Justin Hill gets to sit down and talk with some of San Antonio's most fascinating and informed voices on a wide array of topics. The Alamo Hour is the destination podcast for those that want to take a in-depth look at different people, places, events and happenings in San Antonio, Texas. Hosted by local injury attorney, Justin Hill, this podcast is going to dive deep into the city we love so much.
Molly Keck, Bee Keeper, Entomologist and Beekeeping Teacher
One of the most consistent questions we get is about beekeeping. I am a beekeeper and always learning about it. We asked Molly Keck to come on our show and discuss beekeeping. She taught my class and is full of good information.
Justin Hill: Hello and Bienvenido San Antonio. Welcome to The Alamo Hour, discussing the people, places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonion, and keeper of chickens and bees. On The Alamo Hour, you'll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique and the best-kept secret in Texas. We're glad that you're here.
All right, welcome to The Alamo Hour. Today's guest is Molly Keck. Molly is an integrated pest management program specialist with Texas AandM AgriLife Extension. Did I get that right?
Molly Keck: Did. Yes, you did.
Justin: She has a master's in entomology. You and I were at AandM at the same time. I'm '04, but then I went to law school and you stuck around and got your master's in entomology.
Molly: I did.
Justin: She's a professor, adjunct professor. She teaches adult education courses, writes, presents on a wide variety of topics. I saw you do a YouTube video on murder hornets. You taught the beekeeping class that I took at the San Antonio botanical gardens. I wanted to get you on and talk about something that has consistently been one of the most common questions I get since people found out that I keep bees is a bunch of questions about that. I wanted to have you on to talk about it.
Molly: I'm happy to be here.
Justin: Thank you. We had somebody on last week talking about real in-depth media issues about San Antonio's return to work $150 million initiative. This is going to be a much more fun discussion I think.
Justin: I always start it with just some general background information. When and why did you end up in San Antonio?
Molly: I never left San Antonio. I was born here. I'm a San Antonio native. I went to Buena Elementary, Rudder Middle School, and Clark High School. My husband is from San Antonio also. His parents are from San Antonio. My kids are a third-generation San Antonian, probably, actually, more than that because actually, my husband's grandparents were from San Antonio as well and I'm pretty sure his great grandparents. We always joke that we don't know where we came from. We're just Texan. I went off to AandM. That was the only time I left San Antonio. Then because my family and life is here, this is the best place to live. We moved back home.
Justin: I've had a lot of people on the show and most people are like, "Me. I moved here 12 years ago, 13 years ago." A lot of people moving in.
Molly: There are a lot of people moving in, but also if I look at the majority of the people that I went to high school with, maybe 15% left San Antonio and the rest of us came back home. When you're born here and you're from here, you don't really want to leave here.
Justin: It's great, it's great cost of living, people are nice, and it's a great secret place in Texas I think.
Molly: It is. It's also a really, really good family town I think. Also, you get the small-town feel in a big city. It's like everybody knows everybody or it's the Kevin Bacon thing. Eventually, you'll figure out a way that if you meet a stranger, you have some ties somehow.
Justin: When we did our beekeeping class, we did fill [unintelligible 00:03:03] I think that was at your house.
Molly: It was, yes.
Justin: You're in the Northside of San Antonio. You also have chickens. Do you keep any other animals?
Molly: Just pets. The only livestock we have really are chicken and bees. Then other than that, dogs, cats, and a parrot. Yes, dogs, cats, and a parrot.
Justin: How many dogs?
Molly: We have three dogs, we have two cats, and we have one parrot. My dad is a vet. I've never not had a house full of animals. It
Stefan Bowers, Cook, Industry Advocate, and Social Media Must Follow
Stefan Bowers walks us through his career as a cook--not "chef." He discusses the struggles in the industry, the challenges of growing too fast, and his exciting new venture. Stefan is an advocate for his industry workers and a good person who tries hard to build up his colleagues. We had a fun exchange.
Justin: Hello and Bienvenido, San Antonio. Welcome to The Alamo Hour, discussing the people, places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonion, and keeper of chickens and bees. On The Alamo Hour, you'll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique and the best-kept secret in Texas. We're glad that you're here. All right, welcome to The Alamo Hour. Today's guest is Stefan Bowers of the Goodman and Bowers group in San Antonio. Stefan is first and foremost a chef, I think it'd be fair to say, right?
Stefan: Yes, I call myself--
Justin: I don't want to call you an executive or one of those things.
Stefan: Yes, you can call me chef, I'll call myself a cook.
Justin: All right, there you go. Not only that, he's a veteran, a prolific social media poster, which we'll get into in a little bit. I think one of the more interesting things about you that set you apart from whether you like it or not, you're a celebrity chef in this city is you are less about the self-promotion than a lot of our celebrity chefs. You're very big in promoting your industry to the lowest level employee in the restaurant. I think that sets you apart in a lot of ways and that you glorify and you celebrate everybody that's back in the kitchen as opposed to people that are glorifying themselves all the time.
I think that's an interesting part of your persona. I think it's an important part of your persona and I like reading about it. I know that you have a very loyal following, not only from people who love your food, but also people that work with you, it seems like. We're going to have you on to talk a little bit about the food industry. I don't want to belabor the point of what's going on with COVID. Everybody's talking about that ad infinitum, but we're going to talk a little bit about that. I'm going to blame you probably for me putting on about 15 pounds during the shutdown due to your pizza, right? I get the pizza a lot.
Justin: I do this with everybody, I start and I think you're going to have insights that a lot of people would want to know. Just some general questions about who you are in San Antonio, when and why did you end up in San Antonio.
Stefan: I ended up in San Antonio in 2005 via Houston. I moved to Houston in 2003 to go to culinary school, moved there blind. I was living in San Diego with my wife. Believe it or not, San Diego didn't have any culinary schools.
Justin: Is that right?
Stefan: That's right. They had one in, I want to say-- I don't want to say La Mesa, but there wasn't one anywhere local to where I was when I was living in Pacific Beach. All my wife's family's from Texas. She's got one of these cliched giant Texas families. She wanted to move back to be my family, so we moved to Houston. Then I did school there. My wife got in two really bad car accidents while we were in Houston. After the second one, we wanted to get the hell out of there. I was time to go to San Antonio, and that was it, we moved here in 2005.
Justin: What was the school in Houston?
Stefan: It's called the Alain and Marie Lenotre Culinary School. Just small French school, and that's why I picked it. It only had financial aid for GI. It didn't have government financial aid at the time, so of course, classroom size was tiny. There was around three to five people in each class. We even went down to around two people. All Expat type chefs that were there, that were recruited or brought over from France that were there, basically, almost enslaved. They were paid very
Jorge Urby, Campaign Manager of SA Ready to Work and Local Political Heavy Hitter
Ron Nirenberg is committed to retraining and training San Antonio workers for higher paying jobs. To that end, in November, voters can vote on an initiative creating a fund of $150,000,000 to do just that. The campaign manager for this initiative joins us to discuss this campaign and what it can do for the city.
Justin Hill: Hello and Bienvenido San Antonio. Welcome to The Alamo Hour, discussing the people, places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonian, a keeper of chickens, and bees. On The Alamo Hour, you'll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique and the best-kept secret in Texas. We're glad that you're here.
All right. Welcome to The Alamo Hour. Today's guest is Jorge Urby of The Glider Group in San Antonio. Jorge and I have been friends for a while. We actually took a break on The Alamo Hour, so we're getting back on. We've got Jorge on to talk about a few things. He's been tapped by our mayor, Ron Nirenberg, to run a campaign that the Express-News call Build SA, but it's actually been now changed and named to SA: Ready to Work. He is one of the most sought after political consultants and political communications guys in towns of San Antonio. Express called you a heavy hitter. Did you know that Jorge?
Jorge Urby: I heard that. Somebody told me that.
Justin: [laughs] You've worked on Beto O'Rourke's campaign, Julian Castro's presidential campaigns. You're very involved in our city. Thank you for being here.
Jorge: Thank you, Justin. Thank you for doing what you're doing. I think it's a great thing for the community and I just appreciate you having me on your show.
Justin: Yes, it's a new medium and San Antonio is just far behind on things, sometimes technologically. I wanted to be in the front end of this, and I get to interview interesting people. I had the mayor on as well.
Jorge: Nice. Nice.
Justin: I would start and just get a little bit of color commentary on who you are. Just a few questions, background, your thoughts on San Antonio. When and why did you move to San Antonio?
Jorge: Absolutely, man. I'm from Del Rio, Texas originally. My family goes back there many, many generations and loved it, man. I loved growing up in the small town and the small community feel, but as most people when you turn 18, you start to look into wanting to go to college and what that experience is going to be like. I went to school at Texas State and I was there for some years. I always had a kinship with San Antonio, man because I loved the Spurs. I grew up not too far away. We would come up for family vacations or gatherings or something like that. I always knew that I would end up here, but I did bounce around definitely, especially in my 20s and early 30s.
I got involved through the Castro brothers and other people in the community, and I just fell in love with it and the people, so I just thought, "I want to make my life here." I really moved here, I guess it would be late '04, maybe early '05, something like that, and then I did a stint in the Dallas area, Fort Worth area. I lived in DC for a while, Austin and then I came back here.
Justin: What was the DFW run for?
Jorge: When I moved up there the first time, I was working for the mayor of Forth Worth actually. I worked at city hall there and really came to love that city as well, but then I got an opportunity to move to Washington to pursue my master's degree. I got a master's in public administration from American, then I worked at USDA and I worked at HHS.
Justin: Okay. I didn't know that. Your big city was San Antonio. My growing up, big city was Fort Worth. I grew up two hours from Fort Worth. That's where we'd go if we wanted to go to the big malls or one of those things.
Jorge: There's a lot of similarities actually between the two cities that I found. I like
Nico LaHood, Former Bexar County Criminal District Attorney
Nico LaHood was the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney for one term. During his time, the District Attorney's office was changed in many ways with the inclusion of new programs. Outside of his time in elected office, he is a well-known criminal defense trial attorney and now hosts a podcast called R-Rated Christianity. We had a great talk on a broad range of topics.
Justin Hill: Hello and Bienvenido San Antonio. Welcome to the Alamo Hour discussing the people, places and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonian and a keeper of chickens and bees. On the Alamo Hour, you'll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique and the best-kept secret in Texas. We're glad that you're here.
All right, welcome to the Alamo Hour. Today's guest is Nico LaHood. Nico's the former criminal district attorney of Bexar County, criminal defense lawyer. He's got his own podcast, R-Rated Christianity. He's a public persona. he's very vocal about his faith, being a father and a husband.
Nico LaHood: Thanks for having me [unintelligible 00:00:53]. How are you doing?
Justin: Nico, thanks for joining us. I'm doing great man. I'm doing great. Are you hanging in there?
Nico: [crosstalk] no complaints. I was shocked to hear that you're a keeper of chickens and bees.
Justin: I do. I have two beehives. Well, I've got to keep my hands busy, I think. It's idle time, right?
Nico: I'd like to-- we're talking about a garden, God Willing in this next season, especially with all this craziness, you can't find toilet paper or food during these last months. I'm not going to do anything about the toilet paper but the chickens has been an idea and people have suggested the bees because we have some land that it might be beneficial.
Justin: The chickens are really easy, and they're funny and they're social animals and the bees are set it and forget it.
Nico: We have foxes and coyotes in my area though. We have to be really thoughtful.
Justin: You've to have a good coop that you close at night. That's the key. Nico, I start all these with usually about 10 questions. If there's any way you can speak up a little louder or get closer to your mic, I want to make sure that I don't sound completely overpowering. I'm going to do fewer questions with you because I want to get into some stuff. First, I always ask people, what are your favorite hidden gems of the city? You're born and raised here, so what are some of the kept secrets you think of the city?
Nico: Being around my family. [chuckles] I love my kids, [unintelligible 00:02:11] my wife is too good for my stupid ass. Oh, I'm sorry, [unintelligible 00:02:15] podcast. [crosstalk].
Justin: Go for it.
Nico: I married up. I'm really kind of a, it's either church, workout and I work out in my garage now. I've been doing that for years since I've been in public office. I started working out at the house to save time. I just enjoy my family now. Now that I'm not out speaking six, seven days a week in this meeting or that meeting, I have rediscovered weekends. We just have occasional dinners, invite a lot of friends and fellowship. We're just really simple.
Justin: What about visitors who come in? I always tell them go check out the Japanese Tea Garden. I think that's a great [crosstalk] thing in the town.
Nico: I send people to the missions. I love history, now. I think I got a D when I was in history, younger.
Justin: There you go.
Nico: I can't get enough of history now. I've gone back and started setting the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation, the federalist papers and Bill of Rights and all that declaration and constant. I just love it now, I can't get enough of it. I like to send them to historical places. Of course, they already know about the Riverwalk. That's it.
Justin: That's a good one. I think the other missions
Sheryl Sculley, Former San Antonio City Manager, Runner and Author
When Sheryl Sculley was hired in San Antonio to be the new city manager, she was confronted with a variety of issues that had long been neglected. From internet usage to wages, she had huge hurdles to overcome immediately. By the time she left, she had become the face of the police and fire union's fight with the city over their contract. She joins the show to discuss her new tell-all book about her experience.
Justin Hill: Hello, and Bienvenido San Antonio. Welcome to The Alamo Hour, discussing the people places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonian, keeper of chickens, and bees. On The Alamo Hour, you'll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great, unique, and the best-kept secret in Texas. We're glad that you're here.
Justin: All right, welcome to this episode of The Alamo Hour. Today's guest is Sheryl Sculley. Sheryl was the city manager of San Antonio from 2005 until 2019. Under her tenure, there are so many accomplishments that we're going to discuss a lot about today, but for most of us, who just look around The Henry B Convention Center being redone into what it is today, our Mission Trail, the Mission is becoming a world heritage site. Some of the behind the scenes things include how our government works, and our new contracts for our police, and fire unions. She discusses in her book a lot of these accomplishments, we're here to talk to her about some of those accomplishments discussed in her book, and her new book, Greedy Bastards: One Cities City's Texas-Sized Struggle to Avoid a Financial Crisis. Sheryl, thank you for joining me.
Sheryl Sculley: Thank you, Justin. I’m happy to be with you.
Justin: Before we got going, I made sure that we could see some of the books behind you on the shelf that people can know that this is a book tour, and I’m part of your book tour today.
Sheryl: Thank you for doing that. This morning I learned that I just made the Amazon bestseller list. I’m excited.
Justin: That's awesome. Now, you're going to be scrolling through, and paying attention for reviews as they come in?
Sheryl: Yes. I’m sure we'll get a few of those.
Justin: Okay. I start all these with a little bit of background information. Everybody knows who you were, and are, but I don't know how many people know much about you, I learned a lot about you in the book. Unfortunately, for a lot of us-- I moved here in ‘07, a lot of what we heard about you, and learned about you had to do with the public union fight. There was a lot of information put out about you, which was I think a little bit unfair obviously. Let's give a little bit of background to who you are, you came from Phoenix, Arizona. What was your experience with San Antonio prior to coming out here to work as a city manager?
Sheryl: I was the assistant city manager in the number two position in the city of Phoenix, I worked there for 16 years, watched, and was a part of that city growing, doubling in size, and expanding. We worked on major initiatives for that fast-growing city. Before that, I was city manager of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I actually grew up in the Chicago area, went to school in Indiana, and my first job out of college was with the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan. My husband Mike is from Kalamazoo, and our children were born there. I worked for that city for a total of 15 years, I wasn't born a city manager although I am the oldest of seven children. My siblings accused me of trying to city manage the family.
I started in a research position, joined the city manager's office as an assistant city manager, and worked there the last five years as city manager. Then I was recruited to Phoenix. We've never been there, but our kids were pre-school age, it was good timing to move across the country, take on that new challenge, so we did. I never thought I
Poncho Nevarez, State Rep, Attorney, and Recovering Addict
Poncho Nevarez and Justin have been friends for a decade. Poncho was elected as a State Representative in 2013. Since then, he worked his way up into powerful positions. In 2019, he ran into trouble with drugs, got clean, chose not to run again, and joins us to talk about his journey into the dark and back. His honesty is refreshing.
Justin Hill: Hello, and Bienvenido, San Antonio. Welcome to The Alamo Hour. Discussing the people, places, and passion that make our city. My name is Justin Hill, a local attorney, a proud San Antonioan, and keeper of chickens and bees. On The Alamo Hour, you'll get to hear from the people that make San Antonio great and unique, and the best-kept secret in Texas. We're glad that you're here. All right. Welcome to the Alamo hour. Today's guest is Poncho Nevarez. Poncho is a current state rep of district 74?
Poncho Nevarez: Yes.
Justin: Covering Eagle Pass all the way out through Big Bend. I think it's one of, if not the biggest political district in the contiguous US.
Poncho: In the world. [chuckles]
Justin: Well, probably not. He's an injury attorney. He's a musician. He's a rancher. He has a Watusi or three, maybe, a father, husband, friend. Admittedly, and he just wrote a big article about it, we'll talk about some, an alcoholic and an addict. When he's not running for reelection, he is working on an album, apparently, which we're going to talk about a little bit as well. Poncho, thanks for being here.
Poncho: Thank you for having me. I couldn't help but catch in the promo you were talking about, "This is about San Antonioans, for San Antonioans," and I would ask-- I spent a good part of my adult life in San Antonio for law school, and then because of my law practice, so if they'll claim me, [chuckles] I'd say I'm somewhat from San Antonio.
Justin: So, you're co-opting me here. It's a show about San Antonio, but there's a lot of people that have some interaction or have lived here in the past that they have something to add about our city as well.
Poncho: Well, it's like Eagle Pass, I'd say. It doesn't matter where you go. There's some connection to Eagle Pass. You could be standing outside the pyramids of Giza [chuckles] and there's somebody from Eagle Pass there. I think the same thing applies with San Antonio. It's the same thing.
Justin: Well, good. You've got something to add. When I met you, you had a home here yet, an office here. I think you still practice law here on occasion.
Poncho: Yes. I think that was back in maybe 2005 or 2006 a bit.
Justin: Well, you went to law school here, and then you and I would have met around 2007, 2008, and then we worked on that case through '11 probably.
Poncho: I graduated from law school '99 and then I was away. I was here in Eagle Pass for a few years and then I moved back and then Miguel Chapa and I were partnered up and we're in San Antonio. That was back in 2005 when Miguel and I got together. He'll deny this, but we put that firm together at a Hooters.
Justin: I'm not surprised by this.
Poncho: True story. We were going to go to Vegas, that night, I think. It was me, Jason Hoelscher and Miguel, we were going to go to Vegas and we were killing some time and that's where we formed the firm.
Justin: Well, I do a top 10. It's just a general number of questions. Sometimes it's 3, sometimes it's 10 with all of my guests to give some sort of flavor and background on who you are. The first one was, "Talk to us about your time in San Antonio." We've already knocked that one out. The next thing I want to ask you is what are some of your favorite places in San Antonio that people maybe don't know about? We talk about hidden gems in the city.
Poncho: I liked the McNay, the museum a whole bunch. I really do. I lived in that neighborhood, different parts of Alamo Heights through my last two years of law school. Then it was the fi
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great guests and topics. If you’re a fan of San Antonio, you’ll love it.
As someone who has listened to podcasts. I can comfirm this is one.
Entertaining show with a knowledgeable host
It takes exceptional skill to be able to meaningfully and efficiently communicate with experts from an array of fields, and Justin is able to do that masterfully. A true renaissance man, the host keeps this show light while delivering pertinent, interesting, and unique content. Excited to see what this show brings next.