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Texas voter ID law stands as midterm elections approach

The Supreme Court ruled Oct. 18 that Texas is allowed to use the new voter identification law for the Nov. 4 midterm election.

Early voting in Texas began Monday. Individuals casting their votes were asked to present one of seven forms of approved identification.

Opinions of the new law are split, often along party lines.

Amanda Guillen, president of the Texas State College Democrats, said her organization sees it as a way to disenfranchise Texas voters.

“It’s definitely targeted towards minorities and the transgender community across the state,” Guillen said. “People who don’t have the resources, time or money to go and get one of the approved forms of identification will definitely be hurt by this.”

Competition between online and local bookstores complicates textbook market

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Math students are finding themselves caught in the crossfire between long-standing local booksellers and a burgeoning online market.

The Internet market for college textbooks is expanding. The resulting competition with the Texas State University Bookstore and other local booksellers makes finding materials harder for math students, said Alex White, associate professor of mathematics.

Alex Rasche, mathematics graduate student and teaching assistant, said he remembers many instances when his students suffered from not being able to find textbooks in time for class.

Rasche said specialized workbooks published by the university were required when he was teaching a developmental math course. Local bookstores did not have enough copies for students.

Author, journalist discusses confronting bias in media

As an African-American woman, Joyce King, author, columnist and broadcaster, faced adversity when working in the media.

During her Mass Comm Week session, “Bring it on: Confronting Bias in Media and Society,” King said she did not have a choice about whether or not to confront biases. King heavily discussed pushing past stereotypes in the media and society.

“We’re not doing enough to break down stereotypes,” King said.

King asked why people judge everyone without “opening anything” and getting to know them first, not following the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

“We miss out on people because we decide we are going to be biased,” King said.

Wild rice restoration program combats severe drought conditions

The Texas Wild Rice Enhancement and Restoration program has successfully increased the population of the species along the San Marcos River by 53 percent under severe drought conditions over the past two years.

Despite the program's success, political and financial obstacles can deteriorate further conservation efforts in San Marcos.

There were no physical “on the ground” efforts to conserve wild rice prior to the start of the program in Jan. 2013, said Melani Howard, Habitat Conservation Plan manager. However, concern has always been present on state and local levels to conserve wild rice, she said.

Trauth opens door to students, addresses community concerns

A growing number of students are attending Texas State, but President Denise Trauth believes the mantra of the university’s community continues to be “big but small.”

Trauth sat down with students for her 13th annual Open Door session. Students had the opportunity to voice their concerns and present questions to Trauth and Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs, Tuesday in the LBJ Student Center.

A range of students brought a variety of questions to the session. Trauth was encouraged by the diversity of questions and people at the session.

Scientists aim to preserve endangered salamanders

Scientists gathered on the banks of Spring Lake Sept. 23 to do something few people have had the chance to experience.

The scientists collected San Marcos salamanders, which are found only in certain parts of the San Marcos River. The salamanders are a threatened species federally and statewide. Sampling is done in order to study the salamanders further and protect them from extinction, said Valentin Cantu, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The ongoing collection includes 20 sites from Spring Lake and two more immediately below Spring Lake Dam, he said.

Next phase in RR 12 project approved

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The Hays County Commissioners Court approved an advanced funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation, continuing the next phase of the safety project for Ranch Road 12 (RM 12), during its Oct. 7 session.

The proposal will allow for the funding of a center turn lane between Hugo Road and Saddle Ridge Drive on RM 12. This project is part of a proposition to issue $207 million in Hays County road bonds for safety and mobility improvements. Taxpayers voted on and approved the proposition, said Commissioner Will Conley, Precinct 3.

Conley, a Texas State graduate and Republican, addressed the court and recommended the advanced funding agreement.

Jones renovation to cause dining changes

In 2016, students could possibly enjoy a Dunkin’ Donuts at Jones Dining Hall in between classes.

The dining hall will experience major renovations starting in December and is scheduled to reopen fall 2016. Jones has been in service since the 1970s and serves over 500,000 students annually.

Jones needed renovation, said John Root, director of Auxiliary Services.

“At first, I wanted to bulldoze the building and start from new, but we need to finish the project by 2016, and bulldozing the building would cost too much money,” Root said. “In the end, a major interior renovation was necessary and is what we decided to do.” 

Hays County may outsource inmates due to overcrowding

Overcrowding has Hays County Jail officials looking to outsource their inmates to another county’s facility.

The Hays County Commissioners Court heard a proposal Oct. 7 from Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger. Klaeger proposed the outsourcing of inmates to Burnet County Jail as a possible solution.

The maximum capacity of the Hays County Jail is 311 inmates,  said Mark Cumberland, captain at the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. The facility currently houses 314 inmates, with 15 outsourced to Guadalupe County.

Editor-in-Chief, CEO talk state of Texas politics

A slew of students brought their best questions to Centennial Hall Tuesday in a Q&A session with Evan Smith, editor-in-chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune.

Smith opened the session by stating his career in journalism was purely "accidental."

"I went to Washington D.C. thinking, ‘(Congressional work) is what I'm going to do when I get out of college,’" Smith said.

Smith described his congressional work for a representative of Minnesota and the Federal Election Commission as "mind-numbing" and "a soul-sucking experience."

"I came back really kind of lost—lost academically and lost in terms of what I was going to do when I got out of school," Smith said. "I never even gave thought to journalism."

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