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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 30, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas NEW BRAUNFELS THURSDAY January 30 2003 M V fgtf 9tJ 12 pages in 2 sections HERALDZEITUNG Vol 152 No 67 Serving New Braunfels and Coma County since 1852 50 cents TxDOT Intersection now warrants traffic light Legislators help pave way for signal near Smithson Valley HS BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY Local school and government officials got some good news Wednesday about a contro versial intersection near Smithson Valley High School The Texas Department of Transportation has announced that the intersec tion of Texas 46 and Farmto Market Road 3159 has met the standards for installing a traffic signal The intersection is on the border between county precincts 1 and 2 Precinct 1 Commissioner Jack Dawson welcomed the news We have a letter from TxDOT telling us that this intersection weve been banging on the table over for years finally meets the war rants for a signal This is just great Dawson said CASTEEL Comal County has for years sought help from TxDOT County Judge Dan ny Scheel and former judge now Dis trict 73 state representative Carter Casteel have both worked the issue WENTWORTH Councils new plan for city annexation really no plan at all We did everything we could when I was county judge but it never would warrant it I am just Casteel said Wednesday in her Austin office This past fall Casteel Dis trict 25 state Sen Jeff Went worth Comal County and the CISD approached TxDOT again Dawson credited Casteels interest with helping to make the most recent traffic study happen We cant take full credit for Dawson said As soon as she got to Austin Carter hammered them on Casteel was modest about her part in the issue Senator Wentworth and my office worked on it and were glad if we she said There is no more pre cious resource than our chil dren and we have taken a See BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer As the City of New Braun fels prepares to move forward in this years round of annex ations council has decided that the best annexation plan might be no plan whatsoever That does not mean there will be no new annexations The New Braunfels Plan ning Commission will consider annexing a commercial subdi vision in Solms at its Feb 4 meeting Also on the agenda is an item calling for planners to consider approval of an annexation schedule for 2003 The planning commission meets at in the City Hall council chambers 424 S CastellAve By a 50 vote Tuesday night council decided to scrap the fiveyear annexation plan that has been the subject in recent years of contentious public debate and has led to lawsuits District 3 Council member Debbie Flume and District 4 Council member Robert Kendrick were absent at the meeting which was a contin uation of Monday nights reg ularly scheduled council meet ing recessed by Mayor Adam Cork Council instead has adopted a plan that Planner Frank Robbins said would allow the city more flexibility in its annexation program and city officials hope should cut down on contention over the annexation issue The Planning and Zoning Commission has recommend ed we amend our plan by not having a Robbins told council The fundamental rea son is it will provide the city with a great deal of flexibility Many municipalities are doing the same The new plan sets no annex At a glance After a fracus over annexa tion in 2001 and resulting liti gation New Braunfels City Council trashed its original fiveyear annexation plan and now will focus on areas exempt from state law requir ing studies and set timeta bles Those include commer cial tracts uninhabited tracts and areas with fewer than 100 homes ation timetable for specific tracts although most of the same tracts targeted in the previous plan remain in the new one New Braunfels will look to annex tracts of land that are exempt from state laws that set timetables and require extensive studies In cases where the city decides to annex nonexempt areas such as a subdivision a threeyear timeline goes into effect for bringing the areas into the city In 2002 the city departed from its fiveyear annexation plan one year after a law suit filed by residents of two subdivisions resulted in their being removed from the annex ation list for 2001 We didnt do any of this in 2002 The biggest reason was a number of us took a very close look at what the state law real ly meant and what we were planning to annex in the next Robbins said We began to wonder if that was what we should be doing The target areas havent changed Well pretty much annex what we were going to any way but were not stuck hav ing to follow that assiduous Robbins said vs free speech A K JESSIE Canyon High School students Megan Wells Krystle Weidner Erin Wiegand Alina Ott and Micaeli Smith from left arent letting their school off the hook about being not able to pray over the public address system during athletic Students challenge CISD policy BY SEAN BOWLIN Staff Writer Five Canyon High School students who want to pray over the public address sys tem during athletic events are asking the Comal Inde pendent School District to lift its ban of all speeches over the system One of the five senior Erin Wiegand appeared Nov 20 2002 on a segment of the Donahue show to talk about the separation of church and state Wiegand said that during the previous school year the Student Council chaplain Alina Ott prayed over the system at a football K JESSIE Wiegand searches a video tape of her appearance on the Donahue show where she spoke about students inability to pray during athletic events at school game Then CISD officials got a letter from Americans United for Separation of Church and State saying they would sue the district if the practice continued The school district abol ished the chaplain position and students were prohibit ed from speaking over the public address system at ath letic events about any thing much less to pray Wiegand said she and fel low students Ott Krystle Weidner Micaeli Smith and Megan Wells wrote to the school board asking it to change the policy It is our current proce dure that students cannot use public address systems at athletic events because we had reason to believe a stu dent was planning to lead the audience in prayer last season at a football CISD Superintendent Jim Grunert said Wednesday The district is responsible for following the laws of the land and must to the best of its ability make sure they are not Theyve taken an ele phant gun to shoot a the students attorney Kelly Coghlan of Houston said of See INSIDE Key Code 76 Interstate accident K JESSIE After a minor collision on the Solms Road overpass New Braunfels firefighter Brett Ration helps load a patient into the ambulance The intersection which was a fourway stop during construction nowonly requires drivers on the overpass to stop According to witnesses and officials some are having problems reading the intereecfon 15 percent of area children out sick BY SEAN BOWLIN Staff writer Flulike symptoms and sea sonal allergies have driven up absenteeism in local schools officials said Wednes day New Braunfels Indepen dent School District Public Information Officer Stephanie Ferguson said Wednesday illnesses have kept seven to 10 percent of the districts students were out of school in the last two weeks Comal Independent School District spokesperson Kari Hutchison said about five percent of that distzicts stu dents has been ill in the last two weeks But Nurse Supervisor Sharon Wright has examined CISD attendance figures and compared them to last year at this time and found the absenteeism rates are simi lar Principal Debbie Garinger of Memorial Intermediate School said her school has plenty sick students Garinger said about 58 stu dents were absent Tuesday and 22 were sent home many students were vomit ing with a fever or have had allergies and fever School nurse Laura Dietert of Lone Star Primary School said on a bad day she usual ly has three out of 171 stu dents absent Eighteen were absent Tuesday At New Braunfels Middle School school nurse Sue Hanner has noticed students with upper respiratory infec tions and some stomach viruses that seem to be cir culating Kids need to be kept home when theyre sick and run ning a Hanner said She said her schools absen teeism rate was 10 percent Thats way over Hanner said Its normally less than five percent And the number of kids who are going home is way over nor Nurse Joan McNett of Carl Schurz Elementary said the number of sick students has decreased this week See
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