Axios San Antonio

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Welcome back. Thanks to George Washington, it's already Tuesday.

Today's weather: Is it still February? Sunny and a high near 77.

🗳️ Situational awareness: Early voting begins today and runs through March 1 in Texas' primary election.

  • Check out the local races of note here.
  • Find early voting locations here.

Today's newsletter is 938 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Expect more trucks on I-35

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Our local interstate could get busier.

Why it matters: I-35, already often with traffic as thick as marshmallow, may see more cross-border trucks inching through town.

  • And with its thin shoulders as it slides through San Antonio, the interstate can feel as nerve-racking as a game of "Frogger."

Driving the news: Mexico has overtaken China as the leading source of goods in the U.S., per new government data.

  • I-35 ends in Laredo, more than 150 miles southwest of San Antonio and the nation's chief inland port of entry.

What they're saying: "All of the big retail customers are ramping up their production in Mexico," Jordan Dewart, president of the shipping firm Redwood Logistics Mexico, recently told Freight Waves, which covers the global freight market.

  • "A lot of that freight on those trailers is headed to Mexico or coming from Mexico," Edward Habe, vice president of Mexico sales for the trucking company Averitt, tells Axios. "We're becoming one is how I look at it."

And with geopolitics increasingly unpredictable, Mexico is a preferable trading partner to China, Alfonso de los Ríos, CEO of Nowports, a digital freight forwarding startup, told Axios in a recent interview.

The big picture: While the U.S.-Mexico relationship is often viewed through the lens of immigration politics, the data clearly show how the U.S. and Mexico have hundreds of billions of reasons to remain on friendly terms, Axios' Javier David writes.

What's next: With the pace of trade increasing, when it comes to I-35 truck traffic, "you haven't seen anything yet," Habe tells Axios.

2. Marking Black history

P.F. Roberts outside of his store and with his wife, Ira, and their child, Henrietta. Photos: Courtesy of UTSA

A new historical marker will honor the place where P.F. Roberts' grocery store, one of San Antonio's first Black-owned businesses, once stood.

What's happening: The University of Texas at San Antonio and Frost Bank are partnering to host an event Thursday at 1:30pm to unveil a Texas Historic Landmark plaque at the site.

  • The original address and building no longer exist, but the marker will be installed at 610 Indianola Street.

Roberts was a community leader, civil rights advocate and founding member of the NAACP San Antonio Chapter.

Flashback: Roberts, whose parents were both enslaved, graduated as the valedictorian from Tougaloo College in Mississippi before moving to San Antonio in 1895, according to UTSA.

  • He taught at Norris Wright Cuney School, in what was once the Baptist Settlement neighborhood.
  • The 10-square-block neighborhood, which was in the area of present-day Lavaca and Labor streets, was one of the first places where free Black people were able to settle in Bexar County.
  • Roberts' business was one of the only grocery stores in the neighborhood.

Roberts befriended Thomas Claiborne "T.C." Frost, founder of Frost Bank, when he moved to San Antonio.

  • The banker is said to have loaned Roberts $2,000 in 1896, to help him with his endeavors, a bold move considering the discrimination at that time.

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3. Inside the Loop

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

An instructional assistant at Brandeis High School died over the weekend, Northside ISD confirmed.

  • He received a head injury earlier this month while assisting a student with severe learning and emotional disabilities. (Express-News 🔒)

Members of Grupo Duelo were hospitalized after a car accident on their way to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo early Sunday.

☕ Southtown staple Brown Coffee Co. will close permanently Feb. 29 after nearly 20 years in business. (SA Current)

4. New nighttime lounge for readers, film lovers

Libros has landed on Hildebrand. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

San Antonio has a new late-night hangout spot for readers, movie lovers and everyone in between.

What's happening: Libros opened late last month near Hildebrand and San Pedro avenues.

  • People who want to read a book, watch a movie or just hang out are welcome, co-owner Simon Guerra tells Axios.
  • Plus: Libros is open 7pm-5am Wednesday through Sunday and 7pm-midnight Monday and Tuesday, so night owls can enjoy each other's company.

Details: The space is free to use, but there's a minimum $5 suggested donation.

  • It's BYO wine.
  • Visitors can check out a book from a small library made up of donations.
A room painted all black with gothic antique furniture.
The interior of Libros is painted all black and decked out with dark, goth-themed furniture and antiques. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

Plus, Libros hosts movie nights with a projector screen on the back patio. Something will be playing in the background most nights.

What they're saying: Readers shouldn't expect a completely silent experience, Guerra says.

Zoom in: Guerra has carefully curated the atmosphere, decorating the place with antiques from local shops like Antiques on Hildebrand and Bruno's Antiques.

  • "This is a dark ambiance. It's got Gothic tones," he says.

💭 Megan's thought bubble: The atmosphere at Libros is perfectly curated to fit a moody vibe. It's a unique space where I can see myself relaxing with a book and some friends.

📍 If you go: 607 W. Hildebrand Avenue.

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5. 📸 S.A. snapshots: Jacob's Well

We're lucky to live in a beautiful area of Texas. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

👋 Megan here. I recently took a weekend trip to Wimberley in the Hill Country, the perfect nearby getaway for our mild winter weather.

Details: While in the area, I stopped by Jacob's Well to get a look at the natural wonder that's taken a hit in our ongoing drought.

  • It's an awe-inspiring view, and I feel like I could stare into the well's depths forever.
  • It's hard not to wonder if the lost city of Atlantis isn't down there somewhere.

Flashback: Typically a popular swimming hole, Jacob's Well closed to swimmers in the summer of 2022 when low water levels made it unsafe for recreation. It remains closed for swimming.

Jacob's Well is seen surrounded by tall rocks.
Jacob's Well looks better than it did last summer but is still not quite "normal" yet. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

Yes, but: Despite a rainy January, the region will need a lot more rain to make swimming safe again and truly lessen the drought.

The bottom line: Even with low water levels and no swimming, Jacob's Well is a magical place to visit for some peace and quiet.

Thanks to our editor Chloe Gonzales and copy editors Steven Patrick and Yasmeen Altaji.

👀 Madalyn is checking out this cool official Spurs-themed Rubik's cube.

😋 Megan is full of Girl Scout cookies. You have until Sunday to grab some.