Leocadia O'Brien

Enter a classroom these days and you'll likely see students using their electronic devices. Having a laptop or a phone in class can be distracting. For some, class time is game time. Yes, if you take a close look, you'll find students playing Angry Birds, Words With Friends or maybe Fruit Ninja. Some professors don't seem to mind while others include guidelines or prohibitions in their syllabi. So far, the university hasn't set a policy one way or another.

Chase Joliet

Texas State students all have one thing in common…great calf muscles. Texas State University sits on 457 acres of Texas Hill Country that makes for a countless number of stairs students must trek to and from class. According to Live-Strong-dot-com students who regularly partake in stair climbing exercises three to five times a week can benefit their cardiovascular system while increasing endurance and stamina. For those who want to take the extra step, the recreation center offers a variety of ways students can continue to tone their leg muscles.


Assignments - Week of Sept. 26-Sept. 29

Soledad O'Brien at Texas State
Discover Texas State: Tours, Wine Walk, Greenfest
Sororities/Fraternities-Raising Money-Anthropology
Is Smoking Ban Being Enforced on Campus?
What is The Hitch? Mobile Eating
Future of Aquarena Center
Military Friendly-Three Years Running
Drinking on the Square-Open Containers
Student Running for Place 3 Council
What's All the Construction? Ramps near LBJ
Guy in a Cage
Honors Program-Meet the Professors
Dining Options-Striving to Find Healthy Food
Witliff-20th Anniversary
Dropoff points have changed for commuters
Calf Muscles enhanced-Climbing stairs
Popular games-Distractions in the Classroom

Kenn Zuniga

A Texas State Senior is among the candidates vying for a City Council position in San Marcos. Kenn Zuniga tells us more in this Bobcat Update.

Political Science Major Nicholas Cubides' (Coo-Pee_Dez) is no stranger to riding the bull on the campaign trail. Cubides' experience includes working for John Thomaides when he ran for mayor in 2009. Now, the two men are running against each other for Place Three on the City Council.
Cubides says although he's a student, he considers himself a San Marcan first.
Cubides' other opponents include retired San Marcos Police Commander Terry Nichols and Seton Healthcare Contract Negotiator Toby Hooper. Cubides says he plans to run a targeted campaign.
Luck isn't the only thing that Cubides has bestowed to Thomaides. 
Cubides says he's looking forward to the November 8th election.
(stand in) The San Marcos Area League of Women Voters is sponsoring a debate for both Place three and Place four City Council positions here at the Activity Center. You can hear the candidates, including Cubides and Thomaides, square off on Monday October 17th at 7 p-m. For Bobcat Update, I'm Kenn Zuniga.

Adrienne Enderle

Texas State's University Honors Program is making a transition to college status. The university's board of regents recently authorized the change. The Honors Program helps attract high-ability students to attend the university by offering challenging coursework in a variety of academic fields. The Honors Program will host Meet the Professor Night at five o'clock this afternoon in Lampasas Hall. At the meeting current and prospective Honors students will be able to get information on spring courses from Honors professors. 

Kelsey Manning

You may have noticed people trapped in a cage on campus this afternoon. The cage is a protest of sorts, sponsored by a group called Students for a Sensible Drug Policy. The cage consists of p-v-c pipes. You can see it next to the stallions statue in the quad. The group says it wants to call attention to America's drug policies and how certain drug offenses can result in long prison sentences. The local chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy was launched this semester.


William Foster

A wildfire north of Post Road in San Marcos has been contained. The cause of the wildfire that started on Saturday is unknown. Wildfires have been common this year in drought-stricken Texas. Property owners have reason to be concerned, but, as William Foster, tells us in this Bobcat Update, measures can be taken to keep wildfires from spreading.

Three conditions exist in Texas that can contribute to the spread of wildfires -- hot temperatures, drought and gusty winds.
San Marcos Fire Chief Les Stevens says wildfires are unpredictable and can spread quickly. Stevens says there isn't a simple solution to stop wildfires, but careful landscaping can help prevent them from spreading.
(Fire Chief Les Stevens...13 secs...house)
Vegetation is any dry piece of bio-mass that burns, such as leaves, grass and brush. The combination of record-setting temperatures and high winds doesn't help either. One spark in a dry area is enough to start a small fire and winds push fires in every direction. Stevens says most wildfires are accidents and can be prevented.
(Fire Chief Les Stevens...13 secs...hour)
There is no universal answer to stop a wildfire, but certain precautions can be taken to prevent them for spreading. For more information you can contact your local fire department. For Bobcat Update, I'm William Foster.

Ashley Flores

The downtown bar scene will be a little different after a new city ordinance is implemented. The ordinance, which goes into effect next week, prohibits open containers of booze on the square. And public consumption won't be allowed after ten p.m. During October, violators will receive only verbal warnings. After that, they will likely get a citation and if they receive multiple citations, then officers can haul them to jail.

Lauren Newcomb

New construction at Texas State seems to be a constant endeavor. Projects are underway to build new facilities and renovate old ones. University officials are following a master plan to improve the campus environment. Included in the plan are more student housing, a career center and a new building for the performing arts. Also in the works are library improvements and a Bobcat Trail, which will essentially be another quad area. More information regarding the Master Plan can be found on the university's website.

Caroline Cook

Wooden ramps are being used near the L-B-J Student Center. The ramps are necessary while construction crews repair damages caused recently by a major leak at the center. The temporary ramps have been set up between the student center and the McCoy Business Building. Construction workers are repairing the damage. Cement is being replaced and new drains are being installed.

Kendra Davidson

Bobcats are standing at attention this week for being recognized as a Military Friendly school. According to military-friendly-schools-dot-com, there are over one-thousand veterans enrolled at Texas State with a graduation rate of more than 40 percent.  A student worker in the veterans affairs office, Nicole Fisher, says the university has earned the Military Friendly title the past three years. The university received a score of three-point-seven on a four-point scale from its military students this year.


Marissa Wagner

Some Texas State Students, who ride the trams that stop on Aquarena Springs Drive, risk danger when they attempt to cross against heavy traffic.The area where they disembark doesn't have a convenient crosswalk. So, students who live in one of the nearby apartment complexes have a choice of either walking to a stoplight where there is a crosswalk OR darting across a busy street. San Marcos and Texas State officials have studied the problem, but so far the city's master plan doesn't include any improvements.

Cambrian Pinchon

Students in the quad are being asked to donate their pennies and other coins. The sorority Delta Gamma is competing against the fraternity Phi Beta Sigma in a Penny War this week. The two groups are raising money to donate to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The money will also be used to train guide dogs. The effort is part of Delta Gamma's Anchor Splash, which also includes an "eye" beauty pageant and an intramural sports competition.

Aspen Streety

Alumni, families, and students are invited to Discover Texas State, an opportunity to experience what the University has to offer. The event will kick off Friday night with a wine walk through downtown San Marcos. Activities will resume on Saturday with a breakfast, campus tours, and Green Fest. Green Fest features 20 booths providing information on healthy living and the stewardship of natural resources. The event will conclude with tailgating at the football game against Nicholls State.

Amanda Pena

Since a Tobacco-Free Policy went into effect on the Texas State campus, the Student Health Center has been informing students of the treatments available to help them quit smoking. The Health Center is offering three medications -- patches, lozenges and gum -- to help reduce the urge to smoke. A Smoking Cessation Program is also being offered to staff and students allowing them an affordable way to purchase medications and to receive the support they need to break the habit. For more information, check out the health center's website. 


Ryan Cochran

The Aquarena Springs Center will be closing soon in an effort to restore the area to a more natural state. Aquarena Springs was an amusement park for many years -- until Texas State University bought the property in the mid-1990s. Much of the old park has already been dismantled but more of what used to be tourist attractions will be shut down and removed. The Corp of Engineers will begin the dismantling process on October first. Two features at the center that will remain intact are the River Institute and the glass bottom boats.


Adrienne Enderle

Going to college costs a lot of money. Most students have to take out loans to pay for their education, and loans at some point have to be paid back. In this Bobcat Update, Adrienne Enderle describes some of the options available to students.

Many students need financial help. Tuition, fees and other expenses quickly add up to big bucks. Loans are one way to make ends meet. And whether they're loans from the government OR from a private lender, eventually they come due. Payments have to be made.
(Soundbite: Lens on school loans vs governmental)
(Soundbite/Standup: Enderle on default rates rising by 7%)
Usually within a few months of graduation, students will have to begin payments on their loans. That can be a big problem if the newly-minted graduate can't find a job.
(Soundbite: Lens on repayment of loans)
One option for students who can't immediately find a job is to defer their payments, which could mean more time in school.
(Soundbite: Lens on graduate school)
For Bobcat Update, I'm Adrienne Enderle.


Beth Brinkman

The San Marcos River is a source of fun and recreation. Many people enjoy spending their leisure time on or near the river, but the state's prolonged drought is taking a toll. The San Marcos River is down almost three feet because of the lack of rain.
Much of the river habitation has been affected by the drought and the lower than normal flow. For example, officials are concerned about an already endangered plant called Texas Wild Rice. Erosion of the river bank is another issue for those who enjoy the San Marcos River.


Cambrian Pinchon

The University Police Department is registering student bikes in the quad. Students are asked to fill out a form about their bike including the color, model and personal contact information. In return they receive a sticker with a serial number that is placed on the bike and logged into the Police DepartmentÕs database. The serial number may help if the bike is ever stolen. The U-P-D has registered more than one-thousand bikes in the program's eight-year existence.


Caroline Cook

Texas State University now has a campus-wide ban on smoking. In this Bobcat Update, Caroline Cook tells us how some students are being affected.

Texas State officially became a tobacco-free campus on August 1st. The university handbook states that students and faculty are encouraged to enforce the policy themselves but many choose not to.
A recent survey showed that 70 percent of students and 75 percent of faculty wanted a tobacco-free campus. Although the ban is now in effect, many ignore the policy.
The school is offering classes and a hotline to students and staff who want to quit smoking. The ban is in effect for both the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses. For Bobcat Update, I'm Caroline Cook.


Karina Gonzalez

It is becoming more challenging for student bikers to ride across the Texas State campus.Riding your bicycle to school is supposed to be easier than walking; however, many ramps on campus are "restricted for the mobility impaired." There are no ramps designated for student bikers anywhere on campus. In addition to handicapped ramps, construction is also posing an issue. Ramps have been built for temporary access to help with construction; however, bikers are still clashing with other students. The convenient has become the inconvenient as bikers struggle to ride across campus. 

Marissa Wagner

Wildfires across Texas have kept San Marcos firefighters quite busy. Marissa Wagner has this Bobcat Update.

The San Marcos Fire Department has been working non-stop since Labor Day weekend, offering assistance to control wildfires in the region and aiding families who have been affected by the fires.
The fire department has sent firemen and supplies to Wimberley, Dripping Springs, Travis County and Caldwell County during the past week alone.
Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Clark says the fire department expects more of the same in the coming weeks.
CLARK ( :__ __ seconds)
"We're getting ready you know, because I think this, unfortunately, is going to be the start, until we get some rain, of a busy, busy fire season."
The fire department and other San Marcos organizations have been collecting donations for families in Bastrop who lost homes in the fire.
The generosity of San Marcos residents has led the city to look for a place to store the donations until they're distributed.
In assisting others, the local fire department has logged more than 120 overtime hours -- all of which must be paid up front by the city -- BUT, in time, the funds will be reimbursed. Texas has been declared a disaster area and will receive federal funds to cover the costs of battling the wildfires.
CLARK ( : __ __)
"Just costs of feeding people when they're up there and trying to get people rest; there's costs associated with it and down the road it will be recoverable. But right now, it's going to be a little bit of a burden on the city."
San Marcos has been fortunate, so far, to avoid any large fires, but some small fires have been reported. Clark says residents need to take precautions.
CLARK (  :__ __)"The wind hasn't been blowing, the humidity has been high, but everybody's just going to have to be careful, because it's the same here as it is everywhere, and it takes just one wrong move."
With daily highs in the 90s and 100s, wildfires are still possible. Even the smallest actions, from lighting a match for a grill to discarding a lit cigarette in an open area, can start a big fire.
For Bobcat Update, I'm Marissa Wagner. 

Aspen Streety

Texas State students have a new tool for measuring how long they're going to have to wait for a bus. Aspen Streety tells us more in this Bobcat Update.

The university's Auxiliary Services has installed Q-R codes at the major stops along the Texas State bus routes. School officials say the codes are a big improvement over existing applications.
SOUNDBITE: (Hamilton…:08…major bus stops)
You just have to scan the code with your phone and it will display the wait time for every bus in your vicinity.
SOUNDBITE: (Hamilton…:10…those scanners)
However, some students do not know these codes exist.
SOUNDBITE: (Walker…:05…something else)
SOUNDBITE: (Walker…:04…using it)
STANDUP: (Streety...:07...Aspen Streety)

Kelsey Manning

San Marcos has caught on to the food truck craze. Kelsey Manning has this Bobcat Update.

If you're hungry for something different, The Hitch may offer the perfect solution. Located in historic downtown San Marcos, off of East Hopkins, the mobile eatery is a collection of food trucks.
SOUNDBITE : (Booth…14 sec…showing up.)
Other food trailers include Mr. Bigote's Tacos and The Tin Box. Soon to open will be barbeque, pizza and hot dog trucks. The Hitch accepts credit and debit cards and provides a covered picnic table area.
SOUNDBITE : (Booth…8 sec…good here.)
No matter if you like things sweet or salty, The Hitch has something for you. For Bobcat Update, I'm Kelsey Manning.


Lauren Newcomb

Adjusting to college is difficult for a lot of students, but Texas State is trying to make it a little easier. Lauren Newcomb has the story.

One way for students to adjust to college life is to get involved in extracurricular activites. The Student Organizations Council at Texas State University helps students stay involved. This past Thursday the S-O-C had an organizational fair to showcase the different groups on campus
Senior Kristopher Infante says the effort won't end there. 
SB-Kristopher Infante Director of Marketing and Public Relations for SOC
S-O-C holds these events throughout the year and it's never too late to get involved! Angel Prangner, of the Phi Beta Chi sorority, says she wishes she would have gotten involved earlier and encourages others to join an organization as soon as possible to reap all the benefits.
SB-Angel Prangner Phi Beta Chi
Be sure to check out some of S-O-C's future events to see if there's an organization that fits you!
For Bobcat Update, I'm Lauren Newcomb.

Kaitlin Heaney

Police are looking for a suspect who apparently threatened another person on campus with a knife today. In this Bobcat Update, Katy Heaney tells us how students and faculty were alerted:

University Police used its RAVE emergency text messaging system to let students know about a potentially dangerous situation on campus. 
Text messages kept students updated throughout the day by informing them about the suspect's last known whereabouts on campus. The messages said the man was seen with a knife on the corner of Sessom and Comanche.
Freshman Sara Cardwell says today's events upset her.
SB: (Sara Cardwell)
Sergeant Robert Campbell says the text messaging system alerted students about the situation faster than e-mail.
SB: (Robert Campbell)
Some students receiving the text messages liked the system. Criminal Justice Major Conrad Reyes says he believes RAVE is a great way of alerting students about what's going on.
SB: (Conrad Reyes)
Campbell says he encourages students to join Rave.
SB: (Campbell)
Several updates were posted on RAVE throughout the day. And though no one was arrested on campus, students were encouraged to continue with their regular activities.
For Bobcat Update, I'm Katy Heaney.

Footnote:  Police later apprehended the individual in San Antonio. 

Kendra Davidson

San Marcos residents now have an important role to play in aiding those affected by wildfires in Central Texas.  Kendra Davidson has the story. 

Sparked by what some now call the Bastrop Blaze, many San Marcos businesses have begun accepting donations to give to those who have been misplaced by the disastrous fires. Sonic Drive-In, located on Aquarena Springs Drive, has joined in the city's relief efforts, encouraging the donation of any non-perishable items. The Triple Crown bar, located downtown, is conducting a drive and a benefit concert to assist evacuees. Greg Ellis, an employee at the Sundance Record Store, says San Marcos seems to be in a giving spirit. 
Some local churches are offering their facilities as shelter for evacuees.  Texas State junior Ryan Sellers says every one should get involved.

For Bobcat Update, I'm Kendra Davidson  

Leocadia O'Brien

Many Texas State students are familiar with the perils of commuting. Leocadia O'Brien tells us in this Bobcat Update what it means for those who choose to live away from campus.

With the constant back and forth, commuters have to deal with potential obstacles -- occasional traffic jams, high gas prices and overcrowded buses. Getting to class on time can be a big hassle for anyone who chooses to live out of town.
SB: (Caleb Hey-TX State Senior)
Commuting by bus from Austin or San Antonio can cost up to nine dollars per round trip, which is on top of the almost 80-dollar bus fee that students pay at registration. Driving isn't much easier. Parking spots are scarce and then there's the construction on campus.
SB: (Curtis Hammil-TX State Junior)
However, a little bit of travel is worth it to these Texas State students who make the sacrifice to live in a city they call home.
SB: (Jessica Kornberg-Psychology major)
Commuters hope these issues will be resolved soon, but until then they'll just have to make due.  For Bobcat Update, I'm Leocadia O'Brien. 

Ashley Flores

These are uncertain times for Texas State students. The cost of getting a college education is high, but prospects for getting a job after graduation seem to be low. Ashley Flores tells us more in this Bobcat Update.

Unemployment remains high in the United States -- lingering at more than nine percent. But Marketing Junior Andrew Patterson says he doesn't let it bother him.
(SB: "I'm not really that nervous when I get out of college, maybe because I'm not there yet, but I already have a job with a marketing company, so I should be fine." 00:08)
While some students may be optimistic about finding a job in their field, other students are feeling pressure.
Education Senior Brian Reppart says although he's currently interning at a middle school, he is still worried about finding a job.
(SB: "I'm terrified. I really am. Especially, with teachers right now. The employment rates for teachers have gone down so much with layoffs and just having Ricky Perry cut our budget by more than half." 00:10)
Adviser Allison Birk says Career Services host many programs for students concerned about the job market. The programs offer a range of services -- from polishing up the resumes to meeting employers for interviews.
(SB: "We bring real employers from all different industries in and allow students to interview with those companies in our office so students don't have to travel to San Antonio, Austin." 00:09)
Career Services will also be hosting a Career Fair Prep on September 14th at five p-m on the fifth floor of LBJ for students for those who are interested in getting a quick lesson on the do's and don'ts at a job fair.
For Bobcat Update, I'm Ashley Flores.