Danielle Charles

Nonprofit organization supplies clothing to San Marcos students

Run out of a small portable building behind the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Central Office, the Rattler Donation Closet is a non-profit organization that provides clothing and other necessities for students in need throughout San Marcos schools.

In addition to clothing, Rattler Donation accepts school supplies and monetary assistance to help provide physicals or eye exams for students. The ongoing donation drive has been in operation for three years and helps 78 percent of students in the district who are in the lower income bracket, said Georganne Logue, the administrative assistant to the superintendent who developed the project.

Officials aim to educate residents on Safe Passing ordinance

City officials are hoping to educate residents about the newly implemented Safe Passing ordinance in order to make roads safer for pedestrians and other non-motorists.

Implemented March 19, the Safe Passing ordinance stipulates that automobiles and small trucks must give at least three feet of clearance when passing “vulnerable road users,” while commercial motor vehicles must give six feet. City officials have begun to familiarize the public with the ordinance by giving it the slogan “steer clear.”

The ordinance now includes a fine for vehicles parked in bike lanes, said Mayor Daniel Guerrero. He hopes the ordinance will benefit the city overall by providing additional safety to vulnerable road users.

Grande Communications beats out Google Fiber, AT&T as fastest Internet service in Austin area

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A San Marcos-based company has beaten Google Fiber and AT&T in the race to become the fastest Internet service in the Austin area.

Google and AT&T were the main competitors last fall for fiber optic cable Internet in Texas. In late February, however, San Marcos-based Grande Communications threw its hat into the fiber ring and surprised Austin residents by implementing the first gigabit Internet service months ahead of its larger counterparts.

Grande planned on joining the high speed Internet race all along, said Matthew Murphy, Grande Communications president. The company had to wait for the public to show interest before investing in the new service, he said.

Gold storage permit possible next fall

Changes to the university parking system are possible in fall 2014 pending final approval of a proposal to designate a “storage” zone in the Mill Street parking lot.

An increasing number of residential students are choosing to purchase perimeter permits, necessitating a change in the parking system to ensure spaces for commuters, said Nancy Nusbaum, interim director of Transportation Services.

“We’re losing spaces in the Speck lot in the Loop 82 construction, and we’ve lost over 300 in the stadium construction, so we’re just trying to make sure our commuters have some place to park,” Nusbaum said.

Carpool permits in higher demand

The number of carpool permits issued to Texas State students has increased since last year due to a growing number of commuters, according to administrators.

Last year the university issued a total of 50 carpool permits to students. In fall 2013, 72 permits were issued, and 52 permits were issued this spring with eight permits pending. The university is expected to receive more requests in the next few months, said Linda Rea, administrative assistant for Transportation Services.

Sustainable farm maintained in memory of late alumna

Tantra Coffeehouse is not only where the late Texas State alumna Stephanie Bledsoe made countless memories, but also where she enjoyed researching how to achieve her dream of embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle.

As she sat at a wooden picnic table outside the coffeehouse last year, Bledsoe typed away on her open laptop, conducting research for her sustainable farm Thigh High Gardens. She had recently moved to the 20-acre farm located off Lime Kiln Road and was adjusting to life without electricity.

When asked why she wanted to start a sustainable farm, Bledsoe’s blue eyes lit up and a smile slowly formed on her freckled face.

“It’s a lifestyle,” she said. “I eat, live and breathe my animals and my plants.”

Council extends home improvement incentive program

San Marcos home and business owners looking to make improvements to their properties will continue to be able to receive an exemption on permits after city councilmembers voted to extend an incentive program last month.

San Marcos city councilmembers voted to extend the Residential Home Improvement Incentive Program for homeowners through the 2014 calendar year during their Dec. 7 meeting. Before the program was first established in June 2011, home and business owners were required to apply and pay for a permit before making improvements on their residents or storefronts. Over the past few years, the incentive program has enabled home and business owners the ability to receive the permits without having to pay a fee.

University sees first positive net revenue since state funding cuts

Texas State’s revenue from state appropriations and student tuition and fees is greater than its expenses for the first time since the legislature cut funding to universities beginning in 2003, according to administrators.

The university’s net revenue is determined by appropriations from the state legislature as well as students’ tuition and fees minus any expenses, said Bill Nance, vice president of Finance and Support Services. Provost Eugene Bourgeois said the university received an estimated increase of $9.4 million in appropriations last year from the state legislature, expanding the overall budget this fiscal year.  

New shooting center faces legal action

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The future of the County Line Shooting Center may be up in the air after several neighboring residents gathered to file a lawsuit against the range’s owners.  

The Schneider and Torres families previously filed a restraining order against Dean Murphy, the owner of the shooting range, on the morning of Nov. 26, 2013 due to safety concerns over stray bullets. Hays County Visiting Judge Brenda Chapman decided the two neighboring families seeking legal action against the range would need to wait for the range to open before they could pursue a lawsuit. After the range opened Dec. 28, 2013, the two families went forward with filing the lawsuit against the owners of the range.

Mexican sales tax hike brings influx of shoppers to San Marcos outlet malls

The San Marcos outlet malls may see a surge in shoppers from Mexico this year due to a hike in the Mexican sales tax that began Jan. 1.

Other stores, such as Target and Walmart, are expected to see an increase in purchases of necessity items such as cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoo and vitamins, according to Rebecca Ybarra-Ramirez, executive director at San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau.

“(Mexican residents have done) more spending here than in the past, because they know that they will have to pay more when they go back to Mexico,” Ybarra-Ramirez said.

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