Local school works to clean up after flood

As the floodwater began to rise early May 24, one local pastor raced to save his school.

Flooding that hit the San Marcos area last weekend devastated Hill Country Christian (HCC), a church and private school serving kids from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Chris Birkhimer, youth pastor for HCC and Texas State alumnus, said a gut feeling brought him to the church early that Sunday as floodwaters raced towards the school.

Eight remain missing, five fatalities confirmed in Central Texas Floods

8:51 p.m. UPDATE: Search and rescue crews have found a man’s body on the bank of the Blanco River.

Texas Task Force 1 found the adult male body near Fox Road in San Marcos. The floods that surged through Hays County have now claimed five lives. Eight people remain missing.

Officials said they are sending the body to Central Texas Autopsy for identification. Meanwhile, Texas Task Force 1 and other agencies are continuing to search for the remaining missing people.

MAY 28 12:07 p.m. UPDATE:  The four families affected by flooding in Wimberley, Carey, Charba, McComb and Schultz, addressed the public in a joint press conference with Hays County early today.

First Jazz Saxophone Festival teaches, empowers students

The first Texas State University Jazz Saxophone Festival opened May 18, kicking off a four-day celebration of the genre at the Performing Arts Center recital hall.

The event featured instructional sessions and performances by world-renowned saxophonists Ralph Bowen, Luis Hernandez, Adam Schroeder and Dick Oatts.

Schroeder, a baritone saxophonist and Texas State alumnus, said he received his first record deal with Columbia Records while at the university.

Schroeder said he has since played alongside some of music’s greatest talents, including the legendary singer and songwriter Ray Charles.

Schroeder said he has developed a lifelong dedication to sharing his musical talent with other jazz lovers across the world.

Officials discuss regional economic outlook at annual conference

The Greater San Marcos Partnership hosted city officials and esteemed guests to discuss the regional economic outlook of the San Marcos area.

Ray Perryman, economist, president and CEO of the Perryman Group, was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Economic Outlook conference. Perryman offered his professional insight on the future economic climate in Texas and the Interstate Highway 35 (IH-35) corridor.

Perryman said there is no doubt as to why San Marcos was named the fastest-growing city in the U.S. for the third consecutive year. Georgetown ranked as the second fastest-growing city in the U.S., he said.

“It is no accident,” Perryman said. “Those two cities have something in common and it’s that they’re located close to Austin.”

Senate passes bill to promote river safety

The Texas Senate approved legislation on May 12 designed to improve safety and enjoyment on the San Marcos River.  

Senate Bill 234 (SB 234), authored by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, includes provisions to create a special recreation district along the section of the San Marcos River adjacent to the Guadalupe and Caldwell County border. The bill is awaiting a vote in the House.

Tom Goynes, president of Texas Rivers Protection Association, said one of the ultimate goals of SB 234 is to use the newly hired law enforcement to help put a stop to the “serious binge drinking” while tubing.  

“It may cost more money, but at least we’ll have more peace on the river,” Goynes said.  

Alumni carry on river jump tradition, take plunge post-graduation


Jumping into the San Marcos River after commencement ceremonies is a long-held Texas State tradition.

Alumni celebrated May 15 by jumping into the river at Sewell Park after receiving their diplomas.

Seven commencement ceremonies were held this weekend at Strahan Coliseum with around 4,800 candidates for bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.

After each ceremony, recent graduates lined up along the banks of the river. Donning black graduation gowns, graduates jumped to signify the end of their time at the university. Many took the leap with friends and family.

San Marcos music legend remembered at memorial service

Kent Finlay dedicated his life to the San Marcos music scene and on May 10, the community dedicated their time to him.

Friends, family and admirers of the Cheatham Street Warehouse owner gathered in the Evans Auditorium for a tribute concert. Finlay died March 2 in his Martindale home at 77-years-old.

Finlay owned Cheatham Street Warehouse since 1974 and helped kick-start music careers of various local artists. The warehouse served as a stage for local musicians and many contribute their start to Finlay.

“Every now and then you run into somebody who seems to be a saint of music,” said Tom Ash, performer at the Cheatham Street Warehouse and Finlay's lifelong friend. “Kent had a good ear for music and really believed in everyone who came through.”

Things to do in San Marcos before graduation

Visit the campus statues

The various statues on campus are entrenched in Bobcat tradition and culture. Before students take their final steps on campus, they should make sure to shake LBJ’s hand and rub the fighting stallions one last time.


Hike at Purgatory Creek

The Purgatory Creek trails are a nature hotspot. The trails are expansive and close enough to campus that Bobcats have easy access to them.


Tour campus one last time

Wimberley resident matches customers with boots since 1993


A Wimberley boot shop owner has earned fame and fortune with her uncanny ability to find the perfect pair for each and every customer.

Ulli Johnston, affectionately known as the “Boot Whisperer,” has sold vintage Western boots since 1995 at her shop in Wimberley. Johnston’s famed ability to find the perfect style and fit of boots has attracted curious footwear-seekers from across the nation for decades.

Johnston said she opened The Wild West Store at its current location in 1993 with 40 or 50 pairs of boots. She has since increased her inventory but does not know exactly how many pairs of boots are in the store currently.

Freshman class of 2016 expected to break record

The Texas State freshman class of 2016 is set to be the largest group yet with a 13.2 percent increase from last year.

Michael Heintze, associate vice president for enrollment management, said over 24,000 students have applied. So far, 14,000 have been accepted. Texas State is the fourth-largest school in Texas.

“We have become an ‘it’ school,” he said.

Heintze estimates a total of 26,900 students will apply by May 1, the deadline for incoming freshmen.


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