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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 25, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEW PELS rrn HERALDZEIT 6Isu Vol 149 No 71 20 pgs in 2 sections February 25 2000 FRIDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Former CASA director under investigation BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer The former executive director of a child advocacy program serving Comal County is under investiga tion by the Texas Attorney Gener al s office and the San Marcos Police Department for allegedly mishandling funds Cindy StauflFer former executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Central Texas was relieved of her duties Feb 8 in response to discrepancies found in her paperwork said Jane Piper chief executive officer of Texas CASA Inc Stauffer has not been formally charged arrested or indicted in con nection with the investigation an official with the San Marcos Police Department said A spokeswoman for the attorney generals office confirmed Stauf fer was being investigated for alleged financial impropriety but would not disclose the amount of money involved San Marcos Police Department and attorney generals office offi cials declined to discuss details because the investigation was ongo ing Officials at CASA of Central Texas in San Marcos forwarded all questions to the agencys head quarters in Austin CASA of Central Texas a pri vate nonprofit organization pro vides trained volunteers appointed by district judges to act as advo cates for abused and neglected chil dren in the court system CASA of Central Texas also serves Hays Guadalupe and Caldwell counties Piper said the investigation would not effect services provided to area children Its important to keep in mind that the allegations are against a for mer employee and are not against the operations of the agency Piper said We are going to do all that we can to make sure the chil dren are being served and that oper ations go on as Piper said employees of CASA Texas would handle operations and work with volunteers at the San Marcos office until the investiga tion was concluded We have staff supervising the volunteers to make sure operations go on as normal and that the chil dren are being she said Often CASA volunteers work closely with Child Protective Ser vices and act as a voice in court for children in foster care to help them find permanent homes as quickly as possible Piper said On average CASA volunteers spend 10 to 15 hours a month with each child As of Jan CASA of Cen tral Texas served 354 children from newborns to age 18 in the four county area officials said A local CASA volunteer who asked not to be named said news of the investigation both angered and disillusioned many volunteers The volunteer said local CASA workers devoted time and energy fund raising and applying for grants to help support the agency because they wanted to help area children CASA of Central Texas has been See Shining stars Amanda Junior Miss Pageant participants practice their opening dance Thursday night during dress rehearsal The pageant kicks off tonight at 7 Admission is and tickets will be sold at the door Junior Miss is a scholarship program for high school juniors There are 21 girls from area high schools competing this year This years theme is Celebrating CISD gives back two holidays BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer Comal Independent School District trustees approved a new calendar for the 20002001 school year Thursday night after hearing complaints that the calendar approved a month ago was not beneficial to students or teachers Under the new calendar CISD students will start the scfibol year Aug 14 two days earlier than originally approved Trustees also gave back two more days at the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks after receiving numerous calls from teachers administrators and parents criticizing the decision to make Nov 22 and Dec 22 school days The calendar was approved in a 61 vote with trustee John Bertelsen voting against it The calendar trustees approved Thursday is similar to the one approved Jan 27 with the first semester ending before students return from Christmas break and two oneweek breaks in the spring The calendar approved Jan 27 was a modified version of the calendar draft recommended by teachers in a staff survey In the original modification trustees shifted a week of staff development and teacher workdays in midAugust which moved the start date from Aug 14 to Aug 16 Trustees also changed Nov 22 and Dec 22 from school hol idays to school days with an early release Trustees Lester W Jonas requested trustees review their deci sion after hearing concerns from teachers and parents this past month Jonas said changing Nov 22 and Dec 22 to school days See Public learns more about primary candidates at forum BY ERIN MAGRUDER Staff Writer Comal County voters got up close and personal Thursday evening with Republican candidates running on the March 14 pri mary ballot About 30 area residents attended the Republican Women of New Braunfels sponsored public forum at the New Braun fels Independent School District Adminis trative Building 430 West Mill St The Meet the Candidates night gave voters the opportunity to listen to and ques tion a panel of candidates running for the positions of Tax Com missioner Pet 1 and the fiveway race for Constable Pet 4 The highprofile race for Commissioner Pet 1 gave incumbent Jack Dawson and opponent Douglas Kirk opportunity to square off again Kirk publisher of a weekly newspaper challenged Dawson in a close fourway primary race in 1996 and lost in a runoff election by 138 votes Dawson used his time at the podium to talk about the challenges and rewards of his term in office I am proud of the relationship we have built up with the city our interlocal agreements and our projects Dawson said Dawson who spearheaded the 11month county flood cleanup effort said flood con trol studies the county recycle program set ting a low tax rate and the inception of the Comal County SherirYs Office Emergency Operations Center were just a few of the projects tackled during his three years in office Kirk said he wanted to use his time to talk philosophically about his views on gov ernment and the role of public officials The government is too big and every body knows it but nobody has the guts to do anything about Kirk said We have the right to be left alone We have the right to ask the government to stay out of our In a public comment session Comal County Judge Danny Scheel asked Kirk why he was circulating want ads requesting See INSIDE Tax collector incumbent of 24 years faces GOP opposition BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer In her seventh run for reelection as Comal County Tax AssessorCollector Democratic incumbent Gloria K Clennan will face a Republican opponent for only the second time in her 24year career During her 24 years of service to the coun ty Clennan first elected in 1976 only has faced one opponent in six consecutive general elections Republican primary candidates Sherry Hig don and Sherrnw Krause are vying for their partys nornination to challenge Clennan in the Nov 7 general election The primary election is March 14 Early voting begins Monday The Comal County Tax AssessorCollectors office is responsible for all motor vehicle registra tions in the county and registers Comal County voters KRAUSE Clennan said her office staff collects taxes for 13 local entities as well as the Water Oriented Recreation District and three special road improvement districts fligdon a Canyon Late resident said she decided to run for office because at the time Clennan was unopposed for the position Higdons husband Jim is running for Precinct 4 county constable in the Republican primary Krause a New Braun fels resident for 24 years said he was running for office because he would like to play a role in the future of Comal County I live in Comal County and my family lives here and this is a fast growth area I want to play a leadership role in that growth and in the future of this county I also feel that my experience my qualifications and my skills are something that 1 can give to the citizens of Comal he said Higdon said her professional background including business management business accounting and tax reporting experience made her well qualified for the She has been selfemployed for the paft four and a half years as the owner of Asset Specialists a debt collecting and asset recov ery business based out of San Antonio She was previously employed in a food service equipment and supply companys business office See
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