Friday, December 20, 2013

A Laredo Christmas Story

Shiny lights and cash registers often grab our attention during the holidays. One little girl knew the war put Santa in a tricky circumstance so he might not be able to deliver the toys she wanted.

Even though the toys were calling her name, the little girl got the best gift of all that year: a prayer.

Yvette Benavides tells the story as written by her mother, Luisa, of "A Laredo Christmas Story."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Van de Putte Making History

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, made it official on Saturday: she's running for the most powerful job in Texas politics.

The San Antonio native will join Sen. Wendy Davis, a Ft. Worth Democrat, in completing the top two elected statewide positions. Davis announced her bid for Governor in October after widespread anticipation that the lawmaker would take a leap of faith for the position following an 11-hour filibuster on a restrictive abortion law that catapulted her to national stardom. 

Together, Van de Putte and Davis are making history as the first two women to run a campaign for Governor and Lt. Governor.

Van de Putte's announcement itself came after anticipation and speculation. She'd delayed an announcement after personal tragedies that included that death of her father in an automobile accident in San Antonio, and the sudden death of her infant grandson. Similarly, Davis had delayed her announcement because of her ailing father who passed away.

Van de Putte delivered her announcement to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters, family and friends at San Antonio College. She criticized Republicans on multiple fronts, from healthcare to education.

"Texas is investing less in our school children than almost any other state," she said. "It's by no coincidence that we're the last in the nation in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma. Don't you think Texans deserve better than that?"

That question became a theme throughout her speech as she demanded a better future for people and children of Texas. She promised as Lieutenant Governor that she'd be there for families and for women, who she said are under attack from the current conservative leadership.

"Texas families deserve better that they've been getting," said the veteran lawmaker. "Texas can do better than this and that's why I announce that I'll ask the people of Texas to hire me as their next Lieutenant Governor." The crowd cheered wildly.

Following her announcement, Van de Putte met up with Davis in Austin for their first appearance together as candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will face each other in the Republican primaries for the job early next year.

The San Antonian

I'm about to do something I hate. I'm about to write that obligatory "I've been away for so long and now this blog is back" post.

Well, I guess that's what this is. Even though, this blog used to be called The Austin Citysphere. It was a huge project that I had when I lived and worked in Austin. To tell you the truth, it originally started out as an outlet for reporting when I wasn't officially reporting. We'd just moved from Sherman and while I was working behind the scenes at a local Austin TV station, I didn't quite have that reporting role. But I did online, and let me tell you it was a blast. Even when I moved over to another local Austin TV station, I continued to make the Citysphere a big part of my life. I even podcasted on Blog Talk Radio.

You will notice many, many posts from days of The Austin Citysphere, including a feature series I did on the best burgers in Austin. I did video and everything. I did finally sell the video camera I used. Technology has come a long way and so I'm sure I already have better gear in the palm of my hand now than I did in an entire video camera back then.

I also just found out after trying to discover some of my old files that my trusty FileDen has gone wayward into the abyss of the cyber black hole. Here's how I feel right now: :\ This is the second site in my "blogging" career to do so. And it really makes me sad. I guess all my old files are gone, which means if you stumble upon any of my old audio stories, they will be missing. I doubt I have all of them backed up. Several years ago, another really great site (the name eludes me on this late evening but I'm sure it'll come to me) packed its bags and left town with all my files on its servers. When will I learn?

I'm currently searching for a new way to store my audio. I'm a big fan of SoundCloud, but I'm at the point now where the service wants me to pay because I've used all my free storage up. I guess that is the problem with all these former sites. I never paid -- no one ever paid -- and now they're gone.
In any event, I will find a great hosting service, I'm sure I will arrive at the decision to pay for it so I can trust my files will be kept safe and ready for playing at a moment's notice should you find yourself restless some night and feel the need to hear one of my stories to either make you sleepy once more or to satisfy your insatiable curiosity for life in the Alamo City. The latter, I'm sure, will be the case.

Thanks for reading this oft-stated kind of regret or guilt or shame for not blogging in so long and now a new sense of hope and renewal and excitement for yet another round of blogging fun. One more bit of honesty:
The San Antonian site I registered for automatically renewed itself, charged me the $10 per year I'm charged to have it, and I'd been browsing the internet endlessly for a design I could be happy with. Finally, the first one I looked at tonight was perfect for it is stylish, manageable, and Blogger has all of my old stuff so while I looked at migrating to WordPress or the like, home is here and here I shall stay.

One note about my new format (The Austin Citysphere was really awful to update although I really loved the layout): this will feature some pictures at the top that really don't have any story relevance, or it may at times, and then the rest of the news-audio-feature type stuff will follow in the posts below.
Thanks for being here and if you've made it this far into the post, I congratulate you. Please return, often!