City

Percentage of smokers at Texas State decreases following campus smoking ban

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Recent surveys conducted by the American College Health Association reveal with the implementation of the tobacco-free policy on campus, the number of frequent smokers at Texas State has decreased from 22 percent to 15 percent since 2011.

The campus community has reaped significant benefits since becoming a tobacco-free campus, said Emilio Carranco, director of the Student Health Center. 

“I think people are realizing that smoking and exposing others to secondhand smoke is a real risk to self and others, and it’s translating into changes of behavior,” Carranco said. “We’ve got fewer students that are smoking regularly and more students who are thinking about quitting. That is really good for the health of our campus community.”

Council, mayoral candidates debate future of San Marcos

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Candidates for City Council Place 3 and 4 and those running for mayor discussed the future of San Marcos Monday night at a debate hosted by the University Star and KTSW 89.9.

Jane Hughson, City Council Place 4 candidate, spoke without an opponent. Her rival, Councilman Wayne Becak, Place 4, was unable to attend the debate.

Hughson said one of the main reasons she is running for city council is the City of San Marcos’ Comprehensive Master Plan.

“I was on the committee for the plan, and I decided I wanted to be on city council to see the implementation of the plan,” Hughson said. “Budget and transportation plans need to conform, and I want to make sure they do. If there is a change I want to make sure that it is justified.”

Mayoral candidate addresses citizens while drinking his favorite coffee

Jonathan Sorenson, a 27-year-old business manager at San Marcos Rehabilitation and Healthcare, held an open forum at Wake The Dead Coffeehouse to discuss citizens’ concerns and campaign for the role of mayor.

Mayoral candidate Sorenson has built his platform around common sense and the idea of rebuilding trust in the community, he said.

“There has been a disconnect between the elected officials and the citizens,” Sorenson said. “The citizens want someone who will actually lead.”

Sorenson believes the current mayor is not listening to citizens and may be developing into a “career politician.”

“We have to rebuild trust,” Sorenson said. “If you don’t have the trust of the community, you can’t do it.”

City extends invitation to rewrite neighborhood development code

City officials are seeking input from San Marcos residents to help create a new land development code.

“Code SMTX is an effort to rewrite our land development code,” said Abigail Gillfillan, project and permit manager. “We want to get the community’s input on what makes San Marcos important and special and how we can make sure to preserve those elements.”

The land development code outlines rules and regulations for development in the city, Gillfillan said. It governs the location of land usage, placement of buildings and site design. Ultimately, it dictates the look and “feel” of the city, according to Code SMTX’s website.

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.

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