WEDNESDAY APRIL 8, 2015
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Pay raise for City Council approved by 5-2 vote MADELYNNE SCALES PHOTO EDITOR
Derrick Lee poses April 7 in the San Marcos River, where he scuba dives to clean waste found on the river bed.
Local diver cleans river one can at a time By Jon Wilcox SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @thrilcox
orking as a pedicab dr iver in the Hill Country takes a certain kind of passion. David Harmon works as a barista at Wake the Dead Coffee House. When he is not crafting a cup of jo, he is in Austin driving a pedicab. Harmon is an independent driver for Movemint Bike Cab, an Austin-based pedicab company, and travels across the country for events. “Being a barista helped pay my way through college,” Har-
mon said. “I really just enjoy the coffee culture more than I enjoy sitting on the computer clicking all day.” In February, Jimmy Kimmel contacted Movemint to reserve a pedicab for a skit to be filmed in Austin during the South by Southwest festival. Harmon replied to the email before knowing who the client would be. “(Kimmel) had reached out to our company trying to reserve a pedicab at 9 a.m., and that’s not really on the sleeping schedule with my co-workers,” Harmon said. “I was really just the only one willing to wake up and go ride a bike at nine in the
morning.” During the skit, Harmon brought Kimmel and his sidekick, Guillermo to various piñata businesses in Austin. Each time someone said “piñata,” the duo took a shot of tequila. Harmon said it was a good experience and “rowdy” fun. Taping lasted for about seven hours. He said the tequila shots Kimmel and Guillermo took were real. “Everything about it was real,” Harmon said. “They’re good people.” Kimmel gave Harmon and the company tickets to the live taping of his show at South by
Southwest. “It was a cool experience for him, and I’m very happy he got to do that,” said Christopher Tuan, a fellow barista at Wake the Dead. “He’s a hard worker and knows his stuff about coffee.” Tuan said he was hired with Harmon in 2010 at the coffee shop. Harmon has let Tuan ride in his pedicab. “He’s always meeting different celebrities,” Tuan said. Harmon has met singer-songwriter Cat Power; President Obama’s constitutional law ad-
See DERRICK LEE, Page 2
Local barista conducts Jimmy Kimmel for piñata skit
By Jon Wilcox SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @thrilcox San Marcos City Council approved an ordinance to raise the monthly compensation for its members and the mayor by $500 each at Tuesday’s meeting. The council passed the measure by a 5-2 vote. Councilman Jude Prather, Place 2, and Councilman Shane Scott, Place 6, voted against the proposal. Members in support of the increase cited city growth and increasing workloads. The city council established the salary in 2007, said Mayor Daniel Guerrero. The rate has not changed since its creation. Council members will see a monthly compensation increase from $950 to $1,450. Monthly salary for the mayor will rise from $1,200 to $1,700. The discussion of whether to increase the rate and by how much began in 2014, Guerrero said. Councilman John Thomaides, Place 3, said San Marcos is one of the fastest-
“The job has changed. The job and the time (required) has changed substantially.” —COUNCILMAN JOHN THOMAIDES, PLACE 3
By Rebecca Banks NEWS REPORTER @r_banks13 It takes a certain kind of passion to work as a pedicab driver in the Hill Country. David Harmon works as a barista at Wake the Dead Coffee House. When he is not crafting a cup of jo, he is in Austin driving a pedicab. Harmon is an independent driver for Movemint Bike Cab, an Austinbased pedicab company, and travels coast-to-coast working events. “Being a barista helped pay my way through college,” Harmon said. “I really just enjoy the coffee culture more than I enjoy sitting on the computer clicking all day.” In February, Jimmy Kimmel contacted Movemint to reserve a pedicab for a skit to be filmed in Austin during the South by Southwest festival. Harmon replied to the e-mail before knowing who the client would be. “(Kimmel) had reached out to our company trying to reserve a pedicab at 9 a.m., and that’s not really on the sleeping schedule with my co-workers,” Harmon said. “I was really just the only one willing to wake up and go ride a bike at 9
DENSIE CATHEY ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR
David Harmon poses April 6 on a pedicab in Austin. in the morning.” During the skit, Harmon pulled Kimmel and Guillermo in his pedicab to various piñata businesses in
Austin. Each time someone said piñata, the duo would take a shot of tequila. Harmon said it was a good ex-
perience and “rowdy” fun. Taping lasted for about seven hours. He
See DAVID HARMON, Page 2
growing cities in the United States. The council’s responsibilities have increased as a result. “The job has changed,” Thomaides said. “The job and the time (required) has changed substantially.” Guerrero said travel fees, rising costs in healthcare, additional committees and subcommittees and an increased workload are the main reasons to raise the salary. Council members spend “half, if not more, of (their) working hours” on city-related duties, Thomaides said. Most meetings are scheduled during the day and cut into members’ personal work schedules. “I do see the job has changed greatly,” said Councilwoman Jane Hughson, Place 4. Increasing the compensation rate may have a democratizing effect on the council, Thomaides said. He said higher pay for council members would make the positions more viable for politically-minded residents who lack substantial incomes. “We have to make a decision not only for ourselves but for future council members,” Thomaides said. “The council will benefit from members of all walks of life— working people, not just the wealthy.”
Fashion team wins second in national competition
By Kasandra Garza SPECIAL TO THE STAR @kasgarza A Texas State business case study team took home second place out of 11 programs in a national competition. The JEVS Fashion Bobcats team is made up of Jaimee Raver, fashion merchandising senior; Emily Willis, fashion merchandising junior; Victoria Ruiz, fashion merchandising senior, and Sabrina Silva, interior design senior. JEVS is an acronym for the first letter of each team member’s name, Raver said.
The JEVS Fashion Bobcats won second place in the first annual Kohl’s Invitational. The team was flown to the Kohl’s headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to participate in the competition. The team was the only group from a Texas university invited to attend the event. The fashion merchandising program had never been involved in a case study competition on a national level, said Bobbie Moore, the team’s faculty adviser. The JEVS Fashion Bobcats had four weeks to develop a 10-page business plan to improve Kohl’s in-store experience. They built their business plan based on three key
concepts: appealing to the millennial generation, practical budgeting and returns on investments, Willis said. The business plan included updates to the Kohl’s app including a registry valet, an in-store navigation map, a “help” button and a “Kohl’s poll.” Another key feature of the business plan was the addition of virtual fitting rooms in existing Kohl’s stores, Willis said. The registry valet would allow shoppers to register for weddings and baby showers directly from their mobile devices without the hassle of having to do it in person. The in-store navigation feature
would work as a map to help customers locate items. The “help” button would automatically connect a shopper to an associate on the sales floor. Willis said the “Kohl’s poll” would allow shoppers to take pictures of clothing that would immediately be uploaded to social media, where friends and family could choose which piece of clothing they like best. Any customer using the poll feature would gain loyalty points with Kohl’s for using the app and purchasing items. The ideas were developed as a way to increase traffic to the stores, Willis said.
The virtual fitting rooms would consist of a large TV screen with a Kinect video camera. All of the store’s inventory would be programmed into the fitting rooms, allowing shoppers to virtually change the color of clothes they are wearing and see the outcome on the TV screen, Willis said. Virtual fitting rooms are already being tested in other stores, including Nordstrom. Kohl’s, however, has yet to include this feature. The JEVS Fashion Bobcats provided the idea and demonstrated how Kohl’s can benefit from virtual fitting
See JEVS FASHION, Page 2
2 | The University Star | News | Wednesday, April 8, 2015
DERRICK LEE, from front viser and Thurston Moore, the lead singer of Sonic Youth. Harmon drove New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg around Austin in his pedicab for three days. Harmon calls driving a pedicab “a feverish passion.” “You really do just tap into the universe and become aware of everything that’s happening around you,” he said. Harmon designs advertisements for Movemint and works in the bike shop to repair pedicabs. He tries to work at two major events each year. “I work really, really hard so that I don’t have to work the rest of the year,” Harmon said. “It can be good. Everybody has different results, and I’ve never had a job that pays quite that well.” During large events, pedicab drivers can work 15- to 20-hour days pulling 700 to 1,000 pounds, Harmon said. The job can be dangerous and possibly life-threatening. “I definitely feel like it’s dancing with the devil,” he said. “I’ve had two guns pulled on me out there.” Harmon has witnessed pedicab drivers getting hit by cars, and some of his coworkers have been sent to the hospital for injuries sustained from being mugged. “I like to work early on in the evening because people are dressed to their best and excited about the day,” he said. “But when the sun sets, the alcohol kicks in it, and gets violent.” Harmon said he wants to continue his work for as long as possible. “I get high off the pain,” he said. “The masochist in me really enjoys counting all those $20 bills at the end of the night. It keeps me creatively fresh and keeps me exposed to new opportunities.”
MADELYNNE SCALES PHOTO EDITOR
Lee creates a pile of aluminum cans April 7 found at the bottom of the San Marcos River.
DAVID HARMON, from front said the tequila shots Kimmel and Guillermo took were real. “Everything about it was real,” Harmon said. “They’re good people.” After the taping, Kimmel gave Harmon and the company tickets to the live taping of his show at South by Southwest. “It was a cool experience for him, and I’m very happy he got to do that,” said Christopher Tuan, a fellow barista at Wake the Dead. “He’s a hard worker and knows his stuff about coffee.” Tuan said he was hired with Har-
mon back in 2010 at the coffee shop, and Harmon has taken him around in his pedicab. “He’s always meeting different celebrities,” Truan said. He has met singer-songwriter Cat Power, President Obama’s constitutional law advisor and Thurston Moore, the lead singer of Sonic Youth. Harmon drove former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg around Austin in his pedicab for three days. Harmon calls driving a pedicab “a feverish passion.”
“You really do just tap into the universe and become aware of everything that’s happening around you,” Harmon said. Harmon designs advertisements for Movemint and works in their bike shop to repair pedicabs. Harmon tries to work two big events each year. “I work really, really hard so that I don’t have to work the rest of the year,” Harmon said. “It can be good, everybody has different results and I’ve never had a job that pays quite that well.”
During large events, pedicab drivers can work between 15 to 20 hour days pulling 700 to 1,000 pounds, Harmon said. The job can be dangerous and possibly life threatening. “I definitely feel like it’s dancing with the devil,” Harmon said. “I’ve had two guns pulled on me out there.” Harmon has witnessed pedicab drivers getting hit by cars, and some of his coworkers have been sent to the hospital for injuries sustained from being mugged. “I like to work early on in the eve-
ning, because people are dressed to their best and excited about the day,” Harmon said. “But when the sun sets, the alcohol kicks in it and gets violent.” Although working as a pedicab driver can be dangerous, Harmon said he would to do so as long he can. “I get high off the pain— the masochist in me really enjoys counting all those twenty dollar bills at the end of the night,” Harmon said. “It keeps me creatively fresh and keeps me exposed to new opportunities.”
Transit Union officials seek pay raises for Transdev drivers By James Palmer NEWS REPORTER @jmesspalmer Shuttle operators at Texas State may soon experience higher wages and more benefits. Officials with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) are working on behalf of Texas State Bobcat Shuttle operators to finalize new contract negotiations with Transdev, the company running the university system. Union officials sought higher wages and more benefits for shuttle operators, said Joneth Wyatt, ATU president for the Austin office. Shuttle operators include students, retirees and career-oriented drivers, said Alicia Moore, recording secretary for ATU’s Austin office. Moore said officials wanted to negotiate improved benefits packages for career workers. Moore visited campus March 16 to collect signatures for a petition supporting bus operators. “The petition would actually show that the students actually should support their operators,” Moore said. Some students were unaware of operators’ pay rates, and union officials wanted to help educate them about
the issue, she said. University officials classified the petition as solicitation and asked Moore to leave, she said. “We’re not a commercial vendor or anything of that sort, so we do have the right to actually be there on the campus,” Moore said. “We’re not bothering anybody. We’re asking people politely, nicely, ‘Can we please have your signature for this petition?’” Jack Besch, Transdev general manager, said the petition was not related to the company’s operations at the university. “It had to do with the representatives of the union on campus,” Besch said. Besch was unable to comment about specific requests in negotiations with ATU officials. “They need health insurance,” Moore said. “If (they) don’t have money to pay these things, (they) cannot help (themselves) or (their) family.” Transdev’s highest earning operators make $10.66 an hour, Wyatt said. ATU officials proposed Transdev start operator pay at $11.75 per hour for 2015 and raise the rate to $12 per hour in 2016, Wyatt said. Transdev officials suggested wages start at $10.75 per hour.
Besch said new operators’ wages start at $10.50 per hour and increase annually. The wage is higher than the minimum offered for university jobs and greater than that of some establishments around town. Student operators gained commercial drivers’ licenses (CDL) through Transdev that they would not have received in other positions, Besch said. “We will train them from the ground up and will pay them for the training,” Besch said. He said operators are able to use their skills if they choose to pursue careers in transportation. “It’s a great partnership for the university because they walk away with a life skill,” Besch said. “That CDL license goes with that student when they leave.” ATU officials had difficulty negotiating contracts with Transdev partly because the university bus system does not run all year, so employees sometimes have long breaks without work, Wyatt said. Workers who perform duties under the required hours per year are not eligible for benefits, Wyatt said. Seasonal employees typically have a higher turnover rate than part- or full-time workers, which leads to an unsafe environment, Wyatt said.
DARYL ONTIVEROS STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
TransDev bus operators may receive higher wages due to a union initiative. “(There are) a lot of inexperienced people out there behind the wheel driving those buses,” Wyatt said. Another reason Transdev officials did not want to raise operator pay was the company had acquired a new bus fleet and moved into a different facility, Wyatt said. University officials partnered with Transdev because of the plan to build the new facility and buy new buses,
Besch said. Transdev bid against other transportation companies for the contract with Texas State. “We’ve got a brand-new, state-ofthe-art transportation facility out here on Posey Road that we built exclusively and specifically for Texas State,” Besch said. The facility and buses were part of a $15 million “capital commitment” in the university’s contract, he said.
DENISE CATHEY ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR
Amber Shirah, senior sculpture major, manipulates a chicken wire armature for her sculpture April 6 in Joann Cole Mitte Building.
JEVS FASHION, from front rooms, Ruiz said. The JEVS Fashion Bobcats’ focus on all aspects of their business plan set them apart from the competition. “We didn’t focus on one thing in particular,” Willis said. “I think a lot of teams chose one big idea and focused solely on that, and we had multiple ideas.” The JEVS Fashion Bobcats felt what they had learned in their classes led to their success in the competition. “A lot of the things we were asked to figure out, we learn in class,” Ruiz said. “The Texas State fashion design programs are strong, and the professors are great.” The fashion merchandising program is sometimes criticized, Raver said. “A lot of people think we just play with clothes and stuff, but we do have a business minor, so we do get a little of the business side
as well,” said Raver. “Not only do we have the fashion and creative portion of it, we also get some of those analytical logistics to work with.” Texas State’s Fashion Merchandise program will receive funding and resources due to the team’s success, Willis said. Ruiz said the win will help future Bobcats who enroll in the growing fashion merchandising program. “From a recruiting standpoint, (the team’s success) brings more companies on campus to recruit our students for internships and permanent positions when they graduate,” Moore said. She said success in a countrywide competition such as the Kohl’s Invitational helps publicize the university on a national level. “We can compete with the best of the best,” Ruiz said. “People need to know who Texas State is.”
The University Star | Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | 3
Bobcats extend winning streak with walk-off By Quixem Ramirez Sports Editor @quixem Granger Studdard, sophomore left fielder, stepped into the batter’s box with the game on the line for the Texas State baseball team. Studdard’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning gave the Bobcats a 4-3 victory over Incarnate Word. Assistant Coach Jeremy Fikac did not flinch as the ball sailed past the right field wall. Studdard finished 3-5 with two runs batted in, one run and a walk. “It’s crazy,” Fikac said. “I guarantee you everybody in that dugout thought that was gonna happen. That was our thought process.” Performing in high-leverage situations has been commonplace for Studdard this year. The sophomore has five home runs in his last six games, including another walk-off home run against Baylor. “I have no idea how it always comes to me, but it always does,” Studdard said. “When I get in those moments, I don’t think and just react to the pitch and put a good swing on it.” Studdard’s home run is what is expected of the team’s No. 3 hitter in the lineup. Fikac said his
ability to rise to the occasion is a personality trait inherent in naturally good hitters. “Some guys just get in those moments, man,” Fikac said. “Their heart rate doesn’t go anywhere. That’s Studdard for you. All the way from little league to high school to college to professional baseball—the good ones, when they get in those moments, they produce.” Texas State rebounded from the fourth consecutive midweek start by Montana Parsons, freshman pitcher. Parsons faced 13 batters, allowed six runners on base and three unearned runs in 1.2 innings. The relief trio of Joe Powell (sophomore pitcher), Pasquale Mazzoccoli (junior pitcher) and Cory Geisler (junior pitcher) shut out the Cardinal offense for 9.1 innings. “That won the game for us,” Fikac said. “We haven’t said that a whole lot. It was a shot in the arm for us to see those guys get better. There’s a lot of confidence for those three guys.” The Bobcats responded to Incarnate Word’s three-run first inning with two runs in the bottom half of the frame. Studdard singled to drive in the first run. Tanner Hill, junior catcher, drew a walk with the bases loaded to score the second run.
PRESLIE COX STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
The Texas State baseball team celebrates a 4-3 victory over Incarnate Word April 7 at Bobcat Ballpark. Cedric Vallieres, senior second baseman, tied the game in the seventh inning with a solo home run. Vallieres is hitting .429 with three runs batted in and three home runs in his last two midweek games. The teams traded scoreless in-
nings until the 11th. “You gotta win the ugly ones too,” Fikac said. “I thought Incarnate Word played an excellent game tonight.” The Bobcats’ win puts them above the .500 threshold for the first time this season.
“This bunch is starting to gain confidence,” Fikac said. “It’s fun to be a part of. Our kids are moving around with a little hop in their step, a little confidence, a little bee-bop. We are going to take it with us to Little Rock this weekend and try to get a W.”
BOBCATS LOOKING TO ‘LEAVE NO DOUBT’ IN 2015 SEASON By Quixem Ramirez SPORTS EDITOR @quixem Jafus Gaines, senior wide receiver, showed up nearly three hours early to prepare for an intrasquad scrimmage. Gaines took a shower and stretched to get his mind ready. The annual Maroon and Gold game had no implications on his standings, but Gaines wanted to wipe away the memories from last season. That meant putting in extra work in the offseason. The Texas State football team did not make a bowl game despite winning seven of 12 matchups last year. The Bobcats had the most wins of any Division I team that missed a bowl game. A new year presents another opportunity. For now, the end of the 2014 season rests on the minds of the Bobcats. “It fueled me a lot,” Gaines said. “I didn’t watch (the) bowl game at all. I felt like we should’ve been there over those teams in the Sun Belt.” Texas State’s motto for the upcoming season is “leave no doubt.” The team improved incrementally in its first two seasons with bowl game eligibility—six wins in 2013 and seven in 2014. The Bobcats’ résumé, however, was not good enough to earn a bowl game selection. Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State were selected for an at-large bowl game ahead of the 7-5 Bobcats. The Bobcats are on the cusp, but they need to prove their legitimacy without the benefit of history. “We were always told that if you get that seventh win, you were automatically guaranteed a bowl game,” Gaines said. “That’s what we always thought. We could’ve gotten the eighth win.” The Bobcats’ bowl game chances took a nosedive following the 24-20 loss to South Alabama. The matchup came down to the final possession with the Bobcats failing to convert the game-winning touchdown on three plays inside the five-yard line. South Alabama, which earned the last Sun Belt Conference bowl game bid with a 6-6 overall record, played in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. Texas State sat on the couch watching. “It was heartbreaking,” said Chris Nutall, senior running back. “If we made that one play in that one game, we would’ve made it to a bowl game. We didn’t make it. We have to fight harder and come back even stronger and prove that we can do it and do whatever it takes to make a bowl game.” The Bobcats rebounded with consecutive wins against Arkansas State and Georgia State following the loss to South Alabama. The 18-point victory over the Red Wolves, a top-tier team in the conference, seemed to be the win that would vault the Bobcats to a bowl game. “Everyone was devastated,” said Connor White, sophomore quarterback. “We all thought after the Arkansas State game that we were going to make (a bowl game). It didn’t fall our way. It’s definitely motivating the team this year. You can see that through offseason workouts.” Gaines, a captain for the Maroon team in this year’s spring game, embodies the Texas State mentality—unproven, untested and unwilling to let the doubters weigh him down. “I’ve always been in this situation where I’ve always been the underdog,” Gaines said. “I’ve never been on top at all. I just got used to it, and I liked it. People underestimate us, which gives us better opportu-
nity for more motivation.” Gaines and Coach Dennis Franchione expect improvement this season. Franchione said another year in the system, along with an extra offseason for Tyler Jones, junior quarterback, could offset the departures of David Mayo and Craig Mager. “I felt like we took greater strides in improvement,” Gaines said. “Now we know what we have to get this upcoming season to get in a bowl game. That’s that eighth win.” Texas State achieved bowl eligibility in 2014 faster than any team in Division I history. In the following season, the Bobcats appeared in three nationally televised games and improved by a win. The program is making strides. All that is missing is a bowl game. “To be honest, we don’t get the credit that we actually deserve,” Gaines said. “Like Coach Fran said, nothing is given to us. We have to fight for everything that we earn. I still live that to this day.”
NUTALL IS BACK
Nutall, a bruising running back with straight-line speed, was missing from Texas State’s running back core. Nutall is in line for more responsibility this season if his performance in the Maroon and Gold spring game is any indication. Nutall had a game-high 117 yards from scrimmage in the Maroon team’s 23-21 victory. “He can make you miss,” Franchione said. “He can run with power. You look for home run hitters on your team who can make big plays and overcome your coaching. He can do that. He makes those kinds of plays.” Franchione said Nutall is potent with the ball in his hands. Nutall’s biggest gain, however, is when he does not have the ball—during pass protection. “When Chris was first here, we asked him to do block and pass protection,” Franchione said. “He quickly went back into the dorm and looked at his scholarship agreement. It didn’t say anything about that he had to block. He’s changed in that regard. He does pick up the linebacker. He knows his pass protection assignments (better) than he ever did. It’s been obvious.”
against Jones, who led the Gold team. White finished with 231 total yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score as time expired. “Connor started off hot early and played a good game,” Franchione said. “It’s a big day for him. He didn’t get to play a lot last year. This was a game-day experience for him.”
In the event of an injury to Jones, Franchione is comfortable with the man behind him to lead the team. “Tyler is still ahead of him, but he’s right behind him,” Franchione said. “Days like today lend you as a coach to think that if something happens to Tyler, we aren’t going to change. We are going to keep going like we are going.”
Stephen Prothero, Boston University
“Religious Literacy and Public Universities” Friday, April 10, 2015 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Flowers Hall 230
WHTE GAINING CONFIDENCE IN NEW ROLE
Prior to spring practice, the quarterback unit meets with Coach Dennis Franchione and Offensive Coordinator Mike Schultz. Connor White, sophomore quarterback, entered his offseason with the goal of becoming a valuable asset as a backup to Tyler Jones, junior quarterback. “I told them Tyler is the starter,” White said. “He started two years. I told him I wanted to close the gap a little bit and have a good second team backup in case he gets hurt. I want to push Tyler to be the best he can while improving my skills as well.” Franchione said White, who joined the team from prep school in January, learned the system quicker than most freshmen quarterbacks. In his second year, White wants to improve on preventing turnovers. “I had an on-and-off spring,” White said. “I’m much more comfortable with my reads. I feel like I can run the offense well. It’s a lot easier this spring than last spring.” White started for the Maroon team
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4 | The University Star | Wednesday, April 8, 2015
THE MAIN POINT
Intervention necessary for Eight17 Lofts debacle The controversy surrounding the ill-fated Eight17 Lofts has left a sour taste in the mouths of inexperienced lease-signers and should be a wake-up call to San Marcos officials. Since the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester, students who signed with Eight17 Lofts have been without a place to call home due to construction delays. Now, near the end of the spring semester, those students are still waiting to be moved into what appears to be Neverland. According to a Jan. 20 University Star article, the completion date for the apartment complex has changed four times since potential residents began signing leases in February of last year. To make matters worse, all construction on the lofts has ceased due to potential code violations and bankruptcy. The contracting company hired by Eight17, Hale-Mills Construction, reported due to financials issues officials have had to look for more investors to help complete the project. The Eight17 leasing office closed in December and has yet to reopen, even after the claim it would in early 2015. At this point it is pretty safe to say the students are never going to be able to move into this construction wasteland. After nine months of delays and apparent bankruptcy, it is evident students have been taken for a ride and may have to fight in order to get out of their leases. This kind of student exploitation and
ignorance of the intricacies of signing leases should not be taken lightly. A policy needs to be set in place to hold companies like Eight17 accountable for their actions, or rather their inactions. Students are still without homes, and most are still tied to the leases they signed over a year ago. The San Marcos City Council can change trash can sizes, but apparently having a contingency plan just in case something goes awry with shady construction companies is too much. Selling the site to an alternate company to pick up where Eight17 left off would be beneficial not only for students but for the city. The city could see at least some kind of investment return on the property, and students could have a better chance at an actual place to live. It is not perfect, but it is an option. After all, not only are citizens without homes, but also a huge chunk of the city is eclipsed by halted construction. It is an eyesore and a hazard. Establishments around the area have seen a decline in patronage, according to a March 26 University Star article. People should never be left wondering if they will able to call a place home. This is especially true when they have already signed airtight contracts and provided
down payments. This debacle is more than an inconvenience. It has become a travesty for all involved. Something needs to be done about this very soon. Eight17 cannot wash its hands of the situation that easily. The clock is ticking, and money is disappearing.
JORDAN ACZUE STAR ILLUSTRATOR
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.
BAD FOR THE ECONOMY
IT’S NOT ENOUGH
Raising minimum wage is not a good option
Raising the minimum wage is a no-brainer
Maddie Teague OPINIONS COLUMNIST @maddiebell_bell
aising the minimum wage will not only hurt minimum wage workers, it will also hurt the economy. Opponents argue that minimum wage should be able to support a family on a single income alone. While supporting a family on a minimum wage income is a nice sentiment to take into account, the truth is the minimum wage in the United States should not work that way. Not many people earn minimum wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, only 1.5 million hourly workers earned the federal minimum in 2013. An additional 1.8 million workers earned less than the minimum wage because of extenuating exemptions such as working for tips or being full-time students. The group of minimum wage workers makes up only 4.3 percent of the nation’s hourly wage workers. To break this number down further, a whopping 64 percent of minimum wage earners only work part time. College students, teens and young adults make up the majority of all minimum wage recipients at about 50 percent. Unfortunately, some people believe that the standard minimum wage must be raised, which would inevitably lead to the closures of small businesses and the layoff of workers. Hourly wage jobs are typically not careers, and minimum wage jobs require little to no skill or prior experience.
Minimum wage jobs are a great stepping-stone into a stable career but not designed in any way to support a family comfortably. Luckily, there are systems in place that can help pick up the slack for people truly in need. The government offers loans, grants and benefits that can help supplement a struggling income. A common argument for raising the minimum wage is the hypothetical situation of a single mother needing a living wage to support herself and her family. While this statement may be true, it is unlikely and unrealistic taking into account the statistics previously stated. On top of its unlikelihood, there are also benefits available for people in this situation outside of government assistance. Nonprofits like Single Mother Help are devoted to helping single mothers get out of minimum wage positions and into stable careers. Turning to government assistance to help get on the path to a full career is nothing to be ashamed of. Some minimum wage earners are probably already receiving outside assistance, either from family or school loans. Seeking a supplemental income is a great way to utilize already-existing facilities while also sparing putting more strain on small businesses. Raising the federal or even state minimum wage will affect millions of Americans and only benefit a small fraction of workers. Living on minimum wage may be hard, but for an individual it is doable. A plethora of resources exist to give great tips on how to spend less and get ahead while on a budget. People need to take personal responsibility for their income by pursuing education or training and, in some dire circumstances, by accepting government or nonprofit aid to get their careers on track.
OUT minimum wage
—Maddie Teague is an english junior
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OPINIONS COLUMNIST @jeffbrad12
inimum wage is just that—a minimum wage—and it’s not enough anymore. The reason we have a minimum wage here in America is so people will be able to provide for their families no matter where they are on the socioeconomic ladder. Minimum wage has been raised to adjust with inflation many times throughout history. The United States is due for another one of these raises. Items that people need cost more than they did when the minimum wage was raised to $7.25 an hour. According to an Oct. 9 2014 USA Today column, groceries cost 20% more and a gallon of gas costs 25% more than in 2007 when the minimum wage was last raised. No one can expect anyone to live on a minimum wage that reflects 2007 prices because it is not 2007 anymore. People who work for the minimum wage are extremely dependent on that money. These people must use all of their money in order to survive. The government should help out minimum wage earners by raising their wages to keep up with the inflated prices. Critics suggest that people should just invest in a college education. However, that is a moot and unrealistic point. It does not take into account the fact that it may not be feasible for people receiving minimum wage to go back to school and try to climb the socioeconomic ladder. If the minimum wage were increased, people might have money for night school or something of the sort, but this is nearly impossible without a raise.
Other opponents of a higher minimum wage state that it would be bad for small businesses that do not have as much money to better compensate their workers like WalMart does. The problem with this argument is it is not based in reality. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, three out of five small business owners support a higher minimum wage. These small business owners say a higher minimum wage increases the amount of money that can be spent at their businesses and would decrease employee turnover and increase productivity. Businesses that would most likely be affected negatively by a minimum wage increase would be places that employ a high number of teenagers. Most teenagers do not have to support a family, so I would be receptive to a lower minimum wage for people who are being supported by other people. One common fear of a higher minimum wage is it would come with higher prices. This simply is not as scary as it sounds. According to Employment Policies Institute, a 10 percent hike in the minimum wage brings with it a .4 -.7 percent increase in restaurant prices. The rise in restaurant costs still would not be very high even though the current proposal is to raise the minimum wage by slightly less than 50 percent. Furthermore, huge corporations raising prices might not be necessary if upper-level employees were to take a pay cut. These people are making astronomical amounts of money while Americans are debating if a family of three should be able to buy school supplies. The economy of the United States is always changing, and no amount of research can accurately predict how a raise in the minimum wage would affect it. The minimum wage does need to increase with the rate of inflation. Frankly, people need a wage they can live on regardless of their occupational status. —Jeffrey Bradshaw is a political science sophomore
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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 8, 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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French film club exposes students to new cultures By Sarah Bradley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @sarah_bradskies People of different ages and classifications gathered to watch Soeur Sourire on April 3 in Centennial as part of the French Film Club’s weekly screenings. The club hosts weekly showings of French movies to give students the opportunity to learn about and experience different cultures through film. Jennifer Forrest, French professor and club promoter, said the organizers select a different theme or genre each semester. She said possible options include comedians, exclusively Paris-based films, crime and horror. “There are movie showings each Friday of each week for the entire semester, so I try and select a lot of various styles even within the
given theme,” Forrest said. This semester’s films are about real people and events. The film Soeur Sourire, which translates to Sister Smile, is a true story based on a woman’s rise and fall as a singing nun. Forrest said people can benefit from watching foreign films even if they do not speak the language presented. “With these films there are a lot of different things you could take from it, depending on why the person has come to the event,” Forrest said. Forrest said some people attend because they are studying French and want to gain more exposure, while others have a passion for film. “Initially it all started because we (the Department of Modern Languages) felt that there should be some type of event outside of class,” Forrest said. “From this, attendees could experience various languages
and cultural components.” Margaret Dunaway, senior lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages, said foreign films can benefit students regardless of their majors. “I always believe that the films Forrest offers are educational,” Dunaway said. “The themes are impactful, and all the different varieties of genres and films make for a broad spectrum of cultures to learn about.” Dunaway said she tries to go to the film screenings every week and usually recruits new attendees each time. “Very little of us have been exposed to as many different dialects as these films provide,” Dunaway said. “So I definitely admire them for that and how impactful they can be for one’s learning.” Jose Gonzalez Izquierdo, German studies senior, said the film series can help students broaden
their horizons beyond what they lot of the different native tongues have been exposed to in their na- within the French language and tive countries. how language varies with accents,” “It’s a great opportunity to see Izquierdo said. different films, which will help you Dunaway said the films provide grow,” Izquierdo said. “For me, the viewers with a unique screening opbest way to master a new language portunity they would not normally is to completely (immerse) yourself experience. in that language besides reading a “I am so glad and grateful for the textbook, like listening to a foreign department allowing these weekly film.” showings because they are truly a Izquierdo said the films can help breath of fresh air in film because students who are learning to speak each and every one is so well-seFrench by introducing them to vari- lected and educational,” Dunaway ous accents. said. “It is like you’ve got the world “It’s wonderful that Forrest on a screen.” is able to organize and p r ov i d e foreign films like these beKTSW 89.9 PRESENTS cause we get to exTHE 8TH ANNUAL amine a
Award-winning author discusses new book “Fiction is important for seeing the world in a deeper, more meaningful way.”
By Louis Zylka LIFESTYLE REPORTER @Orinzylka Award-winning novelist Ben Fountain read and signed copies of his new book, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, at Texas State’s Wittliff Collection on April 7. Fountain, University Endowed Chair in Creative Writing, said BBC named the novel as one of the 12 best books of the 21st century. The novel earned the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2012. In a short Q&A, Fountain was asked about the research method he used for his characters. He must immerse himself in his notes in order to develop the storyline. “I bury myself in it,” Fountain said. “I get totally confused. I forget why I got into it in the first place, and at a certain point I decide to write my way out of it.” During the Q&A, Fountain joked his first draft is known as “creative failing.” “I’m trying to create my problem,” Fountain said. “I suppose what I’m looking for is some kind of power to reveal certain things to me.” Ramiro Hinojosa, a first-year student in the MFA creative writing program, said the Q&A offered participants the opportunity to build a personal connection with the author. Hinojosa said Fountain started
MR FEST APRIL 24TH & 25TH
—JANE HAWLEY, MFA SENIOR teaching fiction at the university in Fall 2014. Anabel Graff and Jane Hawley, MFA seniors and students of Fountain, said his stories focus on themes including politics, American culture, social justice, media and war. “We are really lucky to have him,” Graff said. “He is a really generous writer and an even more generous teacher.” Hawley said Fountain uses literature in the classroom to showcase other cultures. “In his classes he often quotes the poet as (a way) to say literature is the news that stays the news,” Hawley said. “Fiction is important for seeing the world in a deeper, more meaningful way.” Graff said Fountain expects his students to be ethically sound in every aspect of their lives. “Ben really believes that it is the writer’s to role to be the moral compass
of the world,” Graff said. “(He) deeply believes that to become a writer is to feel a great burden and express truth and beauty.” Fountain said he hopes individuals who read his books and take the classes gain the ability to understand the universe in a new way. “I want my readers to have a new appreciation for the world around us,” Fountain said. “To have clarity of vision, clarity of thought and skepticism toward authority.” Fountain read a selection from his new novel, titled Jacmel Wreck, which is based on his travels to Haiti. The story takes place in 1991 Jacmel, Haiti, and follows the experiences of CIA officer Audrey O’Donnell. “One of the great things about doing this is you can follow your interests wherever it leads,” Fountain said. “I realized what I was interested in tended to involve power and race and the conversion of history in the present day.”
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PICKS OF THE WEEK By Britton Richter LIFESTYLE EDITOR @brittonrichter
FOR THE LIVE MUSIC LOVER
Texas country is a genre within a genre, and no establishment recognizes this better than Superfly’s Lone Star Music Emporium. The store will host the release party of Texas native Ray Wylie Hubbard’s newest album, The Ruffian’s Misfortune, on April 8 at 6 p.m. There will be a free performance of the album, signed copies available for purchase and complimentary beer for the legal country music enthusiasts.
FOR THE LADIES (AND ALSO DUDES) OF THE ‘80S
April is in full swing, and with that comes the Spring Concert Series hosted by Keep San Marcos Beautiful (KSMB). Every Thursday in April, KSMB will host live music and free events for the community. Pre-concert events begin April 9 at 6:30 p.m., while live music from The Spazmatics, a native Austin group, begins at 7:30 p.m. The Spazmatics is a musical group that covers the music of the ‘80s. Attendees should be sure to bring lawn chairs as well
as plenty of nostalgia.
FOR THE BEAUTY QUEEN
The National American Miss is hosting an open call with information sessions on April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa and Conference Center. The sessions will provide information for those interested in participating in the Miss Texas State Pageant. The info sessions are free and will last about an hour for any willing Bobcat.
FOR THE BOOKWORM
This weekend, the San Marcos Rec Hall is hosting its annual book sale, Friends of the Library. Used books, records and magazines will be sold from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 10 and 11 and from 1-5 p.m. on April 12.
Men and Women 18 to 55
Up to $2000
Men and Women 18 to 55
Up to $2500
FOR THE ARTIST
Art Squared will host live demonstrations as well as crafts for kids from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 11. Alongside the art market, San Marcos is hosting the Wine Walk April 10 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. to showcase the best of local wine. The Wine Walk will continue April 11 from 3-6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at the Wine and Art Weekend website.
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