Greater San Marcos Area

Texas Supreme Court issues provisionary ban after state’s first legal marriage of a same-sex couple

A lesbian couple got married in Austin Feb. 19 after a Travis County clerk issued a license for the state’s first legal same-sex wedding.

Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed to the Texas Supreme Court shortly afterward declaring the marriage license issued by the clerk “void.”

The court later responded and issued a stay preventing other same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses. The court’s stay does not affect the Austin union although same-sex marriage was voted unconstitutional in 2005.

Austin couple Suzanne Bryant and Sarah Goodfriend filed for a marriage license with Travis County two days after an unrelated estate case in which a local probate judge ruled Texas’ same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

Bomb threats cleared in north Austin

Two separate bomb threats made in West Campus and north Austin were cleared Tuesday by the Austin Police Department (APD) and bomb squad units.

The Austin Office of Public Information said the bomb threats were directed towards the North Austin Community Center on N. Lamar Boulevard and the Arab Cowboy Hookah Lounge on W. 24th Street.

Police evacuated nearby businesses and apartment residences near both locations of perceived threat and closed roads surrounding the areas, according to the Office of Public Information. Bomb squad units swept both locations and didn’t find bombs at either scene of investigation.

Both locations were cleared and 24th street between Pearl and San Gabriel has since been opened.

Regional organization plans improvement to highway congestion

 

An Austin-based group has proposed methods to relieve Interstate Highway 35 of its congestion.

Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (C.A.M.P.O.) lobbies for transportation legislature on behalf of Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. The organization began the 2040 Plan early last year. The plan proposes a strategy to clear up congestion on IH-35 by the year 2040, said Ashley Johnson, C.A.M.P.O. director.

Johnson spoke to citizens during a luncheon Feb. 17 in conjunction with San Marcos City Council, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Technical Advisory Committee and Transportation Policy Board with updates on the 2040 Plan.

Jason Isaac files three bills to conserve ground water

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State Representative Jason Isaac filed three bills to protect Texas water resources this legislative session and told citizens at a Wimberley town hall meeting Feb. 10 two more are planned for next month.

The five pieces of legislation, if passed, will extend groundwater conservation districts in Hays County, add limited regulation to portions of aquifers and change household usage laws to promote conservation. 

Isaac said he is committed to conserving the groundwater in Hays County.

“It is our source of life, and it’s our source of economy in this geographic area of the state,” Isaac said at the meeting. “It is necessary to change the geographic boundaries of the groundwater conservation district.”

Texas State officials discuss funding for engineering, health professions

Texas State officials presented their case Feb. 12 to the Texas Senate Finance Committee for using state funds to construct two new academic buildings.

University officials have requested an engineering building for the main campus and a health professions facility in Round Rock to accommodate growing enrollment rates.

The university cannot accommodate civil and environmental engineering programs without a new building, President Denise Trauth said.

“Our engineering program has grown dramatically over the past ten years,” Trauth said. “We would like to grow it even more, but we simply don’t have the space.”

Electro purification contract for use of aquifer pending approval

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The Hays County Commissioner’s Court approved a resolution Feb. 3 establishing local regulation for commercial and non-exempt groundwater production in aquifer areas currently outside of the district.

The resolution is a direct outcome of a contract fulfilled by Electro Purification, LLC. The treatment and supply company based out of Houston plans to pump 5.4 million gallons of groundwater a day from the Trinity Aquifer for its clients.

Commissioner Will Conley, Precinct 3, represents the portion of the county most affected by the Electro Purification contract and presented the resolution to the court.

Caution continues under Stage 2 drought

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As of Feb. 1, San Marcos has lowered the drought restrictions due to an increase in rainfall, according to the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA).

Stage 2 water limitations allow lawns to be watered on a weekly basis compared to bi-weekly restrictions under Stage 3. Jan Klein, conservation coordinator for the city, said the restrictions were reduced following the EAA move to Stage 2 last week. 

Dianne Wassenich, program coordinator for the San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF), said the recent rains and reduced water usage will only temporarily increase the flow of the aquifer.

“Still be cautious,” Klein said. “We’re in a long-term drought, and we don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

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