Axios San Antonio

Newsletter branding image

🎊 Good morning, it's Tuesday! Fiesta is less than a month away — let the countdown begin.

Today's weather: The cold front continues. Partly sunny and a high near 60.

🔂 Sounds like: "Ya Superame" by Grupo Firme

☀️ It's a great day to contribute to our newsroom by becoming an Axios Local member.

Today's newsletter is 936 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Audit says ACS not monitoring rescues

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

San Antonio's Animal Care Services is not adequately checking the safety, outcome and sterilization status of animals after they leave city custody and go to rescue organizations, a new city audit found.

Why it matters: ACS recently put more money toward growing contracts with rescue groups, the goal being to prevent the city from euthanizing animals it doesn't have room to shelter.

How it works: The city contracts with rescue organizations and pays them for each animal they take from ACS custody.

  • Without the right paperwork to back up the contracts, ACS risks working with unqualified organizations, per the audit.

What they're saying: ACS is not sending unsterilized animals out into the community — but needs to do a better job of tracking the paperwork of spay and neuter surgeries from rescue groups, Shannon Oster-Gabrielson, assistant to the director at ACS, tells Axios.

  • Some animals may leave ACS care unsterilized if they are too young for the surgery or have medical problems, but Oster-Gabrielson believes the rescue groups are performing the surgeries.

Plus, the audit found ACS was not conducting inspections of all the rescue groups to ensure they met the city's standard of care for animals.

  • ACS has already begun a plan to inspect rescue groups regularly in response to the audit, Oster-Gabrielson says, adding that inspections are new to the field in recent years.

Reality check: San Antonio Pets Alive, which contracts with the city, says each adoption includes a spay or neuter surgery.

The big picture: The rate at which ACS euthanized animals skyrocketed last year as the number of pets in the city's care increased and adoptions dropped.

The latest: Animal Care Services' live release rate was about 85% as of Friday, showing improvement from last fall's low, ACS spokesperson Lisa Norwood tells Axios.

Read more

2. 👀 Cheers to probiotics

Fermentería's drink lineup. Photo: Courtesy of Giant Noise Partners

Hard water kefir is joining the mix of bar offerings in San Antonio. If you haven't heard of it, it's because it's a newcomer in the industry.

Catch up quick: Jade Sheppard recently opened Fermentería at 2243 E. Commerce Street, offering an array of alcoholic and nonalcoholic water kefir on tap or by the bottle.

How it works: Kefir, like kombucha, is a fermented probiotic drink. Alcohol is naturally produced in the fermentation process.

  • While most producers halt fermentation at a lower alcohol concentration, Sheppard's process continues until it reaches 5% alcohol.
  • It naturally has hundreds of strains of probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. No sugars or alcohol are added.
  • Sheppard says it offers a buzz without the hangover.

The drinks are flavored with botanicals and natural extracts.

  • Flavors include pineapple lemongrass, brut, hibiscus sangria, paloma, Thai lime coconut (Sheppard's go-to) and orange elderflower.

By the numbers: A 12-ounce can has 100 calories and zero sugar.

What they're saying: "I would definitely encourage anyone who is interested in a light, bubbly, social, euphoric type of alcoholic experience but doesn't want sugar, to try it."

The vibe: Sheppard describes the new taproom as "scrappy," pieced together with secondhand items her team hauled from throughout Central Texas.

  • "It's supposed to give a sense of authenticity, homemade and home-brewed," she says.

What's next: Fermentería will host monthly community events, with the first on April 13.

  • Proceeds from the night will benefit the Thrive Youth Center, a shelter for LGBTQ+ young people.

Share with a friend

3. Inside the Loop

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a crash in San Antonio last month involving a semi-autonomous car left a driver dead. (KENS 5)

🏫 The president of San Antonio College will move into a new districtwide role with Alamo Colleges after her handling of a "Teach-In for Palestine" event drew criticism. (TPR)

👀 As Councilmember Manny Pelaez reaches his term limits, candidates are lining up to represent the Northwest Side in the open race for his District 8 seat, which will be on the ballot in May 2025. (SA Report)

🎙️ Grupo Firme is coming to the Frost Bank Center in May. General admission tickets go on sale at 10am Friday. (Frost Bank Center)

4. Fredericksburg and families

Proximity to Enchanted Rock helped Fredericksburg make the list. Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge via Getty Images

Looking for a family-friendly escape? The top destination in the U.S. to do so is right up the road.

Driving the news: Yelp revealed its list of the Top 10 Family Friendly Travel Destinations in the U.S. today, with Fredericksburg taking the top spot.

  • Pontotoc Vineyard Weingarten, the Pioneer Museum, Wildseed Farms, Enchanted Rock and Clear River Ice Cream are some of the destinations and businesses that stood out for Yelpers.
  • Fredericksburg's "small town charm" with proximity to San Antonio and Austin also distinguished it, according to Yelp.

What they did: Yelp created the list by narrowing down the places where searches for "family friendly" saw significant increases.

Zoom out: Other spots on the list include Napa, California, Breckenridge, Colorado, and Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Sponsored job listings

Take your career to the next level

💼 Check out who's hiring on our Job Board.

  1. Service Coordinator 1 at Convergient.
  2. Director of Data at Tailscale.
  3. Director of Communications at Writer.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. 📸 S.A. snapshots: Mural honors migrants

Find this mural at Mission County Park on the South Side. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

👋 Megan here. On my recent amble along the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River, I stopped to see a new mural at Mission County Park.

Zoom in: The mural honors the 53 immigrants who died in 2022 in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer found on the South Side.

What they're saying: "We spent many hours doing research on the migrant experience," De La Cruz said recently when unveiling the mural.

  • "We wanted just the memory of the struggle of coming over here, of sacrificing everything for a better future," Rivas said.
  • The monarchs represent immigration as a natural process, De la Tierra said.

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

🥳 Madalyn is happy to see that TJ's Hamburgers is back in business.

😋 Megan can't wait to try Blue Bell's new ice cream flavor, gooey butter cake, an homage to a favorite dessert of her hometown St. Louis.