Issue #8 Fall 2012

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Oct. 31, 2012


  • St. Edwards Universitys creative research center, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, held a volunteer work day that gave students an oppor-tunity to help maintain the park's trails for visitors.

    Four volunteers showed up for the Oct. 28 workday, none of whom were St. Edwards students.

    We hold this event once a month, every third Saturday, said Mitch Robinson, land manager and education coor-dinator of the preserve. We

    call it land management. We have issues like putting down fencing and keeping the trails safe. A lot of what weve been doing is picking weeds and non-native species. Weve also been dealing with trying to appease our neighbors and get them to understand what were doing here.

    Nature preserves in Aus-tin like Wild Basin face a struggle to preserve native plants like Texas Live Oak and Spanish Oak, especially with an influx of non-native species.

    Were at a confluence of different ecosystems, Rob-

    inson said. What happens is that if you have deer eating natural species, then non-native species have no preda-tors. This is a big part of our time here, to encourage our neighbors to plant native spe-cies.

    Robinson has made an ef-fort to encourage volunteers to aid Wild Basin in perform-ing management duties.

    Part of the problem is that we dont have enough staff, Robinson said. We have about 30 staff members for 30,000 square feet.

    Despite that, Wild Basin

    HILLTOP VIEWSSt. Edwards University Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Volume 32 Issue 8

    9 | LIFE & ARTSTheres no better time than Halloween other than orientation to recount local legends behind hauntings on campus.

    The mens club soccer team advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in the history of the club.

    Hurricane Sandy slams the East Coast and presidential candidates continue to stay tight-lipped about climate change.


    Food trailers on South Congress Avenue may not belong to SoCo much longer. The popular mobile eateries are facing lease terminations intended to make way for hotel construction by March 2013.

    However, these Austin staples will continue to be open for business and are looking for places to relocate.

    The food trailers seem to be head-ing in separate directions, but they all intend to stay open and continue serving food to the Aus-tin community.

    Chris Ruiz, the chef at Mighty Cone, said they have been looking at several locations, one in par-ticular in East Austin.

    Its going to affect all of us,

    Ruiz said when asked how he felt the food trailers lease terminations would impact the SoCo community. Its going to take away from the atmosphere of being able to

    eat outside and share expe-riences with out-of-towners that visit the food trucks on South Congress. They come back every year because they know where we are, especially around events like ACL.

    The Hey Cupcake! trailer, which is owned by St. Ed-wards University alumnus Wes Hurt, has not yet publi-cized plans for relocation, but will release information on



    Food trailer park lease to expire, some vendors forced to move

    Preserve hosts events for students, community

    Photo by Emily BlasdellWild Basin Wilderness Preserve provides a resource for classes across multiple disciplines.

    Its going to take away from the atmosphere...

    -Jamie Rice, Fry Baby owner


    TRAILER | 2Photo by Shannon Wilson

    Vendors like The Mighty Cone might have to relocate in 2013.


    With the Austin City Lim-its Music Festival (ACL) moving to a two week for-mat next year, organizers and parks officials say they are prepared to tackle whatever challenges lie ahead and uti-lize all the current strategies for cleaning up and refurbish-ing the Zilker Park lawn.

    But while the festival may use "green" initiatives to re-duce environmental impact during and after the festival, some say the water usage the festival requires could be harmful to the springs and, at the very least, to the festival-goers.

    The festival grounds on the Zilker Great Lawn take a beating every year when over 70,000 music lovers descend upon the park. Af-ter the weekend, the Austin Parks & Recreation Depart-ment shuts down the lawn for maintenance, re-sodding, watering and trash pick-up.

    ACL devotees will remem-ber the 2009 festival, when the lawn was completely re-vamped because of an abun-dance of rain that left the grounds a mess. But Victor Ovalle of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department said that C3 Presents, the festival's organizers, has more than made up for the damage.

    "Since 2006, [C3 Presents] contributed $6 million," Ovalle said. "C3 also reim-burses the city for repairs and post-event maintenance."

    Next year, when the festival moves to a two weekend for-mat, both Parks and Recre-ation and C3 Presents plan to continue the current system but will also focus more on renovating and watering dur-ing the week off, in prepara-tion for the second weekend of music, Ovalle said.

    "General trash pick-up is

    managed throughout the weekend and after the festival by the employees," Sandee Fenton of C3 Presents said. "Weather will also be a deter-mining factor, and we won't know the impact of weather conditions until next Octo-ber."

    Ovalle said that Parks and Recreation em-ployees will wa-ter after each night from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. Ovalle added that employees use raw water, which costs the city and Austi-nites consider-ably less, instead of treated water, which the parks department used in previous years.

    "When you [water] at home, you're hooked up to the city's water system," Oval-le said. "The pump doesn't use water from that system, it uses raw water."

    Charles Porter, a history professor at St. Edward's University and water rights expert, agreed with Ovalle the process does save money. But the maintenance follow-ing the festival often requires

    Dillo Dirt, Porter said. The fertilizer, which has been manufactured by the City of Austin since 1989, contains trace elements of reprocessed municipal sewage and yard trimmings, according to the Austin Water Utility's web-site.

    "I always ask my students,

    'Do you realize what youre splashing around in out there at ACL?' Porter said. "I'm not saying that [it] shouldn't be used in that situation, but I think they should be aware of what you're in."

    Porter's advice to students who attend the festival: throw away your shoes. The bacteria soaks into the shoes and is hard to get out, Porter said.

    Besides potential fecal co-

    liform risks, Porter said the festival's extension could add additional stress on the lawn, leading to further use of Dillo Dirt and, more importantly, water. Porter said the popula-tion boom in Central Texas will lead to further examina-tion of water conservation strategies by both the city and the state as a whole, but the water required to water Zilker is a drop in the bucket, comparatively.

    Porter reckons that one inch of water on one acre totals approximately 27,154 gallons. With that in mind, the Zilker lawn, at 46 acres, would require just over 1 mil-lion gallons, 36 times less raw water than the city diverts from Lady Bird Lake every year, according to Lower Col-orado River Authority's raw water supply records.

    Still, it was not the water use that concerned Porter but the potential impact on Lady Bird Lake.

    "I think it's more of a worry of where that water is going when it drools back into the lake carrying Dillo Dirt," Por-ter said. "When it runs off, it soaks in the ground, it runs somewhere. So it's either Dil-lo Dirt or fertilizer."

    Photo by Renee CornueThe Austin City Limits Music Festival uses large amounts of water to rejuvenate the grounds.

    Festival presents sanitation, water issuesAndrew

    ...its more of a worry of where that water is going... When it runs off, it soaks in the ground, it runs somewhere.-Charles Porter, professor of history and water rights expert

    the trailers Facebook page.Other food trailers cur-

    rently located on South Congress, such as Fry Baby, are unsure about where they see themselves in a couple of months.

    I dont know yet, Fry Baby owner Jamie Rice said. Weve known for a year that theyre kicking us out, but maybe itll fall through again.

    The food trailers are locat-ed in the middle of South Congress and feature long lines of customers most days of the week. They have become a SoCo landmark and a go-to eating place for St. Edwards students, Aus-tinites and tourists alike.

    Thai food, cupcakes, fried pickles, Indian dosas, snow cones, gyros, sub sandwich-es and fish and chips are just some types of food that can be found in the SoCo food trailers. Their variety and style make the food trailers an appealing concept that

    carries out the Keep Aus-tin Weird maxim.

    Junior Jordan Schmid is disappointed that the iconic South Austin trailer park may be forced to move from the current location.

    Its upsetting because I think the trailers really represent this sort of area of South Austin. Theyve been there for a long time, Schmid said. I feel like get-ting rid of them would kind of ruin South Congress.

    Some trailers are already thinking about the future and looking for a new place to call home, but many do not have a new location yet. Even though the trail-ers may have to leave South Congress, they will not be disappearing for good.

    We know its going to happen, Ruiz said. We cant prevent it. But we have strong followers, and our people will follow us wher-ever we go. Well stay close. Maybe well just start keep-ing Austin weird on the east side.

    Continued from page 1

    Trailer restaurants driven to relocate

    Photo by Shannon WilsonNomad Dosa is a food trailer located on South Congress.


    has managed.To continue this track re-

    cord, Robinson encourages St. Edwards students to lend a hand at Wild Basin, and states that it can be a valuable learning experience.

    Its a good opportunity to see what managing a preserve system is like. A lot of people buy all the development [the preserve land] and then they think theyve won. Its a big issue. This place wouldnt run without volunteers, Robin-son said. You can not only do a good deed, but youd be surprised on how much you can learn from two to three hours on the trail. I consider

    some of these people my fam-ily. Its interesting to see even if you dont have a science background.

    John Barr is one of the volunteers who helped out during the work day. He con-siders the volunteering expe-rience a valuable one.

    One [benefit of working at the basin] is you get to know a place. When you walk the trails, you only get to know a little bit about it. But when you volunteer, you get a deep-er understanding. Volunteer-ing has started a process that helped me learn about the Hill Country. I started volun-teering here, and all of a sud-den, I started taking classes, Barr said.

    Barr is now a regular volun-teer at the basin.

    Volunteering is only one of the activities that the Basin involves itself in, however.

    I always try something new, Robinson said.

    Such activities include guided and unguided hikes. Barr leads hikes every sec-ond Saturday. Stargazing and moonlight hikes are other ac-tivities.

    Wild Basin also hosts events for groups such as the Native Plant Society and the Girl Scouts of America.

    Wild Basin is also involved in environmental education, one such effort being collab-orative courses with ACC that reach out to high-risk

    upper elementary to middle school youth.

    Casie Parish-Fisher, profes-sor of forensic science at St. Edwards, helps to teach these classes at the Basin.

    Wild Basin is a great place to bring kids to get them out of the city. They can enjoy nature and learn about recy-cling and reusing to help pre-serve our environment, Fish-er said. Its really important to go out to Wild Basin and volunteer whether its with a childrens group, girl scouts or just to volunteer to help clean up. Its a great place to enjoy nature and to give back to the community without going too far from home.

    The preserve is located on

    the east side of Loop 360 at 805 North Capital of Texas Highway. The turn is about one mile north of Bee Cave

    Road. The offices are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the trail is available for hiking from morning to sunset.

    Continued from page 1

    Wild Basin preserve offers volunteer, education opportunities

    POLICE BLOTTERDate Time Incident Location Resolution

    Oct. 1 1:55 p.m. Theft $50-500 Moody Hall Closed

    Oct. 7 3:20 a.m. Minor alcohol consumption East Hall parking lot Closed

    Oct. 11 3:35 a.m. Graffitti Ragsdale Closed

    Oct. 5 3:17 a.m. Criminal trespass warning Parking garage Closed

    Oct. 8 3:26 a.m. Burglary Basil Moreau Hall Closed

    Oct. 12 3:38 a.m. Graffitti Woodward Closed

    Oct. 16 11:29 a.m. Theft $500-1500 Dujari Hall Closed

    Oct. 22 3:54 a.m. Criminal trespass Library Closed

    Oct. 1 10:56 a.m. Theft $50-500 Casa Closed

    Oct. 5 3:18 a.m. Abandoned vehicle/property Woods behind East Closed

    Oct. 11 3:33 a.m. Theft < $50 Holy Cross Hall Closed

    Oct. 4 3:16 a.m. Burglary Johnson Hall Closed

    Oct. 7 3:21 a.m. Driving while intoxicated n/a Closed

    Oct. 12 3:36 a.m. Verbal altercation Apartments Closed

    Oct. 14 3:18 a.m. Driving while intoxicated Visitor parking lot Closed

    Oct. 22 2:42 p.m. Assault Physical Plant parking lot Closed

    Oct. 23 2:37 p.m. Accident Premont parking lot Closed


    Hilltop Views typically publishes a bimonthly po-lice blotter. The events in the blotter are recorded from events listed in the crime log made available to the public by the St. Edwards University Police Department (UPD).

    However, this weeks crime log is only the second blotter to be published this semester.

    Under the Clery Act, pub-lic and private institutions that receive federal financial funds are legally obligated to keep a daily crime log and update it for the public.

    UPDs crime log is avail-able to the public in a folder in the UPD office. This folder contains a chrono-logical log and description of all events involving UPD

    on and around campus. The log is normally kept up-to-date, and Hilltop Views publishes the police blotter every other week to chron-icle such happenings.

    Since the beginning of the semester, Hilltop Views has been checking these public records for use in the blot-ter. However, until Oct. 26, the crime log folder was only updated with incidents through the month of Sep-tember.

    Chief of Police Rudolph Rendon said the crime logs were available online during this time.

    For the remainder of the semester, Hilltop Views will continue to check and run the police blotter every other week in both the print and online edition.

    The Police Blotter returns on paper

    Photo by Emily BlasdellWild Basin hosts events and classes throughout the year.


    Her room has posters from popular movies tacked to the walls. Papers and books are balanced on her desk. Over her door hangs a sing...