Sunday, November 29, 2009

Oddest place for a PSA

If you are the police department, and you want to get a public service announcement out that's seasonal and topical, you might want to rethink just repeating it mindlessly in every news story involving the police.
Glass littered the residential streets of the Cherry Hills and Eastwood Village neighborhoods near Martin Luther King Jr. Park Sunday.

"Kids just don't have anything to do when they're off, I don't know," said Earl Gibson, a victim of the vandalism.

Police said the vandals are believed to be young people, possibly teenagers. Officers said they shot out the windows of a couple dozen cars and trucks on several different streets.


Police said the vandals did not steal anything but rather shot out the windows just to be destructive. Officers also reminded people never to leave valuables in sight to prevent vehicle burglaries, especially during this time of your [sic] when you're shopping. [emphasis added]

(from KSAT-12)

Oh yeah, and don't do drugs.

Seriously, the effectiveness of PSAs just goes out the window if you spout them at inapt times. Moderation, please, even in messages to the public.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stealing from the Church

Well, this is an odd thing to steal: plants from a historic mission.
It was a shocking end to the Thanksgiving holiday at Mission Espada, where police say sometime Thursday night, thieves made off with more than $1,000 worth of stolen property, all which consisted of different kinds of pots and plants.

"It just put a damper on our Christmas... to think that someone would come and steal from the church or from anyone but especially the church," said neighbor Ollie Christman. [ellipsis in original]

(from KENS-5)

Bonus strangeness: A Catholic mission's neighbor named "Christman."

Car crashes into garage

For your Friday after Thanksgiving, let's hope you spent it putting up Christmas decorations instead of caution tape.
Fire and police personnel were called out to the address in the 2600 block of Crow Valley around 6 p.m. for a report of a vehicle hitting a house.

Rescuers say the woman driving apparently had a medical issue just before she hit the home’s garage. Reportedly she did not live at the address.

A bystander was also hit by the vehicle.

(from WOAI-TV)

They didn't say if the bystander also reportedly did not live at the address.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Trashy yard"

Bad day to be a neighbor on the Northwest Side of town.

Keith Menefee would like to sell his northwest side home but he says his neighbor is making that impossible. For the past 18 months Menefee's neighbor, Robert Blankenship has turned his own yard into a salvage yard. Blankenship has been "scraping." Not the kind you put in a book. The kind where you gather scrap metals, sort them then take the valuable scrap to a recycler. Blankenship's yard is littered with old bar-b-que pits, swing sets, shelving almost anything of any scrap value.

Menefee began complaining to Code Compliance in April of 2008. Since then the city has gone to municipal court and district court , and won cases ordering Blankenship to clean up. Despite the court orders, the mess continues. So this past Monday Blankenship's attorneys and San Antonio attorneys met and reached a settlement.

(from KENS-5)

Bonus strangeness: KENS-5 without Chris Marrou.

More than one way ...

Bad day to be a cat on the North Side of town.
The cat's body was found in a yard near San Pedro and McCarty on the North Side. Witnesses said the cat had been skinned and its head was cut off.

Neighbors told News 4 WOAI it is not the first time something like this has happened. It's actually the 4th time this year, and police are investigating.

(from WOAI-TV)

Perhaps they should be looking for "El cazador trofeo de los gatos."

"Teacher Charged With Indecent Exposure"

A special education teacher, at that.
A 54-year-old Southwest Independent School District special education teacher was arrested after he exposed himself to an undercover police officer, San Antonio police said.

After an officer spotted Lewin Bramwell acting suspiciously at Olmos Park on Tuesday afternoon, an undercover officer was dispatched to the park, said Officer Matthew Porter, a spokesman with the San Antonio Police Department.

Moments after the undercover officer initiated a conversation with Bramwell, the suspect exposed himself to the officer, Porter said.

(from KSAT-12)

What compels these guys to do this, even though they know it is a "mistake," as the suspect admitted in the article? Is it the thrill of possibly getting caught? Because, if it is, that just doesn't square with the actual penalties that will be paid if they do get caught. Jail and a lifetime of registering as a sex offender don't seem like acceptable risks to me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fessing up to the cops

When you're crazy enough to shoot at a cop, I don't think it will make things better to just say you're sorry. But, then again, I could be wrong.
Police were called to the 3000 block of Woodsage shortly after 12:00 a.m. for a shooting which allegedly involved a drug debt between gang members. Around 5:00 a.m., police received information that the 25-year-old suspect was at a home in the 200 block of McNarney. After knocking on the door of the home, the officers walked towards the back yard and spotted the man running out the back door of the home. Police said the man opened fire on Officer Gregory Severns, hitting him once in the back.

Although Officer Severns was wearing a body armor vest, the bullet missed the vest and struck him in the upper back. Severns was able to return fire but did not hit the suspect, who then took off on foot. Police captured the suspect a short time later in the 200 block of Doolittle and found a gun nearby.

Officer Severns, who is a 24-year veteran at the San Antonio Police Department, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The suspect was arrested and will be charged with Attempted Capital Murder [I have no idea why this is capitalized. --ed.]. He spoke to News 4 WOAI's Kristina De Leon as officers placed him into a patrol car and apologized on camera.

(from WOAI-TV)

I bet that makes any defense lawyer cringe.

Posing as the cops

You might think twice about opening the door for anybody in the middle of the night.
Two armed men dressed as police officers forced their way into a home and robbed a family of their belongings.

The police impersonators knocked on the door of a home in the 5100 block of Bluff Street at 12:30 a.m. and asked the homeowner if he would come outside to identify a woman they had in custody, police said.

When the homeowner opened the door, the men forced their way inside the home and forced the homeowner, his wife and their 13-year-old son to lie face-down on the floor.

The men ransacked the home for about 40 minutes and got away with electronics. No arrests have been made.

(from KSAT-12)

This is why Rey Feo was arrested -- and rightly so -- for impersonating an officer when someone flipped him the bird on the highway. People who pose as cops when they are not are usually criminals, and they are a danger to everyone who depends on the police to keep the peace.

Stealing near the cops

Brave thief.
SAN ANTONIO -- A crook was caught on camera committing a crime just feet away from police headquarters.

The man broke into the Cadillac Bar on South Flores and stole 3 plasma televisions and some liquor.

Security cameras did capture images of the man in the act but didn't get a clear shot of his face.

(from WOAI-TV)

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Family Returns Home With Wrong Cat"

When Jaison Shae arrived home with his two cats after having them spayed and neutered at the Animal Defense League he noticed the cat he brought home wasn't his.

“She was running all over the house knocking pictures over she broke my toaster oven she knocked it off the counter," said Shae.

The female feline was accidentally switched at the Defense League. Don Specht, the Director of Operations, admits the mistake. "It was a mistake on our part," Specht said. "One of the attendants accidentally grabbed the wrong one and put it in the wrong cage."

(from KSAT-12)

Bonus strangeness: the name Jason spelled as "Jaison."

Wear your chaps ...

... love your "eveines."

Dave at Silver Creek 78250 has the pictures.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pantsless home invader

This guy must have been on drugs. Because the thought of broken glass anywhere near my lower half would convince me to keep my pants on.

SAN ANTONIO – A man accused of stripping off his pants and breaking into a family’s Northeast Side home is under police watch at a local hospital.

A family at Covina Plaza Apartments says the man broke through their glass window and tried snatching a 7-month-old baby who was resting in an area a few steps away from the window.

“He was saying that the baby was somebody else’s baby,” the child’s aunt Babi Loredo told News 4 WOAI.

Loredo’s brother quickly tackled the man and tried restraining him until police showed up, but said it was tough. Family members said the intruder reacted in a wild manner, breaking everything in sight.

It took more than a dozen police officers to hold the man down and take him into custody.

(from WOAI-TV)

Hooker stabs driving man

Picking up hookers can be dangerous. Because sometimes they get mad if you don't pay them first. And they don't care if you're driving.
A prostitute stabbed a man who refused to pay for her services up front, police said.

The woman stabbed the man three times in the upper chest, police said. He was taken to University Hospital in an undetermined condition.

During the stabbing, the man in his 50s lost control of his pickup truck and crashed into a fence and a parked vehicle at the intersection of Santiago and South Hamilton on the city's West Side.

(from KSAT-12)

OK, if a woman threatens to hurt you if you don't pay for her hooker services up front, isn't that just plain robbery? Or would the sex be a reward for making the right decision?

I'm genuinely curious.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ugly king acting ugly

Remember, an honorary anything is not actually the real thing. That's an especially good thing to keep in mind if you position yourself as an upstanding citizen in the community.
Charlie Garza, who represented Fiesta royalty in 2009 as El Rey Feo, has been charged with impersonating a police officer, Live Oak Police Chief Ron Echols said Tuesday.

The charges stem from a traffic altercation with a woman Friday.

The woman, who didn't want to be identified, said that she flashed her lights at a Cadillac Escalade that was traveling slow in the fast lane on Loop 1604. When the driver refused to move to the slower lane, the woman said that she passed the SUV in the other lane and flipped the driver the finger.

"I probably shouldn't have done it, but it's not against the law," the woman said in an interview with KSAT 12 News.

The woman said the driver then pulled up alongside her, showed a badge and motioned for her to pull over.


Echols said that Garza showed the woman an honorary Bexar County deputy constable certificate, which "holds no authority and it is explained to the people they have no police powers," said W.R. Tomlin, an assistant chief with the constable's office.

(from KSAT-12)

For those readers unfamiliar with the program, El Rey Feo means "The Ugly King" in Spanish. The Rey Feo Scholarship program is a non-profit that raises money for kids going to college, and the fundraiser that gathers the most dough gets to be crowned El Rey Feo, which is a position of royalty at San Antonio's annual Fiesta celebrations.

El Rey Feo is an honorary kingship. It, also, is not real.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"More Than 5,000 Rape Kits Untested By SAPD"

This doesn't sound right.
Sitting in the San Antonio police department's evidence storage room are nearly 11,000 rape kits. Almost half have never been tested.

While a number of those cases involve known assailants, an alarmingly high number involve unknown suspects.

"We were not aware that there were stranger cases that hadn't been tested," said Rape Crisis Center CEO Lynn Blanco.

Following a recent meeting with police chief William McManus, that policy is changing.

(from KSAT-12)

I'll bet that policy is changing. I know media outlets can distort the picture and show you what they want you to see, but 5,191 rape kits sounds like a lot to be sitting around without ever having been analyzed. And I'm sure the police chief will scramble to get them done just to save face.

The bad news? Each analysis costs about $450 to get done, so we're looking at over $2.3 million of taxpayer money to get those rape kits tested. That's a big unexpected expense at a time when the City of San Antonio is facing budget difficulties.

Fake racially-motivated crime

Remember the supposed hate crime where a woman's mobile home was torched after she found paper crosses burning on her front lawn? I thought it sounded suspicious. And apparently it is, but it's not on the part of a disgruntled neighbor, as I had suspected; it's hanky-panky on the part of the one reporting the crime.
According to Lindel Faulkner, someone set crosses in the shape of a swastika on fire in the yard of her southeast Bexar County home.

On Monday, Bexar County officials said Faulkner was arrested for arson in connection with the fire. Faulkner was charged after the fire extensively damaged her trailer on Hildebrandt.

Shortly after the fire, Faulkner told News 4 WOAI her bi-racial family was threatened when she moved into the 9000 block of Hildebrandt Road this May.

Arson investigators say her story was "inconsistent" with the evidence they gathered at the scene. Additionally, witnesses told officials that just before Faulkner's mobile home burned, she left the friends she was staying with. When she returned, she reportedly told them not to go to her trailer home.

Also, fire officials say Faulkner had another trailer home which burned in February of this year.

(from WOAI-TV)

If this woman is pretending to be victimized by imaginary racists, then she's the real threat to race relations, not anyone who happens to disagree with our president.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

No ID, despite an ID

I'm sure there's a reason for this explanation, but only the investigators know right now.
San Antonio police are investigating the discovery of some human remains in a field on the northwest side.

Police said the remains were found around 6 p.m. Friday in Welles Park by some kids who were walking nearby.

Police said a skull, leg bone and some vertebrae were found along with some clothing and an Iowa driver's license.

Investigators said no identification has been made on the remains and they don't know how long they had been there. [emphases added]

(from KSAT-12)

Am I off base? Are the investigators just being cautious and not jumping to conclusions, in case the Iowa license actually belongs to a different person? Or are they being obtuse? I'm willing to give them the benefit of a doubt and assume they are just being careful, even if they strongly suspect that the remains indeed are the person on the license, and I'm thinking they don't want to share too much information or make too many definitive statements with the media reporting their every word. What do you think?

Oh, and if this was the fantasy world of CSI: San Antonio, do you think they would have solved the case by now?

UPDATE: The police have released an identification: Richard Ashbacher.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Staircase collapses at apartment complex"

SAN ANTONIO – Behind some plywood barriers and caution tape, Churchill Park tenants will point you to a big problem at Building 13. They’ll show you a few dangling railings and the mangled mess left behind after a 3-level staircase collapsed.

Neighbors say two tenants were walking on the staircase this week when they heard a loud band. They say the impact threw one man against the wall. Now he’s having back problems.

(from WOAI-TV)

Wow. At the very least, you would expect a staircase to hold you up. Wouldn't you?

Racially-motivated crime?

Or lame harassment? You decide.

The Bexar County fire marshal's office is investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a South Bexar County mobile home early Thursday morning, hours after three paper crosses were set on fire in the front yard.

So far, officials are investigating the mobile home fire and the cross-burning incidents separately, according to Ino Badillo, spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff's Office. Badillo wouldn't say whether the incident is being considered a hate crime, or religiously or racially motivated.


Neighbors reacted skeptically to the claim that the fire was racially motivated. Local residents said the area was typically calm.

“We don't have a problem with racial stuff around here,” said Vickie Shultz, a neighbor. “Everybody out here gets along. This is a quiet place.”

(from the Express-News)

Paper crosses? That's what leads me to believe that someone has it in for the owner of the burned mobile home (personally, not racially) and is trying to make people think it's racially-motivated. After all, if you live in a quiet neighborhood and can get your neighbors to think it was some bad, if inept, Klansman that did the deed, then they're not going to suspect you. Are they?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Strange one passes away

Don Strange, that is.

He was known for innovations in the culinary industry, for catering one-of-a-kind parties for the rich and famous, for his love of South Texas and Northern Mexico cuisine and for old-fashioned barbecue — for 10 or maybe 10,000.

But Don Strange, the trailblazing Texas caterer whose family business began in a small store on the city's Northwest Side, was most known as a nice guy with a generous spirit as well as an architect of imaginative events, from black-tie to down-home.

He died suddenly Wednesday of a heart attack. He was 69.

Strange, who had recently launched a new online venture, was most associated with his Don Strange Ranch outside Boerne. Don Strange of Texas Inc., with more than 50 full-time employees, many of whom had worked for the company for decades, catered events for presidents and princes; corporate America and couples newly married; even Hollywood types and leaders of the sports world.

And he fed them everything from caviar to cabrito.

(from the Express-News)

R.I.P., Strange.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Playing for the homeless

Have you ever heard of the band Junes Not Faking? They're a local group, and they're doing something pretty cool downtown.

Every other month, the band Junes Not Faking (JNF) has been playing a free concert to homeless people under the Commerce Street Bridge in downtown San Antonio.

The idea is to give something back to the community, said Jeff Lopez, lead guitarist, singer and manager for the group.

“We started to play the free concerts after the start of the New Year,” Lopez said. “I got the idea after watching an interview with one of the band members from one of my favorite bands, Blink 182.”

Lopez also credits Blink 182 as one of the musical inspirations for the band. JNF does more than just provide an afternoon of free entertainment to who ever shows up at the concert.

“Before we go to do the gig, we put whatever cash we have together and make a bunch of sandwiches and get as much soda and bottled water as we can,” said Lopez. “All we're trying to do is give a little something back.”

(from the Southside Reporter)

Rock the Bridge.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Absolutely nothing going on today

What's the attraction of local news casts? Local news, right? Surely something is going on in this town to warrant some kind of news story, even on a Sunday. Isn't there?

Not according to WOAI-TV. Here's a screen cap taken at about 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, November 8, 2009:

And here are the datelines for the stories listed above (I've skipped the sports scores and movie reviews):

"Complete Doppler radar coverage" -- San Antonio (This is the only local story)

"Doctors look for better ways to uncover heart attacks" -- Philadelphia

"5-foot snake missing after wreck" -- Troup, Texas

"Cockroaches wanted for good cause" -- West Palm Beach, Florida

"Jack Ruby's hat sells for $53,775 at Texas auction" -- Dallas

"Dad busts teen daughter for growing pot in her bedroom" -- Troy, Michigan

"Officer accused of spanking hanky-panky" -- Ocoee, Florida

"Microchipping pets only works if owner's info is accurate" -- San Jose, California

Yep, nothing newsworthy going on in this town on a Sunday. Check back tomorrow. Maybe something will be happening then.

Everywhere a sign

Dave at Silver Creek 78250 has some examples of signs that are puro San Antonio. One is refreshing in what you hope is its honesty, and the other is disappointing on its surface because the maker seems to think there are just so many people out there that would believe him. Sadly, some would believe that sign, but I hope not at many as the signmaker thinks.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Caring for a killer

That psycho jihadist is in town, and he's receiving the best care the Army can provide.
SAN ANTONIO – Army officials say the accused shooter from Fort Hood is now at Brooke Army Medical Center.

He was transferred from the Scott and White Hospital in Temple on Friday. He arrived in San Antonio around 3:30 p.m.

A Brooke Army hospital spokesperson says Maj. Nidal Hasan is in stable condition. Hasan was taken to BAMC because it's the only Level 1 trauma center in the Army, according to officials.

(from WOAI-TV)

All on the taxpayer dime.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Nice shot

Is shopping in heels strange? Maybe so, maybe not. Whatever the case, I sure like this shot that Shorty over at San Antonio Daily Photo took in her local grocery store.

Gettin' Hatfields and McCoys on the Northeast Side

This sounds interesting.
"We believe that some violent confrontation is going to happen," said Rick Thomas, one of the neighbors involved in the feud.

"I don't know why he attacks me," added Jim Rudd, another neighbor involved in the feud.

Thomas and Rudd said that their neighbor, who KSAT 12 News is not identifying, flashes them with his truck headlights and a high-powered spotlight at night.

The unidentified neighbor has also carved the words "bite me" with his lawn mower onto his lawn, placed nails in the greenbelt and scattered beer and soda cans on his yard, Thomas and Rudd said.

"He has told me on several occasions that he was going to kill my service dogs," said Rudd, who claims to be a fully disabled veteran.

"The worst thing is he's been seen with the beer cans in his underwear, exposing himself," Thomas said.

(from KSAT-12)

Of course, we're not getting all sides in this story. If I remember to turn the TV on later, I might just watch this segment.

Unfortunate juxtaposition

When WOAI includes a "Watch" tag next to the headlines for its online news stories, that's a link that takes you to the video of that particular story.

I know that.

But still, when that tag is put next to a headline that contains language like that highlighted below, I can't help feeling a little creeped out.

I gave you a screen capture because I'm sure someone will notice that and correct it.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

"Would-Be Craigslist Buyer Shot"

Be careful when meeting people to finalize a deal on Craigslist. Or at least be licensed.
Maymi Russell posted a listing to sell a camera on Craigslist, but he decided to do some research on Facebook on the potential buyer, Sammy Villa, before meeting him, said Sgt. Chris Benavides, a San Antonio Police Department spokesman.

When Russell arrived at behind an IHOP Monday afternoon to make the transaction, he saw a man who motioned Russell to finish the transaction, Benavides said.

Russell noticed something was wrong when two other men approached him. Moments later, they demanded the camera from him, Benavides said.

But Russell, who is licensed to carry a weapon, pulled out a gun and shot Villa, Benavides said. The two other men, John McFarland and Cameron McFarland, took off but were later arrested.

(from KSAT-12)

Bonus strangeness: the name "Maymi." But good on him for being aware of his surroundings. He kept himself from being a victim.

Monday, November 02, 2009

"Manu Undergoes Rabies Shots"

That's not something you hear said about one of your star basketball players just every day!
Two days after swatting a bat that was flying around the AT&T Center during Saturday night's game against the Sacramento Kings, Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili confirmed that he is undergoing rabies shots as a precaution.

Ginobili showed up at the team's practice facility Monday afternoon with a bandage on his arm and acknowledged that he had started a round of rabies vaccinations. He underwent a series of five shots, and will have to undergo seven to 10 more shots over the next month.

"It was pretty funny at the time, but now it's not," Ginobili told reporters Monday.

(from KSAT-12)

Well, that's what you get for playing with bats.