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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Tuesday, February 27, 1996 - Page 1

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 27, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas                                TUESDAY Unicom soccer team ready to keep pace with Alamo Heights New Braunfels 50 CENTS Cotnal County Courthouse Annex 10 pages in one section Tuesday February Her a IdZ EL PASO Serving Comal County and surrounding areas for more than 144 years of LYNN WILLIAMS Vol 144 No 76 Inside Market Birthday wishes from the HeraldZeitung The New Bmunfels Herald Zeitung extends birthday wishes to Lynn Williams Josh Hayes 22 Matthew Durbin Jonathan Hernandez two and Joan Slaughter Pollen Count Mold Elm Cedar 56 Ash 23 Mulberry 6 Grasses 10 Pollen measured in parts per cubic meter of air Readings taken yesterday Information provided by Dr Frank River Information Comal River 238 cubic feet per sec ond down 4 from yesterday Edwards Aquifer Panther Canyon Well feet above sea level down 01 Dispose of old flags the right way The Guadalupe Valley American Legion Auxiliary Unit is planning a flag retirement ceremony If you have an American flag that has gotten tattered torn shredded or bleached out and is no longer suitable to be dis played call Joan at 6291252 Flags will be picked up and retired properly in an upcom ing ceremony Brown Bag Seminar tonight The New Braunfels Main Street Design Review Com mittee will host its third semi nar tonight Tuesday Feb 27 the semi nar will be Signage and Keep ing with Concept and Build Panel members will include Peter S Lingamfelter and Katie Fournier of Oasis Signs and Advertising Harvey Ruppel of Ruppel Signs Lydell Toye of Signs Colyar Mcllheran of Image Graphics and Johnny Diaz of Sign Arts The seminars are free Bring your brown bag dinner to City Hall at Drink and dessert provided courtesy of the Main Street Design Review Committee Democrats to meet Tuesday The Comal County Democ rats will meet Tuesday Feb 27 at 7 at Comal Bowl Help the Community Band get to Germany Spaghetti and Sousa will be on the program when mem bers of the Comal Community Band perform at a fundraiser supper and concert Feb 29 at the Oak Run School A spaghetti dinner will be served from to and the band will per form from 7 to 8 Cost is per person with proceeds going to help the band travel to Germany this summer The New Braunfels High School Jazz Band will perform from to For information call Ken McGuire at 6257728 Wind Ensemble to perform at NBHS The McMurry University Wind Ensemble will perform Thursday Feb 29 at New Braunfels High School at The 45member ensem ble will perform selections including Jagers Third Suite1 and Fuciks This newspaper is printed on recycled newsprint New Junior Miss crowned photos by MICHAEL DARNALL The New Braunfels Junior Miss Scholarship Program filled the Civic Center Friday and Saturday Top left Mindee Preiss hugs her mother Karon Preiss after being named winner Above Courtney Davis performs her talent rou tine Left Winners Mindee Preiss first place Aleesa Moore presence and composure and first run nerup Tyana Michalec second runnerup arid Jessica Uoughlin third ruffrierup strike a pose after the contest Dropping spring flow triggers second stage of water plan By DENISE DZIUK Staff Writer Texas is in the middle of an extreme dry period and the Edwards Aquifer is suffering due to it On Monday the Edwards Underground Water District declared Stage II of its Demand Man agement Plan which calls for manda tory reductions in water use However New Braunfels Utilities said local users will be encouraged to reduce usage but not mandated to The Edwards District declared Stage I of its DMP exactly two weeks ago Stage I called for voluntary conserva tion of 10 percent Stage II was trig gered when spring flow rates at Comal Springs reached 225 cubic feet per sec ond and this is the first time since the implementation of the DMP in 1989 that Stage II has been declared The mandatory reductions will directly affect large water users and suppliers who must cut back pumping by 15 percent These suppliers include the San Antonio Water System NBU and Bexar Metro Rick Illgner general manager for the district said the suppliers are given a limit on what they can pump How ever he said they are not told how to achieve the reduction because each supplier is different Thats up to he said We just give them the target of reduction they have to meet What measures they use to achieve this is up to Illgner also added that due to the limited powers of the district the only recourse the district can take against users not meeting the mandatory reduc tion is to go to court and get an injunc tion Illgner said this may or may not be practical and will have to be deter mined on an individual basis Paula DiFonzo general manager of NBU said New Braunfels relies on a combination of surface water and aquifer water She said the majority of water currently being used by NBU is surface water and the amount of aquifer water being used is not enough Appeals court ends Sierra Club lawsuit On the same day officials with the Edwards Underground Water District declared mandatory reduc tions for the Edwards Aquifer an appeals court eliminated the possi bility of a federal takeover of the aquifer On Monday a threejudge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals told Senior District Judge Lucius Bunton III to end the fiveyearold endangered species lawsuit The judges said the case should be closed because all the remedies sought by the Sierra Club in a suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service have been met The attorney for the Sierra Club said the case was successful in gain ing protection for endangered species in Comal Springs and forming an authority to regulate pumping The judges said in their ruling that addi tional suits would have to be filed for additional steps to be taken to protect the springs in New Braunfels If the Sierra Club wants addi tional relief then it must file a new the judges wrote in their ruling They also told Bunton to take the steps necessary to con clude this case The action of the appeals court prevents a federal takeover of the aquifer but does not say anything about state control The Texas Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on March 20 in the suit regarding the constitutionality of the Edwards Aquifer Authority If the court overrules a previous district court ruling the EAA will be allowed to go to work Part of that work would include limiting pump ing and brokering wells The Medi na County Underground Water Dis trict is challenging the EAA saying the limiting of pumping is a violation of property rights The Edwards District which cur rently oversees the aquifer announced Monday that spring flow has dropped enough to trigger Stage II of the Demand Management Plan which is mandatory reductions This is the first time this stage has been enacted since the formation of the DMP in 1989 For now we will be asking our customers to be water conscious and conserve Paula DiFonzo NBU to even meet NBUs limit Were still on surface water for the most said DiFonzo We wont be calling for mandatory conservation of surface water right DiFonzo said that although local customers are not being required to cut water usage she said it is encour aged to help alleviate the problem down the road DiFonzo said manda tory reductions may be needed in the future but it is hard to tell when that may be She said water usage water availability and needs will be looked at to determine future actions For now we will be asking our customers to be water conscious and conserve DiFonzo said We want them to remember that water is our valuable DiFonzo said steps customers can take to reduce usage is stop all leaks keep watering to a minimum plus fol low conservation tips take shorter showers and turn off the water when it is not in use She said not washing cars also helps Those types of things are really quite simple but they go a long way in conserving she said City approves water sewer rate increases By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND Staff Writer New Braunfels Utilities customers will be digging a little deeper into their pockets to get water and to get rid of it after they use it The city council gave the final nod for NBU to raise its water and sewer rates last night City council members voted separately on the water and sew er issues NBU water rates will go up percent on April 1 and another 5 per cent on Oct 1 NBU structured the rate increases so that those who use the least water will get the least percentage increase said Paula DiFonzo NBU general manager For the average residential user the gallon per month user the water bill will increase about per month at the first DiFonzo said The second phase will increase the average residential users bill about 80 cents for a total increase of over the two steps Sewer rates are calculated differ ently than water rates there are no sewer meters We use the lowest three months of the year and average them for the sewer DiFonzo said We felt that was the fairest to the Sewer rates will increase per cent on April 1 and 4 percent more on Oct 1 That means for the average customer an 85cent increase in April and an 86cent increase in Oct for a total increase of J Lynn Davis of TXI spoke in favor of the rate increases As one of the largest consumers of electricity we are concerned that electricity is sup porting water and he said DiFonzo said that NBUs capital improvements contained in its five year plan will affect virtually every NBU customer She cited several needs for capital improvements explosive growth in the Highway 46 North area old water lines in the Solms area leaving inadequate fire protection worn out sewer Rio Lift Station which handles twothirds of NBUs sewer flow if it fails raw sewage would be dumped into the Guadalupe River Last nights vote was the third on the rate increase ordinances The vote count was the same each time all council members voted for the increas es except Mayor Paul E Fraser Jr Fraser read a lengthy prepared state ment explaining his opposition to the rate increases Weve got the cart out front and horse Fraser said 1 feel that the fiveyear plan is too aggressive forcing growth that is not what Id call the natural order of The million in bonds NBU seeks are tied to the rate increases and the fiveyear plan Fraser said He urged ratepayers to attend the March 11 city council meeting which is city councils final approval of the bond issue The people should be able to vote on the bond he said After all it is their Cristina AguilarFriar of the His panic Chamber said NBU should have kept ratepayers better informed of the upcoming rate increases and bond issue through bill inserts We did fail in not putting it in the bill but that wont happen said Guadalupe Castillo NBU board president I want to invite the public to start joining us Thats why we moved our meetings to 7 oclock They used to be at The NBU Board of Trustees meets the last Thursday of each month in the NBU Board Room on Main Plaza The board meets this Thursday at 7 City must cut water use by 15 percent NBU pumping million gallons per day more than February average By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND Staff Writer Its time now New Braunfels resi dents need to start following the citys yearround restrictions on watering their lawns rules they should be following anyway said City Manager Mike Shands Lawn watering unless by hand is prohibited in the city yearround between the hours of 10 and 4 seven days a Shands said People who water by hand must use a handheld hose that lias an automat ic or manual shutoff valve he said New Braunfels is already in the sec ondlongest dry period in its history on 59th day with no rainfall And its only February We asking that everyone cut back on optional water use so we can get through what we feel could be our hottest driest Shands said The Edwards Underground Water District has already mandated Stage 11 of its Demand Management Plan At Stage 11 municipal water users like New Braunfels Utilities have to cut back thq amount they pump from the aquifer Ipy 15 percent The bottom line for NBUs cus tomers is that we need to start con serving now The average home own er could cut back 15 percent on water use by landscape watering once instead of twice a week not washing cars not hosing patios and driveways clean xeriscaping using droughttolerant plants in New Braunfels has planned ahead for its water needs more than other Edwards Aquifer cities It is the only city with a water treatment plant so surface water can be used in fact the NBUoperated plant provides about 90 percent of the citys water The other 10 percent normally comes from the Edwards Aquifer New Braunfels usually only relies on aquifer water in the summer months There were three afternoons last week in which water from the Edwards Aquifer was used to supplement water from the NBU surface water treatment said Paul DiFonzo NBU gen eral manager Normal usage during this time of year is five to six million gallons of water a she said New Braun fels has recently been averaging to million gallons a day The Comal Springs flow at an aver age rate of 285 cubic feet per second Right now the current rate of flow has dipped below 225 cfs Thats the flow rate where Stage II of the EUWDs Demand Management Plan kicks in Its a long way to Shands said Goldberg Report reveals networks bias See Opinion Page 4   

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