Johnel Acosta | Photographer

Community members play ‘Muir-opoloy’ for land development

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Almost 100 community members attended the Code SMTX environmental planning workshop Tuesday to contribute thoughts and concerns.

City planning and zoning commissioners partnered with environmental consultants in an effort to incorporate public opinion into the creation of a new land development code. Small groups gathered around paper maps of San Marcos in the Lions Club Park Recreation Hall. Attendees were given “Muir Bucks”—pretend money named after famed naturalist John Muir—to rank environmental priorities on the maps.

The Muir Bucks ranked priorities such as water quality, temporary erosion control and stream buffers.

Holiday season peak time for shoppers at Tanger Outlets

Tanger Outlets profited from shoppers’ holiday spirit in 2014, bringing in two million customers during November and December alone.

John Lairsen, general manager of Tanger Outlets, said the holiday season is the busiest time of the year for international shoppers to visit the outlet mall.

“The December numbers are just through the roof,” said Lairsen. “It was an incredible holiday season.”

San Marcos received a 5.9 percent increase in sales tax revenue in 2014 from the previous year.

The city received $2,243,976.99 million in sales tax revenue from November 2014 to January. San Marcos received $2,119,843.98 million, over $100,000 less, during the same time span the previous year.

Officials ‘aggressive’ in repairing damaged emergency call phones

Seven emergency call phones located in various places around campus are broken, leaving students, faculty and staff without this extra layer of protection.

Seven of the 136 emergency call phones on campus still need repairs after the last test run was performed at the end of the summer of 2014, said Jeb Thomas, Access Services supervisor. Access Services spent approximately $22,419 during the summer of 2014 to repair emergency telephones at the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses, he said.

“There were quite a few (emergency call phones) broken over the summer,” Thomas said. “Out of the 136 call phones that are on campus, only seven are not working since the last test was done.”

Texas State ranked 17th for Hispanic students

BestColleges.com ranked Texas State as 17th in the nation’s “Top 50 Colleges for Hispanic Students” in 2014.

The rankings are based on academics and the number of Hispanic students currently enrolled, according to the website. This fall semester, 11,606 Hispanic students are enrolled at Texas State, said Joe Meyer, director of Institutional Research.

The university set a goal of becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution over ten years ago, Meyer said. The university achieved HSI status in 2011.

“In fall 2004 there were 4,980 Hispanic students enrolled, and in fall 2014 there are 11,606 Hispanic students enrolled,” Meyer said.

Central Texas encouraging alternative fuel vehicle technology

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A regional initiative focused on alternatively fueled vehicle (AFV) technology has brought together business and industry experts in San Marcos.

The inaugural “Fleet Exchange: Dialogue On Natural Gas in Central Texas Fleets” conference was held on Aug. 26. Andrew Johnston, lead of the Central Texas Fuel Independence Project, said the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in the region as an alternative fuel source is accelerating by more than 200 percent year-over-year. Electric vehicle technology grows yearly by 300 percent.

The amount of electric vehicles locally has increased tenfold from 2011 to 2014, Johnston said.

"It is explosive growth," Johnston said. "This is technology future generations will be driving regardless."

Food bank campaign feeds families

The Hays County Food Bank is gearing up for its 8th annual Turkeys Tackling Hunger food drive. Last year, the community outreach effort fed more than 3,000 families with Thanksgiving meals. This year nearly 3,400 families have signed up to receive services.

Hunter Road developer found to be working with expired permit

City inspectors revealed the developers at 1803 Hunter Road were working with an expired permit after environmental activist Lisa Coppoletta inquired about the preservation of heritage trees at the site.

The work permit has been expired since 2008. The property, owned privately by Rio Marc Development Ltd. and Carson Properties, was issued a stop-work order notice Oct. 17 until the city could process a valid permit.

"If someone wants to place fill on a piece of property, you have to get a city permit," said Richard Reynosa, senior project engineer. "This property is also located in the city floodplain, so you need a flood permit as well."

The contractor was unaware the developer was working without a valid permit, Reynosa said.

FROM ‘SADDAM’S CITY’ TO SAN MARCOS

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A young Iraqi boy watched the bombing of Baghdad on March 19, 2003 at the start of the Iraq War from the steps of his home in Al-Thawra, Iraq, also known as “Saddam’s City.”

Milad Jawad, the youngest of five boys, was born and raised in Al-Thawra, a public housing district in Baghdad. Jawad said he was 14 when the invasion of Iraq began. He can recall feeling a mixture of excitement and uncertainty as the conflict began. As a child, he dreamed of moving to America to run his own business but did not think he would see the day Iraq would be free of Saddam Hussein’s “oppressive dictatorship.” Little did Jawad know, he would one day be a business owner in San Marcos, Texas.

Bobcats rally for a 3-0 home win against Georgia Southern

Winning at home has not been a problem for the Texas State volleyball team since conference play started, but a different attitude was in place as the Bobcats entered the third set against Georgia Southern on Saturday.

“The last two or three times we’ve been at home, we’ve won the first two sets and then come out sluggish and lost the third set,” Coach Karen Chisum said. “I asked the team in the locker room, ‘When is the last time we’ve swept someone here at Texas State?’ And they said ‘Well, tonight is going to be the night.’”

The Bobcats won their eighth-straight home game, improving the team’s Sun Belt Conference record to 10-3. Georgia Southern never gained a lead in the second and third sets, mostly due to the Bobcats avoiding errors.

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