Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Toddler found alone surrounded by dog feces, urine, and trash"

I don't think this guy will be winning any "Father of the Year" awards. Ever.
A father is behind bars after a toddler was found home alone in what some describe as deplorable and dangerous conditions.

A neighbor called 9-1-1 around 1:30 p.m. Monday after he discovered the 15-month-old was alone inside a Northeast Side apartment. When officers arrived, they found the baby girl in a playpen surrounded by dog feces, urine, and trash.


Investigators said the little girl's father, 20-year-old Kaleb Wayne Butler, had taken off from the apartment and left her behind. Officers waited at the apartment for Butler to return and arrested him. He is now facing charges of endangering a child.
(from WOAI-TV)

Here's the mug shot of this fabulous piece of humanity.

"Thriller" at the Alamo

A bunch of Michael Jackson fans dancing to "Thriller" in front of the Alamo. Sound thrilling?

Not quite.

(video from 210SA)

I shudder to think the tourists actually saw that.

P.S: What's with the funky hair-like stuff hanging into the top part of the frame towards the end of the video? That's additional strange.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wishing for a storm?

This seems like an odd item to run during a drought with record-high temperatures.

(from WOAI-TV)

Of course, this is Texas weather we're talking about. It is entirely possible that a freak storm can blow up out of nowhere, smashing windows and flooding creek beds where before there was nothing but dust and dry grass. And I will be highly embarrassed by this post if one does just that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Burying the dead without a license

Remember when that body was found in a casket in the shed of an abandoned funeral home? It turns out the owner was a crook, and he wasn't even a licensed funeral director.

As the family of the late Ada Young searches for answers, public records show that Willie B. Hardy, the funeral home administrator who left Young's body in a shed when his business changed locations this month, has a criminal history including felony theft.

Officials from the Texas Funeral Service Commission said Hardy has not had a state funeral director's license since 1998. His expired license's status was listed as “revoked,” but a commission official could not say why it was revoked.

Neighboring residents discovered Young's body in a casket June 19 and notified police. Hardy said Young's family had not paid him for a funeral or to dispose of the body, so he had kept it since 2006.

Records show multiple charges against Hardy dating to the early 1980s with three convictions — including one for felony theft in 1998. A conviction from the 1980s was for a misdemeanor hot check charge and in 1999 he was convicted on a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license.

Hardy on Friday declined to comment on his criminal history.

He said he had worked with several licensed funeral directors, and that in the decade that he was unlicensed, he never claimed to have one. However, a funeral service commission official said license holders cannot have others perform funeral services in their name.

(from the Express-News)

He kept the body since 2006. Revolting.

I feel for the family of the woman. They thought she had been laid to rest a long time ago, but instead she had been stored in a hot shed for three years. That's inexcusable. I'm just glad some others have stepped up to help the family for free.

[Rhonda] Pickeree and other members of Young's family have begun to make funeral and burial arrangements, but plan to wait for the [DNA] test results to set a date.

When that time comes, the Collins Funeral Home will provide a free chapel service for the abandoned body — whether or not it is Young's — and the Camero Crematory & Funeral Home will cremate the body, also for free.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Man seeks answers: homeowner caught in a Craigslist hoax"

Sounds like somebody got mad at somebody else, and then they came up with a creative way to harass that person.

The owner of a home in northwest San Antonio is trying to figure out who posted a Craigslist ad saying his houshold [sic] and garage items were free.

Bexar County authorities say this afternoon, someone posted a bogus ad on Craigslist. The ad said, "come take what you want for FREE!"

The ad even gave the access code to the house and said the owners were moving to another country.

(from KENS-5)

The article says a few people actually showed up in response to the ad.

That's messed up.

UPDATE: Ah, KABB has a bit more about it:

Bexar County Sheriff Investigators say a disgruntle [sic] employee used the Craig's List website to get back at a former boss. Neighbors of the people who live in the northwest side house say a disgruntled ex-employee posted a listing for "free household and garage contents."
It's always the disgruntled employee, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Faking money -- badly

Sometimes counterfeiting works, and sometimes it doesn't. The same applies even if you are a real amateur at faking it.
A local man was arrested and placed behind bars for allegedly trying to pass $10 bills as $100 bills.

Daniel Bryant, 20, was arrested following a year-long investigation. According to an arrest affidavit, Bryant and another man attempted to use a real $10 bill that was forged to resemble a $100 bill.

Detectives said that Bryant did manage to successfully use one forged bill at an area grocery store and did receive change back. When police searched Bryant's home, they found 12 more bills he was in the process of forging, police said.
(from KSAT-12)

You may ask, how did these guys fake a hundred with a ten-dollar bill? They cut extra zeros from one $10 and taped them onto another one to make it look like the bill said "100" instead. That's how. And I'm absolutely amazed that their Mickey Mouse trick actually worked in one instance. That grocery store clerk that took that altered ten-spot and gave change for a hundred must be feeling pretty embarrassed right now.

UPDATE: Here's KENS-5 video that shows how they did it.

Refusing to say who you are

Here's a strange case from San Marcos.
At around 11 a.m. Monday, Texas State University police arrested a man who refused to give his name to the arresting officers. He was booked into the Hays County Sheriff's Department jail under a "John Doe" identity and he still refuses to reveal his identity.

The man was charged with failure to identify and his bond has been set at $2,500.
(from KSAT-12)

The police wonder if you might know who he is.

UPDATE: He's been identified. Here's the latest from KSAT:
Hays County law enforcement officials now know the name of a jailed man who refused to identify himself.

The man was identified as David Prichard, 34, of Coleman.

Prichard refused to say who he was when Texas State University police arrested him Monday morning, Hays County sheriff's officials said.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Glider Crash Lands On NW Side"

I don't think so.
The pilot of a motorized glider was forced to make a crash landing early Tuesday afternoon on the city's northwest side.


It wasn't immediately clear what problem the pilot encountered, but his glider, a Lambada UFM-13, is equipped with a parachute that deploys when it experiences a problem. [emphases added]
(from KSAT-12)

Motorized glider? Is that anything like a motorized bicycle?

Sorry KSAT. It may have glider characteristics, but even the manufacturer considers it a full-on airplane.
The Light Sport ultra-light aircraft UFM 13 Lambada is an all composite, two-seat, side by side, single-engine, mid-wing aircraft.

The wings are equipped with the choice of a flapperon, where the flaps are assisted by spoilers or an aileron and dive brakes. The flapperon version has three positions 5°, 9° and 16° positions. The 16°position is assisted by spoilers on top of the wing that are automatically deployed with the single flap control/spoiler control lever. In this version the use of flaps/spoilers is limited to Vfe. The other version has dive brakes only and no flaps. The same control lever is used to operate the dive brakes up to Vne.

The gear is conventional with steerable tail wheel. The wheels are equipped with single lever hydraulic brake system. The main gear spring is made of fiberglass laminate and can be easily removed for service or repair.

The UFM 13 Lambada is equipped with three types of interchangeable wing tips. The extenders increase the wingspan to 15m/49ft for soaring, the short wing tips make the Lambada a great cross country machine with range of over 800 miles, and the super modern shark fins finish the plane.
I'd just call it a cool airplane.

"Dozens break into city pool to cool off"

Hooliganism, or pooliganism?

You decide.
Dozens of people jumped the fence to get into the San Pedro Park pool Monday. It is closed on Mondays, and no lifeguards were on duty. Some of the parents who spoke to News 4 WOAI about the break-in said it was too hot outside not to take the risk.

Park police eventually showed up and ordered everyone out of the pool and gave them a warning.
(from WOAI-TV)

C'mon, they could at least give them fifteen blessed minutes!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Gator Spotted At Medina River"

OK, I guess we're just going to have to get used to the fact that there are alligators all over San Antonio! Another one has been spotted on the far west side of town.
A San Antonio man said that he spotted a 9-foot-long alligator in the Medina River over the weekend.

Alfonso Hernandez said his sighting is no fish tale, it's the real thing.

For years, Hernandez has been coming out to the river not too far from Cagnon Road.

Hernandez said that he was able to take a picture of the gator with his camera phone.

"We've seen giant turtles. You see anything here in the river, but we never thought that we'd see an alligator in this part of the county," Hernandez said.
(from KSAT-12)

Cagnon Road is here:

View Larger Map

Earlier gator stuff here and here and here and here.

Busting hookers

This is news?
Two women in their 30's were picked up overnight on charges of prostitution, highlighting a criminal activity that authorities say is as old as time.
(from KENS-5)

"Old as time." You don't say.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Body in casket found in abandoned funeral home"

Nice. You would think that a business owner would tie up loose ends before closing down the establishment, wouldn't you?

A resident living in the apartments above the funeral home went searching through a storage shed when he found the casket lying underneath several sheets. The female body inside the casket was dressed for a funeral.

The property’s landlord says the owner struggled to make rent and left without warning June 2.

She also mentioned a conversation in which she says he told her he was holding onto a body until the family could pay for a funeral.

(from KENS-5)

Human remains as collateral. Very interesting.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Woman trapped for 34 hours in submerged car"

Holy cow! If you think something looks out of place, you might want to check it out. You could be saving someone's life.
[Nita] Dennis was on her way home to Carrizo Springs last Friday when she fell asleep at the wheel. Her car hit a concrete barrier on Highway 83 and landed in a creek filled with water.

"I don't even know how long I had been unconscious," Dennis told News 4 WOAI.

When she woke up, her leg was throbbing in pain, and she couldn't move.

"The whole car had crushed in around me," recalled Dennis.

To make matters worse, she was neck-deep in creek water.

"I remember looking to the sides of me on both sides, and I could actually see animals eating on me," Dennis said about the catfish who were in the water with her.


But it was 34 hours before help finally arrived.

"I'd seen feet come around," Dennis said. "And I'm like 'I'm here! I'm here!'"
(from WOAI-TV)

She was lucky. She was saved, and she had relatively minor injuries. But, oh, poor woman, will she ever be able to eat fried catfish again?

Putting up with blight to get your dream home

Would you live here?

Gwynn Griffith does, even though it is an old manufacturing plant in a run-down section of San Antonio. Her story even made it into the New York Times. She loves this house, and I'm pretty sure she fully accepts that she may never see a return on her investment given its location (the Times doesn't say, but I'm thinking it is on the East Side; there used to be a substantial industrial base over there).

Check out the slide show here. And, if you have ever complained about train noise before, make sure you check out the sixth picture.

UPDATE: Alan from Blogonomicon recognizes the place. He says it is on the near South Side. Read what he says about the neighborhood in the comments.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Express-News: Home to atheists?

It seems that the Express-News has taken to using the term "brights" to refer to the bloggers that contribute to MySA.com.

Do you think the editors are aware that the term has been claimed by an organization of atheists? Were you aware?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fresh produce is cheaper! No, it's not!

KSAT-12 reports on the growing popularity of farmers' markets in the San Antonio area, and in the process the station produces some cognitive dissonance.
Farmers' Markets are growing in popularity despite the drought and recession as people look for inexpensive fruits and vegetables.


The produce, which usually travels fewer miles and has fewer chemicals, has varying pricing, but is usually a little more expensive than supermarket pricing. [emphases added]
Perhaps they mean "inexpensive" in that the produce is cheaper than actually buying land and farming equipment and then growing it yourself.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Child crashes into car

A baby falls out of a window, but her fall was mercifully broken by one of those house-crashing cars. Who knows, maybe the autos just hate the houses and really like the people in them.

Annayh Aguilar was in an upstairs bedroom about 10:30 a.m. with two other young children when she leaned against the screen of an open window, relatives said.

The screen popped out and the toddler tumbled out the window, falling onto the hood of a car parked below.

“The car broke her fall,” said her grandfather, Edmond Lizcano, 69, who was sweeping the driveway when his granddaughter fell.

“I was right out here when, all of a sudden, the baby came falling down,” he said. “We're really fortunate that car was parked there.”

(from Robert Crowe of the Express-News)

Bonus strangeness: The family lives on Catfish Lane.

And this story reminds me of the "Shaving Cream" song, which, if I remember correctly, has this verse:

My baby fell out of the window.
You'd think that her head would have split.
But good luck was with her that morning;
She fell in a big pile of shhhhhhh -- aving cream,
Be nice and clean,
Shave every day and you'll always look keen.

Ah, the classics.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Checking in

I anticipate a very busy week. Blogging may be light for a few days.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Taking the library fines way too seriously

I hope this turns out to be a great big misunderstanding, because otherwise the authorities in Killeen are just going to come out smelling like corpse flowers.

Twenty-one year-old Victoria Rogers says she wishes she could change the past.

The Texas mother has been a fugitive since January - wanted by authorities in Killeen, Texas.

"I apologized and said I didn't mean to," said Rogers.


During an ugly divorce, Rogers and her 5-month old son left Killeen and headed south to San Antonio - leaving behind a rocky relationship and a library book.

With so much else on her mind, Rogers says she forgot about the book. She says her ex-husband never told her about the notices in the mail.

She says she has offered to pay for the book, but the city of Killeen says it’s too late.

An arrest warrant has been issued.

(from KENS-5)

The article does say that Rogers can show up to court and pay a steep fine, so I guess she really wouldn't go to jail. But the fine is $340, which is pretty stiff for an unreturned book. I can see charging replacement cost, or double that, but that fine seems like a lot.

Has anyone faced fines from the San Antonio Public Library system? I'm curious as to what they might charge for an outstanding book.

UPDATE: Ah, here it is. The San Antonio Library has a maximum $10 fine for overdue books and a charge for the list price for lost items . Nothing about arrest warrants.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Setting fires

The San Antonio Police Department is looking for an arsonist. And they think he may have set at least 25 different fires on the South Side.

The San Antonio Police Department and Fire Department sent a plea to the community to help them catch an elusive serial arsonist.

Since the first of the year, investigators have linked as many as 25 fires to the same arsonist. No one has been hurt in the fires, but the fires have caused more than $200,000 worth of damage to homes, businesses, and churches on the south side.


"If this person is out there and listening, know that you are being watched, and you will be eventually caught," said Police Chief William McManus.

(from KENS-5)

There's a firebug out there. Be on the lookout.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Taking one for the story

Have you ever been tasered? If not, here's a good description of what it feels like, from freelance writer Steve Davidson's point of view.
... I could not help but wince and hold out for hope beyond hope that Universal City Police Sgt. David Kinney, armed with a TASER X26, was truly joking with me when he said dryly, “Don't worry, you being from the press will have no bearing on how this tasering goes.”

Fortunately for me, Sgt. Kinney was only teasing – at least in sentiment. The TASER X26, however, proved incapable of the same dry wit. I found this to be an immediate truism as its two silver darts, with attached barbs, pierced my waiting back at a great velocity, dropping my immobilized body immediately to the floor of the Universal City Public Works Building.

For me, the agonizing experience served as one of those defining moments arriving with a message delivered with great voracity. The message? I can now, emphatically, write a story about the effects of being tasered. I definitely have formed an opinion.


As I positioned myself before Kinney in preparation for my tasering, I silently wished he would recall my mentioning to him that my brother and son were police officers, placing me at least in an arm's length of the “brotherhood.” I silently longed for a return to that moment when I could have said “no” to my editor when he asked me to take on this assignment.

Mostly, I hoped Kinney's version of “five seconds” were as definite as mine.

All this was instantaneously removed from my mental faculties as the two metal pins fired from the TASER X26 entered my back with an immense velocity. I would have very much liked to have screamed out in pain, but this did not occur. I could hear myself groaning, but my firmly-pressed lips were not cooperating in allowing the pain to be released.

Strangely, of all things, I had an immediate awareness of my bladder. I prayed I would not be that one volunteer who loses such control. And, I appreciated very much the two volunteers standing beside. Their job? Guide me down to the floor.

(from the Northeast Herald)

The article is actually about the Universal City Citizens Police Academy, a program designed to teach citizens how the police department works and how they can better protect themselves, but Davidson uses his very memorable tasering episode as the framework to drape his story upon. It's good writing, and it entertains while it enlightens. It's a funny story about a serious and laudable program, and it's a good read, too.

Now, who wants to be tasered?