Carlie Porterfield

Officials warn against dangers of excessive drinking

Drinking is a staple of college culture, but city and university officials say the issue of alcohol abuse is not one to be taken lightly.

Alcohol consumption is a fueling factor in many of the calls the San Marcos Police Department responds to on weekend nights, said SMPD Chief Chase Stapp.

“After a certain time in the evening, probably about 95 percent or more of our calls involve alcohol,” said policeman Vincent Fischer. “Everyone we’re going to run into after around 11:30 or 12 has consumed alcohol, especially the students.”

Many of the calls are situations that are “blown out of proportion” when one or both parties are extremely intoxicated, Fischer said last Saturday night while on patrol duty.

Wendy Davis talks education, fair pay at block walk

State Sen. Wendy Davis, Democratic gubernatorial candidate, made an appearance Tuesday afternoon in Buda to speak to a group of supporters before they went block walking in hopes to garner their support in the upcoming election.

Davis is a supporter of education, increasing the minimum wage and equal pay for women, she said.

“Above every other issue on the table right now is the story of investment in our children through our investment in public education,” Davis said.

The Republican platform calls for a continued defunding of public education at all levels from pre-K to public universities, she said.

Threat at residence hall causes officials to re-examine safety precautions

Students living in Tower Hall are being more vigilant about their safety in the wake of a “terroristic threat” made by an intruder early Saturday morning.

A man entered Tower Hall around 3 a.m. and made comments about how easy it would be to enter the building and harm residents there. The man was seen near the east entrance of the hall waiting for the door to be opened.

“From what I understand, a resident came in, swiped their card, and while the door was open, he just followed them in,” said Jayme Blaschke, University News Service director.

Students living at Tower Hall were shocked at the news, said resident Julia Barnes, business management freshman.

Journalists share insight of crisis coverage

On the last day of the university’s Mass Communication Week, students were able to watch a panel of both professional and student journalists give insight into crisis coverage.

The panel, titled ‘Crisis Coverage: Fort Hood’ served to educate students on how they worked to cover the April 2014 Fort Hood shooting, and how the resulting news played out.

“Fort Hood was a new experience for me,” said Kelsey Bradshaw, University Star news editor. “It was the first breaking news I’d ever done.”

It’s important to be sensitive and mindful of the event you’re covering, especially if it is one in which people lost their lives, said Jordan Gass-Poore, KTSW web content manager.

Abortion signs attract counter-protest, spark debate

Tensions rose on the quad Thursday afternoon as members of opposing sides of the abortion debate congregated near the Stallions in the university’s free speech zone.

Representatives of Bobcats for Life, a pro-life organization, had planned to hand out cupcakes on the Quad Thursday in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. They call this event they call “Cupcakes for Life,” said Ashlyn Rathburn, Bobcats for Life president.

“We’re celebrating the lives of the unborn,” Rathburn said. “We were trying to make a voice for those babies who are aborted due to disabilities.”

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.

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.

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.”

Texas State student dies after illegal drug use at ACL

A service was held Saturday for a Texas State student who died Wednesday after taking ecstasy with friends at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Jessica Hunter, a junior, was hospitalized Oct. 5 after her friends said she was sweating profusely. She had a gray complexion and was flailing her limbs, police said in a statement Friday.

Her friends sought help from a police officer, and Hunter was quickly hospitalized. However, her condition worsened and she died Wednesday. An official cause of death has yet to be determined by the medical examiner, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Hunter’s friends, who also took the drug, told police they all experienced negative side effects. One other friend was hospitalized.

Hays County Veterans Court receives funding from state

Hays County recently received almost $100,000 through a grant from the Texas Governor’s Criminal Justice Division to fund a Veterans Court for the 2015 fiscal year.

The Veterans Court has been operating solely on the backs of volunteers since May. The court applied for several other grants before landing one from the Texas Governor’s Criminal Justice Division. After accepting this grant, the court will be able to function more effectively and will no longer have to rely on volunteers alone, said Jude Prather, Veteran Services Officer.

The process to create the court was a long one, Prather said. It began with a recommendation by the Hays County Veterans Task Force in early 2010. The court heard its first cases a few months ago, Prather said.

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