Fears of violence against Greek organizations found apparent voice once again Monday after a flyer appeared in student-dominated West Campus urging fraternities to form safety squads under the headline: “FRATS BASH BACK.”
University officials said Monday they were aware of the flyer, but were skeptical that students were involved.
In unofficial results, Connie Schroeder will be the city’s next mayor. As the Bastrop Advertiser’s Andy Sevilla reports, Schroeder is a political newcomer who for the past six years has served on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
Schroeder said she is “thrilled and honored” to be Bastrop’s next mayor.
The Advertiser’s Mary Huber snapped a photo of Schroeder chatting with voters earlier Saturday.
8:50 p.m. update: It took a bit, but we got some Hays County results.
In the second largest bond issue of the night, a $250 million pair of bond propositions for the Hays consolidated school district, voters in favor of the bonds are ahead of “against” votes. In the district’s school board races Vanessa V. Petrea is ahead of two candiates for at-large trustee with 40.6 percent of the vote. District 1 incumbent Teresa Tobias leads with 57.14 percent of the vote over two other candidates.
In San Marcos, about 78 percent of voters so far are supporting a $107 million bond package for a new elementary school, renovations and other projects. Incumbent Miguel Arredondo leads the District 1 race school board race with 65.63 percent of the vote. In District 2, incumbent Margie T. Villalpando leads with 55.34 percent of the vote. Less than 5 points separate District 3 incumbent Lupe Costilla (52.42 percent) and Texas State graduate student Mariana Zamora (47.59 percent).
Heading south on Interstate 35, in what is perhaps the most closely watched election of the night, votes in favor of a trio of bond proposals totaling $572 million continue to trail votes against. Round Rock Mayor Pro Tem Craig Morgan is leading in the mayoral race ahead of two other opponents, one of which is a senior at Cedar Ridge High School.
Real estate broker Tammy Young leads the City Council Place 1 race and Incumbent Will Peckham leads in the Place 4 race.
7:15 p.m. update: Polls have closed and our first results are in.
Votes in favor of $572 million in bonds for the Round Rock school district are trailing no votes in all three propositions. Round Rock voters in Travis County showed to be voting against the bonds at a greater rate than those in Williamson County.
Earlier: Hi there! Welcome to the Austin American-Statesman’s live blog of today’s local election results in Travis County and other parts of Central Texas.
Throughout the night, we’ll be updating this feed with the latest news as results roll in. Check back in here for updates on what early results are telling us and some sights and sounds from the field. Though no political offices in Austin are up for election, there are numerous amounts of seats across the Austin metropolitan area that will be decided by the tally of votes.
Races include elections for city council seats in Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Hutto, Lakeway, Martindale, Round Rock, Taylor, West Lake Hills. Several propositions are also on ballots, including a tax increase and bond election in San Marcos and a municipal bond in Lakeway for new city facilities.
With just tamales and a bottle of Big Red, some enterprising parents made their baby Thomas internet-famous.
In Hawaii, thousands of miles away from their beloved Texas, Christina and Javier Sustaita were hosting Javier’s grandmother for a visit. The elder Sustaita apparently makes the “best tamales,” according to Christina, quoted in the Houston Chronicle. While the family didn’t eat the tamales at first, they did the next-best thing: they put the napping Thomas on top of the delicious treats with a bottle of Big Red by his side, and started a photo shoot.
And so a Texas legend was born. Large social media accounts like Texas Humor Twitter and Big Red’s Facebook posted the picture and it went viral. “Parenting: you’re doing it right,” Texas Humor tweeted. “Never too small to enjoy Big Flavor,” posted Big Red, which received almost 1,000 likes.
“I couldn’t believe how many people actually shared the post on their Instagrams as well, so that was really awesome,” the new mom said, who took the pictures. Our hats go off to her.
President Donald Trump – whose public admiration of former President Andrew Jackson is well-known and evident by the portrait he keeps of the 7th president in the Oval Office – said in an interview on Monday that he believed Jackson could have prevented the Civil War.
Trump’s analysis quickly drew criticism for its apparent historical illiteracy about Jackson’s life and tenure in the White House or the causes of the Civil War. So let’s consider it our patriotic duty to help the president know at least five actual things about Andrew Jackson:
1. Andrew Jackson died on June 8, 1845, at his plantation in the slave state of Tennessee.
Trump had told Zita: “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War.” Most crit
iques of Trump’s quote snarkily point out that Jackson couldn’t have stopped the Civil War because it started about 16 years after he died.
But let’s give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant, “Had Jackson been born later, he could’ve stopped the Civil War.” That, however, brings us to the next point: Jackson fiercely supported a strong union and central government. How much? To the point of preparing military action against South Carolina in 1832.
2. Jackson once dispatched Navy warships into Charleston Harbor to put a stop to talk of secession.
The Nullication Crisis of 1828 arose when Congress passed high tariffs designed to protect Northern industry, but Southern planters believed the taxes ultimately hurt their cotton trade. When the South Carolina Legislature voted to nullify the federal tax as well as a subsequent lowering of the tariffs in 1832, Jackson sent Navy ships into Charleston and threatened to hang anyone working to support nullification or secession. His vice president, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, soon resigned to become his state’s U.S. senator.
Based on Jackson’s history in office, and the additional crises that erupted between North and South over the next 30 years, it’s unlikely Jackson would have been able or would have even wanted to stop the Civil War.
3. Jackson was nicknamed “Old Hickory” because he was as tough as the wood that they used to beat people with.
Trump said of Jackson: “He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart.” The Native Americans he evicted from their tribal homelands in Florida and Georgia would tell a different story. After Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 into law, more than 45,000 Native Americans were relocated to the West during his administration.
4. Jackson hated the Electoral College.
Although Trump continues to trumpet his own electoral college win, his idol Jackson repeatedly lobbied Congress to abolish the Electoral College, likely because of the “corrupt bargain” struck during the election of 1824 that denied him the presidency in his first run for the White House. Jackson had won the popular vote, but he didn’t have a majority in electoral votes in the race with John Quincy Adams. The election was thrown to the U.S. House led by Speaker Henry Clay. Jackson lost the vote, and President-elect Adams made Clay his secretary of state. Jackson was elected president outright in 1828 with 56 percent of the popular vote.
5. In one of his last acts as president, Jackson formally recognized the Republic of Texas.
But Jackson held off on recognizing the Republic of Texas, which had legalized slavery, until after the election of 1836 to increase the chances that his vice president, Martin Van Buren, would win. Jackson wanted to avoid making slavery a bigger issue in the 1836 campaign, so Jackson didn’t recognize Texas until the last full day of his presidency, March 3, 1837.
Before the interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito even aired on SiriusXM satellite radio, a partial transcript highlighting the Jackson quote appeared online, courtesy of Politico correspondent Edward-Issac Dovere on Twitter.
Here's Trump's full answer on "swashbuckler" Andrew Jackson and the Civil War: "Why could that one not have been worked out?" pic.twitter.com/Zb8OQaDqyq
As May approaches, so does the end of another academic year at the University of Texas. Over the course of the last several months, a lot has happened on the Forty Acres: Campus carry, protests, demonstrations, a farewell to Charlie Strong, a memorial for Haruka Weiser and, more recently, a drive-by shooting on campus. Here’s a quick recap of some major things that happened during the 2016-2017 academic year:
UT honors victims of 1966 tower shooting for 50th anniversary:
On Aug. 1, victims of the 1966 sniper attack were honored at the UT Tower. A memorial was also placed near UT’s turtle pond, with the names of the 15 people who were killed by engineering student Charles Whitman. Survivors, the student body president at the time and the police officers who were involved with the incident attended the commemoration ceremony. This 50th anniversary coincidentally fell on the same day that the campus carry gun law went into effect.
Campus carry law goes into effect:
On August 1, Senate Bill 11, legislation also known as “campus carry” went into effect, permitting the concealed carry of handguns by license holders on campus.
Campus carry is protested with sex toys:
What better way to start off the first day of a new school year than with a protest with dildos. “Cocks Not Glocks” showed their opposition to the new campus carry gun law by brandishing the sex toys on backpacks and holding a rally on campus. In August, the event organizers said they hoped students would continue to carry the items until the law was repealed — the dildo-carrying ended shortly after the protest and the law remains on the books.
Bevo XV makes debut:
The young calf made his appearance as the new mascot of UT on Sept. 4 at the football game against Notre Dame— the Longhorns beat the Irish 50-47 after double overtime.
Security officer shot at Sigma Chi party:
On Sept. 11, a security guard was shot in the foot at a fraternity party by a party guest – who was not a student – who had earlier been thrown out of the party for causing trouble. The guard who was shot has sued Sigma Chi, accusing the fraternity of not doing enough to prevent the shooting.
Anti-affirmative action bake sale held:
On Oct. 26, the Young Conservatives of Texas held a bake sale that protested the affirmative action policy in college admission. The item prices were listed differently based on gender and race.
After three seasons and a record of 16-21, the lowest winning percentage in Longhorn football history, Strong was fired on Nov. 26. Many football players and members of the UT community were upset with this decision— several players reacted on Twitter, thanking Strong and saying bye. It wasn’t long before Strong was hired as the new University of South Florida head football coach and Tom Herman took over the Longhorn football program.
On Feb. 7, UT students got in formation and put together their best Beyonce costumes in hope of winning two tickets to the Grammys from The Ellen Show. Sophomore Collin Wang won the contest by recreating Beyonce’s underwater pregnancy photo.
Hey @UTAustin! If you've ever wanted to go to the #Grammys, get your Beyonce costume together. Right now.
First Latina, physically disabled student body president is elected:
Fourth-year government and Mexican-American studies major Alejandrina Guzman made UT history when she was elected as the 2017-2018 student body president. Guzman and her running mate Micky Wolf captured 54 percent of the vote after a campus-wide run-off.
Survey released: 15 percent of female undergraduates say they have been raped:
A shocking report was released toward the end of March, detailing sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and harassment. Key findings of the random and voluntary survey also found that 12 percent of undergraduate women said they had experienced attempted rape and 22 percent of students reported having experienced sexist gender harassment from UT faculty or staff.
I encourage everyone to see results of sexual assault survey on our campus. It’s a wake-up for all of us: https://t.co/oBt5nrjNbE
One-year memorial held for slain student Haruka Weiser:
On April 3, UT held a memorial ceremony for Haruka Weiser, the 18-year-old dance student who was found dead on campus in Waller Creek in 2016. Since her killing, the university has made it a priority to enhance safety and security on campus.
UT football gets 43-inch tv screens instead of name plates
Paper name plates are a thing of the past for the Longhorn football program. 43-inch flat screens were installed on every player’s locker, each costing about $10,500. Also, glowing locker doors were implemented!
Gregory Vincent announces he will leave UT for his alma mater:
On April 20 , Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, announced that he would be leaving UT in July to be president of his alma mater, Hobart and William Smith— after 11 years of diversity and inclusion work on the Forty Acres.
UT Recreational Sports celebrates 100 years:
On April 21, the university celebrated a century of RecSports, which has grown to 500,000 square feet of recreational space and 47 club sports. UT was one of the first colleges in the country to organize an intramural sports program.
100 years ago, we started one of the first organized intramural programs in the country 💪
On the morning of April 27, gunshots were reported on campus and UT police began investigating what they believe was a drive-by shooting. The suspect and the target were thought to be unaffiliated with the university, officials said. Several UT students took to social media to complain about the lack of timeliness when it came to alerting students about the incident and the vagueness of the emergency alert. UTPD notified the students, faculty and staff about the incident nearly an hour after it had taken place.
Really, @UTAustin? Notify your students someone discharged a weapon on campus an hour after the fact? Great protocol!!
UT Police Chief David Carter identified the suspect in the attack as 21-year-old UT biology student Kendrex J. White of Killeen.
Carter said his officers saw a man, later identified as White, with a “large, bowie-style hunting knife.” One officer drew his gun and told White to get on the ground, which he did, before taking him into custody.
Within about a block, three more people were found stabbed, Carter said.
4:30 p.m. update: Travis County officials on Wednesday laid out some of the evidence that led them to file charges against a 24-year-old man characterized as somewhat of a transient with a lengthy criminal record that is now accused of killing Austin defense attorney James Short.
Travis County investigators described the relationship between Short and Justin Nickolas Twyne, the man suspected of killing the attorney, as acquaintances. But they were close enough that Short took Twyne on a shopping trip to a South Austin Wal-Mart the day before Short was found killed, Cpt. Craig Smith said during a media briefing Wednesday.
Smith said many aspects of the crime remain under investigation, including the motive.
However, Smith said investigators have established several links putting Twyne at the scene of Short’s killing last week in southwestern Travis County. The evidence includes Twyne’s fingerprints and some of his personal property, both of which were found at the Short’s home, Smith said.
Travis County sheriff’s detectives investigate the suspicious death of an Austin defense lawyer at his house in southwestern Travis County on Friday. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Some of Short’s belongings, including credit cards, were also found in the New Orleans hotel room where Twyne was arrested Friday, according to an arrest affidavit.
Short’s tan Chevrolet Suburban, which was missing from Short’s home when his body was found, has not been located yet. Smith asked for anyone who sees the vehicle to call authorities.
Twyne’s criminal history includes an active warrant for his arrest in Georgia on a charge of escape, which Smith said was for walking away from a work-release program.
The murder charge will take precedence, and Georgia officials have agreed to allow Twyne’s extradition to Travis County to move forward.
“Everyone agreed our charge is a much more serious crime and extradition to Travis county was the most appropriate thing to do,” Smith said. “We’re going to do it as quickly as possible.”
Smith said authorities received numerous tips after they posted surveillance footage of Twyne and identified him then as a “person of interest.” On Wednesday, Smith revealed that the footage was taken from the Wal-Mart shopping trip and that Twyne was with Short at the time the footage was taken.
Jim Short’s sister, Evelyn Proctor, told the American-Statesman on Wednesday that she talked to her younger brother daily — sometimes several times a day.
Last week, she said he went to her home and told her he was about to have repairs done on his motor home. When she didn’t hear from him again Friday morning, she drove to his home, where his body was discovered.
“This isn’t supposed to happen,” she said. “Nobody deserves this. He would have given you anything you wanted.”
Proctor described her brother as “a wonderful brother,” who enjoyed hunting, fishing and gardening. She said he also loved his legal career — particularly serving as a court-appointed lawyer for indigent clients.
He also helped her regularly perform chores at her house, or do home repairs.
In recent years, she said the two traveled coast-to-coast in his RV to see family in places such as Wisconsin and North Carolina. Last year, they went to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge.
1:15 p.m. update: Travis County Sheriff investigators have charged a 24-year-old man in the death of James Short, an Austin defense attorney found dead at his home last week.
Justin Nickolas Twyne, 24, is charged with murder. Twyne and Short had recently exchanged text messages which show that Short gave Twyne his southwestern Travis County address so they could meet at his house, his arrest affidavit says.
The affidavit said Short was stabbed to death and that apparently Short had taken Twyne shopping at a nearby Wal-Mart the day before Short’s body was found.
When detectives arrived at Short’s house, they found a bloody knife on his bed, the affidavit says. There was also a backpack in the house, and they found Twyne’s identification inside.
Analysis later showed a bloody fingerprint matched Twyne’s fingerprint, the affidavit says.
The U.S. Marshals Task Force tracked down Twyne on Friday and arrested him on an unrelated warrant. Twyne declined to speak with a Travis County sheriff’s detective, the affidavit says.
Earlier: Authorities have captured a person of interest in the death of an Austin defense attorney last week, sources say.
The man was detained in New Orleans.
He has not yet been identified or formally charged.
Sheriff’s investigators released photos Saturday of a man they call a person of interest in the death of Austin defense attorney James Short, whose body was found at his home in southwestern Travis County on Friday.
Investigators have said they believe Short, 74, was targeted, and that the person of interest might be driving a tan 1999 Chevrolet Suburban with the Texas license plate DRW-3438.
Deputies got a call at 11:45 a.m. Friday from someone who asked them to check on Short’s home in the 8000 block of Rockwood Circle, off U.S. 290, said Kristen Dark, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
Deputies say Short’s death is suspicious, and that evidence at the scene leads them to believe that he didn’t die of natural causes, but they have released few other details about the case.
According to his page on the Texas Bar Association website, Short earned his law degree in 1984 from Texas Southern University and has been licensed to practice law in the state since 1988.
A Texas apartment complex is giving residents a chance to swim in the sky.
The glass-bottom pool at Market Square Tower gives those brave enough to swim in it a unique view of downtown Houston. According to the Houston Chronicle, the pool, located 40 stories up, “extends 10 feet beyond the side of building and 500 feet above Preston street.”
The apartment complex posted a video of what it looks like to walk in the glass-bottom portion of the pool to Facebook. The bottom of the pool is comprised of an 8-inch-thick layer of plexiglass. For those who aren’t into swimming above it all, there is another (opaque-bottom) pool located on the fourth floor.
The Houston Chronicle reports that living at the complex could cost you anywhere “from $1,805 for a 564-square foot studio, to $18,715 per month for a 2,993-square-foot penthouse.”
The underwater theater, gondola rides, and famed swimming pig Ralph that comprised the “waterful wonderland of sights and thrills” of San Marcos’ Aquarena Springs haven’t thrilled visitors in years. And after the park closed, it really looked like it.
While the park, which entertained families for some 40 years before closing down in the 1990s, is now without the attractions and mermaids that drew its 250,000 annual visitors, the spot briefly had a new sort of lure for one Texas photographer.
Andy Heatwole took a series of haunting pictures between 2005 and 2012, showing the springs, which had since grown increasingly reclaimed by nature, in a state of “crumbling sidewalks, fallen trees and the few decaying remnants of the park.”
“As a photographer, I’ve always been drawn to abandoned places. There’s often a palpable silence that hangs over them. That silence is present here too,” Heatwole said of photographing the springs.
The U.S. Navy destroyers, USS Porter and the USS Ross fired 59 Tomahawk missiles late Thursday that targeted the airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas of a Syrian military air base that U.S. officials believe launched a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians this week.
The U.S. Navy posted this footage of missile launches from the Porter on YouTube:
The Navy has since posted more footage from the Porter here and even more here. It turns out, some of the ship’s other interesting exploits are available online, too.
The Porter, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, is the fifth Navy ship to be named after Commodore David Porter and his son Admiral David Dixon Porter. The ship’s home port is at Naval Station Rota in Spain and is assigned to the Navy’s Sixth Fleet, which patrols the Mediterranean Sea.
The ship had launched its long-range missiles into Syria from a position in the eastern Mediterranean, but the Porter’s patrol areas also have extended into the Black Sea, where just two months ago in February, Russian fighter jets buzzed the ship.
The Porter also made headlines nearly 5 years ago when a collision with a Japanese oil tanker in the Arabian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz and damaged its superstructure. No one was reported injured, but the Navy replaced the Porter‘s captain, Cmdr. Martin Arriola with Cmdr. Dave Richardson.
The crew of the Porter, led by the ship’s first female skipper, Cmdr. Andria L. Slough, opened up the ship to cameras for a video tour: