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Amid despair, hope prevails Hays County was devastated May 24 when historic flooding hit the area. The flood has claimed the lives of eight people in Hays County and three remain missing. Volunteers and those looking to help have come together to rebuild the City of San Marcos.

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homes have been damaged due to flooding for continuous flood coverage visit


Piles of debris and cypress trees line the banks of the Blanco River May 25 after historic flooding in Wimberley.

San Marcos family loses everything in flood By Mariah Simank LIFESTYLE EDITOR @MariahSimank


ne San Marcos resident and his family watched helplessly May 24 as his childhood home filled with water. Carlos Cortez was awakened around 4 a.m. by the sound of water coming through the window of the master bedroom. “We have a one-story house and the windowsill sits about



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Flash flood expected to have little impact on endangered river species By Anna Herod ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @annaleemurphy

Experts from the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment expect the ecosystem of the San Marcos River to fully recover from the historic May 24 flash flood. The San Marcos River is home to several threatened and endangered species, including the Texas blind salamander, the San Marcos salamander, the fountain darter and Texas wild rice. Experts said the flood had a small impact on river wildlife.

There’s actually seeds that have been sitting there dormant that will start firing up again.” ­—BOB HALL, SENIOR POLICY COORDINATOR FOR THE EAA

“They’re very good at hunkering down and hiding. Some

See RIVER, Page 2

a foot and a half to two feet off the ground,” Carlos Cortez said. “The water sounded like a fountain as it came in through the bedroom window at a pretty good rate, which is what woke me up.” As Carlos Cortez began to wrap his head around what was happening, he realized he needed to quickly wake up his wife and three kids. “I looked down and realized my slippers were floating in about two to three inches of water, and I got out of bed

to kind of assess the situation and wake the kids and my wife up,” Carlos Cortez said. Kandi Cortez, Carlos Cortez’s wife, said she raced to call 911 after waking up and noticing the sheetrock in the house was moving in toward the family. “I called them and I asked them to please help us, and they told me they already had over 100 people to rescue and they would send someone as soon as possible,” Kandi Cortez said. “This was when the

water was at my stomach and it rapidly started to rise.” The water quickly went from being a small nuisance to a life-threatening situation, Carlos Cortez said. His 13-year-old son Daniel Cortez had already been woken up by the sound of water. He was making his way toward his parents’ bedroom when he witnessed the doors leading to the family’s backyard burst open under the pressure of the water. “After that moment, the

water was up to our chests in about two minutes,” Carlos Cortez said. “I started to grasp that I needed to get some stuff together, so I went around the house and grabbed a couple of things and put them up high in my closet.” That is when Carlos Cortez discovered his king-size bed was floating. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at first,” Carlos Cortez said. “At this point the water was up to my chest and getting higher, and I stopped

to think, ‘Wait a minute, what am I doing? Why am I gathering things when I need to get us the heck out of here?’” As the family gathered to hang on to the doors leading to their backyard, Kandi Cortez said she struggled to keep their two dogs above water. “We were able to hold Amber because she is a small Chihuahua, but the Lab was panicking when I was trying to hold her and she eventu-

See CORTEZ, Page 2


Local resident reflects on past historic floods By Jon Wilcox SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @thrilcox

Over the years, the San Marcos community has established a tradition of cooperation and kindness in the face of catastrophic flooding. Disaster relief organizations and local volunteers are proving instrumental in helping victims of this year’s flood disaster. Kim Porterfield, San Marcos resident and former city council member, can recall a similar experience. In October of 1998, Porterfield was living with her husband and two children in a small, cinderblock rental house near the banks of the San Marcos River, she said. Porterfield said she knew the family would be taking a chance by living on the river. “Our kids learned to swim in the river,” Porterfield said. “We went to the river every day. We decided that would be a great place to raise the kids.” After days of rain that October, Porterfield and her neighbors noticed the San Marcos River had begun to swell over its banks. Porterfield was celebrating the fifth birthday of her eldest daughter, Carlie, at the time. “The river seemed to be getting closer and wider, and dumpsters started floating by,” Porterfield said. “We knew it was time to go.” Porterfield said she was in fight-or-flight mode. “I grabbed my camera bag, my glasses and Carlie’s fifthbirthday cake,” Porterfield said. “Go figure.” Porterfield then loaded her daughters into the pickup truck and joined the migration through flooded roads and neighborhoods to the more elevated west side of San Marcos. Like many residents on the eastern side of town, Porterfield and her family had to

cross over the San Marcos River to reach safety. The family was forced to abandon their second vehicle when it stalled near East Hopkins Street. “We were among the last to make it across (the East Hopkins Street bridge),” Porterfield said. “The evacuation part was very, very scary. I didn’t know if we were going to make it across the river.” As the family crossed the bridge, their remaining vehicle stalled, forcing her husband to push the truck across the flooding bridge amidst a storm of floating pumpkins, Porterfield said. The Heritage Association of San Marcos was raising funds with a pumpkin sale at East Hopkins Street and North CM Allen Parkway, Porterfield said. “It’s all very surreal now,” Porterfield said. “Pumpkins were smashing into the truck, smashing into (my husband).” Porterfield and her family eventually reached their destination—a friend’s house on higher, drier ground, where they celebrated by eating Carlie’s birthday cake. Michelle Harper, president and CEO for United Way of Hays County, said she was living in the dorms as a student at the then-called Southwest Texas State University-San Marcos during the 1998 floods. Harper wishes she had been more involved in postflood aid back then. “I wasn’t clued in,” Harper said. “I was like, ‘I’m stuck in my dorm, woe is me,’ and had no idea the residents (of San Marcos) were hurting. I would like to see more students clued in to help not only residents, but also college students who are now homeless.” In November 1998 and

See 1998 FLOOD, Page 2




A2 | The University Star | News | Wednesday, June 3, 2015

CORTEZ, from front ally broke free,” Kandi Cortez said. “I was just listening to her splashing and then all of the sudden it went quiet, and that’s when I started freaking out because I didn’t want to lose my dog.” Kandi Cortez said she quickly had to shift her focus from her dogs to finding a safe place for her three children. “I thought that maybe I could get myself and my family to a tree, but when I got off the porch area the water was up to my chin and I knew there was no way I could get the kids out of here safely,” Kandi Cortez said. “So I went back inside and I just held them and told them it was going to be OK, even though I didn’t know what was going to happen.” Kandi Cortez said her biggest concern was always keeping her family out of harm’s way. “The whole ordeal wasn’t so much thinking, ‘Oh my god, we are going to lose the house’—it was more like, ‘Oh my god, are we going to die?’” Kandi Cortez said. Carlos Cortez said the house never lost power, which was both comforting and scary after the family realized nearby outlets were electrocuting them. “We were floating there for a long time, seeing our furniture and all of our belongings bobbing in the water and knocking us around,” Carlos Cortez said. “The lights were on and we were getting electrocuted a little bit every once in a while when we brushed up against the power outlets.” As the sun began to rise, Car-

los Cortez said he decided to move his family to the roof to await rescue. “It was obvious that help wasn’t coming anytime soon because everywhere you looked there was water that was so high it was just insane,” Carlos Cortez said. “I knew tons of people were in the same position we were and I couldn’t expect that rescuers were coming right along just to save us.” When daybreak finally came, Carlos Cortez said his son spotted what looked like a news helicopter. Shortly after that, a search and rescue helicopter began circling the neighborhood. “They circled around for a few minutes and then started swooping in and picking people up,” Carlos Cortez said. “The neighbors across the street and next door to us were on their roofs and one poor lady didn’t make it to her roof and was just trying to stay afloat in the water.” The family watched their home fill with water for about four hours before being rescued. Carlos Cortez said he injured his leg during the rescue when he lost his grip and fell from the roof into the water. “When I was underwater and felt the pain in my leg, that was the only moment when I started to think maybe this was how it was going to end,” Carlos Cortez said. “But it didn’t and the rescuer was down there in the water by the time I came up for air to bring me to the helicopter.” Heavy rain fell in the area for

six hours, damaging thousands of homes and causing many people to abandon their cars on flooded streets. Despite losing everything to the floodwaters, the Cortez family remains optimistic. “You’ve got to keep a positive outlook in this type of situation, or at least I want to,” Carlos Cortez said. Carlos Cortez said he has seen the home flood before, but it never came close to the amount of water that filled the house this time. “When I was a kid—somewhere around 1984, when I was around 12—there was a flood, and my dad said we had about 4 inches of water in the house,” Carlos Cortez said. “That was considered to be the ‘great flood’ at the time, and we had to make some major renovations to the house even though it was only a few inches of water.” Carlos Cortez said the family plans to stay in San Marcos and rebuild their home. “I grew up in that house and I actually moved back into it about a year ago,” Carlos Cortez said. “I just love it so much here in San Marcos. This is where I’ve always wanted to live and raise my family, and I never for one second thought about leaving.” The family lost almost everything to the floodwaters but they are just happy to be alive with their two dogs. They Cortez’ are staying with family members while they begin to clean out their home.

Harper said. Porterfield said disasters like the 1998 and 2015 floods often times come with a silver lining. “I think the flood of ‘98 really helped us as a family and me as an individual to really understand what’s important in life,” Porterfield said. “I am just more aligned with my family, my friends, my community.” Porterfield said she hopes the City of San Marcos will likewise use the recent disaster as an opportunity to address other issues. “Unfortunately, the people who were hit this time are mostly low-income people,” Porterfield said. “There are not

many single-family homes that are affordable in San Marcos, and that has been an issue here for years—since I was on the city council and even before then. I’m hoping this is just the beginning of a great collaboration to advance San Marcos beyond the flood and to get our citizens to a level of quality of life that we all desire and deserve here.” Those who wish to help can donate money to an emergency relief fund for Hays County at the United Way website, she said.

result this time. “We had plants in the area that had been restored after the Halloween flood that looked like, after the fact, they had been wiped out,” Hall said. “Probably only after two weeks we had an enormous amount of growth.” Hall said when the EAA staff went to conduct biological monitoring of the protected species in the river following the 2013 flood, an untrained eye could not tell if the restored areas had been damaged by the flood or not. He plans to meet May 2728 with a member of the crew who helps with the biological monitoring project. “We might end up doing more of a plant mapping expedition to see where the plants were and what type of hit they took,” Hall said. “And then we’ll know, next time we are out there doing our routine sampling, that we will see how fast (the plants) grew back.” Thomas Hardy, chief science officer at the Meadows Center,

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RIVER, from front will get moved around, but not near what you would think will be moved,” said Bob Hall, senior policy coordinator for the EAA. He said the impact on the Texas wild rice will vary depending on location. “There’s actually seeds that have been sitting there dormant that will start firing up again,” Hall said. “So a flood is not a bad thing as far as the system is concerned.” Aaron Swink, assistant education director at the Edwards Aquifer Research & Data Center, said some research instruments were lost in the flood. “The flood definitely caused a big recharge for the aquifer,” Swink said. “It’s good in that way, but it has made some of our efforts a little bit harder because the flood took some of our instruments away.” He said the plants “bounced back fairly quickly” following the flash flood that happened October 31, 2013, and he does not expect a drastically different

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1998 FLOOD, from front this May, United Way has worked to coordinate aid and assistance to flood victims, Harper said. Dan Knauft, Red Cross volunteer, said local volunteers have proved to be an essential part of the aid effort. Volunteers gathered at St. John’s Catholic Church for three days to provide aid for flood victims through a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC), he said. MARC officials registered over 200 victims for assistance in three days, Knauft said. United Way deployed over 700 volunteers in the first days following this year’s flood,

G N I S A E L NOW 5 1 0 2 L L A FOR F

said “by every expectation” the river’s ecosystem will make a full recovery from the flood. “When the floods occurred I went out and looked out at the San Marcos River to see how things were responding,” Hardy said. “My activities now will be clean-up.” Hardy said the Meadows Center has sent staff out to volunteer where help is needed. Staff was sent to Martindale to help with those whose homes were flooded and to clean up along the river. After volunteer efforts are no longer needed, the staff will direct their efforts toward preserving the ecosystem of the river, he said. “We will begin the process of replanting to get the system moving in the direction of natural recovery,” Hardy said. “Floods are natural occurrences and the systems do have the abilities to heal and recover themselves if we let them.”

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1805 Aquarena Springs San Marcos, TX 78666 PRESLIE COX MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Endangered river wildlife was unharmed by historic flooding May 24 in San Marcos.

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Students must assist community post Memorial Day weekend flooding


ell has come to Hays County in the form of the leading cause of weather-related deaths, and we are all reeling in the aftermath. The historic Memorial Day weekend flash floods that devastated Hays County have captivated the media and even drew the attention of the president himself. On May 30, President Barack Obama declared the state of Texas a disaster area due to the Memorial Day weekend

floods that shattered the community and left calamity in their wake. Just because the calamitous weather has subsided and the media frenzy has died down does not change the community’s need for help. The people of Central Texas are going to need help long after the camera crews and public officials move on to the next hot topic. Unfortunately, it often takes hard times to tie together the loose strings of

an indifferent community. The relationship between Bobcats and Hays County locals is indifferent at best and at worst, hostile. The sole shimmering light in the encapsulating darkness and despair is the strengthened sense of community and volunteer work. For four years San Marcos serves as the surrogate home to Bobcats everywhere, and we must protect it. Now, more than ever, we need to stick together as an

interconnected community. This is not the time for petty jokes at the expense of others’ suffering, nor is this the time for disobeying law enforcers for the sake of reveling. This is the time to band together and ensure optimal support and revitalization of a crumbled community. Nine bodies have been recovered from the historic floods and three people remain missing. The devastatingly elusive

witch known as Mother Nature has shattered our home and we have chosen to be champions for our community. If students can fight for green initiatives, then we can fight to rebuild and revitalize the community. All help is appreciated. Cleaning up Hays County will take weeks, but it can be done with a hands-on approach. For those who cannot make it out to volunteer, donating money is the next best thing.

As the water disperses and remnants of what once existed begin to unveil, let us all remember exactly how lucky we were. Property may be damaged and cars may be inoperable, but that is just a small aspect of the tragedy that has taken the lives of at least nine people. Remember Bobcats, there may not always be light at the end of the tunnel—but at least we made it to the end.

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, Texas State University or the advertisers.

The University Star Editor-in-Chief...........................................Kelsey Bradshaw, Managing Editor.......................Imani McGarrell, News Editor....................................................Alexa Tavarez, Sports Editor.............................................Quixem Ramirez, Lifestyle Editor.........................................Mariah Simank, Opinions Editor..........................................Brandon Sams, Multimedia Editor......................................Preslie Cox, Copy Desk Chief....................................Abby Marshall,

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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, June 3, 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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Students displaced after apartment complex deemed unlivable By Mariah Simank LIFESTYLE EDITOR @MariahSimank

As heavy rainfall tore through San Marcos May 24, floodwaters made their way into many first-floor apartments in student living complexes around the city. Three Texas State students living at The Lodge at Southwest experienced the damaging waters firsthand when their three-bedroom apartment was determined to be unlivable due to water damage. Julianna Di Napoli, criminal justice senior, said the apartment was damaged extensively by the flood. “Everything is pretty ruined,” Di Napoli said. “They ripped out all of the flooring and I imagine most of the appliances and walls are ruined because of how soft they are all the way up to the top.” Katie Thompson, criminal justice law enforcement senior, was alone in the apartment on the night of the flood. She said a friend called her at 1 a.m. to warn her of the impending danger. “One of my friends had called me before the water really started to rise because his fiancé has family in Wimberley, and he told me that I needed to get out right then—while I still could,” Thompson said. “So my mom and I went over to my friend’s house and we pretty much stayed up the whole night trying to get information.” Emilie Clark, business management senior, said she learned her apartment had flooded after watching the local news. “I was actually out of town and my family and I were watching the news because my aunt lives in Wimberley and she was worried about her house,” Clark said. “While we were watching the news they actually pointed to my apartment complex and said that anyone living there needed to evacuate immediately.” Thompson said she measured water as high as 14 inches in their patio closet. “There were branches up on the building that went up twenty feet,” Thompson said. “We don’t really know how those got there, and

we really have no idea how high the water really got.” Di Napoli said even after learning water had made it into her apartment, she underestimated the extent of the damage. “When I came back into town, I genuinely didn’t think it would be as bad as it was,” Di Napoli said. “The views from my apartment complex of the damage are just crazy with the Blanco River still flowing over the road in some places.” Thompson said she was able to move many of her belongings to a higher place before leaving. “Thankfully I was able to throw a lot of stuff on my bed before I had to evacuate,” Thompson said. “I mainly lost a lot of clothing and sentimental stuff, which is hard, but it could have been a lot worse.” Clark, who lost the most out of everyone living in the apartment, said nothing on her floor was salvageable. “All of my shoes are ruined except for the pair I was wearing and a pair of tennis shoes that I was able to wash,” Clark said. “I had a lot of stuff underneath my bed, like my craft box and letters and cards that were in a cardboard box that were also ruined.” Management told the students with flood-damaged rooms to be moved out by May 29, Di Napoli said. “We were originally told that we needed to get all of our personal furniture and any items we needed to survive out of our apartment while they fixed it,” Di Napoli said. “However, they later told us we needed be moved out of the apartment by the 29th because our current lease was being terminated.” As the girls had renewed their apartment lease for the following school year, Di Napoli said the termination meant they would have to find a new place to live for the next two months. Di Napoli said the complex is still holding them to their new lease in August, despite ending their current contract. “We have done our best to get out of the new lease because we didn’t feel like it was a renewal if our current lease doesn’t exist

PRESLIE COX MULTIMEDIA EDITOR The cleanup and repairs were in process May 27 for residents affected by flooding at the Lodge at Southwest. anymore,” Di Napoli said. “Legally they seem to be within their bounds, but I do know what they’re doing is ethically wrong.” Thompson said she and her roommates are hesitant to move back into the apartment after learning this is the second time in two years it has flooded. “We didn’t know that the apartment had flooded previously in 2013 until we had already signed the lease and moved in, but it does make me nervous to move back in here after I have seen what that river can do,” Thompson said. “Looking at our building, you wouldn’t ever think that the water would get that high.” The girls were frustrated to learn that renters insurance does not cover flooddamaged items unless a specific policy is purchased. “My parents and I decided that we would buy flood insurance after this happened, but after doing our research we discovered that since that specific apartment had flooded twice before, it would be nearly

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impossible to get insurance for it,” Di Napoli said. “So if it happens again, none of us will be able to do anything about it.” Thompson said the whole experience has reiterated to her how important is it to volunteer in the community during times of crisis. “As soon as I realized the extent of the damage, I got out and helped at the Hays County Food Bank, and I encourage everybody to donate anything they can,” Thompson said. “Even if you can’t donate any items, I would encourage people to get out in the community for at least two hours and help a family.”


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Vintage swimwear makes comback

B1 | The University Star | Lifestyle | Wednesday, June 3, 2015


By Sarah Bradley SENIOR LIFESTYLE REPORTER @sarah_bradskies

PRESLIE COX MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Ross Hendry, who is a partner with the owner of Down the Rabbit Hole poses June 2 behind the counter in the store.

Visitors, residents ‘go down the rabbit hole’ to local gift shop By Jonathan Hamilton SPECIAL TO THE STAR @jonodashham1

Visitors walking through Down the Rabbit Hole, a local gift shop, are exposed to a myriad of handmade artistries designed to fit any shopper’s taste. Ross Hendry and Laurie Brown opened the store last May. Hendry said the shop was originally supposed to specialize in candles. The vision for the store changed after several of the

couple’s friends asked if they could sell their handmade items in the shop, Brown said. “It went from an idea of us just making candles to an idea of our friends that are artists selling things as well,” Brown said. Brown said the pair originally worked together for a candle company in Wimberley. The transition to co-running a gift shop with her significant other was a smooth one because of the chemistry they share, Brown said.

“We make a good team and we tend to compliment each other instead of getting in each other’s way,” she said. “Having someone that has the same vision as you and has the same types of ideas as you, it is not really ever a conflict.” Brown said giving local artists a platform to sell their goods turned out to be one of the best decisions she’s ever made. Down the Rabbit Hole now has 46 different vendors in the shop. Hendry said the shop has a

wide selection of handmade items, including jewelry, soaps, lotions, canvases and birdhouses. “That was part of the reason for the name,” Brown said. “You never know what you are going to find in this store.” Elizabeth Stevens, Katy resident, said she stumbled upon Down the Rabbit Hole while traveling through San Marcos on her way back to her home.


Summer is officially here and swimsuit season is in full swing, bringing students a rich diversity of styles, shapes and designs to choose from. Casey Trevino, assistant manager and head of women’s products at PacSun, said while some trends are constantly changing year to year, the classic styles stay around for a long time. “Trends are inevitable,” Trevino said. “Some are revived from past years and come and go each season, as they have for generations and generations.” Trevino said yearly trends occur because shoppers have a desire to buy something new and different. “Whether it’s swimwear, apparel or accessories, every generation wants something new,” Trevino said. “However, trends are typically just repeats of the past with a few new flares.” For this year’s swimwear season, Trevino said the most obvious trends center around the desire to have a vintage style with more material. “This season we’re seeing a ton more vintage-inspired high-rise bottoms, tops and one pieces,” Trevino said. “All of which have to do with more design, detail and cutting with much more material than in recent past years.” Trevino said previous trends centered on using less material, but this year the focus has shifted to a more conservative style. “With the high-waisted shorts and (high) necklines and one-pieces with cool cut-

outs, it’s obvious that swimsuit buyers are looking to cover up more than they did in the past,” Trevino said. Trevino said there was no way for designers to make swimsuits any smaller, so the only way for the trend to grow was by revisiting older styles. “Usually trends go wherever they can,” Trevino said. “If skinny jeans can’t get skinnier, the pants will move into becoming a flare again. Or if the swimsuit can’t get skimpier, it must go back to more of a conservative style.” Lupe Martinez, assistant store manager at Forever 21, said out of every trend he has seen this summer, the high-waisted vintage swimsuit seems to be the most popular. “Out of all the available options for swim, such as tribal-inspired, fringe, classic or slinky, I’ve noticed most everyone purchases the vintage high-waisted suits,” Martinez said. The majority of Martinez’s customers are looking for swimwear that will cover them up while still offering flair, he said. This is why designers have introduced one-pieces with unique cuts or additional jewelry. “Although the obvious trend this season is that of conservativeness, many of the customers are also looking to buy things that add appeal to the swimwear,” Martinez said. “Body chains are really big right now to add character to their suit.” Gracie Sifuentes, sales associate at Charlotte Russe and elementary education graduate student at Texas State, said she enjoys the old-



Doctoral student receives funding for concrete research By Denise Cervantes LIFESTYLE REPORTER @cervantesdenise

One Texas State student took matters into his own hands after realizing he would need additional funding to support his research. Ash Kotwal, materials science, engineering and commercialization doctoral student, was recently awarded one of 10 international Baker Student Fellowships from the American Concrete Institute. Kotwal said he went through a vigorous process, filling out at least 100 applications before submitting his proposal. Kotwal said this was the first time he had submitted a proposal without the help of Texas State professors.

“This is really the one I took on my own,” Kotwal said. “I went and made the connections on my own, so getting that award was a great opportunity and I was really grateful because of the support I get for my research.” Kotwal said he is researching an innovative product line in which limestone is used to help manufacture and produce cement. The process is a better choice for the environment because it uses less energy and lowers carbon dioxide levels, Kotwal said. John Schemmel, professor and director of Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program at Texas State, said he served as a mentor and technical advisor for Kotwal. Schemmel said he nomi-

nated Kotwal for the fellowship after witnessing the hard work he put into his research. “When I arrived here and started working with Ash, it was clear he was a very high achiever,” Schemmel said. “All the work was on him—I was just playing the role of being a mentor. For him to be a recipient is really gratifying.” Kotwal also serves as mentor for undergraduate students in the CIM program. Alex Burkhart, concrete industry management senior, said Kotwal was of the doctoral students who helped guide his own research. "He's extremely detail-oriented,” Burkhart said. “It's hard to get anything past Ash, but that’s the great thing about him. He’s very particular,


Educator honored for changing lives of children By Louis Zylka LIFESTYLE REPORTER @OrinZylka

One professor’s life and career was honored April 29 by Communities in Schools (CIS), an organization aiming to connect schools with the resources to motivate students. Kathleen Fite, Department of Curriculum and Instruction and College of Education professor, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for South-Central Texas. Fite was recognized for creating the Bobcat Buddy Partnership, a program designed to provide learning assistance to elementary students in the area. Fite said she started the program 25 years ago after a principal in New Braunfels asked for volunteers to help certain students fine-tune their ability to read. “They really needed some help for the children in the schools because they were having difficulty reading,” Fite said. “(The children) needed some one-on-one attention.”

Fite said she offers extra credit to her students to encourage them to become a pal for children in the program. “My students are juniors and they are preparing to become teachers,” Fite said. “They were so eager to work with children that like 90 percent of them would volunteer.” Emily Woods, interdisciplinary studies senior, said she traveled to New Braunfels once a week to meet up with kids she was assigned to at Goodwin Fraizer Elementary School. Woods said she worked hard to make sure the students were getting the attention they needed by helping with homework and by playing games. “In the beginning (my Bobcat Buddy) was shy towards me, but by the end she got more comfortable talking,” Woods said. “I learned how important that connection is with your students.” Fite said many of her students make multiple trips to the schools, with some even helping the same student for several school years. She said

the children love having the special attention, and teachers appreciate the personalized learning because it helps students grow. Kaitlyn Dennis, interdisciplinary studies senior, said she worked with a fifth-grader at Morningside Elementary School in New Braunfels. Dennis said nothing was more rewarding than getting the children to become more comfortable around her. “You’re basically there for extra support and guidance,” Dennis said. “Opening up to them makes them feel like they can open up back to you.” Fite said 50 children from the schools where her program is visited Texas State to help present a bouquet of flowers and a plaque commemorating her achievement. “The thing most touching to me was on the plaque it said, ‘Lifetime achievement for changing the lives of countless children,’” Fite said. “To me it is all about making a better tomorrow and a better world for our children.”

See FITE, Page 2

It was a great opportunity to just network and hear feedback on the research that I am doing.” ­—ASH KOTWAL, MATERIALS SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND COMMERCIALIZATION DOCTORAL STUDENT

and it makes everything run smoothly." Once he became a finalist for the fellowship, Kotwal said he went through a panel of eight judges before being selected. “It was a great opportunity to just network and hear feedback on the research that I am doing,” Kotwal said. In addition to the Baker fellowship, Schemmel said Kotwal will additionally receive funding from Capitol

Aggregates to continue his research. Schemmel said Kotwal received an invitation to join the American Society for Testing and Materials’ Emerging Professional Program. “He’s a very capable and high-achieving student doing relative research that could be put into practice almost immediately after he finishes his research,” Schemmel said. “All those things make him a noteworthy recipient for each

of the scholarships.” Schemmel said being able to work with students like Kotwal is one of the most rewarding parts of his job. “It’s very rewarding for professors,” Schemmel said. “This is one of those things that makes it fun to come to work each day, when you’re working with an undergrad or graduate student and see them succeed with regional or national—or even international level such as Ash.” Kotwal said he is hoping to finish his dissertation by the end of the fall semester. "I’m extremely grateful,” Kotwal said. “Without the opportunities I’ve been presented at Texas State, none of this would have been possible."


Professor recognized for commitment to laboratory science By Denise Cervantes LIFESTYLE REPORTER @cervantesdenise

One Texas State professor’s passion for medical laboratory science is reaping big rewards. Rodney Rohde, chair for the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) program and professor in the College of Health Professions, was recently given the 2015 urEssential award by Cardinal Health. The award is designed to highlight the contributions Rohde has made to the medical laboratory profession. Rohde said the award included $20,000 in scholarship money for students involved in the CLS program at the university. “It was a total surprise and very humbling and exciting,” Rohde said. “It means students in our major will be able to receive scholarships in the future.” Rohde received a bachelor of science in microbiology, a master of biology focusing on virology and a Ph.D. in education from Texas State. He began his career work-

It’s a passion of mine. And that’s probably why I’ve been fortunate enough to get this award.” ­—RODNEY ROHDE, CHAIR FOR THE CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE PROGRAM AND PROFESSOR IN THE COLLEGE OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS

ing as a public health microbiologist and molecular epidemiologist in the Texas Department of State Health Services Bureau of Laboratories and Zoonosis Control Division. Over the years, his research has covered adult education and public health microbiology. Rhode said he has a special interest in studying rabies virology. “It’s a passion of mine,” Rohde said. “And that’s probably why I’ve been fortunate enough to get this award. I’ve been doing it on a national, state and local level for a long time.” Rohde said he did not realize CLS was the profession for him until receiving his Ph.D. “I did not know about

it,” Rohde said. “I went and worked in the public health labs and I started meeting medical technologists and people with this degree and I was like, ‘Well, that’s interesting.’” Rohde said many students entering the program are unaware of the certification required to work in clinical environments such as a hospital laboratory. “Many people come to college, and they’re going to be a biology or microbiology (major) like I was and there is nothing wrong with that,” Rohde said. “They have all these big plans, and it’s great, but they cannot practice without a degree or national certification—the

See ROHDE, Page 2

B2 | The University Star | Wednesday, June 3, 2015

RABBIT HOLE, from front Stevens said she has great respect for the artists who made the various items. “I love how many different items and smells they have in there,” Stevens said. “The artists that made all of these different scents and jewelry are truly talented.” Hendry said having every

item in their store handmade by local Texas artists creates a more natural shopping experience for customers and supports the community. “Shopping local is awesome to do,” Hendry said. “When you buy one item here you are not just supporting one family, you are supporting

anywhere from three to five families.” Hendry said he loves socializing and entertaining customers. “I love telling stories and giving information about the assortment of items we have in here,” Hendry said. “I love giving people a good

obtain this season’s swimsuits at a reasonable price. Trevino said PacSun carries over 30 different styles of swimwear. “We offer swim options for men and women all for around $20 to $50, depending on the brand and material,” Trevino said. Martinez said Forever 21 offers swimsuits for as low as $5, making it easy for students

to find their perfect fit. Sifuentes said most of the shoppers she sees focus less on what’s trending and more on what works with their own sense of style. “Most people, I feel, keep up with the trends fairly well but also not wholeheartedly,” Sifuentes said. “People still have their individualism in the trends, which is essential.”

Texas State are now teachers in the same schools they assisted. Dennis said Fite is an inspiration to anyone hoping to teach and has opened many people’s eyes through her efforts to bring children a more tailored learning environment. “She really works with her students and is very approachable,” Dennis said. “In my eyes she is a really good teacher.” Fite said she currently has

no plans of retiring and hopes to continue Bobcat Buddies for the next five to 10 years. “When you have the chance to work with a child, it’s just an incredible experience to be there when that moment of learning manifests itself,” Fite said. “You never know who’s going to connect with a child and be the person that’ll make a difference in that child’s life.”

sician diagnose your illness. It’s a critical, lifesaving job.” Lindsey Coulter, Texas State alumnus and Centers for Disease Control Emerging Infectious Disease fellow, said Rohde served as her mentor once she entered the CLS program. "Throughout my master's program he gave me a lot of advice,” Coulter said. “In the CLS program, he was always

there, helping, and he was just always someone to talk to." Rohde said CLS students play a major role in raising awareness for their program. “Our own clinical laboratory students are great ambassadors,” Rohde said. “You can’t complain about being hidden if you’re not going to be willing to be a part of the solution. Hopefully it will keep spreading.”

time while they are looking for things that they wanted or did not even realize they wanted.” Brown said Hendry’s openness creates a more welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers. “His stories educate everybody on what it is they are

buying so they know it is local, and it also gives them more information on the artists that made the item,” Brown said. Brown said the shop displays pieces from an old cotton gin her grandfather owned many years ago in San Marcos. She keeps the antique items on display to remind

people how important it is to remember the past. “I believe if you do not keep antiques around, people are not going to know about things from the past,” Brown said. “There is a lot of local history in some of these pieces and in the art we sell in our store.”

SWIMSUITS, from front fashioned swimsuits because they are more comfortable to wear. “I have to say, I really love this summer’s suit trends,” Sifuentes said. “Being a curvy girl myself, it’s so nice having swimsuit options that are cute and sexy while still being appropriate and comfortable.” Having the Tanger Outlets so close to the university makes it easy for students to

It makes you smarter.

FITE, from front Woods said Fite taught her students to understand the significant hands-on experience can have on young children, and gave them the skills to be confident as teachers. “I really like how she gives us hands-on experience,” Woods said. “She helps us to know that as a teacher we need to get to know our students and build a connection.” Fite said many of the students who worked as Bobcat Buddies during their time at

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ROHDE, from front same way a physician or nurse must obtain a license.” Rohde said students within the CLS program do not work directly with patients. Instead, they work behind the scenes running laboratory tests. “We are not in direct patient care like a physician or a nurse, which is why we are not really well-known,” Rohde said. “We do every known laboratory test to help a phy-

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015 | The University Star | B3


Campus carry bill sent to Governor Abbot’s desk By Alexa Tavarez NEWS EDITOR @lexicanaa

A final House approval on Sunday sent a weaker version of the campus carry bill to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Intended to extend gun rights to concealed handgun license holders, Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) passed in the House with a vote of 98 to 47. The final version of SB 11 passed in the Senate a day before. Governor Abbott has stated he would sign into law a campus carry bill. “Texas has got to get past its obsession with guns and start placing its resources on our students and institutions,” said Rep. Sylvester

Turner, D-Houston. “This should not be the banner headline from this legislative session.” The chamber echoed with several other democratic pleas to stop legislators from passing the bill on to the governor’s desk. Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress has been a vocal supporter of the bill’s intention to extend Second Amendment rights to the campuses of public and private universities. Under current law, concealed handguns licenses (CHL) can only be held by Texas citizens over the age of 21. These citizens must complete over 4 hours of training to obtain their CHL. “The idea that this bill

will result in any increase in violence is unfounded,” Fletcher said. SB 11 almost succumbed to a key midnight deadline last Tuesday when debate was stalled. Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, raised a third point of order on the bill 30 minutes before midnight. House members struck a deal, and as a result the Democrats voluntarily pulled their 100 amendments from the bill after Republicans agreed to allow for university officials to create “gun-free zones” on campuses. House Democrats used various tactics to stifle a floor vote on SB 11 prior to its introduction. In the mean-

while, House Republicans already had an agreement signed by 25 House members that would cut off debate should the Democrats continue pursuing time-wasting tactics. “We don't need guns to feel safe,” said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. “My community does not want this." Several Texas State officials have expressed their opposition to campus carry, including the Office of the President. According to a Mar. 4 University Star article, Texas State officials have estimated the implementation of campus carry would cost the university $408,516 in

security improvements if the bill passes, said Bill Nance, vice president for finance and support services. University Police Chief Ralph Meyer wrote a fiscal note that included a proposed budget detailing what the University Police Department (UPD) would need if the bill passes, Nance said. University Police Sergeant Alexander Villalobos said UPD officers will more than likely receive specified training concerning concealed handguns if SB 11 becomes law. Villalobos predicts there will be additional education and communications components to help UPD and university officials better understand the provisions

of the campus carry bill. In regard to how campus carry might change the climate of Texas State, Villalobos said there are a lot of factors that affect the environment of a university and the effects SB 11 could have are unclear. Villalobos said UPD has had several discussions across the board with other law enforcement in regard to campus carry. “As a law enforcement officer, we look at from a broad perspective,” Villalobos said. “We will uphold the law if it passed as is, and we will do it diligently and as effectively that we can with the resources we have.”


New technology aims to save ‘river-dipped’ phones By Darcy Sprague SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @darcy_days

New technology may help mobile phone users in the San Marcos area save their devices from water damage. DryBox is a machine used to remove moisture from electronics dropped in water while people shop for their groceries. Dry Ventures Inc. has been leasing a space for DryBox in H-E-B since early April, said David Naumann, managing partner at Dry Ventures Inc. San Marcos is the location of one of the only 12 DryBoxes in Texas and there are currently no plans to bring DryBox to any other locations in San Marcos, Naumann said.

PRESLIE COX MULTIMEDIA EDITOR Ross Hendry, who is a partner with the owner of Down the Rabbit Hole poses June 2 behind the counter in the store.

The machine was created when an engineer was unable to save his wife’s phone after she dropped it in water, Naumann said. The incident inspired the engineer to come up with a solution for similar situations and begin working on what is now the DryBox. Naumann said. DryBox uses a scientific process to safely extract liquid from devices. Naumann said the technology has been successful in over 70 percent of phone rescues when used within 24 hours of the device’s first exposure to moisture. The drying process takes 30 minutes, he said. “Our only competition is rice and a hairdryer,” Naumann said. “Rather than playing Russian roulette (with

those methods), why not just remove the moisture in 30 minutes?” Since the company’s arrival, the machine has dried at least two phones a day, sometimes more, he said. Naumann estimates more than 20 phones get wet in the San Marcos area every day. “If people knew about (DryBox), it would be doing six to eight, even 10, phones a day,” Naumann said. “It’s about awareness.” Katrine Jackson, Austin resident and stay-at-home mother of three, said she used DryBox after her youngest child threw her phone in a puddle at Zilker Park. “I used rice on my husband’s phone once after a similar occurrence,” Jackson said. “The rice lodged itself

in the charging port and rendered the phone unusable. DryBox was definitely worth the money and the risk.” She originally thought 30 minutes was too long, but now realizes DryBox saved her hours in the long run. “I am surprised it worked,” Jackson said. “I’m really happy it did. When you have three kids, you don’t have the time or money to deal with replacing a phone.” The likelihood of DryBox’s ability to salvage a wet device depends on how long the electronic has been exposed to moisture, Naumann said. He said it is also important to leave a wet device off and avoid plugging it into an electrical source before using the drying service.

Our only competition is rice and a hairdryer.” ­—DAVID NAUMANN, MANAGING PARTNER AT DRY VENTURES INC.

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B4 | The University Star | Wednesday, June 3, 2015




A modest removal: women should eliminate female parts

Tenure should benefit students, not just professors professors, representing 44 percent of the faculty, generated as much as 54 percent of institutional costs. Yet, the professors collectively taught only 27 percent of the student body while bringing in absolutely nothing as far as external research funding. The cost of higher education is steep to begin with. There is no reason to throw such a large percentage of funding at professors who are benefitting only a small percentage of students and effectively bringing nothing to the table. A major credential for a tenured position is often met based off of the amount of research a professor has published. To achieve this requirement, professors will often focus on their own research papers, paying little attention to their lectures and the needs of their students. As writing or publishing a private research paper does not benefit a student on the classroom, it is ridiculous that it should be a requirement for a professor to receive a tenured position. The entire point of becoming a professor at a public or private university is to teach and enable students to achieve their goal of graduating. No amount of published research papers will accomplish that goal. This focus on research leads to an absence in the classroom that can only be filled by people lower on the academic ladder, often leaving the education of many students in the hands of less-experienced lecturers, adjunct professors and even teaching assistants. Students are not paying for a professor to have a cushy place to park their rear until they retire, they are paying to gain a quality education. Tenure should be used as a tool to help students as well as professors, but until we can achieve that balance it will only serve as another burden for the student body to shoulder.

Madison Teague OPINIONS COLUMNIST @maddiebell_bell


errible professors are a plague to higher education and a shameful waste of private and public funding. Terrible tenured professors put students at risk, lowering their quality of education. One of the biggest incentives for professors to work hard at their jobs is the opportunity of gaining a tenured position. However, once the goal is achieved, these tenured professors can become more of a nuisance than a blessing. While tenure offers nice incentive, it also comes with undesired negligence. Becoming tenured does not necessarily give one a career for life, but it protects teachers from being fired without just cause. Just cause is a term that pertains to moral misconduct or incompetence based on state guidelines or insubordination. While tenure can be beneficial because it protects good professors from losing their positions to less-experienced newcomers with a lower price tag, it protects neglectful professors from losing their jobs as well. Many universities will overlook these just causes because if the university were to fire a tenured professor, it would run the risk of having legal action taken against it by the neglectful professor in question. So, to save its own money, the university would rather just wait for the professor to retire and, by doing so, waste its students’ money. According to a New Republic article, a group of almost 2,000 mostlytenured University of Texas

Haley Smutzer OPINIONS COLUMNIST @AwkwardAdverbs


omen’s bodies are constantly scrutinized with extreme specifity. Not only does public opinion depreciatively determine what a female should look like—or not look like—but critics often vocalize how women should present themselves to the world. The question becomes how much skin is too much skin, and better yet, what is the solution? Unfortunately, there is a wide spectrum of beliefs when it comes to the female form and its representation throughout society. From promoting conservative attire to believing women should freely prance around naked, the only thing certain is that women are far from united in their views. However,

many men and women are not shy when it comes to sharing their opinions—especially online. Monika Rostvold, is a prime example of controversy surrounding the public display of a woman’s body. As tribute to Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Rostvold sat on the Albert B. Alkek Library steps wearing nothing but a nude thong, pasties, headphones and a red blindfold. In light of these recent and often aggressive controversial arguments revolving the appropriateness of women’s public bodily displays, it is fitting to respond to this nationwide discussion with a proposal. To combat harsh societal, sexual oppressions, it is imperative for women admirably join together to remove the controversial instruments unjustly limiting, and often separating, them: their sex parts. If women everywhere were permanently rid of the pesky, physical components that came so annoyingly with their sex organs, they would finally achieve a state of gender equality and, ultimately, respect. Women could be free to strip themselves of the undesirable physical

devices distastefully limiting them from achieving a true level of autonomy. Objectification would become a thing of the past—sexism but a memory. If the world is not currently respecting the female form, surely nothing will be lost by its disappearance. The removal or physical hacking-off of female parts is clearly a superior choice for women as positive rolemodels for their children. Mothers will no longer have to hide in shame at the thought of an accidental nip slip or spend countless nights worrying what will become of their children’s future because of their dress code indiscretions. With this removal process, women will be able to embrace their nonfemale form. Women unfortunate enough to be troubled by excessive “junk in their trunk� are often left with limiting options in the modesty department. Women would no longer be burdened by the hassle of lugging around the extra boob or butt baggage. The media would no longer objectify women, because there would be no physical components left to sexualize.

I am sure all parties involved can agree such a removal solves female problems. Women will no longer spend hours arguing excessively, and often unproductively, over blogs and other mediums about dress codes and suitable representations of the female physique in the media. Perhaps if the female body as we know it no longer existed, everyone would win. While women will not be able to have children the conventional way, it is time to realize genetically created children are the future. Men and women are inherently equal. Women should no longer be subjugated by the restrictions of their bodies, unlike men. The birthing process is unreasonably oppressive, and it is time scientists free women of their unjust obligation to sacrifice their body for birth. Women’s roles are changing in a nation where gender equality has taken center stage, and it is imperative the world acknowledge it. ­—Haley Smutzer is an English senior

Where the good meat is

—Madison Teague is a English senior

The editorial columns are the opinion of the newspaper’s opinions staff. 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, Texas State University or the advertisers.


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Wednesday, June 3, 2015 | The University Star | B5




As the playoffs neared, the time came for the Texas State lacrosse team to reach its full potential. Each play mattered more than the last, and the Bobcats were on a six-game winning streak just before the playoffs. “Throughout the entire season we would say how much we wanted to peak at the right moment,” said Zane Zoda, junior defenseman. “We started off slow and weren’t executing and winning all the games we should’ve, but when it came time for conference and national playoffs, we were playing our best lacrosse.” Texas State would go on to win the conference championship against Texas, advanc-

ing to the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Nationals in Orange County, California. “It was awesome to play on a national scale and not only be able to represent Texas State, but Texas as a whole,” Zoda said. The Bobcats learned a valuable lesson during their first game of the season. Something was not quite right about the game, despite the victory. The focus at the start of the game was not ideal. Texas State immediately addressed the problem. “Silence really is deadly,” Zoda said. “In lacrosse, a lot of teams come out before games yelling across the field in an attempt to get into our heads.” For the rest of the season, warm-ups before the game

would always be silent. Silent warm-ups for the Bobcats allow the team time to focus on their assignments and meditate on the game ahead while also properly preparing their bodies.  “The LSU game showed us how much our silence affects the other team,” said AJ Anderson, sophomore goalie. “They kept yelling across the field, calling our numbers, trying to get into our heads. Their attempt to get into our heads backfired. Our silence didn’t just allow us to focus. It boggled their minds, trying to figure out why we were so quiet.”   This year’s motto for the lacrosse team was SYT (Support Your Teammates) due to the inexperience on the roster.  “First year of college is re-

ally tough for freshmen,” said Coach Kyle Saunders. “The older guys on the team really did a great job and took the freshmen under their wings and helped the coaching staff build their confidence. Their confidence transferred onto the field, where we got to see our freshmen excel.” Over the course of the season the Bobcats faced Colorado, the defending national champions, Colorado State, whose team has previously won championships, and Virginia Tech, who is highly ranked. “Positive leadership was a big difference-maker this year,” Anderson said. “As a young team, we realized that we would get knocked down at times, but we had to get up no matter what and our seniors Liam Kelly and Jeremy

DiGiovanni helped enforce that mindset.” During the season, Texas State built a lead in the first half before letting it slip away. “Finish everything” became the Bobcats’ battle cry. The Bobcats played a threepoint game against Virginia Tech, then ranked ninth in the nation. “At the end of the Virginia Tech game, we knew our freshmen were ready to play, and our team had enough talent, skills, desire and discipline to go very far,” Saunders

said. The team finished 20th in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association with two players selected to the AllAmerican teams. “We knew that our team was very talented,” Saunders said. “We felt that if we stayed focused on the schemes and skills standpoint and continued to take every opportunity to improve in practice that everything will fall into place and take care of itself.”

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