City

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.

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.

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.

City will lease Edwards Aquifer rights, drought restrictions continue

City council passed a resolution in a split vote allowing San Marcos officials to lease 885 acre feet of the city’s Edwards Aquifer water rights to a third party for a 10-week period.

More than a dozen citizens, many of them against the resolution, spoke during the  comment period. Citizens said they were displeased with city council entertaining the notion of leasing water to outside parties while enforcing drought restrictions.

City officials announced Aug. 17 that San Marcos had reached a Stage 4 drought level. Because no specific measures were outlined for such a high stage in the drought ordinance, city officials decided to continue Stage 3 rules and increase enforcement, a measure some locals feel is unnecessary.

Drought conditions threaten endangered fountain darter

Drought and human interaction cause concern for the future of the federally protected fountain darter fish, unique to the San Marcos and Comal Rivers.

The fountain darter can only be found in the Comal Springs and San Marcos aquatic ecosystem, according to The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s website. The fountain darter requires clear, clean and flowing waters of a constant temperature.

“Looking at it from the grand scale, drought and low flow conditions have probably wiped out more fish than man,” said Tim Bonner, director of the Bachelor of Science in Aquatic Biology program.

Outside forces have been acting on the fish, but the fountain darter community has stayed intact, he said.

SMHS team plays first home football game at newly opened Rattler Stadium

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An American flag unfolded across the San Marcos High School logo midfield while the band played the national anthem and a jet flew across the home stands of the new Rattler Stadium.

San Marcos High School (SMHS) made history Friday when Rattler Stadium hosted its very first home football game. SMHS has hosted home games before but never at a stadium of its own.                 

San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District (SMCISD) rented the Jim Wacker Field at Bobcat Stadium for home games before its stadium was built. Thursday night games at Texas State became a memory Friday when the Rattlers hosted Kerrville Tivy on home turf. The game resulted in a 48-14 loss for the Rattlers, but the opening of the stadium marks a new era for San Marcos.

Professors, students design innovative, cost effective transistor

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Research professors and undergraduate students of the Ingram School of Engineering have created an innovative ceramic hybrid transistor.

The transistor has the potential not only to protect electrical circuits from power surges but to allow computing devices to operate in harsh environments such as space. A transistor operates as an electronic switch while a varistor protects circuits from being destroyed by excess electricity during a power surge, according to an article by the American Ceramic Society explaining the researchers’ findings. 

Transistors and varistors are typically separate devices. However, Raghvendra Kumar Pandey and his team created a device with transistors embedded within the varistors.

Ebola not immediate threat to San Marcos

The Ebola epidemic is dangerous worldwide, but university officials say the virus is not a threat to the San Marcos area.

“I think people in San Marcos can relax a little bit,” said Emilio Carranco, Student Health Center director. “However, this is an emerging infection, and we don’t know that there won’t be other cases.”

City uses goats to control overgrown brush in green spaces

In an effort to prevent brush fires, the City of San Marcos Parks Park and Recreation Department is considering using goats to control overgrown brush in green spaces.

Bert Stratemann, city parks operation manager, has led the project and ran a pilot of the program Sept. 22 at Glover's Island near Ramon Lucio Park. Stratemann said he partnered with James Dalros, owner of Happy Herd Landscaping, in addition to 20 goats that grazed the area in a weeklong experiment.

"We found that (our pilot) worked very well," Stratemann said. "Now we're trying to put together a proposal where we'll be asking vendors to give us a quote on doing this type of work for us."

Tobacco sales remain constant after city prohibits public smoking

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Despite the city- and campus-wide smoking ban, Marvelous Smoke and High Life Glass Works, the smoke shops closest to campus, haven’t seen a difference in tobacco sales since either policy was instated.

Texas State has been a tobacco-free campus since fall 2011. As of Jan. 1 this year, San Marcos denounced public smoking. Smoking on city-owned property is now a Class C Misdemeanor.

Ray Rabie, manager at Marvelous Smoke, said though tobacco purchases haven’t decreased, he has noticed an increase in the sale of e-cigarettes, which aren’t allowed by either policy. 

“(We) have seen an increase in the sale of e-cigs,” Rabie said. “Those are illegal in public places too now, but the demand has increased.”

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