Juliette Moak

Local organization partners with Texas State to advance local economy

Texas State University is collaborating with The Greater San Marcos Partnership to produce a series of events designed to boost economic development in the region by encouraging entrepreneurialism and growth in the technology industry.

The Greater San Marcos Partnership is a public-private organization focused on job creation and the education of community leaders and the general population in Hays and Caldwell Counties, said GSMP President Adriana Cruz.

“Our goal is to really educate people on what our economy is looking like right now,” Cruz said. “On its strengths, some of the challenges that we face and what the opportunities are for the future.”

Librarian career advancement standards under review to ensure compliance with university goals

School officials are reviewing the process of career advancement for librarians at Texas State as part of the university’s ongoing mission to become a Tier One research institution.

An evaluation of the career ladder is scheduled to take place every five years, but 2010 passed without a review being conducted, said Selene Hinojosa, senior librarian.

“Faculty senate is asking us now to set up a review process to see if [the career ladder] is working,” Hinojosa said. “We want to see if it has raised standards, if it is acceptable to the librarians and acceptable to everyone involved.”

Self-sustaining housing facilities could be constructed in San Marcos by 2015

Officials at the San Marcos Housing Authority may be collaborating with Texas State’s Department of Agriculture to implement a new type of self-sufficient housing facilities that would allow residents to grow their own organic food.

The housing facility design, called Hortaqua, is an urban farming system that employs a combination of aquaponics and horticulture, said Gene Martin, resident services director for the San Marcos Housing Authority.

“It’s kind of a collaboration between us, the City of San Marcos, the local school district and Texas State University,” Martin said. “I’m really proud of the way things are coming together, with so many members of the community getting involved with it.”

Officers, academy personnel participate in school marshal training at Texas State

Police officers and academy personnel from across the state underwent training in San Marcos last month to prepare them to train private citizens to become licensed school marshals, a new type of Texas law enforcement officer.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) held the course at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response (ALERRT) facility at Texas State.

This was the first step in implementing the Protection of Texas Children Act, which went into effect Jan. 1 of this year. The act created a school marshal program that allows school board-appointed district employees to obtain a license to carry a handgun on school property, according to the bill.

Security updates may impact Texas State ID card carriers

Texas State ID cards may be utilizing new technology by fall 2015 due to a movement toward added security measures in the US credit card industry.

The transition from decades-old magnetic strip technology is in response to widespread data breaches at Target, Michaels and Neiman Marcus, where customers’ data were “lifted” from their cards as they completed in-store transactions, according to a report by the Credit Union National Association.

At Texas State, students are given the option to link their ID cards to a Wells Fargo bank account through a school-sponsored partnership, said Stephen Nixon, vice president of campus and workplace banking programs for Wells Fargo.

Local nonprofits present requests for grant money

Representatives from Central Texas nonprofits are vying for federal grant money from the San Marcos City Council for their organizations.

The City of San Marcos receives funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) each year. These funds are to be distributed in part to organizations that assist low- to moderate-income members of the community, according to the San Marcos Department of Planning and Development services. The amount of CDBG funding awarded to the city this year totaled $491,929,000, which is about $22,000 less than the city was granted in 2013, said Janis Hendrix, community initiatives administrator for the City of San Marcos.

First neighborhood parking permits approved by city council

San Marcos city councilmembers approved the first proposal under a neighborhood parking permit plan Tuesday that will ensure unobstructed streets for residents of a West Campus neighborhood.

The program allows neighborhoods to petition to receive permits which, if approved, would allow officers to ticket parked vehicles lacking permits, regardless of who owns the vehicle. Residents at the 600 block of Burt Street, the 500 block of Hanson Street and the 600-700 blocks of Maury Street petitioned councilmembers to receive such permits.

The proposal passed with a 6-0 vote April 15 with Councilwoman Lisa Prewitt, Place 1, who resides in the neighborhood, abstaining from the vote.

University officials approve increased summer budget

University officials will increase the summer budget for faculty salaries by $2.9 million to amend a long-standing budgetary shortfall.

President’s Cabinet officials have approved an increase in summer funding. The increase will correct an imbalance caused by previously unfunded raises for faculty members and competitive starting salaries for new faculty, Provost Eugene Bourgeois said in an email.

“As we awarded merit raises and raises for faculty promotions, in addition to paying higher salaries for new faculty, it resulted in the fixed summer budget not ‘keeping up’ with the real increase in the cost of faculty staffing for summer,” Bourgeois said.

Administrators developing background check system for summer camp workers to comply with state law

Texas State officials are creating a new certification program to perform background checks on summer camp workers.

The new certification was created in an effort to protect the youth participating in on-campus programs and to remain in compliance with state law. In 2012, the Texas legislature mandated that institutions of higher education conduct training, testing and background checks for employees of certain programs for minors held on their campuses, said Ronald Brown, assistant vice president of Academic Services.  

Texas State met these requirements for the past two years by contracting with a third party background screening company. However, university officials decided to develop their own program when the company stopped providing the service, Brown said.

Youth agricultural facility negotiations continue

After much discussion on where to place the displaced youth agricultural facility, Frost Bank officials have suggested an alternative tract for the county.

Hays County officials have been pursuing an agreement with Texas State’s administration to allow the construction of the youth agricultural facility on the Freeman Ranch property. The university has objected, citing legal conflicts with the terms of the Harold Freeman estate, which owns the land.

John Ferguson, senior vice president at Frost Bank, suggested the county build the youth agricultural facility on a separate 500-acre tract of land as an alternative. The tract is managed by Frost Bank in one of Freeman’s trusts and is governed by different regulations under the terms of his will.  

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