Carlie Porterfield

Texas Parks and Wildlife employee dies by carbon monoxide poisoning

A Texas Parks and Wildlife employee was the victim of a fatal industrial accident earlier this afternoon at the A.E. Wood State Fish Hatchery in San Marcos.

According to a city press release, the San Marcos Fire and Police Department responded Tuesday to a report of an unconscious man around 3:50 p.m.  Melissa Millecam, Director of Communications, said it was the man’s co-workers who called in.

Police said the Texas Parks and Wildlife employee, whose name has not been released, was operating a gasoline powered pump in a chamber 20-30 feet below ground, and may have been “overcome” by carbon monoxide.

Firefighters have recovered the body. The investigation is ongoing.

The man’s identity and other updates could be released tomorrow, Millecam said.

World Cup brings spike in San Marcos business

Several San Marcos businesses reported a spike in business due to this year’s World Cup.

After a solid month of soccer, the 2014 FIFA World Cup concluded when the German national team defeated Argentina 1-0 in overtime. Local bars like Sean Patrick’s Irish Pub and The Railyard Bar and Grill were two businesses that saw major increases in clientele due to patrons wanting to tune in to the action taking place in Brazil.

“We were busy for most of the games,” said Chance Garbutt, manager at Sean Patrick’s. “We had a lot of different people coming in; different fans for different countries depending which game was going on. The U.S. games were obviously the busiest.”

Chase Stapp named San Marcos chief of police

Chase Stapp, a San Marcos law enforcement veteran, has been appointed  chief of police to follow retiring Chief Howard Williams, City Manager Jared Miller announced June 25.

“Chief Stapp possesses a wealth of experience, leadership skills and a deep knowledge and connection with the San Marcos community,” said Miller in a city press release.

City Council approved the confirmation of the appointment at its July 1 meeting. Chief Williams will retire August 1.

“I’m honored and humbled by the fact that I was considered, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the reason I was considered above the other candidates is because of the strong support that was shown for me by the members of the police department and those outside the department,” Stapp said.

County Line Shooting Center trial moves forward

A court case involving a San Marcos gun range is in limbo after a judge decided June 6 to consider a defense motion for summary judgment.

The County Line Shooting Center, owned by Dean Murphy, is accused by neighbors of being unsafe. Several neighbors are seeking the shutdown of the range after finding over 100 stray bullets on their property.

Albert Rodriguez, a former commander with the Texas Department of Safety, testified during the trial that the range as it exists presently was not constructed according to National Rifle Association guidelines, to which most gun ranges in the state adhere.

“It was not developed to the standards that most reasonable ranges operators and owners utilize,” Rodriguez said.

Two killed in San Marcos car crash

A fiery car crash in San Marcos claimed two lives late last night following a police pursuit.

According to a city press release, a San Marcos police officer attempted to pull over a pickup truck that was suspected of “impaired driving” June 23 just before 3 a.m. The driver of the truck refused to stop and fled through Rio Vista neighborhood, a residential area of San Marcos.

Upon reaching a roundabout intersection on the corner of Cheatham and Rio Vista streets, the driver collided with the limestone landscaping in the roundabout’s center. The impact caused the truck to catch fire immediately.

Scuba program provides training, diving trips for veterans

Scuba program provides training

Thanks to local donors, a San Antonio-based program that offers scuba training and diving trips to amputee veterans has been able to offer its their services free of charge to almost 500 veterans in less than 10 years.

The program, founded by John Duggan and Mark Heniser, has used Spring Lake at the Meadows Center in San Marcos to host trainings for several years, said Duggan, a dive shop owner. The facilities at Texas State are among the best in the world, said Heniser, program coordinator and physical therapist at the Center for the Intrepid at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Head of Google Fiber in Austin speaks in San Marcos

Google Fiber

Mark Strama, the current head of Google Fiber in Austin and former member of the Texas House of Representatives, gave the keynote address at the 2014 Greater San Marcos Economic Outlook convention on May 22.

Google Fiber is Google’s latest endeavor, providing broadband Internet and television to a small but growing number of locations via a fiber-to-the-premise service, according to the Google Fiber website. In April 2013, it was announced that Austin would become a “Google Fiber City,” and that residents would be among the first to have access to the service, according to Google’s blog.

Beaver numbers increasing in San Marcos area

The San Marcos river is home to many types of wildlife, but one species that is getting more attention as of late is the beaver.

Beavers are a protected wildlife species in Texas, and are found all over the state. While the exact number of beavers in the San Marcos River is unknown, their population is believed to have grown in recent years, said Jenna Winters, coordinator at the San Marcos Nature Center.

“The beavers have always been here, although the numbers have increased lately,” Winters said. “This is a good thing and a positive reflection on the quality of habitat surrounding the river.”

ALERRT to receive approximately $7 million in federal funding

The federal VALOR Initiative plans to allocate almost half of its $15 million annual budget to the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) program that is based at Texas State, allowing the university program to train more police officers to stop active shooter situations.

According to ALERRT’s website, there are no other training programs of its nature operating on a national scale.

“The White House has requested $15 million in the budget go to VALOR, an officer safety initiative, and ALERRT is funded under the VALOR initiative,” said Terry Nichols, assistant director of ALERRT. “Out of that, they’re wanting to pigeonhole about $7 million to us.”

Three new degree programs to be added to Texas State curriculum

Three new programs are in the process of being added to the curriculum at Texas State, one of which will be the first of its kind in the country.

Beginning in fall 2015, the university will offer a Master of Science degree with a major in Dementia and Aging Studies. Andrea Golato, dean of the Graduate College, said the program will fill a large societal need.

“Particularly for dementia studies, there is a huge need in any number of disciplines,” Golato said. “People in all different industries and in all different sectors of life have to deal with this particular problem. There is a real need for people who have training in that. In Europe, there are a number of programs already in place, and here in the United States we have less.”

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