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Page A2 - The University Star

NEWS

NEWS

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SECTION A Higher Education board member speaks at summer commencement – A3 Summer headline news in review – A4 Summit promotes harmony, unity through cultural diversity – A5 Pugh, Dabney propose methods to build connection with students – A6

Auto collision claims life of active alumnus • Missing Bobcat found alive, well in Costa Rica – A7 News Briefs – A8 South American students find environmental differences in U.S. – A10 Hispanic Serving Institution status expected in near future - A11 Teenage echolocation celebrity faces fight with cancer – A12 UT competes with other universities to build most powerful supercomputer – A13 Resident assistants complete fire safety training • Study rates reasons students have sex – A13 Big study in Texas’ Big Thicket – A14 Opinions – A15

TRENDS

SECTION B Sweetest Thing: Texas bakery cooks up 132 years of memories – B2 Outdoor theater summer performances present new experiences – B3 Good hair isn’t just style, it’s a personal statement – B4 Local boat tours offer new view of underwater life – B5 Parking Services does more than ticket students – B6 Sixty miles closer: Breast Cancer 3-Day walk bold way to find cure – B7 Luling farmers’ markets provide locally grown, fresh produce – B9 Voting by the books • ‘Going green’ saves students’ greenbacks – B10 New rules affect Austin late-night club scene – B10 Rix’s Technology Fixes • Live music calendar – B11

SPORTS

SECTION C Sport of passion takes over San Marcos - C4 2007 All-Southland Conference Football Preseason Teams and Polls – C4 Veteran defensive linemen will anchor Bobcats one more season – C5 Football fanatics rejoice, it’s almost time again – C5 Sports Briefs – C7 Division I name change – C8 Southland Conference, Big 12 officials set to collaborate – C9 New coaching style for Cowboys could spell defensive success – C9 Intramural Sports Schedule Fall 2007 – C11 Tragedy to Triumph • Olympic pride? – C12

Hi there everyone, It feels so good to be back in Texas. I spent my summer in Washington, D.C., completing an internship at Hispanic Link, a news service reporting on all things Hispanic. I visited San Jose, Calif. for a week in June as well, writing for the newspaper of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists annual convention. I missed Texas’ open fields, Sonic burgers, driving to the outlet malls and all my family and friends while I was away. I would get homesick from time to time, but the entire experience taught me an important lesson I forgot since coming to Texas State: It can be tough moving to a new city, but it is up to you to make the best of it. I decided traveling across the country was going to be awesome, and it was just that. I saw the West and East Coasts for the first time, made some great friends, reported on Capitol Hill and managed to get a number of decent news stories published. This will go down as one of the best summers of my life. The first year of college is similar in a lot of ways. You are away from family, friends and home, but it is exciting to be in another place. San Marcos is a hip town if you ask me, and a lot better than the place 30 miles north on IH-35. At what other campus in Texas can you walk in the footsteps of famous president, swim the river between classes, get a great education from some pretty renowned professors and get the best quesadilla ever right in The Quad? I’m extremely excited about this coming year and it is my hope we can keep you abreast of all things Texas State and San Marcos. My Managing Editor Sydney Granger has been running the show

since I’ve been gone and I have no doubt the entire staff of The University Star will continue to report on everything you need to know. Our paper is almost completely student-run. Starting Aug. 28, we will publish three times a week, Tuesday through Thursday, and continuing throughout the school year. The Star publishes special issues throughout the school year as well — such as the one you are holding — with subjects ranging from fall sports to Valentine’s Day. The most important thing I want everyone to remember is this is your paper and we want to hear from you. Send us letters, give us a call or even stop by if you want to know more about us. The Star is always looking for hard-working students who want to learn to write, edit, sharpen up their skills in design or photography or make the big bucks selling ads. If you are in an organization or a student with some news to share, let us know. We like news tips a lot. I wish everyone good luck and I hope you come to love San Marcos and Texas State as much as I do. Here’s to a new semester and new beginnings.

Sincerely,

Maira Lysette Garcia Editor in Chief The University Star P.S. Eat ‘em up ‘Cats!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NEWS

The University Star - Page A3

Higher Education board member speaks at summer commencement By Nick Georgiou News Editor

us to invest in our future. In the real world, for example, rising living standards do not create pollution; instead The keynote speaker at the Aug. 11 they create an informed middle class summer commencement ceremony that works to reduce pollution.” made the same deal to the crowd his Nicolas Kindley, College of Liberal wife’s commencement speaker made Arts graduate, said he did not like 28 years ago. how Heldenfels’ speech was geared “I’ll promise to be brief, if you prom- FRED HELDENFELS toward business, considering it was ise to listen,” Fred W. Heldenfels told the ceremony for the College of Libthe excited crowd of Texas State graduates, eral Arts and Science. their family and friends. “To be honest, I wasn’t impressed,” Kindley Heldenfels is a member of the Texas Higher said. Education Coordinating Board and president As a prelude to the five road rules, Karlgaard and chief executive officer of Heldenfels Enter- wrote in the column, “(American) colleges are prises, Inc., a company based in San Marcos supposedly the best, but a deeper look into that manufactures and installs prestressed this claim is scary. This reputation rides too concrete structures. much on America’s position in science, engiSpeaking to graduates from the College of neering, medicine, law and business schools Liberal Arts and Science, Heldenfels encour- — the paths of rigor. aged each to embrace three aspirations. The “Meanwhile, the softer path — the liberal first was to be grateful. arts curriculum in American universities — is a “Look up in the bleachers and around this joke. It has become an asylum for haters, anarstage — your mom and dad, your grandma chists and cranks.” and grandpa, brothers and sisters, uncles and Heldenfels did not mention this part of the aunts, and spouses — each have helped you to article. get to this day,” Heldenfels said. “Later this Ann Marie Ellis, dean of the College of Libday, when you go out to celebrate — and I know eral Arts, said she could not offer a comment you will — be sure to say, ‘thank you,’ for their on whether it may have been inappropriate sacrifice and their love.” that Heldenfels’ referenced an article saying He said the graduates should thank their pro- the liberal arts curriculum is a joke. fessors, not only the ones at Texas State, but “There was something wrong with the sound any teacher that may have impacted or made system at commencement,” Ellis said in an ean impression on their life. Ministers and pas- mail. “It has been better in past years, but this tors should also be on that list, he said. year it was impossible to hear the speaker. So, “They guided, taught and mentored,” Hel- I didn’t hear any of his speech. I cannot, theredenfels said. “They make a difference in your fore, comment on what he said.” life, so today and tomorrow, be grateful.” Frank de la Teja, chair of the history departThe second aspiration was to be gifted and ment, attended the ceremony and offered his the third, to be giving. take on Heldenfels’ speech and article in ques“God gives us each a set of gifts,” he said. tion. “Why? Because each of us — each of you — was “(Heldenfels) did not impugn the reputation created for a purpose.” of either in the college in general or faculty in Toribio Gomez, Jr., College of Liberal Arts particular, so nowhere in his address did he graduate, said he disagreed with Heldenfels us- give any indication that he was taking the Coling the religious comment in the speech. lege of Liberal Arts to task,” de la Teja said. “I think (he was referencing) more the JudeoKindley said it was still inappropriate for Christian god, and maybe some people (who Heldenfels to reference an article that takes were in the audience) weren’t Judeo-Chris- aim at the liberal arts curriculum. tians,” Gomez said. “I just think sometimes “I don’t think it’s OK at all,” Kindley said. we have a habit of adding the Judeo-Christian Julie Allbaugh, College of Liberal Arts gradumoral values into our speeches and he did in ate, agreed with Kindley. the end.” “As a speaker, with respect to all the people After discussing the three aspirations, Hel- I’m helping to congratulate, I wouldn’t have denfels focused the rest of his speech on a used that,” Allbaugh said. column written by Rich Karlgaard, publisher However, Allbaugh said she believes Heldenof Forbes magazine. In the column, Karlgaard fels did the “best he could with the information writes about five “road rules” college gradu- he had.” ates should follow. These five road rules are At the end of the day, the Texas State colpurpose, priorities, preparation, partnering lege graduates were festive and celebrating and perseverance. their accomplishment with proud family mem“Write down your plans, figure out how to fit bers and friends. your purpose and contribution into an increas“Honestly, I had a wonderful graduation and ingly global, capitalistic economy and thrive on I see a great future for me and many of the our free market,” Heldenfels said. “In the real people that sat in that auditorium,” Allbaugh world, the pie, the resources and the wealth is said. “This world is full of diverse opinions and not fixed; it’s growing all the time. Profits allow everyone can see their own way in life.”

Monty Marion/Star photo WORDS TO LIVE BY: Students listen as Fred W. Heldenfels, president and CEO of Heldenfels Enterprises, Inc. addresses the graduates at the summer commencement ceremony held Aug. 11 in Strahan Coliseum.


Page A4 - The University Star

NEWS

Summer headline news in review UNIVERSITY President removed from office Kyle Morris, Associated Student Government president for the 2006-2007 school year, was removed from office May 25 by the administration — six days before his term officially ended. He was relieved of his duties because of the claim he did not meet one of the qualifications to be ASG president. The university’s investigation confirmed Morris did not meet the requirement that states the ASG president has to be a full-time student unless it is his or her final semester of study. Morris graduated in August.

SWT alumnus, Army captain killed In remembrance of Southwest Texas State University alumnus Capt. James “Alex” Funkhouser, who died on Memorial Day of last year in Baghdad, an inscribed bronze plaque was mounted on the wall of the Frio Building May 28.

University settled lawsuits Texas State settled two lawsuits, one involving a former tenured professor and the other a former high-ranking staff member. The university will pay the plaintiffs a combined $386,000.

‘Body farm’ site undetermined

Student fees improperly handled

Texas State continues to search for a location to build the 17-acre forensics research facility. The original location proposed was located on Texas Highway 21, near the San Marcos Municipal Airport, but concerns were raised about vultures that may hover over the facility would pose a danger for planes.

Student legislation passed during the spring semester, that allocated a total of $40,000 in student service fees, did not go through the proper channels of the administration. The new ASG leadership will determine what happens with the three pieces of legislation.

Former Bobcat killed in Iraq A former Texas State student died in Baghdad May 21 after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle. Michael Warner Davis was 22. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart at his June 1 memorial service held at the Hays County Veterans Memorial.

ASG Constitution under review Several amendments made to the ASG Constitution last semester did not receive final approval by the administration. The amendments present potential conflicts with university and Regents’ Rules. A constitutional review committee will examine the amendments and potential conflicts and submit a report to University President Denise Trauth. The committee will be composed of students.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SRC expansion underway The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved an expansion to the Student Recreation Center May 18. The 94,000 square-foot expansion will include a new eight-lane lap pool, a rock climbing facility, a leisure pool, increased space for the weight room and cardiovascular areas, additional basketball and volleyball courts, an indoor soccer field, a golf simulator, a computer lab and a snack bar lounge area. The expansion is projected to be completed by the fall 2008.

LOCAL AND STATE Murder suspect hid in San Marcos A murder suspect fled to a friend’s house in San Marcos after fatally shooting his girlfriend July 13 in Fort Worth. After receiving a tip from Fort Worth police, local authorities located the suspect and a four-hour standoff ensued. He eventually surrendered and was arrested.

Incessant rainfall claimed lives Approximately 15 people died from the persistent rain and flooding that occurred throughout June and July. For more than 40 days, at least one part of Texas received an abundance of rainfall.

Greenbelt will be built Texas State, the city of San Marcos and Hays County successfully secured 251 acres of land that will be preserved as a greenbelt. The undeveloped land is adjacent to Aquarena Springs and will be used to build a new city park.


NEWS

Page A6 - The University Star

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pugh, Dabney propose methods to build connection with students By Nick Georgiou News Editor Despite being one of the main forums of student opinion on campus, many Associated Student Government members believe their organization has a visibility problem. But the new ASG leadership is set on correcting this. “We want people to know who we are,” said ASG President Reagan Pugh. One of their main goals this semester is to make students aware ASG has a direct impact on the student body. Whether it’s through the $250,000 available in ASG scholarships and the $30,000 in bookstore scholarships, or through the committees they serve on that make recommendations as to where students’ tuition money goes, the members want them to understand ASG impacts the student body in various ways. “I think we’re really going to try to bring back ASG to the students and basically let students know what we’re about, because 99 percent of the people you ask at Texas State, ‘What does ASG do?’ and they have no idea,” said Amanda Mjos, senator off-campus. Traci Adams, senator at-large, who ran on the ticket with Pugh and Vice President Alexis Dabney, said she believes the new ASG leadership will communicate

better with the student body and better serve as their voice. “I think the new leadership is going to ask the students what they want, what they want to do and show them their options and let them know that we’ll speak for them, but we want to know what they want,” Adams said. Adams believes there was not a voice for student opinion with the previous ASG administration. “I didn’t really like the leadership and I didn’t like what they portrayed to the students,” she said. “And I kind of feel like the past relationship we had, and even before that, the students didn’t really have a voice — it was more who was on ASG and that’s kind of what they decided was going to happen.” As one way to increase ASG’s visibility on campus and better serve as the voice of the students, Dabney said they will work on setting up more frequent grievance sessions in The Quad. “We want students to know ASG cares about issues that are pertinent to them and students can come up and say, ‘Do y’all even really do anything?’” Dabney said. “Students can say, ‘I don’t like this,’ and we can take it to the senate meetings and work out some sort of solution. Just being more visible and more available to the student body is a big thing.”

Dabney would like to distribute a monthly newsletter that would cover what ASG has been working on, and what is in the pipeline. “There’s a lot of things that we want to get done and we don’t want to just throw out empty promises — we want to start building relationships and build peoples’ trust in student government so that we have something to keep working on,” Dabney said. “I think a lot of things change from year to year typically in ASG, and as soon as a new administration comes in, everything is thrown out and they reinvent the wheel every year. We want to start laying some foundation that we can really build up of off and really make ASG a strong, visible, student-oriented organization.” As for the ASG president, he has ideas for increasing ASG’s image on campus. He has moved back into the dorms where he hopes to interact with students and bring an open line of communication. He would also like to create a presidential Web log on the ASG Web site. As for specific items to be tackled on the ASG agenda for the semester, they will be discussed during the first couple of ASG meetings. However, pride and traditions, one of Pugh and Dabney’s campaign platforms, looks to be a big topic of discussion.

“There’s been a lot of apathy and not much pride in athletics or even in the school itself,” said Ugochukwu Eziefule, who will be serving his third semester as a representative from the College of Science. Pugh heavily promoted during his campaign moving the football team to Division I-A, now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision. But the June 1 deadline to submit an application quietly passed, with no action taken from the university. The athletics strategic planning subcommittee, composed of top-level administrators and staff members, is currently reviewing the possibility of moving up a division. “Granted, this could be a back burner,” Pugh said. Eziefule supports the move, but he said in order for the football team to move up a division, the university has to show the numbers first. “You have to fill the stands at Strahan Coliseum and Bobcat Stadium every time, regardless of who they play and how good they do,” Eziefule said. “We have to show the nation that we love Texas State and we love the Bobcats, and (ASG) is going to try and put that pride in the students.” While ASG has yet to bang out a more

specific agenda, some things still need to be cleaned up from last semester. Three pieces of legislation allocating about $40,000 in student service fees passed the senate in the spring, but the documents did not go through the proper channels of the university administration. As such, the administration decided to send the pieces of legislation back to the new ASG leadership and let them decide what to do with it. Another issue is the amendments made to the ASG Constitution last semester, which were determined to conflict with ASG’s three governing documents in addition to university and the Board of Regents’ Rules. “That whole issue is kind of a big mess,” Dabney said. “Right now the Code of Laws and ASG Constitution contradict each other in places.” A constitutional rewrite committee, composed entirely of 12 to 15 students, will review the new amendments and make sure they are in accordance with university and Regents’ Rules. The committee is expected to submit their report to University President Denise Trauth before Christmas vacation. “It’s really going to be driven by students, so we’re completely happy by that and something we wanted to see happen anyways,” Dabney said.


NEWS

Page A6 - The University Star

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pugh, Dabney propose methods to build connection with students By Nick Georgiou News Editor Despite being one of the main forums of student opinion on campus, many Associated Student Government members believe their organization has a visibility problem. But the new ASG leadership is set on correcting this. “We want people to know who we are,” said ASG President Reagan Pugh. One of their main goals this semester is to make students aware ASG has a direct impact on the student body. Whether it’s through the $250,000 available in ASG scholarships and the $30,000 in bookstore scholarships, or through the committees they serve on that make recommendations as to where students’ tuition money goes, the members want them to understand ASG impacts the student body in various ways. “I think we’re really going to try to bring back ASG to the students and basically let students know what we’re about, because 99 percent of the people you ask at Texas State, ‘What does ASG do?’ and they have no idea,” said Amanda Mjos, senator off-campus. Traci Adams, senator at-large, who ran on the ticket with Pugh and Vice President Alexis Dabney, said she believes the new ASG leadership will communicate

better with the student body and better serve as their voice. “I think the new leadership is going to ask the students what they want, what they want to do and show them their options and let them know that we’ll speak for them, but we want to know what they want,” Adams said. Adams believes there was not a voice for student opinion with the previous ASG administration. “I didn’t really like the leadership and I didn’t like what they portrayed to the students,” she said. “And I kind of feel like the past relationship we had, and even before that, the students didn’t really have a voice — it was more who was on ASG and that’s kind of what they decided was going to happen.” As one way to increase ASG’s visibility on campus and better serve as the voice of the students, Dabney said they will work on setting up more frequent grievance sessions in The Quad. “We want students to know ASG cares about issues that are pertinent to them and students can come up and say, ‘Do y’all even really do anything?’” Dabney said. “Students can say, ‘I don’t like this,’ and we can take it to the senate meetings and work out some sort of solution. Just being more visible and more available to the student body is a big thing.”

Dabney would like to distribute a monthly newsletter that would cover what ASG has been working on, and what is in the pipeline. “There’s a lot of things that we want to get done and we don’t want to just throw out empty promises — we want to start building relationships and build peoples’ trust in student government so that we have something to keep working on,” Dabney said. “I think a lot of things change from year to year typically in ASG, and as soon as a new administration comes in, everything is thrown out and they reinvent the wheel every year. We want to start laying some foundation that we can really build up of off and really make ASG a strong, visible, student-oriented organization.” As for the ASG president, he has ideas for increasing ASG’s image on campus. He has moved back into the dorms where he hopes to interact with students and bring an open line of communication. He would also like to create a presidential Web log on the ASG Web site. As for specific items to be tackled on the ASG agenda for the semester, they will be discussed during the first couple of ASG meetings. However, pride and traditions, one of Pugh and Dabney’s campaign platforms, looks to be a big topic of discussion.

“There’s been a lot of apathy and not much pride in athletics or even in the school itself,” said Ugochukwu Eziefule, who will be serving his third semester as a representative from the College of Science. Pugh heavily promoted during his campaign moving the football team to Division I-A, now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision. But the June 1 deadline to submit an application quietly passed, with no action taken from the university. The athletics strategic planning subcommittee, composed of top-level administrators and staff members, is currently reviewing the possibility of moving up a division. “Granted, this could be a back burner,” Pugh said. Eziefule supports the move, but he said in order for the football team to move up a division, the university has to show the numbers first. “You have to fill the stands at Strahan Coliseum and Bobcat Stadium every time, regardless of who they play and how good they do,” Eziefule said. “We have to show the nation that we love Texas State and we love the Bobcats, and (ASG) is going to try and put that pride in the students.” While ASG has yet to bang out a more

specific agenda, some things still need to be cleaned up from last semester. Three pieces of legislation allocating about $40,000 in student service fees passed the senate in the spring, but the documents did not go through the proper channels of the university administration. As such, the administration decided to send the pieces of legislation back to the new ASG leadership and let them decide what to do with it. Another issue is the amendments made to the ASG Constitution last semester, which were determined to conflict with ASG’s three governing documents in addition to university and the Board of Regents’ Rules. “That whole issue is kind of a big mess,” Dabney said. “Right now the Code of Laws and ASG Constitution contradict each other in places.” A constitutional rewrite committee, composed entirely of 12 to 15 students, will review the new amendments and make sure they are in accordance with university and Regents’ Rules. The committee is expected to submit their report to University President Denise Trauth before Christmas vacation. “It’s really going to be driven by students, so we’re completely happy by that and something we wanted to see happen anyways,” Dabney said.


NEWS

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The University Star - Page A7

Auto collision claims life of active alumnus By Alex Hering News Reporter

Daniel Reiter, who graduated from Texas State in May, could be seen some afternoons in the In a bustling, busy place filled shade of the big trees walking on with unfamiliar faces, one stood a nylon rope suspended between out among the rest. Daniel Reit- two thick tree trunks. This is a er was that familiar face. Stand- balancing sport known as slacking tall with distinctive brown lining, where, as opposed to curly hair and an affinity for tightrope walking, the nylon line reading, philosophy and slack- stretches and bounces. lining, Reiter could often be “He would always be out by found outdoors or volunteering. the river, yeah, that was Daniel,” On June 19, two days after Susan Reiter said. “He could do being the best all sorts of craman at his zy tricks on it. brother’s wedAnybody who ding, Reiter’s would walk by, life came to he would try an abrupt end. to teach them Always one to how to do it. be helping and He loved doing lending a hand, that.” Reiter was runAs an active ning errands member of the in northwest Campus CruHarris County sade for Christ, — Susan Reiter when a Nissan a Mitte Scholar Xterra collided for all four mother of Daniel Reiter head-on with years at Texas his pickup truck. The 16-year- State, and one-time president old Xterra driver was racing the of the group, Daniel Reiter had driver of a Nissan Titan when his “finger in so many pies it the accident occurred. was hard to keep track of all of Reiter was taken from the them.” He was on the dean’s list scene of the accident in critical almost every semester since his condition, but later died from freshman year. sustaining blunt force injuries. “He wanted to go into minisHe was the only fatality. The 19- try,” Susan Reiter said. “He was year-old passenger in Reiter’s going to work with the inner city car, the 17-year-old driver of the kids. Ever since he was young, Titan and a passenger in the he was so centered on life and Xterra were hospitalized. The on Christ. That is my favorite Xterra driver was not transport- thing about him.” ed to a hospital. Daniel Reiter could often be On June 22, Reiter’s life was found reading on his hammock celebrated by more than 600 at his duplex on Sagewood, people in Spring, Texas. where he lived for two years “From the beginning, we with his friend Josh Brondidn’t want to focus on how he leewe. But Reiter loved many died but how he lived,” said things. Reiter’s mother, Susan Reiter. “First and foremost was “He lived every second of his Christ,” Susan Reiter said. life — he didn’t waste a minute “Then his family — he adored of it.” his three little brothers. He A regular at Sewell Park, loved Texas State, he had so

many friends there. He loved the Hill Country, rock climbing and Campus Crusade.” The young man who “everyone considered their best friend,” Daniel Reiter was someone with an eclectic sense of humor and wit. “Dan was always just Dan,” never changing who he was depending on who he was around, Bronleewe said.

“Dan always had time for everyone,” he said. “He would sit down and listen if you needed him to. He was so genuine.” Bronleewe said Reiter taught him many things, but the one that “stuck out” was his lesson to live life to the fullest. “He was always living, no matter the circumstance or people or his situation,” Bronleewe said. “The best way to honor

someone like Dan is to serve the God he served and love the God he loved.” Reiter volunteered with Family 4 Life, an organization that focuses on reuniting families separated by foster care. He would have been with the organization in September helping with one of their camps. Reiter’s mother said the founder and executive director of the group

wants to dedicate and name the camp in his memory. Rachel Felderhoff, Reiter’s cousin, said the family will get another reminder of his tragic accident because the individuals who caused the accident are going through court proceedings. Felderhoff said some of them might be charged with felony manslaughter.

ver since “E he was young, he was

so centered on life and on Christ. That is my favorite thing about him.”

Photo courtesy of Susan Reiter

LIFE TO THE FULLEST: Daniel Reiter shows his love of the sport of slacklining. Reiter was killed June 19 in a car accident.

Missing Bobcat found alive, well in Costa Rica By Alex Hering News Reporter A Texas State student who was reported missing July 22 to the University Police Department was located in Jaco, Costa Rica, where he had been studying abroad. Derek Walters, communication studies student, went missing around July 18 in Costa Rica while attending classes, said Paul Chapa, capt. of support services. A professor at the school Walters was attending reported to Costa Rican officials Walters had “missed classes for a

number of days,” Chapa said. He said the professor called UPD to alert them of Walter’s disappearance. “Technically he had no affiliation with the study abroad program at Texas State,” Chapa said. “He was down there strictly on his own taking classes.” Friends of Walters were concerned about his safety, and posted several messages on his Facebook profile. One of the friends who posted a message was Ryan Sparrow, marketing student. But Sparrow said he finally heard from Walters Aug. 8. “He’s totally fine — just having a little too much fun rather than keeping us

“H

e’s totally fine — just having a little too much fun rather than keeping us informed of what he’s doing.”

— Ryan Sparrow, marketing student

informed of what he’s doing,” Sparrow said. James Andrews, director of study

abroad programs at Texas State, said students who study abroad through Texas State go through an orientation that covers safety issues. “Students do undergo orientations with faculty lead programs and orientation with affiliated programs where they talk about health and safety issues,” Andrews said. He said even though he does not know anything about Walter’s situation, the choice comes back to the student to make the decisions. “You can’t really prevent anything from happening,” Andrews said. “There really is no way to prevent something

like this. You can talk about prevention but they will make their own choices. We try to give people as much information to support health and safety practices and it’s up to them to follow them.” Chapa said in his five years as captain, he has not seen a case in which a missing student was not located. “We’ve had missing students in the past and usually they are staying at friends’ house and forgot to call home,” Chapa said. “Or they went out with friends and missed a couple days of school but we have yet to have a case where a student has gone missing and not located.”


NEWS

Page A8 - The University Star

News Briefs

Former student’s body discovered at Bobcat Village A body found on the balcony of a Bobcat Village apartment was identified as 20-year-old Zachary Q. Evans. Evans, disciplinary studies junior, was last enrolled during the spring semester. He had been a student at Texas State since the fall of 2005. Two Residence Life employees discovered the body Aug. 13 and promptly notified the University Police Department. According to a university news release, police

do not suspect foul play. Evans’ body was transported to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. As of press time, the cause of death has yet to be determined. An initial autopsy report shows no signs of trauma. Police say Evans’ body may have been on the balcony for at least two days. The students who are renting the apartment were out of town when the body was discovered.

Chinese-made tires sold in Texas recalled

Texans are being urged to check their vehicles for potentially faulty tires after Foreign Tire Sales, Inc., a U.S. distributor, said more than 270,000 tires

may have missing “gum strips,” a safety feature that prevents tread separation. More than 50,000 of the potentially dangerous tires are

believed to have been sold in Texas. The distributor issued a recall for the tires Aug. 9. The tires in question were sold between 2002 to 2006 for light trucks, sport utility vehicles and

vans, and could be in danger of tread separation. The tires were made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. in China. They were distributed in the United States under several names, including Westlake, YKS and Compass.

Student stabbed, in recovery A Texas State student who was stabbed in the back Aug. 9 during a disturbance at 1647 Post Road showed up at Brackenridge Hospital with the knife still in his back. He is expected to recover. Apparently, several Texas State students were involved in the incident, and the person responsible for the stabbing was interviewed

by police. No arrests were immediately made. The student was first taken to Central Texas Medical Center but was then transferred to Brackenridge in Austin. The student apparently wanted to make it back to San Marcos in time to take his summer course final.

High school cheerleaders rumble in Blanco Hall Thirty-three high school cheerleaders were involved in a scuffle at Blanco Hall July 23.

The Dallas and Midland cheerleaders, who were on campus as part of the four-day Univer-

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

sal Cheerleaders Association camp, were getting ready to check out when the incident occurred. A squad from Dallas, staying on the fifth floor, apparently began knocking on the doors of the Midland cheerleaders, who were on the floor below. As some of the Midland cheerlead-

ers came out of their rooms, shouting, pushing and shoving ensued. The police were called and soon arrived on the scene. No arrests or injuries were reported. The university has hosted the camp without incident for more than 20 years.

Saltgrass to take Joe’s place Joe’s Crab Shack closed down July 30, and will be replaced by a

Saltgrass Steak House, which is expected to open this fall.

Rio Vista Falls nominated for national award The Rio Vista Falls Transformation Project is one of 35 finalists being considered by the National League of Cities for the 2007 Award for

Municipal Excellence. The awards recognize outstanding programs that improve the quality of life for residents in a city or town. Compiled from various news sources


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NEWS

The University Star - Page A9


NEWS

Page A10 - The University Star

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

South American students find environmental differences in U.S. By Hayley Kappes Features Reporter CÓRD OBA , ARGENTINA — It’s a problem affecting much more than the world’s wealthiest countries. The affects of global warming and environmental awareness, which recently have become a hot button political issue in the U.S., are gradually beginning to have an impact in Argentina, especially among college students. “It’s a part of the culture here,” said Marx Peñéñory, graphic design student at Colegio Universitario in Córdoba. “Environmental issues are not one of the most important priorities in Argentina, but that is changing now. There needs to be a long term campaign to stop global warming to make a difference.” Peñéñory visited several cities in the U.S., including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. He said the U.S. cities he vacationed at were much cleaner than Buenos Aires or Córdoba, the two largest cities

in Argentina. “It’s ironic to me that the United States has the resources and the money to make fuel-efficient cars and better fuel, but they don’t take advantage of it,” Peñéñory said. “Here in Argentina, we want to make environmental changes but we don’t have the money to do so.” In 2001 and 2002, Argentina underwent an economic crisis because of inflation and a privatization economic policy. The value of the peso dropped, thousands lost their jobs, riots ensued and three different presidents were appointed and resigned in the span of two weeks. The country is stable now; however, the country is still struggling economically and there is a great deal of distrust for the government and politicians. “In Argentina, people don’t care enough about recycling,” said Ivy Micheli, medical student at Universidad Católico de Córdoba. “There is not enough information about global warming available to the public and not many people have access to certain resources that are available.”

used glass and plastic bottles of various beverages for new ones at neighborhood kiosks and grocery stores. It is cheaper to do this because vendors give a discount on new bottled liquids when the buyer brings the old ones to be recycled with their purchase. One thing Argentines are good about is using public transportation. Buenos Aires has a subway and train system that goes to all parts of the city as well as the outskirts. —Marx Peñéñory In Córdoba, which has roughgraphic design student, ly the same size population as Colegio Universitario, Córdoba Austin, students frequently take the bus or walk to get around Micheli vacationed in Miami town. It is rare for students to and New York City three weeks have their own car or even a ago and said her overall im- driver’s license. pression was the U.S. is much José Balbo, a law student at cleaner on the surface than Ar- Universidad Nacional de Córdogentina. ba, said the brunt of the ecologi“In Córdoba, there aren’t as cal problems in Argentina stem many trash cans in public places from an inability to produce as therea are in New York, so their own sources of energy. people will just throw paper and “We depend on countries garbage into the streets,” Mi- such as Bolivia and Venezuela cheli said. to get most of our fuel from, Micheli makes a conscious ef- which makes the price of enfort to recycle by exchanging her ergy much more expensive

t’s ironic to “I me that the United States has

the resources and the money to make fuel-efficient cars and better fuel, but they don’t take advantage of it.”

for us,” Balbo said. “In recent years, there have been times when we will lose power in our homes because there is a lack of energy.” He said there needs to be more education on global warming in Argentina, and that starts

with politicians. “It all comes down to education,” Balboa said. “More people need to be made aware of what is going on. More politicians need to have the desire to react against the way things have been going in this country.”


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

NEWS

The University Star - Page A11

Hispanic Serving Institution status expected in near future By Philip Hadley Assistant News Editor Texas State is close to reaching its goal to become a Hispanic Serving Institution. Susan Thompson, research analyst for the office of institutional research, said the most recent calculations from 2005 show the university was composed of 22 percent Hispanic undergraduate students. The U.S. Department of Education Web site states universities that have a total enrollment of undergraduate full-time students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic are designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions. If the university’s goal is met, 1 in 4 students at Texas State will be Hispanic by 2012. Thompson said trends indicate the goal will likely be achieved. “The percentage of Hispanic students at Texas State has been on a steady increase over time,” Thompson said. “Over the last three years that number has begun to increase more rapidly, but we still have not hit 25 percent.” The university’s goal to increase Hispanic enrollment is in response to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s program called “Closing the Gaps.” “The goal of ‘Closing the Gaps’ is to bring 600,000 additional young people into higher education in Texas by 2015,” said University President Denise Trauth. Trauth said Hispanics traditionally have a lower college-attending rate than whites. She said this has serious implications

“U

ltimately this is for all students at Texas State.”

—Denise Trauth University President

for the future wealth of Texas. “Texas is rapidly becoming a state in which Hispanic students will become the majority,” Trauth said. “If we don’t do anything to bring those students into higher education then the wealth of the state is going to seriously decline.” According to a news release from TG, a public, non-profit corporation that administers the Federal Family Education Loan Program, the low rate of Hispanics in college can be attributed to a “loan phobia.” “Reasons behind the loan phobia include not only a lack of knowledge about financial aid, but also a fear of debt and mistrust of lenders,” the news release says. Texas State recently received a grant that goes toward a program helping first generation high schools students get into college. The program primarily focuses on teaching students how to receive money for college. Michael Heintze, associate vice president of enrollment management, said becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution allows universities to apply for special federal grants. “When the university reaches 25 percent Hispanic enrollment we will write a grant proposal,” Heintze said. “The money will

be used to put programs in place that help all students.” Trauth said the funding will allow the university to have programs that will help all students in terms of academic advising, student retention and student academic support services. “Once you are able to apply for these grants, all students benefit, not only Hispanic students,” Trauth said. “Ultimately this is for all students at Texas State.” The university has adjusted its recruitment efforts and hired full-time recruiters in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and the Rio Grande Valley. “Because the demographics of Texas are shifting, if you’re in those key parts of the state, you’re going to recruit more Hispanic students,” Trauth said. Heintze said Texas State’s admissions standards and processes would not change. Melinda Perez, political science sophomore, said she thinks gaining the designation is a good thing. “Texas is becoming a state where Hispanics are the majority,” Perez said. “I think it’s good that Texas State is setting this goal. It shows they’re paying attention to Texas’s rapidly-growing Hispanic population and being proactive about it.” Texas public universities that are Hispanic Serving Institutions include Sul Ross State University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi, University of Houston — Downtown and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Graphic courtesy of MCT


NEWS

Page A12 - The University Star

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Teenage echolocation celebrity faces fight with cancer By Cynthia Hubert McClatchy Newspapers SACRAMENTO — Ben Underwood’s braids are long gone. A thick scar scissors across the top of his bald head, where doctors went in to carve out the cancer in his sinus cavity. A tube for his many medicines is implanted in his upper chest. He slumps in his chair in a Kaiser Permanente waiting room, tired even though he just got out of bed a couple of hours earlier. Underwood’s world has flipped. A year ago, it was all about interviews and celebrity and travel. Now, it’s all about chemotherapy and blood tests and hospitals. And survival. But like just about everything

e think that “W his chances of being cured are

not very good, but his case is too rare to give meaningful projections.” — Kent Jolly pediatric oncologist

else in his remarkable life, Underwood insists the cancer thing is no big deal. “I’m just gonna kick back and relax,” the Elk Grove, Calif., teenager said of his latest setback. He lost both of his eyes when he was 3 years old to a cancer

called retinoblastoma, and finds his way in the world in a most extraordinary manner. By clicking his tongue and creating sound waves, he can identify objects in his path and get around safely. Using the technique known as echolocation, along with his keen sense of hearing, he is able to play basketball, skate, ride a bike, tap dance, swim and wrestle, among other things. He’s a whiz at computer games. To the chagrin of some of the adults in his life, he refuses to carry a white cane that would identify him as blind. Underwood’s navigational skills, commonly used by bats and dolphins but rarely documented in humans, amaze his doctors and his teachers, but not his mother, Aquanetta Gordon.

“To me, he’s just Ben,” Gordon said. During the past year, Underwood met Hollywood stars, traveled the country and the world to talk about his life, and was featured dozens of times on national television. He spoke with musician Stevie Wonder, was featured in People magazine, became an Internet sensation and made an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show. No big deal, he said with a shrug. “She’s just like any other older lady, only she’s rich,” he said of Winfrey. Underwood has come to the hospital today with his mother, his older brother Joe and a family friend. The brothers continually harass each other, which distracts Underwood from his

Kevin German/Sacramento Bee/MCT RARE BEHAVIOR: Ben Underwood navigates his way through crowds of students while clicking his tongue May 2, 2006, at Smedberg Middle School in Sacramento County, Calif. Underwood, who is blind, clicks his tongue and listens to what the sound bounces off of when he walks.

treatment. “I’m your big brother, so it’s my job to beat you up,” Joe jokes, after Underwood settles into a small treatment room to await chemotherapy. “I’m always gonna do it. Always.” With the precision of a sharpshooter, Underwood fires a ball of paper across the room, hitting Joe squarely in the chest. They erupt in laughter that echoes through the corridors of the building. “Ben! They’re gonna kick you out of here!” Gordon warns. “Fine!” Underwood says. “Good. Let’s go!” More laughter. Underwood insists he understands the seriousness of his situation, but strongly believes he’ll get better. “I think it’s gonna be OK,” he said. The first symptoms of his latest medical saga surfaced while he and his mother were on a plane returning from Japan, where he is the subject of a film documentary. “My head hurt so bad,” he recalled. In May, doctors successfully removed from his sinus cavity a large tumor that was spreading toward his brain. For the next year, he’ll have to endure an intense course of chemotherapy. His doctor said it is unclear whether Underwood’s cancer is a recurrence of retinoblastoma from his childhood or a different form of the disease caused by the radiation he had as a toddler. “We’re still not completely sure,” Kaiser Permanente pediatric oncologist Kent Jolly said. “It’s an awkward situation that means we have to design treatment for both possibilities.” Every three weeks, Underwood gets alternating chemotherapy infusions. They sap his energy and sometimes make him sick to his stomach. On his most recent trip to Kaiser, he stepped on a scale and was surprised to see that he had lost six pounds since his last appointment. Because the chemotherapy medicines suppress his body’s natural immune system, Underwood is at high risk of

infections. An inflammation on his leg put him in the hospital for 17 days in July. His future is uncertain. “We think that his chances of being cured are not very good, but his case is too rare to give meaningful projections,” Jolly said. Because of a genetic defect that curbs his body’s ability to fight off cancer, Underwood will be at risk for developing various forms of the disease for the rest of his life, Jolly said. But he has at least one great thing going for him, the doctor said. “Most oncologists feel strongly that a positive attitude and good family support helps,” Jolly said. “Ben has that in spades.” Gordon, who works two jobs to pay the bills, is Underwood’s rock. Gordon said she gets her strength from a higher power. “It’s terrible to see your kid sick and vomiting and weak,” she said. “You feel so helpless. I feel like I’m going through it right along with him. “But this is our life right now, and we’ve just got to make the best of it while we’re still able to smile. “I’m praying and I’m going to rejoice in his healing. My God says that Ben will live and will not die.” She looked over at Underwood, who was smiling and talking in animated fashion about summer camp, Harry Potter and the joys of Kobe beef. “When I was in Japan, I had the best steak ever,” he said. “And I got addicted to tea!” He’s looking forward to visiting with all of his friends this month at Camp Okizu in the Sierra Nevada foothills. He can’t wait to find out whether the fictional wizard Harry Potter lives or dies. “Those books are hecka good,” said Underwood, who reads in Braille. In the meantime, he has to deal with chemotherapy. “Not fun,” he said. But no big deal. “I really hope it doesn’t make me nauseated this time, because I’m really not in the mood for that,” Underwood said. Now, where did he put his Game Boy?


NEWS

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The University Star - Page A13

Resident assistants complete fire safety training By Clara Cobb Trends Editor She wasn’t expecting to be serenaded by the San Marcos Fire Rescue team. Cindy Masch, early childhood education junior, celebrated her 20th birthday at the annual Resident Assistant Fire Safety Academy. As a result, the department sang her “Happy Birthday” after handing out plastic fireman graduation caps to academy participants. Masch is ready to begin her second year as a resident assistant in The Tower. “I did this last year, so a lot of the stuff is kind of a refresher,” she said. “We actually got to put out a fire, and I’ve never had that experience before.” Because she lives in such a tall building, Masch said she was glad to be prepared for emergencies. “I like this program,” she said. Lt. Karl Kuhlman of the San Marcos Fire Rescue said fire safety training is important for everyone. RAs have special responsibility. “We kind of look at them as being leaders,” he said. “It’s hard for us to contact directly every student, but if we can contact the RAs, then they can pass on the information.” He said knowing the residence hall rules regarding fire safety is the key to fire prevention. Some rules and

suggestions include not using certain appliances and anything generating heat should not be left unattended. Kuhlman said these rules may be applied to apartments, which have the same fire risks as dorms. “When you’re renting property, the owners are required by law to provide smoke detectors,” he said. “So, if your smoke detector goes off every time you cook, you need to have it moved. Or, you need to work on your cooking.” Joking aside, Kuhlman said the smoke detectors are another key element to fire safety and prevention. “Smoke is what kills people and is the best way for them to know what is going on,” he said. The participants celebrated their graduation by taking a group picture on a San Marcos fire engine and having a pizza party. Masch attended the party with the firefighters and other RAs, and looked forward to celebrating her birthday later with her mother. Laura Stringfellow, mass communication sophomore, is hoping to be a good example. She was formerly Masch’s resident. Masch inspired Sringfellow to be a leader, and is the reason she applied to be an RA. Stringfellow said she hopes she won’t have to actually put out any fires, but found the training very informative and fun. “I learned how to use a fire extinguisher,” she said. “That was pretty cool.”

Photos courtesy of San Marcos Fire Rescue FIGHTING FIRE: Taylor Hughes, a new student staff member, extinguishes a fire as part of a practice drill during the RA Fire Safety Academy Aug. 11.

UT competes with other universities Study rates reasons students have sex to build most powerful supercomputer By Margaret Miceli Daily Collegian

By Zachary Posner The Daily Texan AUSTIN — The University of Texas now has competition from two other universities — the University of Illinois and the University of Tennessee — to build and host the fastest computer on the planet. UT hopes to have the fastest computer come December, but four years from now, the University of Illinois may boast a computer that will trump the power of UT’s “Ranger” and all other computers in the world. The National Science Board, which serves as the governing board for the National Science Foundation, announced its approval Aug. 8 of a $208 million grant to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to acquire and make available what could be the world’s most powerful supercomputer, said Leslie Fink, a spokeswoman with the National Science Foundation. The board also approved a $65 million, five-year grant to the University of Tennessee to build and host a computer similar to the one being built at UT. The computer, which will be co-managed by the Texas Advanced Computing Center at UT, is designed to study complicated processes such as the formation and evolution of

galaxies or the chains of reactions that occur within living cells, according to the foundation’s Web site. The planned petascale supercomputer in Illinois will be named “Blue Waters” and is known as a “Track 1” computer. The petascale measurement refers to the computer’s ability to process one thousand trillion operations per second, Fink said. According to the foundation’s Web Site, the computer will be operated by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and its partners. The supercomputer planned for Tennessee will be classified as “level 2,” similar to “Ranger,” which is set to be unveiled in December at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus in conjunction with Sun Microsystems Inc. UT and Sun received $59 million for the project, $6 million less than is proposed for the University of Tennessee, from the National Science Federation last September to begin building the computer. “Ranger” can process around 500 trillion operations per second. “A typical computer has one processor,” said Tommy Minyard, assistant director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center in a June interview. “We will be installing close to 15,000. It will be like we are installing 15,000 home PCs.”

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Recent research shows when it comes to sex, lust trumps love for both men and women. Researchers at the University of Texas have come up with a list of 237 reasons that motivate people to have sex. The study, which sampled 1,549 undergraduate students at the university, asked participants to rank the degree to which each of 237 provided reasons had led them to have sexual intercourse. The No. 1 reason both men and women gave for having sexual intercourse was “I was attracted to the person.” For men, this was followed by “It feels good” and “I wanted to experience the physical pleasure;” for women, the No. 2 reason was “I wanted to experience the physical pleasure,” followed by “It feels good.” Stuart Ruston, Pennsylvania State University freshman, said he was not surprised the No. 1 reason for both men and women was attraction. “People have sex to have sex,” he said. “I think people do really stupid stuff at college.” Linda LaSalle, community health educator at Penn State, said she was surprised by the

results of the study. “We have collected data about students’ sex behavior with our health surveys, and most students report having only one to two partners,” she said. “This study implies students are having sex more frequently and with more partners, which isn’t really the pattern our data shows.” The study further ranked the bottom 50 reasons why men and women have sex, ranging from “I wanted to get a promotion” to “I wanted to feel closer to God” and even, “I wanted to give someone a sexually transmitted disease.” “I can’t even imagine having sex to give someone an STD ... I think that’s the most outrageous thing I’ve ever heard,” said Sara Smith, Penn State freshman. The reasons people gave were clustered in four groups: the physical group had options such as “I was bored,” “I wanted to release tension” or “It seemed like good exercise;” emotional options included “I wanted to say ‘I’m sorry’” or “I wanted to express my love for the person;” insecurity options included “I felt sorry for the person” or “my partner kept insisting;” and goal attainment options included “someone offered me money to do it” or “I wanted a raise.”

Simon Holowatz, community health educator at Penn State, said the study reflects a more sexually active group and cautioned against applying the results to the population as a whole. He said the results should have been broken down by age and ethnic group, as well as gender. The original researchers expressed surprise the top 10 reasons for both men and women were similar. Holowatz said sexual attitudes have changed over the years. “If the study had been done 30 years ago, we would have different results,” he said. “There’s less social stigma now for women to admit to having sex for pleasure or to having sex before marriage.” Colleen Swift, Penn State junior, said she thinks reasons for having sex shift as people get older. “I wouldn’t say that it would be different for men and women at this age, but after being with someone for so long, you have sex for different reasons,” she said. LaSalle said the study’s results could be used to inform students. “There’s probably something in it we could use to educate students about condom use or safer sex,” she said. “Any research on college students is always helpful.”


Page A14 - The University Star

NEWS

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Big study in Texas’ Big Thicket By R.A. Dyer McClatchy Newspapers FORT WORTH — It’s not as if they want to name every plant and animal on Earth. Just all the ones in the Big Thicket National Preserve. That’s the mission of the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory under way at the nearly 100,000-acre nature preserve in Southeast Texas. A project of experts, students and citizen-scientists, the ambitious endeavor has been undertaken to create a database of every organism — large and small — in the area. That’s every organism — from the tiniest pond scum bacteria to giant oaks and pines. “Most of them think it’s important to identify everything that exists, but this is not just to add to the sum total of our knowledge of the universe we live in but also so the (National) Park Service can better manage the resource,” said Maxine Johnston, one of the moving forces behind the effort. “How are you going to manage something if you don’t know what you have? This is all base-line information to manage a resource properly,” she said. The project, which has been patterned after a similar one at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, officially began during a ceremony June 16 at the park service’s Big Thicket headquarters in Saratoga. It may continue for years, mostly through the work of volunteers and with money raised through private donations. The Big Thicket preserve stretches from inside Beaumont northward for 80 miles along the Neches River. The preserve is not contiguous; it includes 15 parcels over 1,885 square miles in seven counties. It has been identified as one of the most endangered natural areas in the nation, mostly because of pressures from urban encroachment and plans by timber companies to sell off their massive land holdings. Experts already know of 60 mammal species, 92 reptile and amphibian species, and more than 1,800 invertebrate species in the Big Thicket. Through the all taxa project (taxa refers to biosocial categories for organisms, such as species or genus) they might find more. Curtis Hoagland, resource management chief at the preserve, said the project began after he and other parks officials began thinking about how to categorize damage inflicted by Hurricane Rita in September 2005. After a little research, Hoagland said, he learned of the project at the Great Smoky Mountains and thought to replicate it locally. The Great Smoky Mountains effort was the first of its kind in the United States. The taxa project at the Big Thicket — it’s been dubbed “The Thicket of Diversity” — is the first in Texas. “I started calling scientists that we knew or experts in the field to see if there was inRon T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT terest to start this project ... and everybody was pretty excited,” Hoagland said. “The FUN GUY: Mushroom expert David Lewis uses a magnifier to study a sample July 19 in the Big Thicket National first phone calls and the meeting were in Preserve in Southeast Texas.

January 2006. It’s slowly been building steam since then. ... We didn’t have any money when we got started, but now we have brought in a little from private foundations and donations.” The next step, he said, was to create software for a database. It will include details about sightings of plants and animals, physical descriptions, and species examples held at university collections, he said. The software is now complete and The Big Thicket Association, a private nonprofit organization that is working with the National Park Service, recently began distributing it to experts. Organizers say one of the side benefits of the project is the necessary involvement of the public. As Hoagland, Johnston and others note, there’s no way to tally every single plant and animal in any ecosystem without the public’s help. As a result, the project can help spread enthusiasm about the Big Thicket to students, Boy Scouts or anybody else interested in embarking on a bird-watching expedition or using a camera, binoculars, or a shovel and gloves in the effort. Mushroom expert David Lewis, a retired chemist in Newton, recently led two such expeditions for the project. About 35 members of the public showed up for one and 45 for the second — all in response to notices in local newspapers, environmental newsletters and mailing lists, Lewis said. “Everybody introduces themselves, and then I explain some rudimentary things about those things to collect, safety concerns about watching out for snakes or whatever. And then we go down (to the park) and we fan out and collect all we can,” he said. “People carry baskets and a knife. We have beginners, and we can teach them how to do it right.” He said his groups continued collecting samples for a couple of hours and then returned to a field station with “more material than they (knew) what to do with.” He said during a forage in June, volunteers came back in less than two hours with 55 mushroom species — including one never before observed in Texas. “Eventually we’ll even have people looking at microbes and bacteria and fungi that are microscopic,” he said. No one can predict how long the effort will continue. Peter Gunter, a retired University of North Texas professor, said that along the way researchers may uncover never-beforeseen plant species — and maybe even organisms useful to medicine or science. “The Big Thicket is much less cataloged and studied than other parts of Texas,” said Gunter, author of ‘The Big Thicket: A Challenge of Conservation.’ “Maybe the scientists have been afraid of the mosquitoes and that’s why it hasn’t been done. But the Big Thicket is the biological crossroads of North America. And this project will identify every little form of life that creeps, crawls, swims, flies or grows there — everything. “In order to manage a park, you’ve got to know what you’ve got.”


OPINIONS THE UNIVERSITY STAR

onlineconnection For news updates throughout the fall semester, check out www.UniversityStar.com.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - Page A15

Opinions Contact — Sydney Granger, staropinion@txstate.edu

THE MAIN POINT

I

s it a great day to be a Bobcat?

An optimistic Reagan Pugh, Associated Student Government president, would say it is. However, there is more to serving the student body than slogans and promises. “We are moving towards newer and greater things every day here at Texas State,” he said in an open letter to the student body. “In serving you, the two most important things that I can do are communicate your needs and concerns to the administration and act as a constant resource and friend.” To serve the student body, Pugh, Alexis Dabney, ASG vice president, and the ASG Senate have to work toward action, and set realistic goals for the university. The hotly debated topic of Texas State joining the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly Division IA, was supported by a majority of students and by Pugh during the ASG presidential campaigns. “If we want to go in the right direction then on June 1, (Texas State President Denise) Trauth needs to sign off on us going Division I(-A),” Pugh said. But June 1 has come and gone with lackadaisical inaction. As fall classes begin, ASG must acknowledge Texas State isn’t back in session, it is still in session — whether the senate is or not. Regardless of what did or didn’t happen this summer, Pugh has housekeeping to do before he can move forward. Three pieces of legislation passed by former president Kyle Morris would have directed 80 percent of the Student Organizations Council budget to ASG. However, the administration has decided to allow Pugh to determine the outcome of the funds. This appears to be a hands-off approach by the administration Pugh claims he is so well connected to. The Star urges ASG officers to remember their promises to the student body. Pugh has nine months to fulfill his commitment to you. We hope he has the time. Criticized during election campaigns for vacating a senate seat because he lacked the time, The Star challenges Pugh to make time now. Pugh said he aims to “leave ASG better than we found it.” He acknowledged, “for changes to take place it’s going to have to be a collaborative effort.” Like any government, ASG is dependent on the participation of the constituents it serves. It is up to the student body to hold its officers accountable, and to support the government in achieving its goals. In his letter, Pugh wrote, “The experience of higher education is truly an investment. Your level of enjoyment is directly related to your level of participation, so invest heavily, my friends.” And he’s right. He has quite an investment to make, but he can’t serve you without you.

PRESIDENTIAL

Live close to campus, live green

PROMISES

Once again, we’re back in the swing of things. Enter classes, new living arrangements and the old hassles of BILL RIX buying books, Star Columnist waking up early and dealing with the parents back home. With so much work to deal with, one can be easily caught up in a whirlwind of neglect and complacency when thinking about one’s environmental responsibilities (and at this point, they are responsibilities). Nothing has changed because you’re moving up in academia — in fact, taking care of the earth is our responsibility now more than ever. Moving in is said to be one of life’s most trying experiences. My own philosophy has always been to never own too many things. At the moment, the gestalt of my life can fit into one car and still have room for a passenger. This idea of stark ownership works well in college, where you can’t be sure if you’ll be in the same place for more than nine months or so. Instead of running out and buying everything you can get your hands on, sit back and realize styles change and you’ll have to pack it all up several times within the next four or five years. Some of you will have traveled several hundred miles to arrive in San Marcos (my own is a six-hour ordeal). That’s murder on your pocketbook and the environment, so once you arrive at your new residence, take it easy on the driving. Life on campus has most of what you will need on a daily basis: Alkek has computer labs and books; Harris, Commons and Jones have food and the LBJ Student Center is the spot to hang. You need not to drive to Austin or San Antonio every time the mood strikes you; San Marcos is a fine town complete with whatever you need to get by. And most of it is nearby, too: From haircuts to coffee, art to computer repair, shops immediately close to campus have you covered. A few chains are easing in to the local economy, though, so it’s important to understand the economy of San Marcos; mainly, supporting locally-run shops and eateries benefits the economy directly, while giving money to national chains doesn’t really help anything. While on the subject of food, if you must eat out, strive to benefit the local economy. You’re in college, after all, so why not spend money at student-run restaurants and shops? Practically everything you need is within walking distance if you live on campus, so save some money on gas and spend your loot locally. It’ll come back in due time. The most important colors may be maroon and gold, but don’t forget about green. These four or five years are formative; you’ll carry over any good — and bad — habits into the “real world” soon enough. Tread lightly and do your part.

Students should hold new representatives accountable for promises

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.

Pat Stark/Star illustration

LEGAL GUY: Think before toting twelve packs The beginning of each the consequences outweigh fall semester means Texas the benefits. In a one-year State has a whole new period, the San Marcos Police group of freshmen moving Department issued 563 minor to San Marcos. Often inin possession of alcohol tickcoming freshmen, and other ets, alone. An MIP is a class students too, do not know C misdemeanor, and carries how often the San Marcos significant punishment that CARSON GUY police hands out certain ciwould disrupt anyone’s life. If Star Columnist tations. Knowing the conseyou are first time offender, you quences of your actions is extremely can look forward to between 8 and 12 important because it may make you community service hours, along with think twice about using that fake id, having your driver’s license revoked carrying marijuana with you or taking for thirty days. Offenders usually are that twelve pack to the party. required to take an alcohol education Parties in San Marcos can be easy course. Once you get into second and to come by, especially when everyone third convictions, the punishments comes back from summer and still are significantly worse. Upon receivwants to party. Undoubtedly, incoming ing your second MIP, you will lose freshmen will want to take advantage your license for 60 days and receive of those parties, however tempting as between 20 and 40 community serit may be to take your beer with you, vice hours. By the third ticket, the

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Editor In Chief.................................Maira Garcia, stareditor@txstate.edu Managing Editor.....................Sydney Granger, staropinion@txstate.edu News Editor...................................Nick Georgiou, starnews@txstate.edu Trends Editor.......................Clara Cobb, starentertainment@txstate.edu Photo Editor...................................Monty Marion, starphoto@txstate.edu Sports Editor............................Scott Strickman, starsports@txstate.edu

suspension turns into 180 days but the range of community service does not change. However, it would not be surprising if upon a third conviction, the offender receives the maximum amount of community service hours. Another common ticket the San Marcos Police Department issues to students is misrepresentation of age by a minor. Usually, people are given tickets for this because they get caught using a fake id. Misrepresentation of age by a minor is a class C misdemeanor that will cost someone at least 8 hours of community service, if not more, as well as a 30-day license suspension. Upon a second conviction, expect at least 20 hours if not 40 and a 60-day suspension. Although the first and second offenses are similar to an MIP, the third is significantly more severe. The fine must Copy Desk Chief.......................Colm Keane, starcopychief@txstate.edu Design Editor..................................Chris Clontz, stardesign@txstate.edu Systems Administrator............Les Stewart, starsysadmin@txstate.edu Advertising Coordinator......................Jodie Claes, starad1@txstate.edu Advertising Sales Manager...........Jackie Pardue, starad2@txstate.edu Account Executive...............................Scott Lynch, sl1148@txstate.edu

be at least $250 and up to $2,000 for the third conviction. It is possible to be sentenced to 180 days in jail for this offense. The possible jail time already makes this ticket worse than an MIP, but it gets better still. Not only can you be fined or go to jail, but the courts can fine and put you in jail. Possession of marijuana is more serious than an MIP and can have much more severe penalties. The San Marcos Police Department, in one year, confiscated 192 pounds of marijuana. Contributions to that stockpile of marijuana were at least partially provided by students. Possession of marijuana punishments range depending on the amount you were caught with. However, it is worth noting the possession of 2 ounces or less is a class B misdemeanor that immediately qualifies

you for 180 days in jail, if the judge chooses. You could be fined no more than $2,000. If you are in possession of at least 2 ounces, but less than 4, you will be charged with a class B misdemeanor and the fine doubles to no more than $4,000 and the jail time increases to 1 full year. At more than 4 ounces of marijuana, it becomes a state jail felony. Another thing to think about is the collateral damage tickets like these, especially a few of them, can have on your permanent record. If you do decide to commit a crime, that is your choice; and maybe you will never get caught while breaking the law. However, police statistics indicate many people do get caught. If you break the law, you should at least be aware of the consequences so you know what you are risking.

Account Executive..................Samantha Manley, sm1299@txstate.edu Account Executive...........................Krystal Slater, ks1429@txstate.edu Publications Coordinator..Linda Allen, starbusinessoffice@txstate.edu Publications Director..............Bob Bajackson, stardirector@txstate.edu Visit The Star at www.UniversityStar.com

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 August 21, 2007. 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.


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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

08 21 2007 Section A  
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