local news

Science & Technology
9:56 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Former Bexar Medical Examiner Tapped For Seat On National Commission On Forensic Science

A longtime medical examiner for Bexar County has been appointed to the newly-formed National Commission on Forensic Science.

The commission, which meets for the first time in February, was created last year to establish national standards to help assure the scientific value and accuracy of evidence in criminal cases and investigations.

Dr. Vincent DiMaio of San Antonio, who is now a consultant, said lawmakers and the president became interested in standardizing evidence after DNA evidence began to disprove convictions.

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Affordable Care Act
9:26 am
Mon January 13, 2014

White House Encouraging Families Of Mixed Citizenship Status To Apply For ACA Coverage

Healthcare.gov
U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

As health insurance plan enrollment passes six million, the White House is paying special attention to uninsured Latino citizens to help them find coverage. The administration is also encouraging families who are of mixed citizenship status to apply despite any fears.

Currently, the Department of Health and Human Services does not have specific information on the breakdown of enrollment numbers by race -- the data are still being compiled.

Under a campaign to get more Latinos enrolled, 344,000 calls were made in Spanish nationwide; that’s about 4 percent of call volume.

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Community Safety
4:05 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Feds Say Texas Syndicate Has Been "Wiped Out" In San Antonio

Flickr User: 710928003 cc

The last member of the Texas Syndicate on a 20-defendant federal indictment has been sent to prison, and federal officials say the sentencing effectively shut down the prison-based gang in San Antonio.

Of the handful of prison gangs in Texas, the TS had operated mainly in the other big cities in the state -- Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Joey Contreras in San Antonio said the government’s earlier success in getting rid of the Mexican Mafia allowed the TS to get a foothold here.

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2014 Governor's Race
3:40 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Abbott Appeals Court Order To Pay Davis' Legal Bills From 2011 Redistricting Case

Every confrontation between Abbott (left) and Davis is shaping the narrative running up to the 2014 election, where the two will likely face each other for governor.
Ryan Poppe/David Martin Davies TPR News

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has appealed a decision ordering his office to pay the nearly $270,000 in legal bills for state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, charges she accumulated in a 2011 federal redistricting case involving her senate district.

Last year, a federal three-judge panel ruled in favor of Davis and a federal district judge in San Antonio revisited that order, affirming the ruling.

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Same-Sex Marriage
12:11 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Challenges To Texas Same-Sex Marriage Ban Move Forward In Separate Courts

Attorney Neel Lane represents the couples challenging the Texas ban on same-sex marriage in San Antonio.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Austin Federal District Judge Sam Sparks surprised all parties when he decided to not force two couples who filed suit in San Antonio to join two other cases challenging Texas’ constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. 

San Antonio attorney Neel Lane, who represents the San Antonio couples -- Cleo DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss -- is pleased with Sparks' decision.

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East Side Revitalization
10:48 am
Fri January 10, 2014

President Obama Elaborates On East Side Promise Zone Initiative

City of San Antonio

  President Barack Obama has selected five areas in the country to be "promise zones" designed to revitalize economically and educationally distressed areas. The East Side of San Antonio has been selected as one.

During a news conference, the president named the East Side specifically, pointing out that 40 percent of adults do not have a high school diploma and crime is 50 percent higher in that part of town.

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Bracken Bat Cave
9:40 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Bracken Bat Cave Gets Reprieve After Developer Opts Out Of Surrounding Property

The land around Bracken Bat Cave and the proposed subdivision, which will now not be developed.
Bat Conservation International

A tentative buyer has declined to purchase the property -- known as Crescent Hills -- adjacent to the Bracken Bat Cave and now a coalition of potential buyers is hoping to acquire the land to preserve it.

The coalition is a loosely-knit group of people and organizations who want to see the land surrounding the bat cave permanently preserved instead of being open for development of houses and commercial activity.

One of the interested parties is San Antonio District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg.

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Bexar County Jail
9:25 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Bexar County Jail Cracks Down On Security After Discovery Of Smuggled Cell Phones

Secondary jail entrance where staff, contractors, and volunteers must now go through security checkpoint for admission to jail
Eileen Pace TPR News

There are only two entrances open to the Bexar County Jail after officials discovered several incidents of security violations involving cell phone use in secure areas of the jail. 

Sheriff Susan Pamerleau announced Thursday that one contractor had been arrested after jail officials learned he had brought cell phones into the jail.

"The individual was granted access to the jail to perform his job, but he abused that access by bringing in a cell phone and providing it to an inmate," Pamerleau said.

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New Braunfels
12:32 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

New Braunfels May Implement Tubing Fee For Non-Residents

Tubers on the Comal River in New Braunfels.
Flickr user Jeff Gunn cc

Floating the Comal River could cost non-New Braunfels residents a $5 fee if its city council votes in favor of a new proposal.

When tubing the Comal River you can either rent a tube from an outfitter and use their entry point, or use your own tube and enter from one of the city’s parks.

"We spend pretty close to $1 million per year in all of the river maintenance, clean-up, and police and fire," said New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil. "So we were looking at a way to try to bring in some revenue to help us to keep the river and keep the services provided for our visitors."

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Transportation
11:53 am
Thu January 9, 2014

TxDOT Begins Search For Next Director

State of Texas

Texas Department of Transportation Chief Financial Officer James Bass has been named as the interim director of the state agency as the Texas Transportation Commission, the group that oversee's TxDOT, works to find a replacement.

TxDOT executive director Phil Wilson is stepping down and will take a position at the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Wilson was the first TxDOT director to not have an engineering background and Jeff Mosely, chairman of the Transportation Commission, said the new director will likely follow that trend.

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