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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 9, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas NEW BRAUNFELS THURSDAY January 9 2003 mjfffmjjjjm 10 pages in 2 sections HERALDZEITUNG Vol 152 No 50 Serviag New Braunfels and Gomal County since 1852 50 cents County to buy out flooded homes At a glance Asuvtmlrustn BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer A Comal County Commis sioner will be given authority today to negotiate the buy outs of 26 properties flooded this past July Pet 1 Commissioner Jack Dawson will be empowered by commissioners to negoti ate on behalf of Comal Coun ty the purchase of parcels of land worth an estimated million before the flood Commissioners Court meets at in the commissioners courtroom Commissioners Court Build ing 199 Main Plaza The buyouts will take place under the framework of the Federal Emergency Man agement Agencys Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Under the program own ers of properties that were substantially damaged more than 50 percent of their value by the flood are eli gible to be voluntarily bought out by the county The county would pay the difference between the appraised value of the prop erty the day before the flood and the value of any insur ance settlements or other fed eral flood relief received by the owner Dawson said 26 homeown ers in unincorporated county See Todays commissioners court agenda includes Authorizing County Judge Danny Scheel to sign doc uments allowing reconstruction of South Access Road Opening and awarding bids for 60inch bailer con veyor and hopper for Comal County Rural Recycling pro gram Select members to serve on the Comal County Salary Grievance Committee and Authorize county judge to sign contract between the Alamo Area Council of Governments for Juvenile Alternative Incentive Block Grant funds ifeanddeath training Firefighters get handson survival instruction BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer New Braunfels firefighter Tim McKay fought for breath He couldnt see he could nt tell where he was in the old World Car Motors build ing at San Antonio Street and Guenther Avenue All he knew was that a wall had collapsed inside and he was looking for a trapped fireman The furniture scrap and hanging wires in the build ing were making the whole experience a nightmare that threatened the lives of two firemen McKay and the man he was sent to res cue As McKay struggled toward an exit in the dark after crawling hundreds of feet on his hands and knees his breathing appa ratus began to whistle He was out of air Excellent said Fire Chief John Herber his praise echoed by Fire Lt Stacie Zercher and Battal ion Chief Frank Gonzales McKay pulled off his mask and gulped the cold air in the building Milt Fer guson loaned the New Braunfels Fire Department this week for its Rapid Intervention Training The scenario Zercher said is a simple one Fire fighters are battling a blaze in a large commercial build ing and a part of it collaps es on them Another team has to go in find the trapped firefighters and then find the way out Its about firefighter sur vival We use these tech niques whenever theres a collapse or we have a See Photos by K JESSIE With his axe in hand New Braunfels Fire Department rookie Nevan Price works his way through the back end of the training course Wednesday Unable to see in the dark room everything around becomes an obstacle Left Engineer Roger Brinkkoeter counts the knots on his guide rope as he begins the wind ing training course In his path are trip wires overturned chairs trash cans desk drawers and the natural obstacles of an unknown place Battalion Chief Frank Gonzales monitors his progress Above New Braunfels Fire Departments Captain Ray Hacker works his way under a tied wire in the darkened storage room Hacker finished the course without problems then helped as his crew went through the course Inmate labor helps rebuild Canyon Lake access road BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer CANYON LAKE Comal County is moving closer to rebuilding the main con nector route for the north and south sides of Canyon Lake County Engineer Tom Hornseth said the county would get some help from the state when it rebuilds South Access Road this month That help will come from a state agency with a large potential labor pool the Texas Department of Criminal Justice TDCJ inmates helped Comal County clear rock and debris from the nearby Hidden Valley Sports Park and were lauded for the job they did Itll be in better condition than it was before the County Judge Danny Scheel said Hornseth met Tuesday afternoon with officials of the inmate work pro gram to discuss the bridge project and work proposed to clear rock brush and debris from the Dry Comal Creek west of New Braunfels The July flood closed South Dam Access Road when the spillway overflowed for the first time in the nearly 40year history of Canyon Dam Water that rushed at nearly cubic feetpersecond at the height of the flood cut a deep channel into the lime stone and through the road Hornseth intends to place culverts in the bottom of the channel to allow routine runoff to pass through and fill the cut to road level A subcontractor will be used to place the culverts while inmates will do the backfilling Homseth said Late in the month a county road crew will finish the project by repaying the road Hornseth said Theyve agreed to go ahead and handle the project up on South Dam Access Road Were waiting now for the con tractor to set the pipes The inmates will do the backfilling with heavy equipment support from the county road depart Scheel said The TDCJ said it was confident that a crew of eight or 10 inmates could com plete the work in a week or so once it gets started Scheel said The inmates work 12hour shifts and would spend nights at the Comal County Jail Scheel said INSIDE Key Code 76 a i Memorial work lagging subcontractor waits for payment BY TONY CANTU Staff Writer Controversy swirls at the New Braunfels Independent School District over campus renovations threatening to end in litigation While district officials and the acting general contractor argue over school renovation progress the main subcon tractor awaits in payment now three months overdue The subcontractor SBS Inc of San Antonio helped reno vate the districts three Memo rialnamed schools the pri elementary and inter mediate campuses The work is part of a 1999 bond pack age calling for such work as roof repairs and refur b i s h e d restrooms SBS own er Kelly Pla sker said the delays have rendered her unable to pay suppliers sub sequently compromising her companys reputation Plasker said shes consider ing suing the district For their part district officials have met in closed session to discuss legal options against the acting general contractor REAVES which they blame for work stagnation It began last summer when SBS first encountered pay ment problems The original general con tractor Associated Able essen tially skipped town without paying subcontractors No one has been able to locate the owners of the company since The companys former address was 233 Lucinda Drive in New Braunfels Declaring Associated Able in default NBISD Superin tendent Ron Reaves autho rized the projects bonding company to take over as gen eral contractor With Commercial Indemni ty Insurance Co in charge prompt payments resumed however the relationship between the district and the bonding company has since soured The problem is that they are not a general contractor but an insurance company so theyre not used to running a Reaves said They are not moving the projects along with the pace we had wanted to Its been an ongoing Reaves said the district is discussing options While blaming the bonding firm for much of the trouble Reaves attributed SBS pay ment delays to work deemed unsatisfactory by project architect Marmon Mok of San Antonio We havent been pleased with some of the plumbing Reaves said Some of it is OK some of it is Plasker responded angrily We have never received noti fication that payment delays are related to our work Whenever we have asked about payment we have been told its because of the dispute between the bonding company and the She said the companys past work for the district has nev er been questioned A spokesperson for Com mercial Indemnity was unavailable for comment
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