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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung: Saturday, January 15, 2011 - Page 4

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   New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 15, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas                                 Page 4 — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, January 15,2011  FORUM  Herald-Zeitung  Serving New ftraunfrls ami (¿mat Caunty un<e 1X52.  New Braunfell Zeitung was founded 185?,  New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged w 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958  Guest Commentary  Outer Loop: What future are we planning for?  A Frost Bank commercial gets it right, “When you grow up in Texas you learn to live by an unwritten code.” Part of that unwritten code is a fierce pride and love for this state and a determination to “Keep Texas Texas.” We expect people to be “straight shooters and square dealers” and to do what’s right for our state and the people who live here.  We sure hope that expectation never changes.  With this in mind, now is a good time to look into the proposed New Braunfels Outer Loop (NBOL).  Several years ago, details about the proposed New Braunfels Outer Loop ( www.nbolstudy.com ) became available. On the surface, it appears that elected and salaried public servants are forward thinking about planning for growth.  Setting aside dedicated roadways for future transportation needs is prudent.  But shouldn't planning be about more than about roads and development? Shouldn’t we also plan to protect our open spaces, natural resources and quality of life?  I he proposed NBOL extends more than 40 miles and encircles New Braunfels east and west of 1-35.  At this time, the proposed route is wider than Interstate 35 and will require two bridges over the Guadalupe River. It will intersect with 1-35 just north of Farm Road 306 close to the Government Land Office property, which has requested annexation to the City of New Braunfels. Section B of the proposed loop extends from (lexas) 46 to f arm Road 306 and through one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the state.  When one studies components of the NBOL, it becomes obvious that there are a lot of questions that need research and must be addressed  PATTY  GODFREY  multi-lane bridge over the Guadalupe River at Second Crossing.  The topography of this beautiful ten-mile drive includes high cliffs and majestic cypress and pecan trees that follow the meandering road beside the Guadalupe River.  The plan, presented at a Task Force meeting, calls for blasting through the cliffs at Second Crossing to accommodate a grade level road over the river to benefit 18-wheelers and recreational vehicles.  Was any consideration given to the fact that the Guadalupe River from Canyon Lake to New Braunfels has been designated by the State of Texas as an “Ecologically Significant River & Stream Segment of South Central Texas.” The high water quality, exceptional aquatic life and its high aesthetic value as the No. 2 scenic river in our state are some reasons for this designation.  Forty percent of the proposed route is over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. Contamination of the river and the aquifer from road construction, accidents, commercial and residential development is a real probability. The Edwards Aquifer is a sole source water supply for almost 2,000,000 people.  New Braunfels gets water from the river and the aquifer. Does the location of this roadway really make sense when one considers what is at risk?  R. J. Rivera Associates, Inc. was the engineering company contracted for the NBOL study.  At the urging of some people attending the task force meetings, lead engineer and designer, Rudy Rivera, finally visited Second Crossing in November 2009. Many questioned how the best design could have been developed without visiting the site.  I he Guadalupe River Road area is well rec-  k  *i    „    _    ,    ”          ***'-    vjunuoiupc    nivci    rvutlU    dltM    IS    Weil    reC-  betore tin New Braunfels City Council votes on ognized throughout the state as being one of  it.  Major cities in Texas such as Houston and San Antonio have loop roads and that makes sense in large metropolitan areas. Loop roads were designed to direct traffic away from the downtown and relieve congestion in heavily populated areas.  If you consider the outer loops in both of these cities, they are eight or more miles outside of the central city area. The proposed NBOL is less than three miles from the existing Loop 337. Recreation traffic in New Braunfels and particularly along F arm Road 306 causes considerable headaches for area residents.  most loved recreation areas. Campers, bicyclists, kayakers, tubers and winter Texans come to experience the unique and rugged beauty that is the Texas Hill Countiy.  The economic well-being of Comal County is directly related to the tourism industry. Could this plan destroy the “goose that lays the golden  egg”?  Rivers can be life giving and can also be life threatening. Our area has the distinction of being part of the “flash flood capital of North America.” Anyone who attended the drainage and flooding meetings in New Braunfels a few months ago has to be aware of the significant  ..    --      muiiuia    agu ims iu ue aware oi n  Many people along 306 have serious concerns problems facing this community.  about the accessibility of emergency services to their homes because of the traffic logjams. Why wasn’t the proposed route located far enough outside the city to alleviate some of these problems? Will this loop in actuality bring more congestion into New Braunfels?  I he proposed loop will require all new construction. What will be the source of construction funds? According to TxDOT spokesperson, Michelle Kopp in a 2007 newspaper article, "it is being developed with the idea that it would be a toll road.”  Are toll roads a good idea for our county? Who  rill Twk khIIIm«, —__  ...    j    11.    «    .  Three major floods in 12 years coupled with all of the other flooding issues cannot be ignored. Prudent people have to question how any change or destruction of the topography between Canyon Lake and New Braunfels will potentially affect the amount of drainage into the river. As was said at the meetings, there is a “profound moral responsibility” to make sure that any construction or development will not cause additional flooding. The Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA) commitment to develop a basin-wide flood protection study is invaluable. A critical question is whether the study  t*riil Ko    .    h    7-----«we. n umtai uucsuuu is wueurer uie siuu^  of New Braunfel^TLfv!l 8 !L t °^^?"!! d . e     *?    ramifications of proposed road  ol New Braunfels? The example of the George-town-Buda Loll Road certainly brings into question the profitability of toll roads in less populated areas.  Have you given thought to the impact of the proposed loop on the Hill Country landscape we all enjoy now? Just take a drive out (Texas) 46 where the widening project is well under way. Then, imagine a three-tiered interchange close to Farm Road 2722.  Or the next time you are in San Antonio in  ways, such as the one over Second Crossing.  In meetings, TxDOT representatives have readily admitted that this loop project is developer driven. Our community interests include looking out for our collective future in many ways, and not just development.  Change will happen.  The question is will this community be wise enough to preserve what is precious as we plan for the future?  Patty Godfrey was born and raised in Texas  Editor and Publisher Managing Editor Circulation Director Business Manager Advertising Director  Doug Toney Autumn Phillips Jeff Fowler Rosie Willingham Timothy Tergeoglou  KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ  Kathryn Jean Ixjpez is the editor of National Review Online and writes for National Review, the print magazine founded by William F Buckley, Jr.   f i  c . ~    —......***    —' yjuujrcy u/wo uur n unu tuiseu iri lexcii  ftw u     area ’  lo °L around to get a preview    and has called Comal County home since    1993  Of the chances in Store fnr IIS    eu,.    :___-    „r    *L.„    r_____1_______,  of the changes in store for us.  Section B of the proposed NBOL includes  She is one of the founding members of the Guadalupe River Road Alliance.  Abortion: Culture of senseless violence  “It is with a heavy heart that 1 write to you about the senseless violence in Ilicson today," EMILY’S I 1st president Stephanie Schriock wrote as so many of us turned to Arizona and prayed for Rep. Gabrielle   ---Giffords'    survival.    We  prayed for Giffords, her family, and those who were tragically affected by the civic gathering that ended in bloodshed. We gave thanks to God for brave men and women who kept the attack from being even bloodier.  When Giffords was shot in Tucson, it was a jarring confrontation with evil. A child, Christina Green, who was bom on 9/11 and was interested in government at a young age, was murdered, as was a federal judge, John Roll, coming from Saturday-morning Mass.  You know their stories by now. There were prayers. But there was also a lot of noise. Fingers pointed. Accusations made.  More reflection may be in order. More reflection is in order.  It got ugly. I was watching as supposed protectors of civility were at their most uncivil. And I was watching, too, who most of their incivility was aimed at Sarah Palin, who, in no small way, is a person who really shouldn't have been part of the story. The National Organization for Women's president was among those who lead the angry rhetorical attacks on the right, presuming if a Democrat had been shot, the bullets must have come from the right. But there was no evidence of this at the time and the evidence suggests this really wasn't a story about politics but about mental illness.  And then I received EMILY’S List's press release, which exists to support female candidates who support legal abortion. Giffords is one of their women. And there was Planned Parenthood's, too.  It was completely coincidental, but when I went back to Planned Parenthood's website later in the week, "Accidents Happen" were the words that jumped out at me.  They jumped out at me and brought me back to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the House floor, after the attack. The former Speaker of the House said: ‘a tragic accident took lives, wounded people in the free expression of ideas.”  But it wasn't an accident.  As Schriock wrote and we all know, “a gunman attacked Cong. Gabby Giffords, her staff, and constituents at a public event... Congresswoman Giffords is fighting for her life, following a bullet entering her brain at close range.”  Schriock went on to explain: “I have read your e-mails and letters about her, how inspired you all have been by Gabby. She blazed into our lives as the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, and we all rejoiced with her when she won a congressional seat that had been held by Republicans for 20 years.”  I couldn’t help but think of other letters. Letters I've been reading for years from mothers who have aborted their babies, often having felt they had little or no support in their struggle to fight for their child's life. Women who know that they did, in fact, end a life. And with all the justifications in the world, there is often a sense of senselessness about it. If only they had the support. If only they didn't have the talking points of a feminist movement intent on telling them the choice to end their child's life is fine, just don't think about him as one. If only they didn't have the moral cover provided by a culture of death—which includes, in no small way, the law of our land, and the feminist movement.  Schriock also wrote, “Today, I'm reminded of our responsibility to love our neighbors, and to take care of each other."  Gabby Giffords was shot days after a press conference was held by the Chiaroscuro Foundation in New York City to highlight the outrageously high abortion rates in New York City (41 percent). NARAL Pro-Choice NY, a branch of another one of the abor-tion-rights groups that issued loving statements in support of Rep. Giffords, blasted the press conference and the religious leaders: "these men continue to meddle in women's lives and preach a gospel of shame and stigma while seeking to ban or otherwise limit access to abortion." But really, the news of the press conference was that Catholic archbishop Timothy Dolan was enthusiastically renewing a pledge that the Catholic Church in New York would help any and every mom who sought its aide in having a child. He is taking liis responsibility as a shepherd, as a father, as a leader taking responsibility, loving his neighbors, taking care.  Back to EMILY, Schriock wrote, "In the face of violence, we at EMILYs List stand committed to contin ued service, and to a country that decries violence and embraces steadfast leadership like that of Cong.  • IY* 111    ’     S   Giffords.  God bless Rep. Giffords and her family. Her survival is an inspirational marvel and the prayers of EMILY and everyone else are great, uplifting gifts.  A sick man perpetrated the Ilicson tragedy. But all this talk of civility we've been hearing wouldn't be honest if we didn't reflect upon our culture of "senseless violence." Abortion is a violence we should open our eyes to see and stop rather than suppress and accept.  It's one that a civil society can work to stop.  United States l Government  PRESIDENT  ■ Barack Obama  1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500  SENATE  ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison  Russell Senate Office Building Room 284  Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web:  http://hutchison.senate.gov/  (Send e-mails through Web site.)  SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:  145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753  ■ John Cornyn  Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web:  http://cornyn.senate.gov/  (Send e-mails through Web site.)  AUSTIN OFFICE:  221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701  Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020  SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:  600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569  CONGRESSMAN  ■ Lamar Smith  Rayburn House Office  Building  Room 2409  Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address:   http://lamarsmith.house.gov/  (Send e-mails through Web site.)  SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:  1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947  ■ Henry Cuellar  1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address:  http://www.house.gov/cuellar  SAN ANTONIO OFFICE:  615 E. Houston St.  San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671  GOVERNOR HOW TO CONTACT  Texas  Government b  &mmk  Hltiillilitlll  ■ Rick Perry  State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711  Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512)463-1849  STATE HOUSE  ■ Doug Miller  EXT E1.216 RO. Box 2910 Austin TX 78768-2910 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 463-5896  STATE SENATE  ■ Jeff Wentworth  1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 925 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN Telephone: 888-824-6984 E-mail address:  jeff.wentworth@senate.state.tx.us   NEW BRAUNFELS CITY COUNCIL  424 S. Castell Ave.  P.O. Box 311747,  New Braunfels, TX 78131-1747  (830) 221-4000  ■ Mayor Bruce Boyer  bboyer@nbtexas.org  Telephone: Extension 4507  ■ Dist. 1 Councilor Richard Zapata rzapata @ nbtexas.org Telephone: Extension 4501  ■ Dist. 2 Councilor Mark Goodner  mgoodner@nbtexas.org  Telephone: Extension 4502  ■ Dist. 3 Councilor Mike Ybarra mybarra @ nbtexas.org Telephone: Extension 4503  ■ Dist. 4 Councilor Sandy Nolte snolte @ nbtexas.org Telephone: Extension 4504  ■ Dist. 5 Councilor Kathleen Krueger  kkrueger@nbtexas.org  Telephone: Extension 4505  ■ Dist. 6 Councilor Stcven Digges  sdigges@nbtexas.org  Telephone: Extension 4506  Comal County Commissioners' Court 199 Main Plaza New Braunfels,Tx 78130 (830) 221-1100  ■ COUNTY JUDGE SHERMAN KRAUSE   krause@co.comal.tx.us  Telephone: (830) 221-1105  ■ PCT. 1 COMMISSIONER DONNA ECCLESON  cctdme@co.comal.tx.us  Telephone: (830) 221-1101  ■ PCT. 2 COMMISSIONER SCOn HAAG   haagsc@co.comal.tx.us  Telephone: (830) 221-1102  ■ PCT. 3 COMMISSIONER GREG PARKER  cctgep@co.comal.tx.us  Telephone: (830) 221-1103  ■ PCT. 4 COMMISSIONER JAN KENNADY  cctjk@co.comal.tx.us  Teiephone: (830) 221-1104   

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