2015 Texas Legislature
4:56 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Villarreal to Vacate House Seat; Force Special Election

State Rep. Mike Villarreal holds press conference at his San Antonio office on August 1st, 2014
Joey Palacios Texas Public Radio

  State Representative Mike Villarreal has announced he will resign his Texas House position to run for mayor. The democrat plans to force a special election.

Villarreal, of House District 123, is the only person so far to formally announce intent to run for San Antonio mayor in 2015.

“That election takes place during regular legislative session, I cannot be in two places at once,” Villarreal said. “So I have decided not to participate to allow somebody to replace me.”

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Texas Matters
4:46 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Texas Music Legend Joe Ely's Pioneering Digital Album

B484 was recorded in 1983, but never released until now.

It was still a mostly analog world in 1983. But it was a year of great strides in bringing the digital age into the home. The birth of the World Wide Web was still six years away, but 1983 saw the arrival of America Online, Microsoft Word and a little plumber named Mario at the quarter arcade. But it was also the year Steve Jobs gave us the Apple IIe. Texas rocker Joe Ely got one and had the crazy notion to try and use it to make music. The resulting album was pioneering and revolutionary, but it sat in Ely’s archive until today.

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2:34 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Did The Tobin Center Pass Last Night's Audio Test?

YOSA perfoms at the first public event at the Tobin Center.
Nathan Cone

There was another significant milestone in the world of San Antonio arts this week, and it was at the nearly finished Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

The Tobin Center has been the focus of a huge amount of attention the past few years but now it’s coming down to the wire. Connecticut company Akustiks' job was to create the good sound you’ll hear there.  

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1:12 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

VIA To Defer Streetcar, Work On Other Transportation Projects

A poster at one of the VIA community meetings in November 2012.
Credit Eileen Pace / TPR News

VIA is disappointed in the change of heart by the city and county on streetcar, but the transit authority plans to move forward in other directions while deferring its current plan for the project.

Friday, standing among dozens of VIA employees at a news conference, VIA Chairman Alex Briseño said the transit authority is moving forward; just not with the streetcar project that had been in the works.

The plan forward now, he said, includes expanded PRIMO routes, constructing multi-modal centers, and focus on VIA's long-range plan for 2035 that was approved three years ago.

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12:58 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Why Aren't Nicaraguan Children Fleeing To The U.S.?

Above: Nicaraguans at a political march in the capital Managua. August 28, 2005.
Jill Replogle KPBS

Fronteras: Notably absent from the unprecedented exodus from Central America are children from the region’s poorest country: Nicaragua. The story of one boy, who traveled from Honduras to North Texas. ICE is going to start housing women with children at a Karnes County detention center that used to house men. Fronteras takes a tour of the facility that has been renovated to accommodate families. Also, tiny windmills, smaller than an ant? Researchers are working on it and it could one day power your cell phone.

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Border & Immigration
12:22 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

How A New Facility For Immigrants In Texas Is Trying To Be More Residence Than Detention Center

The exterior of the Karnes County Residential Center. Formerly the Civil Detention Center
Joey Palacios Texas Public Radio

In the past U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has faced harsh criticism for conditions at its immigration detention facilities. But they are hoping to change that with a new kind of center in Karnes County, Texas.

Officials are calling it "residential" rather than "detention."

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Arts & Culture
11:41 am
Fri August 1, 2014

San Antonio Residency Artist Reports From Berlin

Justin Boyd in his Berlin studio.
Justin Boyd

San Antonio artist Justin Boyd has started his residency program in Germany. I reached the Southwest School of Art’s teacher and artist via Skype.

“I’m speaking from the Kunstlerhaus Bethanian, and it’s in an area of Berlin called Kreutzberg,” he said.

Kunstlerhaus is the international cultural center that’s hosting Boyd’s artistic residency, and as Boyd explained, there are many other artists there as well: “There’s artists here from Korea, from Japan, Denmark."

But there’s only one from the USA. Him.

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Arts & Culture
3:58 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Guitar Legend Monte Montgomery San Antonio Bound

Monte Montgomery in Holland.
Credit Jens Christensen

A legendary guitar player is coming to San Antonio this weekend. He was named one of the 50 top players of all time by "Guitar Player" Magazine. Oddly, you may not know him.  

Monte Montgomery lives in Austin now, but the former San Antonian has traveled the world on the strings of his guitar. He tells the story of how he figured out early on that guitar was his future:

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City Ordinances
3:20 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

No Clear Way Forward For Ride-Share Services In San Antonio

A city council public safety meeting in May to discuss the ride-share issue.
Credit Ryan Loyd / Texas Public Radio

Iowa is now the 20th state to issue a warning to its residents about ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber, cautioning of hidden risks such as devastating financial losses due to non-covered claims.

While Texas has not done so, cities like San Antonio are still trying to move forward with integration of the transportation companies. So far it has been slow going.

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Arts & Culture
2:50 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Botanical Garden Has Far Eastern Ideas For Making Your Garden Great

Japanese maple, lantern, meditation rock.
Credit San Antonio Botanical Center

There’s a guided tour happening Saturday morning at the San Antonio Botanical Garden that could change the way you see your garden. 

If your garden is a water-sucking, chaotic landscape, maybe you should look east. Like way east. To Japan.

“It really is one of the most authentic Japanese gardens of its size in the United States,” said Master Gardener Stephanie Jones.

She’s talking about Kumamoto En at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and a course that’s full of ideas for you.

“The course itself is to discover the benefits of replacing turf grass,” she said.

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