Wednesday, July 19, 2000

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

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Text Content of Page 1 of New Braunfels Herald Zeitung on Wednesday, July 19, 2000

New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 19, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas NEW PELS Water Restrictions New Braunfels Utilities cus tomers with addresses ending in or 5 can water today after 7 Well users with addresses ending In 4 or 5 can water today after 8 TUNG Vol 149 No 176 18 pages in 2 sections July 19 2000 WEDNESDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Charity care saps coffers BY Jo LEE FERGUSON Staff Writer Something has to give That was evident as Dr John Flanagan a 16year employee of McKenna Memorial Hospital and medical director of the hos pitals emergency services spoke He sat in his office his face filled with concern as he talked THIRD IN A SERIES McKENNA 2000 Prognosis for hope about the serious problems threaten ing hospi tals problems that also could drive doctors and nurses out of the medical profession Love for medicine and help ing others isnt the problem he said But in recent years doctors and nurses jobs have come with an added pressure as hospitals struggle to survive in a world filled with financial landmines Medicare reimbursements are being whittled down he said Its become harder to get thirdparty See CHARITY CARE AND BAD DEBTS Throughout the past decade McKenna has had to write off an increasing amount of funds not collected 1992 n35Il994 BBS 1996 fEEEIl998 1999 CHARITY BAD CHRIS walks Higdon defends self found not guilty BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer It has been said again and again the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client If Jim Higdon ever looked like a fool he does not now Higdon a Bexar County deputy constable with a high school general equivalency diploma took the full measure of the Comal County District Attorneys office and pre vailed over two attorneys Tuesday being found not guilty of possessing an illegal wild animal That means Higdon and his family will be able to keep their pet dog wolf or wolf7dog mix Shadow which they have had for five years The case grew out of an incident in November 1988 in which Shadow alleged ly killed two pet chickens belonging to a woman who lives near Higdon Higdon was convicted in Justice of the Peace Court Pet No 4 and appealed the case to jury trial in Comal County Court at Law Higdon argued that the Comal County animal control order and wild animal order go beyond state law do not properly define his dog as a wild animal and are uncon stitutionally vague Additionally he said there was no way to prove Shadow is a wolf Jurors who voted to acquit him in about 40 minutes agreed It was clearly a domestic said juror Adam Cork of New Braunfels He said he thought the county and the state Legislature need to clarify the I think the main deciding factor was the interpretation of the actual said Cole We couldnt with good confidence feel the case was proved beyond a reasonable doubt We didnt feel like this animal was a Assistant district attorneys Melissa Smith and Ellen Salyers inherited the Higdon case only a week ago when another assistant who had been handling it went on materni ty leave It was a lot to digest in a said Smith I dont know if Id say I was disap pointed with the result I feel like thats why we have juries and I think this was a really fair jury Mr Higdon felt he was right we See K JESSIE Apparently a brief visit was all it took for Shadow to convince a New Braunfels jury that she is not a vicious animal After a quick handshake with owner Jim Higdon at Tuesday afternoons courtroom appearance Shadow walked back down the aisle and out the courtroom door with Sherry Higdon to await the verdict Second parks meeting planned SPECIAL TO THE HERALDZEITUNG New Braunfels parks officials said they hope for a large turnout Thursday at a public meeting about the future of city parks and recre ation facilities The city has hired Carter and Burgess Inc of Houston to develop a parks recreation and open space master plan for New Braunfels The plan will map out possible future improvements and additions to the citys parks and recreation facilities As part of the master plans development process the city is conducting a series of meetings to gather input from the public The second meeting is 7 Thurs day at Landa Haus in Landa Park 360 Aquatic Circle Parks and Recreation Director Iris Neffendorf said everybody was welcome at the meeting We are trying to get input from the public on what it believes are needs or good things things theyd like to see more of in our parks and recreation Neffendorf said The master plan will help the city know what its residents want and know how to plan for the future she said About SO people attended the first public meeting on the master plan one person suggesting the WHATS UP WHAT Public meeting about the future of New Braunfels parks and recre ation facilities WHEN 7 Thursday WHERE Landa Haus in Landa Park 360 Aquatic Circle city look at providing more recre ational facitilies throughout the city Another resident suggested the city look at a twotier user fee system for residents and nonresidents INSIDE Abby 5A Classifieds OB Comics 2B Crossword 5A Forum 6A 4A Movies 5A Obituaries 3A Sports Today 2A Television 8A Key Code SWB officials Outage was heatrelated BY Jo LEE FERGUSON Staff Writer Southwestern Bell has set up a wind tunnel of sorts in its New Braunfels office Several large fans which are placed around the equipment that operates New Braunfels tele phone service blow visitors hair back against their heads and make it hard to hold a conversa tion below a yelllevel But nobody complained Tues day when Southwestern Bell offi cials gave local officials and res idents an opportunity to tour its switching office The fans are part of the companys effort to prevent another outage like what occurred in New Braunfels between June 30 and July 4 Thousands of customers were without service for hours on June 30 and intermittent phone ser vice plagued the city through ear ly July 4 Both the primary switch and backup system handling the citys phone service failed This happened despite regular tests of the two systems accord ing to Gene Moreno Southwest ern Bell external affairs director He spoke to a group of about 30 people Tuesday who gathered at Krauses Cafe to hear South western Bells side of the story The machine had a heat Moreno said It was heatrelated the cause of the The disruption occurred at generally one of the cooler times of day Moreno and Brad Parrott area vice president for external affairs said they do not know why the system goTtoo hot at that rime of day However part of the problem could be that the Southwestern Bell facility is housing more equipment and people than it once did because of the new competition laws for phone ser vices Southwestern Bell has had to See K JESSIE Southwestern Bell invited local officials and residents to a lun cheon at Krauses Cafe to discuss the phone companys recent outage Those who attended were then bused to Southwestern Bells New Braunfels office to tour the facility Committee gets serious about pay as you throw Hv MCATMFB Tnnn nlen rnnlri savp thf ritv mnnRV BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer New Braunfels Recycling Advisory Committee asked city staff Tuesday to draft a pay as you throw proposal for next months meeting The plan could charge local residents for every bag of trash they throw out in excess of three bags each pickup day The citys current monthly fee for garbage collection would remain the same but residents would have to buy tags for each additional bag of trash The committee is exploring the idea as a way to cut the amount of waste deposited in the Comal County Landfill tfhe program also could save the city money in collection costs The privately owned landfill has a life of about five to six years The city pays for every thing that goes into the landfill Currently city residents pay a monthly fee of for garbage collection and recycling regardless of whether they put out three bags or 10 bags of trash The committee tentatively agreed residents could put out three 35gallon bags each trash day Each additional bag of trash would require a tag bought from the city The committee has not dis cussed how much to charge for See