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   New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas                                HERALDZEirUNO Wednesday February OPINIONS FORUM LETTERS HERALDZEITUNG New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852 New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958 Doug Toney Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson Managing Editor OTHER VIEWS BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Amarillo GlobeNews on cellphone law Cellular telephones admittedly can be a nuisance and even a potential threat to motorists and pedestrians But is the potential threat deserving of another law on the books Hardly We prefer a steppedup public education initiative to advise people of the hazards of operating a cell phone while at the same time operating a twoton motor vehicle To date only three states California Florida and Massachusetts laws limiting cell phone use in cars No state prohibits cell phone use Several other states including Texas have considered such legislation Our own view is that such a law starts the state down the proverbial slip pery slope What activity does the state prohibit next Lighting a ciga rette off the car lighter Reloading a cassette tape or compact disc play er Switching channels on the car radio Make no mistake about the dangers inherent in using cell phones while driving a car Traffic records are replete with incidents involving people losing control of their car while operating a phone Motorists should use discretion in dialing up a cell phone Common sense would seem to dictate that using a phone in heavy traffic is a risky endeavor A new law however isnt the answer to forcing people to behave responsibly while driving a car Beaumont Enterprise on the death tax Presidential candidates in the East are discussing a variety of issues this primary season but Sen Phil Gramms appearance in Beaumont on Sunday highlighted one that deserves more awareness Gramm visited Supply on College Street to illustrate one of the biggest challenges faced today by small businesses in America the death of their owner The socalled death tax levied on the heirs of a companys founder can be so prohibitively expensive that their only recourse is to sell out The numbers on this issue speak for themselves Ninetyone percent of all businesses are family 70 percent dont survive past the first generation The federal government spends 65 cents for every dollar it collects from the estate tax spending billion in 1997 to raise billion From the Supply Co in Beaumont to the Chicago Defender one of only two blackowned daily newspapers in the death tax has made it difficult for the sons and daughters of entrepreneurs to carry on the family business If this controversial tax were eliminated or drastically scaled back American business owners could devote more of their assets to wages and benefits for employees or build up more capital to expand their operation and thus create more jobs Gramm said sentiment is strong in both houses of Congress to fix this problem and nows the time to do it If Congress wont elimi nate a burdensome and unpopular tax when federal revenues are pouring in at a recordbreaking pace it never will TODAY IN HISTORY BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Today is Wednesday Feb 23 the 54th day of 2000 There are 312 days left in the year Todays Highlight in History On Feb 23 1945 during World War II Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi where they raised the American flag On this date In 1822 Boston was granted a charter to incorporate as a city In 1836 the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio Texas In 1847 troops under General Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico In 1848 the sixth president of the United States John Quincy Adams died of a stroke at age 80 In 1861 Presidentelect Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take office an assassination plot having been foiled in Baltimore In 1870 Mississippi was read mitted to the Union Growth prosperity depend on water The third drought in four years continues its stranglehold on Texas searing range land and manicured lawns with equal intensity Last year was the driest on record One rancher observed that even after a rain the ground remains so dry he can turn over a few inches of top soil and find a dirt clod hard enough to strike a match on State reservoirs are the lowest in 22 years and 60 of the states public water systems are under mandatory water restrictions In addition to its physical impact on land and livestock the drought has a devastating fis cal effect costing the state billion in 1999 On Feb 1 when the Senate Finance Committee and the House Committee on Appropriations met to discuss drought issues a National Weather Center meteorol ogist stated that as the result of La Nina current weather trends arent good for Texas Because Texas future growth and prosper ity depend on an available water supply for a population that is expected to double by 2050 the 75th Legislature passed a compre hensive water bill in 1997 The bill requires that regional water planning groups work with the Texas Water Development Board and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission in the manage ment of the states rural and urban water JEFF WENTWORTH supplies TWDB provides assistance to groundwa ter districts that are formulating watercon servation and droughtmanagement plans TNRCC issues licenses and permits and partially funds rainenhancement or cloud seeding operations Seven cloudseeding projects covering about 36 million acres in West and South Texas are currently permitted by TNRCC for 2000 The projects are part of a longterm watermanagement strategy to replenish aquifers and meet the needs of agriculture industry and municipalities Research indicates that cloud seeding can result in a 10 percent to 20 percent rainfall increase The West Texas Weather Modification and the Edwards Aquifer Authority projects include 13 of the 17 counties in Senate District 25 The Edwards Aquifer Authority plans to begin cloud seeding March 1 over a 6mil lion acre target area that includes Bandera Bexar Blanco Comal Guadalupe Kendall Kerr and Medina counties in Senate District 25 Gillespie and portions of Llano also could benefit from the project The authority has committed to the projects 4centsanacre cost with TNRCC reimbursing half the expenses The West Texas Weather Modification Associations rainenhancement program js in its fourth year of operation embracing t seven counties including Sutton Schleictyer and part of Tom Green The economic benefits of cloud seeding are incalculable One study indicates thatin terms of crops and cattle the regional ecoin sorial income than more than a half million dollars saved in irrigation costs Rainfall resulting from cloud seeding also provides savings to homeand business owners by decreasing landscape watering costs Water is our most vital natural Together we must conserve it manage it enhance it to ensure that Texas finite water supply will meet its future needs i JeffWentworth represents District 25 in the Texas LETTER TO THE EDITOR Shelter thanks Fischer for service Dear Editor Congratulations to Kathy Fischer on her 10year anniversary of working at the Childrens Shelter in New Braunfels The shelter is cele brating Kathys anniversary on Feb 23 In 1990 when Kathy started the shelter was a small operation near the interstate It was moved in October of last year to a 17acre facility out in the country With the growth of the shelter Kathys job of administrative assistant has become more of a chal lenge The shelter provides residen tial care for children birth to 11 years who have been removed from their homes because of abuse neglect or abandonment Kathy handles the shelters daily clerical and financial responsibilities She works with employees administration board mem bers outside agencies and the general public She is a wealth of information and an opti mistic and friendly person Kathy loves the children who reside at the shelter and is a kind and caring friend to We at the shelter hope that Kathy stays to celebrate many more anniversaries here Congratulations Kathy The staff at the Corpal County Emergency Childrens Shelter Unfortunately mean curve outpacing society They re rioting in Africa They re starving in Spain Theres hurricanes in Florida And Texas needs rain The whole world is festering unhappy souls The French hate the Germans the Germans hate the Poles Italians hate Yugoslavs South Africans hate the Dutch And I dont like anybody very much The Kingston Trio 1960something AUSTIN Where is that idiot who wrote the piece about the end of history a few years back Would somebody haul that guy back here so we can all make ftin of him again After California stops shaking and the eastern half of the coun try thaws Jay Leno says its so cold in Washington that people are huddled around Bob Dole for then we can get back to our manmade problems As natural disasters and a big mess in Washington are pretty much part of the MOLLY IVINS permanent landscape it behooves us to greet these perennial disasters with a cer tain phlegm Phlegm is one of those British qualities like spunk and pluck that have an intrinsically droll sound Its not so much the famous stiff upper lip as a sort of impenetrable calm Edward R Murrows famous recordings of the unhurried footsteps of Londoners heading for bomb shelters in World War II with sirens and explosions in the background Phlegm alas is not a very American trait Were slightly more in the Chicken Little School of Reaction After visiting Canada last fall a country whose national motto is Now lets not get excited I embarked on a search for a word meaning the opposite of hyperbole If you spent a few days in Canada you too would feel the need for the opposite of hyperbole Aunt Eula suggested low perbole which I think is awfully good but its not in the dictionary But then the invaluable Linda T Anderson of Dallas with the help of an English teacher in Denison found litotes We havent fig ured out how to pronounce it yet but it means wild understatement as in Joe DiMaggio was a pretty fair What we have here is a need for litotes since a quick survey of the national condition raises the always time ly question Is God punishing us Its not so much earthquakes in California people getting flashfrozen in the Midwest and Bobby Ray Inman getting chewed up in Washington that worry me What concerns me is the level of mean with which were reacting to these natur al and political events The other day a radio talkshow host in Atlanta greeted the advent of subzero temperatures there by chortling about how many homelessicles might be found in the morning homeless peo ple who had frozen overnight like Popsicles For several years now Jap Cartwright of Texas Monthly and I have written alternative versions of a yettobe pub lished article on Texas Mean We are both connoisseurs of a certain genre of Texas stories about how mean people can be The guy who kept a rattlesnake in a brown paper bag in his pickup as an anti burglary device stuff like that I called Jap this morning to tell him were both behind the mean curve and whats more were not going to catch up any time soon Its one thing to read that someone froze to death because of the weather Its another to read about the 69 yearold lady in Worcester who couldnt get into her house because the lock was frozen It was 5 degrees below zero she knocked on a neighbors door to ask for help and the neighbor refused to answer The woman froze to The neighbor said I feel so bad that she died all alone But you just cant take chances these days I told police that if it happened 10 years ago I would have opened the Its one thing to say mean things about politicians which I have been doing for a long time Its another thing to hear a radio talkmeister call the presidents daughter buttugly and tell jokes about the first lady on the air I remember another time in this coun try in this state when the air was full jf hatred when people told hateful jokes about a first lady when contempt for tjie president was everywhere Dallas 4 November 1963 Afterward as though some noxious boil had been lanced and all the pus rap out voices of hatred were regarded with horror and silenced for a time j Molly Jvins is a columnist for the Fqrt Worth   

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