Saturday, February 22, 2003

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 22, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas NEW SATURDAY February 22 2003 H PW y Mf IMf IS pages jn 2 Sectj0ns HERALDZEITUNG Vol 152 No 87 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents More money might boost buyouts BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer Precinct 1 Commissioner Jack Dawson has revealed that Comal County officials might have found federal money for additional buyouts of flooded homes The county is now in the process of buying out 26 res idences most in the area of Horseshoe Falls Estates flooded this past July The buyouts are part of the Federal Emergency Man agement Agencys Hazard Mitigation Grant Program The purpose of the HMGP is to reduce future flood loss es by lowering or mitigating flood exposure through buy ing out properties in flood ways Under the program local officials can buy out proper ties that were heavily dam aged in a flood and receive reimbursement for 75 per cent of the negotiated pur chase price The 26 properties Dawson is negotiating contracts for will cost around million Comal County will pay million of that cost Dawson told the League of Women VotersComa Area at a meet ing conducted Thursday night in Smithson Valley The HMGP administered by the state Division of Emergency Management works in two tiers The first tier or fast is for homes that are located in the floodplain substantially damaged more than 50 percent of their value and are primary residences The second tier of buyouts See Practice makes perfect The take on TAKS Beginning Feb 25 students throughout Texas will take a new test the Texas Assessment of Know ledge and Skills I Inathree part series the HeraldZeltung takes a look at this new educational Initiative FRIDAY Where will the money come from TODAY Preparing for the test SUNDAY What parents stu dents think of the test Districts pretest students to gauge TAKS performance BY SEAN BOWLJN Staff Writer Teachers and administra tors in the city and county school districts have been periodically testing their students this school year to gauge how well they are prepared for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Test Statewide TAKS testing for students begins Tuesday The benchmark tests are designed to see if students are learning the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills TEKS curriculum that TAKS is designed to measure The TEKS curriculum was instituted in 1998 Peggy Fuller principal at Canyon Intermediate School said her students have taken bench mark tests every nine weeks Some people might call that teaching to the test but Comal Independent School District offi cials feel that the benchmark tests help students understand what the TAKS test will be like while pinpointing weaknesses This enables the schools to pro vide individualized remedial pre TAKS tutoring x n K JESSIE Instructional Support Specialist Sandra Shelton right answers a question for Linda Meyer center Thursday afternoon during a presentation of the 2003 Texas Math Diagnostic System for Comal ISO teachers Comal ISO is only the second district in Texas to receive this training from the Texas Education Agency Fuller said students could be grouped together for tutoring Indepth preTAKS tutoring starts next week Why next week Fuller said that if tutoring were pushed too hard too early stu dents would sour on school due to test anxiety Were not going to burn any body out on this the princi pal said Fuller also said that the TAKS requires much more critical thinking than the Texas Assess ment of Academic Skills TAAS did Because the questions and required analysis are much more indepth students are writ ing a lot more than they ever did And theres more Fuller said Theres an overlapping of cooperative the edu cator said For example in science a TEKS concept would be present ed and later in language arts class students might read the science book and then write about what theyve learned Or students reading a book might be asked by their social studies teachers to discuss the country people and customs theyre reading about Fuller believes most of her stu dents would master the reading writing and social studies por tions of TEKS But mathematics is an area of concern She cites a lack of practiced analysis and critical thinking which takes time to learn when fourth fifthand sixthgraders are mentally and emotionally maturing Its going to take a year or two I think to redirect students into thinking more critically And all of that is about Fuller said Developing mathematically aligned critical thinking skills takes about three years Fuller said But not all of the students have the same learning experi ences Students are so diverse thats why the benchmarks are a handy tool Youve got to know where your kids are then adjust modify and reteach to those who are behind or who are so far Fuller said Canyon Lake busk nesswoman Diane Dasher asks ques tions of County Commissioner Jack Dawson at Thursdays League of Women Voters meeting during ah update on the July flood buyout pro gram K JESSIE Council to consider building skate park BY DYLAN JIMENEZ Staff Writer New Braunfels could build its first public skate park ready for local skaters by this summer Parks and Recreation Department Director Iris Neffendorf will present to city council Monday night a plan to build a skate park in Ernest Eikel Field a small neighborhood park Neffendorf said the joint city and county ven ture is a pro ject to trans form a volley ball court that has not seen a lot of use into an 82by82 foot skate facili ty that she said would fill a void in city public recreation The proposed course would be fenced and hold obstacles such as pyrimids ramps banks and quarter pipes The facility would be made up of moveable parts which would make it unique and keep it fresh to the skating public If the project is approved the city could acquire the equipment by March or April The citys parks and recreation mas ter plan identifies a skate park as a community need based on input from city officials residents and govern ment standards Neffendorf said the push for a skate park is based on community and national trends in recreation There is both a growing trend in people par ticipating in the sport and in cities installing staking facilities she said We felt we needed to provide those types of venues Neffendorf said Neffendorf said because of skatings See At a glance WHAT New Braunfels City Council meeting WHEN Monday WHERE Council Chambers The Municipal Building CISD trustee Gonzales seeking reelection to Dl BY SEAN BOWUN Staff Writer Dora L Gonzales the sec retary of the Comal Indepen dent School District Board of Trustees is seeking reelec tion to the District 1 post Im really excited about Gonzales said This is going to be my third If reelected Gonzales a case manager at McKenna Memorial Hospital listed completion of the Canyon Lake High School in an effi cient and costeffective man ner as her top goal Im excited about seeing Canyon High School come to she said Another of her goals is creating more oppor tunities for noncollege bound stu dents Gonzales GONZALES ctrv7 board Presi dent Dan K Krueger and Randy Pawelek in announc ing election campaigns this week This is Paweleks first school board election Rather than holding a special elec tion in February 2003 he See INSIDE Church Key Code 76 Conference looks for ways to help seniors BY SEAN BOWUN Staff Writer Imagine being able to walk into a senior citizens center anywhere in the county and tell someone you need a job transportation information or prescriptions and you get it quickly Getting to that point was the whole purpose of Fridays Aging Well In Comal Coun ty conference said Dr Car los Campos who helped organize the daylong event conducted at the Westside Community Center As the 80 participants were preparing to break out into groups to discuss providing jobs transportation infor mation technology and pre scriptions to the elderly Campos recalled that a year ago the Institution for Public Health and Education Research received a planning grant to study the aging population 6f Comal County What they found was that by the end of this decade the number of people over the age of 60 would increase 62 percent So we asked for a plan ning grant that would help us plan for this increase in aging population and we applied and we got said Campos The planning process start ed a year ago with focus groups in Bulverde Spring Branch Canyon Lake and New Braunfels Campos asked each group to consider what services it thought res idents would need access to to age well in Comal County by 2010 The information gleaned from Fridays conference would be used to apply for a million grant Campos said District 1 City Council woman Sonia MunozGill said she felt excited about the future for the elderly She expected good results and said the conference was an opportunity to hear from peo ple who are in their senior years are still very active and still want to shape the future And even though Im not a senior MunozGill said its good to start planning and shaping the future for See