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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 5, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas NEW BRAUNFELS WEDNESDAY March 5 2003 jjfpmtmjjjj 14 pages in 2 sections HERALDZEITUNG Vol 152 No 96 Serving New Braunfels and Gomal County since 1852 50 cents Austin man who was found shot dies in hospital BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer The 56yearold Austin man found shot on Conrads Lane Friday night died Mon day in a San Antonio hospi tal Comal County Sheriffs detective Sgt Tommy Ward said James M Webber suc cumbed at Monday to complications stemming from the gunshot wound he sustained to his chest Up until noon Monday Brooke Army Medical Cen ter had listed Webbers con dition as The precise cause of Web bers death has not been released pending the outcome of an autopsy performed Tuesday by the Bexar Coun ty Medical Examiners Office Ward said he did not release news of the death until Tuesday night because of difficulties in finding Web bers nextofkin a son who lives in Kansas Were investigating this as a possible homicide until we prove Ward said early Tuesday evening Until we know exactly what hap pened the Comal County Sheriffs Office considers every death a possible homi Ward released no informa tion on a possible suspect and refused to say whether he had a suspect Webber was found at Friday in a roadside drainage ditch beside his parked truck about 50 yards southeast of the Union Pacif ic railroad tracks on Conrads Lane The area is just more than a mile behind the Rip Griffin Travel Center on Interstate 35 North Webber told deputies that a hitchhiker had shot him Deputies found a 22 caliber rifle a few feet away from Webber Sheriffs deputies and New Braunfels police officers con ducted an extensive search of the area using police dogs Ward said but found nobody Sheriffs deputies spoke See From hay to a home Volunteers band together to finish mans straw house BY SEAN BOWLIN Staff Writer CANYON LAKE Herb Nordmeyer of San Antonio didnt know Greg Tomko before Tomko died But Nordmeyer and many others are giving up their weekends to help Tomkos family complete his vision building an energyefficient home with walls made of straw Tomko fell Sept 20 2002 from the roof of the straw home he had been building He had been coming to Canyon Lake which hed fallen in love with from Chicago on the weekends just to work on the house Thats where Nordmeyer came in Tomko called him sever al times because of Nord meyers considerable expertise on straw con struction Nordmeyer who has a background in con struction materials chem istry had gotten into build ing straw homes in the 1980s The Tuesday after he had the accident we were planning on getting together for Nord meyer said After Tomko fell within a day one of his sons con tacted Nordmeyer who contacted family members Nordmeyer saw there was a need to help Then Tomko died 10 days after the fall So Nordmeyer contact ed members of the Straw Bale Association of Texas K JESSIE Top Matty West artist Al Tamez Juan Rodriguez and science teacher Dawn Lewis all volunteer their work to finish a house with walls of straw after the homes owner Greg Tomko died after falling from the roof of the house Above Chris Davis finishes off the exterior of one upstairs window while Dawn Lewis watches and learns Lewis says almost everyone immediately thinks of the Three Little Pigs house of straw when they hear what See she is working on That was a thing of the Lewis says Gruene Road widening standards BY DYLAN JIMENEZ Staff Writer New Braunfels Planning Commission approved Gruene Road improvements and official street standards were approved during a reg ular meeting Tuesday night Residents in the Gruene district have been campaign ing for a wider Gruene Road for several years siting traffic safety Other residents have been opposed to the project concerned increased traffic would change the character of the area Weve gone through quite a bit of process to be here Michael Short city engineer said street approved Short said he realized Gruene Road needed to be widened based on use and the city master plan He said the staff and the community understand the uniqueness of Gruene Road He recom mended that Gruene Road from Waterway Lane to Sun ny Brook Drive be 24 feet wide with 4foot shoulders that can be used for a possi ble hike and bike trail or pedestrian traffic Planning commissioners also approved city street standards which will apply to how streets are built and repaired See Schools throw prom for senior citizens K JESSIE Above ROTC cadets Stephanie Garcia center and Christina Sanchez right bring a smile to Hubberts face as they swing to the sounds of the oldies at the Senior Citizens Prom Tuesday evening Top As sopho more Jayme Allison finishes her song Because You Love New Braunfels High School Cadet Cpl Jason Pliego releases the tender grip he kept throughout the slowdance with his wheelchairdancing partner Ruby Robinson Robinsons daughter Beverly Lee bought her moms wrist corsage and sat by her side when she was nt dancing throughout the event at Canyon High School CCSCT pairs with utility to help residents pay bills BY DYLAN JIMENEZ Staff Writer Some New Braunfels resi dents can get help paying utilities starting this month NBU Board of Trustees decided Feb 27 to help NBU customers who are experi encing difficult financial sit uations The Community Council of South Central Texas will dis tribute funds to pay for elec tric water and wastewater services provided by NBU Our board and employees recognized that there was a definite need in our commu nity for a program of this type that addresses assis tance with multiple utility said Judy Waring NBU executive director of customer and employee ser vices in a press release The establishment of the NBU program is especially timely in light of the closure of sev eral major businesses in New Braunfels as well as the fact that government funding for electricity utility assistance has been cut in recent Jeff Thompson NBU exec utive director of business ser vices said there have been similar utility programs in other areas since the early See INSIDE Key Code 76 Treasurer to ask county for assistant BY RON MALONEY Staff Writer Comal County Treasurer Susan Patterson will ask commissioners to establish an assistant treasurers posi tion Thursday Patterson was elected in November She said she intends to fund the first years salary for that employee with mon ey she saved in reviewing the countys banking agreements What she found was that reduced fees negotiated near ly two years ago with Wells Fargo Bank was never applied to the countys accounts I was able to work with Wells Fargo I asked for a meeting to review bank charges In June 2001 we had negotiated a lower rate per item but that rate had never been Patterson said The bank has recounted and applied balances for 2001 and 2002 totaling more than enough Pat terson said to pay the salary and benefits for an assistant for the next nine months Weve found a way that wont cost the taxpayers a Patterson said What Patterson wants to do with the position she said is return the Comal County Treasurers Office to doing all the work the Texas Con stitution mandates In Comal County she said a situation evolved over some years where much of that work moved into the office of Auditor David Renken and the Computer Services Department headed by John Dumas What Id like to is pull the treasurers office back togeth er again We want to start doing all the things the Texas Local Government Code rec ommends the office should be Patterson said Those duties include bank reconciliations receiving money and batching daily check runs Patterson said 1 want to be generating the work and then have David and his CPAs audit the Patterson said Renkens office has done a See
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