Friday, November 28, 2008

People in San Antonio are surprised by a coyote

And what's strange is that they are actually surprised to see one.

SAN ANTONIO -- A coyote is causing parents in a North Side neighborhood to worry. Rumors of it have popped up over the past couple months and now neighbors aren't sure how to get rid of it.

The coyote has been spotted several times in the neighborhood but many people didn't believe it until a picture was taken.

(from WOAI-TV)

Ha! I've been seeing coyotes in this town for years. Get used to 'em, folks. They can thrive in an environment like San Antonio, and they ain't going away anytime soon. Just be careful around them, just as you would any other wild animal with sharp teeth.

"Driver said God ordered 100-mph wreck"

When God starts talking to you, listen closely to what is being said before responding.

The driver of a pickup that struck a woman’s car on the South Side Friday morning is being evaluated by psychiatrists because he thinks God told him to drive in excess of 100 mph to take the other car off the road, police said.

The bizarre incident that shut down southbound U.S. Highway 281 above the Medina River happened about 7:25 a.m.

“He just said God said she wasn’t driving right, and she needed to be taken off the road,” said Lt. Kyle Coleman of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

(from the Express-News)

And, the best part of this story?

Though both vehicles were badly damaged, the drivers suffered minor injuries.

“God must have been with them, ’cause any other time, the severity of this crash, it would have been a fatal,” Coleman said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Don't worry, corn tortillas don't cause cancer

Remember the WOAI Trouble Shooters story last February about the investigation into whether or not corn tortillas might cause cancer in San Antonio? Well, the results are in. The tortillas are probably safe to eat.

The News 4 Trouble Shooters reported earlier this year that your tax dollars were being used to study whether certain foods, like corn tortillas and peanut butter, are causing liver cancer on the south side.

When they get moldy, these foods can carry a microtoxin that has been connected to liver cancer in other parts of the world. Corn, in particular, was linked to a high rate of liver cancer in one part of Africa.

That is why researchers from Texas A&M focused on corn tortillas, to see if they might be connected to the liver cancer rate around the former Kelly Air Force base - a rate about twice as high as the rest of Texas.

"There was a study that was specifically done in South Texas that showed that there are certain corn products that do have relatively high levels of these chemicals in them. So, yes, we are suspicious of corn products," said Dr. Kirby Donnelly, who led the research study.

But it looks like the tortilla theory has fallen flat.


At most, tortillas are just a small, contributing factor along with things like alcohol use, pollution and liver conditions, such as hepatitis.

(WOAI-TV story here.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Main Plaza Still Needs ADA Compliance Upgrades"


SAN ANTONIO -- Even though the Main Plaza construction and restoration project is already over budget, the city will have to spend about $250,000 for overall enhancements, including bringing the park to federal disability standards.

Some of the mobility problems at Main Plaza include gravel preventing full wheelchair access, paving width, sidewalk slope and staircase handrail adjustments for the visually impaired, said Judy Babbitt, the city's disability access officer.

(from KSAT-12)

Mayor Hardberger pushed this project through quickly, so I guess it is no surprise that some mistakes were made in remaking Main Plaza. And the city ended up spending over $18 million on a $10 million project. You would have thought, though, that the city planners would have considered the ADA during the process, wouldn't you? After all, it is the law of the land.

But, hey, what's another 250K when your project has already cost almost twice what was projected?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"2 Shot After Feud Escalates"

Really? Over a dog?

A long-standing feud between neighbors led to two men being shot in East Bexar County, police said.

Deputies said two men began arguing Sunday morning, allegedly over a dog. According to officials, the argument escalated and both parties began shooting at one another.

Police said that between 15 and 20 rounds were exchanged during the shooting -- all while small children were in the next room.

Police said one man was shot in the foot, and another man was shot in the ankle.

(from KSAT-12)

There's a lot more than a dog going on here. Thank God they didn't hit anybody but themselves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"16 Indicted In Murder, ID Theft Case"

Be careful who you befriend. Especially if they come packaged in their own mob.

SAN ANTONIO -- A Kerr County Grand Jury indicted 16 people Monday in connection with the slaying and identity theft of a Kerr County man.

Charles Lee Tidwell, 45, was indicted on a charge of murder and organized crime. Tidwell was being held in the Kerr County Jail on bonds totalling $600,000.

Tidwell, who was arrested Oct. 22, was originally the only suspect charged in the slaying of 52-year-old Allan Kowalski, whose remains were found buried behind his home in Ingram.

But in a news release from the Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Ricado Ricky Giovannetti, 47, was also charged with murder and organized crime.

Charged with aggravated assault and organized crime were Wayne Earl Christiansen, 35, and Jeremiah Jason McGregor, 31.

Indicted on a charge of organized crime were Teresa Jo Buffett, 43; Elizabeth D. Carmona, 43; Amanda Rassi Contreras, 20; Raymundo Daniel Contreras, 23; Andrea Helen Cooper, 25; Michael Rene Garcia, 25; Richard Alcorta Garza, 39; Silver Star Hernandez, 24; Darita Dee Horner, 20; Kelli Rae Lagrone, 52; John Centeno Moreno Jr., 26, and Lisa Gale Rassi, 41.

Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said the investigation into Kowalski's death is one of the strangest cases he's worked in nearly 30 years of law enforcement.

"They take over his identity, they take over all his possessions, they were even trying to sell his home," he said. "That's when it gets bizarre."

Hierholzer said Tidwell and Giovannetti shot Kowalski twice in the head before burying his body in a shallow grave behind his home. The common bond between all those indicted was their close relationship or friendship with Tidwell, Hierholzer said.

(from KSAT-12)

Is it surprising that so many women were involved?

And who names their child "Silver Star"?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Elsie escapes!

The Borden cow is on the loose in San Antonio.

Here’s a story about a cow and it's not your ordinary cow. On Friday evening, police were searching in some NE San Antonio fields for Elsie, the "Borden" cow. And that’s no bull.

The bovine fugitive got away from its handler while doing a promotion at the Sam’s club at I-35 and Judson. Elsie hoofed it across the highway and is now lost in about 200 acres of land.


Elsie has been missing for several hours and searchers are doing their udder-most to lasso her.

(from WOAI-TV)

It's a funny story, but if you click on the link to read the rest of it, get ready for some more bad cow puns.

Marching mania

The Churchill High School marching band put together a routine that has mental health advocates a bit upset.

SAN ANTONIO -- A recent performance by the Churchill High School marching band is being called offensive by some who say the performance was insensitive to those with mental illness.

The band's performance at the University Interscholastic League's state band competition -- entitled "Symphonic Schizophrenia" -- included props resembling padded walls and had some band members dressed in strait jackets running around the field in an erratic manner.

The head of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness said he was contacted by several people who were upset by Churchill's performance.

KSAT-12 has the video.

What do you think? Precision marching performance, or blatant insensitivity?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cactus and a tile

Here is a picture of a building at 217 West Travis Street (near Flores Street downtown).

It's an old building, and it looks pretty cool just sitting there among the tall buildings, but something unusual about the small structure caught my eye.

There's a potted plant at the apex of the roof line, and it's not just any potted plant. It is a cactus, which I guess is a good choice to put on the roof of a building as it wouldn't need to be watered except by the rain.
But, then, as I was zooming in to get a better picture of the potted cactus, I noticed something else that turned out to be pretty cool.

Under that cactus is a lone tile, a decorative tile. And it depicts a scene of reverence that is powerful in its simplicity and its barely accessible location.

It gave me a good feeling to have noticed it.

A couple of artsy things

Shorty over at San Antonio Daily Photo caught a picture of a car that got caught up in Obamamania. (Think "craftivism"!)

And Alan at Blogonomicon snapped one of an art piece that insists beauty is in the tongue of the beholder. (The display could have used a little more color, I think.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Clueless dork?

Or inept hoaxer?

You decide.

I include this video because that looks like Churchill High School in the background, and a reader (thanks, Ellen) thinks that guy is wearing a shirt from Adelita Tamales. What do you think? And, if you have any reviews of Adelita, please share them. It is getting to be the holiday season, and we all need some tamale options!

Monday, November 10, 2008

"City to hold workshop on restaurant rules"

Opening a restaurant in San Antonio? The City wants you to do it right.

The City’s Economic Development Department Small Business Division will hold a workshop for prospective restaurant owners 9-10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Frost Bank Tower, 100 W. Houston St., Suite 1900. ...

Representatives of the Metropolitan Health District will discuss basic health regulations, commercial kitchen requirements, food licenses and permits, and food handler certification.


So, is this evidence of Councilwoman Diane Cibrian getting her way, or is it a program that has always been in place? I'm willing to believe it's the latter, but I also wouldn't be surprised if it is the former.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Or chupacabras?

You decide.

SAN ANTONIO -- Some apartment tenants are being extra cautious when roaming around their southwest side complex as nearby animals are going hog wild.

A gap beneath an iron fence nearby Miller's Pond is allowing javelinas to run through the neighborhood and scaring residents.

"When you hear, like noise in the Dumpster, you know that they're there," one resident said.

Some nearby residents said they even have to jump on cars to escape the scary swine.

"We were pretty scared, and every time we tried to get off so we could run back to the apartment, they wouldn't let us," an apartment resident said. "We got stuck there for 10 to 15 minutes."

(from KSAT-12)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Preventing pigs in the sticks

Out in Grey Forest, a really small town just northwest of San Antonio, a girl wants to raise some pigs for a 4-H project. But her family has found an interesting predicament posed by the town's revised animal regulations.

[The Stone family's] request for a variance to raise four swine on their property was rejected after lengthy discussion at the Sept. 23 council meeting. The city ordinance allows up to two animals on a minimum of three-quarters of an acre for 4-H projects. A one-acre property allows for up to four animals, but the Stone’s property is .90 of an acre.

The ordinance also requires that the pens have a 150-foot setback from the property line regardless of lot size, and that is where the problem occurs. The Stones this time were requesting a variance from the setback requirement because it is mathematically impossible for that to happen.

The Stones began wondering what size lot they would have to have to meet the requirement as written and turned to a math professor from UTSA, Sandy Norman, who spoke in their behalf at the Oct. 21 meeting.

An acre is 208.71 feet by 208.71 feet in size. Therefore there is no physical way to locate a pen to house the swine with a 150-foot setback.

Norman told the council that the smallest lot size possible to comply with the setbacks as written would be 2.06 acres and the pen would have to be located squarely in the middle of that property.


“They approved us to have six [pigs] just two years ago,” Laura said. “The exact same City Council. And then the minute they approved it–they approved it in September– and then in March 2007 they amended the ordinance.” The new amendment required the setback.

(from the Northwest Weekly)

The Stones got their variance to have the pigs, but with some restrictions. And they wonder what future city decisions might have in store for them.

Brilliant move, or magnificent blunder on the part of the Grey Forest City Council? You decide.

Fessing up

It took her a long time to own up to her heinous behavior, but I'm glad she finally did. She sounds pretty unstable and vengeful.

It was back on February 8th, 1992 that Darren Holden was shot to death while he opened up the gas station where he worked.

"We had information that day that it was a botched robbery," explained Officer Joe Rios of the San Antonio Police Department. "They came in and took his wallet and took his cash, took things from the store and fled the location."

For 16 years, the case remained unsolved until police say Carmen Hinojosa Najera confessed and was arrested.

The 49-year-old woman was a former employee at the gas station, who had been fired. She told police she got angry, and she and her son went back to the store for revenge.

(from WOAI-TV)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Truck crashes into house

More mechanical mayhem, this time courtesy of some punks who tried to steal a truck and then crashed it into a house in the 7800 block of New World while getting away.

Video from the Express-News.

Oh, and it looks like they took out the fence as well.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

"4 Stabbed At Halloween Party"

Well, this is one way to ensure no one invites you to another party.

Police said the party was being held overnight at a home in the 12000 block of Course View Road.

Officers said apparently some of the party goers got a little rowdy and were asked to leave by the homeowners. The culprits then came back later armed with knives, police said.

When they arrived at the home at about 4 a.m., officers said they found a man with a knife lodged in his lower back, and three others with stab wounds.

(from KSAT-12)

The report says that the police know who did this and are tracking them down. Two of the victims are in critical condition.

"Human Body Fluids Found in Ceiling Still Haunt Condo Owner"


SAN ANTONIO -- A man commits suicide and isn't found until weeks later. His body fluids actually soaked through the floor of his condo and into the unit below. It's a story News 4 told you about two years ago. And the fight to have that ceiling cleaned is still going on.

News 4's Delaine Mathieu investigates who is responsible for the clean-up and why someone may be headed to court.

"I can actually see the holes upstairs where the blood dripped down through." Charlie Moore, who owns Crime Clean of Texas, is back out at the Diamond Head Condos near the medical center.

Moore and his team were at the complex two years ago to clean up a gruesome suicide scene in the condo above Mike Dunlop's unit.

Moore says body fluid from that victim is still in the ceiling and Dunlop wants it gone.

"It's awful," says Dunlop. "For two years, I'm living with this smell on and off. And there's dead fluids."

(from WOAI-TV)


Isn't this just one more reason not to off yourself to solve problems? If you do it wrong, you can really mess up someone else's life as well.