INSIDE: Take a River Walk and see the sites of Texas, Page 6 Friday, June 5, 2009
Southwest Journalist The University of Texas at Austin
Fungus putting bats at risk
The Newspaper Fund Center for Editing Excellence
LIVING IN LEAN TIMES
Economy hits singles, stores
DINA CAPPIELLO Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A mysterious fungus attacking America’s bats could spread nationwide within years and represents the most serious threat to wildlife in a century, experts warned Congress on Thursday. Displaying pictures of bats speckled with the white fungus that gave the disease its name — White-Nose Syndrome — experts described to two House subcommittees the horror of discovering caves whose bat populations had been decimated by the disease. As a state wildlife biologist from Vermont put it, one cave there turned into a morgue, with so many carcasses littering the cave’s floor. The stench was too strong for researchers to enter. They also warned that if nothing more is done to stop its spread, the fungus could infect caves with some of the largest and most endangered populations of hibernating bats in the United States. At stake is the loss of an insect-eating machine. The six species of bats that have so far been stricken by the fungus can eat up to their body weight in insects each night, reducing insects that destroy crops and forests and carry diseases such as the West Nile Virus. “We are witnessing one of the most precipitous declines of wildlife in North America,” said Thomas Kunz, director of the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology at Boston University. Kunz said between $10 million and $17 million is needed to launch a national research program into the fungus. Merlin Tuttle, a world-renowned bat expert and president of Bat Conservation International in Austin, said that White-Nose Syndrome is probably the most serious threat to wildlife in the past century. “Never in my wildest imagination had I dreamed of anything that could pose this serious a threat to Amer-
Paul Sakuma / Associated Press
A shopper peruses refrigerated items last week at Costco Wholesale in cutting back on other expenditures, such as dates. Men held nearly 80 Mountain View, Calif. Many U.S. retailers are reporting sales declines in percent of the jobs lost since December 2007, and some say they are May as shoppers continue to buy cautiously. Some people also report dating less while they are unemployed.
Without jobs, some cut back on courting MEGAN K. SCOTT Associated Press
NEW YORK — Sean Hamilton considered stopping his search for that special someone when he lost his job in January. With 90 percent less income and no unemployment checks coming in, the 34-year-old IT professional couldn’t really pay for a dinner date. “To speak plainly, chicks don’t dig a broke guy,” said the Dallas resident, now a part-time consultant. So he came up with a strategy: “I don’t bring it up.” Men have been hit much harder than women by this recession. Close to 80 percent of the job losses since December 2007 were jobs held by men, according to economics expert Mark J. Perry, who analyzed Bureau of Labor Statistics data. For some guys, unemployment is the last thing they want to reveal to a potential date. Even if men aren’t expected to pay for a date, they feel pressure from women who are looking for someone who is financially stable. Hamilton said he proposes cheap dates, like cooking
ECONOMY BY THE NUMBERS • $41.9 billion: Average daily borrowing from the Federal Reserve by commercial banks over the week that ended Wednesday • Close to 80: Percent of the job losses since December 2007 that were held by men • 4.6: Percent decrease of overall same-store sales as reported by a Goldman/Sachs tally — Associated Press
Please see DATELESS, Page 2
Confidence growing, but sales still drop MAE ANDERSON Associated Press
NEW YORK — Although consumer confidence might be increasing, it’s not showing up at the cash register yet. Many retailers posted disappointing May sales on Thursday, and food and necessities remained high on shoppers’ lists. According a Goldman Sachs/ICSC tally, overall same-store sales fell 4.6 percent, worse than the 3 percent drop predicted. The lower-than-expected results did not include WalMart stores, which in recent months have boosted totals. The company has stopped reporting monthly figures. April’s same-store sales had edged up with Wal-Mart, but excluding the world’s largest retailer, May was the 10th straight month of same-store sales declines, according to a tally by Goldman Sachs and the International Council of Shopping Centers. The results come amid faint signs that the gloom of recession is lifting. On Thursday, the Labor Department said the number of Americans on the unemployment rolls fell
Please see SALES, Page 2
Please see BATS, Page 2
Obama continues tour of Mideast
Gerald Herbert / Associated Press
President Barack Obama tours the Sphinx and pyramids outside Cairo on Thursday. Obama visited Egyptian ruins and gave a speech at Cairo University, addressing relations with the Muslim world. For analysis of the day’s events, see page 5.
N. Korea arraigns US journalists JEAN H. LEE
SEOUL, South Korea — Two American journalists headed to trial Thursday before North Korea’s highest court on charges they crossed into the country illegally and engaged in “hostile acts” — allegations that could draw a 10-year sentence in a labor camp. Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore’s Californiabased Current TV, were arrested March 17 near the North Korean border while on a reporting trip to China. Their trial began at a time of mounting tensions on the Korean peninsula following the regime’s provocative May 25 nuclear test. Choi Eun-suk, a professor of North Korean law at Kyungnam University, said the court could convict the women, and then the government could use them to bargain with the United States. “The North is likely to release and deport them to the U.S. — if negotiations with
the U.S. go indicate the well,” Choi regime has said. softened The two treatment of nations do imprisoned not have foreigners. diplomatic Still, the exrelations, perience Ling Lee and experts has left scars called Pyongyang’s belliger- on almost all who have enence a bid to grab President dured it. Barack Obama’s attention. State-run media have not North Korea’s official news defined the exact charges agency said the trial would against the women from Curbegin by midafternoon, but rent TV, but South Korean lehours later, there was no word gal experts said conviction for on the status of the proceed- “hostility” or espionage could ings. mean five to 10 years in a labor A State Department spokes- camp. man said American officials The State Department has had seen no independent not divulged details about neconfirmation that the case gotiations for the journalists’ was under way. freedom. Few details are known Ling’s sister, TV journalist about how Ling and Lee have Lisa Ling, said on CNN’s “Larbeen treated since they were ry King Live” that the women arrested nearly three months “are essentially in the midst ago. So far, family members of this nuclear standoff,” urghave not reported mistreat- ing the governments to “try to ment. communicate, to try and bring North Korea’s government our situation to a resolution is notorious for its brutality, on humanitarian grounds — but the most recent accounts to separate the issues.”
Page 2 —
FROM THE FRONT PAGE
Friday, June 5, 2009
Police: Actor Carradine hangs self GRANT PECK Associated Press
BANGKOK — Actor David Carradine, a cult idol who broke through as the willing “grasshopper” in the 1970s TV series “Kung Fu” and decades later as leader of an assassin squad in “Kill Bill,” was found dead Thursday in Thailand. Police said he appeared to have hanged himself. The officer responsible for investigating the death, Lt. Teerapop Luanseng, said the 72-year-old actor had been staying in a suite at the luxury Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel. “I can confirm that we found his body, naked, hanging in the closet,” Teerapop said. He said police suspected suicide. A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Michael Turner, said the embassy was informed by Thai authorities that Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday. “We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and his loved ones,” he said. Carradine came from an acting family. His father, John, made a career playing creepy, eccentric characters in film
y Uncle David was a brilliantly talented, fiercely intelligent and generous man. He was the nexus of our family in so many ways, and drew us together over the years and kept us connected. — MARTHA PLIMPTON and on stage. His brothers Keith, Robert and Bruce also became actors. Actress Martha Plimpton is Keith Carradine’s daughter. “My Uncle David was a brilliantly talented, fiercely intelligent and generous man. He was the nexus of our family in so many ways, and drew us together over the years and kept us connected,” Plimpton said Thursday. Carradine was “in good spirits” when he left the U.S. for Thailand on May 29 to work on the movie “Stretch,” said Tiffany Smith of Binder & Associates, his managers. “David was excited to do it and excited to be a part of it,” she said by phone from Beverly Hills. “When he was on a set, he was in heaven.” Filming on the thriller by French director Charles de
Meaux began Tuesday, she said. “It is shocking to me that he is no longer with us,” said Michael Madsen, who played an assassin in “Kill Bill.” “I have so many great memories of David that I wouldn’t even know where to begin,” he said. “He has a very special place in my heart.” The Web site of the Thai newspaper The Nation said Carradine could not be contacted after he failed to appear Wednesday for a meal with the rest of the film crew and that his body was found by a hotel maid Thursday morning. It said a preliminary police investigation found that he had hanged himself with a cord used with the suite’s curtains and that there was no sign that he had been assaulted. Police said Carradine’s body
was taken to a hospital for an autopsy. Carradine appeared in more than 100 feature films with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Hal Ashby. One of his early film roles was as folk singer Woody Guthrie in Ashby’s 1976 biopic, “Bound for Glory.” But he was best known for his role as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin priest traveling the 1800s American frontier West in the TV series “Kung Fu,” which aired in 1972-75. He returned to the top in recent years as the title character in Quentin Tarantino’s twopart saga “Kill Bill.” In a 2004 interview with Associated Press Radio, Carradine talked candidly about his past alcohol and narcotics use, but he said he had put all that behind him. “You’re probably witnessing the last time I will ever answer those questions,” Carradine said. “Because this is a regeneration. It is a renaissance. It is the start of a new career for me. “It’s time to do nothing but look forward.”
News students complete ‘boot camp’ Eleven college students and recent college graduates are headed to paid copy editing internships on 10 daily newspapers after completing two weeks of intensive preparatory work at The University of Texas at Austin. The interns are among a select group of 70-plus students placed in internships in copy editing, business reporting and online journalism as part of a national, competitive program funded by the Newspaper Fund, a foundation of the Dow Jones & Company Inc. and participating newspapers. The School of Journalism at UT-Austin, one of five preinternship training sites for copy editors, has been part of the Newspaper Fund program for 12 years. Participants in the UT workshop were involved in newspaper copy editing, design and production assignments as well as online journalism. Newspaper professionals, visiting faculty and UT journalism faculty moderated the sessions. The UT-Newspaper Fund interns will report for internships of 10-14 weeks. In the second week of the pre-internship training, participants produced three issues of a model newspaper, the Southwest Journalist. The Austin American-Statesman printed
Workshop participants, are front row, from left to right, Arianna G. Davis, Stephanie M. Call, Alexandra McGuffie, Hedy Phillips, Aja J. Junior, Beth Butler, Griff Singer. Back row, Jennifer A. Wright, Bradley Wilson, Vikram Swaruup, George Sylvie, Brady Jones, Sean Beherec, Hilary Stohs-Krause, Cody Winchester. the interns’ newspaper. Participants in the UT Austin workshop, including their universities and host newspapers, are: Sean Beherec, University of Texas at Austin-Amarillo Globe-News; Stephanie M. Call, University of MissouriThe Arizona Daily Star; Arianna Davis, Penn State University-New York Daily News; Brady Jones, University of NebraskaThe Dallas Morning News; Aja
Jonelle Junior, University of Missouri-The Detroit News; Alexandra McGuffie, University of Missouri-The Beaumont Enterprise; Hedy Phillips, University of Central FloridaContra Costa (Calif.) Times; Hilary Stohs-Krause, University of Nebraska-Amarillo Globe-News; Vikram Swaruup, University of Texas at AustinAustin American-Statesman; Cody Winchester, Baylor University-Waco Tribune-Herald;
DATELESS: Some low on funds still find match —Continued from Page 1 an elegant dinner for a woman at her place. Christie Nightingale of Premier Match said an unemployed man is a harder sell. She used to be able to brag to her female clients that a man worked in hedge funds, for example. Now she has to explain that he is a great match in other areas — looks, religion — “but, you know, he’s looking for a job.” “I find that women are very accepting,” she said. “Some of the women are going through it as well. They have friends
that have gotten laid off. It’s the times that we’re in.” Melissa Braverman, who blogs about dating, said in the past six months, she’s noticed that men don’t suggest meals. When they meet for drinks, they limit it to one hour. She thinks it’s so she won’t order a second drink. Sit out of the dating game, though, and you might miss out on the love of your life. Christopher Floyd, 39, a photographer and video producer in Albuquerque, N.M., almost stopped communicating with a woman he met on eHarmony late last year be-
cause of his financial situation. But his potential love match, Angela Sowers, 31, who works in human resources in Sacramento, Calif., persuaded him to give the relationship a shot. Floyd is moving to Sacramento next week and will live with her parents, so the two can date locally. Sowers said she isn’t too worried about his lack of income. She’s hoping he can get his business going in Sacramento. “The relationship isn’t based on how much money he makes,” she said. “It’s who he is and what’s in his heart that matters to me.”
Southwest Journalist S. Griffin Singer
Director Center for Editing Excellence
Assistant Director Center for Editing Excellence
Faculty Kent State University
and Jennifer Wright, Ball State University-San Luis Obispo Tribune. Grants from the Newspaper Fund and contributions from participating newspapers covered the cost of the workshops. Participating newspapers will in turn pay interns a weekly wage for their work during the internship. Directing the UT workshop were S. Griffin Singer, director; George Sylvie, assistant director; and Sonia Reyes-Krempin, administrative assistant of the UT School of Journalism. Faculty were Beth Butler, Kent State University; Amy Zerba, CNN.com, Atlanta, Ga.; Richard Holden, executive director of the Newspaper Fund; Zach Ryall, managing editor of statesman.com and Austin360.com; and Bradley Wilson, coordinator of Student Media Advising, North Carolina State University. Drew Marcks, assistant managing editor of the Austin AmericanStatesman, coordinated the visit to that newspaper. Similar Newspaper Fund pre-internship copy editing training centers are located at Penn State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska and Temple University. An online editing program is based at Western Kentucky University.
Carradine is pictured on the set of the 1986 CBS film “Kung Fu: The Movie.”
BATS: Fungal sickness
has appeared in nine states —Continued from Page 1 ica’s bats,” Tuttle told the House panel. Since it was first discovered in a cave west of Albany, N.Y., in March 2007, White-Nose Syndrome has spread to 65 caves in nine states, turning up last winter in West Virginia and Virginia, federal wildlife officials said. Several caves in Canada are also suspected of harboring the fungus. To date it has killed between 500,000 and 1 million bats, mostly common species. But what has wildlife officials concerned is that the fungus looks to be on the verge of entering the Southeast and Midwest, where some of the most endangered and largest populations of bats live. For example, the fungus is known to occur in caves used by the Virginia big-eared bat, which has a population of only 20,000. How exactly the fungus kills bats is poorly understood, but once the fungus attaches, it invades tissues. The bat then fidgets, burning up its excess energy. Most simply starve and die; others leave the cave prematurely to look for nonexistent food in the winter and perish.
—Continued from Page 1 slightly for the first time in 20 weeks; the tally of new jobless claims also dipped. In May, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to its highest level since September. But that generally did not translate to sales, as job worries and falling home prices are still clearly weighing on consumers as they shop. Results are a “clear indication that the consumer is not stampeding back to the stores, they’re still being very careful,” said BMO Capital Markets an-
alyst John Morris. Luxury chains continued to be the weakest sectors, with Saks Inc., and Neiman Marcus reporting double-digit declines. Discounters such as Ross Stores Inc. and teen apparel retailers such as The Buckle Inc., were stronger. Cheap chic discounter Target reported a bigger drop than expected. Overall, food and health care products continued to be the strongest sellers. Wal-Mart’s absence makes conclusions about the broader economy more difficult, said Ken Perkins, president of retail consulting firm Retail Metrics
Aja J. Junior
Volume 12 — May 24-June 5, 2009 Center for Editing Excellence School of Journalism The University of Texas at Austin
University of Missouri The Arizona Daily Star
Stephanie M. Call
Faculty Dow Jones Newspaper Fund
Faculty Austin American-Statesman
Sonia Reyes Krempin
Administrative Assistant UT Austin School of Journalism
Faculty Austin American-Statesman
Faculty North Carolina State University
Amy Zerba Faculty CNN.com
Arianna G. Davis
Penn State University New York Daily News
LLC, because it accounts for 10 percent of retail spending. Wal-Mart said monthly reports had too much volatility caused by calendar shifts and would now report same-store sales quarterly. Also affecting results was the $50 billion fiscal stimulus, which shoppers received in May last year and retailers credited for a lift in sales. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, are a key indicator of retailer performance because they measure growth at existing stores rather than newly opened ones.
2009 Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Interns University of Missouri The Detroit News
Mike Groll / Associated Press
A researcher holds a dead Indiana species of bat in an abandoned mine in Rosendale, N.Y.
SALES: Buyers spend on food, health care products
University of Texas at Austin Amarillo Globe-News
Most bat species in Texas, including the estimated 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live under Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, don’t hibernate for long periods. Instead, they migrate south or pass into a state of apathy, said Mylea Bayless, a conservation biologist at Bat Conservation International in Austin. As a result, they can maintain a more constant metabolic rate and stronger immune system, leaving them less susceptible to diseases such as White-Nose Syndrome. There have been no documented cases of White-Nose Syndrome in Texas. “We’re cautiously optimistic that we have some time before it reaches Texas,” Bayless said. — Southwest Journalist
University of Nebraska The Dallas Morning News
Hilary Stohs-Krause University of Nebraska Amarillo Globe-News
University of Missouri The Beaumont Enterprise
University of Texas at Austin Austin American-Statesman
University of Central Florida Contra Costa Times
Baylor University Waco Tribune-Herald
Jennifer A. Wright
Ball State University San Luis Obispo Tribune
The Southwest Journalist is a teaching publication of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and the Center for Editing Excellence at The University of Texas at Austin. Southwest Journalist is edited and designed by students attending the 2009 preinternship training program funded by a grant from the Newspaper Fund and newspapers hosting the interns. Printing of the Southwest Journalist by the Austin American-Statesman is gratefully acknowledged.
IRS seeks tax prep overhaul
WASHINGTON — The IRS wants to start regulating paid tax preparers in an effort to reduce fraud and errors. New rules could require education and training as well as licensing for people who get paid to prepare returns, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said Thursday. From 2006 through 2008, the IRS initiated more than 600 investigations of fraud among tax preparers. During that time, 356 tax preparers were convicted, with more than 80 percent of them sentenced to prison, home confinement or electronic monitoring. About 60 percent of taxpayers pay someone to prepare their returns, Shulman said. An additional 20 percent or so buy computer software. However, tax preparers don’t have to be licensed, unless they represent clients in proceedings before the Internal Revenue Service.
Baseball coach tweets up lawsuit ST. LOUIS— St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is suing the socialnetworking Web site Twitter, claiming an unauthorized page that used his name to make light of drunk driving and two Cardinals pitchers who died damaged his reputation and caused emotional distress. The suit filed last month in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco seeks unspecified damages. The lawsuit claims that someone created a false account under La Russa’s name and posted updates, called “tweets,” that gave the impression that the comments came from La Russa. The suit said the comments were “derogatory and demeaning” and damaged La Russa’s trademark rights. The account bearing La Russa’s name is no longer active. La Russa, 64, has led the Cardinals since 1996 and also managed the Chicago White Sox and Oakland A’s during his 30-year managerial career.
Police: Man set up Craigslist rape CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A man who police say arranged on Craigslist for his wife to be raped by another man was in jail on $200,000 bond Thursday, as investigators searched for the attacker. The husband faces first-degree rape and other charges. The Associated Press is not naming the man to avoid identifying his wife, a victim of sexual assault. Police said the husband had gone on Craigslist to look for someone to come to his house and have sex with his wife using “scare tactics.” Police said the act was without the wife’s consent or knowledge. The wife called 911 Sunday and reported a man with a knife raped her in her bedroom. Police said the husband was in the room at the time of the attack.
Reef fish just keeps on ticking ELEELE, Hawaii — Hawaii resident Curt Carish boasts a timely fish tale: a 10-inch reef fish he caught by hand coughed up a ticking gold watch. Carish says he was enjoying a picnic Wednesday on Port Allen beach when he saw the nenue fish awkwardly swimming close to shore. He says a friend gave him a bamboo stick and told him to get the fish so he jumped in the waist-high water and hit the nenue until it went limp. He noticed the fish had an abnormally large belly as he tossed it into a cooler. A friend opened the cooler later to discover a gold watch next to the fish’s mouth. Carish says the watch was ticking and keeping correct time. — Associated Press
Southwest Journalist — Page 3
Friday, June 5, 2009
Ill. scandal shows admissions favoritism Justin Pope
All college applications are equal. But some are more equal than others. A Chicago Tribune expose about how the University of Illinois gives extra consideration to well-connected applicants has set off a storm of protests. But the truth is, many universities give some degree of special treatment to the sons and daughters of big donors, politicians, trustees and others with clout, admissions experts say. “How can they really say no when the directives come from the very top of the institution?” said David Hawkins of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Whether formalized or not, “virtually every selective college, public or private, has some kind of list” like the one maintained by the University of Illinois, said Daniel Golden, whose 2006 book “The Price of Admission” exposed admissions practices that favored well-connected applicants. Golden’s reporting focused mostly on private universities,
irtually every college, public or private, has some kind of list. — DANIEL GOLDEN, author of “The Price of Admission” but the Illinois story shows how far “the problem goes of colleges essentially trading admissions slots for favors,” he said. In the mid-1990s, the Los Angeles Times detailed hundreds of requests by University of California regents and politicians on behalf of applicants. Not all the applicants got in, but the Times found some were admitted over more qualified candidates, and the university acknowledged that pull could make a difference in a small number of cases. In interviews this week, officials at several public universities acknowledged there is no absolute wall between admissions officers and other parts of their institutions. At the University of Virginia, fundraisers are not supposed to approach admissions staff-
ers directly about candidates. However, Carol Wood, assistant vice president for public affairs, acknowledged in an e-mail it sometimes happens. UVA’s president’s office might also get involved. When a request for help arrives there, a staff member decides “if it is appropriate to ask the dean of admission to take an additional look at a student’s application,” Wood said. Several experts said the system described at Illinois may have crossed some important lines. The university, the Tribune reported, considered hundreds of connected applicants as a separate set of applicants called “Category I” that was not publicized. Illinois insists no unqualified students were admitted, and it is impossible to say how many would have gotten in otherwise. “I had never heard of such a formalized process of circumventing the public rules the university has articulated itself,” said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of AACRAO, a professional group for admissions and other college officials.
Students walk to class on the University of Illinois campus at Urbana-Champaign. According to a report published May 29 in the Chicago Tribune, the university keeps a little-known list of applicants tracked by politicians and university trustees, often resulting in the admission of clout-heavy students over those with better qualifications.
Chrysler dealers plead case
Going ape over giggles
BREE FOWLER Associated Press
Dr. Marina Ross / Associated Press
Baby orangutan Enero laughs while being tickled in Sabah, say they’ve traced the origin of laughter back to evolution Malaysian Borneo in a photo from 2005. By studying an more than 10 million years ago through a shared ancestor assortment of apes and human babies’ laughter, scientists between apes and humankind.
More Marine-style schools to open DORIE TURNER Associated Press
ATLANTA — The U.S. Marine Corps is wooing public school districts across the country, expanding a network of military academies that has grown steadily despite criticism that it’s a recruiting ploy. The Marines are talking with at least six districts — including suburban Atlanta, New Orleans and Las Vegas — about opening schools where every student wears a uniform, participates in Junior ROTC, which stands for Reserve Officers Training Corps, and takes military classes, said Bill McHenry, who runs the Junior ROTC program for the Marines. Those schools would be on top of more than a dozen public military academies that have already opened nationwide, a trend that’s picking up speed as the U.S. Department of Defense looks for ways to increase the number of units in Junior ROTC. “Many kids in our country don’t get a fair shake. Many kids live in war zones. Many kids who are bright and have so much potential and so much to offer — all they need to be given is a chance,” McHenry said. Last year, Congress passed a defense policy bill that included a call for increasing the number of Junior ROTC units
Dorie Turner /Associated Press
DeKalb County residents protest a proposed U.S Marine Corps academy during a school board meeting at Lakeside High School in Atlanta on June 1. The U.S. Marine Corps is expanding a network of military academies, despite criticism that it’s a recruiting ploy.
any kids who are bright and have so much potential and so much to offer, all they need to be given is a chance. — BILL MCHENRY, national program director for the U.S. Marine Corps JROTC
across the country from 3,400 to 3,700 in the next 11 years, an effort that will cost about $170 million, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez said. The process will go faster by opening military academies, which count as four or more units, McHenry said. In DeKalb County, which in-
cludes part of Atlanta, protests by parents and threats of lawsuits began almost as soon as the school board announced last year that it planned to open a Marine Corps high school. The district wanted to open it this fall, but the approval process in Washington has delayed that. The district hopes to open the school in
fall 2010. Critics like Mike Hearington, a 56-year-old Vietnam War veteran whose son attends Shamrock Middle School in DeKalb County, say the schools are breeding grounds for the military. “To pursue children like they are is criminal in my mind,” Hearington said. Between 5 and 10 percent of graduating seniors from the nation’s public military schools end up enlisting, according to an Associated Press review of the majority of the schools’ records. About 3 percent of all new high school graduates join the military, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Proponents say the academies aren’t recruiting tools but focus on discipline, ethics and civics. “The whole notion behind this is that there is so much literature out there and myth that kids from low socio-economic levels can’t learn and won’t learn,” said DeKalb County schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis. “We are partnering with the Marines to show if we come together and do this right, we will debunk that whole stereotype.” In DeKalb County, the school district would get about $500,000 a year plus $1.4 million in startup funds from the Marines, Lewis said.
Sotomayor submits files to Senate panel JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor sent a Senate panel a massive portfolio of personal details and writings that will shape the debate on her confirmation. The five boxes of files delivered to Capitol Hill gave
senators a fuller picture of Sotomayor’s background and record, as well as of how President Barack Obama came to nominate his first Supreme Court choice. They came in response to a questionnaire that the Senate Judiciary Committee sends federal court nominees.
Sotomayor told the committee that no one ever asked her position during the selection process about any issue that could come before the Supreme Court. The documents also described Sotomayor’s finances, which paint a portrait of a New Yorker in an expensive neighborhood
who might be living largely paycheck to paycheck. She has $1.16 million in assets but $418,350 in debts, including her mortgage, credit card bills and a big dentist bill. Previous financial disclosure reports showed her with an annual income of about $200,000.
NEW YORK — A parade of Chrysler dealers slated to lose their franchises took the stand Thursday in the automaker’s bankruptcy protection case as they questioned how they were chosen for termination. Fewer than 20 dealers were sworn in at the start of the day. About 14 testified. It was unclear when U.S. Judge Arthur Gonzalez would rule on Chrysler’s motion to cancel the dealerships’ franchise agreements, or how this would affect Chrysler’s plans to sever ties with them effective Tuesday. James Tarbox broke down while testifying about learning that his two dealerships in Rhode Island and Massachusetts were included on Chrysler’s list of the 789 it plans to terminate. “I thought there must be a mistake,” he said. Officials of the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler claim it needs to reduce its dealer base to about 2,400 dealers to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The dealers said that if Gonzalez approves Chrysler’s motion, hundreds of dealerships will be shuttered, and thousands of workers would lose their jobs. Auto dealer Alan Spitzer of Medina, Ohio said he spent $3.5 million in 2003 on a new building to combine two of his Ohio dealerships. The plan was to put Chrysler and Jeep dealerships at the same location. But all of Spitzer’s Chrysler franchises, including others in Ohio and Florida, were included on Chrysler’s list. He said he wouldn’t have invested millions in his dealerships if he thought he wasn’t protected by state franchise laws. Before the day’s testimony began, Gonzalez noted that the automaker has a good case to terminate the dealer franchises. Gonzalez issued a ruling Sunday approving the government-backed sale of most of Chrysler’s assets to a group led by Fiat, but the sale has been stayed pending an appeal.
THE HEARINGS ✔✔White House Counsel Gregory Craig called Sotomayor on April 27, four days before Justice David Souter announced his retirement. ✔✔Thursday was Sotomayor’s third Sotomayor day on Capitol Hill for visits with senators.
Page 4 —
Friday, June 5, 2009
Texas sues BP, claiming widespread pollution State: Company showed pattern of noncompliance MICHAEL GRACZYK Associated Press
HOUSTON — Texas authorities are accusing BP Products North American Inc. of 46 pollution violations at its Texas City refinery — including one tied to an explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others. The suit, filed by the Texas Attorney General’s Office in state court in Austin last month announced Thursday, alleges the BP Texas City refinery, about 35 miles southeast of Houston, spewed hundreds of thousands of pounds of
pollutants in a “pattern of unnecessary and unlawful emissions.” The state said the emissions were the result of poor operational practices and inadequate maintenance at the refinery, the nation’s third largest, which refines 460,000 barrels of crude oil daily. According to the suit, which court documents indicate was filed May 22, among the improperly released air pollutants were volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. BP spokesman Ronnie Chappell said Thursday the company had no comment on the lawsuit specifically but that the company’s goal was to “resolve this matter and ad-
dress the state’s concerns.” “We are working hard to reduce the number of emissions events at the Texas City refinery,” Chappell said, noting more than $1 billion in investments to upgrade facilities. The suit seeks an injunction requiring BP to take all necessary steps to eliminate future unlawful emissions. The state also wants BP to install additional air-quality monitors “to ensure future compliance with emissions restrictions” and is seeking unspecified civil penalties, fines and attorneys’ fees. Abbott said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality filed 15 enforcement orders against BP between 2000 and 2007. The fatal explosion in March 2005 led to an unlawful re-
lease of cona felony, and QUICK LOOK taminants for also placed more than ✔✔Texas authorities are acthe company 160 hours, Abon probation cusing BP of 46 separate bott said. The for three years. pollution violations. TCEQ said the A month ✔✔The Texas Commission event was an earlier, BP on Environmental Quality “a v o i d a b l e” agreed to pay filed 15 enforcement orresult of “poor almost $180 ders against BP between operations million to 2000 and 2007. practices.” settle a federal ✔✔A fatal explosion at BP’s In March pollution case Texas City refinery in of this year, a with the De2005 killed 15 workers federal judge partment of and injured 170. in Houston Justice and the approved a Environmenplea deal, tal Protection highly criticized by victims, Agency. That agreement inthat fined parent British oil cluded spending $161 million company BP PLC $50 million on pollution controls, $12 milfor its criminal role in the blast. lion in penalties and $6 million The agreement included BP’s to reduce air pollution near the subsidiary pleading guilty to a Texas City refinery. violation of the Clean Air Act,
Building, rebuilding after Hurricane Ike Lawmaker writes bill exempting damaged zone, his own home Associated Press GALVESTON — A provision that a Texas lawmaker helped pass in the final hours of the legislative session is narrowly tailored to exempt the area where his beachfront property is located from a state law preventing building on the beach. Rep. Wayne Christian helped craft an amendment that exempts properties only on the Bolivar Peninsula, including his own. But it’s the advantage gained by Christian — the right to rebuild his destroyed home on the beach — that’s drawing criticism. “It’s a very special bill to benefit a state legislator, and that is flat-out wrong,” said Tom Brown, president of Texas Open Christian Beach Advocates. “This is legislation at its worst.” Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has asked Gov. Rick Perry to veto the bill containing the amendment, but the bill has not yet crossed the governor’s desk. “I don’t think building houses on the beach, with the waters of the Gulf beneath them, is a good idea or good public policy,” Patterson said. “My option is just to say, ‘Screw you, Wayne Christian,’ because the Legislature didn’t pass this, one guy passed this.” The amendment was approved just before the session ended Monday as part of a bill extending homestead exemptions to homes destroyed by Hurricane Ike until they can be rebuilt. Christian, R-Center, who does not represent Bolivar or any coastal community, was one of the legislators who helped work on the bill. Christian said his vote benefited other peninsula property owners and therefore was not a breach of ethics. “If I were to pass a law that affected only Wayne Christian, that would be a conflict,” he said.
David J. Phillip / Associated Press
Hurricane Ike approaches Galveston in this file photo from 75 percent of the city’s businesses have reopened, but some September 2008. Nearly nine months after the storm, almost areas are still rebuilding.
City continues recovery from storm as ’09 violent-weather season begins
Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano proposing that 600 soldiers be put in “reconnaissance platoons” that would scour remote areas for drug and immigrant smugglers along the border. The secretary has so far made no recommendation on Perry’s April letter, which Perry suggested the patrols would be prudent given Mexico’s drug-gang killings and kidnappings. The San Antonio ExpressNews obtained a copy of the letter for a story published Thursday. Perry’s plan would be part of 1,000 Texas National Guard troops called up to full-time duty. Perry could call up the Guard on his own. but the state would have to pay for it. The $135.6 million it would cost in the first year isn’t included in the 2010-11 state budget.
JUAN A. LOZANO Associated Press
GALVESTON — Another hurricane season is the last thing people in Galveston want to think about after last year’s devastation from Hurricane Ike. “Hurricane season got here a lot quicker than I thought it would,” said Steve LeBlanc, manager of the island city 50 miles southeast of Houston. “I’m still busy working on my own house, trying to get back in there. But we are busy getting prepared for another season.” As the 2009 hurricane season began this week, many of Galveston’s residents still were mired in repairs nearly nine months after the costliest disaster in Texas history battered the tourist spot with 110-mph winds and 12-foot storm surge. During Galveston’s annual hurricane preparedness meeting Wednesday, Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas and other officials had a warning for the approximately 12,000 island residents who ignored an evacuation order for Ike: This time, they said, leave when we ask you to. But amid the ongoing reconstruction,
there are signs of rebirth and recovery. Stacks of new lumber and plywood are piled on front yards of homes throughout the city. The recent Memorial Day weekend saw 250,000 visitors to the island, on par with previous years. About 75 percent of businesses have reopened in Galveston’s historic Victorian district. On Galveston’s famed Seawall, construction has begun to rebuild Murdoch’s, the city’s nearly century-old gift shop. All but three hotels on the island have reopened. Hotel occupancy tax receipts are down 20 percent so far this year, but tourism officials attribute that as much to the recession as to post-Ike problems. “We are encouraged to see that tourists are coming back and they haven’t forgotten about Galveston,” said RoShelle Gaskins, a spokeswoman for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. On a recent weeknight, Galveston’s popular seawall beaches were filled with tourists and residents. Thomas said she has been encouraged
By JIM VERTUNO Associated Press
When Bonnie Richardson became the first girl in state history to win a team high school track title all by herself, she was just a small-town kid who worked on a ranch and trained on a dirt path with potholes. Then her phone started ringing. A lot. Sports Illustrated put her in the magazine after last year’s title. TV networks set up interviews. Texas A&M even threw a scholarship at her. She’s back to try it again starting Friday. At the Texas state meet, Richardson, now a senior, has qualified in the same five events she competed in last year: the long jump, high jump, discus and
the 100 and 200 meters. Richardson competes for Rochelle High School in Class 1A — the smallest — and she’s the No. 1 or No. 2 qualifier in all her events, making her a favorite to win the team title all by herself again. But Richardson — the only girl who runs track at the 59-student school — said the team trophy is not her goal. “That’s never been part of the plan,” Richardson said this week. They cared in Rochelle, a town of fewer than 200 people about 85 miles east of San Angelo. Folks threw her a victory party after the 2008 crown. Until she won the team title, Richardson had only heard from track coaches at small colleges.
HOUSTON — The families of 23 nursing home patients who died in a bus explosion as they fled Hurricane Rita have reached settlements totaling $80 million. The victims were residents of Brighton Gardens, a Houston-area assisted living community, which bused residents north as Rita approached the Texas coast in 2005. The vehicle was engulfed in flames and smoke after a rear wheel caught fire on a freeway near Dallas, killing those too frail to escape the bus on their own. Fourteen passengers survived. Lawyers for the families said defendants included the bus company, the nursing home and the bus manufacturer. Lawsuits against several remaining defendants, including the charter company and bus driver, are scheduled for trial in September.
DNA exoneration campaign grows
Hurricane Ike displaced thousands from their homes. Galveston has 13,000 fewer residents than a year ago. by the pace of Galveston’s recovery. “The efforts have moved ahead much faster than we thought they would. We are looking forward to the future,” she said. But Thomas also noted that the city, whose pre-Ike population of 58,000 is just 45,000 now, still has a long way to go. The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the city’s biggest employer, which laid off 3,000 workers shortly after the storm, still is limping along after suffering more than $1 billion in damage.
Rochelle’s track team doesn’t need a bus to get to state meet
Harry Cabluck / Associated Press
Perry seeks 600 soldiers for border
Victims’ families settle bus fire suit
ONE ATHLETE DOES IT ALL — AND WINS
Bonnie Richardson, wearing one of her five 2008 medals, will try to repeat her championship performance Friday and Saturday at the state track meet.
“After she won, the phones started ringing off the hook,” her coach Jym Dennis said. “Being at a school this small, athletes don’t usually sign with Division I schools.” In Rochelle, Richardson trains on a track that is really just a ring of dirt dug and graded into the rocky soil. But Richardson says she is used to roughing it. When she’s not on the track or in school — where she recently graduated as her class valedictorian — Richardson works on a ranch, tending to livestock, cutting down trees or clearing fields. “I like to be outside. I hate sitting down in a room all day,” she said. Richardson competes in three of her five events on Fri-
ACHIEVER PROFILE Rochelle’s Bonnie Richardson is the top Class 1A qualifier in three of five events at state high school track meet: ✔✔Long jump: 18 feet, 9 inches ✔✔High jump: 5 feet 8 inches ✔✔200 meters: 25.48 seconds ✔✔Second in 100 meters, discus ✔✔Graduated as valedictorian of high school class day. If she finishes according to her qualifying marks, Richardson will earn 48 points, six more than her team-winning total last year.
DALLAS — The Innocence Project of Texas says it’s taking its groundbreaking Dallas campaign of reviewing DNA claims statewide. Chief Counsel Jeff Blackburn said Thursday he is sending a letter to Texas judges and district attorneys, encouraging them to refer cases to the Innocence Project of Texas. Blackburn’s group has been part of the effort that has led to 21 Dallas County cases in which a judge has set aside a conviction based on DNA. Flanked by three wrongly convicted exonerees who spent nearly 75 combined years in prison, Blackburn said it’s dangerous to think that “every wrongful case comes out of Dallas.” Dallas County leads the nation in exonerations.
Charges dropped in dragging case PARIS — A defense attorney says charges have been dismissed against two white men accused of killing a black man in a racially charged dragging death in East Texas. Attorney Ben Massar said Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley were released from jail in Paris on Thursday afternoon after a judge granted the special prosecutor’s motion to dismiss the case. The men had been charged with fatally striking 24-yearold Brandon McClelland in September following a latenight beer run by the trio to Oklahoma. The case had been unraveling in recent months because of a lack of eyewitnesses and physical evidence. Last month, a gravel truck driver gave a sworn statement acknowledging he might have accidentally run over McClelland. — Associated Press
Tiananmen vigil brings thousands BEIJING — China aggressively deterred dissent in the capital on Thursday, the 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square. But tens of thousands turned out for a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mourn the hundreds, possibly thousands, of demonstrators killed. In Beijing, foreign journalists were barred from the vast square as uniformed and plainclothes police stood guard across the area, the epicenter of the studentled movement that was crushed by the military on the night of June 3-4, 1989. The repression on the mainland contrasted starkly with Hong Kong, where thousands bearing white candles chanted slogans calling for China to own up to the crackdown and release political dissidents. Organizers estimated the crowd at 150,000 — the largest rally since the first anniversary vigil in 1990 — while police put the number at 62,800.
Catholic orders agree to audit DUBLIN — Bowing to government pressure, 18 Roman Catholic religious orders that had abused thousands of Irish children pledged Thursday to allow external audits of their finances and to establish an entirely new compensation fund for victims. The promise came after leaders of the orders held a three-hour meeting with Prime Minister Brian Cowen, who bluntly criticized their refusal to accept the magnitude of the harm they did to generations of children by chronically shielding abusers. Later, the 18 groups said in a joint statement they would “make financial and other contributions toward a broad range of measures designed to alleviate the hurt caused to people who were abused in their care.” The orders agreed to a government demand to accept an external audit to determine their net worth.
BUILDING OR BURNING BRIDGES?
Obama draws mixed reaction Muslims want action, more pressure on Israel MARJORIE OLSTER Associated Press
CAIRO — Muslim shopkeepers, students and even radical groups such as Hamas praised President Barack Obama’s address Thursday as a positive shift in U.S. attitude and tone. But Arabs and Muslims of all political stripes said they want him to turn his words into action — particularly in standing up to Israel. Obama impressed Muslims with humility and respect, and they were thrilled by his citing of Quranic verses. Aiming to repair ties with the Muslim world that had been strained under George W. Bush, he opened with the traditional Arabic greeting “Assalamu Aleikum,” which drew applause from a Cairo University audience. Obama’s address touched on themes Muslims wanted to hear. He insisted Palestinians must have a state and that Israeli settlement in the West Bank is not legitimate. He assured them the U.S. would pull all troops out of Iraq by 2012 and promised no permanent U.S. presence in Afghanistan. But at the top of his priorities, he put the battle against violent In much of the Arab world, extremism. approval of the U.S. administration grown PalestinianhasPresident Mahsince President Barack moud Abbas, a moderate who Obama took office, rivals Hamas for according to a recent poll.leadership ofPercentage the Palestinians, that approves welcomed of the job performance Obama’s words. of U.S. leadership “The 2008 part of Obama’s speech 2009 regarding the Palestinian issue isAlgeria an important step under new 25 beginnings,” his spokesman 47 Egypt Abu Rdeneh said. Nabil 6 A joint statement by eight 25 Kuwait Syrian-based radical Palestin20 ian factions, including Hamas, 33 Lebanon was harsher. 25 “Obama’s22speech is an atPalestinian tempt to territories mislead people and 13 create 7 more illusions to imSaudi Arabia prove America’s aggressive imNOTE: 12 age in the Arab and Islamic 29 Based on a Syria world,” it said. poll of 4 about In Syria, political analyst 15 1,000 adults. “It is a Tunisia Imad Shouaibi said: 14 speech with a different lan37 0 10 20 30 40we50% guage from what used to SOURCE: Gallup is Polla positive thing.” AP hear. This
Eyad Baba / Associated Press
Palestinian Hamas militants watch President Barack Obama Many Arab and Egyptian TV stations ran a live broadcast of the speak at Cairo University wearing masks to protect their identi- speech Obama gave on the second of a four-stop tour of the ty Thursday at a training base in Rafah, in southern Gaza Strip. Middle East and Europe, with an Arabic-translated voice-over.
Warming trend In much of the Arab world, approval of the U.S. administration has grown since President Barack Obama took office, according to a recent poll.
<AP> OBAMA ARAB WORLD 060309: Chart shows approval of the U.S. administration in Arab countries; 1c x 5 inches; 47 mm x 127 mm; with BC-Obama; PCS; ETA 6 p.m. <AP>
Percentage that approves of the job performance of U.S. leadership 2008 2009 Algeria 25 Egypt 6 20
25 22 Palestinian territories 13 7 Saudi Arabia 12 29 Syria 4 15 Tunisia 14 10
Editor’s Note: It is mandatory to include all sources that accompany this graphic when repurposing or editing it for publication
NOTE: Based on a poll of about 1,000 adults.
Musadeq Sadeq / Associated Press
SOURCE: Gallup Poll
U.S. soldier E. Parker Gyokeres listens to President Barack Obama’s speech at the U.S. Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday.
Israelis lukewarm to president’s words
Romania ceases Iraq deployment BAGHDAD — Romania’s small military contingent ended its deployment in Iraq on Thursday, reducing the U.S.-led coalition to three countries. The alliance that once included nearly 40 countries has been whittled down as the Americans themselves prepare for a full withdrawal from the country by the end of 2011. Aside from the United States, the remaining troops come from Britain and Australia. The Americans have nearly 140,000 troops in Iraq, according to the U.S. military. Several high-profile bombings in recent months have raised concerns that insurgents are regrouping to undermine confidence in the government as the Americans reduce their presence.
STEVEN GUTKIN Associated Press
ust as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. —Barack Obama
JERUSALEM — In a statement, Israeli government officials said they hoped President Barack Obama’s speech to the Muslim world Thursday would help usher in a “new period of reconciliation” in the Middle East, but the positive emphasis barely masked discomfort over policy differences highlighted in the historic address. The statement skirted any reference to Obama’s calls for a settlement freeze in the West Bank and the creation of an independent Palestinian state — demands that Israel’s hawkish prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to reject.
“We share President Obama’s hope that the American effort heralds the beginning of a new era that will bring about an end to the conflict and lead to Arab recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, living in peace and security in the Middle East,” the statement said, noting that Israeli’s security must also be guaranteed in any future peace moves. Israelis had mixed reactions to Obama’s speech, which was meant to heal rifts between the U.S. and the Muslim world. One government official said the speech could have been worse for Israel, while a spokeswoman for Jewish set-
A mammoth discovery
Three killed in Afghan bombing KABUL — Taliban militants detonated a bomb and opened fire on a vehicle carrying U.S. soldiers on Thursday, killing three of them, as President Barack Obama said he did not want to keep American troops in Afghanistan longer than necessary. The ambush was the third strike by insurgents in the region in less than a week, part of a surge in violence eight years after the U.S. invaded to oust the Taliban regime. Thursday’s attack took place in Kapisa province, near the Bagram base that is home to thousands of troops and the U.S. command, the military said in a statement. Three Americans were killed and another soldier, whose nationality was not released, was injured. — Associated Press
Southwest Journalist — Page 5
Friday, June 5, 2009
tlers called Obama naive and out of touch with reality. Obama devoted significant time in his speech to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He asked Muslims to accept Israel’s right to exist as a nation that formed after centuries of persecution and the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews. He urged his audience to speak out against Holocaust denial, a common occurrence in the Arab world. He also made an emotional plea for the right of Palestinians to live in dignity in an independent state of their own. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Obama’s words. “It shows there
is a new and different American policy toward the Palestinian issue,” said his spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh. Israel, the country most on edge about Obama’s outreach to Muslims, tried to put a positive face on Thursday’s events. Israel’s government did not want to exacerbate already palpable tensions with the U.S. president. “All in all, it’s not bad. I don’t think there’s anything we disagree with here,” said Danny Seaman, the director of Israel’s Government Press Office. “The state of Israel isn’t against reconciliation,” he added.
UK Cabinet comes unhinged Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s leadership received a devastating blow late Thursday when one of his ministers resigned and called on him to step down. Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell became the fifth minister to abandon Brown’s Cabinet in recent days. Purnell was the first of the five ministers to openly criticize Brown and ask him to step down. Cabinet Minister Hazel Blears, in charge of local government, quit her post Wednesday in what was seen as a deliberate attempt to damage Brown.
— Associated Press
Srdjan Ilic / Associated press
A skeleton of a mammoth is unearthed at the open pit coal mine in Kostolac, Serbia, on Thursday. Scientists believe the mammoth originated in northern Africa and is about 1 million years old. The mammoth was more than 13 feet tall and 16 feet long, and it weighed more than 10 tons, according to the Archaeology Institute.
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Resigned: June 4
Former Communities Secretary Resigned: June 3
Former Home Secretary Resigned: June 3
Gordon Brown UK Prime Minister
Page 6 —
Friday, June 5, 2009
Al Rendon / San Antonio Convention Visitors Board
Visitors ride a River Cruiser along the River Walk in San Antonio. Narrated 30- to 40-minute tours of the site cost $7.75 for adults.
Renovations make San Antonio tourist attraction
ato river walk remember MICHELLE ROBERTS | ASSOCIATED PRESS
OTHER TEXAS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS Austin
Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum Archives and museum of the nation’s 36th president on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin include gifts from foreign heads of state, a moon rock, a replica of the Oval Office and changing exhibits. • Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily • 2313 Red River St. • 512-721-0200 • No admission fee
NASA/Space Center Houston See actual spacecraft, such as the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules, and watch astronauts train for upcoming space shuttle missions. NASA’s official visitor center offers family fun, including live shows and presentations, interactive exhibits, an IMAX theater and behind-the-scenes tours to the Johnson Space Center. • Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours in the summer; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday • 1601 NASA Parkway • 281-244-2105 • Admission: adults, $19.95 at the door, $16.95 online; children 4 to 11, $15.95 at the door, $12.95 online; seniors, $18.95 at the door, $15.95 online
HISTORY OF THE SITE 1736
Construction begins on the first bridge spanning the San Antonio River. The bridge connects a fort and a mission established there by the Spanish Council of War.
Dallas Arboretum On the shores of White Rock Lake are 66 acres of flowers and plants. Also on the grounds are two historical mansions. • Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily • 8525 Garland Road • 214-515-6500
Immigrants reach the settlement of San Antonio and begin purchasing land on the river.
Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens 1919 Highlights the Chihuahuan Desert and includes An engineers’ study more than 625 species of plants in the Eric Gay / Associated Press reports that heavy gardens flooding could damage The new “museum reach” section of the River Walk in San Antonio is part of a • Open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. San Antonio. $72 million overhaul to the area. Improvements included the installation of 12 Tuesday through Saturday, garden pieces of art, benches and fountains. open dawn to dusk • University Avenue and Wiggins Road • 915-747-5565 • No admission artwork,” said former or decades, the channel of the San Antofee Mayor Phil Hardberger, 1921 nio River north of the popular restaurants who pushed the project and On Sept. 9, a storm floods the saw it open on his last weekend in Olmos Basin and San Antonio and retail shops downtown was the kind office. River and covers Houston of place tourists went only if they made a The River Walk, a bustling development Street with 9 feet of water. The built in the 1940s with help from President flood kills about 50 people. wrong turn. Not anymore. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, is already the most popular tourist attraction in Texas, just ahead of A $72 million overhaul — essentially doubling the size of the nearby Alamo. But beyond the River Walk, much of the the River Walk — has transformed the dry, weed-choked other 11 miles of riverbed had been neglected over the years. eyesore north of the River Walk into a 1 1/2-mile maniNow, visitors will be able to ride water taxis from downtown, cured waterway with whimsical art, benches and hailing them from any of the landings, or walk the paved path. fountains that can be passed on foot or by water taxi Along the way, trees and flowers line the sidewalks with covered en route to attractions upriver. overlooks and water features. A small steel bridge that once al1926 The so-called “museum reach” of the River lowed beer kegs to move between the two towers of the old Lone Work begins on a bypass Walk, which opened Sunday, connects visiStar Brewery, now home to the art museum, was salvaged from the channel. Final plans for flood tors from the busy convention center and scrap heap and turned into a small foot bridge over the river, said control are published, including Alamo area to the San Antonio Museum Boone Powell, the lead designer on the project. draining the river bend and of Art and the Pearl Brewery, a retail The nonprofit San Antonio River Foundation raised money to making it a storm sewer with a redevelopment project. Beyond that, place 12 pieces of art along the three miles of walkway. The pathstreet over it. this fall, a path will allow pedestriways are lighted at night, as are many of the art pieces. Retail and ans and cyclists to keep going residential development along the museum reach is expected to north along the river to grow in coming years, but the river renovation has already given Brackenridge Park, home visitors a new way to access the stores and weekly farmers market of the Witte Museum at the Pearl Brewery. and the zoo. It’s also provided easy access to a historic spot that was largely 1929 “The entire hidden before the River Walk made it more accessible. VFW Post On June 28, architect Robert river is an 76, the oldest in Texas, occupies a grand two-story columned H. H. Hugman presents his mansion along the river, and features a first-floor bar, which opens plan for “The Shops of Aragon every afternoon and serves ice cold beer “until everyone has gone and Romula” to the mayor, home or 2 a.m., whichever comes first.” city commissioners, property The San Antonio River begins just north of downtown before owners and civic leaders. it joins the San Pedro Creek about 13 miles downstream. The waterway drew Native Americans and European settlers, including the missionaries who built the Alamo. The museum reach is the first and most urban 1938 of the redevelopment plans, but officials hope A special election is called by 2014 to have completely restored the San to approve a tax to raise the Antonio River. The newer sections will be $75,000 needed to leverage largely pedestrian and bike paths, with a $325,000 in funds from the heavy focus on restoring plants and Works Progress Administration, trees south of downtown. part of President Franklin D. “The river is why there is a Roosevelt’s New Deal. San Antonio,” Hardberger said. “It connects our city together in a way that nothing else does.” 1939 On October 25, Hugman’s river project breaks ground.
Improvements include more access, new art
The third, and final, edition of the Southwest Journalist, 2009