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Alcohol delivery app to launch in San Marcos MADELYNNE SCALES PHOTO EDITOR

BOOT whisperer

Ulli Johnston, a.k.a the “Boot Whisperer,” poses April 24 at The Wild West Store in Wimberley.

the By Jon Wilcox SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @thrilcox

A Wimberley boot shop owner has earned fame and fortune with her uncanny ability to find the perfect pair for each and every customer. Ulli Johnston, affectionately known as the “Boot Whisperer,” has sold vintage

Western boots since 1995 at her shop in Wimberley. Johnston’s famed ability to find the perfect style and fit of boots has attracted curious footwear-seekers from across the nation for decades. Johnston said she opened The Wild West Store at its current location in 1995 with 40 or 50 pairs of boots. She has since increased her inventory but does not know

exactly how many pairs of boots are in the store currently. “I know the ‘500 boots’ sign outside is a generous underestimate,” she said. “I would say probably along the lines of seven to eight hundred, and I know where each boot is.” The store contains countless styles in varieties of animal skin including hip-

popotamus leather, stingray, anteater, eel, menudo, horned lizard, iguana, alligator, elephant and more traditional materials. All of the boots are vintage, Johnston said. Most are decades old. Some are almost a century old. Johnston, who was born “just north” of Frankfurt, Germany, said she has always

ULLI JOHNSTON Go online to to watch Ulli Johnston in action at her Wimberley shop sizing customers for boots.

had a special love for leather shoes. As a child, Johnston was fascinated by the cobbler store in her hometown and spent time in the shoemaker’s shop. “Up the street from my parent’s home was a little, tiny cobbler (store), and it was really dark, and it smelled of leather,” Johnston said. “That was my favorite place to go visit and just watch him repair the shoes and just smell the leather.” Johnston came to be known as the “Boot Whisperer” years ago. She surprised a customer by selecting the perfect pair of boots. Johnston can gauge a customer’s boot size at a glance and

See JOHNSTON, Page 2


College Republicans to change strategy

By Kasandra Garza NEWS REPORTER @KasGarza College Republicans is a currently registered student-run organization, but the group has been inactive throughout the semester. The officers and members of the College Republicans decided to take the semester off to work on building a better officer board, said Kayla Weddle, international studies sophomore. Weddle was the Fall 2014 vice chair for the group. The members were faced with the question of how to run an effective organization when Westley Halbardier, biology junior and former chairperson, resigned from his position, Weddle said. Halbardier left the organization in Fall 2014 after feeling “burned out” by the workload that came with being the chairperson. “I did a lot of the work on my own,” Halbardier said. “It’s hard to coordinate something to fit everybody’s schedule and interest.”

Halbardier claims to have had little to no support from members. Weddle claims he “took everything on by choice.” “He didn’t know how to work as a team,” Weddle said. “He always worked by himself, and I think that’s what he was really used to.” Members of the College Republicans attempted to work effectively together as a team, Weddle said. They felt Halbardier tried to take on everything because he did not trust anyone with tasks. “Westley didn’t teach us how to run an organization or how to work effectively,” Weddle said. “We were left with nothing.” Recruiting students and keeping them interested was another problem the members faced, Halbardier said. “It’s not that we’re Republicans and no one wants to be a Republican, it’s that no one wants to get involved in the political process,” Halbardier said. “A political sys-



San Marcos surplus water supply to be sold to neighboring cities By Andrew Blanton NEWS REPORTER @andrewjblanton Officials with the City of San Marcos are offering a portion of the surplus water supply to neighboring areas with shortages while the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer

pipeline project awaits construction. The Hays Caldwell Public Utilities Agency (HCPUA) includes San Marcos, Kyle, Buda and the Canyon Regional Water Authority. HCPUA officials plan to construct a water supply pipeline that will connect

cities to the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer to meet the demands of the growing populations. The 100-mile pipeline will reduce the use of the Edwards Aquifer, which currently supplies water to central Texas, according to a report by HCPUA.

See AQUIFER, Page 2

By Anna Herod SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @annaleemurphy This summer San Martians will be able to have alcohol delivered to their doorstep. TopShelf, an alcohol-delivery app, was first introduced at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin by CEO Ryan Browne. Students and residents will be able to buy liquor, wine and beer from local stores via TopShelf by either May or June, Browne said. The app is the first of its kind to be approved by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). “What we do is connect users who want to get alcohol delivered to their home with liquor stores,” Browne said. “The liquor stores are actually the ones that handle the alcohol.” The customer’s identification card is scanned upon delivery to ensure it is not expired or fake, he said. “It’s nice to have that peace of mind for the liquor stores as well as for parents that are worried about this being a way for minors to get alcohol easier,” Browne said. “We definitely have ways of making sure that is not the case.” The app debuted in Houston April 17, and Browne has plans to extend TopShelf’s availability to Dallas and San Antonio within the year. Browne said TopShelf creates a “seamless and easy” experience by offering users the chance to give drivers special instructions such as entry codes needed to access apartment complexes. The app notifies the user when a liquor store employee begins driving to make the delivery. “We’re that portal for the users to the liquor store, so both our customers and clients are users as well as the liquor stores,” Browne said.

We’re bridging that gap and kind of bringing the liquor industry into the modern age.” ­—RYAN BROWNE, TOPSHELF CEO


Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency officials plans to construct a pipeline that will alleviate the Edwards Aquifer.

“We’re bridging that gap and kind of bringing the liquor industry into the modern age.” Browne said he came up with the idea for TopShelf in 2009 when Apple’s slogan was “there’s an app for that.” “I was at a (University of Texas at Austin) party, and we ran out of beer,” Browne said. “At that point, I looked at my phone and was like, ‘Why can I not get alcohol delivered right here, right now?’” TopShelf officials are in the process of partnering with a liquor store in San Marcos.

See TOPSHELF, Page 2

2 | The University Star | News | Wednesday, April 29, 2015

JOHNSTON, from front find perfect-fitting footwear after only a few moments of searching. “I’ve been doing the same thing from the get-go,” Johnston said. “I just didn’t know I could call myself ‘Boot Whisperer.’” Johnston said she hears a specific sound when a foot enters a perfect fit of boots. “When the boot is too big, there is an echo,” she said. “When it fits perfect, it is just like ‘pfft.’” “Happy toes” are the key to well-fitted boots, Johnston said. Johnston said she loves the look of amazement in peoples’ eyes when they realize how comfortable well-fitted boots are. Pleasing people, not making a profit, is Johnston’s priority. Once a customer sat on her couch for almost an hour, unable to make up her mind on which pair of boots to buy, Johnston said. Johnston refused to sell the customer any boots until the woman went home to “sleep on it.” The

customer returned later and purchased a completely different pair. “There are sometimes times when the customer tells me price range and the colors or the styles, and I walk through the store, and I tell them, ‘I’m not feeling it,’” Johnston said. “‘You have to come back. Your boot is in transit.’” Johnston’s fame as the “Boot Whisperer” has attracted celebrities to her door, she said. Johnston is responsible for converting Jimmy Buffett from flip-flops to boots. “His whole band is repeat customers,” Johnston said. Johnston’s abilities have earned her respect within the community. Officials with the City of Wimberley consulted her before implementing “Bootiful Wimberley,” Johnston said. The goal of the community art project is to install dozens of five-foot-tall, hand-painted boot sculptures around town. “We got together with an artist, but in the first drafts, the first sketches, the boot

looked more like a painting, and I wanted it to look like a real boot,” she said. Norma and Chris Baisden traveled from Houston to The Wild West Store to find the perfect pair of boots, they said. The couple heard about Johnston from a friend who passed through Wimberley years ago. Norma and Chris decided they had to visit the shop. Chris said Norma was looking for something “extravagant.” Norma said she originally meant to spend $350 at the most, but a particular pair convinced her to extend her price range. “You got extra cash, honey?” Norma asked. “I could get some,” Chris said. The couple left happily with a new set of vintage boots, spending more than $400 on the pair, Norma said. The boots were Norma’s first pair. “I was born (in) Texas and don’t have any boots,” Norma said. “I had to correct that.”

When the boot is too big, there is an echo. When it fits perfect, it is just like ‘pfft.’” ­—ULLI JOHNSTON, BOOT WHISPERER

TOPSHELF, from front

REPUBLICANS, from front

Browne said the storeowners do not want their business’s name released until the partnership is finalized. Rohit Topiwala, owner of Beverage World in south Austin, has partnered with TopShelf and said he recommends other stores to do the same. “I think it is, surprisingly, an underserved market,” Topiwala said. “We’re getting customers from other areas that I wasn’t expecting to, so I think TopShelf is going to be incremental to my business.” Topiwala said he heard about TopShelf at a wine tasting. He decided to hear Browne’s pitch. “All (Browne) had to do was tell me what he’s doing, and it seems to be working well,” Topiwala said. “It’s really no risk. I think the one taking the biggest risk is (Browne), so you have nothing to lose by trying it.” Kaley McKey, marketing junior, said she would use TopShelf if it were available in San Marcos. “It seems like an easier way to get alcohol,” Mckey said. “If you’ve already been drinking and run out of alcohol, you won’t have to go through trying to find someone who is still sober to go get more drinks.” McKey said the amount of time the alcohol delivery takes would factor into her decision about using the app. “As long as TopShelf would bring the alcohol in the same amount of time or even quicker than it would take for me to either go get it myself or have someone else get the drinks, then I would use it,” McKey said.

tem works by being involved, and that’s just something the younger population doesn’t understand.” Halbardier said students believe “politics are dirty.” Students try to avoid politics completely because of the influence of television and social media. “The minority vote is extremely important, and students don’t realize this,” Halbardier said. The Hays County Young Republicans and the Hays County Constitutional Republicans are alternative groups students can join, said Adam French, former member of the College Republicans and current president of the Hays County Young Republicans. Members of the College Republicans are working with the Hays County Young Republicans to plan events to make up for their absence on campus, Weddle said. Some students have joined alternative organizations while they wait for the College Republicans to become active again, French said. In the meantime, members

of the College Republicans are consulting other organizations and Texas State alumni to learn how to run the organization and work effectively as a team, Weddle said. “There are peaks and valleys of an organization’s growth,” French said. “This is just one of those time periods where there aren’t as many people wanting to jump back into leadership positions.” Members of the College Republicans hope to see a “resurgence in membership” due to the upcoming presidential election, French said. “Right now, we’re trying to find people who are dedicated and can give their time,” Weddle said. “We want an effective team—people who want to be politically involved and know how to work as a team.” The College Republicans will be back in the fall, Weddle said. “I feel bad that College Republicans had to take a semester off to fix itself,” Weddle said. “But I think that it’s for the best.”

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A pair of boots is displayed on a shelf April 25 at The Wild West Store.


Sarah McFadden, studio art senior, sculpts a mold in wax April 6 to cast in metal later.

AQUIFER, from front The goal of the program is to share water resources between San Marcos, Kyle and Buda so the $210 million Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer pipeline work can be spread out over time, said Tom Taggart, executive director of public services. The program will allow surplus water from San Marcos’ supply to be sold to Kyle and Buda. The system will allow more time to complete the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer pipeline, Taggart said. “Obviously you don’t want to start paying those kind of interest expenses on that kind of money any sooner than you have to,” Taggart said. “The longer we postpone on that, the bigger the rate base we can spread those costs out over.”



San Marcos is expected to receive nearly 12,000 acre-feet per year of water and is responsible for 35.86 percent of the cost of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer pipeline, according to the report. The Canyon Regional Water Authority will receive just over 10,000 acre-feet and fund 30.89 percent. Kyle will receive over 9,000 acrefeet and fund 28.17 percent. Buda will receive less than 2,000 acre-feet and fund 5.08 percent of the project. The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer pipeline’s origin will be a constructed water well field in Caldwell County. The pipeline will originate in either the Plum Creek water conservation district or the Gonzales underground region. The project is expected

to by completed by 2023, Taggart said. HCPUA officials have planned in advance of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer pipeline project, Taggart said. San Marcos is under contract to purchase 10,000 acre-feet per year of surface water from Canyon Lake and over 5,400 from the Edwards Aquifer. San Marcos requires about 7,500 acre-feet of water per year. Officials will able to provide surplus water to Kyle and Buda without affecting summer drought restrictions, Taggart said. “This will help defray our expense in relation to having those supplies on hand at this point,” Taggart said. “There’s no net profit in it, but it does help us in the sense of shouldering those costs.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 | The University Star | 3



TEAM FALLS 8-7 IN 11TH INNING AT COLLEGE STATION By Matt Gurevitz SPORTS REPORTER @Matt_Gurevitz The Texas State baseball team went into College Station as underdogs against the third-ranked Texas A&M Aggies. The Bobcats were up to the challenge as they took the Aggies into extra innings. Texas State did not come away with the victory, losing 8-7 in 11 innings. The game was in the balance in the bottom of the 11th inning. Tyler Giovanoni, f r e s h m a n p i t ch e r, walked the first hitter of the inning and then hit the next batter. The coaching staff allowed Giovanoni to stay in the game. The next hitter executed a sacrifice bunt, which allowed the winning run to reach third base with one out. Giovanoni intentionally walked the next batter, setting up the double play for the Bobcats. Giovanoni needed a double play or a strikeout by the next hitter, and the fresh-

man pitcher struck out Nick Choruby, Aggies sophomore pinch hitter. The strikeout gave the Bobcats two outs and a chance to get one out to end the 11th inning. The next hitter was Logan Nottebrok, Aggies senior third baseman. Nottebrok made contact on a 1-0 pitch, and he hit a single into right field to score the gamewinning run for Texas A&M. Giovanoni was credited with the loss, but he kept the Bobcats in the game. Assistant Coach Jeremy Fikac said “he grew up on the mound tonight.” Giovanoni pitched 4.1 innings and allowed two hits, one earned run and six strikeouts. Giovanoni came into the game with two runners on base in the seventh inning, one out and the score tied at 7-7. The freshman forced a pop-out and struck out the next hitter. Giovanoni cruised through the next three innings, and he was not fazed by the big stage. The game did seem to be getting out of reach

in the bottom of the sixth when Texas A&M broke a 3-3 tie with a four-run inning. The score was 7-3, and the third-ranked Aggies tried to be in the driver’s seat. But Texas State did not go away. The team responded in the top of the seventh inning by loading the bases with three consecutive singles. Cory Geisler, junior center fielder, came up with the bases loaded and one out. He singled through the left side to score David Paiz, senior third baseman, bringing the score to 7-4. Cedric Vallieres, senior second baseman, came through in his bases-loaded opportunity with a sacrifice fly. The Bobcats were down 7-5. Granger Studdard, sophomore left fielder, came up next with two outs. Studdard leads the team in runs batted in, and he added to his total with a single up the middle to score two runs and tie the game at 7-7. Texas State loaded the bases in the seventh

inning, but the Bobcats were not able to take the lead after Paiz flew out to right. The damage had been done, and Texas State swung momentum in its favor. “The comeback says a lot about this team,” Fikac said. “These guys are competitors, and they showed it tonight.” Texas State came into the game on a five-game losing streak, but they did not play that way against the Aggies. “These guys have nothing to hang their heads about,” Fikac said. “This is the No. 3 team in the nation and one of the best teams in the SEC, and our kids didn’t blink an eye.” Texas State will try to break its losing streak this weekend against Georgia State. The Panthers have the top seed in the Sun Belt Conference. “At this point in the season, we have to stay positive with this young ballclub,” Fikac said. “We have to keep playing our hearts out and executing like we did tonight.”



BOBCATS TO VISIT NO. 25 AGGIES IN ROAD TRIP By Donovan Jackson SPORTS REPORTER @djack_02 Wednesday’s mid-week matchup for the Texas State softball team could turn out to be one of the Bobcats’ biggest challenges of the season. The Texas A&M Aggies, currently ranked 25th in the nation, are set to host the Bobcats for the team’s last nonconference matchup. The Aggies have an overall 59-10 series advantage, but the Bobcats are on a seven-game winning streak while Texas A&M has dropped its last three matchups this season. “It’s a good part of the year to be on a win streak,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “One of the reasons you schedule these challenging games at the end of the season is because we want be playing our best ball in May.” The seven-game win streak for Texas State has included 13 doubles, seven home runs and one triple. The Bobcats are currently batting .294 while their opponents have a .245 average. Kendall Wiley, junior first baseman, has been the impact player for the Texas State offense this season. Wiley leads the team in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, runs batted in and home runs. “It’s been fun to watch,” Woodard said. “Some of our games have been won because we’re

so offensively sound. When you’ve had almost every single person in the lineup hit a home run at least once this year, that shows that just one swing of a bat can win you the ball game.” The Aggies are hoping to get back on track following a three-game sweep by Florida, the No. 1 team in the nation. Texas A&M has put up offensive numbers similar to Texas State’s with a .280 overall batting average. The Aggies have 52 home runs, three fewer than the Bobcats. Tori Vidales, Aggies freshman infielder, has been a consistent batter for Texas A&M with 17 home runs, 48 runs batted in and a .342 batting average. The Aggies pitching staff has a 3.57 earned run average. Rachel Fox, Aggies senior pitcher, has a majority of the innings for the defense with 153 strikeouts and 16 home runs allowed. Wednesday’s matchup will take place at the Aggie Softball Complex. Texas State will then visit UT-Arlington Saturday for the last conference series of the season with an opportunity to move into third place before the Sun Belt Tournament. “Our goal is to be playing the best ball when May hits,” Woodard said. “If you look at our last few games, it looks like we’re heading in the right direction. Now we just have to make sure we build on that in these last few games.”


FRESHMAN PITCHER By Paul Livengood SPORTS REPORTER @Iamlivengood Paul Livengood: What is it like to share the same birthday with both of your sisters? Randi Rupp: I think it’s pretty cool. When I tell people that, they always are like, “No you’re lying! That’s not true!” And I’m like, “No, I promise.” So, I don’t know. I think it’s pretty cool. PL: Do you have a favorite baseball/softball player? Why? RR:  Cat Osterman. Whenever she came here, I was like, “That’s my idol.” You know, it was all about Cat and Jennie (Finch) when I was growing up. And now I get to come here and play for her, which is pretty cool. PL:  When did you first start playing softball? RR: I was 4. Me and Sara (Rupp) were really shy when we were younger, and so Mom and Dad were trying to get us out there. I remember when I was four, I was scared of men. Men terrified me, so the umpires were men, and I would sit on my mom’s leg, and she was dragging me out there whenever we first started. PL: Why did you choose to come to Texas State to play ball? RR: For one, I remember I came here my sixth grade year to watch Taylor Hall play, and that’s kind of when I found out about Texas State. And then my freshman year, I had an offer here. The scenery is beautiful. I looked up to Chandler (Hall, Taylor Hall’s younger sister) and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. And we both (Randi and Sara) got an offer, so me and Sara coming together was a huge part of the recruiting process. PL: What kind of movies do you like? RR: Comedy. For example, we went and watched Furious 7 and I fell asleep in it. I just don’t do good in, like, action and car racing. I don’t do scary movies. Not really love stories, just comedy. PL: Do you have a favorite actress?


the other side of radio

STAR FILE PHOTO RR: Sandra Bullock. I like her a lot. The Blind Side isn’t really funny, but I do like that. I’ve watched it numerous times. PL: What’s one thing that you cannot live without? RR: My sister. Growing up in school, we usually had a class or two together, and then we got to high school and we didn’t have any together, and I was like, “Oh! What am I gonna do?!” It’s the same thing with college. I don’t know how people come here just by themselves and have to meet new people. I always have my sister by my side. PL: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? RR:  Paris. On my Snapchat, there was a snap story of Paris, France, and just to see the Eiffel Tower—I don’t know. It would be pretty cool to see all the different features and just to go out of the U.S. I’ve never been, so

I think that would be a pretty cool place to visit. PL: What’s your favorite place to go in San Marcos? RR: Definitely the outlets. I like to spend a lot of money. The outlets definitely scare my bank account, but yeah, I like shopping a lot. I shop at Victoria’s Secret, the Adidas outlets, Nike, etc. I’m not too big a Nike fan now since we are sponsored by Adidas, but I was a big Nike fan. PL:  Do you watch any TV shows? RR: My big series is Big Brother. I’m a huge Big Brother fan. Me and Sara both—we love Big Brother. I watched Friday Night Lights on Netflix. PL: Where do you like to go eat around town? RR: Torchy’s Tacos is my favorite, and it’s new. I tried it when it first opened, and I’ve already tried it like six or seven times

4 | The University Star | Wednesday, April 29, 2015




Government involvement crucial for students


he time is now for students and young people to take back their future and make their voices heard. Texas students have visited the state capitol to share their opinions on key issues such as immigration, concealed carry laws and healthcare districts in disadvantaged counties. Students got involved by going to Senate and House sessions and testifying on bill hearings and proposals. Staphany Ortega of University of Texas PanAmerican travelled over 300 miles to testify on behalf of Hidalgo County and its

healthcare district. This dedication shows the resolve of a woman who is invested in both her own future and the betterment of others. San Marcos is a hop, skip and a jump away from Austin, so students should use that proximity to their advantage. Taking a quick drive down to Austin to lobby and use one’s first amendment rights to evoke change or consistency should be of importance. The importance is further emphasized by the fact everything set in place now, both good and bad, will be inherited by the current generation.

Unfortunately, the Texas legislative session adjourns on June 1, and the next one will not start until the beginning of 2017. Those deciding to don their patriot caps as they march up to the capitol to stick it to “the man” due to this convincing editorial may have to wait until next year for their performance. All jokes aside, being involved in the future of one’s state or nation is a thing to be admired and recommended. Student Government at Texas State is a good place to get started if Bobcats cannot wait until 2017 to satiate their appetites. Officials with

the organization hold open forums during their meetings, and due to limited attendance, students will find no problem getting a word in edgewise. Cat Chat with President Denise Trauth is another stepping-stone for students who want to be more active. Trauth wants to hear from students about ways the university can be enriched. Getting involved in local politics would bring change in the City of San Marcos. Students constitute a large portion of city’s population. Members of the San Marcos City Council encourage peo-

ple to speak at their hearings and bimonthly meetings. People cannot complain about what is going on unless they are active members in the civic process. No one likes a Monday morning quarterback or a backseat driver. Not being involved is fine, but people who do not participate should not nag and complain the moment things change for the worse. People have the right and the privilege to allow their voices to be heard. Those that have the means and resources to participate in the civic process who choose to stay quiet must renounce

their right to complain about issues they could have campaigned for or against. Students who want to get involved in the legislative process by testifying during congressional hearings can visit the Texas House or Representatives witness registration page to sign up for a meeting. People can access the website using their mobile devices through the capitol’s public wireless connection. They can visit the five kiosk stations outside the Texas Capitol at the Capitol Extension for wireless connection as well.

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.


Bruce Jenner ‘trans’cends barriers, aims to inspire others



ravo to Bruce Jenner for knocking down barriers and transcending expectations by finally being true to who he is after 65 years of living in an internal hell. On a special edition of 20/20 which aired on April 24, Bruce Jenner, Olympic

gold medalist and reality TV dad, admitted to over 16.9 million people that he is, for all intents and purposes, a woman. The amazing interview was conducted by famed journalist and soft filter lens connoisseur Diane Sawyer, who appropriately and gracefully navigated the two-hour interview with Jenner. Before I continue, it should be duly noted that when speaking of transgender people, it is appropriate to use the pronouns and name they have disclosed and prefer. At this time in his transition, Bruce Jenner has not disclosed any preferred name or any different pronouns. For the entirety of this column I will be respecting his wishes

and using male pronouns. Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming. One of the more poignant moments of the interview was the very beginning before the questioning even began. Jenner sat down on his couch, his eyes heavy with hurt and uncertainty and shifting back and forth as if to, if only for a moment, reanalyze the cons and pros of finally deciding to be true to who he is. Immediately, I began crying, and that set the tone for the rest of heart-wrenching night of love, loss and a prolonged façade. As a young queer kid living in this unconventionally conventional world, I empathized with Bruce—never quite fitting in and never quite knowing

where exactly to fit in, if anywhere. While Bruce Jenner is a Republican, I can look past that deficit in character and realize the amount of resolve and strength it takes to come out as transgender on such a massive international stage. He is a hero in my book. His coming out can save the lives of kids like Leelah Alcorn and Blake Brockington, kids who contemplate suicide when the notion of “it gets better” is just not enough. I know Jenner will be able to traverse and weather the media storm slowly encroaching on his life. Though, after he lived 65 years in the shadows of his true self, I am fairly certain the media blitz will just be

part of the game. TIME was definitely right about one thing: the culture has definitely reached the transgender tipping point, and there is no turning back now. From activists like the beautiful and brilliant Laverne Cox to author and writer Janet Mock as well as the courageous and resilient Bruce Jenner, 2015 has already shaped out to be a pivotal year for transgender people. And more lays on the horizon for the oft-marginalized and silenced group. The caged bird can only be silent for so long—Maya Angelou taught me that. There is no greater hell than being denied a true, authentic life here on Earth. Being forced to live in a self-

imposed exile for over six decades due to limiting and rudimentary gender expectations and the threat of an unforgiving and unknowing society—I shudder to imagine the pain and agony. For all intents and purposes, this is my love letter to Bruce Jenner and all the transgender kids like him struggling to be accepted and reconcile who they are with whom society has told them to be. Be true to who you are and know that light begets light and that no matter where you may go, you are loved. Welcome to the rainbow club, Bruce. —Brandon Sams is a journalism sophomore


Parking permit system costly, dangerous for university students

Mariana Castillo OPINIONS COLUMNIST @mar9cast


otential college students have many things to factor into their decision, including possible financial

aid and the cost of tuition. College students are often perceived as eating ramen noodles with a broken fork for dinner night after night. They try to save money every way they can, like, for example, by taking the Bobcat Shuttle instead of driving. The university Parking Services department should create a cheaper parking option for students. The department should also extend the hours the permit provides. The university Parking Services department

The University Star Editor-in-Chief................................................Nicole Barrios, Managing Editor....................Cameron Cutshall, News Editor..............................................Kelsey Bradshaw, Lifestyle Editor..........................................Britton Richter, Opinions Editor.......................................Imani McGarrell, Photo Editor...........................................Madelynne Scales, Sports Editor........................................... Quixem Ramirez, Copy Desk Chief.....................................Sam Hankins,

often makes saving money difficult. Most students usually purchase a residential permit or a Mill Street parking pass for Bobcat Village. According to the parking services website, the permits cost $323 and $177, respectively. Having to make this choice can put a huge dent in college students’ already tight budgets. The lesser of the two permits allows students to park on Mill Street from Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in residential green lots from Friday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 7 p.m. Although

it is tempting to choose this option to save money, it also means students have to walk about 2 miles from central campus to Mill Street. This distance is concerning because it places students in possibly unsafe situations to retrieve their vehicles. The Bobcat Shuttle runs during the week to pick up students and takes them to their classes. Students could take the shuttles to their cars, but the service does not run on the weekends. Additionally, Texas weather is famous for being unpredictable. A student

would need to move his or her car in time to avoid getting an orange parking ticket, even in the pouring rain. “It was a hassle and waste of my time to have to keep taking time out of my day to retrieve my car,” said Crystal Pizana, psychology freshman. Instead of continuing with the hassle, Pizana decided to purchase the more expensive permit and deal with less stress. The last thing college students need is to have their transportation farther away and take more

time out of their busy days. The late times at which students must walk to certain parking areas make them risk their lives by walking alone in the dark on the sides of busy roads. Texas State is a wonderful school to attend, but it takes more than pocket change to pay our way through classes. The safety of the students should come before officials’ desire to squeeze out every last penny from our already tiny piggy banks. —Mariana Castillo is a journalism sophomore 601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666

Phone: (512) 245-3487 Fax: (512) 245-3708

Design Editor...........................................Lauren Huston, Assistant News Editor...................Carlie Porterfield, Account Executive............................................Hanna Katz, Account Executive.................................Morgan Knowles, Account Executive....................................Jamie Beckham, Media Specialist.......................................... Chris Salazar, Advertising Coordinator...............................Kelsey Nuckolls, Publications Coordinator........................................Linda Allen, Publications Director...........................Bob Bajackson,

The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday, Wednesday 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 Wednesday, April 29, 2015. 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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Wednesday, April 29, 2015 | The University Star | 5



SMNC butterfly house educates visitors about native species care, life cycles By Sarah Bradley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @sarah_bradskies The days get warmer and the grass grows greener as April signals the welcoming season for San Marcos butterflies. Officials with the San Marcos Nature Center (SMNC) hosted Saturday the sixth season opener for their butterfly house.

Melani Howard, habitat conservation plan manager, said the butterfly house began as an idea to fill a void in San Marcos. “The Nature Center at the time really didn’t have many exhibits,” Howard said. “I was inspired by San Antonio Zoo’s butterfly house, so we asked the council for money, they approved it and we built it.”

The exhibit was built with less than $5,000, but Howard said it has developed into a prosperous feature for SMNC. “It just seemed like a great thing to do to further educate the public as well as provide another beautiful San Marcos attraction,” Howard said. Jenna Winters, SMNC coordinator, said the house was designed to attract the


Jenna Winters, San Marcos Nature Center coordinator, holds a newly hatched butterfly April 23 at the butterfly house.

various butterfly species native to the San Marcos area. “The butterfly house was built and recently renovated into a landscape shade house, which is a greenhouse-like structure with mesh,” Winters said. “The exhibit consists of various host plants for reproduction along with numerous plants to attract the butterflies.” The exhibit features an open layout for participants to travel through and includes accommodations for attendees with disabilities, Winters said. “With the help of the Texas State organization H.E.A.T. (Human-Environment-Animal Team), the exhibit is now wheelchair accessible,” Winters said. Winters said Howard took a risk by creating the butterfly house, but the positive feedback from the community has made the endeavor worthwhile. “We start getting calls in February asking if the butterfly house is open yet,” she said. “Last year we saw over 14,000 people. With a current tracking rate at about 17% growth, we estimate approximately 18,000 people for this season.” The exhibit is used as an


School of Music program educates San Marcos youth By Louis Zylka LIFESTYLE REPORTER @OrinZylka Students and community members gathered April 26 in Evans Auditorium to hear San Marcos youth showcase their musical talents. The children are part of the Texas State String Project, a community outreach program hosted by the School of Music. Texas State students work to teach children in kindergarten through fifth grade how to play a variety of string instruments. Ames Asbell, assistant professor for the School of Music and program director, said the project was introduced in 2010 and coordinators recruit new students each year. “We start new classes at the end of August every year,” Asbell said. “Our schedule goes along with the university schedule because our teachers are still college students.” Asbell said the program offers sophomore- through graduate-level university students the chance to teach children how to play string instruments. “These are string music education or string performance students who are interested in teaching,” Asbell said. “So they get hands-on teaching experience under supervision from our faculty.” Asbell said the concert gave children the opportunity to showcase skills

they learned through group classes and private lessons taught by the music students on campus. “A lot of our students are beginners,” Asbell said. “We use the repertoires from the Suzuki method that is a particular style of teaching instruments.” Mikaela Dirkes, fifth grade student at Crockett Elementary, said she enjoyed playing “Curly Ques” and “Dona Nobis Pacem” on the violin during the performance. “I’m excited that I learned how to play music,” Dirkes said. “It has really helped me because of the creative minds.” Belinsol Munoz, music performance graduate student, has been a part of the String Project for two years. She said working with students as a violin group teacher and cello private instructor is rewarding. “I learned to always plan in advance and to be really methodical and effective,” Martinez said. “You enjoy it more if you are very organized.” James Ximenez, music performance junior, said he was encouraged by his professor to join the organization as a way to gain teaching experience. “Patience is a really important thing when working with little kids,” Ximenez said. “I learned a lot about how to deal with certain scenarios and things you wouldn’t learn from a book.” Munoz said progress can be slow when working with

children, but incorporating games can be an effective teaching technique. “You have to develop this fine vision to see if they are having improvements or not,” Munoz said. “When they are very young, (the improvements) go in tiny steps.” Asbell said students are taught during the fall and spring semesters, with concerts held at the end of November and April. “The concerts are controlling what they learned over the course of a semester,” Asbell said. “For kids in kindergarten, it takes about a good eight months of instruction for them to get all the things down.” Munoz said about 60 students performed at the showcase, some of whom had returned to continue their learning. Texas State students who want to become teachers should take advantage of the opportunity, he said. “When you start teaching, you realize that you learn some things that you might have forgotten,” Munoz said. Asbell said the organization provides a rare opportunity for students in the community and their teachers. “Our students get the opportunity to lead a class in a performance, which is different from teaching a class in a day-to-day basis,” Asbell said. “And for the community students, it is an opportunity to show their families and friends all the things that they learned.”

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their door.” Stacy Cantu, recreational administration senior and SMNC field intern, said the center provides people with the opportunity to enjoy the natural appeal of San Marcos while surrounding themselves with native species. “The world is losing more and more butterflies,” Cantu said. “Even the monarch butterflies are almost endangered, so it’s crucial for people to come out and see them while they can.” Heather Adams, San Marcos resident, attended the season opener for the first time and said she left with a better understanding of the species living around her. “I got a greater sense of the general information about the nature and species that are here in San Marcos,” Adams said. “There are so many different plants and animals that I really didn’t know about before coming here.” Adams said she hopes to return to the exhibit next year. “It’s amazing how much my kids and I have learned just from attending one time,” Adams said. “I’ll definitely be coming back to learn more in the future.”




educational tool for the public, Winters said. Officials provide opportunities for the community to learn about the impact butterflies can have on the environment. “The benefit of having a butterfly house is that it’s a closed space, so the public can observe every stage of a butterfly’s life,” she said. “We’ve got eggs, larva, chrysalis, all the way to an adult butterfly, all under one roof.” Winters said SMNC’s mission is to educate San Marcos residents about the native species that exist in their community. “What we are mostly trying to teach people is to realize what’s in your backyard,” Winters said. “We want people to recognize the animals and plants that live here in San Marcos.” Winters said officials hope to show people how to allow native butterfly species to prosper. “Along with teaching about the life cycles, the butterfly house serves as a great tool to teach people about which plants to garden in order to attract their own backyard butterflies,” Winters said. “I mean, I don’t know of anybody who wouldn’t enjoy more butterflies outside

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