Tuesday, March 21, 2000

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 21, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEW FEU HERALDZEITUNG Vol 149 No 87 12 pages in 2 sections March 21 2000 TUESDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Council discusses cutting frills raising golf fees BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff writer One New Braunfels City Council mem ber asked city staff Monday to cut out frills from the 2001 budget and fund more police officers Another member challenged staff and future councils to keep a close eye on golf course fees and consider incremental increases to keep up with inflation No action was taken at the meeting but INS agent seeks council position BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff Writer A special agent with the Immigration and Naturalization Service filed Monday for the District 3 New Braunfels City Coun cil seat currently represented by Randy Vanstory Don Talley 44 is running against Gale OHara Pospisil 54 a residential real estate appraiser who filed for the same seat in February said he would not seek reelection in order to devote more time to his business Talley said his plat form included two prior ities first to insure the security and survival of the city This involves adequate drainage and flood control measures as well as police and he said Secondly Talley said he wanted to work on maintaining the integrity of the community and its quality of life We desire streets and sidewalks where we can walk or run in safety where we can stroll with family and visit he said want neighborhood parks where we can play with our children and grandchildren We want trees we can sit it was a chance for staff to brief council on the million budget in the works since January The first reading of the budget which becomes effective July 1 is scheduled for April 10 Some council members hoping to see some differences from the budget pre sented Monday District 2 Larry Alexander questioned spending on media equipment and improvements for council chambers and on downtown improvements To me these are he said If this is keeping one policeman or one fireman off the street I dont support Staff actually cut requests for two police officers and seven firefighters The Police Department requested eight officers and got six and the Fire Depart ment requested seven firefighters but got none The fire department could receive additional personnel depending on the out come of Mays bond election Assistant to the city manager Don Fer guson said the city could use camera and video editing equipment to help produce programs for a fulltime community access channel which the city does not currently have The for downtown could be spent on new lights benches trash cans and other amenities for downtown city manager Mike Shands said Alexander asked the staff to study those line items and make sure they were neces sities The city needs to invest in public safety he said If we stay above the curve the city will be better he said District 6 councilwoman Juliet Watson said she would like to see some money spent on video equipment but not the full See TALLEY Last day to file for May 6 Sea of Blue AMANDA Spring has sprung in New Braunfels Golfers and travelers on Elizabeth Drive have been treated to a glorious patch of bluebonnets in full bloom Many wildflowers are hit ting their peak right now Call us at 6259144 ext 221 and let us know where to find the best Canyon woman pleads guilty to intoxication manslaughter CHOINA Gonzales looks for reelection to CISD board BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer Comal Independent School District trustee Dora Gonzales will run for another threeyear term after filing for reelection Friday Gonzales who represents singlemember dis trict 1 said she decided to run for reelection after encouragement and support from district patrons I think I needed that encouragement and decided to stay on the board another three she said The District 1 position is one of three seats up for elec tion on the CISD board of trustees on May 6 Applications for a place on the ballot are available at the districts central office 1421 N Business 35 during regu lar business hours Deadline for filing is Wednesday Early voting begins on April 19 and ends on GONZALES May 2 The school district is divided into seven sin glemember districts each represented by a member of the board of trustees People interested in filing for election must be registered voters live in the singlemember districts for which they are filing and have been a residents of their districts for six months For 2000 only patrons in singlemember dis tricts and 5 will vote in the CISD school See BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer A 32year old Canyon Lake woman pleaded guilty Monday to intoxication manslaughter in con nection with a July 8 accident that caused the death of a 3year old boy and critically injured four oth ers Melissa Watson Choina accepted a plea agreement Monday in Dis trict Judge Gary Steels courtroom with a recom mended sentence of 15 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Jus tice facility Choina was represented by attorney Matthew Kyle A sentencing hearing is sched uled April 27 Intoxication manslaughter is a sec onddegree felony punishable by two to 20 years hi prison and a fine not to exceed Mark Mault chief deputy district clerk said a judge could accept the plea and sentence Choina to the rec ommended 15 years or the judge could reject the plea If the judge rejects the plea Choina could withdraw the plea and submit to a harsher plea or the case could go to a court or jury trial Six people including two adult passengers and four children were riding in a Ford Thunderbird struck by Choinas Ford Mustang after she allegedly crossed into the opposite lane of traffic on FarmtoMarket 306 just south of FM 2673 about noon on July 8 A 3year old boy riding in the Thunderbird died two days later at University Hospital in San Antonio Officials with the Texas Depart ment of Safety reported Choinas level at or more than twice the legal limit at the time of the fatal collision The legal level in Texas at the time of the accident was State law reduced the legal level to Sept 1 Witnesses said the Thunderbird was traveling south on FM 306 and the Mustang was traveling north when it crossed into the southbound lane The Thunderbird veered left and then back right again to avoid the Mustang witnesses said Choina and her 13year old pas senger both were taken by Star Flight helicopter to Brackenridge Hospital in Austin They were both released from the hospital the next day Three other passengers in the Thunderbird a 12year old boy a 10year old boy and a 59year old woman were critically injured in the accident and airlifted to Univer sity Hospital in San Antonio A sevenyear old female passenger in the Thunderbird received minor injuries and was transported to McKenna Memorial Hospital A Comal County grand jury indicted Choina Oct 13 on charges of intoxication manslaughter and four counts of intoxication assault with a motor vehicle Under the plea agreement the four counts of intoxication assault will be dismissed Choina was arrested by Comal County Sheriffs officers Oct 27 She was released from Comal Coun ty Jail in November 1999 on a bond A Comal County grand jury also returned an affirmative finding of the use of a deadly weapon or the Ford Mustang Choina was dri ving at the time of the accident Because of the deadly weapon charge if Choina is convicted she will have to serve at least half of her sentence before becoming eligible for parole Mault said Learning foundation Jeanette Felger whose great grandfather Stephan Klein helped found New Braunfels shows a German wedding certificate to fourth graders at Seele Elementary Monday after noon Felger spoke in honor of todays 155th anniversary of New Braunfels founding Among the students were granddaughter Devin Felger and grandson Christopher Council far ERIN INSIDE Key Code 76 Study to look at areas higher education needs BY PERI STONEPALMQUIST Staff writer The Economic Development Corpora tion agreed Monday that the city should spend on a study to assess high er education needs Its recommendation will be forward to New Braunfels City Council I cant think of any more quality of a Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Inc board president Dennis Heitkamp said Heitkamp is not on the fivemember board which recommends how the city should spend of the citys salestax But he chairs the higher educa tion steering committee Rita Kaufmann board member and chair of the higher education advisory committee said the study would help the See