Friday, April 30, 2010

Protesting another state's law

So, you're mad about what Arizona is doing with their new law. So, you want to protest that law. So, what do you do about it?

How about -- oh, say -- not selling tacos to people in San Antonio?


The uproar surrounding Arizona’s new immigration law is echoing across the country and now, right here in San Antonio. Tomorrow, hundreds will hit the streets in protest and some are taking it even further.

Ana Palacios owner of La Playa Seafood Restaurant on Poplar and 24th says she is going to close her business down during the march.


Several other Mexican restaurants told KENS 5 they will also be shutting down for a few hours during the protest.

(from KENS-5)

Oh well, I guess there's always Chinese. Or barbeque. Or hamburgers. Or pizza. Or Indian. Or IHOP.

Seriously, why punish folks in San Antonio for something Arizona's doing? Why withhold food from your neighbors when you're mad at a state that doesn't even touch Texas? It's not like we can change their laws, even if we wanted to. So why be jerks about it?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Staking claim to the "Alamo"

Hm. I did not know you could trademark the name of a historical place.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The state of Texas has temporarily halted a request to register a trademark of "The Alamo."

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is seeking trademark rights to create a line of official Alamo merchandise. The group has cared for the state-owned Alamo since 1905.

A 30-day period to oppose the trademark ended this week. But on Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the state's request for a 90-day extension.
(from WOAI-TV)

The attempt to trademark "The Alamo" by the DRT seems a bit curmudgeonly to me. For one thing, the gate's been open and the horse has been out for decades already. You can't swing a dead cat nowadays without hitting something named after the Alamo, and that's not even including all the little businesses bearing that name just in San Antonio.

For another thing, when you have something that is near and dear to the hearts of many people (as the Alamo is), they tend to resent you if you boss them around about saying or using the name, and trust me, people will resent the DRT if they win their trademark and start suing people. Look at how LULAC baffled the whole city by going after a poor little princely pooch.

Come on, Daughters. Let's not be heavy-handed about the Alamo name. We promise to use it nicely, so please don't sue us. And we won't even ask about that whole basement business.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Car crashes into house

OK, it's a truck, not a car. And it's a police substation, not a house. But it's still pretty strange.

SAN ANTONIO - A bizarre wreck occurred around just after midnight Saturday on the West Side. Witnesses reported to police that they saw Juan Del Rio driving recklessly along Culebra Road. Police tell News 4 WOAI Del Rio drove his SUV into a witnesses' car, and then crashed into the police substation.

Del Rio told officers two men stabbed him in the leg several times prior to the crash, and he was coming to the police station for help. He was taken to University Hospital.

(from WOAI-TV)

I wonder if the truck was part of a "fencing" operation?

Friday, April 23, 2010

But what if everyone did it?

Why run when you can lay down and sleep?
SAN ANTONIO -- News 4 WOAI has been highlighting different ways to donate money or your time to the Susan G Komen San Antonio Race for the Cure. Now's there's another way to help...while you sleep.

It's called Sleep In for the Cure. It's an alternative way to give to the race without coming out and fighting the crowds.

"This program has been around for a couple of years," explained Kimberly Hinze of Race for the Cure. "We've done it. But it's really taking off because people don't want to fight the traffic. They've got a lot going on in their lives, and we respect that."
(from WOAI-TV)

If this keeps up, they won't have to worry about fighting the traffic because eventually no one will be going to the race. Then they can go. And not worry about traffic.

Puro San Antonio.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Or overcooked turkey?

You decide.
Hours after a purported mummified chupacabra was stolen Wednesday from a booth at Market Square — whose entrepreneur owners were charging money for a peek at it — the thing mysteriously appeared outside a local rock radio station early next morning.

But by the time the mythical beast was repatriated, booth owners David Walker and Brian Stevens had already shelled out around $100 to borrow a replacement mummified chupacabra from California. So for only $1, Fiesta-goers now have the rare opportunity to see two chupacabra corpses for the price of one.

“We're pretty happy,” Stevens said. “This is the only time that we've ever had two.”

Steve Hahn, of KISS-FM's “Lisle & Hahn” morning show, said he nearly tripped over a Target bag containing the stolen creature around 8 a.m. A note inside the bag said, “To Lisle and Hahn, from Market Square,” he said.

“It looked like an overcooked wrinkled turkey with fur and big teeth,” Hahn said.

[emphases added]
(from the Express-News)

You know, it's amazing how readily available chupacabra corpses are. Apparently you can order one from California and have it delivered overnight.

Thank the Fiesta gods for FedEx.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Someone who should have thought a little more

OK, even if you know it's not a real gun, it's probably not a good idea to pull it on a cop while issuing an oral challenge. They're trained to respond to that kind of thing.
At 9:30 a.m., the sergeant, who was wearing plain clothes and a badge around his neck, saw a 32-year-old man confronting another man at a Shell gas station at South Laredo and South Alamo with a gun, [San Antonio Police Chief Bill] McManus said.

The sergeant called for backup and followed the man, who was pointing the gun at passing drivers near Guadalupe and South Laredo, McManus said.

The sergeant then got out of his unmarked car, identified himself as a police officer and told the man to show his hands, McManus said.

The man reached into his pocket and told the officer, "I (expletive) got something for you," McManus said.

The officer, fearing for his life, thought the man was reaching for a gun and shot him once in the side, McManus said. The man was taken to a hospital with a non-life-threatening wound.

The gun turned out to be a water gun, McManus said.
(from KSAT-12)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Abusing the public trust

Remember this story about a San Antonio police officer who faked an emergency call to a woman's house so he could check her out?

It seems to be much worse than just that.
A San Antonio police officer accused of using a city computer to glean a woman's personal information and then staging an emergency response to her house has been fired after an investigation revealed he boasted about other women on his patrol car terminal and pulled their personal data as well, according to Police Department records.

After 14 years on the force with no suspensions, Officer Gabriel Villarreal, 43, was indefinitely suspended last week, a punishment tantamount to being fired.

A second patrolman, 10-year veteran Officer Keith Floyd, 41, was found to have exchanged “crude, suggestive (and) disparaging” remarks about women with Villarreal via his patrol car terminal and was suspended Friday for 15 days without pay, police records state.

Assistant City Attorney Robert Reyna said another officer faces a possible 30-day suspension in connection with the same case.

The violations involve at least seven women and occurred through October, November and December 2009, according to the city's findings, which allege the following:

For “personal” reasons, Villarreal researched the criminal history of an apartment manager in his patrol district. In conversations via car terminals, Villarreal and another officer referred to the woman by “nicknames for her breasts.”

Villarreal and another officer also held an “extended” electronic conversation about two other women in which “a comment is passed back and forth about whether (Villarreal) ‘knocked' or ‘knocked it out,' referring to sex.”

(from the Express-News)

And there's more that's even creepier. Sounds like Chief McManus has a lot of housecleaning to do.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Man's body found in woods surrounded by beer cans"

Not something you really want to see in the woods.

Family members looking for a missing relative made a disturbing find Friday morning.

They went searching for a missing man, seen last weekend, but instead, they found a man's body propped up against a tree and surrounded by beer cans.

(from KENS-5)

The thing about mortality is that it can assert itself at anytime, and often without any warning whatsoever. Even if you're just hanging out in the woods drinking some beer.

Car almost crashes into house

Not quite a score on the house, but the offending SUV did take out a fence, a shed, and a tree.
The accident happened around 2:00 a.m. Friday at a home on the 14900 block of Gate View Drive in the Regency Park subdivision off of Huebner Road.

The homeowner, Joe Galloway, said he woke up after what he thought was thunder shook the house. He got dressed and went outside after hearing voices and found a SUV sitting in his side yard and debris all over the lawn.

Galloway told News 4 WOAI one of his neighbors witnessed the accident. That neighbor said the driver of the car was traveling at a high rate of speed and swerved to avoid a parked car. The SUV went through a fence, hit his storage shed, and finally crashed into a tree.
(from WOAI-TV)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Car crashes into bank

OK, it's not a house this time, but this was too weird to pass up.
San Antonio police say a man had just donated blood when he crashed into an empty bank building.

He's okay and no one was hurt.

"He took out three walls and then took out some furniture and broke all the glass and the door frames," said Officer Albert Huizar.
(from KENS-5)

Watch out! When cars take on commercial buildings, they don't just crash through the front walls like they do with houses. They take out half the building!

Oh, and don't forget to eat before giving blood. Or at least have a cookie and some punch afterward.

Getting off to a rocky start

Fiesta is supposed to be a time of fun and celebration in San Antonio. Too bad this year's festivities have hit rough spots on the first day.

"Fiesta events tonight cancelled due to rain"
Fiesta officials said they could not recall an opening day kickoff ever being swamped by rain. But after a mid-afternoon scramble, they rescheduled it for noon Friday in Gateway Plaza, adjacent to Farmer's Market where West Commerce Street crosses under Interstate 35.


The opener known as Fiesta Fiesta had been set to run from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Alamo Plaza. Organizers also canceled Tejano Explosion, which was scheduled to take place at Cattleman's Square Thursday evening.

"Man found hanging at Southwest School"
A passer-by spotted a man who apparently hanged himself from a tree limb at the Southwest School of Art & Craft downtown Thursday morning.

The man, who appears to be in his 40s, is believed to have committed suicide sometime between Wednesday night and 7:20 a.m. Thursday, when someone flagged down a nearby San Antonio Fire Department lieutenant, according to police. ...

The man was found on the opening day of Fiesta, just as workers began setting up stands in the parking lot of the school, which is the site of this weekend's Fiesta Arts Fair.

On the other hand, we do have this to be thankful for:

"City employee alerts sleeping woman to fire"
The driver of a city garbage truck is being credited for saving a woman's life Thursday morning when he woke her up by knocking on her door after seeing smoke billowing out of her South Town home, officials said.

“I was driving by and I saw smoke, so I pulled over to see if anyone was home,” said Juan Fuentes, a senior equipment operator for the city of San Antonio's solid waste management department. “I didn't see anyone else around, so I didn't know if anyone had called 911.”

He called his supervisor, who called 911, and then started to bang on the door.
(All stories are from the Express-News)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pixy Stix anyone?

Adequate precaution, or overreaction?

You decide.
SAN ANTONIO - A police substation was evacuated after a scare over a suspicious white powder. It turns out it was just candy.

Hazmat crews were called out to the Prue Road Police Substation on the Northwest Side after a Star Furniture employee brought in the suspicious envelope. It came from one of their vendors.

Police say someone was probably just eating candy when stuffing envelopes during a mass mailing.
(from WOAI-TV)

They were eating powdered candy while stuffing envelopes, and enough accidentally spilled into an envelope to trigger a hazmat scare? I guess it's a good thing they weren't eating bean-and-cheese tacos at the time.

Friday, April 09, 2010

"Battle royal over title for dog"

Well, what's a Fiesta season without a little controversy? This year, it's about a regal barker and an ugly king and which one has the right to the title.

Rey Feo Scholarship, Inc. last week sent a cease and desist letter to the Humane Society of San Antonio, commanding it immediately stop its impending coronation and parading of El Rey Fido in Fiesta 2010, according to both organizations.

Citing a federally trademarked name, the group is seeking to dethrone the royal pooch.

“They just felt that people would not understand and get El Rey Feo and El Rey Fido confused,” said Cathy McCoy, spokeswoman for the Humane Society, sounding somewhat confused herself about the committee’s concern.

Tom Sandoval, president of the Rey Feo Scholarship Committee, a group run by LULAC Council No. 2, said its board of directors just is trying to protect its trademark.

The scholarship committee registered “Rey Feo,” or “ugly king,” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2005.

“I’m a dog lover, always have been,” Sandoval said. “Our problem is we’ve asked them to consider using the word King Fido. We thought that would be right. They could have a King Fido and a Queen Fido.”

(from the Express-News)

Can't we all just get along? At least for Fiesta? Really, folks, this is supposed to be a time of fun and celebration, not bickering. And does anybody really think Rey Fido -- a crowned mutt -- will possibly be mistaken for a man wearing a sash and medals?

Is all this really worth a bullying letter? LULAC, I'm looking at you!

Express-News file photo. Original caption: "In 2006, El Rey Feo Ronnie Gabriel crowned that year's Rey Fido."

Taunting a bus operator

Oh, I forgot to add this last night.
A VIA bus driver throws a punch at a passenger and is allowed to keep his job.

VIA says that’s because the passenger, Lonnie Torrance, provoked the fight.


“You never hit anyone for any reason,” said [rider Lonnie] Torrance. “Sure I was crazy. I don't know what that was that I threw at him. I don't know if that was real or what I remember is real. I was out of it. It's really, really strange."
(from KENS-5)

It's worth it to click through to watch the video. Mr. Torrance is his memories.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"Dancing Mother Charged With Abandoning Children"

Ah, yes. Another candidate for parent of the year.
A mother of four, who left her children to go dancing, was arrested Tuesday night.

Melissa Franco, 30, has been charged with four counts of abandoning a child, police said.

According to court documents, Franco left her four children, all under the age of 15, to go dancing Monday night, telling them to go to their neighbor's house.

Franco[] apparently never checked with the neighbor.

Officers were sent to her home after reports of a 2-year-old wandering around the area.
(from KSAT-12)

Vote now, and vote often.

ADDED: She probably belongs here, but I don't think there are any good pictures for the gallery.

Foiling a burglary

One more punk is taken off the streets. At least for a little while.

According to the police report, homeowner Scott Henderson was in his garage when he heard a loud pop. He opened his garage door and saw someone stealing stuff from his truck. That's when he confronted the burglar, and was stabbed.

Another homeowner came out with a gun and helped detain the burglar until police arrived.

We talked with other neighbors who tell us the burglar robbed several of them, taking mainly tools out of cars.

(from WOAI-TV)

The strange part? The media is actually crediting a handgun for this little reduction in crime on the Northeast Side. In fact, as of this writing, the headline to the above linked piece is "Gun used to detain burglar that stabbed homeowner".

Actually, I'm just assuming it was a handgun. The news story doesn't specify, but if it was a deer rifle or a shotgun that the homeowner used I suspect WOAI would have made that distinction.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Faking 911

Everyone knows -- or should know -- that you don't let someone in your house when they are wearing plainclothes and claiming to be a police officer. Now, apparently a uniform needs to be suspect as well.
The woman at first did not recognize the uniformed San Antonio police officer who rang her doorbell at 8:30 a.m., rousing her from bed, she says.

The cop was responding to a 911 hang-up call, he told her. Was everything OK?

She told him she had not called 911. Nor had her husband, as the officer suggested — the woman was not married.

The cop's face suddenly brightened: He said he had met her just the day before. He had purchased from her hundreds of dollars in shaving supplies at The Art of Shaving, an upscale boutique at The Shops at La Cantera. She had given him her card.

The woman agreed this was a coincidence. But two days later, she began to doubt such a cosmic wrinkle and decided to contact the Police Department's internal affairs department.


The woman, who asked not to be identified, said police told her [Officer Gabriel] Villarreal had used a city computer to track her down. He then staged an emergency response to her address, according to the woman and a police source who requested anonymity.


“I think he asked to come in,” she said. “He came into my house. I let him in to see there was no emergency.”

The officer then pointed out that the woman had sold him shaving supplies the previous day.

“I said, ‘What a coincidence! You're here!'” she said. “I didn't get it.”

Small talk ensued.

“He wouldn't leave, and he wouldn't leave,” she said. “It kind of felt weird in my home.”

The officer left after about 20 minutes. A friend later urged her to report the incident.

Not long after she called the Police Department, someone returned to the shop.

It was the officer's wife, the woman said — there to return the shaving supplies.
(from the Express-News)

Sounds like Chief McManus has some more housework to do.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

"Oak Pollen Off Charts"


No wonder I feel groggy.
Readings of [oak pollen] have been showing up in the amounts of 8,000 to 14,000 grains per cubic meter.

It can be an annoyance even if you aren't allergic to it.

"It gets all over the place," said Dr. Paul Ratner, allergist at Sylvana Research. "It's all over the cars. It's all over the sidewalk, all over everything."

The season usually starts in early March and ends in late April, peaking from mid-March to early April. Ratner said that it's probably the number two allergen in the region, next to Mountain Cedar pollen.

"For people who have oak allergy, it's a long season," said Ratner. "Six weeks is a long time for a tree to pollinate. Most trees pollinate two or three weeks."
(from KSAT-12)

If you suffer, take your meds. Or just wait a few more weeks and it will be over.