New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 29, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas ■THEATER REVIEW, 2 Circle Arts Theatre performs 'Gypsy' debut ■ FAITH, 6 Plagues meant to reveal impotency of false gods ■ ciDi c cnrrcn o New Braunfels hangs tough with Clemens SATURDAY, JANUARY 29, 2011 f"W Texas ^Sp Newspaper of the Year Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. 500 Ray Benson named Texan of the Year By Greg Bowen The Herald-Zeitung Coming to Gruene Hall on Friday for the announcement that he’s been named Texan of the Year was a little different than the first time Ray Benson visited the old dance hall. Tve been coming here to Gruene Hall since 1975,” said the Grammy Award-winning leader of the western swing band Asleep at the Wheel. “1 still remember pulling up to this place and every building in town was abandoned except for Gmene Hall and the Gruene Mansion. It was a ghost town." Benson said he and his fellow band members worried that no one would show up for their concert that night. “But the folks showed up. It was wonderful,” he said. "We fell in love with Gruene Hall.” See BENSON, Page 5 State Rep. Doug Miller, left, shakes Ray Benson's hand during Friday's news conference at Gruene Hall announcing the Texan of the Year. LAURA McKENZIE Herald-Zeitung ► CLASS RANKINGS Data entry error affected dozens of students ► EGYPT PROTESTS Obama tells Mubarak to expand freedoms of Egyptians By Erica Werner and Matthew Lee Associated Press WASHINGTON — Stepping up pressure on a stalwart but flawed Middle East ally, President Barack Obama said he personally told Egypt's Hosni Mubarak Friday night to take "concrete steps" to expand rights inside the Arab nation and refrain from violence against protesters flooding the streets of Cairo and other cities. The White House suggested U.S. aid could be at stake. "Surely, there will be difficult days to come, but the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free and more hopeful," Obama told reporters in the State Dining Room after speaking with the long-time leader from the White House. The president made his comments on television shortly after he and Mubarak spoke. The half-hour phone call was initiated by the White House. The conversation between the two leaders followed closely on a middle-of-the-night TV speech in which Mubarak, in Cairo, announced he was sacking his government to form a new one that would accelerate reforms. At the same time, he said, violence by protesters would not be tolerated. Moczygemba: NBHS has corrected problem that affected class rankings at school By Will Wright The Herald-Zeitung Dozens, perhaps hundreds of students at New Braunfels High School were adversely affected by a grade-point miscalculation that caused many of them to drop in class rank — and could have jeopardized their college admission plans. NBISD superintendent Randy Moczygemba on Friday confirmed that, while now corrected, a data entry mistake led to an incorrect calculation of credits for at least two advanced placement (AP) courses, whose “weighting” or higher grade-point values, should be higher than those awarded to students enrolled in regular, or non-accelerated, courses. “For AP courses there’s a code that establishes how they are calculated in student rank," Moczygemba said. “For a few of them, the weighting was not applied, and therefore the ranking for that class was not correct.” AP classes can qualify for college credit at most accredited American universities. The credit received depends on the policy of the accepting university, the course grade received, and the grade received on a standardized test taken upon completion of the class. Because point values awarded for AP classes are higher, they also enhance a student’s standing when it comes to computing class rankings. Counselors at the high school first became aware of a problem on Jan. 19, Moczygemba said. “At that point we put a hold on releasing transcripts until we could identify what was See ERROR, Page 5 Friesenhahn awarded Besserung By Megan Holt The Herald-Zeitung The Besserung Award winner was greeted with a standing ovation and hundreds of smiling faces at the 92nd annual Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce banquet Friday evening. The Besserung is also known as the community betterment award and referred to as the Outstanding Citizen Award for New Braunfels. As he made his way to the stage, New Braunfels native and award recipient Ron Friesenhahn seemed shocked. “This award is quite an honor,” Friesenhahn said after the program. “It was as much of a shock as a shock can be. It’s wonderful to know the community appreciates the small efforts I’ve given forth.” Friesenhahn has been a practicing attorney in New Braunfels for more than 20 years as well as a longtime member of the New Braunfels Safe City Commission. Michael Meek, Chamber of Commerce president, said Friesenhahn was chosen for the Besserung Award because of his contributions to the community, including his service on the New Braunfels-Comal County Crime Stoppers organization board. “Many may know Ron as the voice of the Unicorns, as he has had an affiliation with See BESSERUNG, Page 5 MEGAN HOLT/The-Herald-Zeitung Mayor Bruce Boyer stands with Ron Friesenhahn, left, who received the Besserung Award at Friday's Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Banquet. By J. Louise Larson The Herald-Zeitung Someone doesn’t want a tree to live in Landa Park. A vandal has been systematically uprooting newly-planted trees at one spot by Landa Springs for three years, and Kelly Eby is getting tired of it. The urban forester for the City of New Braunfels Parks and Recreation department, Eby estimates that over three years, a culprit has cost the city at least $1,350 from damaged plantings and man hours spent retrieving and replanting or replacing. “In this specific area, we have had vandalism against trees in the last KNOW ANYTHING? Anyone with information can call the New Braunfels Police department at (830) 221-4100. three years,” she said, pointing to a wire-fence enclosure cradling a slender, white-limbed Ginko sapling planted by volunteers in December near Comal Springs, between California Street and Gazebo Circle, not far past the flood-damaged stone bridge that is closed to cars. The uprooting seemed to start not long after she arrived in New Braunfels three years ago. She planted three flowering anacacho orchid trees. “A person came and took one of the trees, and I made a police report. The tree came back the next day,” she said. But that wasn’t the end of the arboreal drama. “In a day or a day and a half, it was placed back in the ground, then a day or two went by and they chunked it into the spring,” Eby said. The cycle of replant-uproot was repeated repeatedly. Even when rebar and wire fencing was put around it, zip ties were removed and fencing was slipped off so the miscreants could uproot the plant. First, they dumped the uprooted tree in the nearby Comal Springs. The See TREES, Page 5 Park suffers latest in three-year cycle of tree vandalism Vol. 158, No. 68 14 pages, 1 section Inside CLASSIFIEDS COMICS CROSSWORD FORUM OBITUARIES PLANNER SPORTS TV GRID 12 11 11 4 3 8 9 13 Chance rain High Low 68 52 Details 8 i 50 cents JmfWm • A Crime Against Nature LAURA McKENZIE/Herald-Zeitung Urban Forester Kelly Eby of the New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department standsThursday near a newly planted Mexican Palm tree at Landa Park.The tree was planted to replace one that had been repeatedly torn from the ground by one or more vandals.