Monday, March 31, 2008

"Local Democratic Leaders Want To Eliminate Caucuses"

Heh heh heh.

Before this election cycle, no one paid much attention to Texas during the primaries. This was because, by the time we got to vote, the presidential candidates were pretty much locked away, and not very many people went to the polls because our votes didn't matter much. Therefore, apparently not very many people knew how screwed up the primary process was, either.

Well, this year, with the close race between Obama and Clinton, Texas Democrats did go to the polls, and they did find out how screwed up things were. Now, they seem ready to scrap the whole process, as KSAT-12 reports:

SAN ANTONIO -- Local Democratic party leaders are saying the state election process should be changed after mass confusion plagued caucuses over the weekend.

"We were unprepared for the tsunami of Democrats," said Carla Vela, Bexar County's Democratic party chairwoman. "My personal opinion; get rid of the Texas Two-Step, it's just too confusing for the people."

Texas' system of choosing a candidate for the primary election involves both a general election immediately followed by a caucus system which continues through multiple steps until the state convention. Saturday's process was the for the district's delegates.

Heh heh. "Mass confusion" and a "tsunami of Democrats." That's just Texas politics for ya.

Friday, March 28, 2008

"City Demands Stinky House Cleanup"

Oh, this is disgusting.

From WOAI:

San Antonio police went to arrest a wanted felon and stumbled across a major health hazard.

Police said the smell was almost unbearable as they approached the home on Hopeton on the Northwest Side.

Pictures show a house filled with feces from four large dogs and the man living inside.

That's right, the man was contributing his own piles of poop to go with the dogs' piles. Check out the slideshow for the full effect, and be glad it's not in Smell-O-Vision.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Taking education very, very seriously

I understand wanting the best for the children, but the guy in this story from Roger Croteau of the Express-News should probably relax a bit more.

NEW BRAUNFELS -- A middle school principal threatened to kill a group of science teachers if their students did not improve their standardized test scores, according to a complaint filed with the New Braunfels Police Department.

Anita White, who taught at New Braunfels Middle School for 18 years before being transferred this month to the district's Learning Center, said Principal John Burks made the threat in a Jan. 21 meeting with eighth-grade science teachers.

She said Burks was angry that scores on benchmark tests were not better, and the scores on the upcoming Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests must show improvement.

"He said if the TAKS scores were not as expected he would kill the teachers," White said. "He said 'I will kill you all and kill myself.' He finished the meeting that way and we were in shock. Obviously, we talked about it among ourselves. He just threatened our lives. After he threatened to kill us, he said, 'You don't know how ruthless I can be.'

"We walked out of the meeting just totally dumbfounded because it was not a joke," White said.


"It sounds like a case of TAKS tyranny taken to the extreme," said Joe Bean a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, who said teachers and administrators are often punished for disappointing test performance.

For some reason, I now think that the phrase "TAKS tyranny" gets used a lot more often than I ever would have thought before reading this story.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Chase Ends When SUV Hits Child's Bedroom"

It's fortunate that the child was not hurt (and they say the gunshot victim will be OK, too), but once again a vehicle has rammed a home.

From KSAT-12:

SAN ANTONIO -- A 2-year-old girl slept through the conclusion of a police chase that neared its end with a car crashing through her bedroom.

Isabela Cabrera was asleep in her bedroom at the front room of her family's home on the 4100 block of Goshen Pass on the city's northwest side when a SUV, driven by a man police said shot a restaurant manager in an earlier robbery, crashed through the home.

Cabrera was not hurt as the vehicle came to rest about two feet from her bed, said her parents.

That's enough to give any parent the willies.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seymour Perkins loses

Seymour Perkins has lost, and his house will be torn down.

From WOAI:
The city is moving forward with plans to tear down a controversial house on the east side. A judge has ruled crews can demolish Seymour Perkin’s home, which police say is a haven for drug addicts and prostitutes.

Previous stuff here.

UPDATE: Perkins gets another reprieve: "Even as a bulldozer was prepared to raze the home at the corner of Nevada and East Hackberry roads, the attorney for homeowner Seymour Perkins stood in front of the construction vehicle as he sought a halt to the city's actions."

He gets time to prepare an appeal.

"City to Start Returning Stray Cats to Your Neighborhood"

Got stray cats? (Not these kind.) Don't bother turning them in to the city. They'll just give 'em back.

From WOAI:

The city is making a major change to meet its goal of having a “no-kill” shelter by 2012. In less than a week, Animal Care Services (ACS) will no longer accept trapped cats.

ACS receives close to 200 cats a month that either have to be killed or adopted out. Starting in April, the cats will be spayed or neutered, and then returned to where they came from.

As an unintended consequence, I think people will be trapping stray cats less, and possibly killing them more. Well, at least the shelter will be "no-kill."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Honoring hobos

Did you know that Kirby, a suburb of San Antonio, was once known as the "Hobo Capital of Texas?"

I didn't, but it apparently was. And the Kirbyites seem to be proud of the label, proud enough to hold a Hobo Festival.

The Northeast Herald explains:

Organizer Larry Wolfe said the idea came to pass when Councilman Mike Grant did some research and found out Kirby was once known as “Hobo Capital of Texas” due to a large number of “hobos” gathering under the railway bridge just outside of town.

While the moniker faded decades ago, many in the city thought it might be worth the city’s efforts to pay homage to a piece of its distant past.

“We thought it would be nice, nostalgic, something to give our park committee some way to raise funds, so we developed a theme for it,” Wolfe said.

The city is attempting to contract with a carnival for the three-day period, he said. “Right now, starting out we’re going to have an auction, a chili cook-off, a parade on Saturday, a talent contest, and we’re working on getting a second stage for bands for our younger groups,” he said.

Ah, nostalgia for under-the-bridge-dwelling hobos. I guess we all have something we can be proud of.

Oh, by the way, the festival will be held May 2-4 at Kirby City Park.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hooters truck

I know, I know, I know -- I have to start taking my camera with me more often when I venture out. Today would have been a perfect Strange in San Antonio moment.

Here's what I saw: a pick-up truck with the side of the bed plastered with Hooters bumper stickers.

I can understand a vehicle used for advertising (I've seen those cars with ad wraps driving the road), but this was no professional job. It looked like some guy just got hold of some stickers from Hooters and decided to put them all over the side of his truck. It was kind of funny-looking, and definitely strange.

And I didn't have my camera with me.

Oh well, I hope my description has been clear enough so you can imagine what I saw. And, if you are out and about, and you happen to see the truck I was talking about (and you have your camera handy), see if you can snap a few pictures.

"Just ash with rain? Not so fast"

The mud rain we got on Tuesday might have been good for car washes and annoying to the average Joe, but it seems to be generating some fun for scientists.

From Graeme Zielinski of the Express-News:

"This is very enjoyable," said Joel Gilbert, a University of Texas at El Paso geological sciences coordinator who was reviewing satellite images of Tuesday's weather to explain the event and who is researching a similar outbreak of "milky rain" in southern Arizona in January.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Thursday put out its initial account of Tuesday's event as caused by a "complex mix" of pollutants, citing smoke from Mexico and Central America, localized plumes of dust in Texas and Mexico and wildfires in South Texas aggravated by the strong winds.

This came as part of an unusual juxtaposition in which the wind-blown dust came before the rain instead of after it, said Robert Blaha, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in New Braunfels (who was not the source of the initial ash description.)

Forrest Mims III, a science consultant and a freelance columnist for the Express-News, took a sample of the stuff from his window and put it under the microscope, forwarding some of his findings to TCEQ.

"There's one black spore and there are three possible soot particles and everything else is dirt, dust, sand. I would say that it's probably less than 1 percent smoke, and that's being generous," he said.

Joe Baskin, the weather service meteorologist who initially thought that what blew over here was mostly smoke since that's what it looked like in photos, said another look indicated that it likely was dust. (The weather service isn't responsible for investigating the stuff once it leaves clouds.)

David Gay, acting director of the Illinois-based National Atmospheric Deposition Program, said his government-funded network of researchers had five sample sites in South Texas and would be able to review initial findings as early as next week.

Sounds like a good day to be a researcher.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Sewage Spills Out At Medical Center Strip Mall"


(from KSAT-12):

Clogged pipes are the likely reason raw sewage began spilling into businesses at the shopping center on the 7200 block of Wurzbach Road in the Medical Center, some tenants said. They've complained about the smell before, but something caused sewage backup and forced some of the businesses to close.

"The odor is quite horrendous, and it feels like it's unsanitary to go shopping in these stores," shopper Sandra Cantu said.

To say the least.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A person who should probably have thought things out more

If you work as an accountant for a company, it might not be a good idea to ride around in limousines.

From KSAT-12:

SAN ANTONIO -- Investigators seized most of the belongings Tuesday of a woman accused of embezzling millions from the company where she worked.

Yami Harper worked as an account specialist for Valley Building Specialists and authorities said she embezzles [sic] about $2.5 million from the company over the past six years.

"This is following a 7-month investigation of misappropriation of an employ," said Susan Reed, Bexar County's district attorney. "She was writing checks to individuals who had no business having checks written to them."

Neighbors said they had suspicions of their own, saying they often saw Harper being picked up and dropped off by a limo and taking frequent trips to Trinidad.

That's a lot of embezzling.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Bomb Scare Forces Alamo Plaza Evacuation"

It's not too often that the area in front of the Alamo is devoid of people during the middle of the day, but a bomb scare will do it.

From KSAT-12:

SAN ANTONIO -- A bomb scare prompted police to evacuate Alamo Plaza briefly Monday afternoon, but the suspicious backpack turned out to be nothing dangerous.

After evacuating the plaza and taking other precautions, members of the SAPD Bomb Squad x-rayed the package that showed no explosive materials, but decided to detonate the package to be safe.

Apparently, the package contained just books and clothes. Could be there's a student somewhere in this town that must start over now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Alcoholic Drinks May Cost Dime More"

This seems like a rather pointless endeavor. Unless, of course, your point is to find one more new tax for the city.

From KSAT-12:

A collaborative effort between three San Antonio groups could cost alcoholic beverage consumers some extra pocket change one drink at a time as the San Antonio Police Department, along with the city of San Antonio and Metro Health, is working on an initiative intended to battle alcohol abuse and drunken driving in the Alamo City.

The initiative proposes a ten-cent fee on every alcoholic beverage purchased and consumed as well as increased legal penalties and tougher state enforcement level.

Any bets on where this money will end up being spent?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Donkeys Gallop Along Neighborhood Streets"

Truly strange in San Antonio.

From WOAI:

Two donkeys ran free in a southeast side neighborhood on Saturday afternoon.

The two donkeys escaped from a near by [sic] farm around Red Haven and South W.W. White road on Saturday.

Neighbors and local wrangles [sic] worked for more than two hours to capture the animals. The donkeys kept darting through fields and even across people's front lawns.

Chickens -- not so strange.

Donkeys -- a bit stranger.

Wait a minute, are the Democratic primaries still going on?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Teaching you ...

... how to use a door.

In all fairness, the door seems to have some kind of automatic function for people in wheelchairs, and apparently it can be activated by simply pulling on the door.

But, still, the little blue sign is a bit surprising in its obviousness.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"Man Stabbed In Buttocks, Day Gets Worse"

There's nothing like family to ruin your day.

From KSAT-12:

Police responded to a call at Glen Crest Road and Interstate 10 where a car transporting a man stabbed multiple times in his buttocks and lower body had run out of gas.

The driver transporting the victim was the man who attacked him, police said.

"What we were told is they were in the house painting and somehow, a fight broke out," SAPD spokesman David Scepanski said. "At one point, the stepfather produced a weapon and then, of course, stabbed the stepson four to five times in the buttocks and one in the lower extremities."

Never bring knives to painting parties. It seems to turn out bad.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"Lytle-Area Strip Club Shut Down"

Well, The Cabaret Dance Club in Lytle has closed down.

KSAT-12 has the story.

The Cabaret strip club was shutdown [sic] by the Medina County Sheriff's office and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission after two strippers were arrested for public lewdness and a club bouncer was arrested for having an outstanding warrant.

Three customers were arrested for various charges, including one for possession of a prohibited weapon and two others on drug charges.

"The people have spoken," Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown said. "It is not who we are here in Medina County, it's not what we want in Medina County and we are going to work to get something in the books to keep this from happening again.["]

Sounds like they were just waiting for someone in this club to screw up so they could shut it down. Prigs. I wonder if they will start watching all clubs and bars with the same scrutiny.

Monday, March 03, 2008

"Judge Refuses To Recuse Self After DWI Charge"

How often does this situation occur?

From KSAT-12:

SAN ANTONIO -- Days after he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, a Bexar County judge has refused to recuse himself while his case is pending.

Judge Raymond Angelini was arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of drunken driving, and Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed filed a motion to have Angelini recused from hearing criminal cases.

A judge ruled Angelini would not have to fully recuse himself from his caseload, but that he could not hear any alcohol-related cases nor any cases involving the officers in his DWI case.

I can see how such situations would be awkward.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

"Man Stuck in Tree"

It must have been a slow day for fires.

From WOAI:

Neighbors said the 83 year-old man had been climbing in his trees to trim them all week. They said they were concerned that something could happen to him.

Those neighbors' suspicion[s] unfortunately came true. They were forced to call for help on Saturday afternoon after a couple people noticed him dangling from a tree in his backyard.

Six fire crews responded to help get the elderly man down man [sic].

Wouldn't one ladder truck have been quite enough?