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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Wednesday, October 6, 1999 - Page 1

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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 6, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas                                NEW 1 VIH PELS HERALDZEITUNG Vol 148 No 229 18 pgs in 2 sections October 6 1999 WEDNESDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Comal dam work to begin this month FROM STAFF REPORTS The Lower Colorado River Authority will begin major repairs later this month on the Comal Dam the structure that forms Landa Lake in Landa Park LCRAs contractor Carlton Industries of Austin could begin work as early as Friday stabilizing ero sion around the dam and reinforcing it with a rock berm overlaid with concrete blocks The work estimated to cost should be completed by next spring LCRA officials said The refurbished Comal Dam will be the same height as the existing struc ture The repair work may occasionally cloud the water around the work area and said John Gosdin LCRA manager of parks and conserva tion services The cloudiness will dis sipate within a few hours It should not affect the aquatic life in Landa Lake or the Comal Regulatory agencies including the Fish and Wildlife Service the Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Com mission have reviewed and approved LCRAs work repair work Gosdin said The dam is on the north corner of the old Comal Plant site LCRA built the dam in the 1950s to supply springfed water for the power plants operations The other side of the dam impounds and controls the elevation of Landa Lake Repairs on the Comal Dam will begin as LCRA completes its remediation of the Comal Power Plant LCRA shut down the aging plant in 1974 During the past decade LCRA has worked to clean up the site as officials consider possible uses for the building and land including a destination hotel River accident Man swings lands headfirst in shallow Guadalupe New Braunfels Fire and Rescue personnel lift an Austin man to an ambulance after he reportedly fell headfirst into the Guadalupe River and struck his head oh the bottom BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff writer A 32yearold Austin man who hit his head on the Guadalupe Riv er bottom was transported by heli copter from Gruene Tuesday after noon New Braunfels Fire and Rescue Chief Jack Collier said the man might have suffered trauma to his spinal cord Friends of the man said he came off a rope swing headfirst and land ed in a foot and onehalf of water The group of seven were tubing down the river and stopped on the shores off River Terrace south of Loop 337 to use the swing about 5 One of the friends used a neigh bors phone to call 911 after the accident New Braunfels Fire and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services officials used a raft to float the vic tim across the river The victim whose name was being withheld until family was con tacted was transported to Univer sity Hospital in San Antonio by an Air Life helicopter Collier said he didnt think alcohol was involved Football bet Sausage vs pecans WAI Put up your dukes and lets get down to it Seguin Mayor Mark Stautzenberger and New Braunfels Mayor Stoney Williams look as if they are ready for Fridays big game between the New Braunfels Unicorns and Seguin Matadors Rival mayors make friendly wager on Fridays game BY BILL OCONNELL Sports Editor SEGUIN a lot riding on Fridays game between the Seguin Matadors and New Braunfels Unicorns Both teams were 32 during the nondistrict season that concluded this past weekend and they are hopeful of starting District 145 A play with a victory Then theres the fact the SeguinNew Braun fels rivalry is the longestrunning series in Texas high school football On top of all that this years contest also will determine the outcome of a friendly wager between the mayors of both communities Seguin Mayor Mark Stautzenberger and New Braunfels Mayor Stoney Williams met at Seguin City Hall Tuesday to make Fridays game a little more interesting Stautzenberger put a few pounds of locallygrown pecans on the line betting Seguin finally would end a nearly 20yeap losing streak to the Unicorns Williams wagered a box of sausage from It New Braun felsarea smokehouse Handing oitf God Bless Texas bumper stickers and offering members of the press samples of Guadalupe County pecans Stautzenberger sounded upbeat about Seguins See FOOTBALU3A New Braunfels 32 at Seguin Friday Radio KGNB 1420 AM stalls auto store Dlans br awhile BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writer New Braunfels Planning Commission postponed a decision Tuesday on a special use permit for an auto supply retail store on Business 35 after neighbors and city staff voiced concern During a public meeting on the proposed zoning change four citizens expressed disapproval of the pro ject citing concerns about drainage increased traf fic and noise and a negative impact on the quality of life City staff also expressed reservations about drainage issues as well plans to preserve trees Chuck Mitchell who said he was representing the applicants told the commission he would be happy to work with the city Currently the lots at 490 S Business 35 and 890 Academy are zoned for R3 MultiFamily and C3 Commercial which do not provide for businesses such as an auto supply retail store But HiLo Auto Supply wants to change that Theres a lot of uses that could be here that the neighbors would like less than what were Mitchell said Despite this the city received 13 letters objecting to the zoning change and only three in support Fern Higgiribotham who owns four nearby lots Said she Strongly objected to permit Of all the places in town they could have picked I think they chose the wrong she said Higginbotham said she was concerned about increased traffic additional water draining onto her property and the lights in the parking lot flooding into her bedroom window at night Neighbor Mary Ann Van Ham said she was more concerned about quality of life issues Moving that residential lot to commercial is what concerns she said We fear the encroachment of businesses into our neighborhood This is the start of that process We want to keep the integrity of our neighborhood solid and that takes a lot of Mitchell said the company would work with the city on drainage issues and lighting wouldnt be a problem The fence will block he said The light will only shine on the parking Commissioners asked Mitchell to provide more information on several issues the exact appearance of the building the size of delivery trucks and when they would deliver merchandise the possibility of reducing the height of the sign a proposed 25 feet and revised plans for drainage and tree preservation Commissioners agreed to table the matter until more information was provided Commission chairman John Dierksen said Its not a pretty site the way it is Id like to see it changed but I dont know if this is the right In other action Tuesday commissioners decided to recommend a special use permit for a 14unit bed and breakfast at 1111 Gruene Road also given approval by the Gruene Homeowners Association Proprietors Richard and June Horridge of Houston said they planned to live at the property Richard told commissioners the bed and breakfast was their INSIDE Key Code 76 Attorney FOI Competitive matters issue sets bad precedent BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff writer New Braunfels Utilities trustees might have the authority to discuss matters they deem competitive behind closed doors but they can choose to keep those doors open to the public They can err on the side of Houston attorney Charlie Daughtry said And I would encourage them to do Daughtry said a resolution approved recently by NBU allowing the board to dis cuss certain matters in closed session and the new state law that gives it the author ity to do so set a dangerous precedent Senator Jeff Wentworth RSan Antonio I think its a recipe for disas ter to have a governmental body decide for itself what should be Charles Daughtry Houston attorney who helped write the legislation says it made good common sense and leveled the playing field between private and public utilities for fair NBUs resolution was made possible by the electricity deregulation bill approved by the Texas Legislature earlier this year Under Senate Bill 7 investorowned util ities are forced into competition by Jan 1 2002 Municipalowned utilities such as NBU however have the choice whether to open the market for competition The bill and NBUs resolution allow the board to decide in closed session whether a matter is If the majority of the board agrees the issue is competitive it can treat the information as confidential and dis cuss it in closed session The information cannot be kept confi dential from New Braunfels City Council who governs NBU Council also can learn about the information in executive session city attorney Floyd Akers said But the public including customers poten tial competitors and the media would not have access to the information except for a general description of the matter discussed Daughtry said I think its a recipe for disaster to have a governmental body decide for itself what should be Officials with the Freedom of Information Foundation also are concerned Foundation president Rob Wiley said the foundation would be watching closely for any abuses and consider lobbying for changes during the next legislative session Its always troubled Wiley said We recognize the potential for abuse The broad definition of competitive mat See   

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