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Defending the First Amendment since 1911
MARCH 3, 2009
VoluMe 98, Issue 57
Student center fee increase relies on referendum By Teresa Wilburn News Reporter The future of the LBJ Student Center is being placed in the hands of the students. A referendum regarding a proposed $4 flat-rate fee increase for the center will be administered through voting ballots starting Tuesday morning. ASG President Brett Baker called for the referendum, which was confirmed through the senate. Andy Rhoades, di-
rector of the LBJ Student Center, came to speak with the senate during an ASG meeting to address concerns senate members had regarding the increase. “Every student that is full time would be affected,” Rhoades said. “The fee increase will total $4 per semester, $4 in the fall and $4 in the spring. There will be no increase in the summer. Right now, students pay $60 every semester. If it passes, it will be $64.” The Board of Regents approved the fee increase at a November meeting,
and the referendum is now contingent on the students’ approval. Rhoades said the fee increase would be permanent if passed, and would generate around $235,000 a year for the center. Baker said he could not speak on behalf of the senate, but ASG members understand the need for the LBJ Student Center fee increase. “Basically, the student center fee has not gone up since the center opened,” Baker said. “When you think about 10 years, it was definitely time for the stu-
dents to look into doing something.” Rhoades compared the extra $4 to the price of a cup of coffee. “We looked at the minimum of what we had to do to maintain where we are,” Rhoades said. “Utilities for instance, over the last nine or 10 years, have doubled in cost.” Rhoades said a percentage of the $70 million building is kept in a reserve account, in case the center would need to be replaced. “Without the increase, we eat away
at our reserves,” Rhoades said. “We recently got an estimate to replace the fans in the building, which is what they have told us we are going to have to do, and it is at a $250,000 price tag. If a tor tornado comes through and blows a roof off the building, we have to replace that. We have to do the very best we can to protect your investment as a student.” Rhoades said the center’s projected utility bill for this year is $567,000. See REFERENDUM, page 3
Students voice concerns about noise ordinance at City Council
“The wounds of war are not all visible. A lot of them are emotional and psychological.” Greg Foster president of the Texas State chapter of CAMEO
By Theron Brittain Senior News Reporter ASG senators met San Marcos police officials head-on Monday night over proposed changes to a city noise ordinance. ASG hosted City Council members, the city manager and the two top police officials in San Marcos at a public forum in Alkek Teaching Theatre to discuss the revisions. Sen. Mandy Domaschk set the tone for the night, saying she did not see the ordinance give “any kind of limitation of power.” “I see much more of a widening of powers for police forces in San Marcos when it comes to unruly gatherings which are defined by excessive noise which are defined by anything,” said Domaschk, political science senior. Lisa Dvorak, assistant police chief, responded by saying the current language, which requires a police officer only to determine whether a noise is “unreasonable,” is more vague than what is being proposed. “(The new language) makes a dif difference when a judge makes a deter determination, ‘what really was the impact of this gathering?’” Dvorak said. “An officer has to be able to articulate that in much more specific language than they ever had to do under the existing ordinance.” The revisions seek to address noise and other disturbances arising from late-night parties. The San Marcos Police Department is requesting the authority to determine when gatherings become “unruly” and disperse them. Following a presentation by Dvorak of factors precipitating the ordinance revisions, Jason Moore, ASG vice president, opened the floor to questions. Senators asked if the language could be fine-tuned to clear up uncertainty over how much authority officers would have under the new ordinance. “You could actually specify the time of day,” Dvorak acknowledged in refer reference to the amendment dealing with excessive noise which states only that “time of day” be taken into consider consideration when determining a violation. However, she indicated it was unlikely other parameters like “size of gathering” could be further refined. Dvorak said the San Marcos Police Department could work specific time frames into the ordinance, contingent on direction of the City Council.
Tina Phan/Star photo WAR RESISTANCE: Bobby Whittenberg, a member of the Iraq Veterans Against The War-Austin Chapter, leads a march to City Hall to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in downtown Austin saturday. FOR A PHOTO SLIDESHOW READ THIS STORY ON WWW.UNIVERSITYSTAR.COM
By Theron Brittain Senior News Reporter A young man stood in a crowded Austin church and said American soldiers had committed war crimes in Iraq. Texas State students were among the crowd. “We were ordered to fire on a dump truck and we opened fire,” said Rooster Romriell, Iraq war veteran. “While the truck burned to the ground, a man ran to the base of our rooftop OP waving a white cloth and yelling ‘baby! baby!’ trying to tell us we were destroying children and garbage (inside the truck). So we killed him.” Romriell, an infantry soldier, said he witnessed other war crimes at the hands of his squad, including executions of Iraqi civilians, while serving in Sadr City.
The crowd of veterans, activists and citizens listened quietly as Romriell fought back tears. He finished by condemning the wars in the Middle East and calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Winter Soldier, a half-day event held Saturday at Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin, was hosted by the Austin chapters of Iraq Vet Veterans Against the War, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, the Campus Antiwar Movement to End the Occupations (CAMEO) and the International Socialist Organization. The organizations oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Winter Soldier gives a rare glimpse of the reality of combat for American soldiers,” said Greg Foster, president of the Texas State chapter of CAMEO. “The traumatizing experiences shared by veterans are intended to provide perspectives
often ignored by American media.” Foster, history senior, is among the members of Iraq Veterans Against the War calling for immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and demands reparations for the people of those countries. “I am often asked questions as a veteran about what it is like over there,” Foster said. “‘Is it like what we hear in the media? Is it like what we hear politicians talk about?’ The answer to those questions is no.” Foster said the occupation had only negative ef effects since the invasion in 2003. “The fact that the U.S. Army is having a record number of suicides right now is really telling,” Foster said. “The wounds of war are not all visible. See VETERAN, page 3
See NOISE, page 3
Board approves fee increases for on-campus accommodations By Kosaku Narioka News Reporter Rate increases are on the way. Meal plans and university-owned hall and apartment rates will increase 3 and 7 percent on average, respectively, for the 2009 to 2010 academic school year. The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved the proposals from the university officials at their meeting Feb. 20. The 3 percent increase for the meal plan will generate about $250,000 next
year, and the university is planning to help pay for the food service, provided by the contractor, Chartwells. Joanne Smith, vice president of student affairs, said the amount of money the university pays to the company changes based on the consumer price index. “It’s been in the contract since it started in ’98,” said John Root, director of auxiliary services. “There is no negotiation there.” Root said the service fee paid to the contractor will increase 4.5 percent
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next year based on the national consumer price index figures from November 2007 to October 2008. He said the 4.5 percent is the largest increase he has ever seen. Root said the university has not increased the meal plan rates in two years. “The meal plan rates have only increased twice in the last seven years,” according to the justification in the request from the university to the board. “Over that time, the account has been able to absorb increases paid to the contractor due mainly to increased sales of
board plans. This year, 4.5 percent increase could not be absorbed.” According to the latest report from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, national consumer price index for food away from home increased 4.9 percent from January 2008 to January 2009. The food index rose sharply during the summer and moderated through the fall, the report noted. Root said the amount of money students pay for the meal plan goes to the food service contractor, bond payments and utilities.
Two-day Forecast Wednesday
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He said typically about 6,300 students are on the meal plan in the fall and 5,800 in the spring. Eighty-eight percent of the numbers are campus residents, who are required to have a meal plan, and the rest are off-campus residents. Regent Charles Amato said University President Denise Trauth explained at the board meeting the quality of food is a big issue because some students are required to live and eat on campus.
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Texas State University-San Marcos is a member of the Texas State University System
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See BOARD, page 3
To Contact Trinity Building Phone: (512) 245-3487 Fax: (512) 245-3708 www.universitystar.com © 2009 The University Star
2 - Tuesday, March 3, 2009
starsof texas state Colter Ray, public relations junior, was named the 12th place finisher in the sports and news photojournalism category of the national Hearst Journalism Awards Program. As the associate photographer for Texas State, Ray often photographs various sport and special events. —Courtesy of University News Department
Today in Brief
News Contact — Amanda Venable, email@example.com Texas State University-San Marcos is a member of the Texas State University System
Calendar CRITICAL RIDE
TUESDAY “Say What You Need To Say” is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Become a pro at direct, open, honest communication. Prescreening is required by calling the Counseling Center at 512-245-2208.
University Police Department
Every Nation Campus Ministries will be holding our weekly campus meet meeting at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall, room G-02. Bring your cell phone. We will be responding to hot topic questions that are texted in and giving a biblical response.
Feb. 16, 9:21 p.m. Medical Emergency / Jowers Center A student injured his shoulder while wrestling. The student refused medical transportation.
Feb. 17, 12:29 p.m. Criminal Mischief-under $500 / Wood Street Parking Garage A student reported to a police officer her vehicle was damaged while legally parked. The case is under investigation.
LGBQ Pride Group is from 12 to 1:30 p.m. It is open to students wanting to discuss the impact of their sexual identity on crucial aspects of their lives in a safe and confidential place. Pre-screening is required by calling the Counseling Center at 512-245-2208.
Feb. 17, 8:07 p.m. Medical Emergency / Jackson Hall A student reported to a police officer he was experiencing discoloration of his skin. The student refused medical transportation.
Anger Management Group is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Learn simple, innovative techniques for managing anger and developing healthier ways of relating. Pre-screening is required by calling the Counseling Center at 512-245-2208. ACOA/Dysfunctional Families Group is from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. for adult children of alcoholics dealing with dysfunctional families group. Pre-screening is required by calling the Counseling Cen- Jerry Lopez, sophomore, rides among 300 other cyclists in Austin’s Critical Mass. ter at 512-245-2208. There will be an Overeaters Anonymous Meeting from 7 to 8 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church, 130 W. Holland.
Feb. 18, 7:55 a.m. Accident Involving Damage to Vehicle / Bexar Hall Parking Garage A student’s vehicle was damaged by another vehicle. The case is under investigation. Bobby Scheidemann/Star Photo
This Day In History 1845: Florida became the 27th state.
admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
abandoning almost 200 years of for formal neutrality.
Veterans Support group is from 1847: Alexander Graham Bell, the 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Veterans can help inventor of the telephone, was born in veterans cope with the stress of transi- Edinburgh, Scotland. tion and the demands of college lives. Pre-screening is required by calling the 1849: Congress created the MinneCounseling Center at 512-245-2208. sota Territory.
1887: Anne Mansfield Sullivan ar arrived at the Alabama home of Capt. and Mrs. Arthur H. Keller to become the teacher of Helen, their blind and deaf 6-year-old daughter.
2005: Millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett became the first person to fly around the world alone without stopping or refueling, touching down in central Kansas after a 67-hour, 23,000mile journey.
Coping with Grief and Loss Group 1849: The Home Department, forefrom 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. It is a source runner of the Interior Department, for students who have experienced the was established. death of a loved one. Pre-screening is required by calling the Counseling Cen1879: Belva Ann Bennett Lock Lockter at 512-245-2208. wood became the first woman to be
1931: President Herbert Hoover signed into law a bill making “The Star-Spangled Banner” the national anthem. 2002: Voters in Switzerland approved joining the United Nations,
2006: Former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) was sentenced by a federal judge to more than eight years in prison for corruption. —Courtesy of New York Times
Feb. 18, 5 p.m. Burglary of Vehicle / The Tower Parking Garage A student reported to a police officer his property had been taken without his consent. The case is under investigation. Feb. 18, 9:30 p.m. Criminal Mischief-under $500 / Moore Street A staff member reported to a police officer his vehicle was damaged while driving. The case is under investigation. Feb. 18, 11:38 p.m. Medical Emergency / Intramural Fields A student injured his leg while playing soccer. The student refused medical transportation. —Courtesy of University Police Depart Department
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
CONTINUED from page 1
“It is very difficult to put a number on (the amount of people) at an unruly gathering,” Dvorak said. “You can have a volume of 25 people that is very manageable, but if you have a few people at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. on the back patio smoking, those four or five can be very disruptive.” ASG senators asked for clarification on several of the amendments, in particular those dealing with how officers determine violations. “I know officers are supposed to be unbiased, but wouldn’t it be more efficient if they had a device that measured decibel levels so that there was some
kind of proof?” asked Sen. John Messelhauf. Williams said ambient noise could distort readings. Dvorak said neighborhood noises like screaming and yelling were difficult to measure. Sen. Jonny Riggs suggested the ordinance require the input of more than one officer in determining whether a gathering had become unruly. “I think it may be easy for the sensibilities of one police officer to be offended and since Dvorak already said it is pretty standard to send two officers out there, it may be a little better to have both officers agree a gathering is unruly,” Riggs said. Williams and Dvorak sought
Lindsey Goldstein/ Star Photo FIELDING QUESTIONS: Assistant Police Chief Lisa Dvorak speaks to students, along with Howard Williams, the police chief and Rick Menchaca, the city manager, in the ASG held forum about the new noise ordinance Monday.
to remind students the existing ordinance was written in 2002, when the city was facing a different set of problems. He said ordinance revisions were not intended to result in a dramatic increase in fines, but rather to provide officers with guidelines. Williams said claims that the new language provides too much discretion to police officers were incorrect. “I keep seeing in the newspapers that somehow this ordinance is meant to give us more discretion,” Williams said. “It quite literally does exactly the opposite. We are not talking about laws and rules, we are talking about partnerships and cooperative efforts, but you still need to have rules and regulations that are enforceable.” The ordinance revisions go before City Council Tuesday night for a first reading. Chris Covo, City Council liaison, will address members beforehand about the importance of communication between the university and the community. He said ASG will wait for the result of Tuesday’s discussion of the ordinance before taking an official position. “I think tonight was extremely successful,” Covo said. “The council members that attended will relay to their colleagues the main concerns of students about noise and (officer) discretion. I feel like the police are willing to work with us.”
CONTINUED from page 1
“So they (the university officials) want the quality and the standard of the food to stay high,” Amato said. “And that’s why it’s necessary to look at it.” Amato, who also serves as the chair of the finance and audit committee, said the 3 percent is a minimum increase, and the board members felt that was “reasonable.” The rate adjustments at universityowned halls and apartments vary, ranging from about a 26 percent increase for two single-bedrooms with two bathrooms at Bobcat Village to a 6.43 percent decrease for single bedrooms with a double suite at San Jacinto Hall. Kelly Wylie, executive assistant to the chancellor, said the board approved the room and board rates increase at Sam Houston State University and Sul Ross State University. SHSU will increase the board rates by 6 percent and the room rates by 4 to 8 percent next fall. Sul Ross State University will increase the meal plan and room rates by about 3 percent.
TRADITIONAL BEDROOM RESIDENCE HALLS Community Bathrooms, NON-Air-Conditioned 132 Beds, 2% of Campus Capacity Burleson, Hornsby $ 1,221 $ 1,258 Community Bathrooms, Air-Conditioned 2,758 Beds - 43% of Campus Capacity Arnold, Beretta, Brogdon, Butler, Elliott, Falls, $ 1,932 $ 2,090 Jackson, Lantana, Laurel, Retama, Smith, Sterry
ible. A lot of them are emotional and psychological.” The Army reported 128 confirmed suicides last year, a rise of 11 percent to an all-time high, making 2008 the second year in a row with a record number of suicides. The previous record was 115 confirmed suicides in 2007. Brandon Neely, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said he witnessed the beating of a detainee while guarding Guantanamo Bay. “No matter (whether they) are innocent or guilty, no-one should be treated in the manner these people have been treated,” Neely said. “It is time for the United States to hold a truth commission … to show the truth of what has happened inside of prisons such as Guantanamo Bay. The American people have a right to know the truth.” President Barack Obama signed executive orders in January ordering the closing of
“If it does not pass, we will have to make some pretty tough decisions as of what to do,” Rhoades said. Texas A&M has a student center fee of $100, and Texas Tech requires students pay $98. Rhoades said in comparison to other universities’ student center fees, Texas State’s is modest. “This is an interesting process because I cannot speak for it or against it,” Rhoades said. “I am an information giver. I think students can see the numbers for themselves, and I think we are asking students to vote their conscience. The amount of money is very conservative.” Chris Covo, ASG executive as-
Provided by The Texas State University System
Guantanamo Bay and the CIA’s network of secret prisons by the end of the year. The crowd participated in an organized protest march with police escort through the downtown area, including two blocks of 6th Street to City Hall, where activists gave brief speeches in support of Iraq Veterans Against the War and the antiwar-movement. Since 2001, 4,910 Americans died as a result of the wars in the Middle East, with 3,854 of those killed in action, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Defense. A new survey by the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization estimates 151,000 Iraqis died as a result of violence between March 2003 and June 2006. Foster said the war has been devastating for the Iraqi people. “Our soldiers are trying for nothing more than to stay alive,” Foster said. “In so doing, because they are heavily armed at all times and exposed to a lot of dangerous situations, they are making Iraq and Afghani-
REFERENDUM CONTINUED from page 1
Base Rate Increase
Semi-Private Bathrooms, Air-Conditioned 756 Beds, 12% of Campus Capacity Bexar, San Saba $ 2,156 $ 2,400 11.32% Tower $ 2,353 $ 2,400 2% SUITE-STYLE BEDROOM RESIDENCE HALLS Private Bathrooms, Air-Conditioned 720 Beds, 11% of Campus Capacity Blanco Triple $ 1,956 $ 2,115 8.13% Blanco Large Triple $ 2,136 $ 2,300 7.68% Blanco Double $ 2,621 $ 2,800 6.83% SUPER SUITE-STYLE BEDROOM RESIDENCE HALLS/APARTMENT STYLE RESIDENCE HALLS In-suite Living Rooms, Semi-Private Bathrooms 1146 Beds - 18% of Campus Capacity College Inn Double Bedroom/Quad Suite $ 2,442 $ 2,650 8.52% San Marcos Double Bedroom/Quad Suite $ 2,822 $ 2,800 -0.78% San Marcos Single Bedroom/Double Suite $ 3,259 $ 3,200 -1.81% San Jacinto Single Bedroom/Quad Suite $ 3,195 $ 3,200 0.15% San Jacinto Single Bedroom/Double Suite $ 3,420 $ 3,200 -6.43% In-apartment Kitchens, Living Rooms, Washer/Dryer, Dishwasher, Stove, Refrigerator, Fully furnished 660 Beds - 10% of Campus Capacity Bobcat Village 1 Single Bedroom/1Bathroom $ 3,900 $ 3,750 -3.85% Bobcat Village 2 Single-Bedrooms/2 Bathrooms $ 2,533 $ 3,200 26.33% Bobcat Village 2 Single-Bedrooms/2 Bathrooms – RR Rate $ 2,310 $ 2,800 21.0%
VETERAN CONTINUED from page 1
Per Per Semester Semester Rate Rate FY09 FY10
UNIVERSITY RESIDENCE HALLS ROOM/APARTMENT TYPE
sistant, said the increase is needed to cover the basic operations of the building. “We tried to publicize the referendum on a short notice,” Covo said. “It explains the fee in the ballot at the booth, and ASG members will be there to help answer questions.” Not all students are eager to have another fee increase. Victoria Jorgensen, anthropology sophomore, said she does not support the proposed fee increase, and announcing the referendum to students on such short notice is not acceptable. “I do not really feel that students should be charged more,” Jorgensen said. “We are not getting anything in return. If they were doing any dramatic upgrades, or keeping it open lon-
stan more violent by their presence there. If we want to make those countries less violent 30 places, then the only real solution is to get our troops out of those places.” A previous Winter Soldier held by the organization in Washington, D.C. in March 2008 drew hundreds of veterans who testified over a four-day period on what they said were brutalities taking place in the Middle East. Saturday’s protest was the first to be held in Austin concerning the Iraq war. “People have a responsibility to hear this and talk about it,” said Nick Travis, an Austin musician who has been involved in anti-war movements since the 1970s. “They need to talk to everybody and get involved in their own democracy.” Winter Soldier events are descended from the 1971 Vietnam protest meeting of the same name during which veterans descended on Washington, D.C. to testify about the murder of Vietnamese civilians.
ger, then I would say OK.” Daniel McCarthy, political science senior, said the fee is not a big sacrifice and it is hard to have a big opinion about the increase if it is only $4. “The $4 is sacrificing one beer,” said Catherine Armstrong, political science senior. “That is nothing— an extra $4, if it is for general maintenance and upkeep. As long as the school is making the increase known to us, then I have no problem with it.” Voting for the referendum will take place Tuesday and Wednesday by Paws Market in the LBJ Student Center, in The Quad or online via the Texas State homepage. The referendum will run through Wednesday.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009
OPINIONS 5 - The University Star
onlineconnection Check out www.UniversityStar.com in the following weeks for continued News, Sports, Trends and Opinions coverage.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Opinions Contact — Krista Almazan, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MAIN POINT
he world is comprised of a wide array of people. They come from various backgrounds and represent all types of diﬀerent cultures. For years, immigrants have ﬂocked to America to experience a free world and start a new life. Foreigners of all ages have come to the United States to explore sites and experience a melting pot of world cultures. American college students have the option to study in foreign countries across the globe. Similarly, students in other countries have the chance to visit the United States to study and learn the English language. However, it is becoming harder for these international students to study in Texas. An article in the Feb. 24 issue of The University Star states that foreign students are being charged in-state tuition at universities in Arkansas and Illinois, thus drawing them away from Texas universities. The number of international students enrolled at Texas State decreased between fall 2007 and 2008. Texas State should follow suit with these other states’ guidelines in order to keep these numbers from continually dropping. It is important for university oﬃcials and state legislators to do everything in their power to bring international students here. These students oﬀer a different perspective of the world that can help educate Bobcats about other countries and open their eyes to unfamiliar cultures. Exposing Texas State students to new and diverse people helps them become worldly, well-rounded citizens who are more tolerant of diﬀerent cultures. America is home to the best universities in the world and prides itself on providing equal opportunity to all people despite their backgrounds. This prime education should not be reserved only for the rich. It should be available to everyone, not just Americans. People who come overseas should be able to receive an education and learn about America’s various subcultures. International students can help Americans gain insight into their own lifestyles, thus diversifying our country even more. There is no reason Texas should keep international students from attending its universities. An increased rate of international student enrollment would be an invaluable experience for students and would uphold Texas State’s reputation for diversity. If Texas copies other states’ initiatives to bring international students to its institutions, students and faculty alike would be provided with a chance to gain new perspectives on the world, as well as their own community. The Main Point is the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. Columns are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reﬂect the opinions of the full staff, Texas State University-San Marcos Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University-San Marcos.
Government intervention would help Texas obesity
Texans are getting fat. The Texas Health Institute, in conjunction with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, released a study earlier this month predicting an ever-expanding future. Fifteen million Texans are predicted to be obese within the next 30 years, which is nearly triple the current number. This cannot come as a surprise for the Mexican food-loving, barbeque-eating, chicken-fried-chicken Texans. Everything — and now everyone — is bigger in Texas. The Texas Department of Health Services reported nearly 66 percent of Texans as either overweight or obese in 2007. Obesity costs everyone. People who live with it teeter-totter on the edge of developing a number of painful diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Those who do not live with it absorb the billions of tax dollars in the Medicare and Medicaid expenses of the obese. The condition is most pronounced among low-income, minorities and middle-aged populations, and it can be attributed to a number of problems. The lack of access to nutritious foods and a proper education on how to eat healthy are a few culprits easily identiﬁed, but hard to treat. Stepping away from the buﬀet is not an option here. It is time for Texas to have an intervention. According to Dr. Brian Smith, regional TDHS director, “To change behavior, we have to change society.” Curing the obesity epidemic involves altering minds and attitudes about food and exercise, which is a responsibility lying somewhere between government intervention and community action. The eyes of Texas should be on Austin, a city ranked the 10th healthiest in the nation. In the THI study, Travis County is expected to have a 100 percent increase in obese residents versus Hays County with an increase of 440 percent. A city built for activity, with access to fresh foods and a community that preaches healthy living straight from the local government is what can get the rest of Texas there, too. It is the obligation of a state to safeguard the health and welfare Russell Weiss/Star Illustration of its residents. The government should intervene preventively to ensure everyone has equal access to quality food in the same way other harmful substances like alcohol and drugs are regulated. Sen. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound has submitted a bill Chicken Little would have to study the availability of easily convinced everyone the healthy food in underserved sky was falling if he used this areas and to discuss a stateapproach. ‘Look! See how the wide ﬁnancing program to sky isn’t falling? That’s proof bring fresh fruits and vegthat the sky is falling!’ etables to retailers in these Come to think of it, if somecommunities. This is a step in one uses a space heater at a the right direction. global warming protest, aren’t Fortunately, there is a solution they contributing to the probto the problem widening our lem? waistlines and eating away at our I have a piece of advice for pocketbooks. Intervention starts the fruitcakes scheduling next now: in the kitchens of school year’s protest: Hold it in Miami. cafeterias, in the exercise choices At least if a blizzard hits there, of even the busiest Texans and in they can whip out a sign that the budgets of lawmakers. says “Mission Accomplished.” Texas can still be the biggest, but we do not have to be - Global warming protesters the fattest. A healthy balance of government and communitydemonstrate in blizzard - Al Gore cult makes joke of birthed initiatives are what we need to solve the problem for themselves - “Climate Change” is the new ourselves and for Texans of the future. “Global Warming”
Global warming protesters contradict themselves
Chicken Little quickly whipped his fellow animals into frenzy when he said the sky was falling. They all embarked on a journey together to warn the king. None of the other animals demanded proof of the stratosphere actually losing altitude, nor did they ask what the effects of such an event would be. Proof was not important. Evidence was not required. Most of
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Chicken Little’s animal friends were killed by the end of the tale. They were not killed by the sky , which never fell , but by the fox, who exploited the confusion. Perhaps the thousands of protesters who disrupted the Capitol Power Plant in Washington, D.C., Monday could learn a few things from the fable. The event, which was supposed to be the largest global warming protest in U.S. history, according to the Fox News Web site, takes place under unique circumstances. I looked up the conditions for Washington, D.C. on The Weather Channel’s Web site at the exact time the protest was scheduled to begin. According to weather.com, it was 23 degrees, wind was a steady 31
mph with 46 mph gusts and the conditions read “Blinding Snow.” The wind chill factor was 5 degrees. That’s right — they held a global warming protest in a blizzard — in March. According to the oﬃcial Web site for the protest, capitolclimateaction.com, a few people decided not to attend because they thought it was too dangerous to travel in the blinding snow. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that displaying a sign saying “Stop Global Warming” in the middle of a gale-force blizzard would make them look like big idiots. ‘Hey Steve, be careful on the way to the global warming protest. We’d hate for you to slide oﬀ the icy roads in your Prius
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and wind up in a snow bank. Oh, by the way, I forgot my thermal blanket and space heater. Could you bring them?’ Some readers might be wondering how many more global warming blizzard jokes I’m going to make. There will be plenty, but as part of their crackpot theory, the Al Gore cult made the biggest joke themselves. I’ve been calling it “global warming,” but apparently the appropriate term is now “climate change.” They are both terms for the exact same thing, but “climate change” lets the kooks do creative things such as saying more snowfall or colder temperatures actually prove their theory. I admit it is impressive when they can claim even contrary evidence ﬁts their theory.
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The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University-San Marcos published Tuesday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with a distribution of 8,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright Tuesday, March 3, 2009. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor in chief.
Trends the university star
6 - Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer are reuniting for a trek across the country. People who do not recognize the names of the above as musicians may know them better as David St. Hubbard, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls from the 1984 mockumentary Spinal Tap. The group will be traveling across the country sans their original spandex and wigs in a tour being dubbed “Unwigged and Unplugged.” The band will be playing songs from their two albums This is Spinal Tap and Break Like the Wind. The tour will make stops in Houston and Dallas on May 1st and 2nd, respectively. Tickets for the shows will go on sale March 6th.
Trends Contact — Brett Thorne, firstname.lastname@example.org
Film adaption satisfies fans, Local business educates on cigars disappoints new viewers
Trends Columnist I was among the 400 fortunate uber-nerds admitted to the special Black Curtain screening of Zack Snyder’s film adaptation of Watchmen, “the most celebrated graphic novel of all-time,” Feb. 23. I showed up hours early for the 7 p.m. special screening, but with an introduction from Ain’t It Coon News’ Harry Knowles, the wait in line was more than worth it. I was particularly interested in how true to the story Snyder would be able to keep the film while allowing it to be accessible by the general public, or in this case, people who haven’t read the source material. Underlying metaphors may be hard for some of the younger audience members to grasp. The theme of the impending doom of human existence and the period setting of 1985 was lost on the 8-year-old seated in the row ahead of me, but will be much appreciated by those who lived during the Cold War era. The majority of those in attendance were die-hard fans of the comic book series, but I did manage to speak with a few individuals who had not read the story and get their insight on the film. The overall consensus was the movie dragged on, the majority
of characters were inaccessible on a personal level, the narration by Rorschach was reminiscent of film noir and, for the most part, seemed almost clichéd. Some felt the subtle voice of Billy Crudup juxtaposed with Dr. Manhattan’s glowing and all-powerful blue figure threw off the intimidation of the character, which I would have to say was the point of casting him in the first place. Some also stated, judging by Snyder’s preceding film 300, they were expecting another non-stop action thrill-ride, but instead were forced to watch two hours and 30 minutes of exploring the psychology behind being a super hero, with the occasional fight scene thrown in to hold attention. I can openly respect these opinions, as I saw the film long after reading and re-reading the original text. I completely loved every aspect of the film, even the events that were altered, tweaked and completely changed. Judging from the facial expressions of those in the audience after the screening, the majority of the people there felt the same. Those looking forward to the country-wide theatrical release of Watchmen coming March 6 need to keep this in mind upon entering the theater: if the expectation is a non-stop action fest of superheroes à la The Dark Knight, or some great one-liners from beastly soldiers in between kill scenes, disappointment will surely come. The few audience members I spoke with believed that for people who have not read the source material, it is possible underlying themes of the film may go unnoticed.
Fine Arts Calendar Tuesday Where Meets the Sea, All Day, Mitte Gallery II Neal Wilson: Silent Dialogue, All Day, Mitte Gallery I Communication Week-various events, all day, Centennial Hall
Wednesday Where Meets the Sea, All Day, Mitte Gallery II Neal Wilson: Silent Dialogue, All Day, Mitte Gallery I Communication Week-various events, 11 a.m., Centennial Hall Guitar Studio Recital, Mark Cruz, 6 p.m., Recital Hall Sarah Elizabeth Abernathy Senior Tuba Recital, 6 p.m., Music Room 222 Thursday Where Meets the Sea, All Day, Mitte Gallery II Neal Wilson: Silent Dialogue, All Day, Mitte Gallery I Communication Week-various events, all day, Centennial Hall Countdown to a Successful First Year of Teaching, 7 p.m., Recital Hall
Friday Neal Wilson: Silent Dialogue, All Day, Mitte Gallery I Doughnuts and Discussion with Dr. Julia Wood, 9:30 a.m., Centennial Hall 206 The Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg, presented by Texas State Opera Theatre, 7:30 p.m., Evans Auditorium
Saturday Green Valley Chamber Music Festival Auditions, 10 a.m., Recital Hall Kaap Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma Blue and White Joint Recital, 7 p.m., Recital Hall The Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg, presented by Texas State Opera Theatre, 7:30 p.m., Evans Auditorium Sunday The Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg, presented by Texas State Opera Theatre, 2:30 p.m., Evans Auditorium Monday Jazz Lab Concert, Dr. Carlos Vega, 8 p.m., Evans Auditorium
Austin Byrd/Star photo SMOKERS WELCOME: Cigar aficionados Kyle Lamb, Daniel Krupsky, and Jordan Johnson, enhance their stogie experience at The Wine Cellar Thursday.
By Leigh Morgan Features Reporter Fifteen sets of ashes were glowing in a dimly lit room, brought together by the art of cigar smoking. The Wine Cellar held its first cigar class, educating those in attendance with a fundamental knowledge of cigars — cutting, smoking and discovering one’s personal preference. The class attracted a diverse audience with a variety of ages, genders and ethnicities. Brian Montgomery, owner of The Wine Cellar, opened the doors of his establishment to offer guests a history lesson and his vast knowledge of cigars. “The cigar class is another way of people getting together, meeting new people and having new experiences. The more people know about wine, cigars and food, the bet-
ter their quality of life will be,” Montgomery said. “A lot has been lost with people porch sitting, talking and enjoying each other. Cigar smoking allows people to interact, regardless of age and background. Given the opportunity, people will most likely bond on shared experiences and like each other. People have a commonality of spirit, despite their differences.” Montgomery’s theory was proven as guests who were once strangers began to open up to one another. “I hope those who attend will learn to enjoy life,” Montgomery said. “With the economy, people are worried about their next paycheck and trivial things. Smoking a cigar is one way to suspend your problems and make light of a situation.” Montgomery said his ultimate goal of the class is to create a woman’s cigar club.
“There is something very intriguing about a woman with the confidence to smoke a cigar,” Montgomery said. “Women deserve the same right to relax and socialize.” James Cherry, undecided sophomore, enjoyed his experience in the cigar class. “I learned a lot about something I knew very little about before,” Cherry said. “Brian did a great job explaining cigar smoking and the difference between cigars. He also made everyone feel very comfortable.” Jordan Johnson, management senior, said he attended the cigar class to enjoy a cigar and enhance his lifestyle. “Smoking a nice cigar is a way to take advantage of a good time, enjoying others and an atmosphere of relaxation.” Johnson said. “The class was superior. It was one of the most unique experiences I have encountered in
San Marcos over the past four years I have lived here.” Johnson takes an alternative look at cigar smoking. “In my opinion, smoking and acquiring knowledge of cigars is like having the ability to play golf — it could potentially help you with business relationships,” Johnson said. The Wine Cellar plans to offer the cigar class the last Tuesday or Thursday of every month, along with a wine tasting class the third Wednesday of every month. The classes are free of charge and open to anyone with a reservation. Montgomery encourages students, faculty and citizens of San Marcos to attend. “Unless you are in Austin or San Antonio, you do not have this opportunity. Our plan in wine and cigar testing is a progressive knowledge, so after a first and second session you will become more educated,” Montgomery said.
Poem by student inspires millions By Patricia Drew Special to the Star Diversity, leadership and social justice are a few of the issues highlighted by the “Why I Write” program, being held in the LBJ Teaching Theater tonight at 7 p.m. Clint Michael Reneau, one of the program’s organizers, said attendees can expect performances from inspirational dancers, the Gospel Expressions Association and individual cast members, including student leaders, RAs, fraternity members, ASG and RHA members and the author of the poem, “Why I Write.” “The beautiful thing is that each cast member, each performer and each member assisting all bring their own story,” said Reneau, counseling and guidance graduate. “With that authenticity, you can never go wrong.” The performance program is based on a Texas State student’s poem that received national attention. Timothy Swain, now pursuing a master’s degree in counseling and guidance, wrote the poem, “Why I Write” in 2005. The Hip-
Hop Congress challenged him to create a powerful piece of work focusing on diversity. “Why I Write” was performed at PAWS Preview, an extended orientation program providing important information to incoming freshmen. “I just wanted to present the stories of different people, whether they are handicapped, living in under-represented low socio-economic neighborhoods, or in nice neighborhoods with no friends,” said Swain, who grew up in Houston. Reneau first heard the poem during the diversity component of PAWS Preview, and said he knew instantly what an extraordinary metaphor “Why I Write” took on. Reneau took the poem back to London, England, where he was a high school principal. He then based a school program around the message of the poem, which, according to Swain, is to tell others’ stories and raise the issues as topics of conversation. Swain said Reneau kept him involved throughout the development of the program. “The whole production humbled
me and made me recognize a gift in myself, to spread a message of hope, peace and love,” Swain said. Reneau has been back at Texas State for two years, serving as graduate residence director. He brought the program back to where he was first inspired, and said he has had assistance in the development of “Why I Write,” from coworkers, friends and campus organizations. The Student Affairs diversity team and the multicultural student affairs department are sponsors, along with funding from Coke and the Parents Association. Diversity team member Angela Robertson said the mission is to foster a general awareness, understanding and respect for the different behaviors, beliefs and lifestyles of all cultures. They work to develop a warm, receiving, sustaining and nurturing university environment, she said. “I am confident students will either find a piece of themselves in our performers, or in the words of the poetry,” said Robertson, residence director for San Jacinto Hall. “We all need to know we are not alone with our feelings,
experiences and emotions.” Robertson said she needed to recruit performers, so she introduced the program idea to RAs, one of whom was Trenton Thomas. “I write because I’ve been blessed with the ability to put my hands to a piece of paper and make a change,” said Thomas, finance junior. Thomas said one particular aspect stuck out to him when he first read “Why I Write.” “My part mentions a crevice in a rock that keeps one going and that spoke to me,” Thomas said. “My education is what sets me apart from just being another kid in South Side Houston, and that’s what keeps me going.” Thomas said he encourages students to attend the presentation, because it is a way for the entire student body to come together and learn about diversity. The performance is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend the reception being held following the presentation. The VPSA diversity team will be sponsoring door prizes and giveaways for students who attend tonight’s event.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The University Star - 7
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Complete the grid so that every row, column, and 3-by-3 box contains every digit from one through nine inclusively.
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Sports the university star
The Texas State baseball and softball teams will play games tonight against Texas at Bobcat Field. The baseball team plays 6 p.m. and the softball team begins at 7:05 p.m. Tonight marks the first baseball game played at the newly renovated Bobcat Field.
8 - Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sports Contact — Lisa Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Softball neglects necessary ‘fire, Women’s basketball lowers conference score intensity’ against McNeese State By Blake Barington Sports Reporter
The Texas State women’s basketball team had its final lead against Northwestern State at 58-56 with five minutes remaining. Northwestern State’s 3-point and free throw shooting were too much for the Bobcats to overcome. “I thought they just shot the ball extremely well, and we were unfortunate and got some key match ups for us (to get into) foul trouble situations late,” said Coach Suzanne Fox about the major turning points in the game. The Texas State women’s
basketball team fell to the Lady Demons 80-72. The Bobcats had a 19-8 lead in the first 10 minutes of the contest. It was Texas State’s largest of the game. Texas State posted an 8-0 run to start the game after a layup from Gabriell Mattox, sophomore forward. The Demons’ first points came from two free throws by Demetria White, Northwestern State guard. The Bobcats trailed for the first time in the game with 22 seconds remaining in the first half after Brittiany Houston, Northwestern State guard, hit the Demons’ fifth 3-pointer of the game to put them up 31-
29. The Demons rallied back, knocking down four 3-pointers in the last six and a half minutes of the first half to tie the game at 31. The lead did not last long as Victoria Davis, junior guard, hit a shot at the buzzer to tie the game going into halftime. The Bobcats dropped to 12-14 on the season and 6-8 in Southland Conference play while Northwestern State improved to 16-11 overall and 8-6 in SLC play. The Bobcats face Texas-San Antonio 7 p.m. Wednesday in the I-35 rivalry game on the road. UTSA is tied for first place in the SLC standings at 12-2 in conference and 19-8 overall.
of the second, stranding three Islanders on base. Paul Goldschmidt, junior infielder, hit a double and sent Sibley home for a 4-0. Texas State took a 6-0 lead in the top of the fifth when Prestridge slammed a two-run homer as one of his two hits on the night. The Bobcats won 7-4. Coach Ty Harrington earned his 300th career win at Texas State. Game two Saturday had the Bobcats loading the bases in the first inning with two walks and a hit batter. Tyler Brundridge, senior pitcher, closed the game. He faced four batters and allowed one hit to seal the Texas State
victory 9-6. Harrington said the team showed progress. “I think our intensity and focus on the field is much improved this weekend,” Harrington said. “Offensively, we took advantage of defensive mistakes that they made, which was good. We were able to jump in there and make them pay for it and do some things. I thought that was critical for us.” Texas State closed the series Sunday jumping to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second. The Bobcats scored four runs on four hits in the fifth inning. Goldschmidt led Texas State to its final pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning. The Bobcats won the game 10-2.
Bobcats win weekend series against the Islanders By Joseph O. Garcia Sports Reporter
The Texas State baseball team played a three-game series this weekend against Southland Conference foe Texas A&MCorpus Christi. A&M-Corpus Christi began Friday’s game putting Tyler Sibley, freshman infielder, on base with a throwing error from third. He moved the runner to third base on a sacrifice fly and ground out. Keith Prestridge, junior outfielder, drove a base hit into left center field to put the Bobcats on the board. Zach Tritz, senior pitcher, continued his outing when he retired the side in the bottom
Bobcats gain 33-point victory over Demons
Bridgette Cyr/Star photo FAST PITCH: Leah Boatright, junior first baseman, gets ready for the right pitch Sunday during a game against McNeese State at Bobcat Field.
By Derek Genovese Sports Reporter The Texas State softball team squared off at home Saturday and Sunday against Southland Conference opponent McNeese State. The Bobcats were 11-6 overall and 3-0 in conference play after sweeping Texas-Arlington earlier in the week. During the first game of the double header Saturday, Chandler Hall, freshman pitcher, threw for six innings, allowing three hits and two runs in the fourth. She recorded four strikeouts and one error. Hall walked the first batter in the seventh and was relieved by Elizabeth Dennis, junior pitcher. Four players recorded runs on the offensive side of the ball. Jenna Emery, sophomore third baseman, doubled, allowing Leah Boatright, junior first baseman, to score in the sixth. Next at bat was Ryan Kos, senior second base-
man. She singled and advanced to second, letting Emery come full circle and make the final run in the game. The Bobcats sealed the victory 4-2. McNeese State was able to come from behind in the second game and defeat the Bobcats. Texas State was up 3-0 in the fifth. Leading the game offensively was Alex Newton, senior shortstop. She went 2-3 with one run scored by stealing home. Taylor Hall, senior outfielder, and Chandler Hall managed to steal home to push the lead to 3-0. Katie Garnett, senior pitcher, threw a shutout through five innings and allowed only two hits. However, Garnett allowed five hits and four runs in the sixth inning. The McNeese State Cowgirls won 4-2. The game ended with Boatright striking out and two runners left on base. McKenzie Baack, sophomore designated hitter, hit her first home run of the year Sunday. Baack ended the game 2-3 with
two RBIs. The Bobcats did not produce runs after the second inning. Chandler Hall started her second game of the weekend pitching through four and twothirds innings, but allowed four runs. Garnett came in the fifth to relieve Hall, but she allowed two hits and one run. Texas State finished the game with five errors from the infield. “We beat ourselves. We didn’t come out ready to play,” Taylor Hall said. “We normally don’t make these mistakes.” The Bobcats allowed three runs in the fifth inning. They were unable to match a comeback and lost 5-3. Coach Ricci Woodard said the team did not perform the way it should have. “We were very disappointed in ourselves this weekend. We didn’t come out with the fire and intensity we needed to win the ballgames,” Woodard said. The Bobcats are now 12-8 overall and 4-2 in conference play.
Austin Byrd/Star photo POWER FINISH: Cameron Johnson, sophomore forward, and the Bobcats finish off the Northwestern State Demons 98-65 Saturday at Strahan Coliseum.
By Keff Ciardello Sports Reporter The Texas State men’s basketball team defeated Northwestern State 98-65, thanks to 29 turnovers by the Demons and 53 percent shooting from the field. “We shot lights out,” said Coach Doug Davalos. “We needed this one, and we knew that. It’s a great win — big confidence boost for our guys, but we still have to look ahead.” Brent Benson, senior guard, scored a team-high 27 points. John Rybak, junior forward, added 22 points as the Bobcats shot 43 percent from beyond the arc. The Demons scored first off Mike McConathy’s, Northwestern State guard, 3-pointer — one of three he made in the game. It was the only time the Demons led the game. The Bobcats continued increasing their lead by running pick and rolls on offense and hands-on defense, creating turnovers. “They just couldn’t stop us,” Rybak said. “We were on it tonight.” Rybak made a layup and gave the Bobcats a 31-14 lead with 6:55 left. It was the closest the Demons got to the Bobcats for the rest of the game. Texas State went into halftime with a 49-30 lead.
The Bobcats had 22 points off of turnovers alone in the first half, while the Demons had none. The closest the Demons got in the second half was at 49-34 with 18:47 left to play. Benson hit a 3-pointer to give the Bobcats a 30point advantage, 72-42, with 9:48 left to play. “They just kept giving it (the ball) up,” Benson said. “We took advantage of the situation presented to us. This is a big win for us.” The Bobcats finished with their third biggest victory of the season. Texas State defeated Southwest Assemblies of God by 45 points Dec. 3, 2008, and McMurry by 42 Dec. 30, 2008. Benson went 6-for-8 from beyond the arc and shot 10-for-12 from the field. He added seven rebounds. Rybak shot 5-for-10 from the 3-point line and added four rebounds and five steals. John Bowman, freshman guard, and Ryan White, sophomore guard, were the only other two Bobcats to score in double figures. Bowman had 12 points and White had 11. Brandon Bush, senior guard, and Ty Gough, sophomore center, both had 10 rebounds. The Bobcats will play their last home game of the season 7 p.m. Wednesday against Texas-San Antonio for an I-35 rivalry game.