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Swimming holes are a sign warmer months have arrived
mysanantonio.com / Thu, 15 Apr 2010 10:30:00 UT
Rope swings are knotted around the strong limbs of ancient cypress trees next to blue-green water just chilly enough to take your breath away when you plunge in feet first.

Hart: Jones wields notoriety proudly in tough fight
mysanantonio.com / Wed, 9 Nov 2011 02:36:00 UT

Six feet tall in running shoes, with a shaved head that accentuates a wardrobe of distinctive earrings (Tuesday's were large and dangly, in her signature pink) Jones' self-introduction to one voter proved redundant. "Oh, I get that a lot," said the former University of Houston national championship track star, Rhodes Scholar nominee, criminal defense attorney and one-time participant on the Survivor reality television series. Whatever the outcome of Tuesday's election, clearly Jones has achieved notoriety, which she will tell you is the natural consequence of being "a voice for the voiceless." A television news crew stops by to ask about the strong threat posed by two well-known opponents, Laurie Robinson and Jack Christie. [...] I am going to do like Earl Campbell and just do a stiff arm and move on with my business, she says, flashing perfectly polished pink nails and outsized bangle bracelets (pink again) as she mimics a Heisman trophy pose. Jones ticks off her accomplishments: sticking up for women firefighters who were discriminated against, fixing flooded city neighborhoods, bringing transparency to city government, creating jobs. Has her admirers Since her critics would say she's not a team player, it's worth noting that although she played basketball in high school, her greatest athletic success came in individual track events.

Parker avoids runoff, Stardig, Jones not so lucky
mysanantonio.com / Wed, 9 Nov 2011 04:49:00 UT

Annise D. Parker won a second term Tuesday as mayor of the nation's fourth-largest city, narrowly avoiding a runoff despite having no well-funded or well-known opponents and spending $2.3 million to promote herself to Houston voters this year. Voters in the southwest part of the city voted in the first-ever representatives of Districts J and K. Though District J was envisioned as a Latino-opportunity district, the only non-Latino candidate, lawyer Mike Laster, won the seat. Parker took no chances on the result, diligently using the power of incumbency to work the civic club and homeowners association speaker circuit and vastly outspending her opponents with television ads and mailers. Only 13 percent of the city's registered voters cast ballots in the mayoral election. The lack of a competitive mayor's race, the absence of a talk-of-the-town proposition like last year's red-light camera measure, the city's changing demographics and even the rainy weather may have contributed to a turnout that was 60,000 votes short of the total for the race two years ago. Jones campaigned for another two years to continue fighting to protect the poor and elderly from city fee increases, giving women- and minority-owned businesses a better shot at city contracts and – despite her run-ins with the police union – helping save police officers' jobs as the city cut its budget this year. Former state Rep. Ellen Cohen, who lost her seat last year in the Republican landslide, won the District C race outright, defeating four other candidates on the strength of her fundraising and her record as a legislator and longtime CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center.

Robinson, Oliver prevail in HCC contests
mysanantonio.com / Wed, 9 Nov 2011 05:06:15 UT
Veteran politicians won the two contested races for Houston Community College System trustee seats on Tuesday. Robinson, 49, said he'd like to start his tenure by asking his fellow trustees to vote on an ethics reform plan and an early college program "to improve graduation rates in high school and college and provide all students in the HCC service area access to dual credit."

Pasadena, Lamar OK bond issues
mysanantonio.com / Wed, 9 Nov 2011 05:23:41 UT
Voters in the Pasadena and Lamar Consolidated school districts voted in favor of more than $500 million bond funding to pay for school construction in the growing districts. The measure includes money for a career and technology high school campus open to all students in the district, three new middle schools, completing the district's middle school concept to educate fifth- and sixth-grade students together, and five replacement campuses. New competition gyms at South Houston and Sam Rayburn high schools, second gyms for six middle school and five new elementary school gyms are planned, as is a district competition swimming pool. The bond package is projected to raise the property tax rate between 3 cents and 10 cents per $100 valuation, said Jill Ludwig, the district's chief finance officer.

Rodriguez, two other incumbents win re-election to HISD board
mysanantonio.com / Wed, 9 Nov 2011 05:34:22 UT
The incumbent sweep can serve as a boost of confidence for Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier, whose contract is up for renewal late next year. Noel Freeman, head of the Houston GLBT Caucus, said he or other representatives of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group plan to attend the next HISD board meeting to demand an explanation from Rodriguez. [...] the one-term trustee won with two-thirds of the vote after racking up campaign cash and endorsements from the Harris County AFL-CIO, a business-backed political action committee and the Houston Educational Support Personnel employee group. Harris said she thinks her victory shows that her community supports the district's reform efforts such as tying teachers' job evaluations to student achievement and Grier's rollout of "graduation labs," which allow high school students to make up courses online. A spokesman for Daniels' campaign said low voter turnout made it hard to defeat an incumbent with a platform to reach voters.

‘Personhood’ effort still alive after Miss. defeat
mysanantonio.com / Wed, 9 Nov 2011 08:34:25 UT
(AP) — Abortion opponents say they're still pursuing life-at-fertilization ballot initiatives in six other states even though voters in the Bible Belt state of Mississippi rejected the conservative measure. Abortion rights supporters praised the vote, saying the measure went too far because it would have made common forms of birth control illegal and would have forced women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. "The president believes that extreme amendments like this would do real damage to a woman's constitutional right to make her own health care decisions, including some very personal decisions on contraception and family planning," President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. The measure "would have allowed government to have control over personal decisions that should be left up to a woman, her family, her doctor and her faith, including keeping a woman with a life-threatening pregnancy from getting the care she needs, and criminalizing everything from abortion to common forms of birth control such as the pill and the IUD (the intrauterine device)." More specifically, the ballot measure called for abortion to be prohibited "from the moment of fertilization" — wording that opponents suggested would have deterred physicians from performing in vitro fertilization because they would fear criminal charges if an embryo doesn't survive.

Take a trip back in time to Smithville
mysanantonio.com / Thu, 8 Dec 2011 19:15:26 UT
Smithville and its quaint, sleepy streets have been the setting for movies Tree of Life, Hope Floats and the upcoming Natural Selection Lined with antiques stores and resale shops and decked out for Christmas, Smithville's Main Street is an excellent place to finish up your holiday shopping. On a recent Saturday, Don Green pulled into a parking spot on Main Street in his beautifully restored 1930 Ford Model A Town Sedan, attracting a bit of attention. The shop also specializes in antique linens, cards and books, which they can repair. Pick something from the sweet collection of miniature farm animals and dogs, made in England, priced at about $35 each. A beautiful bird's-eye maple chest was reasonably priced, and the store has some elegant and expensive china pieces. The Main Street Village Antiques Mall, 219 Main, is a pleasant shop of eclectic treasures, including a mint green washstand with porcelain top, a beautiful hand-painted German Toleware tray and a vintage mannequin head and shoulders on display. The big white house with its creaky floors and huge windows makes a nice gallery for Tina Broussard's bronzes and clay work, Karen Raidy's landscapes, Tina Woodruff's watercolors and Jo Watt's clay pieces.

mysanantonio.com / Thu, 8 Dec 2011 19:16:09 UT
BASTROP - The display case may be filled with chocolate treats in every size and shape, but if you want to know about the most popular, here's one word for you: Dipped in milk chocolate, drizzled with white chocolate and served on a stick. On historic Main Street, lampposts were wrapped in garland and storefronts were lit up with Christmas lights and festive, holiday-themed displays. All of the shops are open, said Cindye Wolford, director of the Bastrop Visitor Center, adding that the majority of visitors who register at the visitor center come from Houston. From galleries that feature jewelry, paintings and pottery from local artists to home décor shops with all the candles and figurines you need to get ready for Christmas to nationally recognized restaurants such as Maxine's on Main Street, there's a little something for everyone.

Fuel up along the Hill Country sculpture trail
mysanantonio.com / Tue, 14 Feb 2012 20:47:36 UT
Good food and drink sustain passion, at least that's what I think as I dig into the lunch special at Guero's Taco Bar on South Congress, where creative twists take Tex-Mex beyond the ordinary. Inside, the chef focuses on fresh local foods, creative preparation and beautiful presentation, including house-made focaccia bread with an airy texture and buttery, crunchy crust. Fifteen minutes from the Old Oaks Ranch Fiber Arts Center, the Leaning Pear in Wimberley offers lunches straddling the divide between comfort food and new American fare, like roasted poblano pimento cheese on marble-rye or a house salad of mixed greens with a shallot vinaigrette, local goat cheese, spiced pecans and pear garnish.

‘Octomom’ pleads not guilty to fraud charges
mysanantonio.com / Fri, 17 Jan 2014 21:38:56 UT
LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Octomom" Nadya Suleman pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of failing to report $30,000 that authorities say she was earning when she applied for public assistance benefits. The 38-year-old single mother of 14 children was released on her own recognizance after arraignment in Los Angeles County Superior Court on three counts of welfare fraud. Authorities say Suleman failed to disclose residuals from videos and money she was paid for personal appearances when she applied for welfare last year. Soon after, he said, authorities got several calls from people reporting she was earning money during the time she was collecting the welfare. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals paid Suleman $5,000 and gave her a month's supply of vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers in 2010 for endorsing birth control for dogs and cats.

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