The San Marcos Daily Record takes a look back at top stories and top photos for October-December 2022. Above, the Sacred Springs Powwow returned to San Marcos on Oct. 2-3 following a two-year hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Daily Record photos by Gerald Castillo.
LOOKING BACK AT 2022: Daily Record revisits top stories from October-December
Editor’s note: This story is the final installment of a four-part series looking back at the year that was — 2022.
In the final edition of 2022, the San Marcos Daily Record takes a look back at top stories from the final three months of the year.
•Sacred Springs Powwow returned Oct. 2-3 for the first time since 2019 following a brief in-person hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The powwow took place at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, where more than 100 Native American dancers competed for best performers. Indigenous arts, crafts and food vendors were also featured.
•The University Interscholastic League State Executive Committee handed San Marcos Consolidated ISD Athletic Director and Head Football Coach John Walsh three years of probation for rules violations following a meeting between the school district and UIL SEC on Oct. 3. San Marcos CISD employee Earl Anderson and Walsh were also issued public reprimands.
Following multiple meetings in October, 12 San Marcos High School student athletes were ruled ineligible after the District 27-6A Executive Committee claimed they transferred for athletic purposes. The 12 students transferred from different districts throughout the area, including Canyon Lake, Comal ISD, Converse Judson and San Antonio Wagner. Eleven of the students played on the same AAU football team, the Texas Seminoles.
On Oct. 25, SMHS’ varsity football team received a playoff ban for the 2023 season. The UIL SEC found that San Marcos violated UIL’s Constitution and Contest Rules, Section 409, Recruiting. Walsh was given a five-game suspension. San Marcos High School assistant coach Lee Vallejo was given a two-year suspension from coaching.
•San Marcos City Council agreed to eliminate late fees for San Marcos Public Library (SMPL) materials during its Oct. 3 meeting.
Council approved eliminating city library fees on the second of two readings after receiving a letter from the SMPL Board.
On May 23, 2022, the board issued a letter to Mayor Hughson and members of the City Council, asking them to amend the city’s current ordinance regarding library late fees: “Many public libraries have gone fine-free recently and it led us to consider whether fines are consistent with the primary mission of libraries — to serve the public and provide for their educational, informational, and entertainment meetings,” the letter reads. “It is our opinion that creating a fine-free environment would improve the customer service interactions, increase the number of active cardholders, and welcome customers who may become disenfranchised.”
According to the letter, the library collects about $10,000 a year in fines, which represents .25% of the library budget. In the view of the board, maintaining the late fee policy disproportionately affects “communities that have income insecurity or individuals with low incomes” and “exacerbate[s] the wealth gap” faced by people of color.
“Late fees add up and become insurmountable for some families when forced to choose the fee or paying for basic necessities,” the letter concludes. “Looking through a ‘lens of equity,’ we would respectfully ask that the city council direct our library staff to initiate a fine-free policy for the betterment of our community.”
•A San Marcos police officer resigned from the San Marcos Police Department and was then arrested. Kyle Lobo voluntarily resigned on Oct. 6 and was arrested by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office on charges for continuous violence against the family and injury to a child.
HCSO notified SMPD of criminal accusations made against Lobo related to family violence on Monday, Oct. 3, the City of San Marcos said in a news release. Lobo was immediately placed on administrative leave and SMPD began a concurrent investigation while HCSO conducted an independent criminal investigation.
•A crowd gathered around the alley south of the Hays County Historic Courthouse on Oct. 19 to celebrate its renaming.
The alleyway is now named Boyhood Alley in tribute to director Richard Linklater’s film “Boyhood,” which filmed scenes in that same alley and across San Marcos.
Renaming the alley after “Boyhood” was originally proposed by Lost River Film Fest in partnership with Judge Ruben Becerra’s office. The idea was then brought up to the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau.
Above, a crowd gathered to unveil a new sign marking "Boyhood Alley" on Oct. 19. The unnamed alley south of the Hays County Historic Courthouse and adjacent to The Marc was recently renamed to honor director Richard Linklater's film, "Boyhood," which filmed scenes in the alley and across San Marcos. Daily Record photo by Nick Castillo
The name proposal received unanimous support from several groups, including SMCVB; John Fleming, Dean of the College of Fine Arts & Communications at Texas State University; the Downtown Association; the Office of Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra. The San Marcos City Council voted 6-1 on Sept. 20 to designate the unnamed alley alongside The Marc as “Boyhood Alley.”
Boyhood Alley is the backdrop in a scene from the film where friend Jill (Evie Thompson) reveals to protagonist Mason (Ellar Coltrane) one of his schoolmates has a crush on him.
“Thank you to the City of San Marcos, It's a real honor to have the ally named after our film,” said Cathleen Sutherland, a producer of the film. “As you heard, it took a long time in the making. It was very well received and you know, San Marcos played a role, the City of San Marcos had its role in the film and the development of the character … It's just, it's really nice to be honored in this way.”
•The San Marcos High School marching band enjoyed a successful season, which included earning straight ones — the highest rating a marching band can receive — at the UIL Region 12 Marching Contest for the first time since 2014. The band has also received multiple first place awards throughout the year. They earned first place in their division at the Capital City Marching Festival as well as best percussion and best color guard. The band also won first place at the Seguin Marching Festival and Comal Classic Marching Contest. The marching band’s season concluded at the UIL Area D marching contest.
•A petition to repeal the meet and confer contract between the City of San Marcos and San Marcos Police Officers’ Association was turned into the San Marcos City Clerk’s office on Nov. 2.
Mano Amiga began making the push to repeal the approved meet and confer contract after the city and SMPOA didn’t consider the Hartman Reforms, which call for an end to the 180-day rule — the statute of limitations for investigating wrongdoing by officers. Mano Amiga, along with Pamela Watts — whose life-partner Jennifer Miller was killed in a vehicle collision caused by former SMPD Sgt. Ryan Hartman, while he was off-duty in Lockhart on June 10, 2020 — called for the “Hartman Reforms” on June 10, 2022
The reforms also called for an end of delaying interviews for misconduct, officers are allowed more than 48 hours to before giving an official statement; public transparency for personnel files; an end to third-party arbitration; and end vacation forfeiture as a substitute to suspension.
The Meet and Confer process is defined in legislative statute under Texas local government code chapter 142 where cities are allowed to meet with police and fire departments to come to a consensus on ways to modify state law to meet the needs of local entities. According to the city’s policy, meet and confer allows the city and the police and fire associations an opportunity to understand each other’s interests and come to an agreement on employment issues.
•A decision over whether to amend the name of a historic local building is now in the hands of the San Marcos City Council. On Nov. 2, the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) passed Recommendation Resolution 2022-02RR, 4-3, amending the name and narrative of the Charles S. Cock House to reflect its connection to William “Doc” Burleson, an African-American man who preserved the house for 30 years.
•Nov. 8 marked an election day. San Marcos voters overwhelmingly supported Proposition A, which will end low-level marijuana possession enforcement by the San Marcos Police Department.
Nearly 82% of San Marcos voters cast their ballot in favor of the proposition — 15,655 for Proposition A and 3,475 voting against the measure.
San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson was voted to a third term. She claimed 62.76% of the vote, winning re-election with 11,101 votes to challenger and former Mayor John Thomaides’ 6,587.
Matthew Mendoza and Saul Gonzales were elected to the San Marcos City Council. For Gonzales, Tuesday’s result marked his re-election to a third term to San Marcos City Council Place 2. Mendoza, a city Planning and Zoning Commissioner, was elected to San Marcos City Council, Place 1, winning the position over incumbent Maxfield Baker.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra was re-elected, edging out Mark Jones by a mere 775 votes.
With 53.06% of the vote, Democratic candidate Kelly Higgins defeated Republican challenger David Puryear, flipping the Criminal District Attorney’s seat formerly held by Republican Wes Mau.
Michelle Cohen (D-Pct.2) secured Jones’ vacant seat in Precinct 2 a runaway victory against Mike Gonzalez by a vote of 60.81 to 39.19%. Commissioner Walt Smith (R-Pct. 4) was also up for reelection and held onto his seat,
•Starplex — a San Marcos mainstay before it closed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 — was demolished in November.
The old Starplex location is a 12.75 acre site with the movie theater taking up 45,247 square feet. The new apartment complex will be built at 1250 Wonder World Drive.
Above, Starplex — a movie theatre in San Marcos that closed in 2020 — was demolished in November. An apartment complex is set to be built at 1250 Wonder World Drive. Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Daniel Campbell, Managing Director at Long View Equity, LLC, stated that the development would not be “by-the-bed student housing,” rather it would include a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments and townhomes.
The original conceptual site plan included 10 buildings with 104 one-bedroom; one bath units at 630 square feet; 88 one-bedroom units at 756 square feet; 38 two bedroom, two bath units at 1,101 square feet; 56 two-bedroom, two bathroom units at 1,205 square feet; 11 three bedroom, two bath units at 1,446 square feet; and five two bedroom, two bath units at 1,233. The complex would also include 449 parking spaces, pool court, cabana and dog park.
•The Hays County Commissioners Court officially approved a five-year contract with Neighborhood Defender Services, Inc. to provide indigent defense in Hays County. The vote sailed through Commissioners Court on Nov. 22, making Hays County the 65th county in Texas to be served by a Public Defenders Office.
“I want to thank everybody for their patience during this,” Commissioner Lon Shell said. “This has been a lot of work. We obviously still have a lot of work to do to get this up and running. I know NDS is very excited about hiring folks and put[ting] them in place in the county, [and] I believe they’ll be a great partner.”
•Texas State parted ways with head football coach Jake Spavital on Nov. 27 after four years with the Bobcats. Spavital’s overall record at Texas State was 13-35 including a 4-8 finish in his final season with the team.
•Texas State wasted no time on its search for a new football coach as the Bobcats have hired University of Incarnate Word Head Coach G.J. Kinne to take over the program.
Kinne took over the Cardinals during the 2021 season and led the team to its third conference championship, a 10-1 overall record, and a national seed in the 2022 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs.
•Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau asked for an opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s Office regarding the recently enacted marijuana ordinance in San Marcos in December.
Mau questioned whether the ordinance, which eliminates low-level marijuana possession enforcement by the San Marcos Police Department, is void because it is preempted by state law.
“Based on the ordinance’s enactment, the following questions are raised: First, is the ordinance preempted by the laws of the State of Texas criminalizing the possession and delivery of marijuana?” Mau wrote in a letter sent to the Office of the Attorney General. “Second, if the ordinance is void due to preemption, does it expose the city to potential legal action, particularly with respect to potential discipline of San Marcos police officers unwilling to comply with an unlawful ordinance?”
The ordinance was enacted on Nov. 17 after voters unanimously approved of it during the Nov. 8 election.
•An inmate receiving medical treatment at Ascension Seton Hays in Kyle was fatally shot by a Hays County correction officer after they attempted to escape.
The Hays County Sheriff’s Office said the correction officer was guarding Joshua Leon Wright, 36, as he received medical treatment on Dec. 12 when Wright allegedly assaulted the officer and began to flee. The officer chased Wright through the emergency room. HCSO stated that the officer discharged his firearm, striking Wright. Medical staff immediately began administering life-saving measures, but Wright died.
Following the incident, Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas Executive Director Charley Wilkison said on social media that Wright allegedly grabbed sharp medical instruments and began running toward hospital staff and civilians. But Wilkison later edited the statement to say he moved toward sharp medical instruments rather than grabbed the medical instruments.
Ruben Becerra issued a statement on Dec. 13 asking for the Hays County Sheriff’s Office to provide “urgent answers.” Becerra asked the video documentation of the incident to be made available by Friday, Dec. 22.
HCSO has yet to release the video documentation. There is no timeline for its release, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Texas Rangers are investigating the matter.
•Three Tejano legends were honored with a mural painted to recognize their legacy in the community and their work for the American GI Forum of San Marcos Men’s Chapter (SMGIF).
Family, friends and SMGIF members gathered on Dec. 10 to dedicate the new mural painted in honor of founding members Augustin Lucio Jr., Celestino Mendez Jr., and Ruben Ruiz Sr.
“This mural is dedicated to honor the founders of the San Marcos men’s chapter, ensuring that the early leaders of the local veterans organization will never be forgotten,” SMGIF Chairman Jesse Sanchez said. “This mural dedication will serve as a commemoration of a collective history, recognizing outstanding individuals that stood before us in the fight to make San Marcos a more culturally diverse community and to improve the conditions for all citizens.”
Family, friends and American GI Forum of San Marcos Men’s Chapter members gathered Saturday to dedicate the new mural painted in honor of founding members Augustin Lucio Jr., Celestino Mendez Jr., and Ruben Ruiz Sr. Above, a dedication attendee looks at the newly unveiled mural. Daily Record photo by Nick Castillo
The mural painted on one of SMGIF’s buildings at 417 South Mitchell St. was partially funded by the City of San Marcos, Arts Commission Community Art & Diversity Grant.
•The petition seeking a repeal of the meet and confer agreement between the City of San Marcos and the San Marcos Police Officers' Association was certified by the San Marcos City Clerk. Mano Amiga Safety and campaign counsel Andrew Cates turned in 1,294 signatures to the San Marcos City Clerk on Nov. 2.
“The community members who signed our petition are demanding police accountability and transparency; they want, at the very least, for officers to be held to a standard equal to the rest of us. We now call on city council to honor this petition by repealing the Meet & Confer Contract and to begin renegotiations immediately — this time including all [five] Hartman Reforms — rather than wasting time and resources on an unnecessary May election” Mano Amiga Safety Communications Director Sam Benavides said.
•San Marcos police fatally shot former San Marcos Police Department officer Kyle Lobo who allegedly drew a handgun on officers as they responded to a disturbance at a local apartment early Christmas morning.
SMPD was dispatched to a reported disturbance at The Grand at Stonecreek apartments, 490 Barnes Dr., on Dec. 25 at approximately 12:12 a.m. Officials said a caller reported a man identified as Kyle Lobo, 36, had been drinking and was armed with a gun.
Lobo assaulted an occupant of the apartment, according to the caller. Police found Lobo outside of the apartment when they arrived with a child in his arms, officials said.
Lobo proceeded to hand the child to the female caller then drew his handgun. Officers then shot him, officials stated. Lobo was transported to Ascension Seton Hays in Kyle where he was later pronounced dead.
Lobo was previously an SMPD officer but resigned from the department in October after criminal accusations were made against him related to family violence.
The Texas Rangers were called to the scene on Dec. 25 and will investigate the shooting. Officials said SMPD’s Criminal Investigations Department and the Office of Professional Conduct will also investigate.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pursuant to SMPD policy.
Additional reporting by Zoe Gottlieb