Hood Exchange General Manager Paula Gunderson thanked customers and others for their patience during the last two years as the store was being built — a project that broke ground in June 2013. “I’m humbled by the wonderful turnout today,” she said. Fort Hood’s other two post exchanges have been repurposed. Clear Creek Main Exchange, across the street from the new store, houses military clothing, alterations, embroidery, furniture, a barber and some name-brand concessions. A Cabela’s outdoors store also opened up there in December, and is on a sixmonth trial run. The outdoors retail giant is trying the business plan at other military bases, too. The Warrior Way store will still sell concessions and food and other services including GNC, Firestone, Charley’s (Grilled Subs) and Domino’s. Fort Hood will take possession of the rest of the space, part of which will be converted into a gym, officials said. 86 < 2016 PROGRESS
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Customers and patrons crowd the entrance of the main exchange inside Fort Hood’s new Clear Creek Post Exchange Shopping Center during the shopping center’s grand opening. The $47 million shopping center is the newest to be built in the past 20 years.
The two commissaries on post recycled nearly 800 tons of cardboard in fiscal year 2015, surpassing a recycling efficiency goal set by the Defense Commissary Agency. “The Defense Commissary Agency recycling efficiency goal for cardboard is 80 percent and both commissaries on Fort Hood exceeded this goal,” said Nancy O’Nell, a spokeswoman for the Defense Commissary Agency. “In fiscal year 2015, the Clear Creek Commissary recycled 458.64 tons of cardboard, achieving an 84 percent efficiency rate, and the Warrior Way Commissary recycled 330.99 tons of cardboard, achieving an 86 percent efficiency rate.”
It was just part of an historic year for military commissaries across the nation, which have been on a path of increasing recycling and reducing waste sent to landfills for years. Seven commissaries in the agency last year received the “net zero” landmark, meaning no waste was taken to a landfill. Fort Hood’s commissaries are also on the path to “net zero” waste. While the local commissaries don’t have an organic recycling contract, the Fort Hood stores divert organic material to a Copperas Cove pig farmer who uses it as feed. The partnership was facilitated with help from the installation’s environmental office.
In plastic last fiscal year, the Clear Creek Commissary recycled .62 tons and the Warrior Way Commissary recycled 14.84 tons, according to commissary officials. The agency hasn’t yet established efficiency goals for plastic, which accounts for a much smaller amount of product than cardboard. The local stores put paper and used plastic grocery bags returned by customers in the post’s recycling bins. Those pounds are not tracked by the commissaries. The two commissaries at Fort Hood also donated a combined 124,920 pounds of edible but unsellable food to a local food bank during fiscal year 2015, officials said.
>>> EDUCATION >>>
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Killeen ISD continues to grow as it educates more than 43,000 BY LAUREN DODD KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
The Killeen Independent School District has come a long way since its origin in 1902. What began as a oneroom schoolhouse in a small, rural community, more than a century later, has grown to become the largest district in Bell County and the 27th largest school district in Texas. At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, the district’s September enrollment was 43,358 students, topping the previous year’s peak enrollment of 42,929 students. The school district is the second largest employer in the area, behind Fort Hood, the largest military installation in the United States. The district employs over 6,500 staff to serve students at 32 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, four high schools, two alternative schools, one career and technology center and several specialized campuses to include the new Early College High School. Killeen ISD serves an area that stretches across 400 square miles and includes Killeen, Fort Hood, Harker Heights and Nolanville. Almost half of all students come from military-connected families. Because of this, and the district’s proximity to Fort Hood, Killeen ISD has cultivated a strong relationship with the military and includes nine campuses on post. The district’s current Strategic Facility Plan includes opening the next elementary and middle schools to begin the 2017-2018 school year. In January, the Killeen school board approved a schematic design by Huckabee architects for Elementary School No. 34. Located on 13.5 acres of southwest Killeen, in Cosper Ridge Estates, the new two-story school will help alleviate over-crowding issues the district has experienced at a few of their other elementary schools. During monthly board meetings over the last semester, staff came to board members several times requesting class-size waivers to be granted, meaning in certain areas, numbers went beyond the recommended 22-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio permitted by the state, a challenge that often comes with growing districts. The board approved 88 < 2016 PROGRESS
Todd Martin | KISD
Motivational speaker Adolph Brown interacts with Eastern Hills and Union Grove middle school teachers during a professional development session.
TODD MARTIN | KISD
It’s a two-toed sloth, according to Robert Trejo, left, of Zoomagination during a presentation at Cavazos Elementary School in Nolanville during SMART Kids Day at the school.
the waivers each time. It is anticipated the continued population growth will dictate the need for additional elementary and middle schools and potentially another high school in the southwest area of the district through 2020. In its fourth year of operation, KISD’s Career Center allows high school students to take courses that lead to industry-level certifications for jobs through nine different career clusters. While classes are primarily offered to juniors and seniors, the graduation plan provides the necessary flexibility
for students to capitalize on the unique course offerings. The Early College High School opened its doors to the inaugural class of 9th grade students this year and provides the opportunity for students to begin working toward earning their high school diploma as well as an associate degree concurrently. Through an innovative dual credit program designed in partnership with Central Texas College and Texas A&M University-Central Texas, this program will offer many students the pathway to advanced academics and higher educa-
tion opportunities while in high school. In its third year of the new academic accountability rating system the district has again earned a “met standard” rating. Ratings are based on indicators such as student achievement, student progress, closing student performance gaps and postsecondary readiness. “The Killeen ISD remains proud of the accomplishments and hard work on the part of many dedicated employees to ensure our students are attaining academic skill sets necessary to be successful young adults,” Superintendent John Craft said in a statement early this year. Craft finished his first full year as superintendent this year. Prior to that, he was the interim superintendent and deputy superintendent of Killeen ISD. In January, the seven-member school board approved Craft’s contract for another year. “I consider myself extremely blessed,” Craft said of his contract approval. “I am extremely fortunate to be able to work within an organization. Yes, it’s large and it’s changing and it’s dynamic at times, but we have a dedicated, hard-working team that goes to the end of the world and back and work extremely hard to positively impact students lives. … It’s a very satisfying and gratifying job — it really is. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t enjoy it.”
Superintendent discusses his vision for Killeen ISD’s future What area needs more focus in years to come? There will always be room for continuous improvement across every department and every program. We will need to continue to be cognizant and responsive to the ever-changing accountability system, the evolving needs of our various student populations (e.g. Special Education, Bilingual, Early Childhood Literacy Programs) and the ability to differentiate pathways for students to experience success, which are relevant to their needs and interests. The ability to provide high quality educational programs must remain a priority for the district and for our nation.
By Lauren Dodd Killeen Daily Herald
Two years ago, John Craft took the helm of the 43,000-student Killeen Independent School District. He is superintendent of the largest school district in Bell County. The Herald reached out to Craft and asked him to share his thoughts on his job, his vision for Killeen ISD and what challenges lie ahead for the district. What is your favorite part of your job as superintendent of Killeen ISD? As the superintendent of schools, I feel I have one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. I thoroughly enjoy being able to come to work each and every day with the understanding that the decisions to be made have the potential to impact thousands of students in a positive manner. Working collaboratively with out dedicated staff to make a difference in our students’ lives — that’s a great feeling! What are your top three priorities for the upcoming school year? There are many areas that will be focused on in the coming year. 1.) Effectively managing future student growth, new construction, and tending to existing facility needs, while remaining fiscally responsible will continue to be an area of focus in the coming year. 2.) I am convinced that providing our students exceptional choices to educational opportunities will be key to the success of public education in the future. As a district, I am very proud of the opportunities we are able to provide to the 43,000 students we serve, and I look forward to the expansion and continuous improvements of programs to include our Special Education Program, Advanced Academics Programming, Early Childhood Education Programs, and Extracurricular activities offered to our students. The expansion of the Early College High School and our Career Center provide incredible opportunities, and serve as examples of the diversification of public
education programs in the future. 3.) We will also continue to focus on the academic achievement of all students. While standardized assessments are not the only indicator by which we measure success, we will continue to work hard, focusing on data-driven decision-making, to make appropriate adjustments to instructional design and delivery to ensure all students are prepared to be successful. What is your vision for Killeen ISD? I envision a progressive, inviting and engaging learning environment, as a result of the hardworking and dedicated team of employees and supportive communities, which provides students with choices and an abundance of opportunities allowing each and every child the ability to achieve their maximum potential in school and in life. Fast-forward to the end of your time as superintendent of Killeen ISD: What would success look like to you? What goals do you hope to have accomplished by that time? I would like to be able to reflect on the district and know two things: As a team we worked tirelessly to do things right, and the decisions made were in the best interests of our students and positively impacted their lives.
Looking at your time with Killeen ISD, what are you most proud of? I am most proud of the relationships established with our staff, our community, and most importantly our students. I often reflect on experiences such as the response to the Gateway fire, the re-launch of Convocation, the implementation of new programs, and my frequent conversations with students in various venues such as the Superintendent’s Advisory Groups. I quickly realize why we work so hard and tirelessly. It’s the teamwork and the interactions with others that make me smile. The memories you create, through your work in collaboration with others and towards a common mission and goals, last a lifetime. What challenges lie ahead in years to come? I recall our state demographer stating, “if we can get it right in Texas, we can be the model (referencing education) for the rest of the nation to emulate.” I believe he summarized our challenges succinctly. As our student demographics change, so must our educational programs and support systems. Ensuring we meet the needs of each and every student, while mindful that fiscal resources will be limited, will remain a challenge in the future. We will need to work hard to attract quality individuals to the education profession. We will need to be prepared for the continued growth of a diverse student population. Most importantly, we will need to be ever mindful of the most important aspect of our public education system, which remains the students we serve.
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Federal Impact Aid funds help offset cost of educating military children By Lauren Dodd Killeen Daily Herald
As military families leave the area due to troop cutbacks at Fort Hood, Killeen and Copperas Cove independent school district officials said the future is uncertain as to what effect the military cuts will have on federal dollars — Impact Aid funding — which directly impacts the districts’ annual budgets. Impact Aid has been around for more than a 65 years. In 1950, President Harry S. Truman signed public law 81-874, referred to as Impact Aid. Part of the U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and now the Every Student Succeeds Act, Impact Aid is designed to assist school districts that lose property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal property, or that experience increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected children. Impact Aid requires a rather complicated qualification process, and the only sore spot Killeen ISD officials need to watch is the district’s comparitively low tax rate. Voters may need to raise the property tax rate if the state average rate increases, as Killeen ISD must stay at 95 percent or above the average rate to qualify for funding. Impact Aid constitutes approximately 13 percent of Killeen ISD’s budgeted expenditures based on its fiscal year 2016 budget. As of March, the district
had received more than $18.9 million with another $27.6 million expected by the end of the fiscal year. “Impact Aid Funding is used as a source of revenue similar to the general fund,” district administrative officials told the Herald. “The funding is conservatively budgeted each year and is used to support and sustain educational programs…Impact Aid funds continue to support personnel and academic programs as well as the construction and maintenance of educational facilities.” The Killeen district officials said they remain conservative in their annual Impact Aid estimates for a reason. “We continue to conservatively estimate the L.O.T. payout to ensure expenditures do not exceed revenue estimates,” district officials said. “The district remains dedicated to the proactively engaging Congress to support the Impact Aid Program and is diligent in explaining the ramifications of budget cuts and/or the effects of sequestration on our ability to provide quality educational programs for our students.” Cuts to Impact Aid funding could trickle down to cuts at the educational level as well. “Significant Impact Aid funding cuts would likely result in program and personnel reductions in order to balance the budget,” district officials said. “The overall impact of the loss of funding would increase the likelihood that educational opportunities we are
currently able to provide students would be reduced in the future, particularly if alternate sources of revenue were unable to be secured.” “We have spent a lot of time in the offices of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools,” Superintendent John Craft told the school board in March. “It’s important to keep tabs on the law, particularly with the reauthorization of ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) we’ve been working really diligently for the last 18 months knowing ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) was going to be forthcoming. “There are a lot of variables that we just don’t know at this point. …Hopefully as we move forward that crystal ball will become more clear. I think we are on good ground with what we budgeted with the information we have thus far.”
In Copperas Cove ISD, the effect of the troop drawdown is very real. In February 2014, Superintendent Joe Burns announced Cove ISD lost its heavy Impact Aid funding, which accounted for 16 percent of the district’s revenue. In 2015, the district lost about $12 million because it failed to meet a program requirement that 35 percent of the student population be military dependents. “Whenever the drawdown of military forces happens, then your aid decreases dramatically,” Burns told the Herald in
March. “It’s not a 1-to-1 decrease ... it just falls off the table all at one time.” Impact Aid is not a forward-funded program, instead it is paid in arrears — so the district will receive their last payment in 2016 for students in the district in 2013. Luckily, Burns said, he saw the writing on the wall and planned accordingly early on, possibly postponing a larger crisis. In, 2013 Burns said, the district reduced expenditures by about $6.2 million. The district reduced expenditures by another $2.2 million annually between 2014 and 2016. “We will essentially walk down our expenses over the next three years,” Burns said. “That will cost us about $8.5 million to do that. We owe it to our community, to our employees, and to our kids to take a hard look at how we are going to modify programs, what staffing modifications need to take place, all those things. That’s not a knee-jerk reaction; this needs to be a well thought-out process.” The next few years will be crucial, he said, as Copperas Cove ISD is forced to make deeper additional cuts. “We’re fortunate that it has not been a kick off of a cliff,” he said. “We’ve been managing this reduction over time, but we are at the point where it will begin to get very painful. We have already taken the icing off of the cake and now we’re getting into the cake ... things begin to get a bit more challenging from here on forward.”
Central Texas school districts meet state accountability standards By Lauren Dodd Killeen Daily Herald
All area districts were up-to-par this year, according to the Texas Education Agency, the state oversight entity that governs public schools. Killeen, Copperas Cove, Belton and Lampasas independent school districts received a “met standard” on the most recent accountability ratings. The TEA calculates accountability ratings based off students’ standardized test scores. This year’s 2015 ratings are based off test scores from the 2014-2015 school year. The TEA transitioned to a new 90 < 2016 PROGRESS
accountability system in 2012 and now uses four “performance indexes” — student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and post-secondary readiness — to better measure all students’ postsecondary readiness and determine if children are adequately learning. Killeen ISD, like neighboring districts, met standards as a district, but received no distinctions. Several campus-level distinctions were issued. For the second year in a row, Willow Springs Elementary School received an “improvement required” rating based on its failure to meet state standards in its “Closing Performance
Gap” category, which measures the academic achievement of economically disadvantaged students and the two lowest performing racial and ethnic student groups, according to the TEA. The index looks at every subpopulation tested to ensure all are performing equally well. As a result of the Willow Springs rating — which is heavily based off scores from the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams — the school must present a “turn around plan” this May to identify how the campus will get back on track. Another Killeen ISD school, West Ward Elementary, also received an
“improvement required” rating based on its failure to meet state standards in “student achievement” and “closing performance gaps.” However, since 2015 was the first year West Ward Elementary received an “improvement required” rating, the campus will not need to submit a turn around plan to TEA. “West Ward, since they are a first year IR (Improvement Required) there’s not a lot that they need to do — it seems like what they do need to do is look at those areas of deficiency and see what they can do to improve them,” said DeEtta Culbertson, Texas Education Agency spokeswoman.
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Copperas Cove ISD, a small but ‘exceptional’ district BY Lauren DODD Killeen Daily HErald
High community involvement is something Copperas Cove Independent School District Superintendent Joe Burns said he doesn’t take for granted. More than 300 community partners turned out to the Copperas Cove Civic Center this month for the district’s annual “State of the District.” There, CCISD officials laid out plans for the future of the district. “Our job is to make things work for students,” Burns said. “We have an exceptional district — we have a district that has a solid foundation financially, a solid foundation as far as facilities, we have an exceptional staff and we have kids who are head and shoulders above any other group of students I’ve had the ability to work with.” The district currently serves 8,370 students from Copperas Cove, portions of Coryell and Bell counties and parts of Fort Hood. After a slight decrease in enrollment projections last year, things are back on track for the school district. Enrollment increased by approximately 400 students this school year. During the fall of 2015, the district surpassed its projected peak enrollment for the year. “Our job is to make things work for students,” Burns said. “We have an exceptional district — we have a district that has a solid foundation financially, a solid foundation as far as facilities, we have an exceptional staff and we have kids who are head and shoulders above any other group of students I’ve had the ability to work with.” Of the 16 state assessments reported by the Texas Academic Performance Report, CCISD students earned above state average scores on 14 of them, Burns said. In all grades, the students outperformed their peers in the region and state in all subjects, reading, math, writing and science, needing only history to score in all 16 assessments. Burns described Copperas Cove ISD as the “district of choice” for Central Texas — a label he said he hopes the district will retain for years to come. The district has plans laid out well into the future. The plan is dubbed 92 < 2016 PROGRESS
Herald | FILE
ABOVE: Crossroads High School students celebrate graduation. BELOW: Copperas Cove’s Ra’shaun Henry (2) catches a pass at Bulldawg Stadium.
“Vision 2020” and highlights several categories the district deemed important, including instructional, human resources, funding, facilities, technology and community partnerships. “Vision 2020 was developed with broad input from the community, more than 150 people,” Burns said. “It really is kind of the road map for our success as we move forward. We’ve made great progress on a number of the initiatives this year. We want to see that culture and climate continue to be in-
fluenced in the decisions that we make and the objectives that we achieve through that vision document.” Vision 2020 is the district’s strategic plan, Burns said. The district is currently in the second year of its fiveyear plan. “It sets the sails that are set to catch the wind that moves us in the right direction,” he said. “Everything we do is measured by the standards and by the objective outlined in the plan. We have six
pretty simple objectives — the first is the most important thing we do and accounts for about 90 percent of all we do in this district — associated with teaching and learning. Our second is associated with human resources — you can’t accomplish number one without having exceptional staff and the best and the brightest in the classrooms. Our third is funding and finances, fourth is facilities.” This year, Burns said, the district made some strides in technology — the fifth objection of the Vision 2020 plan. “We had a huge role out for technology this year, integrating technology with instruction,” he said. “Empowering teachers to use technology to enhance what they do.” The last objective, he said, is to enhance the role and partnership the district has with the community. “None of those pieces (of Vision 2020) can operate without the other one,” he said. “They all have to work in concert to be successful.” When asked how he would gauge success at the end of his contract, which currently is set to expire in 2020, Burns joked that “success is not ever the superintendent being on the (newspaper’s) front page, I’ll tell you that.” “Success is always when we see our kids being recognized for outstanding achievements that they earned,” Burns said. “Success is always when we see our staff members being recognized for the tireless work they put forth to make sure that kids have an exceptional opportunity. Success is whenever our community members are full partners in the educational process for their child. Parents are the first teachers and the greatest advocates for their child’s education.”
Herald | FILE
Copperas Cove Superintendent Joe Burns talks with parents during a community coffee session.
Superintendent puts faith in staff, students and Cove community By Lauren Dodd Killeen Daily Herald
A quality education with the added comforts of a small town community is what makes Copperas Cove Independent School District special, according to CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns. “We really want to be the district of choice,” Burns told the Herald. “We think we are already, but we want to maintain that status as district of choice for Central Texas.” To accomplish that goal, Burns said, he puts a lot of faith in his staff, students and community. Burns has been at the helm of the Copperas Cove Independent School District for the last four years. Prior to that, he was the superintendent of Vidor ISD in Southeast Texas. Copperas Cove ISD serves about 8,000 students from Copperas Cove, Coryell and Bell counties including parts of Fort Hood. The district has one prekindergarten facility, six elementary schools, two junior high, and two high schools — one being an alternative school of choice. The district’s one main high school is a unifying factor, Burns said, uncommon in larger school districts. “I will tell you there is some joy to knowing that we have one mascot to root for — that’s the bulldogs or lady
bulldogs,” he said. “I think that’s the blessing of a one high school district. It creates a greater amount of unity in the community to be rooting for one team rather than rooting for multiple teams.” More than 1,300 teachers, administrators and support personnel are employed by the district. Those employees, Burns said, are a vital component to the district’s success. “I’m very proud of the fact that we have an exceptional staff in Copperas Cove ISD,” Burns said. “I think we have the best teachers that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with in my entire career. I think they are truly committed to making a positive difference for our kids each and every day.” The Copperas Cove community’s involvement in the school district, Burns said, further enhances the success of the school district. “We have people who haven’t had children in school in Cove for 20 years, and they are our biggest fans,” Burns said. “They still volunteer, they still come read to the kids, they buy their season sports pass, and they are out there rooting for the bulldogs whether they are running track or swimming. They are there. It’s because they support the schools, and they know that good schools serve as the foundation for a good community.”
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Local organization reaches new sector of military-related children by JC JOnes killeen daily herald
Last fall, the Military Child Education Coalition received a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to help the organization expand its reach to another sector of the Central Texas community: children with parents transitioning out of military service. The nonprofit organization, headquartered in Harker Heights, promotes academic opportunities and growth for
military connected children through partnerships with schools, parents and educators. Through its programs and workshops, MCEC serves about 8,000 people in Central Texas each year. The grant-funded curriculum specifically geared toward the children of transitioning veterans is currently in the piloting process, and is set to officially roll out in April, in honor of the national Month of the Military Child. It will offer a six-hour training course
for educators, school administrators, health professionals and other youthserving organizations. “There are supports that are available when you’re active-duty military that change when you’re not active duty. What we want to do is make professionals aware of what supports there are in a community that families can avail themselves of,” said Cindy Simerly, vice president, fund development and marketing for Military Child Education Coalition.
In 2014, MCEC embedded trained military student transition officers in several KISD schools, and Simerly said that initiative continued to see success in 2015. “We have such a robust Parent to Parent Program at Fort Hood. I wish we could have that level of programming worldwide.” In the new year, Simerly said the “there is a big focus on sustainment.” “We have a team working with local schools to keep them engaged and aware of opportunities,” she said.
Communities In Schools increases presence across Central Texas By Lauren Dodd Killeen Daily Herald
Communities In Schools of Greater Central Texas is one of 27 CIS affiliates helping children in need across the Lone Star State. It is a local, nonprofit organization serving Bell, Coryell, Milam and Williamson counties. Since the group’s founding in 1992, CIS has grown to serve 51 campuses across seven school districts: Temple, Belton, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Salado, Cameron, and Florence. “Communities In Schools is the nation’s largest and most effective dropout prevention organization because we do whatever it takes to keep kids in school and on the path to graduation,” CIS Executive Director Michael Dewees said. “Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” The organization offers services to include academic support through tutoring, grade monitoring, homework clubs and state testing support. CIS also addresses individual student needs by providing supportive guidance and counseling, including children dealing with the deployment of a parent as well as grief counseling, crisis intervention, mentoring, conflict resolution, anger management, drug and gang 94 < 2016 PROGRESS
prevention and alcohol awareness. Dewees said his mission is simple. “Our goals are two-fold: To improve academic performance and to provide access to basic necessities so academic success is possible,” Dewees said. “Once student needs are met, they can turn their attention and energy to school. This ultimately leads to academic success and higher achievement in school and in life.” Many children face challenges both inside and outside the classroom, he said. “There may be ample resources in a community, but rarely is there someone on hand who is able to connect these resources with the schools, students, and families that need them most,” Dewees said. To accomplish its goals, Communities in Schools partners with local businesses, social service agencies, health care providers and volunteers. With the help of supporters, CIS works to meet the needs of students in the school districts it serves. In the 2014-15 school year, 5,522 at-risk youth were served by Communities In Schools; 94 percent improved in academics, behavior, and/or attendance, 99 percent stayed in school, and 96 percent were promoted to the next grade. For more information about Communities In Schools or to make a donation, go to www.cis-tx.org.
TODD MARTIN | KISD
Freshmen in the new Killeen Independent School District Early College High School work in teams Aug. 24 to build towers on the first day of school. The students can earn an associate degree from Central Texas College while earning their high school diploma.
CTC, KISD launch ‘model education platform’ with early college program By Lauren Dodd Killeen Daily Herald
For 150 Killeen freshman students, Aug. 24, 2015, marked the first day of high school and college. The beginning of the 2015-2016 school year in the Killeen Independent School District was the first day of the district’s dual-credit Early College High School, a collaborative effort between the school district, Central Texas College and Texas A&M University-Central Texas. “I really do believe the Early College High School is going to change the face of high school education.” said Corbett Lawler, Killeen ISD school board vice president, at a January board meeting about the high school. The first of its kind in the area, the Early College High School program offers dual-credit courses, with the goal that students will earn an associate degree before high school graduation. More than 450 students applied for
the first year of the program, but only 145 freshmen were admitted due to space restrictions. By dedicating an entire middle school campus to the program, the district is ensuring more opportunity for students looking to go the earlycollege route. “John (Craft) and I have kicked around some ideas and we’re trying to make this program better, more flexible, more meaningful and a better fit for Killeen ISD,” CTC Chancellor Jim Yeonopolus said during a February meeting about the endeavor. “It’s hard to believe; it seems like just yesterday that I described this as a journey — that was about a year ago,” Craft said. “Fast forward to now. We have 145 students engaged in the early college high school. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the program.” “I believe we have a solid footing and that things are going really well … as a result of the terrific partner-
ship we have with CTC and Texas A&M-Central Texas,” Craft said. “(The students) are learning at very high levels; they are truly beginning to be prepared for collegiate-level coursework,” Craft said. All Early College High School students have laptops and are using a learning management system called Schoology that Craft said will give them a skill set that will prepare them to be successful college students. “We’re seeing signs of truly what I believe will be a model education platform for years and years to come not only for Killeen school district but for others as well,” he said. The Central Texas College chancellor and Craft have been in talks, he said, about ways to increase enrollment at the new high school. “When I see a program that I feel has tremendous opportunities and potential, I think let’s expand it,” Craft said. “Let’s offer greater opportunities
and more opportunities to students who weren’t selected in the process.” Craft proposed a plan to double enrollment by admitting 300 students versus the current enrollment cap of 150. In February, the Killeen ISD school board approved plans to move ahead with the high school expansion. Next year, 600 freshman and sophomore students will study at the newest Early College High School campus, formerly Smith Middle School on Fort Hood. In 2017, the inaugural class of freshmen, now juniors, will move back to the Central Texas College campus to complete their high school and, ideally, their associate degree. “I’m so excited. This is a wonderful venture. ... My hope for this program is that we will grow in numbers, in size, and that all of our students will think anything is possible, any college is possible, that their dreams are not too big,” said Early College High School counselor Chiquata Wright.
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Variety of charter, private schools offer choice for local students and Schools, and provides a Christ-centered learning environment. Established in 1969, the academy serves students from preschool to 12th grade. Memorial Christian Academy is at 4001 Trimmier Road. Call 254-526-5403 or go to www. mcawarriors.com for more information.
Herald staff reports
For parents looking for an alternative to traditional public school education for their children, the Killeen area offers charter schools with multiple campuses.
PRIORITY CHARTER SCHOOLS
Priority Charter Schools, which operates campuses in Temple and Georgetown, also operates campuses in Killeen, Copperas Cove, Heritage and Leander. Priority Charter Schools were first approved by the Texas State Board of Education in 1999 and operate under contract with the Texas Commissioner of Education. The Killeen Charter Academy, 3209 Atkinson Ave., serves students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Call 254-245-9787 or go to www.prioritycharter.org/Killeen_ep_ 46.html
RICHARD MILBURN ACADEMY
The Richard Milburn Academy is one of eight academies in Texas. At RMA, students in grades nine through 12 have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma in an environment in which they feel safe, supported and valued. Students can choose from two daily sessions to complete their nontraditional academic, career and life skills curriculum. The academy is at 802 N. Second St. in
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THE MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF KILLEEN
Craig Lifton | Herald
The graduating class of the Richard Milburn Academy files into the school auditorium.
Killeen. Call 254-634-4444, or go to www. milburnschools.org.
Area private schools
Many private schools in the area also serve Killeen students.
ST. JOSEPHâ€™S CATHOLIC SCHOOL
The school provides classes for prekindergarten-3 to fifth grade with a core curriculum of language arts, math, social studies and science. Physical education, computers, library, music, art, Spanish and religion also are included. St. Josephâ€™s is at 2901 Rancier Ave. Call 254-634-7272.
KILLEEN ADVENTIST JUNIOR ACADEMY
Killeen Adventist Junior Academy offers a Christian education featuring a traditional academic curriculum taught by certified teachers. The school serves students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The academy is accredited by the Texas Education Agency. The school is at 3412 Lake Road in Killeen. Call 254699-9466 or go to www.mykaja.org.
MEMORIAL CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Memorial Christian Academy in Killeen is accredited by both the Associated Christian Schools International and Southern Association of Colleges
The school was established in 1982 and now offers programs in Killeen and Temple. It is a nondenominational Christian school. The Temple campus serves children age 2 through sixth grade, while the Killeen campus serves children age 3 through kindergarten. The school is at 5610 E. Central Expressway, Suite 2 in Killeen. For information, call 254-680-7500.
OAK CREEK ACADEMY
Oak Creek Academy, founded in 2013, is a nonprofit inclusion private school for Pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Oak Creek is a non-graded, non-leveled, skill based private school for all learners. The non-traditional learning environment at Oak Creek boasts a 1:5 teacher to student ratio and multiple in-house therapies including: speech, occupational, physical and behavioral. The Academy is located at 1020 Trimmier Road in Killeen. Fore more information, call 254-526-9299 or visit www. oakcreekkilleen.org.
Fort Hood Education Services promotes learning options for soldiers by jc jones killeen daily herald
The Fort Hood Education Services team last year continued to encourage education options for active-duty soldiers. In 2015, that effort included many thousands of individual and group counseling sessions, tutoring and testing services; leader skills enhancement courses conducted weekly, basic skills education program classes; special briefings on such topics as commissioning programs and Troops to Teachers; a dynamic career skills program; a staffed well used multi-purpose computer lab, higher education track classes conducted twice weekly to help soldiers prepare for college; and strong outreach and community liaison activities. In an effort to get information about education options into the hands of soldiers, monthly vocational and technical education fairs were launched in December. The fairs, hosted at the Soldier Development Center, provide information about “educational opportunities outside the straight academic route,” said Peggy Stamper, acting chief of the programs branch of the Education Services Division. “These fairs have been very popular with soldiers and will continue in the new year,” Stamper said.
Herald | FILE
Spc. Syed Shoaib listens during a 16-week Microsoft course taught at Central Texas College offered to Fort Hood soldiers.
Education Services also co-hosted the first Fort Hood Area Education Summit that included a full day dedicated to higher education; a two-day college fair and an open house that drew more than 800 soldiers. The second annual summit event was hosted by Fort Hood Deputy Commander, Maj. Gen. John Uberti in February, and brought together Fort Hood and education community leaders to share
information, address education related challenges and propose solutions, while promoting productive partnerships in education. Stamper said Education Services also employed technology to serve soldiers in 2015, through a Virtual Education Fair, and through the launch of the new GoArmyEd VIA. “VIA is a decision support tool that helps soldiers preparing to use their
Army Tuition Assistance benefits. The primary goal of VIA is to assist soldiers to make better informed choices about their career and education goals, and to ultimately increase degree completion rates,” she said. “Although the VIA launch was not without a few technology related hiccups, the concerns are being promptly addressed and fixes quickly implemented.” With only 20 percent of eligible soldiers taking advantage of their Tuition Assistance benefit, which pays for up to $250 per credit hour, for up to 16 credit hours per year, Fort Hood’s education services officer Mike Engen has establish increasing this number as one of the department’s main goals this year, as well as to increase the number of soldiers activating their GoArmyEd accounts. Currently less than 45 percent are active. GoArmyEd is the online tool that enables soldiers to access Tuition Assistance and enroll in classes. Active GoArmyEd accounts also allow soldiers to receive email updates on everything from benefits and requirements, to special events and opportunities. “The Education Services Team will continue to provide the best possible service and support to soldiers every day,” Engen said. “We will also work to be more active in offering non-traditional opportunities and assistance to better meet the needs of all soldiers.”
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Herald | FILE
Texas A&M University-Central Texas has come a long way since becoming a stand-alone school in 2009. As enrollment increases, the university has added programs and facilities.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas continues to grow By Lauren Dodd Killeen Daily Herald
Established in 2009, Texas A&M University-Central Texas has come a long way in just seven years. Two years ago, Texas A&M University-Central Texas moved one more step closer to realizing its 30-year plan after it opened a second building, $38 million Warrior Hall. “We now have a real university library,” said Marc Nigliazzo, president of Texas A&M UniversityCentral Texas at the opening. In addition to a library, the building houses the university’s first science laboratories, conference facilities, classrooms, student affairs, counseling and the sociology and finance departments, as well as others. The university also reached several other milestone achievements and has more on the horizon. The university recently received $36 million in funding for a third multi-use building, which is scheduled to break ground before the end of the year. Spring 2016 enrollment topped that of previous years with 2,592 students attending the university. In fall 2015, a Bachelor of Science was offered in biology. Now, the university 98 < 2016 PROGRESS
is in the process of adding a Bachelor of Science in biology for fall 2016, pending the approval of the program by the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges. Currently A&M-Central Texas students can pursue a degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in biology and chemistry. Peg Gray-Vickrey, provost and vice president of academic and student affairs, said pending approval by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and SACS, A&M-Central Texas hopes to add 21 undergraduate and graduate degrees in the next five years. Many of the new degrees are geared toward health, science and technology to meet requests from students. Officials said they will continue working very closely with community colleges to keep costs low, creating more of a “pipeline” to higher degrees and capitalizing on their strong programs by creating avenues to bachelor’s degrees. It’s a strategy that’s proved effective, Nigliazzo said. This year, the average cost for a bachelor’s degree if a student starts at Central Texas College and ends at A&M-Central Texas is $17,000. A&M-Central Texas also implemented ways to increase its full-time students.
To further increase the affordability of college, Texas A&M-Central Texas partnered with Central Texas College and the Killeen Independent School District to launch the area’s first Early College High School, one where graduates will graduate not only with a high school diploma, but also an associate degree from Central Texas College. “On behalf of A&M-Central Texas, I sincerely applaud the development of the Early College High School between Killeen ISD and Central Texas College,” Nigliazzo said. “We are prepared to work closely with both KISD and CTC to provide whatever support and assessment of student progress they might deem appropriate through our College of Education while enthusiastically joining them to extend the students’ pathway into higher education al the way to a baccalaureate degree and beyond.” On the recreation side of things, A&M-Central Texas’ first men’s and women’s “Warrior” rugby team began playing this fall. Students attending the university in need of professional attire received a hand up from the Century Council this year. Last semester, the Texas A&M University System Chancellor John
Sharp announced that the Chancellor’s Century Council would provide Texas A&M University-Central Texas $5,000 to start a suit bank that could allow students access to appropriate attire for job interviews and other professional functions. In total, the Chancellor’s Century Council donated $70,000 to help create similar suit banks at each of the system’s 11 universities. The Office of Career and Professional Development at A&M-Central Texas is referring to this project as the “Career Closet” and it will soon be open to current Warrior students. The “Career Closet” will provide gently worn and cleaned professional attire to A&M-Central Texas students in need of such services. This initiative will provide the opportunity for Warriors to attend career fairs, internships, interviews, etc., with an outer professional representation to match their inner educational preparation. TAMU-CT students will not be expected to return items to the “Career Closet,” nor will they incur any cost or fees for utilizing the Suit Bank. The “Career Closet” is currently seeking donations to expand its inventory of professional attire.
Central Texas College celebrates 50th anniversary By Lauren Dodd Killeen Daily Herald
As Central Texas College celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, it is fitting that their newest chancellor has a 40-year-long history with the college. Newly appointed Chancellor Jim Yeonopolus said he is proud of how far Central Texas College has come. “I am very honored to carry on our tradition of being a leader in providing quality and affordable higher educational opportunities,” Yeonopolus said. “It is our goal to provide every student the best learning experience possible — from excellent instruction to offering top-notch customer service and providing entertaining extracurricular campus activities outside the classroom.” Central Texas College has over 25 locations in the United States and more than 140 locations worldwide on military installations, but its central campus is here in Killeen. The school offers a number of associate degree plans in addition to more than 40 certificate programs. “CTC is an excellent choice to start a career path,” he said. “We offer world class opportunities in the classroom and online to enable student success in completing a degree or certificate program.” Last year the school expanded its offerings with evening and weekend college to allow those with a busy day schedule to take advantage of the degree and certificates programs at night, on the weekends, online or through a mixture of all three options. “The program is one more way of being accessible to meet the needs of our students,” Yeonopolus said. “It also reflects our mission statement of accessible education supporting student success and employability.” Because military service men and women make up a large part of the student population at Central Texas College, this year CTC landed a key partnership to increase post-military employment options for those who served this country. “CTC enhanced its dedication to the military by partnering with various industries to offer career opportunities for transitioning soldiers,” Yeonopolus
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Members of the Central Texas College District Board of Trustees Elwood Shemwell, from left, Don Armstrong, Rex Weaver and Chancellor Jim Yeonopolus celebrate after cutting the ribbon during the rededication ceremony for the newly renovated Computer Science Building and Academic Building on the Killeen campus. The community college recently reached its 50th anniversary.
said. “Through the Veterans Opportunity to Work (WOW) Act, CTC now offers truck driving, welding and pipefitting career programs which lead to college credits and, most importantly, employment opportunities in a variety of career fields to soldiers entering civilian life. We are currently seeking other programs to provide more technical career opportunities for these soldiers.” Last year, the college was awarded a number of honors recognizing its dedication to the military. “Our commitment to the military is evidenced by our selection as a top military school by Military Advanced Education and Transition publication, being included on the Military Times’ list of most popular schools for active-duty soldiers who use tuition assistance and its list of Best for Vets Colleges,” Yeonopolus said. “CTC is also designated a Yellow Ribbon school
by the Veterans Administration and was once again named by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School.” The chancellor said he hopes the school will grow to serve more of the civilian population as well. For a school that charges $76 per credit hour, Central Texas College is more than just a budget buy, he said. “I want this to be a destination,” Yeonopolus said. “I don’t want it to be the 13th grade, or you have to go out here because you are too dumb to go anywhere else. All of those things aren’t true. We have some great instructors and I think you would learn more here.” But the low cost is definitely a plus, he said. “If you go to school with us and you take a full load, 15 hours a semester and you do that diligently throughout your college career you could come to us and then go to Texas A&M-Central Texas and graduate with a degree for less
than $17,000,” he said. Central Texas College, he said, is investing in their facilities to attract and retain more students. “At our central campus in Killeen, we recently renovated the dorms which accommodate 120 students and several classroom buildings to accommodate technology and enhance the learning environment for students,” he said. “CTC invested more than 5 million dollars to improve the infrastructure, classroom facilities including new desks and remodeled classroom space, computer labs, smart classroom technology and other features all to better serve our students.” “Going forward, CTC will continue to find ways of expanding course offerings and improving our customer service to all of our valued students. We want to ensure each student receives the respect, appreciation and value they deserve and expect from CTC.”
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UMHB begins final stage of 5-year Campus Master Plan By jc jones killeen daily herald
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor topped its enrollment record again in 2015, for the seventh year in a row. The university boasted an all-time enrollment high of 3,898 students in the fall semester, 165 more than in the fall of 2014. The student body included 3,221 undergraduate students, 552 students pursuing master’s degrees and 121 doctoral students. The growing university began 2016 with a groundbreaking in February on its newest addition, a performing arts facility, which received a $200,000 grant in July from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, to go toward the $20 million building. Funding for the center was unanimously approved by the university’s board of trustees in October. “The foundation has made many grants through the years to organizations in the Temple/Belton area, which have benefited people throughout our community. That tradition continues with this new gift, which will help provide a wonderful new venue for musical and theatrical performances on the UMHB campus. We are grateful for their support,” said university president Randy O’Rear. The performing arts building will span 40,725 square feet, and will include instructional space, as well as a a 546-seat theater and a 2,000-square-foot performance lab that can be used as a black box theater, a classroom or a room for social gatherings. Completion of the facility will mark the final project of the Campus Master Plan that was adopted by the university’s board in February 2011. “We believed it would take a lot longer, but here we are today breaking ground for the final project,” O’Rear continued. “When it is completed, we will have invested over $135 million in the physical transformation of our campus.”
Opportunities for graduate students expanded at the university in 2015, as the first class was welcomed to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in the fall. 100 < 2016 PROGRESS
Herald | FILE
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor topped its enrollment record again in 2015, for the seventh year in a row. As it nears the end of its Campus Master Plan, UMHB students currently using Presser Hall for performing arts will move into a building under construction on the Belton campus.
The program gained its candidacy from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education in July. “It is my hope that the Mary HardinBaylor program will inspire and encourage graduates to work in rural and inner-city areas that are traditionally undeserved,” said Barbara Gresham, the program’s director. “The hallmark of our program will be the integration of service learning into the curriculum.” Joining the ranks of 15 Texas universities to offer an accredited master’s degree in counseling, the UMHB Graduate School of Counseling was recognized in 2015 by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs with the accreditation of its Marriage, Family & Child Counseling degree, making it the second counseling program at the university to earn this classification. Students who earned a degree in the program as far back as July 2013 will now receive the accreditation status. “The return on investment for their degrees just went through the roof,” said Dr. Marta Garrett, director of UMHB’s Graduate Counseling Pro-
gram. “It is quite possible that they now have a 50 or even 100 percent higher income ceiling than before this announcement.” With a focus on the future, UMHB announced in May the establishment of the Center for Innovation, which will coordinate the exploration and development of new ideas at the university. Tammi Cooper was named UMHB’s first “vice president for innovation,’ and will spearhead the university’s efforts to stay ahead of the curve in higher education. “Colleges and universities face challenges from every direction,” O’Rear said. “In the midst of calls for accountability and rapid changes in teaching technologies, we are continuously asking questions: ‘How can we keep tuition costs as low as possible?’ ‘Are the formats we use providing the best learning environments for our students?’ ‘How do we support and interact with students while meeting their needs for flexible scheduling?’ We want everyone on our campus to think creatively about these issues and others, so we have established this new center as
an avenue for developing ideas that will enhance the educational experiences of our students.”
While opportunities expanded on campus, the university also sought to serve the surrounding community in 2015, by launching two new support groups in June. The UMHB Community Life Counseling center began hosting two support groups for local families, one for families of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, and the second dedicated to those caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. “Groups like these help people to realize that they are not alone, that there are people who can relate,” said Jason Martin, director of the Community Life Counseling center. “Also, these families are resourceful and have often developed strategies for coping, so this gives them a forum to share these things they’ve done, which typically they didn’t learn from a doctor, to deal with situations.”
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>>> HARKER HEIGHTS >>>
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New houses push Harker Heights population near 30,000 By Rachael Riley killeen daily herald
HARKER HEIGHTS — As more houses are built in the city limits, population growth in Harker Heights continues. The city’s population grew from 29,053 in 2014 to an estimated 29,785 as of Feb. 24 this year. “Residential growth in the city in 2015 slightly exceeded residential growth in 2014, which continues a steady pace of residential development for the city,” City Manager David Mitchell said. “I think the uniqueness of place that Harker Heights has coupled with great home values continues to spur demand for residential development in the city.” In 2015, 211 single-family residential construction permits were filed, compared to 201 in 2014, and 25 duplex permits increased from 19 in the prior year. Residential construction values were about $6 million last year. Subdivisions indicating the majority of residential construction include Tuscany Meadows, Evergreen and the Grove at Whitten Place along Verna Lee Boulevard.
“Residential growth has remained focused in the south-central areas of the city,” Planning and Development Director Joseph Molis said. Knight’s Way and Stillhouse Lake Road are the primary growth corridors within the city, he said. With completion of the Farm-toMarket 2410 wastewater trunk project, officials anticipate residential and commercial growth to proceed along FM 2410 towards Belton. The city has a defined extraterritorial jurisdiction, giving a fixed area for growth, Mitchell said. Most of the city’s larger residential areas have been or are under development, and remaining lots are smaller or face topographic challenges, he said. “While I believe the demand for residential properties will remain high, I think these factors could result in a reduction in residential permits compared to previous years,” Mitchell said. Officials will work to continue to improve the quality of life for residents, he said. “Citizens choose to live here,” Mitchell said, “We honor that by giving great service.”
Josh Bachman | Herald
Residents are moving into new homes in the southern part of Harker Heights.
Harker Heights mayor, city manager pleased with city’s progress By Rachael Riley Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS — Harker Heights officials are pleased with continued progress for the city in 2015 to enhance the quality of place and quality of life for residents. “Harker Heights has justifiably earned an outstanding reputation for openness, friendliness, and an outstanding place to live, relax and shop,” Mayor Rob Robinson said. Projects accomplished in the city for 2015 and recognized by the mayor included roadway improvement at the intersection of Farm-to-Market 2410 and Stillhouse Lake Road, along with road construction projects on Amy Lane, Cedar Knob Road and Comanche Gap Road. City Manager David Mitchell recognized the same projects, along with: 104 < 2016 PROGRESS
• completing Hudson and Thomas Drive landscaping • purchasing a new fire engine • hiring a new deputy police chief • contracting with The Retail Coach for retail recruitment • constructing a turn lane on FM 2410 and Highland Oaks • reconstructing Pecan Drive • completing the FM 2410 trunk sewer project • the City Council’s adoption of a sidewalk ordinance that requires sidewalks on all residential streets. Mitchell said the city also acquired funding for FM 2410, from Commercial Drive to Roy Reynolds Drive, a roundabout at Commercial Drive and expansion of U.S. Highway 190 to six lanes, from the city limits adjacent to Killeen to Indian Trail. The city also again earned a “AA” bond rating, which Robinson said
“speaks well” of the city’s planning and budgeting within the city’s finance department led by Finance Director Alberta Barrett. Residents also helped made the city a success, with volunteers from 18 different committees, commissions and similar groups “diligently aiding and supporting the city” with enthusiasm and dedication without pay, Robinson said. “I encourage our citizens to attend our council meetings and workshops, to see for themselves the care and concern given for the betterment of our great city, and the decisions we make for our future,” he said. Projects Robinson said residents can look forward to in 2016 include widening FM 2410, between the overpass over U.S. Highway 190 and Roy Reynolds Drive. The project is expected to begin in late spring, with utility line
relocation. Water and sewer replacement lines and subsequent roadway work will take place on Coral and Cottonmouth drives as part of the city’s continued street improvement plan, he said. Mitchell said project accomplishments in 2016 include FM 3481 annexation, 2015-2016 street improvement projects on Memory Lane, Caroline Court and Miller’s Crossing and Cedar Knob realignment, which is about 60 percent complete. “In 2015, the city spent a great deal of capital and time on expanding and enhancing the city’s infrastructure,” Mitchell said. “2016 will continue that theme as a number of projects are still ongoing and a number of others are set to begin. The mission of all of these projects is to provide the citizens and businesses of Harker Heights with the very best service.”
Josh Bachman | Herald
Smoothie King and Anytime Fitness opened their doors in 2015 along Central Texas Expressway, two of many new businesses and restaurants in Harker Heights.
Retail opportunities expand across Harker Heights By Rachael Riley killeen daily herald
HARKER HEIGHTS — As the area’s population continued to expand, so did retail opportunities for residents. In 2015, Harker Heights collected more than $6.39 million in sales tax, or about $177,269 more than what was collected in 2014. The amount is a 2.85 percent increase from last year. Heights City Manager David Mitchell said some businesses report income quarterly, while some report monthly, accounting for the spikes in sales tax revenue every few months. “When a new business reports in, that can jump up the numbers,” Mitchell said, adding that “the jumps reflect quarterly trends.” The new CVS/pharmacy at 800 E. FM
2410 was one of the biggest newcomers in 2015, opening in late May. It is the first CVS in Harker Heights and the largest one in the area, store manager Roy James said. The 14,135-square-foot pharmacy was a $1.4 million project, according to city commercial permits. According to records, a total of five commercial permits were applied for in 2015, valued at $17.05 million This year, a new business that contributed to already high commercial permit values is the Armed Services YMCA under construction at 100 Mountain Lion, valued at nearly $13 million. The ASYMCA is slated for completion by the end of May this year. Also, A+ Federal Credit Union in May applied for a commercial permit valued
at $2.7 million. It opened earlier this year off of U.S. Highway 190 in front of Sam’s Club on the eastbound access road. Mitchell said although most of the larger business lots along U.S. Highway 190 are developed, he believes Harker Heights has the potential to become a “regional draw,” bringing in shoppers from all over the area. The city partnered with The Retail Coach in April, a company devoted to assessing city demographics and marketing these cities to national retailers in hopes of drawing in new retail businesses. “The Retail Coach already knows what commercial enterprises’ growth plans are and what they want,” Molis said. “They already have relationships (with retailers) in place and provide us
credibility. It’s a more efficient use of our resources.” Mitchell said another element to business development is retention. “These new developments continue to bring a greater array of services and products to our citizens,” he said.
KNIGHT’S WAY OVERLAY DISTRICT
In December 2013, the Knight’s Overlay District was adopted as a way to create a buffer between commercial and residential zoning and to improve the aesthetics of the corridor through the city. It was first used in 2014 for the CVS site design, and the 2,951-square-foot Taco Bell building valued at $450,000 at 521 E. Farm-to-Market 2410 was the primary business that opened in 2015 falling under the Overlay District.
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By updating services, city aims to better serve its residents ment’s rescue equipment, along with a 750-gallon water tank that can pump 2,000 gallons of water per minute, Collier said. It replaced the department’s 1988 pumper, which was donated to the Sparta Volunteer Fire Department. During the start of the school year, the fire department joined the police department to promote safety to motorists, students and parents traveling through school zones.
by Rachael Riley killeen daily herald
HARKER HEIGHTS — Each of the city’s departments saw either new programs, buildings or services added to the city in 2015. Plans to renovate both City Hall and the recreation center for an estimated $2 million started in March 2015, when council members approved authorizing negotiation of contracts with Braun and Butler Construction as the construction manager at risk for the project. Construction started in January, and construction representatives said the target completion date of Sept. 30, 2016. “The end goal of the renovations is to allow the city to better serve our residents and businesses,” City Manager David Mitchell said. “We ask those who need to come to City Hall to be patient and bear with us during this time of construction.” Parking spaces will be limited during the construction period, and a drivethrough lane will be impacted at some point during construction when space is added to the finance department’s wing, Mitchell said. “The only city program impacted is our senior program,” he said. “We have relocated their activities to the city’s activities center, which was designed for programs like this.” Changes to City Hall include adding an area for the information and technology department with a generator, taking the city manager’s office and creating future council and office space and creating private court waiting areas, said Don Greer, a representative of the architect. The recreation center work includes added a larger conference room, kitchen area, offices and secondary exit, he said. Funding for construction on the recreation center, which will have an additional 2,000 square feet added to it, will come from 2008 certificates of obligation, Finance Director Alberta Barrett said.
In January 2015, the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Library received notification that the Connecting Texas 106 < 2016 PROGRESS
Josh Bachman | Herald
Recreation opportunities in Harker Heights will increase when YMCA on Mountain Lion Road opens.
Libraries Statewide group applied for the grant to purchase LEGO Robotics materials to send to libraries that are part of the group. Children’s Librarian Amanda Hairston said the program is a collaboration between the Harker Heights Public Library, Connecting Texas Libraries Statewide and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Librarian Lisa Youngblood said about 12 robot variations can be built from each kit.
Harker Heights Pet Adoption Center
In August, the city debuted a new website for animal lovers who want to donate for shelter needs, medical procedures or spaying and neutering the animals, otherwise not covered by the city’s budget. They may choose to donate to make a general fund donation for larger cat cages or items not in the city’s budget, spaying and neutering or the emergency medical fund provides medical procedures to animals with injuries or conditions otherwise cost prohibitive to the shelter. The website, www.hhpetadoption. com, allows users to conveniently donate to the shelter, said Gary Bates, who is both the pet adopt center’s manager and Harker Heights information and technology director.
Parks and Recreation
Efforts to promote the Get Outdoors (GO) Heights program continued in 2015, Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Bark said. Events offered through the program included knot tying, campfire building, plant identification, Leave No Trace programming, wilderness first aid classes, and campouts. “The department continues to offer over a variety of programming in athletics, recreation classes, senior classes, educational classes, and health and wellbeing courses,” Bark said.
Barrett said a new integrated voice response system was implemented to allow customers to pay bills over the phone with a credit card 24 hours a day. “It’s an automated system that takes their payment at no charge,” Barrett said.
In May, residents, fire department personnel, city employees and officials pushed in a new fire truck into service. Fire Chief Jack Collier said the 5,200pound Ferrara firefighting vehicle is a rescue pumper engine. The $477,850 truck will respond to all calls for rescue, medical, car wrecks and hazmat spills, Collier said. It is able to carry all of the depart-
The Harker Heights Police Department dedicated a monument to its officers in October. The monument honors past and current HHPD officers, with the nametag of the anonymous officer bearing no specific name, but instead the word “honor,” Chief Mike Gentry said. Standing next to the officer is a child designed to resemble a 2-year-old girl named Jasmine, who was abducted in another state and located in Harker Heights. Former HHPD officer Mike Simmons, and his family took Jasmine into their own home until out-of-state authorities arrived to take custody. During that time, Jasmine played with a particular toy that belonged to the Simmons’ own children and is depicted on the statue. The names of two fallen HHPD officers — Andrew Rameas and Carl Levin — are etched on the stone as part of the monument.
Planning and Development
The Planning and Development Department implemented Section II of the city’s Mobility 2030 plan, which was adopted by the city council in October 2015. The section “codifies” the current and future sidewalk network envisioned by the city, Planning and Development Director Joseph Molis said. In December 2015, the department worked with local builders, city building official and the fire marshal to update the 2015 Building and Fire Codes adopted by the city. The codes are an update from the 2009 codes and focus on “energy efficiency and new technological innovations,” Molis said.
Heights chamber grows membership and role in community Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS — The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce ended 2015 with a membership of 816, according to the chamber’s annual report. The chamber’s growth is in line with the community, said Gina Pence, chamber president and CEO. “Every day you drive down the street and see something else popping up,” Pence said. “We still get phone calls daily from people looking to move to the area and businesses looking to expand their current business.” Changes within the chamber included moving Eric Kilter into the business development director role and adding Michelle Kratzenberg, a former intern, as office manager. Programs and events, such as the Central Texas Food, Wine and Brew Festival, Harker Heights Initiative School Program and scholarship fund continued to grow, along with new initiatives. At the start of 2015, the Sip and Social was introduced as another networking social event for members during evening hours. “It’s much more casual than some events we already sponsor such as the Coffee Connection and After Hours Business Mixers,” Pence said. “Its purpose is also to honor those in our community who serve the country as soldiers and support for the mission of the military.”
Eleven HHHS students and 20 adults from local businesses were selected for the leadership class, which was the first to integrate high school students. “That’s our future, so we want to make sure that we’re able to reach them and continue with the growth,” Pence said. During the eight-month program, students chose streetscape beautification as their class project. They pitched ideas to the city and Texas Department of Transportation for approval. The 2015 class provided the first eight banners, with a ceremony to debut the design this month at HHHS.
By Rachael Riley
Promoting the city was an additional
Josh Bachman | Herald
The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce supports area businesses, including the Gyro Nook.
focus for the chamber in 2015. In June, the chamber debuted five online video tours of the city, produced by CGI Communications, Inc. The videos took six months to produce, but the effort was worth it, Pence said. The video tour of Harker Heights showcases the city’s parks, hospitals and public schools. Another highlights nonprofits in the community. “There are a lot of things like that that we want a lot of people to know and come in and take advantage of
— not only is Harker Heights a great place to raise your family and go shopping, but we do have outdoor activities as well,” Pence said.
LEADERSHIP and YOUTH INVOLVEMENT
Involvement of Harker Heights High School students in the Vision XXI Leadership Class was one of the goals in 2015. The program partners local leaders and key organizations to produce a shared vision of growing the future of the community
The chamber’s main goals for the new year are enhancing membership participation, promoting economic and sustainable business growth, develop and utilize existing partnerships, tourism development and enhancing the visitor’s center. Looking ahead, Kilter said, there will be a continued focus for business workshops and utilizing online media for members. Pence said there’s plans for a strong “Buy Local/Play Local” campaign. For future chamber events and programs, she encouraged residents to check out www.hhchamber.com. “I want to encourage people to get involved with their chamber and meet the talented and interesting individuals in our community,” Pence said. “All programs are designed to advance the interests of the area, its businesses, residents and visitors.”
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New city manager, city hall mark year’s big changes in Nolanville hall in April, as the rough draft of the plan was completed by the graduate students at the end of August. From that point, Nolanville EDC, Planning and Zoning Commission members reviewed the plan, with final council approval adopting it chapter by chapter this year.
By Rachael Riley Killeen daily herald
NOLANVILLE — Significant changes for Nolanville in 2015 included a new city manager, new city hall, drafting a new comprehensive plan and submitting grant applications for projects moving into 2016. Council members started the year interviewing several applicants for the city manager position after Stephen Pearl’s departure from that role in 2014 to accept another job. In March 2015, council members named Kara Escajeda as the new city manager. Escajeda stepped in the city manager role April 27, after retiring from the Army as an environmental science engineering officer with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade at Fort Hood. She also served as Nolanville’s Economic Development Corporation’s vice president and spearheaded efforts for implementing the Keep Nolanville Beautiful organization. “It’s amazing because public service, it’s what my calling is. It’s what I thrive on,” Escajeda said. “And in a city like this where there’s so much potential for a positive change, I’m really excited to see where we go.” Other changes in leadership included naming a new public works director when Bob Peña retired after nine years of service with the city. Peña worked to train new Public Works Director Chris Atkinson, who joined the city in May. Atkinson is an Army veteran, who worked as a heavy equipment operator for about eight years. “It is nice to be part of something that you can see is growing,” he said. In April, city departments started moving in the new city hall at 101 N. Fifth St. The 2014-2015 budget was amended to approve allocating $155,000 to purchase the building and for about $165,700 for renovations to what was former Killeen Independent School District property. Former classrooms on the north side of the building were converted into the city’s police department, with a separate entrance from administration offices at the front of the building. “We were efficient, but it’s nothing 108 < 2016 PROGRESS
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Nolanville officials moved into a new City Hall building last year.
like having the space,” Police Chief Gary Kent said. Public works offices occupy other old rooms at the school. In June, council members approved an agreement for 75 Realty, LLC to lease the prior city hall building at 100 N. Main St. for two years. Broker David Mull opened Re/MAX real estate at the site during the summer.
Business openings in Nolanville for 2015 included: Kustom K9 Dog Training, Cooney’s Café, ReMax Brigade / 75 Realty, Caliber Collision and Oak Ridge Apartments. In 2015, the city collected more than $257,000 in sales tax. Escajeda said Nolanville is targeting professional services, such as banking, accounting, consultation, medical and beauty services to locate on Main Street. Another focus is “securing a truck stop,” based on current high volume and parking at the corner gas stations off of 190. The area is ideal because of future sidewalk enhancements, high visibility from Highway 190 and future interstate and ability to own a business, she said. “Nolanville is the perfect place for entrepreneurs to start their business concept,” she said.
In August, Grant Development Services’ officials filed an application for a $350,000 Texas Department of Agriculture Community Enhancement grant on behalf of the city. The city received an award notifica-
tion letter for the grant in November and approved an agreement with the TDA in February this year. The grant, for which the Nolanville Economic Development Corporation is contributing the required 5 percent $17,500 match, will fund a multi-use community center in the city’s park, off of Mesquite Street. “The center at the park is primarily for YMCA to offer recreation to our youth such as after school, summer camps and Christmas camps,” Escajeda said. The J.W. Sims Community Center on 10th Street will focus on serving as a recreational site and be available for rentals for meetings, banquets and wedding, she said.
A task force of 13 residents continued to draft the city’s 20-year comprehensive plan with graduate students through Texas A&M University’s Texas Target Cities program The plan addresses goals for transportation, parks, infrastructure, community facilities, housing, economic development and future land use based on resident input, Census data and studies. Resident input included wanting to maintain a small-town atmosphere while growing, improving Main Street, additional green space for the city’s parks, a citywide hike and bike trail system, improved pedestrian and bicycle safety and infrastructure improvements, program coordinator Jaimie Masterson said. Final residential input was provided during an open house at the new city
With a slowly growing population of around 5,000, the residential housing sector showed steady growth as well. In May, a 48-unit, two-building, threestory apartment complex known as Oak Ridge Apartments opened at 339 10th St. The complex is an income-restricted affordable housing development, said David Perkins, a national leasing professional with the property developer, Miller-Valentine Group. “We’re a tax-credit community that provides quality, affordable, safe housing,” Perkins said. The project was possible through the competitive Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs’ taxcredit program, he said. Construction also continued in the multi-million-dollar, multi-phased, upscale Bella Charca subdivision. In March 2015, Blankenship said Bella Charca is in its 10th year of serving the community and has created more than $60 million worth of property value. According to preliminary plat plans from that meeting and listed on the Bella Charca Homeowners Association’s website, phase one contains 128 lots, phase two contains 62, phase three has 42, phase four has 35, phase five has 38 and phase six has 52 — bringing the total to 357 after the sixth phase. The plat also states the possibility of another 517 lots in the future. “We’re going to keep Bella Charca way above the ordinances and do all the things necessary to make the city proud,” Blankenship said. On Oct. 15, council members approved the final plat for the sixth phase of the subdivision, which included annexing 40.345 acres of land into Nolanville. The entire 370-acre subdivision plan includes 908 homes, with 39 acres set aside for parks.
Nolanville officials work to identify future projects, secure grants By Rachael Riley Killeen Daily Herald
NOLANVILLE — With a new city manager in 2015, city officials worked to identify future projects and secure grants to improve Nolanville’s infrastructure. In May, council members approved spending up to $60,000 for emergency repairs to Mesquite Road, after residents voiced concerns with the city. City Manager Kara Escajeda said emergency work was for a 2-inch overlay at the entrance of Mesquite Road, followed by pothole repairs for the length of the road. Both Escajeda and former mayor Dennis Biggs said officials the road will require future repairs, after a future water department project to replace water and sewer lines along the north side of the street. Council members approved a $26,000 bid from Conway Engineers to provide engineer work for the street and nearby roads to address drainage issues. A preliminary engineering report was presented to council members during a July workshop. Engineer Rick Coneway said Mesquite Street connects the community to the park through the Plaza subdivision. According to the project analysis, the project site begins at the intersection of Mesquite Street and East Avenue H and extends north to the city park at Mesquite Street. There is no existing storm drainage system as water is allowed to sheet flow from north to south. Coneway said Mesquite Street has drainage problems. He recommended council members consider a 36foot street with curb and gutter and 10-foot sidewalks estimated at $841,144. During the July meeting, Escajeda said the city is
Rachael Riley | Herald
Nolanville City Manager Kara Escajeda points out the city’s park near Mesquite Road as engineer Rick Coneway looks on.
looking at applying for Category 7 funds from the Killeen Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization for the project this year.
In 2015, the city applied for a $500,000 Transportations Alternatives Program grant, to use for sidewalk and road improvements along Old Nolanville Road. The city was awarded the grant earlier this year. Nolanville intends to use its portion to fund 6-foot sidewalks that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act near Nolanville Elementary, said Gandolf Burrus, president Grant Development Services that submitted the city’s grant. “The purpose of that sidewalk is safety,” Burrus said. “They will not build recreational sidewalks.” Escajeda said the city is required to contribute about 20 percent of the grant. “It’s going to be funded through the sales tax that’s generated for street repair,” Escajeda said of the
city’s match. “So that’s not coming out of operational expenses.” The next step in the process is to hire engineers who will design the project, followed by bids for construction. A separate grant the city submitted in November was for the Federal Highway Administration’s Surface Transportation Program, known as Category 7 funds. KTMPO approved the city’s application for $540,000 in funding, which requires a 20 percent match. According to the city’s application, the funds will be for sidewalks along Main Street. According to preliminary project plans, 10-foot-wide sidewalks for biking and walking would go be on both sides of Main Street, from the Shell and Valero gas stations near U.S. Highway 190, and continue toward the Avenue I intersection. The project includes two HOP bus stops, which the HOP is providing, refurbished shelters and lighting.
The city also applied for a $75,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife small parks grant in 2015. The city is awaiting notification of the awarding of funding, which will be announced in April. The grant requires a 50 percent match. During a June 12 workshop meeting, Escajeda said the city set aside $40,000 for parks in the fiscal year 2015 budget, which has not been used yet to optimize the city’s match. Additional money was set aside in the 2016 fiscal budget, and Nolanville’s Economic Development Corporation budgeted $23,000 to “overmatch,” the grant — bringing the city’s contribution to $98,000, if awarded. The project would occupy one-third of the existing park, Burrus said.
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Belton expanding hiking, biking trails, other city infrastructure BY DON MUNSCH KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Looking for a place to bike or walk or run? Belton is expanding trails to meet those needs. Phase II of the Nolan Creek hike and bike trail has been finished for a while, and Phase III is a continuation of the trail from Martin Luther King Avenue, where it ends now, said Paul Romer, public information officer with the city of Belton. “Right now, it runs along Nolan Creek through three city parks,” Romer said, referring to Yettie Polk, Harris Community and Confederate parks. “Phase III will bring it over the new MLK bridge to Loop 121, and that project is combined with the Martin Luther King Jr. bridge project,” he said. “If you were to walk out there and look, you could see that the sidewalks are mostly in, and they’re working on some lights. One of the parts of that projects that’s been added on is a (traffic) light on Loop 121 and MLK. When that light is ready, then the latest leg (Phase III) of the hike and bike trail will be open.” The project will be done sometime in the summer, by July 4 for sure, Romer said. For Phase IV, the city was awarded a Transportation Alternative Program
grant through the Texas Department of Transportation to do another phase, which is in the planning process now. “That would take it from right there at MLK down University Drive, and then it will cross underneath the railroad track and continue all the way to Sparta Road,” he said, noting that the construction and completion dates have not been set. He said he was sure not whether Phase IV is the final phase. “Currently, as the trail is configured, somebody can travel from I-35 all the way to Loop 121,” Romer said. “Once the fourth phase is complete, you will be able to go from I-35 all the way to Lake Belton on sidewalks.” The sidewalks are concrete, and lanes are for both hikers and bicyclists and are designated for group or the other.
Also, on tap for the city is a continuation of its water and sewer projects. Last year, the beginning of a $26 million water and sewer repair plan began, in order to meet the demands of growth. Some projects have begun and others are in the beginning stages. Planning for the Wastewater Plant Rehabilitation Phase I ($2.8 million) is still occurring and construction has not started. The project is being done in
conjunction with the city of Temple. “It’s just an expansion of the current plant so that it can increase its capacity,” Romer said. The city has increased in population 10 percent since 2010. The city currently has 20,000 people. The Nolan Creek Sewer Trunk Line Replacement project ($1.2 million) has started, and that project will take a 10-inch sewer line that runs along the Nolan Creek basin and increase its size so that it has the capacity to serve more people and meet the demands of growth, Romer said. That project began in January and should be done before July. Among the other upgrades the city plans, there is the South Belton Sewer Service Design ($500,000), which the council recently approved the go-ahead for the design contract to be executed. Also on the list was the Automatic Meter Infrastructure — the apparatus in which water meters deliver a radio frequency so that meter readers don’t have to be sent to read meters — is serving most of the meters in the city. “Ninety-four percent of the meters in the city have either been retrofitted or switched out, replaced with new meters,” Romer said about the $4.3 million project in February. “That project is nearing completion. Our next step for that will be rolling out a software inter-
face where folks can track their usage.” Other projects in the works for the next few years are the South Belton Sewer Service Construction ($4.5 million; 2016-17), Wastewater Plant Rehab/Expansion Phase II-IV ($8 million; 2017-19), main replacements ($1,250,000; 2015-19), sewer truck replacement ($350,000; 2017) and north water tank ($3 million; 2017). “The wastewater plant is quite expensive, so that project is being phased over several years,” Romer said. “The cost you’re seeing there for that rehabilitation is our cost — Temple is also paying for the cost of that.” According to an FME News Service story from last year, the entire project is $11.2 million, with Belton paying for $2.8 million of those costs. The city is paying for the project upgrades — the $26 million — through certificates of obligation, Romer said. Romer said the city is prepared to meet growth head on. “It continues to be a time of growth of the city of Belton, and we are doing the best to meet the demands and prepare for the future,” Romer said. Romer said these projects, such as the Nolan Creek Trunk Sewer, may cause some disruptions in the usage of Yettie Polk Park, for instance, but the result will allow the city to provide the same quality of service that it always has.”
Belton ISD officials plan for growth by developing ‘Roadmap to 2025’ BY DON MUNSCH KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Belton Independent School District continues its growth as it added 320 students from last year. The district’s snapshot enrollment, which it provides as an official count to the state at the end of October every of the year, was 10,864, said BISD Superintendent Susan Kincannon. Belton ISD spokesman Kyle DeBeer told the Herald last year that the said the district is expected to add about 3,500 new students in the next decade — and that number has not changed. “The growth is coming really from all over, but primarily it is due to new housing construction in the area,” 110 < 2016 PROGRESS
Kincannon said. “We have a lot of lot of available infrastructure. We’re 197 square miles of school district, and there is just a lot of available land in the area, and so there’s a lot of new construction and lot of new business growth in Belton ISD, city of Temple area and the city of Belton, So the growth seems to be coming from the availability of land and from the kind of the whole area of the state.” And with new students entering the districts comes talk of a new high school. “We have been engaged in a longrange planning process this past year,” Kincannon said. “We started with a citizens committee in 2015 to discuss how we would handle our
high school capacity. We’re expected to have about 4,300 students at the high school level by 2024, and so one of the questions is how to manage that growth.” The consensus of that committee was that the second high school is “inevitable,” Kincannon said. Currently, the district has 3,200 students, with most attending Belton high School (2,700) and the remainder at the Belton New Tech High School. Kincannon said the board has not made a decision on the new high school, but she said the district informed the community it would not have a bond election prior to 2017. “That targeted date is 2017 or later,” she said. “Our demographics show
that we need additional high school capacity by 2021.” The district completed its 2012 bond program last year with the opening of a couple of schools. No new companies opened this year, but a new ag barn opened this year. The district and school board conducted some long-range forecasting and planning of future facility needs in 2013 and worked on a “Roadmap to 2025” and held series of workshops over a year to examine those facility needs, which include everything from current aging buildings to high school capacity to portable buildings. In the fall of 2014, community meetings were held, and in the February 2015, the citizens committee was formed.
Belton offers many attractions to draw tourists, residents BY DON MUNSCH KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
BELTON — There is plenty to see and do in Belton besides Belton Lake, although that body of water remains a big draw. But the other aspect of town that will enhance tourism will be a roadway. The city will soon have two interstates going through town — a selling point for the city. Belton will be one of four cities — Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are the others — to have two interstates going through town, with the redesignation of U.S. Highway 190 as Interstate 14, said Ed Bandas, retail development coordinator for the city of Belton. “Basically, you can’t drive anywhere in Central Texas without going through Belton,” Bandas said. “This is only going to help (the city). It’s great for our future.” What is great for the present has been The Gin at Nolan Creek. “The Gin was a project that was done
Herald | FILE
The Fourth of July Parade brings thousands to downtown Belton.
that actually encompasses three restaurants, a winery and a spa,” Bandas said. “We think it was a very catalytic project for the historic downtown Belton area. What that did is spur other folks to start building.” Bandas mentioned some other businesses opened and buildings popped up, explaining the Gin further encouraged
the development of the Nolan Creek water front. The city made some investment in the waterfront, in the landscaping and creek front, producing a scenic venue. “So now on a sunny weekend day, you’ll see people taking wedding pictures out there, you’ll see kids splashing around in the water, you’ll see innertubers going up and down (the creek),” Bandas said. “It’s really become a nice draw and foot traffic creator for the historic downtown area.” The city recently won a Texas Downtown Association award for the Best City Renovation for a city under 50,000 people for the Nolan Creek project, Bandas said. Belton also offers the Belton Market Days on the third weekend of each month in the downtown area, in which dozens of vendors show off their wares. Another large event that pulls in large numbers of visitors is the annual Fourth of July Parade — the largest July 4th parade in Texas, if not the
U.S., Bandas said — but The Festival on Nolan Creek also attracts thousands. Last year’s festival drew 50,000 people, according to FME News Service. The Bell County Expo Center will continue to host the Central Texas State Fair and Texas Master Gardeners Conference, and the center recently held the Mother Earth News convention, which brought in thousands of attendees. “I know from experience that generally speaking, they have no open weekend there anymore,” Bandas said about the Expo Center, adding that “there’s always something big going on there” and that the center will be renovated and expanded. Construction begins this summer. The city also holds a Citywide Garage Sale three times a year. And then, of course, there’s Belton Lake. “It was wonderful to see last year’s big rain actually brought up (the level),” he said, adding that the lake came back to full level.
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As I-35 construction nears end, Salado anticipates growth BY DON MUNSCH KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
SALADO — This town of a little more 2,000 anticipates growth, something local officials embrace. Kim Foutz, city administrator for the city of Salado, and Mary Poché, director of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, discussed happenings in the city, which has a population of 2,100. “The tourism activities that happened specific to my department, in regard to the Christmas Stroll, and the preliminary numbers are coming in, business is up from last year, and from 2014, in some instances, as much as 25 percent,” Poché said. “We think that is definite indicator that everything is on a very nice upswing.” Foutz said the chamber will be reigniting efforts to attract groups for destination-type meetings. “That is a program that we had in the past that we had not put as much emphasis on in the last three years or so, and we are going to reinitiate those efforts,” Foutz said. Poché has a marketing background, so she can make decisions on advertising and promotions. She joined the chamber in October. The city developed its economic development policy and incentives in preparation for the growth that the city is anticipating. The city is installing its first sewer system, and the city has signed agreements with a couple of major developers, Foutz said. The first development is with Clark Lyda for Stagecoach Inn. Lyda acquired the inn and his first phase of redevelopment is the restaurant and some of the meeting space, with the second phase concentrating on renovation and expansion of the rest of meeting facilities and rooms and common areas, Foutz said. Construction began on the restaurant in February, and is expected to be complete by June. “We have also completed all of our negotiations with the Sanctuary Development, which is a 300-acre mixed use development,” Foutz said, noting the development will have 515,000 square feet. The entertainment component will have 40,000 square feet and lodging will feature 355 rooms. The development 112 < 2016 PROGRESS
Photos by Eric J. Shelton | Herald
ABOVE: Construction along Interstate 35 in Salado should be complete this year. BELOW: A couple shops in downtown Salado.
also proposes a housing development, parking garage and extensive network of trails and greenbelts. “Where that is in the phasing is that we have signed agreements with him, and they filed for a voluntary petition for annexation and we are undergoing zoning proceedings right now as well,” Foutz said.
She said the city wants to expand current venues, such as a microbrewery coming into town and setting up at a historic building. “I would say that I have seen pretty extensive sales at some of the commercial properties on Main Street that are undergoing some redevelopment,” Foutz said, adding that the city has had
several property owners that have new tenants and new uses, explaining those are retail, restaurant and bar-oriented improvements. The city wants to provide the “right ambience facility business and business growth development” and has several projects to do, Foutz said, explaining there is funding for informational kiosks, gateway signs for the community and directional signage that has landscaping associated with it. The city has received a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation for a trail system that goes through various areas of interest in the town. Poché will be revisiting master plans for strategies and improvements to facility development and redevelopment. Several developers are in the preliminary stages of doing mixed-used developments, and the sewer system is the impetus for that, Foutz said. The city is updating its master plan, such as the transportation plan, future land use plan and parks and trails plan. “The timing or our sewer plant and collection lines will impact the growth plans as well and the timing on (developments),” Foutz said.
Salado ISD enrollment rises about 100 students to nearly 1,700 BY DON MUNSCH KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Salado Independent School District continues its growth with the district adding 100 students a year in recent years. The enrollment on Jan. 18 was 1,665, said Michael Novotny, Salado ISD superintendent, noting that the enrollment was 1,556 last year and 1,451 the year before. “About two-thirds of our growth are families moving into our district, new homes going up,” he said. “There are several home developments within our district boundaries. New homes are popping up and families are moving in with kids. And then about one-third is attributed to additional transfer students — students who live in neighboring districts and their families are transferring their kids into our district.” Whether the district will add schools or new buildings will be dependent on growth, Novotny said.
“That is something that we will have to address in the next several years as we continue to grow about 100 students a year,” he said, adding that the district will have to add capacity at some point, although not in the next year or so but sometime in the next several years, when the district will have to look at adding a school or schools to have enough classroom space. Over the next several years, the district plans to gradually decrease the number of transfer students before the district reaches capacity, allowing the district to delay the need for an additional buildings for a couple of years. Transfer students have to abide district rules on behavior, attendance and grades. The district would decrease the number of transfer students by attrition. The district has started a 3-year-old prekindergarten, he said. Pre-kindergarten is mandated for 4-year-old students, but it’s optional for 3-year-olds. “We started that program up last year to give those kids a head start to get
them better prepared for 4-year-old pre-k and kindergarten in the years to come,” Novotny said. Activity-wise, the district started soccer this year at the junior-high level; golf at the junior high school level began last year. Theater also got introduced last year. The district also started Advancement Via Individualized Determination (AVID) chapter last year. It is geared toward helping students on a college track, Novotny said. “Kids that may not otherwise gone to college because their parents never went to college,” he said, explaining that it uses techniques to prepare students for college and to take advanced courses. It was implemented this year for just the sixth grade level, but next year it will be expanded for fifth and seventh grades. “Our plans are to continue expanding it up and down to get more and more kids a chance to be a part of that program,” he said. Salado High School took third place in the state academic UIL out of about 200
high schools in the 4A level in the past year, Novotny said. The school has won nine state championships in academic UIL. Another award the district garnered was the Financial Allocation Study of Texas distinction, which is based on student achievement in reading and mathematics and district finances. “They’re looking for high student achievement with low spending,” he said, noting the award is done by Texas Comptroller’s Office in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency. Novotny said almost every high school sports team advanced to the playoffs, with the girls soccer team finishing 25-2 and advancing to the regional finals in McAllen. The team had a point (goal) differential of 104-7, he said. The team is off to a great start this year. The high school’s one-act play was second last year in state. The district is looking at starting a medical science program next year at the high school that would give students a taste of medical professions, he said.
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State Highway 195 bypass brings boost to sales tax for Florence On Main Street in Florence, Shauna Allen watches over a couple of her Girl Scouts, Judy Noland and Sloane Carlson, both 8, in February.
BY DON MUNSCH KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
FLORENCE — When the state finished a State Highway 195 bypass in 2014 that allowed people to avoid going through Florence, the city experienced some unforeseen benefits, said Amy Crane, city secretary. “Most of (the traffic) before was just commuter traffic anyway — they didn’t really stop,” Crane said. “If anything, we have seen an increase in sales tax, ironically.” The new bypass, which opened in October 2014, allows motorists to avoid going through town and have a quicker commute from Killeen to Austin, as they miss the slower speed limits and traffic signals found on the old highway (Patterson Avenue). The portion of road routed Highway 195 to the east rather through Florence. The 7.6-mile stretch of road goes from the Bell County line to about 3 miles south of Florence, according to Herald files, which stated the Texas Department of Transportation estimated the road had a cost of $59 million — $20 million for project engineering and $39 million in construction costs. The
Craig Lifton | Herald
project included multiple overpasses, topping creeks and smaller roads. The project was a part of an Armybacked plan to widen State Highway 195 to a divided, four-lane roadway from Killeen to Interstate 35 north of Georgetown. What has been the effect of the new segment of road on Florence? “I go around to the businesses downtown and I and keep asking that question, and I think a couple of our convenience stores on the outskirts have seen a little downturn, but everybody else is
doing well,” said Mayor Mary Condon. As for other growth in Florence, she said she is not aware of any new construction of businesses, but Condon said in the past year, going into 2016, there have been some housing construction projects occurring in the city. “We have had five new houses built in the city limits on in-fill lots, which is exciting to me — I like in-fill construction, and they are five single-family homes,” Condon said. The city has a population of 1,136 (2010 census), and the largest employer
is the school district, Condon said. Because it is a small town, Florence’s economic success can be measured in appropriate ways. For example, a group of business people downtown hosting a Ladies Night Out once a month, and Condon said they have had good results. A library benefit will be held April 8-9 the Vineyard at Florence with stonecarvers raising money for the library. “There will be a run for the wine through the vines themselves to raise money for the parks department,” Condon said. The city wants to prepared for whatever happens. “We are trying to prepare for growth that we see that coming our way,” Condon said. “We blended our water with surface water last year. We completed that project, so that secures our water. We’re not running out, as you hear so many people saying. I’m hopeful this year that we’ll see even more businesses open downturn.” She said she hopes the town becomes a destination for artists and musicians to relocate to town from Austin. “They can still ply their trade in Austin,” she said.
Florence ISD renovates facilities, upgrades technology to better serve students BY DON MUNSCH KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Florence Independent School District continues to grow, not just in the number of students, but also in buildings and programs. Paul Michalewicz, district superintendent, said the district had 1,027 students as of early January and was trending upward. The growing enrollment fosters the need for better facilities. “The board approved $2½ million worth of maintenance and renovation projects that we began in the late spring of last year and continued on through the summer,” Michalewicz said. “Some of those projects include redoing all the roads and parking lots districtwide, in and around the schools in our district. ... We installed a safety and security system districtwide.” 114 < 2016 PROGRESS
A new fire alarm system was installed on the high school campus, and the district resurfaced the track and renovated and expanded an ag classroom and weightroom that stand side by side. Some roofing projects were done through the district, and project money also went toward new AC/HVAC systems throughout the district. The district added soccer for boys and girls this year as a UIL sport, and Florence High School is in a district with teams from Liberty Hill, Academy, Jerell, Salado, Lampasas and Gateway. “That’s something that’s new and we’re proud of and we wanted to get started here,” said Michalewicz, who started as superintendent in June. The district has expanded its offerings for dual-credit opportunities and advanced placement courses for
high school students. In 2014-15, the district was offering one AP course, and this year it offered four classes. Next year, the district will have seven AP courses. The district offers a wide range of pre-AP courses. “So we are continuing to expand what we offer in our efforts to improve our ability to prepare students for postsecondary education,” Michalewicz said. Part of that is a new agreement with University of Texas of the Permian Basin for dual-credit (online courses), he said. The district also has an agreement with Central Texas College (both in person and online) and an articulation agreement with Austin Community College for dual-credit classes. The district continues to expand competitive teams in robotics and recently received two separate $1,000 grants to complement those teams.
The district has engaged in a longrange technology planning project, and part of the result of that is that the district has added to its technology infrastructure and hardware and software throughout the district, The district will soon engage in a long-range planning project that will focus on facilities, and the district will take into consideration a State Energy Conservation Office report that will be part of that project. A new demographic study will be conducted as part of that project, too, he said. “We have seen an upward trend in enrollment and generally speaking, we expect that trend to continue,” he said. He said he is excited by the potential for excellence in Florence, and “many of our programs and much of what we have going on right now already fits that description. We are committed to excellence across the board.”
>>> COPPERAS COVE >>>
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Copperas Cove’s economic future looking better than ever BY DAVID A. BRYANT KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
COPPERAS COVE — The Five Hills Retail Center is overflowing with fast food restaurants, financial centers, health and beauty businesses and the H-E-B Plus, with even more to come. Five Hills will continue to expand as more businesses see the benefits of coming to Cove. “Endeavor Real Estate Group, the owners of Five Hills, will purchase the remaining acreage known as Phase II and continue its aggressive marketing efforts,” said Polo Enriquez, former executive director of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation. The city approved sale of the final plat in 2013, which meant the remaining portion of Robert Griffin III Boulevard was dedicated to the city and Endeavor was authorized to sell portions of it. Utilities are already installed on the remaining 50 acres. Ross Dress for Less, rue21, Burke’s Outlet, Bealls, Dots Fashion, Rack Room Shoes and McCalisters are all listed on the website of Endeavor Real Estate Group as future businesses coming into the center with space for more. The last half of 2015 saw new businesses opening up in Cove. Shipley Donuts, Jersey Mike’s Subs, USAA Banking Center, Refresh, and Crossfit Beyond Limits are just a few. Stripes
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
New housing goes up near the Narrows Business Park in Copperas Cove.
Convenience Store also opened its doors in January, bringing 30 new jobs to Cove. Construction of The Narrows Business and Technology Park, a 72-acre subdivision paid for by the EDC, is Cove’s first shovel-ready site of its kind and is ready to for companies to start building. The Copperas Cove EDC has one business that is almost ready to begin construction. CDL Research & Development Group, LLC will open a CDL school to prepare exiting soldiers and others for a career in ground transportation, a lucrative career field. The company will also create a secure
drop yard for tractor-trailers that will be utilized by both local and visiting drivers to the area. With this drop yard in place, it will help alleviate issues of security for drivers moving expensive cargo through our community and needing a safe storage facility. “Our primary goal is to find companies that create good jobs but also create a product that is sold outside of our community, bringing new wealth to the community. We have a lot of companies that are interested; it should be noted that a business expansion is a major undertaking and involves a certain amount of risk,” Enriquez said. Part of that plan is to increase busi-
ness growth on the west end of the city. Dental and medical offices already dot Business Highway 190, along with Cove Fitness in the strip mall called Cove Summit, but the EDC also has opened lines of communication with retailers to continue marketing the west end, to include possible grocery stores. “It’s a natural progression that retail follows housing developments. With all the new homes being constructed and planned, Copperas Cove is sure to see more and more retailers expanding here,” he said. “Supporting our existing businesses makes sense for many reasons, the most important being that these businesses bring the economic vitality to our community that we need in order to grow and bring more businesses to town.” While some feared less traffic on the major thoroughfare would mean fewer customers for businesses along it, the opposite is already proving to be true. Businesses downtown will most likely see an increase in sales simply because they will be easier to get in and out of with less traffic congestion, said Betty Price, former Cove chamber president. “We’re going to find it easier to get in and out of the businesses that we used to avoid because of traffic,” Price said. “It’s going to make shopping more convenient on 190.”
Cove opens U.S. Highway 190 bypass, finishes other roadwork BY DAVID A. BRYANT KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
COPPERAS COVE — The U.S. Highway 190 bypass and Farm-to-Market 2657 road projects officially opened Jan. 29, 2015, completing an initiative three decades in the making. Former Mayor John Hull and City Manager Andrea Gardner cut the ribbon on the 5.2-mile project, joined by local and state leadership and city residents. The $46.5 million project broke ground in July 2011. The bypass is now the new U.S. Highway 190 and takes traffic around Copperas Cove, from east of the Five Hills Shopping Center to west of Farmto-Market 2657. The existing roadway was renamed Business 190. 116 < 2016 PROGRESS
Businesses are already using the Business 190 address and receiving mail, said Johnny Castro, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman. The addresses in the postal service’s data base were automatically updated. Copperas Cove spokesman Kevin Keller said the new highway should be an economic boost to the community. Residents complained about not being able to access Business 190 when leaving a local business or restaurant except in areas where a traffic light is posted. “We look forward to easing the traffic congestion on (Business) 190, allowing for easier access to local businesses, especially during peak times,” he said. One of the biggest items the city is currently seeing progress on is with the Business Highway 190 Master Plan Work Group, Keller said. The group
consists of city staff, community members, business owners, residents and council liaisons. The purpose of the city council-appointed ad hoc advisory body is to develop a plan that addresses zoning, building code compliance for adaptive reuse and physical improvements, with meetings held monthly or as needed. Plans are also underway to beautify Business 190, Councilwoman Marty Smith said. “We will work with businesses to help spruce up and fix up. We plan to take the island out and make more of a landscape and beautify the area,” she said. The beautification project will be funded by a $210,000 grant awarded to Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful. Silvia Rhoads, city recycling coordinator, said the project is a joint effort.
Residential, commercial development surge in Cove in past year BY DAVID A. BRYANT KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
COPPERAS COVE — The city experienced an upsurge in residential development in 2015, issuing 124 permits for the construction of new homes, six permits for multi-family homes and eight permits for duplexes, approximately one-third more than the amount in 2014. The value of the properties equaled nearly $28 million, with the city gaining about $124,000 in permit fees. Four new commercial properties were also added with an estimated value of $3.25 million, gaining the city another $4,450 in permits. A total of 3,296 permits were approved throughout the year, to include remodels, permits and yard sales. The city collected nearly $309,000 in permit fees. Construction is nearly complete on the 72-unit Constitution Court Phase II Apartments, a planned rental property in Cove that will feature 69 units offering reduced rents, according to a press release issued by the TDHCA. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs awarded $923,821 in housing tax credits to private developers constructing the apartments. Monica MacKay, acting executive director of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, said the EDC board members and staff are grateful for the continued investment in the community.
AMY Proctor | Herald
Construction is ongoing at the Five Hills Shopping Center in Copperas Cove as more businesses move into the development.
“These housing projects will help in many ways,” she said. W.B. Whitis of WBW Development Ltd. is developing a subdivision with 1,000 lots at Lutheran Church Road and North Farm-to-Market 116, land likely to be annexed into the city, said Mike Morton, Cove’s chief building official.
“Verde Mesa Development is also developing at the end of Skyline Drive, called The Reserves, (which is) 57 lots.” The city’s population was 29,592 in 2000 and the 2010 census was 32,032, Morton said. While the growth was small for that decade, recent population growth caused the council to request a
new census in 2015. The city council approved a census of 33,557 as of Jan. 1, 2016. “The potential for growth is always positive with the construction of new residences and commercial properties,” he added.
Water and Business 190 main areas of improvement for Copperas Cove By David A. Bryant Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE — The Copperas Cove City Council approved multiple infrastructure improvements in 2015 and added to the list in February 2016 by authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement with Matous Construction Ltd., for $723,500 for phase two of the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Plant improvement plan. Phase two will replace the thickener, screen, polymer feed system and other critical components. The thickener is composed of a drive and other mechanical components and is a key component in the removal of solids, said Daryl Uptmore, city public works director. The influent screen removes nonorganic products
that include plastic, paper products and other unwanted items that result in premature wear of pumps. Uptmore said the improvements will address key deficiencies in plant operations at the 1203 Golf Course Road location. In October 2015, the council approved about $1.4 million in spending for multiple planned public works projects outside of the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Plant. The other projects will be funded by 2014 certificates of obligation, which set aside more than $1.6 million and will not require additional use of general funds. City Manager Andrea Gardner entered into agreements with Wolff Construction for $1,199,719 for the Southwest Water Improvements Phase 1 and $44,408 to improve unpaved roadway for the Weeping Wil-
low Lane asphalt overlay. Plans are still in the works for proposed center-divide beautification project stretching from Constitution Drive to Dewald Street along Business Highway 190. In 2013, Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful applied for and received a Governor’s Community Achievement Award grant for $210,000. The funds, donated by the Texas Department of Transportation and administered by Keep Texas Beautiful, are required to be used in landscaping projects with specific guidelines, Gardner said. The project proposes a center divide with a 6-inch curb, grassy area, planted with crepe myrtle trees and approximately 470-foot left turn lanes at either end, said Dickey. The divide, turning lanes and landscaping are all paid for through the grant.
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Cove police gain leadership training; fire department gets new truck By David Bryant Killeen Daily Herald
During 2015, the Copperas Cove Police Department sent four supervisors to the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas’ Leadership Command College to begin their first of three modules. The department hired six new officers for the patrol division and two new communications operators. All patrol rifles were upgraded with new sights for officers assigned to one on patrol. “These are just some things that we really needed. Especially getting new officers and getting them trained and on the road,” said CCPD spokesman Sgt. Martin Ruiz. “We still have four cadets that are in the Police Academy who graduate in March.” The city plans to issue a $6 million bond for the construction of a new police and fire department substation on a 4-acre lot off Old Copperas Cove Road between Constitution Avenue and Robert Griffin III Boulevard sometime during 2016.
COVE FIRE DEPARTMENT
Val Valdez | Herald
Former Copperas Cove Mayor John A. Hull cuts the ribbon in March for the new Fire Station No. 2, which is named in his honor.
The Copperas Cove Fire Department took possession of a new Spartan 103-foot ladder truck, Spartan pumper fire truck, and a Chevy Tahoe Command Vehicle in 2015 in an effort to provide even better service for residents. The department was also busy with the construction of a new fire station, which will replace Fire Station #2 on Avenue B. The new station, located about one mile west of the existing station, will be approxi-
mately 10,000 square feet and will be able to better respond to areas of expected community growth. The new station opened March 7, 2016, and was dedicated to former mayor and volunteer firefighter John Hull. In 2015, the department had six firefighters graduate a rigorous 12-month paramedic program at Central Texas College, where they obtained their National Registry of Emergency Medical Techni-
cians-Paramedic Certification. Graduates were Brad Kammer, Jared Satterfield, Ethan Westbrook, Hunter Smith, Matt Thomas, and Tyler Paulus. The Department’s Fire Marshal, Michael Fleming, also graduated an intense Police Academy at Central Texas College, obtaining his Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Peace Officer License. Fleming will be able to investigate criminal cases involving arson.
Cove council makes ordinance changes, working on others BY DAVID A. BRYANT KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove has seen a few ordinance changes over the past year, primarily when it comes to pets and zoning. The city council amended Chapter 3, Animals and Fowl Regulations of the Cove Code of Ordinances, to allow residents to keep up to six hens on property within the city limits. Chicken coops must be a minimum of 20 feet from neighboring homes, residents must inform the animal control department they are keeping chickens at their residence and roosters still will not be allowed. Other requirements for chickens included authorized fences: Chicken 118 < 2016 PROGRESS
wire and electric fences still will not be allowed on private residences within city limits and are restricted to agricultural use only Cove residents formerly were allowed to own up to four cats or dogs per person, but with feral breeding of cats and aggressive canine breeds getting out of control, the City Council decided to limit that number to four per family. The way the ordinance read previously, a family of five could have had up to 20 cats and dogs. “During a review of the existing city ordinance, it was noted it stated four per person. The ordinance was amended to read four per household,” city spokesman Kevin Keller said. “No major issues were reported, and this was by no means out of control. The
city just took action to ensure it was better regulated. During the transition, Animal Control will ensure any residents having more than four per household will be given plenty of time to make appropriate accommodations for the excessive animals.” Section 3-42 of the city ordinances was changed to read that pet owners now have three days to pick up an impounded pet before the cat or dog becomes property of the city and can be placed for adoption. Proof of ownership is required and all fees will have to be paid at the time of retrieval.
Most of the recent changes in the zoning ordinance concerned changing designations, such as removing the la-
bels for private clubs and liquor sales on the zoning map, or fixing language to clarify misconceptions and close loopholes to bring the zoning labels into compliance with changing state regulations. The council also passed an ordinance in January allowing the city to regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages near churches, schools or public hospitals. Section 12.5-1 requires a business selling alcoholic beverages be 300 feet from designated locations. Public school boards or private school governing bodies can request the distance be increased up to 1,000 feet. The ordinance also determines how the distance is measured and when the council can make exceptions to those requirements.
Cove EDC on track to bring more business to town KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
COPPERAS COVE — The Economic Development Corporation has several projects underway to attract and retain local businesses to the city. The largest project, The Narrows Technology and Business Park, a 72acre development designed to bring in new primary employers to the community, opened at the end of January 2015 with most infrastructure completed. The Copperas Cove EDC has one business that is almost ready to begin construction. CDL Research & Development Group, LLC, will open a commercial driver’s license school to prepare exiting soldiers and others for a career in ground transportation, a lucrative career field. Other prospects include a medical device manufacturer, a metal fabricating company, a distribution center and an apparel manufacturer. “Our trips to California to meet with expanding companies are bearing fruit,” said former EDC Executive Director Polo Enriquez. “Several of these companies have visited Copperas Cove and were very impressed with what they saw, both in terms of opportunities for success for their companies and also the quality of life they and their workers could enjoy by expanding to our community.” Cove EDC also is marketing the Cop-
Construction is ongoing at the Five Hills Shopping Center in Copperas Cove.
BY DAVID A. BRYANT
Amy Proctor | Herald
peras Cove Professional and Business Park owned by the Copperas Cove Industrial Foundation, a private nonprofit organization working to improve the city’s economy. The nearly 23-acre park is on Constitution Drive south of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The Industrial Foundation developed the land into 16 lots ranging from 1 to 2 acres each, with two access points on Constitution Drive. The park was constructed adjacent to The Narrows and Five Hills, a 128-acre shopping center still under development. Officials want the business park to
attract professional businesses such medical clinics and lawyers’ offices. “We feel that project is not going to compete heads up with (Five Hills) or the Economic Development Corporation’s Narrows,” said Jimmy Clark, an industrial foundation member. “All three developments will have property available to handle everything in the gamut.” The Entrepreneur Center, at 207 S. Third St., houses four offices and a meeting room and is occupied. The center is ready to welcome additional small and startup businesses wanting to take advantage of the benefits
offered, such as access to other professionals and use of office equipment. “We have also been contemplating using some of this space as co-working space, for those who need a place to work or meet with others from time to time, rather than a full office,” said Diane Drussell, EDC business retention specialist. “They can find space here and have access to most of the services offered.” With the bypass on U.S. Highway 190 open and complete, the EDC also will begin marketing the west side of Cove to retailers.
Copperas Cove leads Coryell County in tourism revenue BY DAVID A. BRYANT KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Tourism is big business, and Copperas Cove continues to drive Coryell County’s share. About $60 million was spent in Coryell County, said Mourad Sebti, an economics professor at Central Texas College. “For every dollar spent, $1.88 is the induced effect of direct purchases a traveler makes,” he said. When the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce conducts a tourism event, it attracts people outside of the city or county lines, said Betty Price, chamber president. The true benefit is to Cove residents, who not only are able to participate in the events but reap the benefit of the sales tax from visitors spend-
ing their money in town, she said. “Tourism is an industry. It doesn’t just produce a product you can see,” Price said. “Everyone is involved in tourism with things as simple as restaurant referrals from our hotel front desk clerks to shopping referrals that will bring visitors back to our area even after the event.” Everything from tourists staying in hotels and eating at local restaurants to having to buy the small articles they may have forgotten to pack brings in revenue to the city, Price said. The hotel taxes are used to promote the city’s events and the additional sales taxes collected as a result of visitor spending helps offset what the city has to pay for everyday services. “The bicycling events are probably the bigger tourism events. The majority of those racers are
coming from outside our area,” Price said. The Megan Babb Memorial Classic bicycle race each January attracts more than 300 riders, pedaling an estimated $16,600 into Cove in direct spending and more than $31,000 in indirect spending. Rabbit Fest each May is the city’s largest tourist draw, with a budget of $70,000 to $75,000. An estimated 30,000 people attended the festival over the four-day period in 2015. A low estimate that each attendee spends $10 results in $300,000 in direct spending and nearly double that amount in indirect spending. The annual Krist Kindl Markt saw a lot more people in 2015, thanks to mild weather bringing in more vendors and visitors than in recent years, Price said.
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Lampasas sees steady growth with new businesses, homes By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS — The city of Lampasas saw steady growth across the board in 2015, with new businesses coming to town and tax revenue — both commercial and residential — continuing to climb. Construction projects increased in 2015 for Lampasas, with 31 building permits issued for the year as opposed to 23 issued in 2014. Land sales for plots of raw land saw a small dip in 2015 from the previous year, with only 31 plots being sold as opposed to 35 in 2014. The Lampasas Economic Development Corporation also broke ground on the new 150-plus acre Lampasas Business Park on Oct. 21. Engineering on the business park was completed in early 2015, and construction began soon after the groundbreaking. The first two acres of land at the Business Park were sold to West Texas Gas Fuels. Several other businesses came to Lampasas in 2015, as well, with Schlotzsky’s restaurant now open for business and construction continuing on Best Western and Twisted Oak Grille. Other stores opened this past year include Great Clips, Root’s Salon and Lampasas Dollar. The population of Lampasas has been growing steadily since 2011, as well.
Amy Proctor | Herald
Construction is seen March 3 along Key Avenue in Lampasas.
The current population of the city is 7,091, a 6.1 percent growth since 2011. It isn’t just new business that is bringing in visitors to Lampasas, however. Tourism is a big draw for the city, and one of the biggest annual events is the Lampasas Spring Ho, which consistently draws huge crowds from all across Central Texas. The name Spring Ho originated from a naming contest in 1972, the festival’s first year. As the festival is held along the river walk and part of the Lampa-
sas springs, the term actually comes from the idea that early settlers would shout “Spring Ho!” when approaching the area, indicating that clean water was near. The weeklong festival kicks off every July with music from local bands and church groups, followed by the annual Little Miss and Miss Spring Ho beauty pageants, which accepts entrants from Lampasas and surrounding school districts. Aside from the events taking place
near the river walk throughout the week, a small fair also sets up shop near one of the playgrounds, offering rides and amusements to anyone who attends the festival. And, while the fair is open the length of the festival, the biggest days of Spring Ho are Friday and Saturday, during which a craft show sets up all along the Lampasas River. Vendors come from all over the state to display their wares at Spring Ho, and visitors spend the weekend browsing the various booths.
Lampasas ISD begins Phase II of ‘iBadger’ initiative to boost technology By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily Herald
The Lampasas Badgers have been getting technological this past year, as the Lampasas Independent School District has begun Phase II of its “iBadger” initiative. “What it is is a 1:1 initiative where we are issuing one iPad to every student in grades 5 through 12,” Lampasas Superintendent Dr. Randall Hoyer said. “We are in the middle of the phase-in plan right now, and it makes us a front runner in the area as far as technology goes.” The project first started taking shape for LISD more than four years ago, with Phase I of the initiative — giving an iPad to each fifth-grader and their 120 < 2016 PROGRESS
teachers — beginning last school year. “Before the first set of iPads went out, we spent a couple of years bolstering our infrastructure, like our Internet and Wi-Fi, to prepare for the influx of users,” Hoyer said. “There were a few hiccups initially, but overall, I think the transition has gone really well.” LISD officials plan to start Phase III in the 20162017 school year, which means all middle school and high school students should have iPads at the end of that year. This is not the only area LISD is making strides in when it comes to technology, however. For the past three years, technology classes have been offered at the middle school, and the classes became available for high school students during this school year.
The high school students have even gone to several competitions in the past year, and it is much more than just working with computers. “The students work with drones, and even build and design robots for these competitions,” Hoyer said. “I visited the middle school group once, and they had an old transistor radio they were using to call another middle school in Canada.” Hoyer went on to say that the technology and robotics classes and extracurricular activities have caused an entirely new segment of students to get involved in after school programs. “Our curriculum is second to none, and our academics is second to none,” Hoyer said. “I feel Lampasas has great teachers, and we are so blessed to be able to do the things we are doing in the district.”
Lampasas County residential construction climbs as growth continues By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily herald
LAMPASAS — Lampasas County residential construction is projecting a slight increase over last year’s $13,200,710, indicating continued growth for the county as a whole, according to Lampasas County Appraiser Melissa Gonzales. The projection for business construction is also up slightly from 2015’s $3.046 million, which implies that commercial businesses are also starting to look at Lampasas as a strong contender for new store fronts. “This would definitely create room for growth, not only in commercial growth but also in residential, as potentially new citizens will relocate to Lampasas County,” Gonzales said. No major subdivisions were platted
Amy Proctor | Herald
The U.S. Highway 190 bypass around Copperas Cove is helping to bring more people to Lampasas.
with the county last year, but the population of Lampasas County continues to grow past 20,000. The more populated portion of the county, Precinct 1, is seeing a lot of residential development spillover from Copperas Cove’s increased growth and
construction. The county is seeking larger companies to bring their businesses to Lampasas. The Lampasas County Commissioners Court approved the sale of Capital Ambulance to Acadian Ambulance in 2015. The agreement was transferred
to Acadian with no changes in the amount to be paid. Capital Ambulance employees worked alongside Acadian Ambulance for several months to ensure a smooth transition. In late January 2015, the U.S. Highway 190 bypass around Copperas Cove opened. This allowed easier access to Lampasas County, which hopefully will spur development in the southeastern part of the county. The bypass is continuing to see increasing use as Highway 190 is prepared to become a new Texas interstate. County commissioners also gave approval to begin work on the preliminary plat of Cactus Creek Estates, Phase II on FM 2657 at the end of 2015. The commissioners hope this new development hopefully will encourage more residential development in 2016.
Kempner Water Supply Corporation raises rates, loses lawsuit with Lampasas By David A. Bryant Killeen Daily Herald
Kempner Water Supply Corporation began as an idea for a nonprofit water supply corporation under Article 1434a of the Revised Civil Statutes of Texas of 1925, later amended to the Texas Water Code Chapter 67, in 1972. The corporation is currently under the direction of general manager Delores Goode. According to its website, kempnerwsc.com, the corporation provides water to 5,000 members and more than 20,000 citizens and businesses in Lampasas, Coryell, Burnet and Bell counties. The court case between KWSC and the city of Lampasas was resolved in favor of Lampasas in January 2015, with Lampasas seeking $117,432 in
damages and between $100,000 and $500,000 in legal fees. The case started in September 2013 after KWSC sent Lampasas three years of retroactive billings for the city’s water use plus additional fees, which the city believed to be overcharging for the amount of water purchased through KWSC. The corporation has disputed the ruling and continues to seek redress from higher courts. KWSC also entered into litigation against the city of Copperas Cove in 2015 over the purchase of certificates of convenience and necessity to secure the right to provide water to future customers in areas of potential development in Cove. The city contends that the corporation requested more money than the agreed upon $357 per acre to purchase the certificates, but Goode disagreed.
“KWSC has not requested more than the $357 per acre. Board and Management would rather not sell any of its service area to Copperas Cove,” she said in a May statement. “Our members are very important to us and we work diligently to ensure the best possible service. KWSC looks forward to future growth and desires to expand rather than diminish our service area.” The current rates for service are a $200 membership fee and a monthly base rate of $62.50. Tap fees range from $156.25 for a 1-inch meter to $525 for a 3/4-inch meter. Cost per thousand gallons of water is $3.15. The corporation is located at 11986 East Highway 190 in Kempner and is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, go kempnerwsc.com or call 512-932-3701.
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Kempner draws families looking for rural lifestyle By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily Herald
Despite being a relatively small community, Kempner continues to be a draw for families looking for a more rural lifestyle. Businesses also continue to eye the area for new development, marking it as a town for potential growth. More than 50 businesses currently call the small city home, and the city hopes to draw more to the area. A new barbecue restaurant recently took up residence at the intersection of Highway 190 and FM 2313, while the German restaurant across the street continues to draw sizeable crowds with their authentic German cuisine. A developer purchased land on U.S. Highway 190 at the intersection of Bill Brown and Orchard streets in 2013, with plans to build a shopping mall, but ground has not yet been broken, said City Secretary Trudy Davis. City of Kempner’s first woman mayor, Carolyn Crane, was elected in May 2015. The City Council is composed of five members aside from mayor Crane: Robert Stafford, Robert McKinnon,
Bob Crane, Clifton Morse, and Melba Vandeveer hold Places 1-5, respectively. The repairs to the railroad crossing at FM 2313 have been completed, as have numerous street repairs and the resurfacing of Apache and Santa Fe streets. The city also added a third police officer to the staff and recently purchased a new police vehicle. Kempner has very low taxes, which is a draw for those interested in purchasing property there, but no new building permits were issued in 2015, Davis said. Most of those moving into the area moved into existing homes. Kempner continues to sell stones to honor veterans for the park’s “Wall of Honor,” which is a tribute to Fort Hood’s 36th Engineer Brigade, Davis said. “The stones honor any veteran — they don’t have to be from here; they can even be from any other state. As long as they are a veteran. We have quite a few now, with a lot of kids buying stones to honor their parents who served.” The city’s emergency services are provided by Police Chief David Sheedy and two full-time police officers.
Amy Proctor | Herald
Kempner Brick Oven continues to draw crowds with its authentic German cuisine.
New elementary school leads big construction projects in Gatesville By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily Herald
The city of Gatesville has seen a lot of growth in the past year, in several different areas. One of the biggest projects the city completed this past year was the new Gatesville Elementary School, which opened its doors to students in August in time for the 2015-2016 school year. The project, which cost $18.5 million, began in 2014 and was completed on schedule. The Hillside Medical Lodge also recently completed construction on and opened the doors of a new location on the State Highway 36 frontage road in January. The old facility was given to the Gatesville Independent School District, which plans to use the building as the hub of its new Career and Technology Education program. Low-income Gatesville residents also received some help last year, in the form of construction of several new homes being completely funded by the HUD Homes program. 122 < 2016 PROGRESS
The program helps low-income residents who own their homes construct new two- to three-bedroom houses. Four homes were completely funded by this program.
As far as upcoming projects in the city, the Holiday Inn Express on SH 36 is nearing completion, and the city plans for it to be open by the end of summer. A $40 million upgrade to the Coryell Memorial Healthcare System facilities was approved to expand clinical offerings as well as provide increased assisted living space. Plans have also been approved for a new Burger King restaurant on Business 36. The city is now awaiting a corporate decision on their selection of contractors. City manager William “Bill” Parry said he is working with the Gatesville City Council to “update the city’s ordinances on substandard structures and public nuisances — junk, inoperable vehicles, tall grass, etc. — in an attempt to improve the city’s
physical appearance.” He also said the city hopes to initiate the development of the city’s first Comprehensive plan, which officials will use to help guide future development to Gatesville. Both of these ideas are near-term goals for Parry, and he hopes the council will begin working on them soon.
On the tourism side of things, one of the largest events Gatesville offers to residents and tourists alike is the annual Spurfest celebration, a festival held every year in September. This past year was the celebration’s 42nd year, and many new events were added to the Spurfest calendar. One crowd favorite was the Spurfest Pet Pageant, which had canine companions competing in various categories, such as best dressed, best trick, and a dog/owner look-alike contest. One event that made a big comeback recently was the Spurfest Pageant, with the 2015 festival being only the second time it was held after several years of not being part of the event.
>>> RELIGION >>>
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Anderson Chapel AME dedicates Douse Community Center By Rachael Riley Killeen Daily Herald
In early October, hundreds of friends, supporters and members of Anderson Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church gathered to dedicate the Marion J. and Alice W. Douse Community Center in Killeen. Planning and fundraising for the project began in 2002. The day celebrated another landmark in the unfolding story of Anderson Chapel, said the Rev. William Campbell Jr., senior pastor of the church. The story began more than 51 years ago in a small house that led to the church starting in the Marlboro Heights community, Campbell said. Marion J. and Alice W. Douse were two of the church’s original founders. Retired Col. Billy McGowen, a personal friend of the Douses, met them in 1975 and became a member of Anderson Chapel in 1976 when it was still a wooden building. “Now look how far God has brought us,” McGowen said. Mayor Scott Cosper, a guest speaker at the dedication program, said Anderson Chapel is a bright beacon for both Killeen and the region. “We’re proud of where you’ve been, what you’re doing today and what you’re doing in the future,” Cosper said. The Rev. C.A. Jones purchased the land where the community center sits in 1992, Campbell said. “Today, we celebrate all of those whose hands and heart, feet and faith have labored to bring God’s vision from the mind to the design table, from the design table to the construction site, from the construction site to this dedication day.” Joining in the dedication celebration and the first to walk across the threshold of the new building was the Rev. Vashti Murphy McKenzie, bishop of the 10th Episcopal District, which includes Anderson Chapel. McKenzie, who was a guest speaker, said everyone wants to feel like they’re making a contribution that is not in vain, and it is why all lives matter. “We have a desire to give as part of our human nature, so contribution then is better understood in two parts. 124 < 2016 PROGRESS
Craig Lifton | Herald
Members of the Anderson Chapel AME Church congregation and community members read aloud during the call to celebrate as they attend the dedication ceremony for the new Marion J. and Alice W. Douse Community Center in October in Killeen.
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
The Rev. William Campbell Jr., senior pastor of Anderson Chapel AME, stands next to the sign for the Marion J. and Alice W. Douse Community Center on, June 3.
The first is as giving of and the second is giving to,” McKenzie said. “So
give praise to God. Praise God for the known and unknown people who gave
of themselves to this gorgeous facility.” Church officials said they see the new center as a space for joint church and community use. While the church will use the space for youth events and services, the center will be available for community town hall meetings, concerts, weddings, civic organizations, educational and community outreach events. Anderson Chapel’s congregation has used the new community center for worship services, as the church’s sanctuary was damaged by storms in late May. Clarence Brown has been a Killeen resident for more than 30 years. Though he doesn’t attend Anderson Chapel, Brown said he supports the new center’s opening. “I think it’s something that was needed, and I’m more than happy to be here,” Brown said in October.
Many churches serve people of all faiths across Central Texas ADVENTIST • Iglesia Adventista 3705 Zephyr Rd., K 394-9980 • New Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church 4602 Clear Creek,K 554-7113 • Killeen Seventh-day Adventist Church 4700 E. Rancier, K 699-6263 ANGLIGAN • Christ the King Anglican Church (ACNA) 273 Country Rd. 4877, CC 394-0798 APOSTOLIC • Church of Jesus Christ House of Prayer 200 N. Gray St., K 554-7551 • Holy Temple of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc, 519 S. Pearl St., Belton 254-613-4591 • Jesus Name Apostolic Ministry 314 Casa Drive, CC 547-8358 • New Life Church 702 N. 8th St, K 618-5223 • New Apostolic Church 1207 Metropolitan Dr., K www.newapostolicchurch.org • New Harvest Apostolic Ministries 612 Gray St., K 383-5228
• Temple Of Faith Apostolic Ministries 808 N 8th St., K (254) 247-1904 ASSEMBLY OF GOD • Betel Asamblea De Dios 413 N. 8th, K 634-3772 • Bethel Temple Assembly of God 3102 S. Hwy, 195, K 526-2003 • First Assembly of God 502 N. 38th St., K 699-1954 • First Assembly of God 2205 FM 3046, CC 547-3724 • First Assembly of God 1601 S. Harley, HH 699-4114 • First Assembly of God 2514 E. Hwy 190, L (512) 556-5185 • First Assembly of God 209 W. Hallmark, K 200-9356 • First Samoan Assembly of God 502 N. 38th St. Killeen, TX 371-0347 • Five Hills Assembly of God 302 East Ave. D, CC 547-9155 • Full Gospel Killeen Church 1410 S. Trimmier, K 526-9048 • Korean Full Gospel Killeen Church 1410 S. Trimmier, K 526-7777 • Korean Full Gospel New Light Church
112 E. Hallmark Ave, K 628-1116 • New Beginnings Assembly Corner of Hwy 190 and Indian Trail BAPTIST • Anchor Of Hope Baptist Church 5700 FM 439, B 939-6044 • Bethel Baptist Church 508 East Jasper Drive, K • Bible Way Baptist Church 2306 S. FM 116, CC 547-8584 • Calvary Independent Baptist Church 13341 State Hwy 195, Killeen, TX 76542 • Central Korean Baptist Church 1200 Old FM 440, K 526-8840 • Clear Creek Baptist Church CC 547-2006 2.5 miles south on FM 2657 • Cedar Valley Baptist FM 2843, Salado • Community Baptist Church Hwy 195 & Briggs Rd., K • Cornerstone Baptist Church 484 FM 3219, K 690-4114 • Cross Road Missionary Baptist Church 1212 East Veterans Memorial Blvd HH 254-535-3322 • East Lake Baptist Church 3213 Lake Rd., K 690-4400
• East Side Baptist Church 500 N. W.S. Young, K 634-0358 • Eastside Baptist Church 1202 MLK Jr. Dr., CC 547-3401 • Fairview Baptist Church 1202 Veteran’s Ave., CC 547-3421 • Faith Baptist Church Ann Blvd. & Ruby, HH 699-9184 • First Baptist Church of Copperas Cove 300 W. Ave. B, CC 547-3717 • First Baptist Church of Killeen 3310 S WS Young Dr., K 634-6262 • First Baptist Church U.S. Hwy. 190, Kempner 512-932-3195 • First Baptist Church of Trimmier E. Trimmier and Chapparal Rd., K 634-9717 • First Community Baptist Church 1320 Georgetown Rd. CC. • Freedom Baptist Church 102 Northern Dove Ln., CC 518-0074 • Good News Baptist Church 204 West Ave. B, K 634-0497 • God’s Way Community Baptist Church 700 Whitlow Dr, K 690-0005 • Grace Baptist Church 947-5917 COntinued, 126
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Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Agape Church’s new building on Little Nolan Road in Killeen is close to completion.
from Page 125
• Greater Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church 4213-A East Veterans Memorial, 535-4908 • Greater Peace Missionary Baptist Church 4201 S Zephyr Rd., K 680-4378 • Holy Light United Baptist Church 1602 S. Main, CC • Holy One Baptist Mission 211 E. Ave. C, K 519-3990 • The Homecoming 10060 E. Trimmier Rd., K 833-6359 • Killeen Baptist Temple 508 Jasper, K 526-4410 • Killeen Korean United Baptist Church 4103 Zephyr Rd., K 690-2233 • Landmark Missionary Baptist Church 7512 E Trimmier Rd, K, 501-9193 • Korean Memorial Baptist Church 113 S. 8th St., K • Korean Mission First Baptist N. 5th & Ave. B, CC 547-3717 • Lawler Baptist Church FM 2843 &CR 230, (254)793-2414 • Liberty Community Church 126 < 2016 PROGRESS
3002 Gus Drive, K 526-0114 • Light of Christ Missionary Baptist Church 307 East Avenue D, K, 254-634-9620 (Pastor Casey Jones Sr. - 554-5475) • Lifeway Fellowshi 4001 E. Elms Road at Stan Schlueter Loop • Marlboro Heights Missionary Baptist 2901 Illinois, K 690-4521 801 R.A Abercrombie Dr.,K 690-4526 • Memorial Baptist Church 4001 Trimmier, K, 634-6882 • Missiona Bautista 54th & Turner K 699-5852 • Mountain View Baptist Church Corner of FM 2410 & Cedar Knob • Native American Baptist Fellowship Church 6161 S 5th St, Temple 721-5758 • Nolan Valley Baptist Church 13206 W. FM 93, Belton 939-8367 • NorthSide Baptist Church 1800 W Hwy 190, Nolanville, 690-6722 • Oak Hill Baptist Church FM 2657 and Boys Ranch Rd., CC 547-4623 • Pershing Park Baptist Church 1200 Old FM 440, K 634-1013 • Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana
4102 Turner Ave. & 54th St., K 634-0486 • Red Sea Baptist Church 1004 North 18th St., K, 628-8999 • Robertson Ave Baptist Church 305 E. Roberston Ave. CC 547-3155 • Second Street Baptist Church 1602 N. 2nd St. K 690-2886 • Simmonsville Missionary Baptist Church 509 S. 42nd St., K 699-1956 • Skyline Baptist Church 906 Trimmier, K 699-4479 • Southern Hills Baptist Church South FM 116, CC 547-0009 • Sunset Baptist Church 814 W. Ave. C, K 634-5055 • Tabernacle Baptist Church 6601 S. Ft. Hood St. K, 554-2920 • Thy Word is Truth Christian Ministries Missionary Baptist 1803 Sherman Dr. K, 254-526-8310 • Trinity Baptist Church 403 FM 2410, HH 699-4436 • Triple 7 Baptist Fellowship, 1501 Riverside Dr., K 254-290-1552 • Westside Baptist Church K 628-1004 • Westview Missionary Baptist Church - ABA
1102 W. Main St., G 404-2316 • Unity Missionary Baptist Church 903 N. 1st, CC • Youngsport Baptist Church Rt. 2, Box 94, RM 2484, K 616-2484 BIBLE CHURCH • Grace Bible Church 1203 Winkler Ave., K 690-1728 • Instituto Biblico Hosanna 205 E. Hallmark Ave., Suite B, K 953-1113 • Killeen Bible Church 4717 Westcliff Road, K 690-4748 • Maranatha Bible Institute Harker Heights, 699-8400 BUDDHIST • Wat Pah Samarkki 20905 State Highway 195 K, 793-3713 • SGI-USA Killeen Activity Center 116 E. Ave. D, Killeen 554-6960 CAO DAI • Cao Dai Temple of Harker Heights 127 E. Ruby Rd., HH 699-5074
CATHOLIC • Red Team Chapel/58th St. Chapel Corner of 58th & Battalion, 288-6548 • Holy Family Catholic Church 1001 Georgetown Rd., CC 547-3735 • St. Joseph’s Catholic Church 2903 E. Rancier, K, 634-7878 • St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church 1000 E. FM 2410, HH 698-4110 CHRISTIAN CHURCH • Cantico Nuevo 1801 Rancier, Killeen 258-2958 • Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 1301 Trimmer, K 5262179 • Copperas Cove Christian Church (disciple of Christ) 1908 Morrow D.C.C. 547-2486 • Iglesia Christiana Sinai 701E. Stan Schlueter Lp. K. 628-1539 • Deliverance and Praise Temple Church of God in Christ 702 Harley Dr., 699-4346 • Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 1301 S. Trimmier, K 526-2179 • Copperas Cove Christian Church Disciples of Christ 1908 Morrow Dr., CC 547-2486 • Crestview Independent Christian Church 2608 S. FM 116, CC 547-4013 • Deliverance Ministries, Household of Faith, Church of the Living God, Inc.
329 Indian Trail, HH 519-4659 • The Fellowship of Praise & Worship 301-A S. Main St., CC 458-8429 • House of Refuge Ministries 908 Highland Ave., K 213-0465 • Iglesia Cristiana Sinai 701 E. Stan Schlueter Lp, K 628-1539 • Iglesia Cristiana Misionera A.I.C. 1801 Nathan Dr, K 633-6230 • Iglesia Cristiana Nueva Vida 3709 Zephyr Rd., K 680-4422 • Iglesia Cristiana Uncion y Poder 313 S. 1st. St., CC 518-4452 • Min. Divina Misericordia 205 E. Hallmark Ave., Suite B, K 953-1113 • Restoration Christian Church Upstairs National Bank, CC 520-5419 • Samoan Christians Fellowship Assembly 406 N. 4th St. K 542-3792, 628-5449 • Samoan Congregational Christian 1st Cav. Div. Memorial Chapel, FH • Solid Rock Family Christian Center 340A Copperas Cove Plaza, CC 518-1411 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE • Christian Science Cowan Amenity Ctr., 1433 Cool Spring Way Sun City - Georgetown, 512-943-4784 CHURCH OF CHRIST • Central Union Church of Christ
3202 Westcliff Ste. 100, K • Church of Christ 400 N. W.S. Young Dr., K 634-7373 • Church of Christ 306 W. Avenue E., CC • Church of Christ Cemetery Rd, Kempner • Church of Christ Iglesia Ni Cristol 508 E. Jasper Dr., K • College View Church of Christ 123 Yates Rd. , K (at Reese Creek Rd.) 254- 290-3541 • Nolanville Church of Christ Main Street, Nolanville 462-5614 • Leon Church of Christ 4404 Twin City Blvd., Belton 939-0682 • Southside Church of Christ 1505 Trimmier, K 526-3041 • Westside Church of Christ 152 Westside Church Rd. K, 554-6711 • Youngsport Church of Christ Youngsport, 634-3754 CHURCH OF GOD • Christo-Vision Ministries 201 Ave. C., K 690-8200 • Abundant Life Church of God (Cleveland, TN) 1210 Florence Rd, K 526-4598 • Church of God The True Vine 211 Ave. D. Killeen • End Time Church of God;
Rt. 7, Box 7252, Twin Lakes Estates Belton 939-0326 • Deliverance Church of God (Cleveland, TN) 1618 Vet. Blvd., CC 518-3181 • Community Life Chapel Developing Community Leaders 254-415-2414 • West End Church of God in Christ 3601 S. WS Young Drive, K 254-213-5511 CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST • Agape Church of God in Christ 3716 E. Veterans Mem. Blvd, Suite C, K 6906147 • Bibleway Church of God in Christ 300 Jasper Rd, K 213-9134 • Bountiful New Life Church of God in Christ meets at Copperas Cove Library 501 S Main St, CC 702-3816 • Deliverance and Praise Temple C.O.G.I.C 702 Harley Drive, HH 699-4346 • Divine Faith Ministry Holiness Church 2201 W Stan Schlueter Lp, K 680-7951 • First Church of God in Christ 5201 Westcliff Rd., K 953-3100 • Garden of Gethsemane 111 Cox Dr., HH 690-2703 • God’s Holy Tabernacle Church of God in Christ 500 S. 44th St., K COntinued, 128
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Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Christian Life Church’s new facility is on East Trimmier Road in south Killeen. from Page 127
• New Bethal Christian Worship Center 4013-A Stan Schlueter Lp, K 368-6400 • Power House 110 FM 2410 Suite A, HH 699-2127 • Trinity Cathedral Church of God in Christ 1312 George Town Road, CC - 547-5493 COWBOY • 5 Hills Cowboy Church 139 CR 4630 Kempner, TX 290-6005 • Maxdale Cowboy Church FM 2670 & Wolfridge Rd., Maxdale, TX, 254-368-2563 EASTERN ORTHODOX • Eastern Orthodox Call Father Paul Anderson at 254-768-7649 for times, locations. EPISCOPALIAN • Darnall Army Hospital FH 288-8850 St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church 2800 Trimmier, K 634-7474 • St. Martin’s Episcopal Church 1602 South FM 116, CC 547-0331 • St. Mary’s Episcopal Church 4th & Chestnut, Lampasas 556-5433 FULL GOSPEL • Bountiful Blessing Full Gospel Ministries 128 < 2016 PROGRESS
608 S. Ann St., HH 220-8899 • Grace Bible Fellowship 718 N. 2nd St., K 628-2111 • First Samoan Full Gospel Pentecostal Church Inc. 2602 S. FM 116, CC 245-2700 or 638-2900 • Full-Gospel Baptist Church Call for information 634-0940 • New Testament Christian Church 3500 Florence Rd., K 526-2149 • The Potter’s House Corner of 10th & Ave C, CC 547-7918 HEBRAIC ROOTS • B’nai Yisrael 2006 S. 57th St., T 598-2135 HOLINESS • Divine Faith Ministry Holiness Church 2201 W Stan Schlueter Lp, K 680-7951 HOME & CELL CHURCHES • Association of Home Churches For location nearest to you, call 690-5856 INDEPENDENT • 1st CD Memorial Chapel, FH, 287-6114 • 4 ID Memorial Chapel, FH, 287-5334 • 13th COSCOM Chapel, FH, 287-3090 • 33rd Street Chapel, FH 287-7262 • 68th Street Chapel, FH 287-6805
• 76th Street Chapel, FH 287-5835 • Blackhorse Chapel, FH 287-1635 • Casa De Oracion-Asambe Dios 313 S. 8th St., K 634-3772 • Cornerstone Ministry Nolanville 698-2055 • Full Gospel Killeen Church English Congregation (Multi-Purpose Education & Activity Center) 1410 Trimmier Road, 499-7689 • Killeen Bible Church 4717 Westcliff, K 690-4748 • Protestant Women of the Chapel • Comanche Chapel, FH Diane Kohl 542-7042 • Old Post Chapel, FH, 288-6545 • Post Chapel, FH, 287-5283-2642 • Post (Comanche) Chapel, FH, 288-6544 • Soldier’s Hospitality House 3981 Chaparral Rd, K 634-0822 • West Fort Hood Chapel (Praise Service) FH 288-9219 1401 Elms Rd., K 634-6990
ISLAMIC FAITH • The Islamic Community of Greater Killeen 5800 S. Fort Hood Road, K 634-8799, 634-1990
INTERDENOMINATIONAL • Bell County Faith Fellowship & Christian Life Center 4705 E. Rancier Ave., K 681-1085 • North Pointe Church 1115 N. Main St. CC 547-7470 St. John’s Faith Outreach Baptist Church 3507 Cranford Ave., K 699-4874
LUTHERAN • Abiding Savior WELS 458 Turkey Trot Killeen, 953-4442 • Faith Lutheran Church LCMS Old Austin Rd. & Sunflower, L 512-556-3514 • Fort Hood Lutheran Fellowship Old Post Chapel, 761st Tank Destroyer Blvd 512-556-3514
JEWISH • Jewish Community Fort Hood The Spirit of Fort Hood Warrior and Family Chapel Campus, Tank Destroyer & 31st St, FH 254-287-3411 • Congregation Simcha Sinai 102 Cattail Circle, HH 231-4930 LATTER-DAY SAINTS • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2nd & Mary Jane, K 526-3013 • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1502 Virginia, CC 547-1248 • Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Hillcrest Rd., Temple 547-7850
• Grace Lutheran Church LCMS Trimmier & Bacon Ranch Rd., K 634-5858 • Immanuel Lutheran Church ELCA 3801 Cunningham Road, K 634-2772 • Immanuel Lutheran Church LCMS 922 Lutheran Church Rd, CC 547-3498 • Prince of Peace Lutheran Church 1215 South Wall, Belton 939-0824 • Trinity Lutheran Church Hwy 190 & Morris, CC 547-2225 METHODIST • 4 ID Memorial Chapel, FH, 287-5334 • Adams Chapel AME Church 125 Ario, HH 699-3435 • Anderson Chapel AME Church 1002 Jefferies, K 690-5030 • Conder Valley Community Church 3601 Edgefield St., K 616-1664, Claudia 5473349 • First United Methodist Church Killeen 3501 E Elms Rd, Killeen 634-6363 www.fumckilleen.com • First United Methodist Church 302 E. Curry St. F 793-2535 • Grace United Methodist Church S. Main & Ave. F, CC 547-3729 • Harker Heights United Methodist Church Cardinal & Harley, HH 699-6271 • Hillside Evangelical Methodist Church 2602 S. FM 116, CC
• Kempner United Methodist Church Hwy 190, Kempner 512-932-3011 • Nolanville United Methodist Church 300 W. Ave I, Nolanville • Pidcoke United Methodist Church 11230 FM 116, Gatesville 254-598-6094 • St. Luke United Methodist Church 102 E. Church Ave., K 526-3993, 526-5234 • St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church Florence and Fowler, K 634-7721 • Thomas Chapel AME Church 901 N. Main, CC • Topsey United Methodist Church Rev. Deanna Ranes, 4406 FM 1113, CC 7809245 NAZARENE • Belton First Church of the Nazarene 1701 Sparta Rd., 939-3404 • First Church of the Nazarene 951 Stagecoach, K 634-7676 • First Church of the Nazarene W. Hwy 190, CC 547-4032 NONDEMONINATIONAL • Abundant Life Christian Church 3301 E. Rancier Ste. 102-B, K 813-1061 • Amazing Grace Fellowship 1600 E Rancier Ave, K 290-0403 • Antioch Fellowship Ministries Church of God & Christ
210 W. Mary Jane, K 634-2101 • Agape Christian Center 321 N. Penelope, Belton 939-9673 • Bethesda Fellowship Ministries 1803 Pecan Cove, CC 547-3455 • Beyond the Veil Ministries 1801 N. 8th St., K 628-0145 • Calvary Christian Fellowship of Georgetown Dell Pickett Elementary School 1100 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Georgetown, 512-8888892 • Carinthian Christian Church Rte. 2 Box 65 D, CC 547-3755 • Chapel by the Lake Oakalla Road, K • Christian House of Prayer 916 W. 190 CC 526-7021 3300 E. Stan Schlueter Lp, K 526-7021 • Common Ground Ministry 1600 E. Rancier Ave., K 383-4705 www.commongroundministry.org • Deliverance Ministries, Household of Faith, Church of the Living God, Inc. 329 Indian Trail, HH 690-0856 • Destiny World Outreach Center 101 N. W.S. Young Dr., Killeen 690-0856 • Disciples Church Meets at Eastern Hills Middle School 300 Indian Trail HH www.MakeDisciplesNow.org • Divine Grace Ministries 205 E. Ave. C, K 458-0146
• Exalted Praise Worship Center 600 Indian Trail, Suite 201, HH 466-0749 • Excellent Covenant Powerhouse Ministries 4103 Zephyr Rd, K 699-6920 • Faith Christian Center 103 E. Mockingbird Dr., HH 519-3226 • Faith Community Church 3705 Zephyr Rd, K 254-338-8777 • Faith Tabernacle 812 Harley at Beeline, HH 394-0572 • Family Dominion Ministries Inc. PO Box 11143, K 520-4269 • For Whosoever Will 3310 Florence Road, K 512-932-2716 • Fully Persuaded Church of Reconciliation 602 Gray Street 526-2100 • Gift of Life Ministry 5802 Wedel Cemetery Rd. Heiden Heimer, TX 983-1911 • God’s TrueVine House of Worship 906 South Ann Blvd. HH, TX 338-2872 • Grace Abound Tabernacles 10th Street, Nolanville, 698-9910 • Grace Awakening Church 5400 East Veterans Memorial, K 554-2500 • Grace Bible Church 1203 Winkler Ave., Killeen 690-1728 • Grace Christian Center 1401 Elms Rd., K 634-6990 COntinued, 130
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Eric J. Shelton | Herald
The foundation has been poured for First Assembly of God Church’s new facility at 7432 East Trimmier Road in southern Killeen. from Page 129
• Grace Ministries Apostolic Church 3119 Commerce St., K • Greater Love Outreach Ministry 3603B E Veterans Memorial Blvd., K 634-2879 • Greater Vision Community Church 2000 E. Stan Schlueter Lp, K 200-4382 • Guiding Light Ministries 524 Shady Drive, Ste. A & B, K 690-0198 • Harker Heights Community Church
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425 E. Cen Tex Expwy, HH 289-3861 • Harvest of Prayer 605 W. Ave. G, Temple 254-547-8877 • Killeen Christian Fellowship 803 E. Central Texas Expressway 723-6414 • Knowledge is Power Ministry 815 Florence Rd. Killeen 634-3463 • Iglecia Cristiana Jehova Es Mi Pastor 805 Hall St., Killeen 554-2147 • Iglesia Divina Misericordia 205 Suite B, Hallmark Ave K 953-1113 • Joint-Heirs with Christ Ministries 219 E. Ave. D., Killeen 526-0599 • Liberty Christian Center 801 N. 8th St., K 287-2470 415-7336 • Montessori Children’s House School Killeen, 699-104 • Movement of Faith International Ministries 810 W Rancier Ave STE 100, K • New Beginnings for All People 113 S 20th St, K 254-9004 www.NBIMINC.org • New Bethel Christian Worship Center 1301 8th St., K 254-368-6400 • New Covenant Christian Church 104 County Road #221., Oakalla 547-5082 • New Covenant Ministries Worship Center 1340 E. Knights Way, HH 247-7466
• New Life Christian Center of Killeen 625 E. Vets Memorial Blvd, HH 699-5200 • New Life Fellowship 708 East Four, Belton 939-8011 • New Life Ministries 207 E. Avenue C, Killeen 953-3179 • New Covenant Mission Outreach 3401 Zephyr Rd, Killeen 501-FIRE • New Jerusalem Church 1209 Hillcrest Rd., Temple 985-2079 • New Vision Church of Fellowship 1601 N Eighth St, K 371-1179 • The People’s Choice Worship Center 802 N 2nd St., Building G; K 690-2066 • Praise & Deliverance House of Prayer 315 Gray St. Killeen 289-2922 • Praise Fellowship Church 680-2983 • Precious People Ministry 319 N. Gray, K & 702 Elm Road, K • Rivers of Living Waters 508 N. Gray St., K 690-9673 • Shekinah Glory Worship Center 205 S. 2nd St. & Ave E., CC 542-6100 • Southern Gospel Worship Center 501 W. Elms Rd, K 702-2777 • Tabernacle of Praise 348 S. 40th St. K, 702-1690
• Templo Victoria 514 E. Ave D, K 554-5371 • The Church of the New Commandment 997 Stagecoach Rd., K 681-0530 • The Home Full Gospel 1613 Illinois, K 699-0169 • The Salvation Army 501 N. 2nd, K 634-7172 • Transforming Life Fellowship Ministries 4107 Westcliff Rd., 526-2997 • Trinity Worship Center 1802 Martin Luther King Blvd., CC • True Gospel Church 1101 W. Ave E, K • True Worship Ministries 103 E. Mockingbird Ln, HH 690-8730 • True Deliverance Ministries 508 Hall Ave., K 634-7082 • Truth and Deliverance Ministries 203 S. 2nd St., CC 514-2348 • Word of Knowledge Ministries 625 E. Vet. Mem. Blvd, HH 501-9105 • Word of Life 1506 McCarthy Ave, K 634-7082 • World Outreach Church of Killeen 1100 Hwy 440 • United Faith Church 1101 N. 1st, CC 547-8005
• Unity Church of Temple 12 S. Main St., Temple 770-0070 • Universal Life Wiccan Church 107 E. Ave E, CC 542-1555 • Victory Life Family Church 1196 Amy, HH 368-8690 • Vineyard Christian Fellowship East Hwy. 36, Temple 778-2802 • Word of God Christian Fellowship 808 N 8th St, Killeen 690-3315 PENTECOSTAL • Apostolic Faith “Living Water” C.O.O.L.J.C. 62nd & Battalion, FH 547-1426 • Apostolic Temple Church 1408 N. 4th Street, 680-3787 • Bethel Church 4307 E. Hwy 190, K • Christ Gospel Holiness Church 311 N. Gray, K 628-6000 • Christ Gospel Apostolic Church 200 S. Gray St. K 628-8000 • Church of Full Gospel 300-A W. Hallmark Ave., K 690-5361 • Faith Point Church 3504 E. Centex Expressway., K 699-5231 • First Church in Harker Heights 2314 Indian Trail, HH 698-4660 • Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church of God 1704 N. 38th, K 690-1011 • Iglecia Cristiana Jehova Es Mi Pastor 805 Hall St., K 554-2147
Amy Proctor | Herald
Fort Hood soldiers bow their heads in prayer at the start of the annual Fort Hood National Prayer Breakfast at the Phantom Warrior Center on Feb. 19.
• Jesus Christ Apostolic Faith Temple Church 701 Sun Meadows Dr., HH 698-2000 • Jesus House of Prayer Apostolic Ministries Suite 911-B, Trimmier Rd., K 213-8164 • Killeen Holiness Church 607 W. Avenue G, K 634-5387 • The Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church 1411 N. 38th St., K 519-1123
• Pentecostal Experience Holiness Church 309 W. Ave. F, CC • Potter’s House 1306 E. Rancier Ave, K 554-4120 • Rivers of Living Waters 508 N. Gray St., K 690-9673 • Samoan First Assembly of God 502 N. 38th St, K 554-2901
• Tabernacle of Praise Pent. Church, Inc. 5010 Trimmier Rd, K 526-4686 • True Deliverance Pentecostal Holiness Church 524- C Shady Ln, K 245-6063/ 245-6099 • United Pentecostal Church of Copperas Cove Pecan Cove Rd., CC 547-2264 • Saints Center of Copperas Cove 801 Industrial Ave. CC 542-3211 PRESBYTERIAN • First Presbyterian Church 4705 East Rancier Ave., K 690-6464 • First Presbyterian Church 704 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., CC 542-4884 • First Presbyterian Church 2500 Church St., B 939-2115 • Hill Country Church (PCA) 1604 S. W.S. Young Dr, K 698-4950 • Presbyterian Church of Salado 105 Salado Plaza Dr. Salado 947-8106 TRANS DENOMINATIONAL • Common Ground Ministries 1600 E. Rancier, K 383-4705 UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 1726 Morgan’s Point Road, Morgan’s Point 780-1008
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>>> RECREATION >>>
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Killeen Parks and Recreation Department offers abundance of activities BY CLAY WHITTINGTON Killeen Daily Herald
As the city continues to grow, the Killeen Parks and Recreation Department continues to provide modern and family friendly facilities that offer a variety of programs and activities for everyone from children to adults. Athletic leagues, a race series, fitness classes, hike and bike trails, an aquatics center and two senior centers are some of the activities and areas of fun the department offers. Killeen Parks and Recreation gives local runners a chance to participate in the CenTex Race Series, which will offer 16 5k and 10k runs throughout the year in Killeen and nearby cities, such as Copperas Cove, Temple and Belton. Get more information at killeentexas. gov/centex. Awards are given to overall male and female winners along with first-place winners in each age category. Like every race in the CenTex RaceSeries, registration can be completed online, and results for each race are also posted online in the Parks and Recreation section at killeentexas.gov. The department also offers two hike and bike trails. The Andy K. Wells Hike and Bike Trial starts at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. and is 2.5 miles long. The trail eventually may complete a series of trails linking Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes. The trail at Lions Club Park opened in 2011 and loops around a recreation section that includes a playground and outdoor basketball courts. The trail is 1.5 miles long and is located at 1600 E. Stan Schlueter Loop. The Killeen Community Center is a multipurpose facility that offers a gym and meeting rooms, which can be rented to host anything from birthday and anniversary parties to receptions and meetings. The center also has an arts and crafts room that is available for group rentals. Killeen Parks and Recreation also offers pavilions for rental at Long Branch Park, Conder Park, Lions Club Park, AA Lane Park, Marlboro Park and Maxdale Park for outdoor events like corporate picnics, family reunions, birthday parties and more. 134 < 2016 PROGRESS
Andy Zavoina | Herald
Killeenâ€™s Tre Martin (10) tags out Kameron Heil (2) stealing third base during the Little League Sectional Tournament as the Killeen All Stars faced North Arlington at Ellison High School on July 18. Killeen won 9-5.
Room and pavilion rental applications are available at killeentexas.gov. The center also offers classes like zumba, indoor cycling and yoga among others. Questions regarding hours and renovations can be answered at 254-501-8889. The Killeen Family Recreation Center is part of Lions Club Park and features the Tommie Harris Fitness Center, named after the former Ellison defensive tackle, who went on to star for the Chicago Bears. Harris donated the gym equipment located on the second floor of the recreation center, where professional bodybuilders and casual lifters alike train each day. The first floor offers two indoor basketball courts where residents and nonresidents can play. The recreation center offers monthly, quarterly and annual membership fees for family, adult, senior and youth. Childcare is provided to members at no additional charge. The Killeen Family Aquatics Center is also part of Lions Club Park. The center offers day passes and season passes to residents and nonresidents and features a bathhouse, a 10,360 square foot multi-use pool, a 25-meter lap pool, three water slides, a bowl slide
and a tot slide. Killeen Parks and Recreation also offers Long Branch pool, at 1101 Branch Drive inside Long Branch Park, which will reopen during Memorial Day weekend. Like the Killeen Family Aquatics Center, Long Branch Pool offers day and season passes, but pool passes are not valid at the Aquatics Center. Killeen Parks and Recreation also offers two senior centers for people age 55 and older, one at Lions Club Park and one at the Bob Gilmore Senior Center at 2205 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd. There is no fee to join either center, but certain activities will require members to purchase supplies. The Bob Gilmore Center has yoga, dancing, movie nights, games, exercise, oil painting and many more activities. The center also serves lunch at 11:30 a.m. every day at a cost of $3 per person. Lunch also requires a reservation by noon the day before. Killeen Parks and Recreation also offers a number youth and adult leagues. The Tri-County Soccer Club offers 50 to 60 teams for youth ages 4 to 14. The department also offers youth leagues for T-Ball, softball and baseball as well as boys and girls basketball. Registration for each of the leagues is
available online at killeentexas.gov. In addition to the youth leagues, Killeen Parks and Recreation also offers a number of adult leagues, including basketball, soccer and volleyball at Lions Club Park. Registration for these leagues is also available at killeentexas. gov. Those interested in serving the community can participate in the AdoptA-Park initiative where community volunteers participate in litter removal and maintenance of local parks. Killeen Parks and Recreation is home to Stonetree Golf Club, which was built in 1970 and completely renovated in 2005. The club is open to the public and features a variety of trees and small lakes with fountains. Stonetree hosts 25 to 30 golf tournaments annually along with major fundraisers. The club also features a pro shop with the latest golf equipment and a clubhouse that offers a daily menu and sports bar and is available to rent for functions and parties. Tee times at Stonetree are available up to seven days in advance. Learn more about Killeen Parks and Recreation at killeentexas.gov or call 254-501-6390, 254-501-8889 or 254-286-2005.
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Area high school athletic teams excel during 2015 season By Jordan Mason Killeen Daily Herald
The year 2015 was a year of many firsts for area teams, and the firsts continued to pile up to start 2016. The Killeen girls basketball team began 2015 by claiming the first of back-to-back district titles en route to an area-round appearance. The Shoemaker boys basketball team also claimed a share of the first district title in program history in 2015, splitting the 12-6A championship with Killeen ISD rivals Ellison and Harker Heights. The Harker Heights boys soccer team kept the firsts coming in 2015 by earning a split of the first district championship in program history with Belton. The Knights went on to reach the regional quarterfinals, also a program first, in just the second season under head coach Ryan Flanigan. That kicked off an impressive spring for the Harker Heights athletic program, which also saw the baseball team win a playoff series for the first time in its history with a bi-district sweep of Sachse. Harker Heights finished the 20142015 school year by sweeping the 12-6A title in boys and girls track in a monumental season for both programs. The Lady Knights went on to win the Region II team title, a program first, and had each of its relay teams — 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 — qualify for the state meet in Austin. Harker Heights wasn’t the only baseball team to find success in 2015, as Salado claimed the 25-4A crown despite moving up a classification. In softball, there were a pair of local standouts, as Florence and Belton enjoyed successful seasons. Florence completed a perfect regular season and came within one round of state while making a run to the Region IV-3A finals. Belton, meanwhile, won the 12-6A title and reached the regional quarterfinals in Region II-6A. Copperas Cove kicked off the 20152016 school year by winning the 12-6A volleyball title en route to an arearound appearance. 136 < 2016 PROGRESS
Herald | FILE
Shoemaker’s Isaiah Everett (5) runs through a hole in the Sachse line at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Then it was Shoemaker claiming yet another program first as the Grey Wolves, who finished second in 12-6A, won the first playoff game in program history with a 10-7 win against Sachse. The program also produced its first two Under Armour All-Americans in Kendell Jones and Rahssan Thornton, who signed to play college football at Alabama and LSU, respectively. The Grey Wolves then went on to win a second straight district title in basketball, the first outright title in program history, by running the table in district, also a first. Shoemaker, which earned a program-best No. 6 ranking in the state, also reached the 2016 regional tournament — the first in program history — with a win against No. 24 Rowlett in the regional quarterfinals. The Killeen girls basketball team also won a second straight district crown in 2016 by compiling a perfect district record while climbing as high as No. 7 in the state rankings. Killeen capped the 2016 season by reaching the regional tournament for the first time in 24 years with a win against No. 24 Richardson in the regional quarterfinals. Area teams will look to keep the firsts coming in 2016.
Killeen High’s Ke’Aunna Johnson (42) drives the baseline against Ellison.
Mary Hardin-Baylor has another successful year in athletics By Travis Martinez Herald Correspondent
Mary Hardin-Baylor had another successful year in athletics in 2015. All 12 athletic programs reached the American Southwest Conference tournament. This is the first time in school history where all athletic teams have qualified for postseason action. The Cru football team won a share of the American Southwest Conference title for the 13th straight season. During the regular season, UMHB was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation. After losing a heartbreaker to rival Hardin-Simmons in the regular season in Abilene, the Cru got revenge and beat the Cowboys, 37-19, in Round 1 of the NCAA Division III Championships. The Cru advanced to Round 2 of the playoffs for the 12th straight year. Defensive end Teidrick Smith broke the UMHB and ASC sack record and become the first player in ASC history to win both Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons. McKenzie Ralston, a Temple graduate, won the NCAA Division
Herald | FILE
Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Bryce Wilkerson (9) evades a tackle and runs in for a touchdown as UMHB faced Huntingdon College in the second round of the NCAA Division III National Championship game Nov. 28 at Crusader Stadium in Belton.
III Women’ Golf Individual National Championship in May. She also went
on to become the ASC Female Athlete of the Year.
The men’s golf team won its second straight ASC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championships before narrowly missing the cut. The Cru tied for 17th place in the national tournament in Greensboro, N.C. The Cru was making its second straight appearance in the NCAA playoffs and its fourth overall. Junior Mats Heien, a sports management major from Norway, made ASC First-Team honors. The women’s volleyball team finished the season with a 19-12 record and earned the No. 1 seed in the West Division in the ASC Tournament in Dallas. The Cru baseball team made an appearance in the ASC Conference Tournament for the third straight season. The UMHB softball team finished the season with a 21-18 record and advanced to the ASC Tournament for the 16th year in program history. Leah Brown, a native of Crawford, finished the season with a .400 average with 50 hits, 10 home runs and 39 RBIs while hurler Tiffany Birdwell completed the season with an impressive 2.62 earned run average.
Latest UIL realignment brings changes to local prep programs By Clay Whittington Killeen Daily Herald
The changes were small but significant. Every two years, the University Interscholastic League realigns all of Texas’ schools, placing them in various districts based on size and location. Sometimes, the changes are minor, while other years, they completely alter the landscape for area teams. This year, the UIL accomplished both tasks when it comes to Killeen ISD and its surrounding schools. On the surface, not much changed in football as Killeen, Shoemaker, Ellison, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, Belton and Midway will continue to compete against each other as part of District 8-6A. While little changes during the regular season, the move from District 12-6A to District 8-6A places the teams back in Region I, setting the programs up against some notoriously difficult opponents in the playoffs. For the next two years, Class 6A area teams will
face off against District 7-6A in the opening round of the postseason. The district includes the likes of Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Duncanville, Grand Prairie, Irving, Irving MacArthur, Irving Nimitz and South Grand Prairie. The move also means other sports teams will be forced to travel farther for spring meets with most regional competitions being held in Dallas, Fort Worth or Arlington rather than Waco. But the increased travel will not be limited to regional meets for many teams. In almost all sports other than football, the UIL placed San Angelo Central in District 8-6A, causing every area team to make the approximately 200-mile trip north once a season. Furthermore, Central, which lost an appeal to be removed from District 8-6A, will be required to make regular trips to the Killeen area for games. The road trips might not be ideal for all involved, but they are a reality for the next two years. While the area’s larger schools were left relatively unfazed, many smaller schools were affected.
Florence dropped down a division as it joined District 13-3A, Division II in football with Blanco, Comfort, Johnson City, Lexington and Rogers. For the next two school years, neighbors from the north will surround Salado after the Eagles were placed in District 9-4A, Division II with Fairfield, Lorena, Mexia, Robinson and Waco Connally. Lampasas and Gatesville continue to comprise District 13-4A, Division I in football with Burnet, China Spring and defending state champion La Vega. The lone alteration is Liberty Hill will replace Robinson. In basketball and other sports, Gatesville will compete in District 17-4A alongside China Spring, Lorena, Robinson, Waco Connally and La Vega, while Lampasas joins Salado in District 19-4A with Burnet, Liberty Hill, Llano, Taylor and firstyear school Leander Glenn. Florence will remain in District 25-3A and will play against Blanco, Comfort, Georgetown Gateway Prep, Ingram Moore and Lago Vista. The lone change comes in the form of Johnson City replacing Jarrell.
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Heights updates parks; YMCA facility to open in late May By Rachael Riley killeen daily herald
HARKER HEIGHTS — Striving to improve the quality of life for residents, updating existing parks was a focus for the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department in 2015. A few of the city’s existing parks underwent a few minor renovations, Parks and Recreation Director Jerry Bark said. The Harker Heights Community Park on Farm-to-Market 2410 received an additional concrete screening wall attached to existing wall panels. The project originally started in 2014, and staff will continue the concrete screening along the park boundary during upcoming budget cycles, Bark said. In the Goode-Connell Park, electrical service was extended to allow additional lighting under and around the existing playground facility, he said. Summit Soccer Complex also received some minor renovation, and the installation of additional electrical services provided poles and lighting fixtures for the existing paved parking lot, Bark said. “During 2016, the Parks and Recreation staff will continue to foster the quality of life aspirations of our citizens and provide a safe, clean, well maintain parks system,” he said. Focus for the future Comanche Gap Park will continue, as construction
Josh Bachman | Herald
The new Armed Services YMCA recreational facility, located in Purser Family Park in Harker Heights, should be ready for use in late May.
plans were drafted in 2015. “Staff will submit the project during the budget request process,” Bark said. “The original intent is to construct this park project in phases within the Capital Improvement Program the actual start date for the project is yet to be determined.” The property is registered with the Texas Historical Commission as a Texas landmark, Bark said.
Construction on the future $12.1 mil-
lion Armed Services YMCA recreational facility, located in Purser Family Park, continued, after a special election relating to the land in May. Voters approved of the city selling the land, after YMCA representatives informed the city of difficulty obtaining construction financing under the lease terms for the property. According to city documents, the YMCA entered into a deed of trust Oct. 28, 2011, for construction of a portion of the parking area in Purser Family Park. The sale of the land in 2015 al-
lowed the ASYMCA to get local funding, better rates and save money on interest, said Tony Mino, Killeen Armed Services YMCA executive director. Walls for the two-story 54,000 square feet started to go up in April. “It gave me goosebumps to see the reality of it physically going up, after all the time spent planning,” said Cindy Davis, fundraising chairwoman for the ASYMCA. ASYMCA officials said they except to host an open house the last weekend of May in time for Memorial Day. The facility is expected to serve about 15,000 individuals. On the first floor will be a 10-lane lap pool, a separate 88-degree therapy pool for water exercise and swim lessons, men’s, women’s and family locker rooms leading to the pools, an exercise studio for aerobic classes, a generational center for senior citizens and teenagers, a child watch area and Seton Medical Center’s physical therapy rehabilitation area. Killeen Independent School District will train students in the facility’s pool. On the second floor will be weight machines, free weights and cardio equipment, two exercise studios, instructional rooms and an indoor walking track. Included will be a café, meeting rooms and instructional kitchen for wellness classes, yoga, Zumba and a TRX system.
MWR serves Fort Hood community rec needs BY C.J. BERRYMAN KILLEEN DAILY HERALD
Soldiers, retirees and civilians with ties to Fort Hood have plenty to do in their spare time thanks to the Fort Hood Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs offered on post. Whether it’s golf, arts and crafts, Army Community Service workshops or basketball games, the Fort Hood MWR offers a plethora of activities. MWR seeks to enhance the quality of life by providing recreation and services to encourage growth and a feeling of self-reliance within the military community. Weekends kick off early for MWR at the Thursday Music Mix at the Backbone NCO Lounge. You can 138 < 2016 PROGRESS
play pool, shuffleboard and eat popcorn on the patio decks as a DJ spins country and western, oldies, R&B and blues hits. The event is free and open to noncommissioned officers, corporals or higher, their guests and civilians age 18 and older. The Courses at Clear Creek offer Ladies’ Day every Tuesday, which offer twilight green fees and 10 percent off all in-stock ladies’ apparel purchases. All tee times must be reserved. The MWR also host a variety of other sports, which include bowling, basketball, soccer, softball, roller derby, racquetball, flag football, wrestling and volleyball. For more information about MWR, go to hoodmwr.com or facebook.com/forthoodfmwr.
Herald | FILE
All-Army Taekwondo Team head coach Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fennell, left, gives advice to 2015 All-Army Taekwondo team member Spc. Albert Lee, of Fort Hood, during the 2015 USA Taekwondo National Championships in Austin.
Golfers have courses to test skills across Central Texas By ALLAN MANDELL Killeen Daily Herald
For those that enjoy golfing, there are several quality courses in the area. Stonetree Golf Club was built in 1970 and completely renovated in 2005. There are four sets of tees to provide a challenging, but fair test to golfers of all skill levels. Tee times are available up to seven days in advance, with the first available time being 7 a.m. Reservations can be made by calling 501-6575. The pro shop is kept fully stocked with the latest in golf equipment and apparel. The clubhouse is an 8,000 square foot structure that offers a daily menu, sports bar, and is available for a variety of functions and parties. The address is 1600 Stonetree Drive, Killeen.
Clear Creek Golf Public Course is on Battalion Avenue in Fort Hood. The hours of the golf course vary depending on the seasons, so it’s best to call 539-1973 to find out exact hours on any given week you’d like to play. There is a 27-hole championship golf course and a four-hole course for youngsters. A 45-minute instruction session costs $35. The 4,500-foot clubhouse has a full snack bar and lunch is served from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Hills of Cove Municipal Golf Course is at 1408 Golf Course Road, Copperas Cove. It is near the intersection of Golf Course Road and Texas Street. The phone number is 547-2606. The 18-hole course 6,200 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71 . The course rating is 69.0 and it has a slope rating of 114 on Bermuda grass.
Peyton Sprung works on his golf swing while practicing on the green at the Stone Tree Golf Club in Killeen. Herald | FILE
Several area athletes thriving in college, professional ranks BY CLAY WHITTINGTON Killeen Daily Herald
No matter when and where the biggest games in professional or college sports are played, the greater Fort Hood area will have a hand in the outcome. Whether it’s the NFL, NBA or major college sports, alumni from various high schools in the area have become stars and big-time players in the NCAA and professional ranks. For the second consecutive year, a Copperas Cove graduate took part in the Super Bowl. This year, it was former Bulldawgs standout Charles “Peanut” Tillman, who was unable to take the field for the Carolina Panthers due to an injury, as they lost to the Denver Broncos. Super Bowl XLIX had a local flavor as New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Boyce was going up against Seattle Seahawks assistant offensive line coach Chris Morgan. The Patriots won a thrilling 28-24 contest that will go down as one of the most memorable Super Bowls in history. Former Copperas Cove Bulldawg Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy at Baylor in 2011 and was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012. Tillman established himself as one of the league’s best defensive backs for the Chicago Bears. Tillman
had consecutive Pro Bowl selections in 2011 and 2012 and won the 2013 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. After being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, former Killeen Kangaroo Cory Jefferson, who became a standout at Baylor, has played for the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns and is currently with the Bakersfield Jam in the NBA Development League. David Cobb, a former Ellison High football star, leads a local contingent of athletes who are out of college and looking to make their name at the professional level. Cobb finished his career at the University of Minnesota by rushing for 1,626 yards in 2014, a new Golden Gopher single-season record, and 13 touchdowns. Cobb was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the 138th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but due to an injury, he never made it onto the field during his rookie season. Former University of Texas at El Paso quarterback Jameill Showers, who was a standout for Shoemaker, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys and was placed on the 53-man roster late in the season. University of Texas cornerback Duke Thomas (Copperas Cove) will look to make the jump this year, while Baylor running back Johnny Jefferson
(Shoemaker) rushed for 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns last season as a junior with the Bears. Furthermore, Shoemaker standout defensive tackle Kendell Jones and defensive end Rahssan Thornton will be playing for premier programs Alabama and LSU, respectively, this fall. Texas State’s Ojai Black (Ellison) is one of several area athletes to make it to the collegiate level in basketball. Perhaps none, however, landed in a better position than Rashard Odomes (Copperas Cove), who plays for powerhouse Oklahoma. C.J. Bobbitt (Harker Heights) is playing at Denver, while former teammate Cam DeLaney transferred from Denver to Sam Houston to play alongside his brother, Josh DeLaney, and Davon Clare is set to begin his career at Cal State Fullerton. On the girls’ side, former Lady Knights standout Alexus Dukes is now with Texas-San Antonio. Killeen guard Tia Harston will soon be joining the college ranks, playing for Sam Houston State University. In track and field, Lampasas has two athletes competing at Oklahoma in decathlete Steven Jazdyk and high jumper Shon Howard, while Gatesville’s Cole Edmiston and Tyler Jaynes both play at Baylor. Copperas Cove offensive tackle JP Urquidez will join the pair on the Bears’ roster this season.
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NAACP, LULAC councils advocate for, give back to community By Rachael Riley Killeen Daily Herald
Two well-established minority civic organizations in Killeen last year continued a strong tradition of organizing community events to advocate and give back.
Killeen’s local chapter of the NAACP is always welcoming new members to increase its membership, said TaNeika Driver-Moultrie, chapter president. “We appreciate that people from all walks of life and all backgrounds are coming to join forces with us in the name of equality and justice,” DriverMoultrie said. “Discrimination doesn’t have a face on it. We want to make sure everyone is being treated equally, and we’re seeing that for the most part here in our community.” In March, the Killeen Branch NAACP was represented among several NAACPs from across the state at the Texas Capitol. Driver-Moultrie said they were invited to talk with their state representatives, and Killeen’s branch had a meeting with state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, to provide feedback about education concerns and what improvements, if any, could be made. Another police forum included law enforcement agencies from across the state and a Killeen Police Department officer, Driver-Moultrie said. “We had that conversation with them about racial profiling and if we saw any concerns or issues in our immediate communities and how we could address those and move forward,” she said. Also in March, Driver-Moultrie and another Killeen NAACP member participated in the 50th anniversary of the Selma, Ala., civil rights march and retraced the footsteps Martin Luther King Jr. led from Selma to the state capital, Montgomery. During the organization’s annual Unity Breakfast, Driver-Moultrie said a representative from the Texas Catholic Charities provided a presentation to local clergy about payday lending along with local numbers of its impact. “This prompted the city of Killeen to become engaged and get the payday 140 < 2016 PROGRESS
Eric J. Shelton | Herald
Audience members listen as candidates speak during the League of United Latin American Citizens Herencia Council #4297, Political Committee’s Primary Political Forum in February at the Hilton Garden Inn in Killeen.
lending ordinance passed,” she said. The next step for the NAACP is to provide education about the matter, Driver-Moultire said. “Some people do depend on payday loans and we want them to be educated on what affects it has not just shortterm but long-term,” she said. During Fair Lending Month in April this year, the NAACP will partner with Wells Fargo, Driver-Moulrie said. Among other yearly gatherings and events, the local club hosted its annual Freedom Fund Banquet on March 12 at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and awarded six $5,000 scholarships to area high school students. Another highlight for 2015, DriverMoultrie said, was the local branch’s sponsorship of the 19th annual School/ Stay in School Rally and Symposium that provided more than 400 backpacks with school supplies to students in need.
Driver-Moultrie said collaboration with many civic and nonprofit organizations made it possible. To learn more about the NAACP, call 254-286-9211 or go to naacpkilleen.org.
The oldest local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens is Council 4535. The group continued with its six month citizenship training classes in conjunction with St. Joseph Catholic Church in Killeen. In August, 18 students graduated from the 2015 English and citizenship class held from March through August and geared toward preparing non-U.S. legal residents to apply for U.S. naturalization through civics, English and legal courses. An accelerated citizenship class for English speakers was held from Sep-
tember to November. One of the group’s main focuses is education. The local chapter has handed out more than $150,000 in scholarships in the last 13 years. In October, LULAC Council 4535 hosted its first 5K and 10K run to raise money for the scholarships. “Hopefully, we can make enough to hand out a few more scholarships this year,” said Raul Villaronga. Last year, Villaronga said, the council provided scholarships to students at each of Killeen’s high schools and also provided two scholarships to students on medical tracks that were sponsored by Metroplex Hospital. The council also provides scholarships through partnerships with Central Texas College and Texas A&M University-Central Texas. Scholarship applications are open to everyone, Villaronga said. “We want to
Herald | FILE
Hundreds march in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day walk in downtown Killeen, which was led by the Killeen NAACP’s Youth Council on Jan. 18.
foster education. ... You don’t have to be Hispanic to apply.” The group plans to grant several scholarships to 12 students in April. “It’s a great thing to be able to reach out and helps kids get a college education,” he said. Funds for the scholarships are raised in the community, and Villaronga reminds residents that donations are tax deductible. Call LULAC at 1-800-5455336. LULAC Herencia Council 4297 also is active in the area. In September, Council 4297 hosted a Latino Family Expo. The group also hosted several fundraisers in 2015 to prepare for the council’s Legacy Gala that will be held this May. The gala will honor young ladies in a group quinceañera and Sweet 16 celebration, organizers said. “They will first participate in seminars regarding public speaking, etiquette and college tours.” In February, the group hosted a political forum for state races. On March 21, the group hosted a candidate forum for Killeen City Council and Killeen Independent School board candidates. Learn more at www.facebook.com/ LULACHerenciaCouncil4297.
Gabe Wolf | Herald
LULAC 10k event organizer Raul Villaronga, left, hands out participation medals to Joe and Barb Merlo at the Killeen Community Center.
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Eric J. Shelton | Herald
The Bell County Museum at 201 N. Main St. in Belton has exhibits and archives chronicling the area’s history. It brings traveling exhibits to town as well, rotating offerings throughout the year.
Bell County Museum chronicles area’s history for residents By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON — Established in 1991, the Bell County Museum has been working hard ever since to ensure residents of Bell County know the history of the area, and has been finding ways to keep the exhibits fresh and the crowd coming back for more. “In many small towns, once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it all,” museum director Beverly Hadley said. “While we want people to know the history of Bell County, we also want to bring in exhibits from other areas, because many national and international events from history had an effect on Bell County.” Case in point, the museum is currently showing the “Deadly Medicine” exhibit from now until May 21, which presents many of the scientific practices and instruments used by the Nazis during World War II. On loan from the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., the exhibit examines the methods German scientists used to attempt to 142 < 2016 PROGRESS
Mitchel Barrett | Herald
Bell County Museum Director Beverly Hadley stands by the Gault Site exhibit.
perfect their “master race.” “This is a huge exhibit; it takes up all of the west gallery, as well as most of the second floor of the Carnegie building,” Hadley said. “‘Deadly Medicine’ has already been a pretty big exhibit for us, just in the number of people it is bringing into the museum.” After “Deadly Medicine,” the Bell County Museum has several other exhibits lined up for 2016. First up will
be an exhibit called “The Grand Ole Opery,” which will be followed by “The President’s Photographer.” The first exhibit will show off the role of music in helping to shape culture, while the second will display prominent photographs from various presidents’ terms, while exploring the details of the events surrounding said photographs. Beyond bringing new exhibits to
the museum to draw more people in, Hadley said one of the most important things the museum is working on is expanding its educational outreach. “For a little while we did not have an educational outreach director, but now we do, and we make trips to school for classes and presentations about four times a month,” Hadley said. “We also have Traveling Trunks, which are display trunks that can go out to schools to be used in the classrooms.” The normal business hours for the Bell County Museum is noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, which allows the staff to offer special tours to groups that sign up before noon. Another program the museum is offering this year is a summer camp program for children of various ages in July. Registration for these camps will start in April, and the camps will be from 9 a.m. to noon several days a week. The Bell County Museum is at 201 N. Main St. in Belton.
Area residents take the stage at Killeen’s Vive Les Arts Theatre By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily Herald
The spotlight is calling, and Vive Les Arts Theatre in Killeen has been answering the call for years, producing season after season filled with shows and other productions. Vive Les Arts was originally founded in 1976 by eight local couples as a way to promote artistic and cultural values in the city and community. In the beginning they achieved this goal by sponsoring several performances by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and various other concerts. Today, VLA has expanded its show list exponentially, producing at least eight plays a season, as well as hosting concerts and poetry nights and making its theater space available to various community organizations, as long as there are no conflicting schedules. “Last season, our biggest production was ‘Shrek,’ which probably had about 70 cast and crew members,” executive director Traci Tipping said. “We had
Steve Pettit | Herald
Traci Tipping is the executive director of Vive Les Arts Theatre in Killeen.
huge amounts of publicity for that one, too.” Some of the bigger publicity acts the theater did for ‘Shrek’ included various flash mobs at local H-E-B stores, a partner of the theater. Cast members performed small musical numbers in costume for store shoppers, promoting the show and
spreading interest in the theater. “We also had a float in the Fourth of July parade,” Tipping said. “We had cast and crew on the float, and were able to really promote the show that way.” These were the kinds of promotions the staff and volunteers of Vive Les Arts produced for just one show. While not every production will receive a flash mob at H-E-B, the crew puts a lot of promotion into each of its shows. The current staff members of Vive Les Arts Theatre are relatively new, mostly having been there for little more than a year, but all are devoted to increasing the presence of the theatre in Central Texas. “I was originally introduced to the theater because my son wanted to join the program,” office manager Michelle Anthony said. “I came to love it, and began working here soon after.” For people who want to get involved in the theater, but may not have the time to devote to a full-time or volunteer position, Vive Les Arts offers
several membership levels to the public, which grant patrons several show passes they can use to attend any show produced doing that season. Membership levels range from the student and senior citizen level at $80, all the way up to the “director’s circle” at $2,500. As Killeen is big military town, being so close to Fort Hood, Vive Les Arts makes a point to offer many special discounts and services to the military personnel in the area. “Every Thursday before opening weekend for one of our shows, we have a dress rehearsal which is completely free to military personnel,” Tipping said. “Now, it is a dress rehearsal, but it is still very polished, and completely free as long as you have a valid military I.D.” This season, the theatre’s big summer production will be Mary Poppins, which will run July 22-24 and 29-31. Auditions will begin May 23, so area residents can look forward to a production of the 1964 classic.
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Eric J. Shelton | Herald
The Bell County Expo Center in Belton will get an upgrade in the coming year, allowing the facility to book even more events to draw tourism dollars.
Renovations will expand space for events at Bell County Expo Center By Artie Phillips Killeen Daily Herald
The Bell County Expo Center has been tossing around the idea of an equestrian and livestock facility for close to 15 years, and officials hope to begin serious construction on the project in the fall. “We are very excited to see that building become a reality this year,” said Tim Stephens, executive director of the Bell County Expo Center in Belton. “We hope to start moving dirt to prepare for construction in the fall, and we have been told construction will take about a year, so hopefully we will open that building in the fall of 2017.” Currently, the Expo Center uses its exposition building for equestrian and livestock shows. While not normally a problem, heat has been an issue during the summer months, as the exhibit area of that building — roughly 55,000 square feet — is not air conditioned. This, however, is another area for which the Bell County Expo Center has plans. “We are planning to get the exhibit side of the exhibition building air conditioned soon, which will all us to bring in bigger events and new events year-round,” Stephens said. “The build144 < 2016 PROGRESS
Gabe Wolf | Herald
Referee Tom “Madcarrots” Zermeno warms up May 17 before the start of the Rollapalooza at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton.
ing is currently very well ventilated with large fans, but this will allow us to do a lot more.” The exposition building can almost be viewed as an all-purpose building, as the Expo Center lays dirt down for livestock shows several times a year while also hosting trade shows and various exhibits during the rest of the year. Stephens said he hopes the building will be “even more attractive” once they are able to air-condition much of
the building. The Bell County Expo Center sees exhibits happening at its location almost year-round, reporting 255 events taking place during 2015. Of those, 92 were multi-day events, which means they lasted at least two days. The Expo Center also reported 504 event days last year, a number that results from the fact that multiple events were hosted on the same day.
One of the center’s biggest events so far this year was the Mother Earth News event in February, which drew more than 15,000 visitors, despite being the first time it was held at the Expo. Based on the turnout, Stephens said he hopes they can host the event again in the future. “We are always looking for ways to maintain our existing events and facilities, and how to bring in more people and new events,” he said.
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