Scott Allen

Visiting geography scholar outlines water resource issues facing state

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Zachary Sugg, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona and visiting scholar at Texas State’s Geography department, spoke in Evans yesterday about various water issues.

His speech, “Uncertainty, Equity and the Politics of the Pump: Groundwater Governance Challenges in the Lone Star State and Beyond,” dealt with current and future approaches to water.  He started off his discussion talking about groundwater and how it is used for many different purposes.

“As there’s more and more users, the amount of the resource gets less and less,” Sugg said.

Stadium recycling program looks to expand

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A student-run recycling program hopes to expand efforts for green initiatives after its pilot season in Bobcat Stadium ended.

“Bobcats Go Green” is an initiative that aims to get students more involved with recycling by implementing programs at Texas State football games, said Duy Le, sustainability studies graduate student. Le coordinated the initiative designed to cut down on the amount of trash in and around the stadium by promoting recycling.

“‘Bobcats Go Green’ was originally a recycling program but has evolved into a call to action,” Le said. “Think of ‘Bobcats Go Green’ as a challenge to students to become more environmentally aware about the impact they each have on the planet.”

Commissioners continue to discuss Lone Star Regional Water Authority agreement

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County commissioners looking to join a water authority program decided Tuesday to postpone the final decision for further discussion.

The Texas Legislature created the Lone Star Regional Water Authority in 2011, which acts as a legal entity and serves as a financing mechanism for water or wastewater infrastructure projects. It provides additional assurance of readily available water to residents. Commissioners decided to postpone their decision of whether to join the authority until additional information is obtained.

“The court decided they needed to look into it more to get a better idea of what sort of plans and process they need for the county,” said Laureen Chernow, communications specialist for Hays County.

Woodlands developers in process of obtaining permits for housing on Cape’s Camp

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Developers of The Woodlands of San Marcos, which will be built on the disputed Cape’s Camp property, are working toward breaking ground after Planning and Zoning commissioners approved the second phase of the environmental protection plan this January.

City councilmembers approved zoning changes that would allow Georgia-based Dovetail Development to build a 306-unit, 1,000-bedroom apartment complex off River Road and next to Interstate Highway 35 with a 5-2 vote in January 2013.

John Foreman, the city’s planning manager, said now that the environmental protection plan is approved, the developers have to survey the land to set property boundaries and obtain various permits.

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.

Lone Star Rail District committee moves forward with rail system designs, plans

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The Lone Star Rail District committee is moving forward with plans to construct a new rail system that will run from San Antonio to Georgetown and include a San Marcos stop.

The committee met March 7 to discuss studies, funding and designs for the commuter rail. Members spoke with various agencies such as Union Pacific and the Department of Transportation. Funding was allocated at the meeting and reports about environmental research were reviewed.

Local airport receives TxDOT grant for facility improvements

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The San Marcos Municipal Airport will soon be revamped with the installation of new runway pavement, lighting and other improvements as a result of a $5.7 million grant approved by state transportation officials.

The city will help finance the project along with funding from a statewide Aviation Facilities Grant Program within the Texas Department of Transportation, officials said. Runways 13 and 31 will be the primary focus of improvements to the airport, said Stephen Alexander, founder and manager of Texas Aviation Partners, the company that runs it.

Some crops thrive despite freezing weather conditions

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The temperature in Texas can vary from a sunny 70 degrees to a chilly 30 during one week in the winter, which could both hinder and benefit crops, according to local farmers.

In the past week, lows in the region have ranged from 43 degrees to 26 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Highs in the area have ranged from 31 degrees to 72 degrees in the same amount of time.

Despite the cold, farmers are continuing to utilize various methods that yield fresh crops for Texas residents. Local farmers have developed their favorite methods to combat the cold.

“We plant according to the season,” said Eric Telford, a San Marcos farmer. “There are some plants that can tolerate cold weather such as the kale family.”

Low aquifer levels may signal water shortage

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Record-low water levels in the Bexar County portion of the Edwards Aquifer could signal trouble for San Marcos’ supply.

The Edwards Aquifer pool, which provides most of Bexar County’s water, started off the year at 640.7 feet, its lowest level in more than five decades. Lynne Fahlquist, public information officer at U.S. Geological Survery (USGS), said the amount of water the San Antonio area receives is a good indicator as to how much will end up in San Marcos.

“Generally, as groundwater levels drop in the San Antonio segment of the Edwards Aquifer, spring flows at Comal and San Marcos springs also decline,” Fahlquist said.

Proposed Safe Passing Ordinance to protect ‘vulnerable road users’

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Cyclists and pedestrians will have more room on the roads if a proposed Safe Passing Ordinance is approved by the San Marcos City Council in the coming weeks.

City councilmembers discussed the proposed ordinance during their meeting Tuesday, deciding to allow the proposal to head into the drafting stage with help from city staff members. The ordinance, if passed, will stipulate all vehicles must give at least three feet of clearance when passing “vulnerable road users.”

Commercial vehicles such as semi-trucks would have to give at least six feet of clearance. The ordinance, which applies to pedestrians and cyclists, already exists in 22 Texas cities. Neighboring communities such as Austin, New Braunfels and San Antonio have already passed the ordinance.

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