Axios San Antonio

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⚾ Hello Wednesday, step on up to the plate! A new month is here.

Today's weather: Windy, with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. High of 84.

πŸͺ‡ Sounds like: "Chips and salsa," by Steve Oliver

πŸ“± Situational awareness: Bexar County is warning residents about a scam in which callers tell people they missed jury duty and owe $2,000 to $4,000 in fines.

  • You will not be contacted by phone if you fail to appear for jury duty.

Today's newsletter is 914 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: What's on the May 4 ballot

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

Election Day is Saturday.

Why it matters: It's expected to be a low-turnout election, although the results will impact school board politics and the property tax protest process.

The latest: In Bexar County, voters for the first time will elect three board positions for the Bexar County Appraisal District. The board hires the chief appraiser, sets the budget and appoints appraisal review board members.

Context: The change comes after lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2 last year, approved by voters in the fall, creating three elected board seats in counties with populations over 75,000. It's aimed at increasing accountability.

Zoom in: Nine candidates are on the ballot for the three at-large seats in Bexar County. They include several real estate agents and also people with backgrounds in local Republican politics, per the San Antonio Report.

Reality check: "We're not sure yet how or what we're really going to be able to do," Mel Bayne, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot running for Place 3, told the San Antonio Report. "We still have to work with the unelected board members."

In North East ISD, conservative politics are roiling school board elections.

One of the NEISD candidates, Jacqueline Klein, was detained by San Antonio police last year after a public intoxication incident in which she cursed at an Uber driver, KSAT reported.

What's next: Voters can visit any polling site in Bexar County on Election Day from 7am to 7pm.

  • Find locations, and a generic sample ballot, online.

Tell a voter

2. πŸ“š The end of a chapter

Empty shelves stand alongside some still-full shelves at the Half Price Books location on Broadway ahead of the store's closing. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

Half Price Books will close its Broadway store by Brackenridge Park on Sunday after 45 years at the site.

Why it matters: The location, beloved by and iconic to many locals, is the chain's only store inside Loop 410 β€” with all other stores on the North or Northwest Side.

Catch up quick: A developer bought the site, and the company did not reach an agreement on the lease with the new owner, store manager Anthony Velasquez tells Axios.

Zoom in: The Broadway store is unique and quirky compared to other Half Price Books locations, says Velasquez, who has worked at the site since 2015 and for the company since 1999.

  • "It has a nice old-school feel to it, it's an old house almost," he says.

State of play: The store is already largely emptied, and the upstairs is closed to customers.

πŸ’­ Megan's thought bubble: I'm really going to miss this location, for both its quirks and its proximity to downtown.

  • I always enjoyed the cats in the parking lot out back, the old book section and the chance to find a great book that wasn't even on my radar before.
  • The age of the building made it feel more homey β€” less like a chain store in a strip mall and more like a classic used bookstore.

What's next: The company is currently looking for other locations in San Antonio, Velasquez says β€” and it gets a lot of requests for stores on the South Side.

One fun fact

3. Inside the Loop

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

πŸ›‘ The city delivered a cease and desist letter to Bentley's Bar locations on Broadway and Alamo Street, leading the business to close until it improves noise issues that neighbors have long complained about. (MySA)

  • We reported last year that Bentley's was one of several bars to receive a city grant for soundproofing to address neighbors' concerns.

✈️ Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton visited New York yesterday to support former President Trump at his criminal trial. (Express-News πŸ”’)

πŸŽ™οΈ Comedian and actor George Lopez will perform at the Frost Bank Center in August. Tickets go on sale at 10am Friday. (KENS 5)

4. πŸ“ˆ Chart du jour: Texans are having babies later

Share of Texas babies born to mothers in select age&nbspgroups
Data: CDC WONDER; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

A higher percentage of Texas women are having babies in their 30s than they were 25 years ago, per provisional CDC data.

Why it matters: In the last few years, age 35 has gone from the start of "geriatric pregnancy" to potentially a maternal-age sweet spot.

State of play: Teen pregnancies have dropped dramatically in Texas since 1997, from about 16% of pregnancies to 5% last year.

  • Meanwhile, nearly 46% of pregnancies last year had birth mothers in their 30s or older, compared to less than 30% in 1997.

The bottom line: Updated guidelines are considering pregnancy risks in five-year age groups instead of 35 and older.

  • Risks, including miscarriage, increase significantly after age 40, compared to 35.

5. πŸ”Š Your thoughts on free chips and salsa

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

This week, we asked you whether chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants should be free.

  • You overwhelmingly said yes.

What you're saying: "Part of the deal, just like bread and butter at a steakhouse," reader Jay G. says.

  • "It's a tradition and will determine if I patronize a restaurant," reader Bonnie S. says.

Yes, but: One reader said a small bowl of chips and salsa should be free, but charging for refills would be acceptable.

Zoom in: We wrote that the added cost to a restaurant is often baked into other items on the menu, and can actually make customers hungrier β€” convincing them to eat or drink more.

  • But reader Aaron S. pointed out that restaurants aren't exactly going to tell customers all the time if free chips and salsa are accounted for in the price of entrees.

The bottom line: Y'all like your free chips and salsa.

  • Restaurants, take note.

Thanks to our editor Chloe Gonzales and copy editor Steven Patrick.

β˜• Madalyn is checking out The Newstand, a new coffee spot, today.

πŸ‘ Megan is excited to start her next pottery class tonight and keep learning.