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Page C2 - The University Star

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Student IDs can help save big money on new computers, cars Maira Garcia The University Star Your student ID can get you more than a meal at Commons or into the front door of the dorms. It can score you discounts on everything from food to a new car. While moving away to college means parents aren’t on hand to loan you extra cash, a fringe benefit of becoming a student is the various discounts you can receive. Not every business that gives a discount advertises it, which is why it never hurts to ask. “(Students) are a good base for customers. Being in a town with a college, we can get more profits and sales. We suggest they ask more often about discounts,” said Kenneth Adorno, vehicle sales director at Red Simon Ford. All Ford dealerships offer $500 off a new car to students enrolled in college and up to one year after they graduate. This rebate can be used in conjunction with any others being given at the time. “No matter what rebates we have go-

ing on, you get (a student discount) automatically anyway,” Adorno said. Whether it’s a high-priced item such as a car you’re purchasing or something less expensive, such as a computer, the discounts can be in the hundreds of dollars. Apple and Dell provide education discounts to students, faculty and staff of higher education institutions. According to Juan Morales, computer sales assistant at the University Bookstore, discounts range from $50 to $300 on new Apple computers and up to 12 percent off on various Dell products. Students can even get a 10 percent discount on iPods and up to 50 percent off the retail price for Apple software. Despite having a student Apple representative to inform customers of computer discounts, the bookstore has few students taking advantage of the discounts offered. “One student came in today saying he had been here for years and didn’t know the computer section existed,” Morales said. Morales said the computer department can assist students in customiz-

ing Apples, ordering off the Apple Web site and informing them about other technology discounts. In addition to product discounts, students can save money on services. Franchises like Supercuts and Fantastic Sams offer discounts on haircuts and other salon services. Mandy Carreno, a shift manager at Supercuts on University Drive, said that students could get a dollar off a haircut with an ID. Supercuts also participates in Colloquium’s Got Used discount card program, which gives three dollars off a cut. “Most of the time it’s the Got Used and College Coupon books that we see,” Carreno said. Both franchises advertise coupons in College Coupons, a coupon book made by Brooks Publishing, which distributes exclusively to students, according to the its Web site. More costly services, such as automotive repair, can also be obtained at a lower rate. Goodyear, on the corner of Hopkins Street and North Edward Gary Street gives a 10 percent discount

David Racino/Star photo CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN: University Bookstore employee Raymond Martinez assists freshman Erling LaSalle in purchasing software at a discounted student rate at the LBJ Student Center on May 22.

with an ID on any service, whether its tires, batteries or mechanical repair. “A lot of them aren’t aware that we give a discount, so we always ask if they are students,” said Carol McMain, Goodyear store manager. McMain said that because of the

business’ proximity to the university, a lot of their business comes from students and faculty. “We try to help students as much as possible.” McMain said. “We always hear, ‘We’re students; we’re on a budget.’”

Summer prime time for live music in Central Texas By Sam Ladach-Bark The University Star

In Central Texas, great live music can be found around every corner — you just have to know where to look. Bars like Lucy’s on the Square and The Triple Crown offer great live music almost every night of the week for music-loving San Marcos residents. There is also Cheatham Street Warehouse, which dates back to 1974 and has been serving up great live country acts for the Texan in every Texas State student. Austin is also located just 30 miles north, which has been dubbed the live music capital of the world. On any given night, more than 60 bars and venues offer Austin residents live music of an assortment of flavors. From the jazz featured at The Elephant Room to the hardcore rock scene found at Beer Land, Austin is ready to satisfy any and all musical appetites. Below is a list of five must see shows happening in San Marcos and Austin this summer. 1. Matt Noveskey Saturday

June 10 at Lucy’s (San Marcos) Bassist for the indie group Blue October is scheduled to make a solo appearance in San Marcos. According to Blue October’s Web site, the first five performances of their Foiled tour have been cancelled or postponed. Originally set to begin their tour May 22, their new schedule shows their first show slated for June 22. We can only assume this is because Novesky wouldn’t miss a chance to play in front of a raucous San Marcos crowd. This will be a rare treat for San Marcos and a possible preview of Blue October’s upcoming road show.

2. Echo and the Bunnymen Saturday June 17 @ LaZona Rosa (Austin) The gloomy heros from the ’80s have taken up their axes again. Touting numerous British hits from the mid and late ’80s and all the while slowly building up an American cult following that is today rolling to a boiling point, this show is almost certain to sell out. Their out-of-nowhere 2005 release Siberia brought them back to their

’80s roots and received praise by old fans and new comers to their music alike. With so much music and so many hits to draw from their 25-plus year career is guaranteed to be a performance of epic proportions.

3. The Happy Families June 24 @ The Triple Crown (San Marcos) Fans of the Fam have been left standing still lately as they spent the last few months working tirelessly on their second fulllength release. “We’re working with Derrick (Chaney), the drummer from Peel, on a new record collecting our second batch of songs. Derrick’s production style is way different than mine so we’re really excited about putting out a totally different feeling record than we could have planned,” guitarist Boone Graham said about their upcoming release. All but done with their recording, The Families already have four big shows planned for the summer in San Marcos and Austin. 4. Sonic Youth Friday June 23 @ Stubbs (Austin) This band should speak for itself; but unfortunately their early ’90s success story is almost forgotten today. They have steadily released albums across their 23 year career, never compromising their rash, distortion-heavy approach to rock ’n’ roll. Their last release, 2004’ Sonic Nurse, showed the softer side of Sonic

Courtesy of Dan Schmahl

Courtesy of

Dave Wright/KRT

Pictured clockwise from top: The Happy Families, Sonic Youth and The Tuna Helpers. These bands, as well as many others, will be performing in the Central Texas region this summer.

Youth, but still featured their patented poetic lyricism and wavering guitars. June 13 marks their 29th U.S. release and the backbone of their summer tour. 5. Tuna Helpers July 21 @ Lucy’s (San Marcos) Born and bred in Austin, this is a decidedly different trio of musicians who can’t quite be called punk but have and edge a bit too sharp for most indie rockers. Their music features jagged guitars layered and powerful vocals combined with an energetic stage presence should

make for an unforgettable show this summer. Their myspace quote reads “Evil Psychedelic Dolly Parton” and in its own strange way it makes perfect sense. Drawing from a diverse multiplicity of live acts passing through Austin and San Marcos it has proved difficult to compile this elite list. Living so close to so much live music brings a veritable playground for music enthusiasts of Central Texas, where anything and everything is possible.

For tickets and complete summer line-up visit:


Thursday, June 1, 2006

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Savvy Shopping

Students can reap the savings with good planning By Maira Garcia The University Star

With so many stores to choose from, finding brand name and designer fashions within a colAt first glance they can be lege student budget can be made intimidating. They are big and easier with a little planning. just keep growing. They have Carswell and Kennedy said nearly every brand you can the best place to begin is by visthink of and some you’ve never iting their Web sites before comeven heard of. ing to the centers. Outlet Web The San Marsites often list cos outlet malls, national and which include local center the Prime Outevents, prolet Center and vide additional Tanger Outlet coupons and Center, boast they even almore than 200 low individual stores comstores to post bined. The specials, said drive down InCarswell. terstate-35 is If you decide the easy part, to go straight but the questo the malls, a tion remains of trip to Guest how to get good Services can deals and where provide some to find what of the same you like. information — Lorie Kennedy and additional “You can marketing manager at Prime ways to save find everything from one end Outlet Mall such as couof the spectrum pons booklets, to the other,” frequent shopsaid Prime marketing manager per card memberships and AAA Lorie Kennedy. “You have Old membership discounts. Aaron Smith/Star photo Navy and Reebok and Tommy “Make sure you come here on one side, all the way to Salva- first because you can save a lot STRAIGHTENING UP: Education senior Brittany Sturm, an employee of Head 2 Toe, adjusts displays at the younger-crowd oriented tore Ferragamo, Kate Spade and of money starting here,” said beauty products store on May at the Prime Outlet Mall. Neiman Marcus on the other Bobbette Bandy, a guest services side. We pretty much cover the representative at Prime. by Texas Economic Developgamut of all the different kinds The frequent shopper cards, ment and Tourism office. of brands you could possibly such as Prime’s Club 1 card, are “The insider way to shop want.” free to anyone, and the tanger- — and this is something that The $15 billion outlet mall club university card are free for students can easily take advanindustry, which specializes in college students who fill out an tage of — is to shop early in the selling overstocks, damaged application and show their stu- week, or shop at night, because items and irregulars, has now dent ID. those are our slower times,” shifted to selling first-quality Perks of the tangerclub card Kennedy said. and in-season merchandise as include a free coupon booklet, The days leading up to holiwell, according to Value Trade which is normally $5, each time days such as Christmas and EasNews Web site, the industry you visit and mailings of up- ter are also see a lot of traffic, in publication of the International coming center-wide specials. addition to Texas’ tax free weekCouncil of Shopping Centers. Since many stores participate end in August, according to Tanger Center Manager Mi- in the coupon booklets, they can Daniel Carroll, a sales associate chelle Carswell said outlet malls be a way to start figuring out at Jimmy’Z. Traffic records are offer discounted items from 10 which brands suit you and your often broken on this weekend. to 60 percent because they are budget. They’re also a way to “Weekdays are a good time direct from the manufacturer visit stores where you wouldn’t for locals to come. The weekAaron Smith/Star photos and there is no middleman in- normally shop. ends are very busy and parking THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: Shoppers at the recently remodeled Prime Marcos Outlet Mall can volved to raise prices. “It seems coupons are only is insane. You get more atten“(Manufacturers) would used (by students) for pizza, but tion from associates on week- enjoy a Venetianesque view near the Pottery Barn or surround themselves with numerous exotic and rather give a considerable dis- if they utilize them for clothing days,” Carroll said. off-the-wall items such as this tiki man at the Earthbound Trading Co. in the Tanger Outlet Mall. count since it didn’t sell at retail and accessories, they will have than have a loss,” said Preston expendable money,” Carswell Morris, a manager at the Prime said. location of Fossil. With 225 outlet centers naRecently, Prime expanded its tionwide, people typically travel property to include more than an average of 57 minutes to get 40 new stores like Neiman Mar- to a center, according to the cus Last Call, one of the largest Texas Comptroller’s Web site. Pottery Barns in the country and The outlet malls in San Mara multitude of luxury brands. cos ranked as the fourth most Stores are continuously be- visited attraction in Texas, just ing added to both centers, behind places like the Alamo with Prime opening an Under and Riverwalk, according to a Armour and Crate and Barrel study conducted by D.K. Shifflet outlets this summer and Tanger and Associates — a travel readding a Hot Topic in the fall. search company — and backed

he insider “T way to shop — and this

is something that students can easily take advantage of — is to shop early in the week, or shop at night, because those are our slower times.”

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Gotta have java

Local coffee shops boast relaxing atmospheres, wireless Internet, good joe Andrea L. Short The University Star With the long hours students devote to studying, when it’s time to get a strong cup of joe, having more than one coffee shop to choose from is a blessing. There are a few staples in San Marcos that one must check out when the need for caffeine hits. Jo on the Go offers fresh coffee, tea and smoothies, as well as fresh sandwiches, soups, muffins, bagels and humongous cookies. The staff is friendly and helpful. This place is cozy and quaint. The front windows are covered in colorful flyers promoting all sorts of local events. Once inside, space is limited and the walls are plastered with local artwork, more flyers and other random objects. There’s just enough space for a couch on each wall and a long coffee table in the center swimming in magazines and odd novels. “We have a lot of regulars that come in every day or at least once a week and get their usual. It’s nice knowing our customers by name,” said Martin Cowles, who works at Jo on the Go on weekends. There is no wireless Internet available, or live music, or big crowds — just good coffee and treats at a reasonable price. Jo on the Go is a small coffee shop staying true to its roots. Nothing fancy, just a good cup of joe. Jo on the Go is located at 312B University Drive. Its hours of operation are: Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mochas and Javas has two locations: 102 Wonder World Drive, Suite 406, open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and at 700 North LBJ Drive, Suite 103-A, across the street from campus. The coffee shop is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Both locations have plenty of tables and couches to relax on while you drink your coffee or eat a bagel. They also have wireless Internet available during all hours of operation, making them the perfect place to enjoy a cup of espresso and check your

Mark Decker/Star photos BOBCAT BLISS (above): Coffee Pot regular Seamus Martin enjoys the customer-friendly environment. The Coffee Pot is located on Hopkins Street on the west side of The Square. STUDY HAVEN (right): Philosophy sophomore Luke McBride enjoys the atmosphere suitable for studying, locally showcased artists and proximity to campus of Mochas and Javas located on North LBJ Street.

e-mail or work on some research for a class. The atmosphere is relaxed and the people are friendly. Mochas and Javas allows the customer to personalize their drink. There are tons of syrups — from vanilla to crème de menthe — to choose from, as well as unique drinks already on the menu, including the Mocha Bianca with white chocolate and whipped crème on top of a mocha latte. Along with coffee, Mochas and Javas offer the basic coffee shop fare: Cookies, muffins and fresh bagels. The Coffee Pot is located at 129 E Hopkins St., No. 100. It’s open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

to 11 p.m. This spot has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating available, as well as wireless Internet and two computers set up for customers to use. Although very spacious compared to the other coffee shops around town, The Coffee Pot manages to maintain a cozy atmosphere. Tables and couches are set apart from each other with varying floor levels, making each space feel like its own room. The outdoors seating is great for enjoying an iced bubble tea on warm days, or reading a newspaper or magazine. The Coffee Pot offers plenty of the


e have a lot of regulars that come in every day or at least once a week and get their usual. It’s nice knowing our customers by name. ”

— Martin Cowles Jo on the Go employee

usual coffee choices such as lattes, espresso and plain joes well as fresh fruit smoothies, tea, and bubble tea — a special frothy iced tea with tapioca seeds. It also offer bottled juices and sodas, cookies, bagels, assorted sandwiches and salads, soups, muffins,

chips and candy bars. The location makes it a great place to stop by while walking around downtown or after class for a little downtime. They also post plenty of flyers informing visitors of upcoming poetry slams and live music.


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Computer labs, wireless Internet available for students Te x a s State offers students and faculty an array of computing services. Computer BILL RIX labs, wireless Copy Desk Chief Internet and discounts on brand-name computers and peripherals are among the amenities provided by the university. Being in such an environment — open, fast connections and a fully networked university — it is important that students take precautionary measures when using the school network and the Internet. “...We strongly encourage students to configure their operating systems to automatically download and install updates. If systems aren’t updated regularly, none of the other things matter,” said Elliott Franklin, university information security officer. Students using a Windows operating system will need to install Cisco Clean Access Agent client — which can be downloaded when students first attempt to use the Internet on campus — on their computers prior to any network use. This client verifies students through their Texas State NetID and password.

It also monitors whether or not students have the latest Windows updates and can restrict access if certain updates are not installed. All of these measures ensure that students will not harbor or transmit viruses and other unwanted programs. Even clean computer with all the necessary updates have to deal with the occasional crash and network problems. Thankfully, there are several computer labs on and around campus that provide students and faculty with near 24/7 access. Students more comfortable with Macs can find G4s at the computing lab in Math Computer Science, Room 362, Jowers Computer Lab, Room 201, and the computer lab in Academic Services Building, Room 201. All the Macs in these labs have Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, PageMaker and Acrobat installed, as well as a file transfer protocol program and Microsoft Office. The computer labs have Windows XP machines as well, all of which are Dell Optiplexes. Installed on the Windows machines are the same software found on Macs — the Adobe products, Microsoft Office and an FTP program — and also other software such as Visual Studio and Mathematica.


Mac fans will also be happy to know that there is a custom Apple store in the University Bookstore. At this location, students will find fresh Apple products for sale, such as the iPod nano and the new non-Pro MacBooks. Discounts on both Apple and Dell computers and accessories are offered to students. A link on the University Bookstore Web site allows users to view Dell and Apple Web sites. Users can find discounts on everything from iPods to laptops to software packages. Remote access to the Internet

is unavailable some weekends, but Alkek Library offers students the Internet access they need for projects and homework. The library has several banks of computers on both the second and third floors. While some banks are for specialty use — some don’t have the Internet, some are for groups of people to use — there are also general use computers for students who wish to check their e-mail or post at their favorite forums. Students can also check out Dell laptops at the library. “During the peak periods

of the semester, there can be a short wait for the laptops,” said Todd Peters, head of the library computer informations services department. “I would say, maybe 15 to 20 minutes during peak periods.” Texas State has increased the areas in which wireless connections are available. According to the Computing Support Services Web site, there are both open — or unencrypted — and secure — or encrypted — connections available. All one needs to get on the wireless network is a Texas State NetID and password, a laptop running

Windows 98 SE or better or Mac OS X 10.3.8 or better, a wireless card and applicable patches to your operation system. Students must also be in range of a wireless access point, which can be found at buildings and locations such as Alkek Library, Commons Dining Hall and Old Main, just to name a few. For more information on access points and how to configure laptops, visit http://www.css.txstate. edu/wireless/index.htm.


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Bicycles viable alternative to automobiles, walking “B By Andrea L. Short The University Star

Since 2002, local activists for cycling and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee have been pushing for improvements of roads and sidewalks in and around San Marcos. After four years of debate, the city of San Marcos’ Transportation Department and voting residents of San Marcos approved the Bicycle and Pedestrian Element of the Proposed Transportation Code. As of right now, there are only two streets with official bike lanes in San Marcos — Holland Street and Comanche Street. “Biking around town can be dangerous without proper space for cyclists and motorists,” said Alex Langridge of Al’s Freewheelin’ Cycles. The plan to introduce more accessible bike lanes throughout the city went through several edits before city officials were happy with the entire proposal and residents were allowed to vote on its passage. City workers have taken steps to repair damages on some roads, such as filling potholes, smoothing out surfaces on roads and sidewalks and reconstructing select streets for better use overall. The construction and maintenance of bike and walk lanes is tentatively scheduled for either next year or in 2008, said Senior City Planner Holly Mullins. “There’s not going to be a lot

iking around town can be dangerous without proper space for cyclists and motorists.”

— Alex Langridge, Al’s Freewheelin’ Cycles

of actual construction yet. It will take about five years for the project to (be completed),” Mullins said. With so many students in San Marcos and so much available housing near the Texas State campus, alternative transportation, such as biking, is a more viable option. Biking isn’t just good exercise, it also diminishes carbon dioxide emissions, saves gas money, reduces traffic congestion and doesn’t take up precious parking spots. For the budget and environmentally conscious student, biking is a great way to get from place to place. If you’re not much of a cyclist, there are three types of bikes you should know about: The road bike, the hybrid and the mountain bike. Road bikes are the most simplistic, with smooth tires for riding on smooth terrain, such as sidewalks and bike lanes.

Mountain bikes are sturdier, with more traction on the wheels, and have better shock absorption for gliding over bumps and rocks. The hybrid is a combination of the two and is the most popular pick. Prices range from $150 to $400 per bike, depending on the customization and quality of the bike. You can customize your bike by selecting the color of the bike, wheel types, a padded or basic seat and other accessories. Once you’ve invested in a good bike, cyclists have some road rules to follow. The Texas Transportation Code states that cyclists have the same rules and rights of other vehicle operators. Cyclists are required to ride near the curb and go in the direction of the flow of traffic, keep at least one hand on the handle bars, wear a helmet, use hand and arm signals, have only one rider per saddle and have a white light on the front and red reflector on the back when riding at night. If you’re planning on biking to campus, register your bike with the University Police Department; it helps officers locate your bike if it is ever stolen. For bicycles and accessories, visit Al’s Freewheelin’ Cycles located at 230 N. LBJ Drive, or Pedal Power Bicycles, located at 217 E. Hopkins St. in downtown San Marcos. Both stores have a variety of bikes, scooters, helmets, locks, carrying baskets, tire pumps, gloves and clothing.

David Racino/Star photo WHEEL WISHING: James Webb, owner of New Revolution Cycles in Kyle, assists a customer shopping for a new bike in his shop on Monday afternoon. Through the patience and dedication of local biking enthusiasts, the city of San Marcos has approved a plan to build more biking lanes during the next five years.


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Central Texas summer tubing guide By Maira Garcia The University Star Tubing is a Texas institution. It is a break from the “squareness” of a swimming pool and a chance to enjoy a more natural approach to cooling down on a hot Texas day. Once the temperature hits anywhere near 80 degrees, people already have their swimsuit on and tube in hand. Riverbanks fill with people eager to set a tube in the water and crack open a cold one. What makes tubing such a popular recreation activity is how easy and relaxing it can

be. You’re hot; so you dip your lower torso into the water. You’re thirsty, and you reach over to the cooler tube and grab a drink. You get tired; so you sit on the tube. It’s the ultimate lazy day ritual. Texas Parks and Wildlife lists 15 major river systems in the state that snake their way across the landscape. Two of these, which include the Guadalupe and Frio River, have become meccas for tubing enthusiasts. However, smaller rivers like the San Marcos and Comal are also tubing hotspots on a smaller scale. With its rising popularity, landowners have caught on to the tubing demand and have set

The Lodge at Turkey Cove 2386 Colleen Drive Canyon Lake Located on Canyon Lake, The Lodge at Turkey Cove offers a waterfront view. Rooms start at $79, and groups are welcome with prior reservations.

up shop along the river. Not only can you rent a tube from river outfitters along the river, you can get a ride back to your car on a shuttle, eat food from a nearby restaurant or rest up on one of the campgrounds or lodges for multiple days of tubing. Prices to rent a tube along the river vary between $10 and $20, but the high price is to accommodate for shuttles. Because tubing rides can last anywhere from 2 hours to all day, the difference from where you started to where you end can be miles. In addition, if you have a large group of tubers, reservations help outfitters make the most of

Maricopa River Lodge Highway 306 Canyon Lake This lodge along the river is 15 miles west of New Braunfels and near Canyon Lake. The lodge has 19 units, some with kitchenettes, and provides discounts for large groups and military personnel. Custom tubing, kayaking, canoeing and rafting trips are available that last from one hour to all day. Free shuttle service and parking is provided.

your trip by being able to plan the ride out and reserve a campground or lodge for your party. Not to mention some offer discounts for larger groups. The duration of a tubing ride consists of two main factors: where you start along the river and what the water flow is like for that day. The Army Corps of Engineers measures river flow by cubic feet per second. One cubic foot per second is equivalent to 449 gallons per minute. According to the Web site river-fun. com, 100 to 500 CFs is considered recreational flow, 500 to 800 CFs is challenging flow, 800 to 1200 CFs is aggressive flow

River Sports Tubes Intersection of FM 306 & FM 2673 Canyon Lake River Sports Tubes, which is located 12 miles west of New Braunfels on the “Horseshoe Loop,” offers long and short tube rides down the Guadalupe River. Tube rentals are between $14 and $22, life jackets, shuttles and parking are free with a rental. River Sports also offers various discounts for general public groups, college students and military personnel on weekdays and weekends. Reservations are requested for groups of 30 or more on Saturday floats.

and any number above 1200 CFs does not allow tubing, only guided rafting. River outfitters are the best guides in combining the factors and determining where to start tubing. No matter where you decide to begin your tubing ride, several TPW laws must be kept in mind. Alcohol consumption is allowed on the rivers, but glass and Styrofoam are not permitted and can be confiscated. Access points to the river are only allowed at places where a public road crosses the stream, through a public boat launch or where public land, such as a park, is adjacent to water. River outfitters are the

only way to access private property entry points into the river, unless you have a landowner’s permission. Once your tubing trip is planned, remember some important tips to make your trip fun, safe and successful. If you are not a strong swimmer, wear a life jacket. River levels can go from three to 20 feet quickly and there are no lifeguards. So rent a jacket if you don’t own one. Always wear shoes, especially if you plan to wade or walk back to your vehicle. Finally, stay hydrated, wear sun block and have fun.

The Guadalupe and Comal River background: According to TPW, the Guadalupe River is 250 miles long, beginning in Kerr County and draining out into the Gulf of Mexico. It is a popular recreation river and has one major reservoir, Canyon Lake, and seven smaller ones. The 24-mile stretch between Canyon Lake and New Braunfels is the most popular section of the river because of its scenery, falls and dams, making it a whitewater utopia. Joining the Guadalupe at New Braunfels is the Comal River. It is the shortest river in Texas at about 2 1/2 miles.

Rio Raft & Resort 14130 River Road Canyon Lake Situated near Gruene Hall, Rio Raft & Resort has 25 river-view cottages, RV hookups, a camping site, meeting hall, camp store and river trips. Cottages start as low as $65 a night and tent/RV sites at $21. River trips range from two to six hours and give you a choice of tubing, kayaking or rafting. Tubes without bottoms are $12 and $13 with bottoms. Tubing trips all have a free shuttle upriver. Rafts and kayaks are $22 per person. There is also an upper Guadalupe raft trip that is about three to four hours long and is $28 with shuttle. Reservations are required for this trip.

Lazy L&L Campgrounds 11699 River Road New Braunfels The Lazy L & L Campgrounds are situated on 25 acres of land on the Guadalupe River. Tent and RV camping sites are available. In addition, the Meckel Haus, with accommodation for four, is available to rent. Lazy L has a camp store with souvenirs and necessities for your trip. Hot showers and a grill are also available. Tube rentals begin at $10 and rafts are $24. Parking is free with a rental and shuttles are provided for free as well for the first trip and $8 for each additional trip.

Janie’s Riverbank 6000 River Road New Braunfels Located between the first and second crossing on the Guadalupe, Janie’s Riverbank has several tubing and raft rides that range between two and seven hours. Tubes range from $12 to $18 and kayaks, canoes and rafts begin at $23.50. Private shuttles are also available for $10 per person.

Brynn Leggett/Star photo Rockin ‘R’ River Rides 1405 Gruene Road New Braunfels 1-800-55-FLOAT Rockin ‘R’ is by far the largest river outfitter not just on the Guadalupe, but on the Comal River as well. They have four tube and raft rental locations along the Guadalupe, three campground sites, four souvenir shops and the Waterfront Grill and Catering restaurant. Started in 1979, the outfitter has experience in setting up group tubing rides, rafting, teambuilding river ropes courses and information on river conditions. Shuttles are available to drive you back to the starting point. Reservations can be made any time of the year.

Brynn Leggett/Star photo

Texas Tubes 250 Meusebach St. New Braunfels Texas Tubes is located on the Comal River and offers about a two-hour float. They open at 9 a.m. and close at dark. Tubes run between $13 to $18, depending on whether you need one with a bottom or one for a cooler. Life jackets are free with any rental. If you already own a tube, river entry is $5 and $4 to use the shuttle. Shuttles drive you back and forth to the entry point.

Gruene River Company 1404 Gruene Road New Braunfels The Gruene River Company offers not only tubes, but kayaks, canoes and rafts as well. It offers trips lasting anywhere from one and a half hours to six hours, depending of river flow. Tubes range from $12 to $18. Rafts, kayaks and canoes start at $25. These prices do not include the $1 Water Oriented Recreation Tax used for law enforcement and cleanup. In addition, the Gruene River Company has a gift shop and hot showers available for after your tubing ride.

Brynn Leggett/Star photo


Thursday, June 1, 2006

The San Marcos River background: The San Marcos River, which also eventually joins the Guadalupe, is 75 miles long and begins at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos. It has some rapids, but also has pools of calm water, such as those in Sewell Park. A large segment of the river near the Rio Vista dam is currently off limits as the dam is being renovated.

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Joe’s Crab Shack 100 Sessom Drive Dropping into the San Marcos River at the small stretch of water between Joe’s Crab Shack and Clear Springs Apartments provides the potential for the longest float. This water is also very shallow on the Sessom Drive side of the river, which allows tubers to load up a cooler tube and drop in with minimal risk of flipping their tube. This drop-in point does, however, require floating under the Aquarena Springs Drive bridge — not a trip for the claustrophobic. Also, the waterfall directly under Joe’s packs a deadly undertow that has drowned several swimmers, so steer clear. The Lions Club 170 Bobcat Drive San Marcos (512) 396-5466 The most common entry point for tubers on the San Marcos River is at City Park in front of The Lions Club Tube Rentals. The best-known establishment in San Marcos for tube rentals and purchases, The Lions Club charges $6 for single tubes and $8 for single tubes with bottoms, with a $15 deposit required for singles. Double tube rentals are $12 without bottoms and $14 with bottoms with a $30 deposit required for either. The Lions Club also sells $20 tubes made of a very thick, durable material that are well worth the expense.

Rio Vista Park 555 Cheatham St. San Marcos The tube chute at Rio Vista Park is a quick but breathtaking ride for tubers willing to go the distance on the San Marcos. The once six-foot drop has now been converted into three two-foot chutes. Each chute leads tubers into a pool area. This spot marks roughly the halfway mark for the longest tubing route. Or, for those who are just looking for a quick dip, the park is a good exit point, less than an hour’s float from Sewell Park. People can also sunbathe on the granite boulders spread throughout Rio Vista or the limestone banks. Tubers who do exit here should do so before the chute, as the current may prove too strong to get to shore beyond that point. Parking is available across the street from the San Marcos River Pub and on the west side of the river. Also, The Lions Club offers a shuttle that picks tubers up here until 6:45 p.m. Use of the shuttle is included with tube rental from The Lions Club and costs $1.50 for those who bring their own tubes. Anyone starting upriver of Rio Vista must be aware of the fact the dam is being renovated. That means tubers must get out of the water several hundred yards upriver. The city reopened Rio Vista on May 25, but certain areas will be closed until June 21 so grass can grow, according to Dan O’Leary, San Marcos city manager.

“Thompson’s Island” If you choose to take the longer trip, you’ll meet a fork in the river at the area sometimes called “Thompson’s Island” by locals. On the left fork, the river slows and becomes murky and uninviting, so tubers are advised to take the right fork. At the fork, the river narrows and descends into a small but treacherous falls, so you will have to haul your tube over the artificial concrete and limestone bank on the left side of the falls. This stop can be seen as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience, though. The bank is a great place to pause for some sunny relaxation, and the falls provide a wonderful swimming and climbing area. Though it is a privately owned area, the owner is friendly to those who stay on the right side of the “island” where the waterfalls are. However, he will get upset if you venture into the grassy left side where he has erected a fence to discourage river patrons from roaming onto his land.

John J. Stokes San Marcos River State Park Cape Road Bridge over San Marcos River This is the final exit point for tubers on the San Marcos (without venturing on into Martindale), about 20 minutes past the fork at Thompson’s Island and about two or three hours from the start of the trip, depending how long you spend relaxing beside the river. There is parking available here off Cape Road, but remember, you’ll need to have two vehicles, one parked here and another at your starting point. You’ll also want to make sure to leave your towels in the vehicle at the exit point. You may want to take some time to dry off before heading home, but remember, alcohol is prohibited at Stokes Park, so keep it legal.

Star file photos

And now, stay tuned for ...


up y’all, and welcome to the first edition of Pimp My Tube. It’s getting hot already, and that means one thing for the seasoned river rat: tubin’. Sure, you could just grab any old thing that floats and jump on the river with it, but to get the full-fledged fun that the river offers, you gotta pimp it out. What we’re going to do today is show y’all some phat accessories that you can add to your own float to impress the ladies and party with the dudes. From adding tunes to getting a floating ice chest in order, your tube can be the envy of every other Jo Blo that is kickin’ it on the water, We’ve organized the merchandise on a scale from good to best, so regardless of your cash flow, there is definitely something out there that you can get to pimp your tube.

The Tubes: A regular truck inner tube.


Pros: Cheap, easy to find. Cons: gets hot in the sun, not always comfortable. Cost: $15-$20

The Ice Chests: Mega Chill inflatable floatable ice chest. Pros: Inexpensive, deflates for easy storage. Cons: Top does not seal

The Sounds: AM/FM shower radio. Pros: Cheap and water-resistant. Cons: Only receives radio transmissions. Cost: $10

closed. Cost: $15 Dream Gear Boom Boom Box.

The Trek-n-Tube. Pros: Folds into a backpack


for easy carrying when deflated, includes cup holders, headrest, handles and small compartments for drinks. Cons: A little pricey. Cost: $50

Pros: Inexpensive, water-reRegular ice chest inside a tube. Pros: Easy to find, may use any ice chest that fits. Cons: Requires extra tube and can be unstable in rapids. Cost: Varies

sistant, accepts input from any audio source including MP3 players and iPods, which are contained and sealed from the environment. Cons: Some may not want to risk getting nice players wet. Cost: $20

The Creek Company


Round Float. Pros: Heavy

Big Bobber floating ice chest.

duty construction, lots of

Pros: Sturdy plastic, seals

storage space, headrest,

closed and floats evenly.

designed for fishing. Cons:

Cons: A bit expensive. Cost:

Pricey, may be too much


tube for some. Cost: $80

Shower CD player. Pros: Water-resistant, plays CDs, CDRWs, and MP3 CDs which are themselves waterproof. Cons: Some models cost too much. Cost: $40

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Thursday, June 1, 2006


Thursday, June 1, 2006

The University Star - Page C11



Images courtesy of

Texas State staff member pens Texas ghost stories By Nixon Guerrero The University Star There are a series of primitive and basic emotions experienced the world over. Among them — fear. Texas State author, Scott Johnson, is intimately familiar with this. Fear is the foundation of his literary career that’s begotten four horror novels — An American Haunting, Deadlands, and The Mayor’s Guide: The Stately Ghosts of Augusta — with Cane River: A Ghost Story being his latest, which will hit bookstores this September. Cane River is the second of a series of books that focus on Texas ghost tales. “After the tragic death of his wife and unborn child, Bill returns home to Cane River, where his father is known as the town loony and roots run deep beneath the surface,” according to Johnson grew up in the swampland town of Lake Jackson, Texas where he was recently inducted into the Lake Jackson Museum Touched by Fame exhibit. His first novel, An American Haunting, was released in 2004 by Harbor House Books. Inspired by real events, it tells the story of a family that has found the perfect house — or so it would appear. After they move in, their lives are soon torn apart and they become enslaved by malevolent evil forces. His subsequent novel, Deadlands, was released in 2005. In a post-apocalyptic setting, the world is left in ruin with humans no longer being the dominant species. Humans are living underground to escape the punishing heat of day and more

If you manage to make them feel something with words on a page, you’ve accomplished your goal. To me, horror is one of the greatest expressions of that. Fear is the strongest emotion there is and scaring an audience through words is a difficult task. I think that the distinction between “genre” fiction and “literary” or “popular” fiction is a false one. The Star: Have you always — Scott Johnson had an interest in the supernatuTexas State author ral and things that go bump in the night? And if so, when did Wilson. He was the first person you know that you would/could who encouraged my weird sense share that interest with the world of humor and macabre sensi- through writing? bilities. I submitted a few stories SJ: I was a kind of creepy kid. after being in his class and when I grew up in a town where, quite they got accepted by a few pub- literally, you couldn’t go more lications, I started to think seri- than a few blocks without runously about writing. ning into another ghost story. In The Star: As a young man, did fact, a pair of brothers owned the you see yourself as a writer in the land the town was built upon, future? one of whom shot and beheaded SJ: No. Not ever. I saw myself the other. The whole town is litas an actor, or maybe a police- tered in folklore and legend, so I man — never a writer. grew up with ghosts and boogiThe Star: When did you know emen. I was actually very easily you wanted to be a genre writer? frightened as a child, but I grew I know there can be a stigma to love that feeling. that other “legit” writers associThe Star: You now have four ate with genre writing. What are horror novels under your belt, some of your feelings on that? with Cane River being you latest. SJ: It’s not really so much Can you tell me a little bit about a question of when I knew I that? wanted to write horror — that’s SJ: Cane River: A Ghost Stojust all that’s ever interested me. ry was inspired a great deal by I grew up around ghost sto- my hometown. It’s a small Texries and watching every hor- as town with a tragic past that ror movie I could get my hands comes back to haunt people on, reading every horror book whose roots go very deep in the that came within arms reach. town. To me, the whole purpose of The Star: Where do you get creative writing is to make an most of you ideas and inspiraemotional connection with your tions? reader. You have to make them SJ: Everywhere. Dreams, confeel one way or another about versations, the news, old legends, your characters, about what’s you name it — I’ve drawn inspihappening, about your story. ration from it.

love the people I work with and “I I get to do some really fun things, interview some interesting people and

see some of the creepiest stuff you’ve ever seen. The Horror Channel is home to me as much as is Texas State.”

importantly, to hide from the “Rotters” — the hungry and outnumbering race of the dead. Also released in 2005 was The Mayor’s Guide: The Stately Ghosts of Augusta in 2005. The Mayor’s Guide is actually a series of books to come, with Augusta being the first. Augusta is analysis of the city’s rich and haunting past. Johnson also serves as the paranormal studies and literary editor for The Horror Channel, where he pens a column, Cold Spots, twice a month about real haunted places in the U.S. Johnson had a few moments for a quick and informative interview. The University Star: First off, how did you know you wanted to become a writer? Was it something that you stumbled upon or were you guided along the way by, say, a mentor of sorts? Scott Johnson: I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. I never thought I could do this. I always enjoyed telling stories around campfires, that sort of thing, but I never thought anyone would find something I wrote worth reading. When I got to Texas State, I enrolled in a creative fiction class with professor Miles

The Star: I know some writers are literally jotting down their dreams. So how about it? Do you have spooky dreams? SJ: Occasionally, but they don’t really bother me so much. I actually look forward to them. The Star: I understand you’re also a contributing columnist to The Horror Channel. How’d you go about getting that gig and how do you like it? SJ: I’m actually the paranormal studies and literary editor for The Horror Channel. I got the gig by being in the right place at the right time, I suppose. I have a very strong work ethic and when they called and asked me if I was interested, I agreed. I love my job with them. I love the people I work with and I get to do some really fun things, interview some interesting people and see some of the creepiest stuff you’ve ever seen. The Horror Channel is home to me as much as is Texas State. The Star: Since you have visited so many sites across America for you column, what stands out as one of the creepiest? SJ: There are several. One that comes to mind is the LaLorie House in New Orleans, where a woman tortured many people to death in the attic. Another, Cheseman Park in Colorado, which many people don’t realize was a cemetery, or that there are more than 2000 bodies still buried there. The favorite, when I’m talking to groups, however, is the haunted doll, Robert, in Key

West Florida. For some reason, he can creep people out more than any other story I tell. The Star: I’ve got to ask. There’s an understanding that you’ve a predilection towards the eighties band Oingo-Boingo. So, what about the band do you love? Is it calming, motivating? SJ: Hah! Oingo Boingo was fronted by Danny Elfman, who writes some of the most interesting and beautiful scores to horror and twistedly funny movies in the world. Their song “Dead Man’s Party” always struck me as funny and kind of became the song by which I was identified among my friends. Oingo Boingo always, to me, was that twisted sense of humor inside horror that I’ve always found appealing. I’m still a big fan of horror and goth rock, which surprises many people who know me. I’m also a big fan of blues. The Star: What advice for budding writers do you have? SJ: Two things — read everything you can get your hands on, especially by the people you consider to be masters of your genre. For me, it was Clive Barker, Steven King and Richard Matheson. Second; write every day, come hell or high water. Don’t ever stop writing. Your imagination is just like any other muscle: You use it or it atrophies and dies. Work that muscle every day. The Star: Finally, I know it may be difficult or maybe not, but if you could describe Cane River in three words, what would they be? SJ: Texas … Gothic … Ghosts.


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Thursday, June 1, 2006

Boot-scootin’ swingers Fans of traditional country dance make the most of festival in The Square Photos by Mark Decker As Jerome Stubbs (right photo), from Still Swingin’, a Central Texas swing band, plucks the strings of his guitar strings on a sunny Saturday afternoon on May 20, at least 200 people reclined in the shade and enjoyed the music, food and boot-scooting of the 2006 Texas Natural and Western Swing Festival. The event is held annually at The Square and celebrates Texas traditions. In addition to the 10-member group Still Swingin’, Texas bands Aaron

Allan and Friends, the Damian Green Band, the Texas Playboy Reunion and more performed at the festival. People chose between an all-youcan-eat catfish dinner, cobbler tasting and local food booths for original Texas dining. Children enjoyed free wagon rides and art activities, and a market place featured the works of various artisans from Texas. The city of San Marcos, Hays County, San Marcos Daily Record, Texas State University and Freedman Ranch were all sponsors to the event.

onlineconnection For an multimedia presentation of this event visit


Thursday, June 1, 2006


The University Star - Page C13

Complete the grid so that every row, column, and 3-by-3 box contains every digit from one through nine inclusively.

© Pappocom

timeless... elegant...

classy... Very Easy




April 27 solution:

onlineconnection Sudoku answers will be available online all summer long. Visit

(and you ca


✯Star Comics

April 27 solutions:

Go to for today’s answers.

n read it, to


Page C14 - The University Star


Thursday, June 1, 2006

06 01 2006 Section C