New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 2, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas ■ SPORTS, IB AL Champion Texas welcomes Red Sox ■ NEWS, 3A 4-H Chicken Show at Fairgrounds today ■ NEWS, 2A Dam repairs might wait until river rec season ►THE LEGISLATURE House debates bleak budget Proposal $23 billion less than the amount spent in existing budget The Associated Press AUSTIN—The Texas House plodded through a marathon debate over staggering cuts to the state budget Friday, including the first reduction in overall public education funding in decades. The proposal is $23 billion less than CUTTING MEDICAID The proposal cuts Medicaid reimbursement rates by 10 percent That's on top of 3 percent rate reduction state leaders requested. Medicaid serves 3.1 million Texans — mostly children, pregnant women and adults with disabilities. the amount spent in state and federal funds in the existing two-year budget. With almost 400 amendments to slog through,the debate on the 2012-13 budget is expected to last well into the weekend before a vote is taken. The House plan underfunds Medicaid, which provides health care to the poor and disabled, by more than $4 billion. Some parents brought their severely disabled children in wheelchairs to line up outside the chamber before the debate began. “Why are you voting to hurt me?” read a placard sitting in the lap of 9-year-old Charles Miller, who was born with hydranencephaly, meaning most of his brain tissue is missing. His parents are fighting steep reductions in reimbursements for home-based health care. Public education, representing more than half the state budget outlays, faces historic cutbacks. The plan on the House floor Friday reduces full-day pre-kindergarten, teacher incentive pay, college financial aid and numerous education programs. See BUDGET, Page 8A SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2011 Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. 500 EVEN WILDFLOWERS GET THE BLUES LAURA McKENZIE/Herald-Zeitung A motorist drives past bluebonnets growing along Landa Drive on Tuesday. Lack of rain makes brown fields a little blue in New Braunfels Miller steps down from CISD board Former trustee moving to take full-time job in Round Rock By Will Wright The Herald-Zeitung Comal Independent School District trustee Carolyn Miller on Thursday submitted her resignation to the board. The move will become effective on April 8, though the board has the right to recall her on an interim basis. Miller, 55, is leaving to accept a full-time position with Penske Automotive, an international firm with an office in Round Rock. She said she has been working part-time with the company since January, and she and her husband only recently put their home on the market. “1 had a temporary job that turned into a permanent job,” “I hate to leave with this (budget debate) going on. I started to leave in January, but there is so much going on, I at least wanted to contribute as much as I could.” CAROLYN MILLER Miller she said. Miller’s new job will be serving as an executive assistant to the company’s vice president. “It sort of fell into my lap,” she said. “My husband’s in the car business as well, so he moved up here with me. We decided that it’s not fair for me to be on the board and not live here. I hate to give up the house, which is on the lake and I love it.” See MILLER, Page 8A TAKS testing resumes Monday and Tuesday By J. Louise Larson The Herald-Zeitung If Comal County wildflower lovers are blue over this year’s paucity of bluebonnets, blame it on the rain. “Pretty thin, aren’t they?” said Dennis Markwaidt, director of vegetation management for the Department ofTransportation. While the state wildflower is in full azure bloom in Ennis, designated by the Texas Legislature as the state’s Bluebonnet Capital, this year’s bluebonnet crop around New Braunfels is looking dwarfed. “There’s enough to have a big show, but they’re very small, about two inches tall, due to lack of rainfall,” Markwardt said. Weston Pacharzina is the manager at the Plant Haus, where they sell both seeds and seedlings. Last year’s azure roadside abundance was a tough bluebonnet crop to top, he said. “Last year, we had the perfect storm for wildflowers — the wildflowers last year were phenomenal. This year, nothin’. It's 100 percent weather-related,” he said, noting that for bluebonnets, it’s fall showers that bring April flowers. See BLUEBONNETS, Page 8A By Will Wright The Herald-Zeitung The second round of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests will be Monday and Tuesday at area school districts. Fifth- and eighth-graders will take the required assessment tests in all-day sessions covering math on Monday and reading on Tuesday. About 1,310 students are expected to take the examination in New Braunfels Independent School District, with about 2,650 slated to take the test in Comal ISD. Make-up testing for both subjects will be Thursday. In early March, students in grades four and seven (writing skills); grade nine (reading); grade 10 and exit levels (reading and language arts) were tested. All students will take grade-level or exit-level tests covering math, science, reading and social studies during the week beginning April 25. Administrators urge students to get a good night’s sleep and eat a nutritious breakfast before entering the tests. Teachers and administrators at all schools will help the kids get through the usual nervousness and anxiety issues that accompany testing. Parents are urged to immediately contact schools in cases of illnesses, and are encour-aged not to schedule any activities that could make their students feel the need to rush through the exams. Friend recalls Russell Drury—the man behind the headline By J. Louise Larson The Herald-Zeitung Submitted photo Russell Drury Russell Drury died much the way he'd lived so much of his life — by the side of the road, no roof over his head. Alone. Drury was a complicated man, and his friend Nancy Lacey wanted the world to know the man behind the headline, “Homeless man, 60, found dead Monday.” Authorities said Drury's body was discovered by another homeless person in a wooded area near the comer of 1- 35 and Loop 337 Monday morning. Nancy Lacey said attention must be paid to a man who was alternately trou- IN MEMORY OF RUSSELL DRURY An informal but widely known gathering place for homeless under the Guadalupe Bridge at the Guadalupe River Turnaround will be the site of a barbecue Sunday, a sort of memorial for the life and death of Russell Drury. bled, troublesome, caring, careworn and carefree. “I met him on the street. I stopped for him, to help his dog, and behind die dog was a gentle man, a gentle soul,” Lacey recalled. That was March 2008. A sort of apples-and-oranges friendship was forged See DRURY, Page 8A Vol. 158, No. 122 16 pages, 2 sections Inside CLASSIFIEDS COMICS CROSSWORD FORUM OBITUARIES PLANNER SPORTS 10A 9A 9A 4A 3A 6A 1B TV GRID 11A A few clouds High Low 83 07 Details 6A herald-zeitung.com 56825 00ÖÖ1 t 50 cents The Honeymoon & Wedding Capital of Texas! I IVI HAM TRIVIA: Thursdays at 8 p.m. • I REE to Play • Prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Places 240 S. 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