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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 7, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEW PELS HERALDZEI Vol 149 No 100 20 pages in 2 sections April 7 2000 FRIDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Employers urged to invest in childcare BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer The conflict between work and family life has been costly for both working parents and American businesses The Child Care Action Campaign reported American businesses lost bil lion annually because of employee absences for childrelated reasons Absenteeism for personal problems costs businesses more than billion annually Workday interruptions for employee caregivers cost employers billion in lost productivity Based on those figures officials with Alamo Workforce Development Inc and other local family service agencies urged about 30 employers Thursday to invest in child care benefits today to reap longterm benefits Rebecca Ramos with Family Services Association used an analogy of buying a new car When youre buying a car you decide what you want and you do research and look on the Internet You go around to dif ferent dealerships to see where you can get the best deal because youre spending mon ey and its a longterm Ramos said You need to look at child care the same way for Tracy Wolff chairman of the AWDs child care committee said Children are going to be the workforce of the future Good child care today can ensure a better educated workforce for The Alamo Workforce Development See Leap of faith K JESSIE New Braunfels Middle School student Chris Thayer hit the boards just right on his long jumps taking first place in the event Thursday afternoon at New Braunfels High School The New Braunfels varsity squad along with Canyon and Smithson Valley high schools will compete in Unicom Relays 3 today Rate hikes imminent for Garden Ridge water bills BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer GARDEN RIDGE Recent rains havent done enough to alleviate water concerns here and city officials took action Wednesday to head off a foreseeable water crisis this spring and summer That action will mean increased water bills for Garden Ridge water customers Garden Ridge City Council unanimously vot ed to continue Stage 3 water restrictions and approved requests to buy and lease an addi tional 118 acre feet of water from the Region al Water Resource Development Group for To pay for it council voted to pass the costs on to the 800 users of Garden Ridge municipal water Weve got to raise our water rates to get the money Mayor Jay Feibelman said Thursday A resident of Garden Ridge will see an increase of 50 cents on a water bill for minimum usage raising the rate to for up to gallons For customers outside Garden Ridge the rate will rise to The difference Feibelman said is because RON The City of Garden Ridge reminds resi dents of watering restrictions users outside Garden Ridge about 75 of the total customer base dont pay city taxes Users of more than gallons will see an increase over the current rate of 90 cents for every gallons used over Feibel man said This past year Garden Ridge used about 600acre feet of water Feibelman said An acre foot the equivalent of covering one acre of land with water a foot deep is about gallons This year water consumption is about on track with last years usage Garden Ridge public works officials report If we used 600 acre feet this past year and were expecting a dry year Weve got to get Feibelman said Council agreed to buy 75 acre feet of water at per acre foot and Iease43 acre feet at about per acre foot A water buy locks in the amount of water and the purchase price Lease prices and allocations are not locked in and could change with demand and market conditions Price could rise with demand if dry conditions continue Feibelman said and allocations could be reduced Its much like the stock Feibelman explained The third part of Garden Ridges effort to meet its water challenge is the continuation of Stage 3 water restrictions Under Stage 3 conservation measures sprin kler systems can be operated only one day each Traffic relief in works for Texas 46 BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer BULVERDE Relief might be in sight for motorists and parents who face daily congestion on Texas 46 near Bill Brown Elementary School Engineers with PapeDawson who are working on the new Bul verde HEB are collaborating with Comal school district officials and the Texas Department of Trans portation to find ways to decrease traffic congestion and improve traf fic control on 46 when the new store opens The new HEB store is slated to open this fall on Texas 46 Bill Brown Elementary School is across the street from the store The new store will include a drive through pharmacy a bakery and deli photo processing and a floral depart ment The new development raised some concerns among residents and school officials about traffic in an area that already highly congested in the mornings and afternoons Greg Malatek area engineer with the New Braunfels TxDOT office said engineers with PapeDawson were conducting a signal study to determine whether the intersection at the stores driveway and the schools far west entrance could warrant a light He said TxDOT then would veri fy the numbers before approving installation of the light Developers for the HEB project propose funding both the traffic sig nal light and acceleration and decel eration lanes near the store as rec ommended by TxDOT Greg Flores HEB Manager of Public Affairs said HEB typically looked at traffic and environmental concerns when beginning new developments We understand the needs of the Flores said We like to make sure issues like traffic are addressed now before it does get But Malatek said the school dis trict would have to make improve ments to the schools driveways in order for the light to become a real ity Roy Linnartz a former employee and now consultant for CISD said PapeDawson engineers proposed two scenarios to reduce traffic con gestion Bill Brown Elementary currently has four entrance and exit drive On the campuss east side a bus driveway leads to the back of the campus The campus also has an entrance to the parking lot and an exit from the parking lot onto Texas 46 On the far west side is the bus loop exit Linnartz said both scenarios called for closing the exit from the parent teacher parking lot and creating a new main driveway on the campuss far west side That would reroute parent and bus traffic to the pro posed traffic light Linnartz also said rerouting all bus and parent traffic to the lighted intersection was the safest way to control traffic School officials said cars are backed up on Texas 46 in the morn ings and afternoons The highway department built a shoulder on Texas 46 for that but its still not the safest Lin nartz said The goal of the proposed improve ments was to get car traffic onto schoql property and off Texas 46 Under the first scenario buses would continue to pick up students at the back of the campus and exit See ways K JESSIE Traffic on Highway 46 makes picking up students from Ed Brown Elementary a daily adventure for some parents from the fourth driveway where the proposed light will be Parents would pick up students at the front of the school through the second driveway and also exit from the lighted inter section Linnartz said an existing paved driveway connecting the front park ing lot with the fourth driveway would have to be widened to handle the increased traffic Linnartz and Ken Franklin CISD transportation director said they favored scenario No 2 which would reroute buses to the front of the INSIDE Kay Government predicts lower gas prices this summer WASHINGTON AP Gasoline prices should peak this month and decline to an average of a gallon for the summer the government said Thursday revising dra matically its previous expectations of soaring fuel prices going into the vacation season While the forecast dampened the prospect of per gallon of regular grade gasoline even in highprice areas as once feared motorists still will be paying about 25 percent more the forecast said It 88id a vacation season The Energy Department said Thursday its revised forecast taking into account the addi tional oil production announced by world producers last month shows the average price nationwide peaking at a gallon this month and then declining Gasoline prices already have dropped a bit in some places The forecast estimates prices averaging a gallon after Labor Day Still officials warned that the estimates are ly to pay mm for flwl this ywrtnan last been 26 cents a gallon higher than the national average with the disparity expected to continue into the summer the report said The latest analysis by the Energy Informa tion Administration was in sharp contrast to its forecast a month ago when the agency said that even with increased oil production gaso line prices were expected to soar to a nation al average of a gallon That prompted widespread fear of per gallon gas just when millions of Americans hit the road for summer vacations The turn of events welcomed by WHATS UP April Average price nationwide likely will peak at a gallon Summer Average a After Labor Day Average a galton Source Energy
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