New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 24, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas © Fl mkeÊm FEEL THE NEED FOR SPEED? RACE OVER TO MOTORSPORTS PAGE 8 New Braunfels FRIDAY JUNE 24,2011 herald-zeitung.com EITUNG SERVING NEW BRAUNFELS SINCE 1852 AREA RIVER FLOWS cft* cubic toutpersecond • Guadalupe at Sattler 55 cfs • Guadalupe at NB 82 cfs • Comal at NB 171 cfs RIVER FLOW RATE GUiOE • RECREATIONAL —100-499 cfs • CHALLENGING - 500-799 cfs STRENUOUS — 800-1,199 cfs • DANGEROUS -1,200+ cfs Optimal tubing on the Guadalupe is between 200 cfs and ^ 600 cfs. Tubing is safest below 1,000 ’ ~ cfs. Rafbng is the mode of choice for levels above 1,000 cfs. ► GAY MARRIAGE Obama backs gay rights NEW YORK (AP) Treading carefully, President Barack Obama praised New York state lawmakers who were debating landmark legislation Thursday to legalize gay marriage, saying that's what democracy's all about. But as expected, the president stopped short of embracing same-sex marriage himseif, instead asking gay and lesbian donors for patience. "I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country," the president said at a Manhattan fundraiser, his first geared specifically to the gay community. Coincidentally, the long-planned event occurred just as lawmakers in Albany were debating legislation that would make New York the sixth and by far the largest state to legalize gay marriage. That served to spotlight the president's own views on same-sex marriage, a sore point with gay supporters who've otherwise warmed to Obama. The president has said his views are "evolving," but for now he supports civil unions, not same-sex marriage. Obama said progress will be slower than some people want, but he added that he was confident that there will be a day "when every single American, gay or straight or lesbian or bisexual or transgender, is free to live and love as they see fit. "Traditionally marriage has been decided by the states and right now I understand there's a little debate going on here in New York," ne said to laughter. New York's lawmakers, he said, are "doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do." Debate on the measure continued into the night at the statehouse, and the outcome was uncertain. Kidnapper gets 40 years By Mondo Moultrie The Herald-Zeitung Relatives of a convicted kidnapper pleaded with a judge Thursday to spare the New Braunfels man's life and, instead, get him the help they say he needs. Dustin Simmang, 25, was convicted in April of the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon of Christine Lundgren. During the case's penal- ty phase, which concluded Thursday, prosecutors sought 99 years or life "Dustin doesn't deserve prison; he deserves help," Sim-mang's grandmother Evelyn Simmang yelled through apparent tears in the court. District Court judge jack Robi- Simmang son sentenced Simmang to 40 years in state prison. Defense attorney Darren Umphrey during his summation said Simmang needed help battling alcohol and substance abuse. Umphrey had a doctor testify that Simmang had problems with both, as well as mental health issues. Umphrey admitted his client has been involved in trouble and run-ins with the law. But, Umphrey said, the incidents are always connected with drug and alcohol abuse. Simmang has been convicted of robbery, accused of burglary and assaulting his pregnant girlfriend while he was out on bond. Umphrey said those things happened while Simmang was under the influence. See SIMMANG, Page 6 SCOOTER STORE CLEARS INCENTIVE HURDLE LAURA McKENZIE | Herald-Zeitung The Scooter Store, which has 1,972 employees in New Braunfels, has fulfilled the requirements of an incentive package SCOOTIN’ALONG Scooter Store satisfies incentive requirements By Greg Bowen The Herald-Zeitung The Scooter Store has met the requirements of a $3 million-plus economic incentive package that was bestowed upon it — with strings attached — by New Braunfels Industrial Development Corp. in 2009. "The provisions have been met," Deanna Scott, vice president of human resources and corporate operations for the Scooter Store, said Wednesday. Under the agreement, incentives totaling $3,054,500 have “All of the jobs are still here. They pay at least $20 an hour. And 61 percent of those hired are from Comal and Guadalupe counties.” Deanna Scott | The Scooter Store been paid to the New Braunfels-headquartered firm, said Debi Korinchock, chief financial officer of the City of New Braunfels. "We're proud to have had this support from local leaders and the community. It has allowed us to serve more of our customers... and to hire more people from the local area," said J.D. Franke, a spokesman for the firm. In 2009, the company was planning to hire another 500 employees and needed more office space than was available at its 200,000 square-foot HQ campus at 1650 Independence Drive. The incentive was offered by the city's 4B board as a way to entice the company to expand locally. The company was offered incentives of as much as $3.85 million if it met certain provisions, including filling at least 50 percent of a maximum 500 new See SCOOTER STORE, Page 6 Commissioners fund $14M worth of projects By Greg Bowen The Herald-Zeitung Comal County commissioners voted Thursday to issue tax notes to fund four projects for $14 million. The notes, which will be repaid via future property tax collections, will help rund the construction of Krueger Canyon Dam, improvements to Farm-to-Market Road 306 and U.S. 281, and an upgrade of the county judicial system's computer system. County Auditor David Renken RELATED: Boat owner asks county to charge tourists for ramp use. Page 3 was pleased with the financial market's response to the county's offering of tax notes. The county had planned to sell $13.8 million in notes at a 2 percent interest rate to raise the $14 million. The county got an interest rate right at 2 percent, but when the notes went on the market Wednesday morning, institutional investors paid a premium of almost $600,000. "We only had to issue $13.4 million in debt, but we ended up being funded $14 million," Renken said. The projects include:: • Krueger Canyon Dam, $6.3 million. Work is under way at the site on Dry Comal Creek west of New Braunfels. Federal funds are also being used to help finance the flood-control structure. • FM 306, $6 million. Project is set to begin in late 2012 in partnership with Texas Department of Transportation and New Braunfels; will include overpasses at railroad crossings near Goodwin Lane and Hunter Road and the widening of the roadway from two lanes to four from 1-35 to west of Hunter Road. • Computer software upgrade for the judicial system, $1 million. The upgrade will improve the Odyssey system used by district courts, the county jail and others. • Right-of-way acquisition for the U.S. 281 project, $700,000. The project, scheduled to begin next year, will widen 281 to four lanes. ► SHOWDOWN GOP bails on debt talks WASHINGTON (AP) Republicans pulled out of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden with a flourish on Thursday, blaming Democrats for demanding tax increases as part of a deal rather than accepting cuts to Medicare and other government programs. "Let me be clear: Tax hikes are off the table," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Boehner spoke shortly after the House GOP second-in-command, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, announced he would not attend a planned negotiating session and said it is "time for President Obama to speak clearly and resolve the tax issue." White House spokesman Jay Carney quickly obliged, while announcing that the talks were "in abeyance." He said Obama supports a "balanced approach" to debt reduction. "I would point that the president supports a balanced approach," Carney said. "He does not support an approach that provides for a $200,000 tax cut for millionaires and billionaires paid for by a $6,000 a year hike in expenses and costs for seniors." Numerous officials have said in recent days that Obama and Boehner would soon take a more public role in the negotiations, as time grows short for confronting politically vexing questions over taxes and Medicare and other benefit programs. WEATHER, 6 MIRANDA MORALES LONE STAR ELEMENTARY Hot and humid High: 96 Low: 75 Afefey _13 Classifieds -13 Cflmics Jfl Cmsswprds Eoeuhl QJbLtuari.es Elamei Sports J TV 14 Vol. 158 I No. 193 1 section, 14 pages 56825 00001 1 1 50 cents Brett Cline on Saturdays ! Downstairs in the Prince Soims Inn 295 E. San Antonio 830-708 5411 For breaking news, sports scores, weather, traffic and mid-day updates, follow us on Twitter ONawBraunfelsHZ Learn what's in tomorrow's paper, offer news tips, receive alerts. Become a New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung Facebookfan. Receive the Herald-Zeitung e-newsletter in your e-mail box each morning: herald-zeitung.com. Click 'HeraM-ZeitunQ Mailing List'