Jordan Gass-Poore'

Residents notified of water contamination

San Marcos utility customers were recently notified again that their tap water contained a potentially harmful chemical from flooding that occurred over nine months ago.

Quarterly water samples taken by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality personnel on Nov. 7, 2013, a week after the Halloween flood created more than 15 inches of rain in the Guadalupe River Watershed, showed a higher-than-recommended amount of trihalomethanes, a type of organic compound.

“We tried to get it out as soon as we knew about it,” said Jon Clack, assistant director of public services.

Q&A with Sherman Alexie, visiting poet

Indian. “That’s what we call each other, it’s an everyday language,” said award-winning author Sherman Alexie. “Indian isn’t any more inaccurate than Native American. Native American just means anybody born here, so the most accurate term would be ‘here first-ians.’”

Much of Alexie’s writing draws from his Native American ancestry and experiences living on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington.

Alexie’s first poem was written for an assignment in Alex Kuo’s class his first semester at Washington State University in 1987, where he initially dreamed of becoming a doctor. Alexie’s poem, “Futures,” was published in his debut collection, “The Business of Fancydancing: Stories and Poems” in 1992.

Q&A with Mary Ellen Mark, documentary photographer

Award-winning documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark has traveled the world to show the human condition through her camera lens. This has resulted in a series of color photographs of prostitutes called the “Cage Girls of Bombay,” published in the London Sunday Times in 1981. Mark lived among these women for three months in the brothel district of Bombay, now Mumbai, capturing both their professional and personal side. She has also photographed the likes of actors Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr.

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.”

Students perform award-winning HIV/AIDS reading

Rows of empty music stands stood underneath dim lighting in the Playwright’s Lab inside the Theatre Building last Friday as audience members waited in their seats.

The cast of Larry Kramer’s Tony Award-winning “The Normal Heart” slowly walked down an aisle of the room to sit or stand in front of the audience, thin binders in hand and red ribbons visibly pinned on their clothing. The one-night reading of the play helped raise HIV/AIDS awareness and benefited the organization Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Paul Anthony, a Texas State theatre senior who played Ben Weeks, a heterosexual lawyer, remembered receiving a text message over winter break from Kristopher Alvarado, director of the play and Texas State senior, encouraging him to participate in the reading.

Q & A with Nick Kotz

Students had the opportunity Tuesday to hear Nick Kotz, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, discuss his groundbreaking book “Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Laws that Changed America” on campus. In his novel, Kotz delves into the pair’s historic partnership that forever changed the face of the civil rights movement.

The University Star sat down with Kotz to discuss his beginnings in journalism and the impact of journalists on history.

‘The Walk-In Closet’

San Marcos resident Silvia Sandoval has made it her mission to bring the first LGBTQIA bar to town and help bring overall awareness to the public about the diverse community in the process.

Sandoval had planned on opening San Marcos’ first bar aimed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and ally communities earlier this year. Plans for The Walk-In Closet, a name Sandoval said was aptly suited to the bar’s location a block south of The Square at 169 S. LBJ, were postponed indefinitely after an unsuccessful Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign wrapped
last month.

Former student readjusts to life following ‘Big Brother’

Last Thanksgiving break, former Texas State student Aaryn Gries was a redhead sitting on her bed in Colorado looking up nationwide casting calls online. Gries must have applied for dozens of jobs in the entertainment industry, she remembered.

The now-blonde Gries said she sent photos of herself and short audition videos describing her aspirations of becoming a travel or talk show host to casting agents.

Each television show audition was met with what Gries called her “show face,” referring to her professional demeanor, until representatives of the CBS reality television series “Big Brother” came knocking on her door.

“I think they knew I wasn’t putting on a show face,” Gries said.

Lambda hosts biannual, theme-oriented drag show

Multicolored lights zigzagged across Bobcat Ball Saturday as some attendees clad in bustiers and stockings for the event’s burlesque theme danced to electronic music at Bar One 41.

The biannual event, hosted by Lambda at Texas State, raised funds for the on-campus lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied community group. Members of the Texas State and San Marcos communities came out to show their support for Lambda. Attendees included Bobcat Ball emcee Kelly Stone, family and consumer science lecturer, and Thom Prentice, former city council and mayoral candidate.

“(Lambda) provides a safe space and an outlet to socialize,” said Lambda president Terena Cloud as she checked to make sure her stick-on mustache
was in place.

Texas State professor, J.J. Abrams collaborate on mystery novel

The cryptically titled new novel “S.” is literally wrapped in an aura of mystery.

Doug Dorst, Texas State assistant English professor, collaborated with director-producer J.J. Abrams on the multilayered, interactive novel released Oct. 29. Alkek Library received its first copy of “S.” yesterday, and it will become available to students later this week.

Inside the novel’s black slipcase appears to be a stolen library book called “Ship of Theseus.” Readers ride the plot’s rocky waves, using the postcard, letter and newspaper article, among other archival materials, that cling inside the novel-within-a-novel as guides.

“There’s been a good deal of pushback from librarians,” Dorst said. “There are so many loose pieces.”

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