Friday, August 29, 2008

"Mayor of one town, city manager of another"

Well, I suppose it could happen. Often there's no requirement that employees of a city government must actually live in that city, and I guess they could run for public office elsewhere.

Zeke MacCormack at the Express-News has the story.

After offering the Castroville city administrator’s job to the winning applicant in June — who died soon afterwards — and then restarting its search, the city council there changed gears this week, offering the post to Joe Painter, who has done the job on an interim basis since late 2006.

Painter, who in May was elected mayor of Live Oak, where he’d earlier been city manager, accepted the Castroville offer, made by a unanimous vote Monday.


Castroville is west of San Antonio. Live Oak is a northeastern suburb. That's a pretty hefty commute right through the heart of San Antonio, and it's bound to wear on a guy, what with city managing, mayoring, and what have you.



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Car crashes into gym

Houses, you may be off the hook for now. Looks like cars are seeking to bully businesses now.

From KSAT-12:

Witnesses said a woman in her 70s appeared to lose control of her vehicle and crashed into the Curves fitness center in a shopping center located on Walzem Road about 11 a.m. Nobody was injured in the crash, but it did scare some of those exercising.

"She said when she pulled in, she felt like she lost control and it kept going," Curves manager Laura Donohue said. "So you know, possibly a gas pedal got stuck, brakes quit working, maybe she thought she hit the brake and she hit the gas; I really couldn't say."


Sure you could. You just did.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Strange in 78250 Update: Hood Ornament..."

Remember the post last October from Dave at Silver Creek that pointed to a vehicle with a strange hood ornament? He's updated it, and this time there just ain't no place for no ornament!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MySpace provides insight

So be careful what you post on it, if you have a page. If you get in the news, people will read it.

Remember that woman who was arrested for trying to sell her children into sexual slavery? WOAI-TV has been reading her MySpace stuff, and the station is reporting what they have found.

Jennifer Richards' MySpace page paints a picture of a very caring mother.

The page quotes the 25-year-old mother as saying "When I am not working, I am spending time with my beautiful daughters," and "I am very blessed to have such wonderful kids in my life." Under 'children', the page reads "proud parent."

Despite her comments, Richards is accused of wanting to sell her 5-year-old daughter to an alleged child molester.

...

Richards moved to San Antonio in November of 2007. She got a job as a server at the Cheesecake Factory at North Star Mall, where met [sic] and started dating Sean Block. Block is also accused of taking part in the sex plan.

In an affidavit obtained by News 4, Richards was supposed to get a car, a furnished apartment, and some money in trade for sex with her daughter. But the buyer turned out to be an F.B.I. informant.


Gross.

I've eaten at the restaurant where she worked, but I don't think it has been since last November. I shudder to think she might have handled my food.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Someone who should have thought a little more

If you think a tattoo parlor owner is sleeping with your wife, and you want to get back at him, take some time to think about it before you start trying to burn things down. You might end up dead. And wrong.

From Robert Crowe at the Express-News:

Police are trying to determine why a man killed by a tattoo parlor owner threw a Molotov cocktail into the shop early this morning before the owner blasted him in the neck with a shotgun.

Police say Shawn Degan, the owner of Perfection Tattoos at 3507 Blanco Road, shot and killed Ricky Davis Jr. about 2:35 a.m. in front of the business.

Degan was sleeping inside his shop, police said, when he heard breaking glass at the front window. He looked outside and saw a man going to a car. The man returned with a Molotov cocktail and tossed the burning object inside the broken window.

Degan retrieved a shotgun and fired toward the suspect, police said, later identified as Davis, 29.

...

Investigators familiar with the case, however, think Davis may have been motivated by a different type of jealousy. Davis, said one source, thought the tattoo shop owner was sleeping with his wife.

Degan, however, may not have been the guy Davis was looking for, and his tattoo shop may have been the wrong business.

Witnesses have told investigators that Davis was out drinking with friends when he started to talk angrily about a tattoo artist he suspected of sleeping with his wife or ex-wife. That is apparently why he drove to Perfection Tattoo at about 2 a.m., broke a window then threw the Molotov cocktail inside, sources said.


Drink and cocktails are a bad mix.

"Suspicious Device Delays Plane At SA Airport"

Hey, I understand the lure of taking things apart and putting them back together, whether it is to fix an item or just to see how it works. But perhaps it might be a good idea to leave such items at home, especially if you plan to travel by airplane.

KSAT-12 has the news on the delayed flight:

SAN ANTONIO -- A United Airlines flight bound for Washington, D.C., was delayed for nearly five hours at the San Antonio International Airport after Transportation Security Agency officials became suspicious of a passenger and a device in his luggage.

TSA officials became suspicious of a device with wires during a check about 11:15 a.m., airport spokesman David Hebert said. The device turned out to be a re-assembled MP3 player, Hebert said. A further check of the passenger brought up information TSA officials wanted to look into further, which delayed the flight, he said.

Passengers on the original plane were forced to disembark while authorities searched the airplane. After the man was cleared by the FBI and TSA, the passengers were placed on another plane and [were] scheduled to leave about 5:30 p.m. [emphasis added]



Why would anyone need to reassemble an MP3 player (they're not really that expensive to replace, assuming it is a basic player), except for the curiosity? If that's all it is, then don't take the thing on an airplane. Airport officials get nervous about suspicious electronic items, and I'm not surprised they had a closer look. Please, have a heart for your fellow passengers, who just want to get to their destination.

UPDATE: Oh, there's more to it than just an MP3 player, as the Express-News reports:

Security was able to determine that the electronics inside the man’s carry-on luggage were not explosive devices, but his checked-in luggage also drew attention, Hebert said. Several items, which Hebert did not disclose, inside in [sic] the man’s checked-in baggage were deemed suspicious.

“There was [sic] some other things (inside his luggage) they don’t want me to list,” he said.

The man was also questioned because of what authorities described as his “bizarre” travel plans.

He had just arrived in San Antonio from Dallas for a brief lay over before trying to board the direct flight to Washington D.C., Hebert said.


No wonder they took notice of him. Who ever heard of a connecting flight from Dallas to San Antonio? Dallasites fly direct.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Man Attended Church Mass Before Going To Nearby School With Gun"

It almost sounds as if he was seeking absolution before the act.

WOAI-TV has the story.

Police said the man, 46-year-old Anthony Sarabia, was spotted at St. Matthew's School early Monday, with a gun, knives and a baseball bat.

School hadn't started yet, but about a dozen children were at an early morning athletic practice. The children's parents called police, who had to use a taser to arrest the man.

Sarabia showed up at the 6 a.m. mass at St. Matthew's Church. No one at the church or the school had ever seen him before.

"Really, we hadn't begun our school day yet, so most of the children don't know what happened," said St. Matthew's School Principal Alvin Caro.

Police said after mass, Sarabia walked over to the baseball field where about 10 to 15 students were finishing up cross-country practice. The children's parents were the first to notice Sarabia.


I wonder if he had his bat with him in church. If so, didn't anyone notice? That would be odd enough for me to start paying attention.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cars not crashing into houses

It's been some time since I have reported on the crashing of a car into an innocent house. Now I know why.

Dave from Silver Creek 78250 reports.

"Neighbors Say Man Talked Openly About Murder-For-Hire Plot"

Sometimes the criminals make it easy for the police.

From WOAI-TV:

Police said the man, 28-year-old Carlos Miguel Solis, believed his wife was having an affair with a neighbor that lived behind them. Police told News 4 Solis then decided to have his neighbor killed.

"Well we thought it was just, you know, between, they were, you know, when they were messing around or something. We thought they were just, you know, what do you call it? Maybe he was just making it up or something. But apparently not."

For days, neighbors said they heard Solis talk openly about wanting to hire someone to kill his neighbor Jorge Aquino.


If only law enforcement had it so easy all the time.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

People who don't seem to think like the rest of us

There are some sadly strange people out there, and they live among us. [Both stories from WOAI-TV]

"Dog Left Stuck In Air Vent"

He was stuck in an air vent reportedly for a week or more before a Good Samaritan called the city pound to report the problem.

Animal Care Services responded and rescued the dog. Apparently, the people who lived in the house knew he was in the vent but refused get him out or ask for help.



"Mom Accused of Trying To Sell Young Daughters For Sex"

Earlier this week, federal agents picked up 25-year-old Jennifer Richards and her boyfriend Sean Block.

Federal court documents say an informant tipped off the F.B.I. after getting a text message from Block that said his girlfriend had a 5-year-old she wanted to sell. After some phone calls, federal agents say Richards sent pictures of both daughters to the informant.


----

"Missing Monkey On Sign Repossessed, Not Stolen"

Remember, even artificial monkeys can be respossessed.

From KSAT-12:

SAN ANTONIO -- It turns out there was no monkey business behind a missing signature piece of art at a north side restaurant.

San Antonio police said Thursday that a monkey missing from the sign at Frida's Mexican & Latin Cuisine in the 3000 block of Thousand Oaks Drive was not stolen after all.

Police said the monkey was repossessed.


Pay your bills. Even sign makers will take their stuff back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Universal City Man Selling Space On Body"

Strange, dumb, or just a plea for attention?

You decide.

From KSAT-12:

UNIVERSAL CITY, Texas -- An area man has placed an online auction to work as an advertiser of sorts.

Adam Ellsworth, 24, has placed a listing on eBay offering his body for somebody to choose a tattoo for his body [sic].

...

Ellsworth said he didn't tell his wife until after he posted the ad, and that the winning bidder's choice would stay on his body for at least two years.


I wonder what his wife thinks of her husband now..

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Las Mariposas Closed For Good, Says Property Owner"

Goodbye, butterfly.

SAN ANTONIO -- Talk of a controversial west side restaurant's reopening have been greatly exaggerated, said the property owner where Las Mariposas once operated.

Benjamin Leal said a restaurant will occupy the building at the intersection of Trinity and Guadalupe when it reopens on Sept. 1, but it won't be the Mexican restaurant mired in seductive memories.

Leal said the owner of the cafe, Miriam Luna, is working on another project, but that it wouldn't be Las Mariposas in its previous location. Leal said he is still trying to meet the city's requirements to get his certificate of occupancy returned.

...

"It's going to be a family restaurant," he said. "That's what I want."


Lourdes Galvan must be happy.

ODDNESS: Previous owners of this place have been named as Fernando de Leon and Marion Luna. Though I can see how Miriam can be mistaken as Marion, where did Benjamin Leal come in to all this? And who's Fernando?

UPDATED: Oops. Looking back, I now see that I made a mistake on the previous post linked under "ODDNESS". Fernando de Leon apparently works for the City of San Antonio's Development Services Department. Benjamin Leal seems to own the building. and Miriam Luna is the one that leased the space and opened the restaurant with waitresses that danced sexily and got Councilwoman Galvan all worked up.

Whew! I hope I've got everything straight now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Agreeing on how the Alamo should be portrayed?

KSAT-12 reports on a plan to merge the City of San Antonio's three police departments. Originally separate city departments, now the Park Police and Airport Police will fall under the SAPD umbrella.

SAN ANTONIO -- A proposed compromise between three police organizations is being hailed as win-win by many people in all three departments.

The compromise, part of an amendment expected to be voted on Wednesday by both Park and Airport police, would allow for the departments to operate and exist on their own as separate divisions under the San Antonio Police Department and Chief Bill McManus.


This is not strange. In fact, it's probably a pretty good move to consolidate the forces, and the president of the Park Police officers' association likes the job security this plan offers. What is strange is the fact that the three police departments just couldn't seem to agree on what the Alamo -- that quintessential symbol of San Antonio -- should look like on their patches.

Look at this graphic from KSAT that shows all three of the patches.















As you can see, we have three police patches that are essentially similar in design (purposely so, I would imagine) but with different representations of the Alamo. That's weird, and I can't imagine why a graphic designer (assuming there was only one) would go to so much trouble to make the patches look so similar but with such varying looks to the central image. Especially one as documented and as photographed as the Alamo! Maybe another good thing that comes out of this merger will be a consistent police patch.

For the record, here is what the Alamo really looks like.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Giving thanks for glass

The other day, I noticed a strange smudge on one of my windows.




















I thought I could tell what it was, and, viewing it from another angle, I confirmed my suspicion.



There was even a tell-tale clue on the glass.

Do you know what it is yet?

Here's some help. (Please pardon my amateurish photo manipulation.)







Yep. That's the imprint of a dove crash. That bird hit the window so hard it left one of its feathers behind (marked by the arrow below).


Thank God for glass. If all of our windows were open, can you imagine how many birds would be flying around in our houses right now?!

Mayoral candidates for 2009 II

Diane Cibrian wants to be mayor, perhaps because she has been "humbled and proud to be a part of city government." The mayor's seat is a prominent position. She should get used to uncomfortable questions from the media, such as those posed by Jaime Castillo at the Express-News:

In a little more than a year in office, City Councilwoman Diane Cibrian has earned a reputation as an aggressive and energetic advocate who seeks, not shrinks from, the media spotlight.

Since last Friday, however, the District 8 representative and mayoral hopeful has uncharacteristically refused to answer one direct question:

Shortly after being elected in a 2007 runoff, did she take a trip to CancĂșn, Mexico, and stay for free in the condominium of local real estate investor Hugo Gutierrez Jr.?

“You've crossed the line into my personal life,” she said in the only on-the-record portion of a more than hour-long meeting Friday. “I'm not answering that question. I'm done with this issue.”

A briefer telephone interview Monday was more of the same. “It is what it is. You're going to write whatever you want. I'm done with this issue.”

Whether or not a city councilwoman stayed in Gutierrez's condo in one of Mexico's hottest tourist destinations is, of course, a smell-test issue, especially if you consider that Gutierrez, at the time of the supposed trip, was fighting to keep the city from applying its tree ordinance to a property he owned in northwest Bexar County.

During the legal battle, which Gutierrez won, Councilwoman Cibrian on at least one occasion discussed the development, called West Pointe, with the city attorney's office.


She also appeared on the Trey Ware show on KTSA this morning to talk about this issue, and she did not sound very mayoral.

Chupacabra?

Or coyote?


You decide.


Oh, but they want it to be a chupacabra so bad, as KSAT-12 reports:

DeWITT COUNTY, Texas -- The legend of the chupacabra gained new life over the weekend as two DeWitt County sheriff's deputies spotted what they said they believe is the mythical creature.

Friday, Cpl. Brandon Riedel was training a new deputy when he said they saw the animal running down a dirt path along fence lines.

"You need to record something like this because it's not everyday you find something that looks like this running around out in the middle of the county," he said.

The short-legged, hairless animal has a long snout that looks like a coyote, but Riedel said he isn't convinced.

Of course he isn't. A coyote is commonplace. A chupacabra gets you television time.

Friday, August 08, 2008

"Embattled Poteet Mayor Wants To Stay In Office"

Poor, poor, poor Poteet. That town's mayor -- convicted of a sex crime -- just won't go away, as KSAT-12 reports.

SAN ANTONIO -- The mayor of this South Texas town remains defiant after his registration as a sex offender prompted city and county officials to call for his dismissal.

Rene Pena, the district attorney of Atascosa County, has asked a judge to remove Lino Donato from office claiming the mayor's sex offender registration has hindered his performance.

Donato pleaded guilty in October 2007 to charges of indecency with a child. Since that time, Donato has been unable to attend City Council meetings because Poteet's city hall is within 1,000 feet of where children can assemble.

Donato said the criticism is unfounded and his status has not affected his job.

"I got telephones, I got my city administrator. I got department heads. I know what's going on from here," Donato said. "The city is in better shape than it's ever been."


Somehow, I think the citizens of Poteet might disagree.

[Previously discussed here and here.]

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"Confessed Killer Claims He Was Possessed By Demons"

Watch out who you worship.

WOAI reports:

Police said 29-year-old Kethan Beschorner told them he killed 44-year-old Michelle Lague. Beschorner said he blacked out before the July 4th murder, and that it should have never happened. Investigators said Lague's throat was slashed, and she was left on her bed.

Lague was a potential witness in the upcoming trial of a murder suspect in the 2005 slayings of two people at the popular Tacoland Restaurant. Police said her murder is not connected to that case.

Instead, investigators said Beschorner told them he was a devil worshiper and that he [was] possessed by demons the night Lague was murdered.

"Man Charged With Driving Fake Cop Car"

The Blues Brothers notwithstanding, buying a used car that looks like a cop car might not be a good idea. You could get in a little trouble.

KSAT-12 reports on the fake cop car:

SAN ANTONIO -- When a Bexar County sheriff's deputy noticed a non-descript police car driving down the highway, something wasn't right.

It looked like a police car, it had a unit number and was a Ford Crown Victoria, said Deputy Bill Lohrke, but the driver wasn't a peace officer.

"He wasn't trying to stop any cars, but he was just driving down the roadway and has police all over his vehicle," he said.

The driver claimed his boss purchased the vehicle at an auction and was using it at a hotel for security, but driving the car on the highway is against the law, and the driver was charged with two crimes, Lohrke said.


The charges are "false identification of a peace officer and misrepresentation of property." I'm no lawyer, but I'm not sure if these charges are going to stick. As far as I know, there's nothing wrong with having an unconventional looking car. Is there?

Setting out a comment policy

When I started this blog my intention was to just point out weird, odd, and curious things that happened in San Antonio. It started as a hobby, but it has gained a decent readership, and I thank you all for taking the time to stop by.

With the increased amount of readers have come more comments. I have a few regular commenters (thank you Alan, Dave, Kels, the good people at San Antonio Daily Photo, Keith, and others!), and there are many more that stop by to comment once or twice. That's great. I like a lively comments section. And so far I have not laid out a comments policy because I never saw the need to. But recent comments on some older posts have prompted me to come up with one.

I generally prefer dialogue, but when people begin flinging their emotions onto the keyboard they sometimes post language that (I hope) they would regret if they had to say it in person. I don't like to delete comments, but I will if I feel they detract from a conversation rather than add to it.

So, to keep deletions to a minimum, I ask all visitors who wish to comment to follow these simple house rules.

1. NO ALL CAPS. This results in an automatic deletion, no matter what your point is. I don't mind occassional capitalization of words or phrases for emphasis, but I can't abide an entire entry written in capital letters. This is still the Internet equivalent of yelling. Please don't yell. The "Caps Lock" key turns off as easily as it turns on.

2. No spam. I don't mind someone going a little off topic, but if you are here to shamefully promote an unrelated good or service in a way that smacks of spamming, I just might delete your comment.

3. No baseless accusations. Sometimes people involved in the stories mentioned on this blog pop into the comments section to present their viewpoint. I don't mind this so much. In fact, such comments could provide an insight not touched on by the local media. (For a good example of this, check out the comments section on this post about a girl selling her plasma for gas money.) But you should not use this blog to accuse anyone of immoral or criminal activity. If you think someone broke the law, take it up with the police. If you want media coverage, call the television stations. If you think I'm being unfair, start your own blog. Just don't bring it here.

4. No personal attacks or threats. Argue a point of view without verbally abusing the person you're talking about or to.

5. Go easy on the profanity. I'm no prude. A few well-placed swear words can add great amounts of emphasis, and you're not going to offend me with these. But don't cuss just for the sake of cussing.

There. I hope I've laid out these rules in a reasonable way, and I hope I don't scare people away from adding to the conversation here. I like to hear different sides of a story, and I welcome comments. But let's try to be civil.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Take your son to work day

Taking a child to work is not strange, but it might be if you work for the police department and your office is a crime scene. It would be even more out of the ordinary if you were the police chief of a large city.

Ken Rodriguez of the Express-News talks about it.

With lights from patrol cars and EMS units flashing, Police Chief Bill McManus arrived with his 6-year-old son and slipped under the crime scene tape. No one suggests the chief's son contaminated evidence, but officers expressed serious concern about the legal ramifications.

“How are we supposed to explain that at trial?” one officer asked.

Added a second officer: “If I were a savvy defense attorney I would certainly bring it up. ‘Chief, what were you doing with your son at the crime scene? Why were you allowing him to go into the inner perimeter?'”

The answer to the first question: McManus says he was off-duty with his son when paged about a fatality in an officer-involved chase. With his wife unavailable, McManus took his son to the scene.

The answer to the second: The chief says it was too hot to leave his son in the car, and too hot to leave him standing outside the tape.


I've always been a bit suspicious about McManus.

He was charged with reverse racial discrimination in Ohio (he lost that suit). He wants to tax our drinks. He wants unopened beer cans to count as opened ones.
McManus wants a "broken" six-pack in a driver's possession to be considered an open container. He said he'd like a state law that would allow officers to cite a driver if any of the six containers in a six-pack were not present.
And he proposes strange policies that actually seem to weaken an officer's ability to respond.
Officers should refrain from shooting at moving vehicles unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself.
Now, with this incident, I think I might be on to something when I question his judgment. Did he really need to be that close to the scene without waiting for someone to pick up his son first, especially since he said he was at the scene for only twenty minutes? What is anyone doing exposing a six-year-old kid to dead bodies and crime, especially a police chief?

Strange behavior.

Thoughts?

Friday, August 01, 2008

"Neighbors Angry at CPS Energy's Plans"

Here's a classic example of NIMBYism, which is not so strange in and of itself. But I find it odd to see the extremes people will claim to go to just to avoid certain developments near their property, as WOAI reports:

CPS Energy has plans to build an energy substation on land right behind a local neighborhood. But homeowners in the area told News 4 they're furious about those plans.

Dozens of neighbors on the west side say they were kept in the dark about the plans. They say CPS Energy kept that vital information from them when they were buying homes. Many added they wouldn't have even bought their houses if they had known CPS Energy's plans.

...

CPS Energy says the substation needs to be moved because it's in a flood plain and that could cause power outages if the area flooded.

But people in the area say power outages have not been a problem. One homeowner even added that he'd rather be in the dark for days than deal with the substation. [emphasis added]


So, people need a basic utility, but some of them don't want the infrastructure anywhere near them. And they claim they would rather do without the basic utility simply to have a decent view around their house -- in a big city. That may make sense to some people, but it seems strange to me.