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Texas VA Wades Through Backlog Of Pending Claims


Five stories that have North Texas talking: The one thing veterans can do to ensure claims go through, pocketknives on planes, Carly Rae Jepsen hangs up on the Boy Scouts and more.

More Texas veterans are waiting longer for assistance. A backlog of over 80,000 claims sits at the two Texas veterans affairs posts in Houston and Waco, according to a story by Edel Howlin of KUHF as part of the station’s Helping Our Heroes series.

The major timesucker in an already byzantine filing process: VA employees have to sleuth for evidence on all of the claims. Vincent Morris, a Veteran’s Services Officer in Harris County, begs veterans who file to take that extra step and get all the doctors’ signatures they can so the department doesn’t get bogged down trying to validate claims. This is key as more returning veterans will get in line.

  • Starting next month, pocketknives on planes will no longer be verboten. According to the TSA, as of April 25, you many bring a knife on-board so long as the blade is 2.36 inches or shorter, and less than half an inch wide. Box cutters and razor blades are still forbidden. While this may make packing easier for hikers and campers, a union that represents 90,000 flight attendants is not happy about the change. "Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place," reads a statement by the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions. Another restriction that’s been lifted? The carry-on ban of sporting gear like golf clubs, ski poles and hockey sticks. [CNN]
Credit Transportation Security Administration

  • It’s not a maybe, it’s a definite no. Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen tweeted yesterday that she’s pulled out of the entertainment line-up for the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America’s annual Jamboree. Citing the Boy Scout’s ban on openly gay scouting leaders and members Jepsen said, “I always have and always will support the LGBT community on a global level.” Jepsen is the second performer to bow out after the band Train made a similar move. [Dallas Morning News]

  • With a new pope on the horizon, Catholics are guessing at how interested the church’s new leader will be in promoting sustainability. For one Catholic church in Lubbock, that investment started on the grounds when the Rev. Joe James put five wind turbines on church grounds in the early ‘80s. St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin is considering adding solar panels. [NY Times]

  • A Dallas Court is hosting a tug of war over the prized green jacket golfers everywhere dream of shrugging into.  According to the August National Golf Club, one particular jacket, won by Masters Champ Art Wall Jr. in 1959, was stolen. But Heritage Auctions of Texas disagrees. The company insists the jacket was obtained legally, but before the auctioneer can bang the gavel and shout going, going, gone… Dallas District Judge Emily Tobolowsky ruled jacket ownership must be settled. [Dallas Morning News via NPR]
Lyndsay Knecht is assistant producer for Think. 
Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.