Tuesday, July 31, 2007


What is the strange creature flying around San Antonio?


Strange sightings of a huge flying creature have been reported as recently as six months ago. Is it a monster or myth?

Guadalupe Cantu III was busy working his newspaper route, but he says the big news of that day 10 years ago flew right over his car. He says he's seen what most have not — an unidentified flying object, one that still scares him.

"We were afraid that it would come at us. So we stayed in the car till it passed this way," witness Guadalupe Cantu III said. "This thing's all feathers, all black. Much bigger than me. It looked at us. It had very stooped-up shoulders." The beast has been spotted from the Rio Grande Valley to the mountains of New Mexico.

Could it be a thunderbird? A condor? Or something else?


It's back! From KENS-TV, the mysterious creature some like to call a chupacabra! (video)

Reports of blue, hairless creatures roaming the countryside from Elmendorf to Cuero. Ranchers talking of livestock being drained of blood.

Put the two together, and it sounds like the legend of the chupacabra. One rancher says she has the evidence to back it up.

"After six kittens had been lost to something around the place, I made up my mind we needed to do something to find out what it was that was taking it," said Phylis Canion, a rancher in Cuero.


The name chupacabra translated from Spanish means goat-sucker, for the creature's habit of sucking the blood of livestock.

Canion said her neighbors have reported goats drained of their blood.

"Is (a chupacabra) what it is? We don't know what it is, but that's what we'll call it!" Canion said.

But others call it something else.

"(There's) no chupacabra," said John Young, a mammologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Young said the animal is a sickly gray fox with a typical case of parasites.

"When mange goes untreated, it causes this type of reaction. They start to itch, lose all their hair, there's this blue-gray coloration. And the animal usually dies from it," Young said.

What do you think? Watch the video to see the head in the freezer. Read more here. Then decide.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Woman: Men Made Me Help Rob Store"

Some thieves decided to rob a store, but they evidently didn't have a getaway vehicle. So they carjacked one. And a chauffeur, too.


SAN ANTONIO -- A woman claims that two men held her at knifepoint and forced her to help them rob a store on Monday afternoon.

The woman said she was filling her vehicle up with gas in the 500 block of South Smith when two men snuck into her sport utility vehicle.

When she went back to the vehicle, the men surprised her and demanded she drive them to rob a store.


The victim said she was forced to wait in the car while one of the men robbed the store.

The woman said she dropped the men off at Travis Park after the robbery.

The police arrested two suspects. I'm glad the woman's fine, but that must have been just a bit stressful for her.

"Driver Killed After Hitting Head on Pole"

When you were a kid, did the driver of the school bus ever tell you to keep your arms inside the window so you wouldn't get them torn off by a pole or a sign? Seems like the same advice applies to heads, too.

A man is dead, after hitting a guard rail with his truck and skidding several feet. Police say he had his head out the window and hit it against a light pole, killing him instantly.

It appears he had been drinking.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Turning away volunteers in Universal City

If you ran a suburb of San Antonio, and you had trouble recruiting volunteers for your animal shelter, would you dump the ones you had?

You might, if they are young enough.

From The Herald:

A collective moan could be heard by the volunteers as [Universal City Manager Ken] Taylor once again pointed out that he felt as though there would be some disappointment on the part of the junior volunteers. Referencing child labor statutes borrowed from the legal advice of the city attorney, Taylor made it painfully clear for the junior volunteers in attendance that their days of volunteering at the city’s animal shelter without the supervision of a parent or guardian were over.

Many of the disgruntled volunteers exiting the council chambers were confused as to the late-night shift in direction of the mayor and council. Although city leaders spoke on behalf of reinstating the junior volunteers, reflected on the city’s inability to properly staff its current animal shelter without the aid of the volunteers, and even voiced an opinion regarding the possibility of turning over the reigns [sic] of the city’s animal shelter to the Homes for the Homeless organization, the volunteers left the meeting with no action taken toward reinstating the program, which accounted for more than 6,300 volunteer hours — about 122 hours per week — at the shelter from the program’s start in November 2005 through December 2006.

I am not a lawyer, so I don't know -- but, does volunteer activity really count as labor, especially child labor? And, these seem to be teens we are talking about. Does that make a difference?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fashion in Southtown

This is strange in San Antonio.

Photo by Edward A. Ornelas of the Express-News. Slideshow here.

"Police arrest KSAT reporter, boyfriend"

Television reporter gone wild (from KENS-TV):

A local television reporter and her boyfriend are out on bond after they were arrested on assault charges.

According to police, KSAT reporter Gina Galaviz and her boyfriend, 46-year-old Ronald Aguillen, were at a bar when she grabbed him by the shirt collar, scratched him, and bit his hand when he didn't want to leave.

According to investigators, Galaviz, 43, left Aguillen at the bar and later went to pick him up at a friend's house. Witnesses told police, the pair got into a fight shortly after she arrived.

This isn't the first time Galaviz has had a little domestic trouble (from WOAI-TV):

Back in 2004, Galaviz claimed that then Councilman [and boyfriend] Ron Segovia pointed a gun at her after she threw a hamburger at him. That case was eventually dropped.

If I remember correctly, Segovia said he didn't point the gun at her, but he did admit to throwing an apple at her.

Such adults.

UPDATE: KSAT-12 has let her go (from Jeanne Jakle at the Express-News):

KSAT-TV has fired police reporter Gina Galaviz a week after she was charged with assault following a fight with her boyfriend.

"Gina is no longer employed at KSAT 12," station spokesman David Cuccio said Wednesday in an e-mail.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The wetness approaches a record

Given that this time of year is usually pretty dry for San Antonio -- and we often have drought conditions -- this, as reported by WOAI-TV, is definitely strange:

With 9.07" of rain so far, this is our 2nd wettest July. We are almost 8 inches above normal. We can't seem to get a break from the soaking rain.

More slow moving thundershower expected today with most of South Texas under a Flash Flood Watch. Another low that formed over Texas will continue triggering the downpours. This activity is much heavier that the " normal " shower we get this time of year.


The Edwards Aquifer is on a record pace. Water level is now almost 695.0 ft. with our all time record high at 703. We could see that record tied by some time next week.

To make matters worse, computer forecast indicate a tropical low developing along the Texas coast by Thursday bringing significant tropical rain to the upper Texas Coast!

Just what we need. More rain.

For the record, our average rainfall per year in the Alamo City is 30.3 inches. This year, to date, we have had 35.15 inches. And July ain't even over yet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Possible bomb called a false alarm"

It would be odd enough to find what appears to be a bomb on the roof of a car. (from Bryan Chu of the Express-News)
The owner of a white truck tried to leave his home for work and noticed a strange device strapped to the roof of his vehicle. Members of the San Antonio Police department bomb squad unit arrived at the scene to find what they initially described as two bottles with wiring and filled with an unknown liquid.
The bomb turned out to be a fake. But, what's really strange is the man's behavior after the police investigated.
Police have been unable to speak to the owner of the car after he made the initial call. Witnesses say he returned to his house and is not responding there, after having padlocked and chained the fence in front of the home.
I wonder if charges will be filed in this case.

Monday, July 23, 2007

"Local Man Finds Stick Of Dynamite"

If you found a stick of dynamite on the ground, would you pick it up? This guy did (from KSAT-TV):

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- It's not everyday that you find a stick of dynamite lying around in San Antonio and it's not everyday that you pick it up to inspect it -- but a local man did just that.

Police said that at about noon a passerby spotted a stick of dynamite on the city's northeast side.

They said he then took it to the fire station in the 2500 block of Nacogdoches Street to diffuse and dispose of it

Not surprisingly, the authorities do not recommend you pick up explosives that are laying around. They would rather you just call it in.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Man Thrusts Hand Through Window To Stab Another"

When attempting to rattle the nerves of someone inside an abode, perhaps it would be better to stand away from the window.


A glass window was not enough to shield a man from being stabbed.

San Antonio Police say the whole thing started when a man began banging on the door and window of an apartment on Gardendale on the northwest side Friday morning.

Investigators believe that's when a man inside that apartment grabbed a knife and thrust it through the window, striking the other guy in the chest.

I guess he pushed his point a bit too far.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Police Uniforms Stolen From Trailer"

Oops. (from KSAT-TV)

SAN ANTONIO -- Police said Wednesday that dozens of law enforcement uniforms and thousands of dollars in police equipment were stolen from inside a trailer.

Officers said someone broke the pad lock on the trailer and took 40 sets of police uniforms and a SWAT shield in the 15000 block of Knoll Circle.

There are some brazen crooks here in the Alamo City.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"New Name & Other Changes at the Snake Farm"

That old snake farm on IH-35 is getting a facelift, as WOAI-TV reports:

The iconic snake farm along Interstate 35 will be undergoing a huge facelift. The 40-year-old New Braunfels roadside attraction is now under new ownership.

The first change you'll see is its new name: Animal World and Snake Farm. The new owners want everyone to know it's really a zoo of sorts with some 500 species of animals besides the snakes.

They still have snakes, and that's what they will probably always be remembered for.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Man wielding screwdriver on the loose"

This story from the Express-News has all kinds of strange written on it.

A man in his late 20s to early 30s, wielding a large screwdriver and stealing cars, is still at large, police confirmed Sunday at about 6 p.m.

At about 3 p.m. police received a call that a man had tried to carjack two people in a parking lot at the intersection of Sussex Avenue and Pleasanton Road. The man, driving a white truck missing one tire, was weaving erratically through traffic on Pleasanton Road before he crashed into the curb on the right side of Sussex Avenue.

One man who was in a neighboring parking lot thought the suspect was hurt and came to render aid, but the suspect threatened the man with the screwdriver and demanded he get out of the car. The man fought off his attacker, and another man who had seen the truck dragging the tireless front wheel, stopped to help the man.

The screwdriver man got away after stealing another car. He is described as being "in his late 20s to early 30s and bleeding." Watch out for him, and watch out if you see him.

UPDATE: They caught him.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"Mountain Lion Sighting Report Closes 3rd City Park"

As if the alligators weren't bad enough, now it seems we have to watch out for cougars, too. At least on the North Side.


SAN ANTONIO -- Eisenhower Park was closed Thursday after another reported sighting of a mountain lion, San Antonio Parks and Recreation officials said Thursday.

The latest sighting occurred Wednesday afternoon at the park in the 19000 block of Northwest Military Drive, officials said.

Friedrich Wilderness Park and Crownridge Canyon Natural Area remain closed after a contractor working on some private property near Crownridge reported an encounter with a mountain lion July 3.

Official[s] said they believe more than one mountain lion was spotted because the parks are on opposite sides of Interstate 10.

Watch out for the big kitties when you go to the park.

Car crashes into house

Apartments, really, but they are still where people live. And a car crashed into them.


SAN ANTONIO -- An officer arrested two men who crashed into an apartment on the city's West Side during a police chase on Thursday, police said.

The pursuit started after 2 p.m. near the intersection of 38th and Highway 90 when they spotted a vehicle that had been reported stolen, police said.

When the vehicle reached the intersection of Colorado and Durango streets, the driver lost control and hit an apartment and a fence, according to investigators.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Dog Blog

If you were the main contributor to a blog dedicated to dogs, what would be the best name to have?

Of course, it would be Julie Ruff.

Monday, July 09, 2007

"Diner features Elvis look-alike"

Elvis impersonators--or the very existence of them--are not strange. But this one held off on his dreams until his father died.

From the Express-News:

In homage to the King of Rock 'N' Roll, Juan Manuel Quintanilla adopted Elvis Presley's fashion style several years ago. It's a style that his father, Antonio Quintanilla, forbade him from wearing when he was alive. He honored his father's wishes and dressed like an average guy. But after his father died, Quintanilla slipped on the garb of the man whose cool music thrilled him as a teen.

No longer does he reach for an average pair of jeans or a T-shirt. Indeed, every day he wakes up and clothes himself in Elvis-inspired costumes.


Though he dresses out of the ordinary, Quintanilla seems to have reached the highest stage of self-actualization, said Elizabeth Stanczak, executive director of health and counseling services at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Self-actualization is at the top of noted behavioral psychologist Abraham Maslow's list of essential needs. Others include physical, safety, social and esteem needs.

"He's basically living out something denied as a young person but giving back to the community in an uncontroversial way," Stanczak said. "How much better can life get that strangers smile because of what you're wearing."

As long as he's happy.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Trapped In An Air Duct, Accused Thief Moans for Help"

A man tried to break into a convenience store through the ventilation system, and the police caught him. But they had to rescue him first.

WOAI-TV reports:

"The owner of the store got here and heard some noises coming from the roof," said Sgt. [Lawrence] Walters [of the San Antonio Police Department]. "There is an air conditioning vent up there and he somehow forced it over and climbed down head first in the vent and got stuck inside at the very bottom. It's a very strong vent. It's all made out of metal at the bottom and I guess he wasn't able to push through that."

Investigators aren't sure how long the wannabe crook had been hanging around, but police needed help to get him out, since they couldn't just pull him out by his feet.

"They tried that and he was stuck," said Sgt. Walters. "He just would not come out from the top, so they had to cut out the vent to get him out from the bottom."

The man must have been stuck in there for a long time, because when the police got there he was so miserable he couldn't even tell them his name.
"No, no we still don't have a name all we have is moans," said Sgt. Walters.
"All we have is moans." Classic. I hope the thief thinks twice before trying a life of crime again.

"Alligator Shot, Killed On South Side"

More gators are popping up on the South Side. This one didn't make it, though.


Several motorists driving near Loop 410 and Moursund saw the alligator before Nathan Garcia decided to take some video of the reptile.

"It was in the middle of the road," Garcia said. "I got out to take a video with my phone and it started hissing, so I jumped back in the truck, and that's when more cops started showing up."

Police officers managed to move the alligator off the road and then called the game warden, who killed the reptile across the street from an apartment complex in the 10000 block of Moursund Boulevard.

This may be the same alligator that gave the police a hard time back in April (it's the same area), but it may be another one. I'll have to start keeping a sharper eye out for big lizards the next time I'm down that way.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Saving the planet, one smelly batch at a time.

Biodiesel may be biodegradable, nontoxic, and better for the environment than regular diesel, but it's a food product. And, if you get involved in the industry, you might just have to get used to smelling like the back of a restaurant's kitchen.

Consider the case of Jason Rose's Alamo Biodiesel (from the Express-News):

From those first small batches made in the fall of 2005, Rose has gone commercial, launching Alamo Biodiesel Inc. in a small warehouse just west of downtown at 523 Perez St., where the company is making about 800 gallons of biodiesel a day.


In the company's warehouse and office, production tanks exude what Rose calls "a faint tang of vegetable oil," but after a few minutes it permeates nostrils and clothes. The carpet in the office is slightly sticky, and operations manager Raul Sanchez says he goes home smelling like French fries.

A slightly sticky carpet in the office. Nice.