News Roundup: Hundreds Respond To Online Appeal To Attend ‘Unaccompanied Veteran’s’ Funeral

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJanuary 28, 2019 2:00 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Hundreds of people turned out for the funeral of an unaccompanied veteran in Killeen Monday morning. At the end of last week, the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery put out a call to the public asking them to attend the funeral of Joseph Walker. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1968.  Originally, no one was expected to attend.

But less than an hour before the funeral – that was no longer the case.

Douglas Gault is the chief onsite representative for the Texas Veterans Land Board, or VLB.

“Well, right now, it’s 9:19 and I’m looking at 300 people,” Gault says.

Gault says making sure people turnout for unaccompanied soldiers is part of what the VLB does.

“We ensure that no soldier is left behind – this is beautiful. It’s an honor, being a 30-year-veteran myself.” Gault says.

Gault adds that coverage of the funeral didn’t just get hundreds to show up.

“But I’m going to tell you one more good thing, with the media reach, a family member was found yesterday which was awesome,” Gault says.

Gault says this is the 53rd funeral for an unaccompanied veteran at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

San Antonio is one of five cities in the country to earn a gold medal from public health experts for accessible, high-quality preschool programs. Texas Public Radio’s Camille Phillips reports it is the only city in Texas to earn the top ranking.

The joint report compiled by CityHealth and the National Institute for Early Education Research ranks the 40 largest cities based on teacher preparation, class size and enrollment.

Shelley Hearne is a professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University and the President of CityHealth. She says San Antonio’s locally funded Pre-K 4 SA program helped the city stand out.

“Not only is this a really solid, quality program, but it’s reaching out to all kids age four, regardless of income or their zip code. It’s a highly accessible program and that’s going to make a difference for the overall health of the city,” Hearne says.

Most of Pre-K 4 SA’s seats are reserved for low-income students that qualify for free preschool, but about 10 percent of the students’ families pay tuition on a sliding scale.

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro says there are better ways to secure the border than a concrete wall. The former San Antonio mayor and onetime Housing and Urban Development secretary was on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. He was asked whether Democrats should be willing to give President Trump money for border security, including for a fence or a wall.

“The Democrats have made clear that they’re willing to negotiate on investing in additional funds for border security. In fact, they did that in the legislation they passed earlier this month. I think the difference here is the focus,” Castro said.

Castro said that focus should be on technology and adding personnel. Portions of the government that closed during the shutdown officially reopened Monday for the next three weeks, as Congress tries to reach a deal on border security.