Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Teen Torches Home To Prove Love, Investigators Say"

Well, this is an odd way to show affection.

SAN ANTONIO -- In an effort to prove his love for the 15-year-old mother of his child, a 15-year-old boy allegedly used a Molotov cocktail shortly before noon to torch a neighbor's home on the city's northwest side, investigators said.

Heather Tirado said she was still in shock over the loss of her home and her pets, who perished in the fire. Bexar County sheriff's investigators said the 15-year-old destroyed his neighbor's home on the 10600 block of South Shaenridge to prove he wasn't having a relationship with Tirado's 13-year-old daughter, a claim the boy's girlfriend allegedly made.

"She didn't believe him, and to profess his love for her, he broke into my home and did what he did," Tirado said. "It makes me sick to my stomach."

(from KSAT-12)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Strange in Kendall County

Just north of San Antonio, some strange things have been happening.

BOERNE – Kendall County Sheriff’s investigators are trying to find the identity of the headless and handless body which was found by a fisherman on Saturday.

Kendall County S.O. Chief Deputy Matthew King says the man was“shot twice one in the chest one in the back -- they told us his head was severed after he had died.”


Deputies say the body had been in the brush near FM 474 between Boerne and Kendalia for only about 24 hours before it was discovered. Investigators say the man was apparently killed elsewhere, and his head and hands removed, before someone tried to hide the body near the Guadalupe River.

(from WOAI-TV)

BOERNE — An elderly Kendall County resident shot himself to death shortly before noon Monday in the parking lot of the sheriff's office on Staudt Street here, officials said.

His son had committed suicide weeks earlier, authorities said.

A security camera that takes intermittent pictures of the building's exterior showed J. Sam Brown, 74, parking a GMC Suburban just outside the agency's front door, then showed him on the ground, said Kendall County Chief Deputy Matt King.

(from the Express-News)

Strange in the Valley

This is pretty far away from San Antonio, but I had to share it!

McALLEN, Texas -- Customs inspectors scored the makings of a barbecue when a 21-year-old South Texas woman declared several soiled baby diapers at a U.S.-Mexico border crossing.

The inspectors with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the international bridge in Hidalgo weren't buying the story. Suspicious of the chunky diapers, they found inside several links of spicy pork sausage, called chorizo. A U.S. Customs statement says the diapers had been folded to look soiled.

(from KSAT-12)

She got fined, and they kept her chorizo, but do you think she should get an "A" for effort? After all, she declared dirty diapers! What cojones!

Oh, and you can tell this came from some wire service and wasn't produced locally. How? Because of the obligatory explanation of chorizo. I think just about anyone in Texas knows what it is.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Buying your vote with brisket

At least it seems that way in the Harlandale Independent School District.

SAN ANTONIO – News 4 has discovered a very strange voting fraud allegation. A man claims he was bribed with barbecue in exchange for his vote.

A political activist committee wanting Harlandale ISD's tax referendum to pass was handing out tickets for barbecue brisket to go.

(from WOAI-TV)

I really can't imagine that anyone would actually vote a certain way just because they got some free barbecue. That would have to be some exceptionally good brisket! And the pinto beans had better be freakin' out of this world!

So, just think about it -- whose brisket would be even remotely scrumptuous enough to make you consider voting a certain way?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Learning to ride a unicycle in San Antonio

Is that what this is? Did Alan really get a picture of a trainer unicycle?

Odd. Odd indeed. I guess you have to start somewhere before you become famous.

Don't surf on cars!

This doesn't seem like a very smart way to pass the time.

A teenager traveling on the hood of a vehicle at a park in the Northwest Side was critically injured late Thursday after he slipped off and was run over, police said.

San Antonio Police Sgt. Johnny Gomez said a group of teenagers was driving at Braun Station West park near the intersection of Braun Drive and Brigadoon Street with two teenagers riding on top of the car's hood and one sitting on the trunk.

At around 11:30 p.m., one of the teens on the hood slipped off the vehicle, but was not immediately hurt. Gomez said the driver, thinking he had hit his friend, did not fully stop and ran over him.

(from the Express-News)

The news story indicates that the boy will recover, and that's good. But I hope they learned a lesson from this: the seatbelts are inside the car!

"Trouble was evident at condo where skeletons found"

The story was strange long before the skeletons were found.

Brenda Gilbert and her son moved into the Canyon Creek Village condominiums with the joy of starting a new life after they fled Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Soon after her arrival in 2006, it became clear to neighbors that Gilbert was a deeply troubled soul who spoke of demons trying to force her from the condo in the 17100 block of Vardon Way and cult members assaulting her every night.

On Tuesday, authorities discovered the skeletal remains of two people inside Gilbert’s residence near Blanco Road and Loop 1604. The identities and causes of death are unknown, but police suspect autopsies will reveal Gilbert and her son, Fabian, died there months ago.


She would often knock at neighbors’ doors after midnight complaining of demons, and she threw out all the furniture they had given her, [president of the Canyon Creek Village Homeowners Association Roosevelt] Eubanks said. She would ask neighbors to give her rides to various churches and quickly leave the houses of worship complaining that Satan was inside, [neighbor Susan] Weekly said.

(from the Express-News; previous post here)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Family Outraged After Mother Buried in Wrong Grave"

Oops. Or maybe not.

SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio family is outraged after finding out their mother was buried in the wrong grave. In fact, she was buried on top of a complete stranger.

"This is a man's name." said Erlinda Davis. "My mother wanted to be buried on top of her grandmother."


Davis told News 4 she's been trying since January to get the officials at San Lorenzo Cemetery to fix the problem.

"They're stating they're not at fault, that the paperwork they had was the paperwork my mother gave them," Davis said.

It's paperwork Davis said is not what she remembers signing.

"They've been tampered with," claimed Davis. "Some whited out, added information." [emphasis added]

(from WOAI-TV)

I wonder how much of a stranger that man actually was to Ms. Davis's mother.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Skeletons found in North Side condo"

This is an unfortunate discovery.

Police are trying to determine what caused the deaths of two people whose skeletal remains were found inside an upscale North Side condominium.

A painter spotted bones about 11:30 a.m. in the 17100 block of Vardon Way while peering through a window as he prepared to paint the exterior of the residential building.


“It’s definitely a mystery,” said Officer Teresa Velazquez of the San Antonio Police Department. "The cause of death is unknown right now."

Authorities believe the remains were of a woman in her 30s and her 10-year-old son – both of whom had not been seen in many months.

"Right now we're listing the victims as John and Jane Doe because we can't be sure," Velazquez said.

A representative of the property management company said the woman and boy who lived there were Hurricane Katrina evacuees. The apartment complex had recently issued an eviction notice.

(from the Express-News)

"Upscale" condominium? I'm not trying to sound insensitive (and the deaths are certainly tragic), but how does FEMA get to place hurricane evacuees in an "upscale" condominium? And why are they still there three years after the storm?

This story has me scratching my head in a few different places.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"San Antonio Police Will Stop Responding to Non Violent Crimes"

Hmm. This bears watching.

SAN ANTONIO - Police here are unveiling a new program they say will help keep you safer. But some people in San Antonio think it is a bad idea.

The police department says it needs more officers, but until that happens things need to change. So now, if you are involved in a non-violent crime, chances are you won't see police to file your complaint.


[T]hey have come up with the Strategic Management for Accelerated Response Times, or S.M.A.R.T., Initiative. Now people will file certain reports on the internet, and then get a case number by e-mail.

"It sounds good. If you are fortunate enough to have it. But unfortunately in this town, there's a lot of families that don't have access to the internet," said Diana Cappelli, who don't [sic] think the plan will be effective.

Police say they won't respond to non-violent crimes like car burglaries, graffiti, beer runs and theft. They say this will free up officers to respond to emergency calls, and that would improve response time.

(from WOAI-TV)

Also not included in the do-not-respond list: minor traffic accidents. I wonder if this could cause problems with auto insurance companies. And what about beer runs? Doesn't this effectively let young beer grabbers know that there's almost no chance of them being caught? Watch out, convenience store owners.

Chief McManus is supposed to talk about this tomorrow. I'd like to hear what he has to say.

Thunder throne

Seen in Boerne, a thunder box made up in a kingly way.


Friday, October 17, 2008

"Bikini Car Wash Replaced by WWJD Car Wash"

Remember the action San Antonio City Council sprung into after hearing about a bikini car wash? Now the business that originally caused all the fuss has been replaced by a "cleaner" car wash.

SAN ANTONIO - The Bikini Car Wash on South Flores has closed. Now a business has moved in that claims it's run by a higher power.

The "What Would Jesus Do" Car Wash opened its doors this week. It moved in after the Bikini Car Wash went out of business.

(from WOAI-TV. Hat tip - Ellen)

On a positive note, at least City Council now seems serious about going after taggers.

In approving the city's legislative agenda, the council directed city staff to work with Bexar County lawmakers to draw up proposals that would significantly toughen graffiti laws. The proposals would be considered by the next Legislature, which convenes in January.

The council's get-tough wish list also includes a surtax on the purchase of aerosol spray paint cans; a list of convicted taggers — much like the one required for registered sex offenders — and a sliding schedule that ties fines to the amount of monetary damage caused.

Convicted taggers now face anywhere from a Class B misdemeanor to a jail-time felony, depending on the severity of the offense and the type of paint used, a San Antonio police spokeswoman said.

(from the Express-News)

I don't know if that spray paint surtax will do much good, but perhaps the stiffer fines and jail-time will.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting upset about "maverick"

When your family name drifts into the English language to take on a meaning all its own, you might seem a bit weird if you protest its use.

From the ombudsman of the Express-News:

Scores of readers reacted angrily Tuesday to a Page 1 story in the San Antonio Express-News that they said painted a negative impression of presidential candidate John McCain, three weeks before Election Day.

As of late Tuesday afternoon we'd received more than 125 phone calls and e-mails.

The story, "A Maverick?,"which quoted several members of the Maverick family of San Antonio, essentially said McCain should not call himself a maverick -- a term whose etymology goes back to Sam Maverick, but whose current role in the American lexicon is to describe a person who takes an independent stand.

Maverick was a mayor of San Antonio and a Texas cattleman in the middle 19th century. Because he didn't brand his cattle, they were known as Mavericks, now a term for an unbranded, wandering animal or a person who thinks outside the box politically or otherwise.


McCain, his running mate, Sarah Palin, and their supporters often describe McCain as a maverick who is willing to step outside his Republican Party platform if he thinks the party is taking the wrong stand.

Local Mavericks (big "M") told E-N reporter Amy Dorsett that McCain is going too far.

That seems a little weird to me. If my name became a rather common English word -- and in a relatively positive connotation -- I might consider its use to be something of a compliment. But the Maverick family here comes across as petty, whining that a politician they oppose is using a legitimate English word that happens to be derived from their name. That's laughable.

But what I'm most upset about is that only one commenter (Mark Harden) to the ombudsman's post brought up the most egregious use of the term "maverick": as a mascot for the Dallas NBA team. Apparently Mark Cuban seems to think a "maverick" is a horse! And the San Antonio Mavericks are not bothered in the least about it.

Well, maybe until the Express-News does a story on it, I suppose. Then it will be front page news.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"18-Year-Old Arrested In 'Ninja' Shooting"

I guess the disguise didn't work.

SAN ANTONIO -- Investigators have arrested an 18-year-old man they said shot a 44-year-old man during a robbery attempt late Monday evening.

Jacob Cavazos was identified by the victim from his hospital bed, police said. Police took the suspect to Brooke Army Medical Center for the victim to make an identification. Investigators said the victim recognized the shooter's voice and eyes, but couldn't remember his name.

Bexar County Sheriff's deputies said the victim was sitting in the garage of a friend's home at 9:30 p.m. on the 8400 block of Tuxford Drive when a man dressed in black and wearing a ski mask -- witnesses said he looked "like a ninja," investigators said -- demanded keys to a car in the driveway.

When the victim refused, the man in black shot him once in the chest, deputies said.

(from KSAT-12)

Maybe he should have taken the bus instead.

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Man rescued after falling into Seguin water tower"


A worker painting a water tower in Seguin fell 30 feet inside the tower Monday afternoon.

A private contractor was sand blasting and painting the tower at Kingsbury and Geronimo streets, which had been drained for the job. At about 3 p.m., a worker fell inside and landed on some metal baffling, said Seguin Fire Department Batallion Chief James Vogel.

(from the Express-News)

He was rescued, but I bet he was scared. I just hope there was a great big screen over that water tank's drain!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hiding the meters

You think your job is tough? Try finding the water meters in this mess.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A woman who should have thought a little more

Here's a tip. Don't accept rides from strangers. Sometimes they don't end well.

KSAT-12 reports:

SAN ANTONIO -- A woman was stabbed and thrown from a truck in front of a law office on the city's southeast side late Thursday afternoon.

The woman told police she got into a vehicle with a man she didn't know and drove around for 10 to 15 minutes before she wanted to get off the man's beige truck. When she asked to be dropped off, she told police the man stabbed her, investigators said. The woman was able to walk to a law office on the 300 block of Fair Avenue.

Am I wrong to wonder about her occupation?

Most wrong headline of the day

"San Antonio on NFL's radar"

Followed by the most wrong lead paragraph.
San Antonio is on a track that could lead to the NFL considering it for an expansion team someday, commissioner Roger Goodell suggested Wednesday.


Commissioner Goodell may have said some encouraging words to his audience at the University of the Incarnate Word, but he also left no doubt that the Alamo City has almost no chance of getting a team in the National Football League. And the Express-News admits as such later in the same piece.
While making it clear the league has no immediate plans to grow beyond 32 teams and will continue to discourage relocation, Goodell indicated there has been a shift in how the league views San Antonio. [emphases added]

Let's be honest here -- the NFL has always been less than enthusiastic about San Antonio, even though we built a brand new football stadium fifteen years ago just in the hopes of landing a team. We haven't gotten one, and that building called the Alamodome has sat there next to IH-37 in downtown for a decade and a half without ever being used for its primary purpose: a San Antonio NFL franchise.

And the future doesn't look bright, despite what that headline at the top of this post says. Here's why:

1. In 1992, the NFL rejected San Antonio's bid for an expansion team. Instead, the league gave teams to Charlotte and Jacksonville. Jacksonville?! Hell, we weren't even on the short list.

2. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina smashed New Orleans, there were rumors that San Antonio might have a chance to land the Saints. Those rumors amounted to nothing. In fact, Saints owner Tom Benson -- a San Antonian, at that! -- never hinted as much, and he has kept the team in the Big Easy.

3. San Antonio has a history of failed football teams from other professional leagues. That doesn't do much to encourage the NFL to look our way.

4. San Antonio has always been a Cowboys town. People here love the Dallas team, and you can bet owner Jerry Jones knows that. Fans have no problem driving up IH-35 to see a game, and that's money in Jones's pocket. I can't imagine he would have anything to do with allowing a competing team to move in down here.

Of course, this is all just my opinion, and I normally would keep these views to myself. But I couldn't let that Express-News headline go without calling B.S. on it. It's optimistic, but it's wrong. We're not on the NFL's radar. We're under it. And I don't think we will ever get a team here unless Austin and San Antonio grow together and begin functioning as one metropolis.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Looking at ghost stories

I'm not one to believe in ghost stories. I've been in my fair share of structures that were supposedly haunted and I've never experienced anything that would convince me a ghostly presence was at work. But many people do believe in ghosts, and they love old places where displaced spirits are said to roam.

San Antonio is full of such places -- as I imagine any old city would be -- and there are plenty of locations for interested people to visit. The October 2008 issue of Fiesta magazine (a tourist-oriented publication put out by the Express-News) takes a look at some of the more popular legends and asks the opinions of two "paranormal experts" as to whether such ghost stories are true, false, or plausible.

I was expecting all of the stories to get a "true" or "plausible" rating, but one of them was deemed false by both of the experts, and -- surprisingly -- it's the one that's probably the most well known outside of the Alamo City. It's the legend of the ghost tracks.

Here's the excerpt from the Fiesta article by Miranda Koerner:

The traditional tale is a school bus was driving along its afternoon route after school in the 1930s. As the bus drove uphill, it stalled directly on railroad tracks in San Antonio's South Side. Suddenly, a train came rushing down the tracks and hit the bus, killing more than 10 of its passengers.

According to the legend, the dead children now haunt the tracks, protecting those who come there from suffering their fate.


Are the ghost tracks really haunted by the children killed on the school bus?

[Michelle] Hernandez [of the San Antonio Paranormal Network] says: False. She says the accident occurred in another state and a local paper at the time ran it for 14 days. People created rumors from the headlines and the story spread.

JR [Plebas of Alamo City Ghost Tours] says: False. It never happened. The story was created to keep kids from playing on the tracks because the trains are a safety hazard. He warns the tracks are live and cars can be hit by an oncoming train. Also, JR says, women have been attacked by strangers hiding around the tracks. If you go to test the tale, be careful!

Hm. There you go. Two people with vested interests in ghost stories call this one bogus. So, I guess it's time for people to stop dusting their cars to look for handprints, stop parking on the tracks, and stop looking for ghostly children in the darkness on the South Side. Besides, there are so many other old, creaky places to look for ghosts in. Like the Menger Hotel.

Happy haunting!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Photo Shows Teens [sic] Girls With Alcohol"

Wow, is it sweeps month already?

WOAI has a rather odd story to get your attaention.

A school district is investigating what appears to be a case of underage drinking, and the three high school girls involved may be in a lot of trouble if a bottle they're pictured with turns out to be what it looks like.

The photo showing underage girls holding what appears to be a bottle of liquor showed up anonymously in News 4's email inbox Tuesday. Two of the girls are students at John Marshal [sic] High School, the third attends Brandeis High School. District officials are trying to determine if the picture are [sic] real.

"If, in fact, the picture turns out to be legitimate and these students were, in fact, drinking liquor, that's a very serious offense," said Pascual Gonzalez of NISD.

But, if not, the district is still going to be very serious. Just in case.

School district officials want to make sure it's clear that even if the photo isn't real, the behavior pictured in the photo is not the way the district expects its student to act.
So, if you're in high school, you shouldn't be posing with alcohol. But, if the whole thing is a fake photo, then you shouldn't be doing---- what, posing in fake photos? Holding pretend alcohol? Acting out a behavior instead of actually engaging in the behavior?

I need some help here. I'm really trying to understand the district's position in that second blockquote.

Seymour Perkins -- homeless

Seymour Perkins has battled his neighbors and the City of San Antonio to keep his house from being torn down. I even speculated that the house would not be destroyed until after the man had died.

I was wrong.

The Express-News reports that Perkins's house has burned down.

Seymour Perkins, the eccentric East Side folk artist at the center of a battle to save his house, lost it in a fire early Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Perkins, who was wearing overalls with a small patch of singed material, was sitting in front of his home at the intersection of South Hackberry and Nevada streets, talking to passersby about the fire that gutted his home.

The self-styled preacher escaped the fire unharmed. He said the fire had been started by a candle, which he had been using to light the home. Perkins said the city had turned off his electricity in an attempt to drive him away from his house.

If Perkins hadn't admitted that his candle started the fire, I might have suspected a little foul play.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

"Jurors Find Jett Guilty"

After all of his antics, Richard Jett was still found guilty of murder.

KSAT-12 reports:

SAN ANTONIO -- A Bexar County jury on Friday found a man who created several courtroom disruptions during his trial guilty of murder.

Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes before returning the guilty verdict against Richard Jett, who was charged in the 2006 fatal stabbing of an 80-year-old man.


During the trial, Jett lunged at one of his lawyers, marked himself up with ink and his feces and made several emotional outbursts.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

More rabies in town

Don't feed the cats! Especially the little kittens!

From the Express-News:

An elderly man who fed stray cats in his Oak Hills neighborhood was bitten by a kitten that has tested positive for rabies, health officials said Wednesday.

It was the second rabid cat identified in Bexar County this year — a highly unusual occurrence. And it comes as a nationwide shortage of human post-exposure rabies vaccine is worsening.

The man, identified only as being in his 80s, is undergoing post-exposure rabies treatment, said Christine Patmon, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Health District.


Rabies in domestic animals — dogs and cats — is uncommon in Bexar County, which has reported a single case every few years, predominantly in cats. It is much more common in wild animals.

This year, rabies has been confirmed in 17 animals locally — eight bats, seven skunks and now two cats. The first cat was infected by a skunk strain of rabies. The type of virus that infected the most recent cat has not yet been determined.

I hope that man pulls through this ordeal.

But it bears repeating: If the animal isn't yours, it's probably best to leave it alone. Rabies is a horrible disease.

The mayoral race

This should be fun to watch. Two local high-profile women who want to influence how this town grows are now butting heads, as KSAT-12 reports:

SAN ANTONIO -- A campaign is underway to recall a first-term city councilwoman with mayoral aspirations.

A Web site to recall District 8 City Councilwoman Diane Cibrian has been started by the woman behind [sic] Terri Hall, the woman behind the Texas Toll Party, a group dedicated to stopping the inclusion of toll roads in current or future San Antonio and Bexar County construction.

Hall has registered the domain, and created a Web site claiming Cibrian opposed toll roads before switching her position and made accusations the councilwoman accepted a free trip to Cancun from a developer to which Cibrian had previous ties. Cibrian has claimed in the past the trip was not unethical, but did amend a financial disclosure statement filed with the City Clerk's admitting her trip.


Cibrian said Hall is "an out-of-towner" trying to influence local politics. Hall lives in Spring Branch, Texas, which is not within Cibrian's district. Hall said the movement to recall Cibrian is coming from Texas Toll Party members who live within District 8.

Remember, Cibrian wants to keep strip joints out of her district, and Hall wants no tolls, no how, nowhere.