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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 1, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas NEW BRAUNFELS WEDNESDAY January 1 2003 14 pages jn 2 sections HERALDZEITUNG Vol 152 No 44 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents TOP 10 STORIES OF 2002 Flood ravages again Natural disaster tests area again BY MICHAEL GARY Staff Writer IThe biggest news story for 2002 was spawned by an unusual storm sys tem that hovered over Texas Oklahoma Ark ansas and Louisiana the weekend proceeding July 4 Meteorologist Larry Eblin called it a good weather and described it as having a springlike cold center instead of a typical warm centered summer storm Comal County and sur rounding areas were under flashflood warnings and several floodwater rescues were prompted by runoff from heavy rains The Comfort area south of Kerrville took the biggest pounding and as floodwaters flowed down stream along the Guadalupe River the Army Corps of Engineers began crunching numbers By July 3 Canyon Lake Manager Jerry Brite pre dicted water would over flow the Canyon Lake spUl way at a rate of about cubic feet per second by 7 Saturday July 6 It would be the first time in history after a near miss in 1987 that the spillway would see water flowing over and into a pristine Hill Country canyon below it Brite however had cov ered his prediction and said all bets would be off if rainfall increased above the lake overnight which it did By Thursday July 4 pre dictions were rpvised as the water in Canyon Lake rose and the first trickle went over the apron of the spillway at Hundreds of spectators walked rode bicycles pushed strollers and led their dogs on a leash across the fivekilometer Verela Real walkway on Canyon Dam to witness the histor ical event By the next day water flowed at the rate of See K JESSIE A New Braunfels couple sits in the road reacting to the site of their home destroyed by the floodwaters in early July Just a few years after the devastating Flood of 98 the July floods saw water topping the Canyon Dam spillway for the first time affecting hundreds of Comal County homes Police fire departments civic center debate top local headlines 2 At about the time the City of New Braunfels was reel ing from the July flood it became clear that the New Braunfels Police Department was reeling under change Effective June 1 Chief of Police Ray Douglas a longtime veteran of the department retired to take advantage of health insurance incentives offered to a number of city staff members Russell Johnson who had recent ly retired from the Cortez police department as assistant chief was named interim chief of theNBPDonJuneS Within weeks six officers including two senior sergeants were fired One of the sergeants has since been indicted on a mis demeanor theft allegation Others including another senior sergeant a lieutenant and the assistant chief of police retired The Texas Rangers the Equal Employment Opportunity Com mission and the state commission that regulates police departments have investigated the NBPD at the request of the city but no findings have been released This past week two of the fired officers former Sergeant Roger Allen and his son Christopher Bo Allen sued the city alleging they K JESSIE Former New Braunfels Fire Chief Jack Collier stands by a bunker suit equipped with BreatheTex a vapor barrier that didnt meet state safety standards had been fired in retaliation for trying to stop wrongdoing in the department This story will con tinue to develop in 2003 This past year was not the best for jobs in New Braunfels 3 Flextronics a manufac turer of computer cases for Dell products announced in May that its New Braunfels plant would close its doors by Aug 2 taking 850 fulltime and 400 parttime jobs offshore and out of the local econ omy This past month Flextronics paid back about in tax abatements granted by Comal County in exchange for creating the jobs In March New Braunfels Smoker which manufactured the signature barbecue grills that put this citys name out all over the United States announced it would close its plant in August as well Nearly 200 jobe went offshore with it These announcements came about a year after Mission Val ley Fabrics one of the oldest and largest employers in Comal Coun ty reorganized taking about 350 highpaying manufacturing jobs out of the Comal County economy Local officials and the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Com merce Inc are looking for new light industrial employers to fill the voids and cautioning against putting all of our eco nomic eggs in the tourism bas Detectives look into death of 6yearold BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer CANYON LAKE Comal Count sheriffs detectives are investigating the suspicious death of a 6monthold boy Sheriffs detective Sgt Tammy Ward said Colson Jack Blevins was reported by his parents to have been found float ing face down in a bath tub at Tuesday Sheriffs deputies and Canyon Lake paramedics arrived at tht scene a twostory home located in the 1100 block of Jonas Drive and found the infant unresponsive 1 Paramedics took Blevins to McKenna Memorial Hospital where attempts tc resuscitate him failed County Judge Danny Scheel pro nounced the boy dead and ordered ar autopsy Ward said the Bexar County Med ical Examiners Office ruled the death a See Area doctor named to presidential committee BY TONY CANTU Staff Writer Although she got on President George Bushs radar because of her conservative beliefs local doctor Bev erly B Nuckols knows her new task on a federal commit tee is decidedly non partisan Nuckols recently was named to the presidents National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women In that role she will help educate the public about the scourge of domes tic violence As a volunteer at womens shelters for 20 years including a threeyear stint as a board member for the Comal County Womens Shelter beginning in 1996 Nuckols has seen the tragic effects of domestic and sexual abuse Before we expanded the shelter here it was she said During a residency at the University of Texas See NUCKOLS INSIDE Key Code 76 Girl dies in wreck after crossing road to fireworks stand BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer A 5yearold New Braunfels girl died Tuesday night when a car struck her and her moth er on FarmtoMarket Road 725 An official at University Hospital in San Antonio said Samantha Rodriguez was pro nounced dead half an hour after her arrival by helicopter Her mother Maria A Med ina 39 of New Braunfels was listed in critical condition Lake Dunlap Volunteer Fire Department Chief Scott Wiley said his department was dis patched to the scene just after When we arrived we saw we had a major vehicleand twopedestrian accident with a mother and small child Wiley said New Braunfels and Seguin EMS units were dispatched and the AirLife medical heli copter was launched Department of Public Safe ty Trooper Lino Casas said Medina Rodriguez and two other children were crossing the dark roadway between two fireworks stands when the accident occurred Eric W Stewart 31 of New Braunfels was southbound in an early 1990s Buick Park Avenue when he struck both mother and daughter The other two children both girls were not hit Casas said Medina was thrown 20 feet by the impact while the girl was thrown an estimated 60 feet Casas said Both landed on pavement She suffered severe head trauma and internal damage and was not Casas said of Rodriguez Casas said the accident would be reconstructed but speed did not appear to be a factor No drugs or alcohol were suspected to be involved couldnt see them and by the time he did he tried to stop but Casas said Were not look ingat any criminal Casas said K JESSIE Department of Public Safety troopers from Seguin investi gate the accident that took the life of Samantha Rodriguez Tuesday night
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