Wednesday, February 9, 2000

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 9, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEW PELS HERALDZEITUNG Vol 149 No 59 18 pgs in 2 sections February 9 2000 WEDNESDAY Serving Coma County since 1852 50 cents Plane crash kills one New Braunfels man dies when aircraft nosedives off FM 306 BY ERIN MAGRUDER Staff Writer A 36yearold New Braunfels man died Tuesday afternoon when his single engine aircraft nosedived into a vacant lot on River Chase Drive off FarmtoMarket Road 306 The pilot Michael Sooter was the only occupant of the 1968 Beechcraft Muska teer airplane that witnesses said was flying at a very low altitude before plummeting to the earth about Department of Public Safety trooper James Jones said Sooter reportedly departed from New Braunfels Municipal Airport earlier Tues day afternoon and might have experienced some type of engine trouble while flying over the River Chase development area officials said The pilot possibly had contact with the New Braunfels Municipal Airport tow er and had some engine trouble But we are waiting for Federal Aviation Admin istration to come out and investigate the Jones said New Braunfels Municipal Airport man ager Darrell Phillips said Sooter was a familiar face at the airport I knew flew in and out of here A Phillips said Trae Binz a superintendent working on a house about onequarter of a mile away from the crash site witnessed the final moments before the plane disappeared into a cluster of cedar trees I was getting into my truck and I saw the plane flying about 30 feet high It was moving pretty Binz said Then his wings just stood up vertical and he nose dived straight into the Jack McNeal who also was doing con tract work at the house nearby heard the crash and called 911 I heard the plane and it sounded like it was going very McNeal said Then I heard the engine grow louder just before the impact and then bang It was very loud and sudden I didnt want to believe what Id About eight to 10 planes were searching the area of the crash site looking for the downed aircraft before the plane was found by law enforcement officials said Reena Udkler a parttime receptionist at the airport DPS Comal County Sheriffs Office K JESSIE DPS Trooper James Jones second from left and an unidentified CCSO officer watch Canyon Lake personnel remove the body of a 36yearold New Braunfels man from his singleengine airplane and Canyon Lake immediately responded to the crash but were unable to res cue Sooter who probably was killed on impact officials said Sooter was pronounced dead at by Pet 4 Justice of the Peace Howard Curly Smith McNeal said officials told him the airplane might have run out of fuel just before the crash When I got to the plane there was no fire no explosion and I couldnt smell any McNeal said They said the way the plane impacted it should have ruptured the fuel The crash is under investigation by the Fed eral Aviation Administration CISD trustees want to talk bond concerns BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer Two Comal Independent School District trustees say they are determined to make tnistees and the public address what they call serious problems with the million bond plan approved by voters in May Trustees John Ber telsen and Lester W Jonas who have been harshly criti cized lately for supporting an alternative bond plan will present some con cerns they have with Proposition 2 of the bond package at the board meeting 6 Thurs day at Canyon Intermediate School 1275 CISD MEETING WHAT Comal Independent School District trustees meeting WHEN 6 Thursday WHERE Canyon Intermediate School 1275 N Business 35 BERTELSEN JONAS N Business 35 Bertelsen said many parents did not know the potential impact of the proposed elementary school attendance zones on where their children would attend school and the distance they would have to drive to get to those schools In other business trustees also are scheduled to discuss changing the 19992000 school calendar requiring Smithson Valley High and Smithson Valley Middle school students to attend class on March 17 normally a bad weath up day The calendar change is in response to missed class time because of bomb threats and evacuations Jan 13 Jan 30 Bertelsen said he requested dis cussion of longrange plans for facilities as a way to open dis cussion among trustees about potential problems with the orig inal bond plan Bertelsen and Jonas said they hoped the board would discuss ways to achieve balanced enroll ment minimize boundary line changes improve traffic conges tion and shorten travel distance to schools Bertelsen said he has requested the item remain permanently on the agenda until the issues are resolved or before trustees select a site for the new Canyon Lake high school In May 1999 CISD voters passed a million twophase bond plan that included building three new elementary schools and a new high school in the Canyon Lake area Trustees already have closed on sites for two of the new ele mentary schools one at Cranes Mill Road and one at Hoffman Lane and FarmtoMarket 306 Trustees have selected the gen eral area for the third school west of 281 in the Cibolo Creek area but have not cho sen a site Under proposition 2 of the bond plan the new Canyon Lake high school would open no soon er than 2004 The districts eightmember bond oversight committee reject ed Bertelsens alternate plan in January but unanimously agreed it had serious concerns about the current plan The new elementary schools are scheduled to be completed in See Chamber seeking new visitor center on Seguin Avenue BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writer A renegotiated contract gives the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc the stability it needs to pursue a vis itor center in a new more strategic location chamber president Michael Meek said The chambers previous contract with the city which guarantees the chamber a portion of bed tax revenue in exchange for tourism promotion would have expired Dec By the time wed get ready to build this new visitor center is the time our old con tract would have Meek said This gives us the stability we need to make In January city council agreed to extend the chambers contract until Dec A new to visitor cen ter funded strictly through private dona tions could be open by then The chamber has been talking to the 1994 about a site on the Interstate 35 access road and Seguin Avenue Now that plans with the interstate expan sion are complete TxDOT likely will final ize an agreement with the chamber in the next three months TxDOT resident engi neer Greg Malatek said Texas Department of Transportation since The agreement will outline issues such as who will maintain the property Malatek said Well submit an agreement to the cham ber and then theyll be responsible for approaching the he said The existing visitor center is off Interstate SV students will make up for lost time FROM STAFF REPORTS Students at two western Comal school district schools will start making up for lost time this week after a number of false bomb threats and evacuations On Thursday and Friday stu dents at Smithson Valley Mid dle and Smithson Valley High schools will attend classes until In addition SVHS and SVMS students also will attend school on March 17 previously a bad weather makeup day and the Comal County Youth Show day Students at SVMS offFarmto Market 311 have been evacuated three times since Jan 13 includ ing Jan 31 and Feb 3 because of written bomb threats found on campus Because of the number of evac uations students at SVHS also will have class until on Monday and Feb 18 INSIDE Key Code 76 Texas 130 project up for public input FROM STAFF REPORTS SEGUIN Local residents will have a chance to comment on Texas 130 a proposed 91mile relief route for Interstate 35 when the Texas Turnpike Authority con ducts a simultaneous public hear ings Thursday in Round Rock Austin and Seguin A final alignment for the high way has not been determined but the possible turnpike could be par allel to and east of Interstate 35 It could run from Texas 195 north of Georgetown to Interstate 10 near Seguin The purpose of the proposed pro ject is to relieve congestion on Interstate 35 and other major trans portation facilities within the AustinSan Antonio corridor In Seguin the hearing will be at Seguin Coliseum 810 S Guadalupe In Austin the hearing will be at Barbara Jordan Elementary School 6711 Johnny Morris Road In Round Rock the hearing will be at Stony Point High School See TEXAS 130 WHAT Public hearing on Texas 130 WHEN 6 to open house format presentation WHERE Seguin Seguin Coliseum 810 S Guadalupe Austin Barbara Jordan Elementary School 6711 Johnny Morris Road Round Rock Stony Point High School 1801 Bowman Drive