Madelynne Scales | Photo Editor

Blue Bell Ice Cream recalled due to listeria hysteria

Chartwells officials were forced to pull all Blue Bell products off the shelves at dining halls and Paws Market on campus during spring break.

Blue Bell officials began recalling their products on March 23 due to an outbreak of listeria that killed at least three people. Officials began by recalling the 3 oz. ice cream treats but later made the decision on April 20 to pull all products.

Chartwells officials will most likely seek out other vendors until they get an “OK” from Blue Bell that the ice cream can be sold again, said Chin-Hong Chua, resident district manager for Chartwells. Students may see an alternative choice for ice cream on campus during the summer depending on how long the recall lasts.

Wimberley resident matches customers with boots since 1993

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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.

Invasive species hunter safeguards waterway

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One Texas State graduate has made fishing his day job through a city-funded contract to remove invasive sea life from the San Marcos River and Spring Lake.

Nick Menchaca, founding owner of Atlas Environmental, has earned a living since 2013 by hunting suckermouth catfish, tilapia, red-rimmed melania and giant ramshorn snails. Non-native invasive species could potentially devastate San Marcos’ local aquatic ecosystem without the work of Menchaca and his company.

New York Times journalist, Texas State alumna discusses digital media

For Maira Garcia, former editor-in-chief of The University Star, the process of getting a job at The New York Times began with a speaker series much like the one she presented for Wednesday.

Garcia said she networked with a presenter from The New York Times when she was a graduate student and was later offered a job. She is now a senior staff editor on the home page team at the Times.

Train hits trespasser at crossing

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A teenage male was struck by a train after illegally crossing the tracks around 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Charles Austin Drive crossing near Jowers Center and the Bobcat Softball Stadium.

The northbound Union Pacific train struck the teenager despite the fact its horn sounded, said Jeff DeGraff, spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad. DeGraff said the boy may not have heard the train’s horn because he was wearing headphones at the time. The status of the victim is unknown.

DeGraff believes the boy’s injuries were accidental.

Rhea’s Ice Cream to close in June

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Local frozen dessert connoisseurs will have to indulge elsewhere after June 28 when Rhea’s Ice Cream closes its doors forever.

Rhea Ortamond, owner and oftentimes operator of Rhea’s Ice Cream, announced her permanent move to Chicago in an April 1 Facebook post. Local residents will be able to enjoy Ortamond’s famously unique yet delicious creations for a few more months.

Ortamond said she learned to make ice cream from her mother, who prepared homemade vanilla ice cream for birthdays and special occasions.

Ice cream has been a tradition in the Ortamond family for generations, she said.

Local diver cleans river one can at a time

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One San Marcos local has watched garbage accumulate in the river for years and decided enough is enough.

Derrick Lee spends his summer afternoons sitting on the bottom of the San Marcos River hunting for aluminum cans, plastic bags and other kinds of trash. He ventures to the river’s loneliest stretches, equipped with scuba gear and trash bags, to make them clean again.

Lee said he feels a need to better his surroundings. He built a natural irrigation system for his garden. He grows pencil cactus, okra, lantana, aloe, whale’s tongue and other native plants and vegetables.

“I tend to put 150 percent into whatever I am doing,” Lee said. “I’m one of those people who says, ‘I could make this yard look better and produce food.’”

Former talent show winner astonishes audience with magic performance

Students, faculty and staff gathered at George’s in the LBJ Student Center to observe mystical illusions of a local magician.

George’s staff hosted and presented the Wednesday magic performance by Connor Branach, communication studies senior. The performance consisted of audience participation, balloon sword swallowing and disappearing Coca-Cola—much more than the average “bunny out of a hat” tricks.

Branach won Texas State’s Homecoming talent show Oct. 1, 2014. He has been practicing magic for over 10 years, he said.

“I first started off as a juggler, but one day I went to the store to find more juggling items and happened upon a magic trick set,” Branach said. “From that moment on I was hooked on magic.”

Photojournalist shares firsthand accounts from Afghan women

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Students attended the Voices of Freedom section of the Philosophy Dialogue Series March 31 to hear from the author of Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women.

Peggy Kelsey, photojournalist, is the founder of the Afghan Women’s Project. Her goal is to seek wisdom from women who have experienced hardships. During her conversations with students, she discussed sections of her book, which details the lives of individual Afghan women.

Italian journalist makes visit to Texas State

Italian journalist Lucio Luca joined Texas State March 26 for a special lecture on his latest book.

Luca focused on Sicilian immigrants who found their way to success in the United States. Luca was joined by his editor, Maria Elena Vittorietti, and two native Sicilians living in Texas, Fabio and Tiziana Triolo. The event was sponsored by the Texas State Departmet of Modern Language, the French National Honor Society and the Italian Cultural and Community Center in Houston, TX.

Luca chose to give his lecture in Italian to better explain the details of his work. Professor Moira Di Mauro-Jackson translated.

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