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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 8, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas NEW BRAUNFELS WEDNESDAY January 8 2003 12 pages in 2 sections HERALDZEITUNG Vol 152 No 49 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents State fire marshal begins inspections at CISD BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer The state fire marshals office Tuesday began its fire safety inspection of the Comal Independent School District at Smithson Valley High School The SVHS inspection con ducted by Inspector Mike Mendiola was expected to take two days according to Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Man ford The inspection of the school dis trict could last two weeks Assis tant Fire Marshal Wayne Ellington and myself will assist at Smithson Valley MANFORD High Manford said In a Dec 4 letter to CISD officials Manford cited con cerns about a number of safe ty issues including blocked exits pull alarms that didnt operate and technical details such as missing outlet plates Manford requested that the state inspect the entire dis trict a move welcomed by CISD officials As building principal safe ty is my ultimate responsibil said Principal Brad Williams The fire marshal makes my job easier and is a tremendous resource for Tuesdays was the first of a series of inspections of all CISD facilities that could last two weeks Wayne Smith Director of Fire Safety Inspection Ser vices for the Texas State Fire Marshals Office in Austin said the inspection came out of concerns at the school dis trict and the county fire mar shals office about problems with fire alarm systems Well conduct a full life safe ty inspection and produce a report to the school superin tendent and the county fire marshal make recommenda tions for improvements if needed and follow up to help in those Smith said Items to be inspected include the alarm systems doors door hardware loca tion of exits and their mark ings lighting storage of com bustible materials and many other features Smith said CISD Public Information Officer Kari Hutchison said the district has hired a con sultant to evaluate fire safety procedures in all of its schools Their job is not done but their help has been extremely valuable to this Hutchison said Eyes on the skies Skywarn radio operators indispensable BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer On Dec 30 the National Weather Service office in New Braunfels issued a tor nado warning for northwest Bexar County and the inte At a glance The Skywam program is looking for volunteer radio operators If you can help call 625 1683 Part of the reason the NWS could issue the warn ing was its array of expen sive stateoftheart Doppler radars But while the radar indi cated a tornado could occur the multimillion dollar sys tem was backstopped by a ham radio operator who is also a Helotes fireman He confirmed the exis tence of the tornado by actu ally looking up into the fun nel cloud The fireman is part of the nationwide Skywarn net work of weather observers They use shortwave or Ham radio to keep the weather service informed in real time of what is hap pening in a storm situation Ray Taylor of New Braun fels call sign N5NAV is the sector chief or controller for K JESSIE Meteorologist Larry Eblen monitors area weather conditions on Doppler radar units at the National Weather Service center at the New Braunfels Municipal Airport you probably better than it did Eblen said A volunteer Ham opera tor mans a console at the NWS office in New Braun fels during storm events taking data from operators in the field and channeling it to meteorologists Its critical information We trunk the world of these Doppler radars Theyre the greatest piece of equipment anybody has ever given us But theyre not 100 percent for sure You can see all the evidence on this radar that a tornados forming but it doesnt guarantee there will be Eblen said Weve had some of the most significant of signa tures rotations hooks just continue for dozens and dozens of minutes Yet our amateur spotters running right underneath the storm say yeah the bottoms See how during storms volunteer Ham radio operators monitor a station at the NWS collecting data from Skywam weather observers out in the field the local Skywarn spotters National Weather Service Meteorologist Larry Eblen says the network is indis pensable Skywarn is a National Weather Service program that uses mainly amateur radio operators as their mobile eyes and ears We find that they are very nically oriented Theyre amazing These are the folks that you find some thing thats broken you give them a toothpick a nail and a rubber band and theyll have it working again for Cougars pounce K JESSIE Canyon High Schools Zach Pickelman battles for a rebound attempt in the Cougars 6744 win over Lake Travis For game details see the story 7A New Main Street director envisions tourism by train BY MICHAEL GARY Staff Writer Jan Soechting the new Main Street director for New Braunfels has a vision of steam trains making daytime runs from Austin to New Braunfels to boost tourism in the city I have been talking to the Austin Steam Train Associa Soechting who began working for New Braunfels Nov 25 2002 said They are interested Currently they run trains out of Cedar The Austin Steam Train Association operates the Hill Country Flyer on a couple of rail tours including one to Burnet It features a 1916 steam engine five 1920sera passenger coaches and three 1950sera lounge cars and makes Saturday and Sunday excursions Ive been negotiating with Union Pacific about the Soechting said Union Pacific owns the rail lines that run SOECHTING through New Braunfels The railroads history is so rich it changed everything What better way to celebrate the era of steam engines and the railroad than to have a tour that runs on Saturday and Sunday from Austin to New Braunfels Soechting said a steam train excursion would be an excellent way to promote her itage tourism where people could stop in downtown New Braunfels and shop at local stores and tour historical sights during an allday trip See School districts to release report cards later this week BY TONY CANTU Staff Writer More than likely school children across the city are cheering Their holiday gifts safely secured New Braunfels stu dents may find the timing of report card issuance this week fortuitous By weeks end parents will receive their childrens report cards their arrival a week late to base gifts on their con tents Comal Independent School District spokeswoman Kari Hutchison said report cards from their campuses would be sent out by Friday Ele mentary students would be handed their report cards home to give to their parents while secondary students will be mailed to parents The Comal ISO report cards represent academic performance for a nineweek reporting period This past Monday was the final day for that period Hutchison said Similarly the New Braun fels Independent School trict is expected to issue See INSIDE Key Code 76 a i County taps lawyer for civil cases BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer Coinal County has hired a new county counsel Attorney Geoffrey Barr began work Thursday advis ing County Judge Danny Scheel and commissioners court on civil law matters Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldrip hired Barr as an assistant district attorney He has replaced Waldrip in the role of providing legal advice to county officials and departments on policy con tracts subdivision rules right ofway issues employment law real estate water and state regulations virtually any civil issue to come before the county I look forward to the broad range of issues Ill get to deal Ban said I intend to represent the county to the best of my ability I want to help this county move in the right direction as it Waldrip whose office prose cutes criminals in Comal Coun ty also oversees the countys civ il legal needs In December 2000 Waldrip had to step into an active role as the lawyer for comrnis BARR sioners court when thencoun ty counsel Nathan Rheinlan der 45 died At the time Oomal County was rewriting subdivision rules adding water avail ability drainage runoff and onsite sewage facility guide lines Barr is the son of New Braunfels oral surgeon Gary Barr A graduate of St Marys School of Law in San Anto nio he served as an intern in Waldrips office during his sec ond year of law school Prior to taking the county job Banwas in private prac tice mainly dealing with cred itors lights and representing commercial businesses
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