New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 25, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas CLASSIFIEDS poiüd CROSSWORD FORUM * OBITUARIES PLANNER SPORTS TV GRIDAI Vol. 16$,No. 115 14 pages, 1 section Inside J \ 12 10 4. 3 11 •ì IS Afternoon sun 82ÉÂ.3 Details Benson is Texan of the Year Award ceremony kicks off 2011 Texas Legislative Conference in city LAURA McKENZME/Herald-Zeitung Ray Benson sings "Texas, OurTexas" and "Miles and Miles ofTexas" on Thursday night. By Will Wright The Herald-Zeitung like many Texans who weren’t bom in the state, Philadephia-bom Ray Benson likes to think he got here as soon as he could. Benson, the enigmatic and colorful leader of the western swing band Asleep of the Wheel, graciously accepted his Texan of the Year award presented by the Texas Legislative Conference during a Thursday night reception at New Braunfels Civic and Convention Center. “I was afraid it was a gravestone,” Benson joked when presented the award, a plaque mounted on a small block of granite. “I came to Texas back in 1972 because I wanted to be a Texan. We discovered the beauty and cul ture ofTexas, and the music and history, and made it our home.” The 59-year-old entertainer and multiple Grammy award-winner was selected for the honor because of his volunteer work with several organizations and advocacy for health care for aging musicians. However See BENSON, Page 8 ► FM 306 IMPROVEMENTS County OKs $6M share of project ■ STATE NEWS, 3 Miss San Antonio gets her crown back ■ SPORTS, 6 Cougars overcome scare from Boeme ■ WEEKEND, 14 Gruene Hall ready to rock FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2011 Texas Ap Newspaper of the Year Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. 500 .ON TEXAS 46 Woman killed in highway pile-up Thursday wreck occurred near Vintage Way By J. Louise Larson The Herald-Zeitung A three-car pile-up at the comer of westbound Texas Highway 46 and Vintage Way left one person dead Thursday. Sylvia Guevara, 62, was pronounced dead at Chris-tus Santa Rosa — New Braunfels after the 1994 Ford Aerostar van she was riding in was rear-ended, sending it spinning into oncoming traffic around 8:43 a.m., said Department of Public Safety Trooper Jason Reyes. Reyes said a 1994 Dodge Ram pickup driven by Eddie Easter crashed into the back of the Aerostar driven by Kimberly Pogue, 39, of Universal City, after the van slowed in preparation for making a left turn onto Vintage Way from the east-bound lane of Hwy. 46. Another van occupant, Maricela Perez, 60, of Converse, was taken to University Hospital in San Antonio with internal injuries. Neither Perez nor Guevara were wearing seatbelts, according to the DPS report, Reyes said. Kristi Knight of Richmond was driving a 1999 Nissan Altima in the westbound lane of Hwy. 46 when the Aerostar collided with her vehicle. Sheriff's Office lines up reservists to help with local river patrols » Construction is expected to begin in late 2012 and be completed in 2015 or ’16 By Greg Bowen The Herald-Zeitung County commissioners on Thursday approved a resolution pledging $6 million toward the state’s planned $47 million Farm-to-Market 306 improvement project. Last month, the City of New Braunfels promised its $6 million share of funding for the project, which will be built by the Texas Department of Transportation, which will fund the remaining $35 million. Construction is expected to begin in late 2012 and be completed in 2015 or '16. County Commissioner jan Kennady thanked the city, TxDOT and Area Engineer Ben Englehardt for their hard work in putting the project together. “But most of all I’d like to thank the citizens who have gone way beyond the call of duty working on this for years. I want to applaud you all," Kennady said. The FM 306 Improvements Coalition has long been pushing for an upgrade of the thoroughfare, saying the increasingly crowded roadway connecting New Braunfels and 1-35 with the tourism-heavy Canyon Lake area poses a public safety hazard because of significant delays caused by the many trains that cross the narrow farm road daily and tie up traffic, including emergency vehicles. The project will include the construction of overpasses at railroad crossings near Goodwin Lane and * m, Kennedy See COUNTY, Page 5 GAS SPIKE COMPLICATES BUDGET WOES LAURA McKENZlE/Herald-Zeitung Comal Independent School District buses are parked Thursday at the district's Support Services building. BUS+GAS Soaring fuel prices taking bite out of school budgets By Will Wright The Herald-Zeitung Nowadays, it seems it only takes a stiff wind to send energy prices soaring, affecting everyone’s budgets and pocketbooks. The crunch especially hits home at Comal County’s school districts, which are trying to find ways to save money in light of the state budget shortfall. Gasoline prices were around $2.45 this time a year ago. Now, in New Braunfels, they average $3.39 a gallon. The price of diesel fuel — traditionally 30 to 40 cents higher— also has gone up, and since school buses run mostly on it, that’s created some budgetary problems for both local school districts. In its 2010-11 budget, New Braunfels Independent School Dis trict budgeted $220,000 for fuel, which has a remaining balance of $65,285. “The district always considers possible fuel price fluctuations when budgeting,” said Stephanie Ferguson, NBISD public information officer. “While we do so, it’s impossible to predict the many factors that cause prices to increase, See BUDGETS, Page 5 Downstairs in the Relax after a busy day at t Prince Solms Inn 295 E. San Antonio 830-70&5411 By J. Louise Larson The Herald-Zeitung The forecast calls for 90-degree weather today, a hot March day and a reminder that it’s almost summer again—the season when the vacation haven that is the Guadalupe River brings tubers floating the Chute and reserve Comal County deputies on River Road and in the parks at Canyon Lake. On Thursday, Comal County Sheriff’s Office was finalizing contracts for reserve deputies to work the parks at Canyon Lake, as well as the river access points and waterways on the Guadalupe River, Lt. Mark Reynolds said. Within the next few weeks, reserve deputies will be working River Road and parks. During the actual summer season, which runs from Memorial Day weekend See PATROLS, Page 5 Canyon High School seniors Caitlin Burton, 17, left, and Caitlyn Crumrine, 18, take a photo of themselves while sunbathing March 18 along the Comal River.