MONDAY APRIL 11, 2016
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Commissioner: Partnership with Lone Star Rail ‘suspended—not terminated’ By Bailey Buckingham SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @bcbuckingham
The San Marcos Police Department began issuing citations to motorists in violation of the city’s hands-free ordinance in the month of March.
fore not collected. “It’s an epidemic,” said Otto Glenewinkel, officer of the University Police Department, regarding the public’s tendency to drive while distracted. “It’s worse than driving drunk. Statistically, we are only just beginning to get a clear idea of how dangerous it is.”
Some commuting students voiced their support of a possible commuter railway after Hays County Commissioners decided to end membership with Lone Star Rail District, which planned a passenger railway. Hays County Commissioners voted at a March 22 meeting to discontinue the county’s membership with LSRD. LSRD officials planned to use the existing Union Pacific rail line to develop a commuter rail line between San Antonio and Georgetown. After U.P. officials ended the partnership with LSRD, commissioners decided not to renew the LSRD membership. County officials are open to the idea of a railway, said Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe, Precinct 1. Ingalsbe said she considers the county’s membership with LSRD
See HANDS FREE, Page 2
See RAIL, Page 2
DARYL ONTIVEROS MULTIMEDIA EDITOR
HANDS-FREE ORDINANCE IN FULL EFFECT By Rae Glassford NEWS REPORTER @rae_maybe
Nine citations were issued in March since the handsfree ordinance went into effect Feb. 1. The ordinance, which prohibits drivers from using handheld electronic devices while operating a moving vehicle within the
city limits of San Marcos, went into effect Feb. 1, followed by a 30 day grace period allowing drivers to receive a warning on their first offense. “The ordinance applies to handheld mobile devices, not things like food or makeup,” said Chase Stapp, chief of the San Marcos Police Department. “But anything you
might use to communicate, like cell phones, PDAs or laptops are not allowed.” Prior to February, using a handheld mobile device while driving was illegal in all Texas school zones as per state law, but this new ordinance applies the same restrictions city-wide, Stapp said. “The violation rate is neither higher nor lower than
we expected,” Stapp said. “My hope is that this law will create a reduction in traffic collisions related to distracted driving, and create an overall population of drivers who are more aware of their surroundings.” The number of warnings issued to offenders during the grace period was not tracked by the Department of Public Safety, and there-
Texas ranks first in railroad collisions, third in fatalities By Rae Glassford NEWS REPORTER @rae_maybe
Highway-rail grade crossing collisions are no stranger to Texas, and neither are trainrelated fatalities in the Hill Country area. Texas is currently ranked first in the nation in highway-rail grade crossing collisions, according to the Operation Lifesaver website. Of the 2,059 vehicular railroad collisions that occurred nationwide, 224 occurred in Texas. In highway-rail grade crossing fatalities, Texas is ranked third in the nation with 19 in 2015. For many, these numbers are mere statistics—that is, until a friend, acquaintance or family member is involved in such an accident. On March 26, 13-yearold Tanley Yacos and another teenager were walking alongside train tracks
in Buda when Yacos was hit and killed by a northbound train. Police officers responded to an emergency call from a Union Pacific engineer around 1:50 a.m. The other girl was uninjured. “The incident is currently still under investigation,” said David Marino, Buda public information officer. “Two teenage girls were walking alongside the tracks, when one of them was hit by an oncoming train. As far as the autopsy is concerned, nothing unusual was found. The toxicology report will be coming in three weeks.” Union Pacific officials installed cameras on their trains, and Buda police officers have been reviewing the video in an attempt to piece together everything that may have lead up to the accident, Marino said. “We know that the engineer honked his horn,”
Marino said. “This town doesn’t have a quiet ordinance in place, so it is perfectly legal for train engineers to blow their horns—something that isn’t always legal in other places, depending on local laws.” Marino said police know the train was going 47 mph, while trains typically run at approximately 60 mph in Central Texas. The train was not speeding as it approached the girls. “Walking along railroad tracks isn’t a safe thing to do anywhere,” Marino said. “Another problem we see often is people driving around the railroad guard arms.” Guard arms go down if train crews are working anywhere from 50 to 100 yards down the track, he said. Stories such as this one are all too familiar to Union Pacific, the largest railroad network in the continental United States, which has
DARYL ONTIVEROS MULTIMEDIA EDITOR
been in operation since the 1860s. “This state, unlike other parts of the nation, is still experiencing exponential
growth and economic development, so we are fortunate to see a large amount of freight railroad use for delivering resources and
goods,” said Jeff DeGraff, director of corporate relations and media for Union
See TRAIN, Page 2
Local programs seek to help Some say Cape’s Dam is necessary educationally disadvantaged adults By Bailey Buckingham SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @bcbuckingham
By Richard Dray NEWS REPORTER
Some San Marcos adults are going back to school. Jean Baggett, in charge of an English as a second language education program at St. John’s Church, has been making an effort to get the word out about her relatively small organization in the last year since she took over the program. The main goal of the organization is to help nonEnglish speaking residents learn how to converse in English in order for them to feel more comfortable with joining the communi-
ty and taking part in their children’s schools. “Our teachers are very committed,” Baggett said. The grassroots, nonprofit organization is run primarily by volunteers and on the un-paid work of the local community which started this year with 50 students. The classes are held at the activity center at St. John’s and are open to the public. “The whole point in this is to make San Marcos schools better,” Baggett said. This is not the only ESL education group that has existed in San Marcos, as
there used to be a Conversation Club that met at the San Marcos Public Library last year. However, the Conversation Club dissolved as many of its members could not make the meetings due to scheduling conflicts. Deborah Carter, librarian at the San Marcos Public Library, said the Monday morning meetings were too difficult for members to get to. Baggett’s program has tried to step in and pick up some of the students who were unable to make it to
See CONVO, Page 3
Advocates for the removal of Cape’s Dam feel it is a necessity for the river’s ecosystem, and beneficial for all uses of the river, including recreation. Though there are residents of San Marcos protesting the Cape’s Dam removal, proponents of the action feel it is the right move for everyone. Thom Hardy, biology professor and chief science officer at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, said Cape’s Dam is not affecting a single positive on the river and its ecosystem. Hardy has done many studies on
Cape’s Dam and its effect on the ecosystem, as well as the effect removal will have on recreation. “From an ecological standpoint, you’re simply removing an artificial barrier and restoring the river to its natural channel,” Hardy said. “There are zero positive benefits to the environment from Cape’s Dam.” Shane Scott, former city councilman, said when he was on the board, he voted in favor of Cape’s Dam so that a new Rio Vista Park would be built there, because the current park is overpopulated. However, Scott said he understands if the dam needs to be removed for safety reasons. Hardy said removing the dam will reinstate fish
passage and other animals that migrate the river’s corridors. Dianne Wassenich, program director for San Marcos River Foundation, said Hardy’s research found the removal of the dam will actually benefit recreation, instead of harm it as protestors have alluded. “Dr. Hardy has done hundreds of measurements,” Wassenich said. “Sediment, muck, has piled up to sometimes 10 feet thick and that dam is what has held it there. That sediment is the key to all of the problems that everybody is focused on.” Wassenich said with the removal of the dam, the
See CAPE’S, Page 2
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built-up sediment will start to flow downstream, causing recreational swimming and tubing to be more enjoyable. She said it wouldn’t cause problems, but it would gradually flow downstream which would mean the river would deepen. This would make floating the river more enjoyable, and create a normal river channel. She said the removal of the dam has been an idea for years, but it returned recently because of the major floods in 2015. The dam has been damaged over the
years and after the floods, which could be potentially dangerous for those swimming or tubing around the dam. “The dam is down to just a pile of rubble and some steel sticking out of it,” Wassenich said. “That is very dangerous. People can get hurt.” Wassenich said the dam removal would make the mill race dry. The mill race is an artificially made trench lined with sidewalks at Stokes Park, she said. “That is not the river and it is not good to divert the
water down that mill race,” Wassenich said. “It is better to be in the actual riverbed flowing like a natural river. The reason is (because) when droughts happen, we don’t want part of the water ending up in this mill race.” It is very important the flow of the river doesn’t end up in a ditch like the mill race, she said. “We’re doing this for the good of the river and for the good of recreation,” Wassenich said. There are entities that have invested a lot of time and research into making
this decision, and it was made because they know it will benefit the river and residents, she said. “None of this has anything to do with the Woods apartments being built there,” Wassenich said. “This is about the health of the river and the maintaining of recreation in a form that will be satisfying to everyone. It’s a water quality, endangered species issue, and recreation issue, and it will benefit everyone.”
“We’re doing this for the good of the river and for the good of recreation.” —DIANNE WASSENICH, PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR SAN MARCOS RIVER FOUNDATION
Pacific. “In that sense, the numbers of train-related accidents we’re seeing are somewhat proportional to use of freight rail, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.” A number of factors are involved in reducing trainrelated incidents and education is one of the most important, DeGraff said. “When it comes to safety, one of the most important things is public awareness,” DeGraff said. “You will never see a train anywhere other than railroad tracks, so you should expect to see a train there. Act accordingly and responsibly, both on foot and when your car has come to a stop in front of a railroad crossing.” Union Pacific officials are trying to share train safety information with communities, DeGraff said. This entails reaching out to school bus, commercial and student drivers, as well as running television ads, radio commercials and offering rail safety classes. “Lately, we’ve been focusing our messages on social media,” DeGraff said. “Last year, we ran a message campaign which is now being awarded for effectiveness: the Telly Award for 2016.” Company officials partnered with Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit that works with all major railroad companies in the United States. It is a nationally-accredited collector of statistics on railroad-related events and incidents. “Texas has the most track miles in the country. Texas is also home to the highest number of railroad crossings,” said Sally Tingle, Operation Lifesaver state coordinator. “There is a daily increase of drivers in the state because so
many people are moving here right now. So, the potential for collision is higher because we simply have the greater potential for incidents to occur.” Trespassing is the most prevalent contributing factor in railroad-related casualties, Tingle said. Train tracks are private property owned by railroad companies, and walking on them is illegal across the nation. “People tend to misjudge how fast a train is coming, and they don’t obey the signs at railroad crossings,” Tingle said. “When the bell starts to ring and the lights start to flash, people think that’s a warning—it isn’t. They think they can beat the train, but they can’t.” As the largest user of freight railroads in the country, Texas ranks second in railroad fatalities resulting specifically from trespassing. “We need trains to deliver commodities,” Tingle said. “Restricting railroad operation isn’t the answer—educating the public is. Trains have the right of way. Cars and pedestrians have to yield, as determined by the Supreme Court.” Since its founding in 1972, Operation Lifesaver has decreased the number of train and motor vehicle collisions by 81 percent, from 12,000 to 2,286 in 2014. The organization gives free presentations to any group or institution that requests one. “An injury on the tracks doesn’t just affect the victim and their community— it also affects the train crew and conductor,” DeGraff said. “Our goal is to one day have zero train-related injuries. That’s what we have in mind and are working towards.”
to be suspended—not terminated. As more plans develop and the state becomes more involved, she believes funding will continue when the time is right. “Because of the decision that U.P. made, we felt that we needed to reassess,” Ingalsbe said. “It’s not that the county is not interested. We continue to be interested in a railway, but we want to make sure we are headed down the right path.” Kelly Helms, art senior,
said it’s difficult at times to put her education first because as a commuter she has to worry about traffic, accidents and the money it costs her to drive to campus four days a week. “If I added up the days I go to school, it’s 40 minutes on a good day each way,” Helms said. “It’s almost a full day of just driving to school and back each week. I feel like it’s different when people commute to their job, but it’s not like I’m
HANDS FREE, The Texas Department of Transportation spends money every year on antitexting-and-driving campaigns, which is a testament to how widespread the issue is, Glenewinkel said. “Every time we have a new technology, it changes
getting paid to go to Texas State.” Helms said she hopes county officials stay active in pursuing plans for a future railway. Texas State and San Marcos continue to grow, so having a corridor between San Antonio and Austin would be beneficial to everyone, she said. Having a railway in the Central Texas area is someday going to be vital for transportation, Helms said. David Garcia, criminal
justice junior, said if a railway was built, he would definitely use it to commute to Texas State. “That would be ideal for me,” Garcia said. “It would save me so much gas that I waste going back and forth commuting from South Austin. The headache of the traffic and the unexpected accidents that occur on I-35 is unreal every day.” Garcia said the rail would get more students off the road, which will
help ensure the safety of Texas State students during their commute. He said money is tight for him, and with the corridor he could save money that he currently has to use on gas and a parking permit. Commissioners will continue to be involved in railway discussions because they know it’s important to a lot of residents in the Central Texas area, Ingalsbe said “We know there are a lot
of Texas State students that have a commute to campus,” Ingalsbe said. “The county has always been supportive of rail and all other modes of transportation, but because of U.P.’s decision we wanted to take a step back and make sure we’re spending our tax money wisely.”
issued by officers of UPD as of yet. “We give out warnings and, when necessary, tickets,” Villalobos said. “But we would rather address behavioral change through communication and outreach rather than using disciplinary action.”
A clause written into the ordinance allows law enforcement officials to be exempt when using a mobile device for the purposes of their job. “The exemption is a concern of mine,” Stapp said. “While that exception is absolutely necessary, it could
potentially create a double standard. I can understand that this may be of concern to our community.” The exemption was likely included because of the transient nature of police work, Villalobos said. For policemen on patrol, their car is the closest thing they
have to a traditional office. “A lot of police vehicles now come with Bluetooth installed,” Glenewinkel said. “I don’t think any of our cars have that, but it may be something to look at in the future.”
behaviors,” said Sergeant Alex Villalobos of the UPD. “As behavioral changes become more pervasive, they have to be addressed. From a legislative standpoint, we address the things we believe to be hazardous to ourselves or to others.” No citations have been
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Drug related crime on the rise By Bailey Buckingham SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @bcbuckingham
Throughout the last few years San Marcos has not only seen a rise in population, but an increase in drug related crimes as well. Commander Kelly Earnest of San Marcos Police Department said whenever there is a rise in population, there is a greater risk of any kind of crime happening. In 2015 there were six homicides in San Marcos. Of the six homicides, five were drug or narcotics related, Earnest said. Hays County was named the fastest growing county in Texas and the fifth fastest in the country by the U.S. Census Bureau. While the growth may not be a direct correlation, the rise in drug
centered crimes comes at a time when population is on an upward climb. “Correlation is a strong word,” Earnest said. “So, I’ll use association. Any time there are more people, there is more of a possibility of crimes occurring since there are simply more opportunities.” Earnest said along with drug related crimes, there has also been an increase in property crimes such as burglaries and theft. In June 2015, seven local young men were charged with capital murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Joel Espino. Three of the seven were 17 at the time and the oldest was 21 years old. Police believed it was an attempted robbery, and Espino’s residence was a known drug location.
A 20-year-old was murdered over a suspected drug deal gone wrong on Oct. 2, 2015. According to the record, Bryan Martinez, 19, was arrested on Oct. 4 for the murder. The other suspect Johnathan Ivan Guia, 22, turned himself in on Oct. 6 after a murder warrant was issued for his arrest. More recently, last December a Texas State student was fatally shot at The Retreat by men who have yet to be identified. According to a December 7, 2015 University Star article, the suspects are three males wearing hoodies and masks. There was a physical struggle leading to the victim dying from gunshot wounds. In a statement made shortly after the homicide,
Chief of Police Chase Stapp said the San Marcos Police Department strongly believes robbery and drugs were the motive of the murder. While the age of the criminals has varied, the victims are typically college-aged individuals, Earnest said. “The victims are normally the ones selling the drugs, or have a lot of cash on them,” Earnest said. “Not always, but typically that is the case.” Earnest said she couldn’t compare San Marcos to other cities without the proper data, but believes the population of college-aged individuals in the area could be a contributing factor to an increase in drug related crimes. “Because we have a college-aged population I
would say we have a higher percentage of drug-related crime,” Earnest said. “And it has definitely increased over the past few years.” Officer Sue Taylor, University Police Department, said due to UPD being primarily on campus, it has always seen drug related crimes. However, typically officers see use of marijuana and illegal use of prescription drugs. “We’re on campus, so it’s a little different than what SMPD sees,” Taylor said. “We get a lot of crimes involving marijuana and illegal prescriptions, like ADHD medication for example.” Taylor said crimes committed involving drugs are brought to their attention by resident advisors, anonymous tips and traffic viola-
tions involving the vehicle smelling like marijuana. “We’ve caught people, you know, smoking in their cars,” Taylor said. “Sometimes if we stop them for a traffic violation and there is a suspicious smell, or RAs will report a suspicious smell coming out of dorm rooms.” While they have always had cases involving drugs, UPD tends not to have issues with drug related violence, or home evasions, Taylor said. “We normally don’t, I mean we have before, but normally we do not see drug related violent crimes on campus,” Taylor said.
“Any time there are more people, there is more of a possibility of crimes occurring since there are simply more opportunities.” —KELLY EARNEST, SAN MARCOS POLICE DEPARTMENT COMMANER
Conversation Club, as their meeting times are more accessible. She hopes to work with other organizations in San Marcos to make the biggest impact possible. “I think she’s got a spirit of collaboration and I think that is really helpful for an organization,” Carter said. In addition to Baggett’s organization, there is also Community Action, Inc., which operates in the nine county “doughnut” sur-
rounding Austin. Community Action is federally funded and therefore must follow certain rules that the ESL program at St. John’s does not have to follow. However, this organization reaches farther and offers a wider variety of services beyond ESL education. The program, celebrating its 50th anniversary, has made strides in serving the community, said Jon Engel
the adult education director for Community Action. ESL training and GED education are the main resources the organization provides, along with other services including cancer screenings. “We try to help educationally disadvantaged adults get back on track and get the skills they need to provide for their families,” Engel said.
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Brandon Sams, Opinions Editor @TheBrandonSams email@example.com
THE MAIN POINT
North Carolina & Mississippi’s anti-LGBTQIA bills and why Texas should say no I t is sad that this has to be said in 2016, but it’s time America said goodbye to intolerant hatred and hello to unadulterated love. North Carolina and Mississippi have dominated headlines for the past week due to the passage of restrictive anti-LGBT laws that allow business and clergy to discriminate against sexual minorities and transgender people on the basis of religious liberty. However, they might not be the only two states weaseling down the regressive ladder. Rep. Matt Krause, RFort Worth, has vowed to reintroduce a similar bill, titled Religious Freedom Restoration Act, into the Texas Constitution. Beloved Gov. Greg Abbot has signaled, should it pass the House and Senate, he will sign the act into law. Texas should not further devolve into a brand of bigotry and intolerance in the name of religious freedom like North Carolina. Career politicians should know at this point in time, even in historically red states, being socially reductive is not politically expedient. It gives the state a bad name and as Bobcats know at this point, branding is everything. Being socially reductive
has never disillusioned the Texas legislature, only big money has, and enacting a bill similar in purpose to the North Carolina antiLGBTQIA one is a bad economic move. Since the implementation of the bill, many companies including Google Ventures and Braeburn Pharmaceuticals have either refused to do business in the state entirely, or rethink potential expansions into North Carolina. Most notably PayPal dropped plans to construct a $3.6 million global operations center in Charlotte, costing the state $20 million annually and over 400 new jobs. Potentially the most economically stifling reaction, so far, to the prodiscrimination law. Unquestionably these laws are in clear violation of people’s constitutional right of equal protection bestowed on them by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. However, North Carolina and Mississippi are simply the most newsworthy examples, in reality it’s nothing new—far from it actually. In the United States only 22 states offer comprehensive nondiscrimination safeguards for sexual minorities. Nineteen of those states offer the same
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protection to gender/nongender minorities. For those with trouble in math, that means in over half of the country it is completely legal to deny LGBTQIA people access to employment, housing and other public accommodations. Hopefully, this kind of public shaming and backlash can be the impetus for a greater movement. A courageous movement to finally move beyond marriage equality and redress damaging inequities and
sanctioned discrimination. Nowadays even lawmakers are getting on the boycott bandwagon. San Francisco, Seattle and the entire states of New York+ have restricted state-funded, non-essential travel to North Carolina after North Carolina’s passage of the anti-LGBTQIA law HB 2. Why? Simple: being bigoted is no longer politically expedient. There will be consequences and North Carolina specifically is seeing those drawbacks
manifest. In the new era of conventional politics it seems corporations are increasingly taking the moral high ground in pseudo-activist attempts to help dismantle discriminatory laws. Powerful national brands like Apple, Wal-Mart and the NBA have insinuated boycotts of states that pass anti-LGBTQIA laws, which could include a loss of monetary benefits and employment opportunities. So, Gov. Abbot and Rep.
Krause should be weary of what laws they veil under the guise of religious liberty. Georgia attempted to pass a similar law that provided cover for businesses to refuse services to people based on religious opposition to the LGBTQIA community. The “religious freedom bill” – reminiscent of laws overturned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – was quickly dismissed by Gov. Nathan Deal after pressure from money-making machines like Hollywood and the NFL. Financial rewards trumped by civil decency, once again. Appealing to those who lack a moral compass is futile, but money talks. Texas loves industry and economic investment. After all, the state is a hotbed for corporations, but if it goes down the same road as North Carolina and Mississippi those prospects are likely to dry up. Texas is derived from the Caddo Indian word meaning “ally.” For once, let’s try to live up to this mantra. Texas has consistently been on the wrong side of history, it is time to get it right. Say no to bigotry disguised as religious liberty.
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 Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University.
Pop culture belittles victims of eating disorders By Libby Light OPINIONS COLUMNIST @LibbyvLight
Pop culture portrays eating disorders so unrealistically it creates an increasingly dangerous environment for those suffering. Since mental illnesses are incredibly complex, the spread of misinformation can deter those in need of help from loved ones. Proper knowledge about eating disorders is rare, but popular culture works hard to stigmatize them further. Print media plays a huge role in creating these naïve perceptions. A simple stroll through a grocery store checkout line leaves shoppers surrounded by magazines hurling insults and accusations about celebrities. “EATING DISORDER CONFESSIONS. Plus: Scary-Skinny Celebs” is front page news for magazines like Star, Life & Style and People. These brazen headlines are accompanied by thin women with subheads such as, “OMG! BONY BACKS” and “Starving for Fashion.” The biggest problem with pop culture’s depiction of eating disorders is the concept that someone must be extremely thin in order to be considered ill. This is simply incorrect. It is impossible to “look anorexic” because these disorders are all psychological. For example, a person could be 350 pounds and dying of severe bulimia while someone else can be 90 pounds and perfectly healthy. As a channel devoted to
teens and children, Disney should be especially conscious of the message it sends to growing minds. However, over the years lead actors have become increasingly thin and jokes about eating disorders have trickled in. “I could just eat you guys up, you know, if I ate,” is a line from “Shake it Up,” a Disney Channel show. Using dangerous illnesses as a gag creates the mindset where eating disorders are a frivolous character trait. Therefore sufferers are, by extension, a joke as well. Celebrities themselves are often no help in the mission to spread awareness. Meghan Trainor has frequently been under fire for her views towards eating disorders and body image. In 2014, Trainor publically spoke about disorders and was brimming with ignorance and disrespect. “I wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder,” Trainor said. “I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that’s not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, ‘Ma, can you make me a sandwich? Like, immediately.’” Trainor implied anorexia is a decision made willingly, but harsh reality proves the opposite is true. These psychological conditions repeatedly happen before the victim even realizes and their highly addictive nature leaves the victim trapped. Eating disorders are often dismissed as solely for rich, white teenage girls but the reality is vastly different. These illnesses are spread among people of all socioeconomic
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groups, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities and genders. In fact, up to 15 percent of those suffering are male. Mental illnesses are not to be brushed off as fads or phases the victim will grow out of. Over 30 million men and women suffer from disorders in the United States and anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, including schizophrenia. One in five anorexics will die, either from physical complications or suicide. American media is doing viewers a huge injustice by constantly feeding audiences images of emaciated women, cracking jokes about disorders and creating an environment where thinner is better. Our society’s dangerous obsession with eating clean and fear of obesity does nothing but harm. More than half of girls and one third of boys age six to eight want thinner bodies. This is an epidemic which will lead to an increase in death unless a drastic change is made. Pop culture cannot continue with this path of destruction. The constant cycle of beating down Americans and then telling sufferers we are vain, weak or it’s “all in our heads” just perpetuates the idea that we are not worthy of being happy and healthy. All body types are wonderful. As soon as pop culture can embrace this ideology, the sooner our society can begin to heal. —Libby Light is a journalism senior.
We need more donkeys and here is why By Jeffrey Bradshaw OPINIONS COLUMNIST @jeffbrad12
Call the ringleader because the elephants are running amok. The time has come to introduce more donkeys into the Texas political circus because a rise in Democratic Party representation would be good for the red-loving state. In all my years on Earth, Texas has been a Republican state. Republicans have occupied most—if not all—executive positions and held majorities in both houses of the state legislature. This one-party rule has resulted in limited access to reproductive healthcare and made it more difficult for non-Republicans to vote. Similarly, if Texas government was controlled by Democrats, there would still be an issue. Single-party rule is not good, no matter which side is ruling. In 2014 only 33.7 percent of registered voters turned out in Texas. Anything less than 100 percent means our government does not have the consent of the all the governed, but only some. Consequently, our representative government
does not truly represent us. One possible solution to the turnout dilemma is getting more people to vote. However, many Texans who do not identify as Republican have difficulty voting. Having more Democrats in elected offices, and on the ballots, would make our state government more representative of its people and increase voter turnout. If each race for a position in state government were not immediately decided in a Republican primary, or by gerrymandering, each candidate would have to fight for every vote in order to win. Politicians would have to be better candidates, which would lead to improved government for all affected. In turn, voters would see the power of their vote go up because races would no longer be written off. This would imbue people with the desire to vote and make sure their candidate gets elected. More people voting is obviously a good thing. Let’s pretend we are in a state where the certainty of a Republican winning our Electoral College votes does not exist. With a population
our size, candidates would be here once a week holding rallies to get our 28 electoral votes. The amount of money spent here during presidential election season would be good for our economy. It is sad that I cannot remember seeing an ad promoting Mitt Romney or Barack Obama during the 2012 election. Texas deserves more recognition from campaigners than it currently receives. Democracy is about the plurality of ideas, and Texas has this variety only on paper. We need more Democrats in office to foster further debate in order to better govern our beloved state. Good bills get passed through discussion and compromise, and when they get passed, the people of Texas benefit. Former Lt. Governor Bob Bullock used to ask himself when considering a bill, “Is this good for Texas?” The one-party rule we have experienced, from well before Republicans controlled the state government, is not good for Texas. —Jeffrey Bradshaw is a political science junior
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The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Monday and Thursday of the spring and fall and every other Wednesday in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 6,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright Monday, April 11, 2016. 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. The first five issues of each edition of the paper are free. Additional copies of the paper can be purchased at 50¢ per copy. Contact The University Star office at (512) 245-3487 to purchase additional copies.
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The University Star
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Paul Livengood, Sports Editor @IAmLivengood email@example.com
TRACK & FIELD
Proving people wrong is what gets this Bobcat going By Lisette Lopez SPORTS REPORTER @Lisette_1023
Tramesha Hardy, freshman runner, knows how to stay motivated. Hardy said she had a great childhood until, when she was 9-years-old, her parents separated due to her father’s addiction. His addiction was a constant as she grew up. “He was always disappearing and leaving my mom stranded,” she said. “She had to go through the hard stuff. He would take money from us, and it was hard for her to pay rent. It tore our family apart.” Times were hardest for her as an underclassman in high school. “In high school, I was a
bad kid,” she said. “I had an attitude problem, and I was talking back a lot. Whenever someone said something about my parents, I would get into arguments with them.” She started running in eighth grade, but was very insecure about her talent. People would always tell her she was good at it, but Hardy never paid much attention. Hardy didn’t start getting serious about her track career until her junior year of high school. It was time for her to shape up. “My high school track coach would yell at me and tell me that I am talented,” she said. “She said that nobody was going to want me for college track because of my attitude. I knew I want-
ed to get a scholarship. I needed to fix my attitude, and I wanted to prove my coach wrong and that’s what I did.” Hardy said she had to suck it up, be a big girl and put hardships aside because she was going to prove people wrong. Texas State was not Hardy’s first stop. She attended Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, but wanted to transfer immediately. She did not know anyone there for an entire year. She was seven hours away from her family in Houston, Texas, and wanted to transfer to another university as soon as possible. Hardy’s summer track coach is a Texas State
—COURTESY OF TRAMESHA HARDY
alumni who encouraged her athletes to run as Bobcats. “She would show me pictures and would tell us that the campus is nice and that the people are friendly,” she said. “I wanted to go to Texas State. I looked to see if they had my major that I wanted, and they did. Once I saw that, I wanted to run there too.” Hardy contacted her summer track coach once she wanted to transfer from Alcorn State. She talked to the coaches at Texas State, and got in. She loved the school, and everything that came with it. She loved the environment, and the diverse student body Texas State has. Hardy has made an impact on the team already. In the Sun Belt conference, she was awarded Most Outstanding Women’s Freshman. This year was Hardy’s first track season at Texas State, and had no idea she was awarded. “Until someone told me, I wasn’t expecting myself to be nominated for something like that because this was my first year,” Hardy said. “I was so happy. I showed my mom, and sent it to my grandma. My picture was on the website, and they were happy and proud.” Winning such an award does not make a difference to Hardy. She will continue to prove people wrong. “I love a challenge, so it will make me go harder and set high goals for myself,” Hardy said. Hardy has dreams to run professionally or even be an Olympian someday. But for now, she has goals set in place this year. “I want to make it to nationals,” Hardy said. “But, I just want to make my coaches proud. I want to work hard, and do my best every chance I get.”
DO YOU HAVE AN INNER BOKO? By Autumn Anderson ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @aaautumn_
Whether you’ve seen him at a Texas State game, or just waltzing around campus, Boko the Bobcat is a famous face around here. Boko is an energy filled and upbeat Bobcat who knows how to get people pumped up. If you’re someone who enjoys getting students and fans hyped for their Bobcat teams, you have a chance at being the next Boko. Texas State claimed it’s athletic nickname of the Bobcats in 1919, and the mascot was named Boko in 1964. The Texas State Spirit Program is holding cheer and mascot tryouts April 8-10 in Jowers Gym 102. Interviews begin at 9 a.m. and will go through noon. Specifically, mascot try-outs will be held this Saturday at 4:35 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. as it is only a one-day process. Both cheer and mascot try-outs are open to all candidates.
Get to Know: Corrina Liscano, junior third baseman By Thomas Mejia SPORTS REPORTER @ThomasMejia79
Thomas Mejia: What made you decide to come to Texas State? Corrina Liscano: One of my good friends from Howard (College) committed to Texas State so I thought it was pretty cool, and the coaches were nice. TM: What has been your favorite softball memory? CL: Probably winning regionals at Howard College. TM: Who is your biggest inspiration? CL: My grandpa, because he played ball when he was in college. He went into the minors but he blew out his knee catching. He is the reason why I love softball, because he loves the sport so much and he pushes me to become a better player. TM: What keeps you motivated?
CL: My grandpa as well; it’s the worse feeling in the world when I don’t give it my all during a game and he is there to watch it. That keeps me motivated because he is always there to push me to my limit, and he always lets me know what I did wrong and how to improve. TM: If you could play another sport, what would it be? CL: Field Hockey—I played it in high school and it’s pretty intense. TM: Who is your favorite athlete? CL: Vladimir Guerrero TM: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why? CL: Babe Ruth because I feel like old-school baseball and softball were so different compared to now. It’s sad to see athletes play for the money, and back then they played for the love of
the sport. I want to hear his thought process of the game. TM: What is your dream Vacation? CL: Jamaica TM: What is your favorite Netflix show? CL: Law & Order TM: Who is your favorite music artist? CL: Blink-182 TM: Who’s your favorite superhero? CL: Deadpool TM: If you could have a super power what would it be? CL: The power to cure cancer. TM: What is your favorite food? CL: My mom’s tacos. TM: What do you do in your free time? CL: Play softball. TM: What has been the best advice someone has given you? CL: Probably fake it until you make it. My parents
STAR FILE PHOTO
always tell me if I’m not enjoying something let me fake it so it can go by faster. TM: How do you want
to be remembered? CL: Being someone that everyone wants to be around and someone that
has a good positive vibe that helps people when they need help the most.
Eddie Printz: The one to watch By Autumn Anderson ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @aaautumn_
Tyler Jones has been the quarterback to depend on the last couple seasons, and may be fighting for his spot on the field once regular season football starts this fall. Eddie Printz, a redshirt sophomore quarterback from Missouri, is transferring to Texas State. Printz had offers from Troy, Mercer University and Hawaii but decided that being a Bobcat was the best decision for him. Being able to play under Texas State’s new head football coach Everett Withers
maybe a major contributing factor for Printz’s decision. Jones has performed well as a quarterback, but Bobcat fans want more. Jones was fourth in the Sun Belt last season in passing yards with 207 yards per game and ended last season with 14 touchdown passes. Despite all of that, Printz is most likely going to take up some of Jones’ field time. Printz was ranked at No. 32 in the country for pro-style quarterbacks in 2012, while he was still in high school. He redshirted his first year at Missouri, but still was impressive at their spring camp. In 2014, Printz was the back up for Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk. Printz
only threw one pass all season, which resulted in a win for the Tigers. Last season, he played in a total of eight games as Missouri’s primary holder. Over two seasons with the Tigers, Printz only threw one pass. Printz may not have incredible and impressive numbers yet, but that’s because the quarterback hasn't had enough playing time. Once Printz gets field time with the Bobcats there is no doubt he is going to start building his statistics up further and start making a bigger name for himself. Printz also was awarded 2015 Spring Team Most Improved quarterback by the Tigers, which shows his potential.
He was heavily recruited in high school, and a quarterback wanting to transfer from a university like Missouri to Texas State doesn't happen too often. The Tigers are in the SEC, which is a conference stacked with good football teams. Printz has played against teams the Bobcats will probably never have the chance to play, like Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and Ole Miss. The Bobcats play in the Sun Belt, which has proved to be a tough conference for Texas State to compete in, but may be something a little easier for Printz. Texas State and Missouri are both Division I schools, but Printz gets to start the
fall season regardless, not having to sit a season out due to a particular graduation rule. Gaining Printz will either be a great change for the Bobcats or a bust if they don’t do anything about it. Printz is coming from a competitive Southeastern conference school, so he’s knowledgeable about what it takes to lead a team to victory regardless of the amount of time spent on the field. The Bobcats need to take this advantage and run with it. Having a quarterback from Missouri and a new head coach like Everett Withers—clad with tons of experience—there is no
—COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI ATHLETICS
way this year’s Texas State football team won’t be an improvement from seasons prior.
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The University Star
Carlie Porterfield, Lifestyle Editor @reporterfield firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria Baxter, international relations and Spanish senior, shows off her fashion forward outfit in the Quad April 2.
Lily Martinez, English lit graduate student, found in the Quad on March 30.
ALYSSA DUGAN-RODRIGUEZ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Elaine Cole, English freshmen, shows off her fashion forward outfit in the Quad April 2.
Finding fashion in the Quad By Tiffany Goulart LIFESTYLE REPORTER @tgoulart93
This week in the Quad, I spotted some more fashionforward Bobcats. Lillian Martinez, literature graduate student, said
her favorite places to shop are Target and anywhere on the sales rack. “My style is comfortable, but still feeling good about myself and the way I look,” Martinez said. “A lot of people say the way I dress is very antique. I feel like a
lot of my clothes could be from the Victorian era.” Elaine Cole, exploratory freshman, said her favorite places to pick up new pieces include Target, Victoria’s Secret, Aerie, H&M and other retail stores. “My style is inspired a
lot by movies, especially romantic comedies,” Cole said. “The clothes I wear are very fun and bright.” Cole’s favorite piece of clothing is her Calvin Klein peacoat. Victoria Baxter, international relations senior, was
wearing Toms shoes, a skirt she got in Puerto Rico and a lace crop top. “I would describe my style as comfortable,” Baxter said. “I love wearing dresses.” Baxter mostly shops at thrift stores. Her favorite
article of clothing is a purple velvet dress. There are tons of stylish Bobcats around campus and these girls are only a few of them. Stay tuned for more Quad fashion finds!
Campus reflects at Bobcat Pause A tearful ceremony on campus allowed Bobcats to not only remember and honor the faculty, staff and students who have died in the past year, but to cherish each other in life. On Thursday the 29th Bobcat Pause was held in the ballroom at the LBJ Student Center. The yearly tradition celebrates the lives of Texas State students, faculty, and staff, both retired and current, who have passed away during the year. The event, sponsored by the Student Foundation and the Dean of Students office, honors members of the campus community who have made a difference on campus, whether big or small, and allows family, friends, students and guests to reflect on those who have passed. Before the ceremony, guests were treated to a quiet reception in the lobby with honoree displays lin-
ing the walls to showcase the unconditional love and support of their families and friends. Cynthia Garza, director of Bobcat Pause, said the annual tradition is important because it invites the Texas State community to celebrate each other. "We are all connected to each other, and it is important to reflect on our common bond," Garza said. "It unites us together as a family, and reminds students and staff that they are not a number, that they a vital part of our campus and our community." Garza opened the ceremony by offering her kind and thoughtful words to those mourning and reflecting on the lives of their loved ones. "I hope this memorial will bring you all peace and love," Garza said. "The bond that we have as members of this community can never be broken." President Denise Trauth expressed her condolences on behalf of the university during a segment of the
ceremony. She stressed the importance of appreciating everyone in daily life. "Each and every person has been at the heart of our university” Trauth said. "Their presence has added meaning, whether big or small. They may have taught you, you may have learned with them and may have smiled with them." Trauth said Texas State’s solidarity includes the University of Texas during its time of mourning in the wake of the death of Haruka Weiser, a freshman student found murdered on the Austin campus. Tears were shed throughout Bobcat Pause, from the slideshow of those who have departed us to VocaLibre’s beautiful renditions of "The Road Home" and "Never Alone." Patsy Pohl, an alumna, spoke fondly of her husband James Pohl, who was honored at the ceremony. "He was brilliant, multitalented, adorable," Pohl said. "Everybody loved him; he was incredibly witty."
Pohl said her husband was a beloved professor who spent 40 years teaching history and founded the military history program before he retired. "Students loved him," Pohl said. "He was very much adored by all those who knew him." Pohl said Bobcat Pause and the act of remembrance is crucial to the Texas State community. "It’s a very important part of the history of our university," Pohl said. "It allows us to celebrate and mourn those who have made an impact on our lives." Garza said the annual tradition allows students to come and savor their common experiences and cherish the memories of fellow Bobcats. "Every year I have more students ask me when Bobcat Pause is happening," Garza said. "There is more support for this tradition as our family grows. It is a tradition that is here to stay."
What started as a group of San Antonio ladies parading in front of the Alamo and throwing flower blossoms from bedazzled horse-drawn carriages has become one of the nation’s premier cultural festivals. Fiesta San Antonio first began as a parade in 1891 to honor the memory of the Alamo heroes and the Battle of San Jacinto. Since then, it has evolved into a celebration of San Antonio’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. This year’s celebrations, that start April 14 at 5 p.m., will mark the 125th anniversary of the first parade. It has also grown to become one of the biggest festivals in the country. Some 3.5 million people enjoy Fiesta each year, with 20 percent of festivalgoers traveling from outside of Texas. In 2007, Fiesta generated an economic im-
pact of around $284 million for the local economy. The San Antonio itself receives about $4 million in city sales tax alone thanks to the event. Some of the most popular events at Fiesta are the opening ceremonies at the Alamo to kick off the weekend, the Texas Cavaliers river parade, the oyster bake at St. Mary’s University and the Flambeau parade. While official events are coordinated by the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, an all-volunteer board of local residents, the number of unofficial but exciting happenings grows with each year that passes. Any Bobcat looking for a weekend of Texas-Mex fun can take the trip down I-35 for what will surely be a good time. —compiled by Carlie Porterfield
By Erin O’Donnell LIFESTYLE REPORTER @1erino
Coming up this weekend: Fiesta San Antonio
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Carlie Porterfield, Lifestyle Editor @reporterfield email@example.com
Picks of the Week Monday, April 11 Tuesday, April 12 Wednesday, April 13 Thursday, April 14 Open Mic Night at KIVA Lounge & Bar Every Monday at KIVA is open mic night! Grab your friends and head to KIVA at 9 p.m. for free entertainment or even to play a song, recite some original poetry or tell a joke.
Adam Carroll with Jonny Burke and HalleyAnna Finlay at Gruene Hall
Kent Finlay’s Songwriter’s Circle at Cheatham Street Warehouse
Head to the famous Gruene Hall to check out a free show at 6 p.m. featuring three singer-songwriters from Texas.
Cheatham Street hosts a weekly Songwriter’s Circle at 8 p.m. every Wednesday Night. The event is presented by the Cheatham Street Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the proliferation of Texas music.
Friday, April 15
Saturday, April 16
American Aquarium Hell Camino Live at at River Road Ice Jack’s Roadhouse House Local classic rock cover
Benefit Dance for the Tommy Cuevas Family
Head over to New Braunfels Thursday night for a chance to see American Aquarium, an alt-country band from Raleigh. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Roll up to La Sociedad Cuauhtemoc and donate $10 to see music by acts like Grupo Reflejo, Marcos Orozco, Cojunto Cats, La Tradizion and more. Proceeds go to the family of the late Tommy Cuevas, the longtime proprietor of Cuevas Produce on Linda Drive, was well-loved by the San Marcos community.
band Hell Camino is playing a gig Friday 10 p.m. at Jack’s Roadhouse. Head over for some San Marcosstyle fun.
Texas State offers first study abroad program in the Middle East By Tiffany Goulart LIFESTYLE REPORTER @tgoulart93
This summer, Texas State students will have the opportunity to travel to an untraditional study abroad destination: Amman, Jordan. This is the first study abroad program that the university has offered to the Arab world. Noha Mohama-Akkari, who teaches Arabic, and three students will be in Jordan for five weeks. Mohama-Akkari was born in Damascus, Syria and learned Arabic as her first language. She moved to Texas in 2003 and began teaching Arabic at the university in 2011. This May, the group will be traveling to Amman, Jordan. Amman, the capital
city, is located in the northcentral region of the country and has a population of over four million residents. Mohama-Akkari said studying abroad is a great experience for students working on getting their bachelors degrees. “I recommend studying abroad when you are an undergraduate student because you have the opportunity and time,” she said. “When you graduate or you are in graduate school, you have other responsibilities and commitments so taking the trip then may be harder.” The students will be living with host families in Amman. Living with the host families will allow them to become immersed in the Arabic traditions and cultures. “When studying a lan-
guage, being in the environment is essential to fully learning the language and culture,” Mohama-Akkari said. They will attend classes at a local university in Amman and also take classes with Mohama-Akkari. Halie Rathmell, elementary education junior, had the opportunity to study abroad last semester in Stockholm, Sweden. Although she was not studying in the Middle East, Rathmell has great things to say about her study abroad experience. “It is such a great experience to get out of your comfort zone. It was definitely an eye opener for me,” Rathmell said. “If you’re considering studying abroad my advice would be to not over think it and not let anything hold you back.”
through the university. More students should consider taking Arabic because it is important and in demand for many jobs. Meghan Blizinski, international studies senior, took Arabic because her concentration for her major focuses on the Middle East. Although Blizinski is not attending the Jordan trip, she is planning on travelling to the Middle East in the future. “Regardless of what industry you want to work in, Arabic is considered a critical language and is a desir-
able skill to have,” Blizinski said. “I would encourage students to study abroad in the Middle East because it is easier to travel there through a study abroad program. It would be a good way to open your eyes to that side of the world.” If you have not fulfilled your language requirement yet, or are just interested in taking a challenging and interesting class, consider signing up for Arabic or even studying abroad in Jordan.
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At the Jordan trip’s orientation, a University of Texas student who studied abroad there came to speak to the group. “This student had a really great learning experience in Jordan,” Mohama-Akkari said. “With social media and the Internet, people know what to expect so there is not a big culture shock.” Most majors at Texas State have a foreign language requirement, and not many students are aware that there are four semesters of Arabic offered
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