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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 30, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas NEW PELS n11fi in Vd iM HERALDZEITUNG Vol 149 Nov 8 16 pages in 2 sections November 1999 Tt A V Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Two top NATO officials visited New Braunfels Monday to Transatlantic links BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer More than 60 years ago Com mander Werner Schmitts grandfa ther served as the mayor of Braun fels Germany a city with ties to many local families On Monday the younger Schmitt a senior briefing officer with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization visited New Braun fels the American sistercity of Braunfels Germany to discuss the ties political economical and historical that bind the United States and Europe Schmitt and Major JeanMarie De Blende both senior military officers from NATOs major mili tary commands spoke to local media and political representatives Monday about NATOs ongoing efforts to create a secure environ ment in a constantly changing world Schmitt is the deputy chief of public information at Allied Com mand Atlantic headquarters in Norfolk Va De Blende is a staff officer in the public services sec tion of the public information office at Allied Command Europe Mons Belgium The briefing team is scheduled to give presentations to media civic groups political staffs busi ness and educational groups in the San Antonio and Austin metropoli tan areas through Friday Schmitt a German native said the purpose of the NATO visits was to educate the American public about the history of the organiza tion and its new strategy for man aging peace and dealing with crises We are here to ensure the trans Atlantic link remains stable You look at history and there are eco nomical and historical links between the two Schmitt said Look at New Braunfels the name says it You can see the German heritage Four local students two from New Braunfels High School and two from Canyon High School also met with De Blende and Schmitt during lunch to discuss current issues facing the organiza tion Jim Kohler journalist first class with the United States Navy and NATO briefing team coordinator said NATO established the briefing teams in the early 1980s to provide the public with information NATO briefing teams visit 20 met ropolitan areas during 10 separate trips each year to discuss NATO issues On April nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty in WAI NATO dignitary Major JeanMarie De Blende right of the Belgian Air Force speaks to Michael Kendel 10ft David Brandt about NATOs history and futurfeon Monday at the New Smokehouse Six stu dent representatives were invited to the luncheon Before there was one threat to worry about from Eastern Europe Today we are con lot of risks from all sides the proliferation of weapons of mass destruc tion terrorism and destabi lized Werner Schmitt senior briefing officer NATO Washington creating an alliance of independent countries militarily prepared to maintain peace defend freedom and foster stable international relations Three countries the Czech Republic Hungary and Poland joined the Alliance in March 1999 Today NATO is an association of 19 sovereign nations united in pre serving their security through col lective selfdefense De Blende an officer in the Bel gian Air Force said NATO was not a military organization but a defen sive regional organization He said any actions taken by NATO such as the use of NATO forces in Kosovo had to be agreed North Atlantic Treaty Organization The 19 member countries Belgium Canada Czech Republic Denmark France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Spain Turkey United Kingdom United States EuroAtlanta ParftrersFrfp CouflCil Member Countries The 19 NATO Member Countries plus Albania Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Bulgaria Estonia Finland Georgia Kazakhstan Kyrghyz Republic Latvia Lithuania Moldova Romania Russia Slovakia Slovenia Sweden Switzerland former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Tadjikistan Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan Source NATO upon by all 19 member nations If one nation is against it NATO cannot take he said Since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe Schmitt said the challenge of maintaining a secure environment in Europe changed drastically See Trails group not giving up its dream Grant denial has Comal County Trails Inc looking for other funds BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff writer A spokesman for a local nonprofit said it would seek alternate funding for three local proposed hike and bike trails that recently were deemed ineligible for state grant money Comal County Trails Inc president Peter Olsen said the group also would work on sharpening up proposals for the state grant money administered through the Texas Department of Transportation I think we continue because of a serious commit ment to make the city a more livable space Itsnot the only thing thats important But its one of Peter Olsen Comal County Trails Inc president The group recently found out TxDOT deemed its proposals ineligible for grant money because of a missing resolution from the city The state would have provided 80 percent fund ing for chosen projects and required 20 percent funding through the city private donations or inkind con tributions Proposed trails included a Little League access trail a Loop 337 trail and a mile urban bike network looping from Landa Park to Faust Street Bridge to Gruene iWthree projectstotaled about million Mainte nance of the three trails about a year would have fallen on the city In a letter to city manager Mike Shands TxDOT exec utive director Charles W Heald said the nomination need ed a resolution from the city committing to the recom mendation implementation development construction maintenance and financing of the project In July New Braunfels City Council members voted to approve the four projects while voicing concern about how much money the city would have to provide up front and for maintenance The issue was listed as a discussion and action item not a resolution item on the agenda In October Mayor Stoney Williams signed a letter to TxDOT saying the city was committed to pursuing spe cific funding sources upon receiving the This letter Heald said was not an official document authorized by the citys governing TxDOTs decision is not the only setback the group has endured Comal County Trails began as an advocacy group for the proposed Rails to Trails an attempt to buy the abandoned MKT railroad line in the center of New Braun fels and transform it into a trail system But in October 1998 Union Pacific decided to reactivate the line I think we continue because of a serious commitment to make the city a more livable Olsen said Its not the only thing thats important But its one of The group recently was awarded a resource grant from the National Park Service Division of Rivers Trails and Conservation which people to help work on planning efforts Olsen said the staff people would work on three major projects Alternate funding for the proposed trail projects Sharpening the proposals for TxDOTs grant money Olsen said he was not sure when the group could apply again It might have to wait two years or more he and An urban bicycle symposium to draw together as many people as possible to discuss ways to make New Braunfels more bicyclefriendly 281 overpass scheduled for completion in January FROM STAFF REPORTS Drivers on 281 soon might have one less hassle to deal with during their daily commute Construction of the new overpass on 281 atFarmtoMarket 1863 should be completed by midJanuary said Michelle Kopp assistant area engineer for TxDOT Commuters on US 281 have been dealing with the construction since January 1998 when the million project began When construction is complete a fourway stop will be made at the FM 1863 and frontage road intersection the existing roadway for US 281 at the intersection will become the frontage road and 281 will remain two lanes in both directions The new overpass should make the US 281 and FM 1863 intersection a safer route for commuters because it will reroute high speed traffic away from cross traffic TxDOT officials said INSIDE Key code 76 Character education program designed to build good citizens BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer Lessons in honesty integrity and respon sibility might seem basic for school cur riculum but school officials throughout the state believe they might be the key to pre venting violence and building better citi zens New Braunfels Independent School Dis trict recently joined more than 300 school districts in Texas implementing character education programs into the classrooms NBISD trustees approved a pilot charac ter education program Nov 16 that will be integrated into counseling programs at schools that choose to participate during the spring semester Sandi Etheredge coordinator for special programs for NBISD said the program called Building Good Citizens for Texas A Character Education empha sized 12 citizen components each month The character traits include honesty responsibility compassion perseverance See CHARACTERS
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