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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 7, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas NEW BRAUNFELS TUESDAY January 7 2003 IQ pages jn 2 sections HERALDZEITUNG Vol 152 No 48 Serving New Btaunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Funding needs for parks could hike user fees BY MICHAEL GARY Staff Writer Higher picnic fees and in creased admission prices for New Braunfels parks could be on the horizon during de velopment of the citys next fiscal budget year which would begin July 1 The New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Departments Advisory Board began look ing Monday night at various ways to fund large capital improvements in new park facilities plus how to replace wornout playground equip ment and decaying bathroom facilities Carl Fox a longtime board member said the citys pop ulation has more than dou bled in the past 25 years but park facilities have not kept up with the pace We have less than half the park space per person than we had 25 years Fox said He referred to a recent 4B Boards reluctance to parcel out a portion of the citys sales tax funds to draw up a plan to rebuild the his torical downtown Plazas bandstand One 4B Board member Kirk Kistner said it would be cheaper for the city to tear down the structure and re build it rather than to spend money to restore the current one He also referred to the structure as a gazebo not a bandstand The recreation board chas tised Parks Director Iris Nef fendorf for even seeking funds from the 4B board She had asked for to draw up an engineering master plan to develop Camp Comal which has frontage along the Guadalupe River south of IH 35 In the end the 4B Board voted to allocate to help the parks department work on plans to rebuild the bandstand At the same time it allocated in funds to Youth Sports a local nonprofit group to construct soccer fields on hardtoaccess property that is located bare ly within the city limits near the now closed ROAM Open Air Market The parks advisory board came to grips with the low priority the city gives to its park facilities despite the presence of one of the more attractive regional parks in Central and South Texas Flocking together Bird watchers focus in on annual count BY MICHAEL GARY Staff Writer A pair of waterfowl known as least grebes created a lot of excitement Sunday among a trio of bird watchers who had converged on New Braunfels for an annual bird count The birds were spotted swimming around in a pond on Ferry Boat Lane early Sunday morning by David Sarkozi and Fred Collins of Houston who had joined a daylong effort 16 compile the numbers of birds spotted Julie Crouch of Austin a birder for the past 40 years worked with them as they cruised roads off Farmto Market 725 to get a glimpse of different species of birds Collins a biologist with the Harris County Parks Depart ment said he has been bird watching all his life more than 30 years Its one of those things that gets in your he said as he approached a thicket and played a tape recording of a screech owl This will be my first count in New The trio were standing close to the thickets on Schu manns Beach Road and play ing the tape of the screech owl to draw any species of smaller birds to the area The smaller birds will mob Sarkozi explained They are mortal The sound will draw 40 birds within arms Crouch said Sarkozi issued a psst psst psst psst sound to imi See BIRD Clockwise from above Noel Pettingell observes birds across the Comal River in Landa Park Sunday morning as part of the bird count for the Audubon Society Caleb Dye compares the different varieties of birds he observes to those found in his book Fellow bird watcher Blair Moore helped Dye spot some of the harder to find birds DAVID Landa Park We are an advisory board but we dont have much Fox said One example of the city ig noring the park advisory board was a purchase of pro perty near the intersection of Torrey Street and Gruene Road in the Comaltown area The city purchased that property without even con sulting this Fox said They never came to us they just went ahead and did Green waste recycling starts Jan 15 Staff reports New Braunfels residents will be able to leave their yard waste at the curb to be recycled beginning Jan 15 The program is designed to divert the citys collected green waste from the Comal County Landfill so it can be processed at the Comal Coun ty Rural Recycling Center and then returned at no cost to residents in the form of compost or mulch Green waste consists of grass clippings brush tree trimmings and other yard debris Tree trimmings and brush must be bundled and no longer than four feet while all leaves plant materials and grass clippings must be contained in biodegradable paper bags that weigh no more than 50 pounds each The green waste program is only available to those res idents who are currently par ticipating in the citys recy cling service The monthly fee for the program is not option which will be added to January utility bills City officials will distribute a limited number of free bio degradable paper bags and they will be available for pur chase at local retail and hardware stores Sanitation crews will not pick up any plastic bags or garbage cans containing green waste The program is the latest in a series of wastereduction programs implemented by the city in keeping with the Texas Commission on Envi ronmental Qualitys goal of reducing the amount of municipal solid waste by 40 percent A residential curbsiderecy cling program implemented six years ago has diverted more than tons of waste from the landfill INSIDE Key Code 76 Returning bell tolls sadness for Lamar Primary students Counselors sent to school to help youngsters cope with loss of friend BY TONY CANTU Staff writer After a long holiday break in the family hearth Lamar Primary school students re turned to class Tuesday with tragedy foremost on their young minds the New Years Eve death of a peer in a traffic accident Grief counselors were dis patched to the school to help classmates of fiveyearold Samantha Rodriguez cope with her death She was killed Dec when a motorist struck her and her mother on FarmtoMarket Road 725 as they shopped for fireworks The mother has since been released from the hospital Samantha was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio but died 30 minutes later The girl was buried Satur day but counselors now are confronted with the delicate task of helping classmates achieve their own closure a task made more challenging given their young ages Weve already visited with the parents over the holidays and shared with them a few ideas on what they can do to help said school coun selor Lisa Schmidt The kids already know whats hap pened but its important for them to have clear and con cise information Toward that end Schmidt and two colleagues from Lone Star Elementary and Memor ial Primary schools would aug ment counseling efforts along with Mireya Gonzalez a fam ily liaison from the nonprofit Communities in Schools Schmidts and Gonzalezs bilingualism was at a premi um Tuesday as the students were counseled in Spanish Sauianthas classmates are enrolled in the schools bilin gual program as they accli mated into an Englishlan guage environment Children were not the only ones left emotionally unpre pared in the deaths wake Lamar Primary School Prin cipal Leigh Ann Dees is over seeing a student body galva nized in grief for the first time in her career while school is in session For 13 years as a school principal Ive lost students after the fact but never dur ing the school the five year Lamar Primary principal said She previously served as principal at a Comal Indepen dent School District campus Samantha was precious and Ill miss her sweet little Dees said Its never easy because you tend to think of them as if theyre your See Trying to help A dollar drive among students to help offset funeral costs has been scheduled for the next two weeks at Seete Intermediate where one of Samantha Rodriguezs sisters attends fifth grade Members of the community are wel come to contribute as wall and can do so by SusanWetz a Communities in Stihoote project direc tor at 6276757
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