New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 16, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
SATURDAY, APRIL 16,2005
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The Canyon softball team, down to its last out, rallies past Dripping Springs. Page 5A
Columnist J.T, Woodall says there is no reason to care about the royal wedding in England. Page 4A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 128 16 pages, 2 sections
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DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 4B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3B
MWHelicopter company to expand at airport
By Scott Mahon
Silver State Helicopters’ board of directors approved expansion plans for its New Braunfels operations Thursday, which will eventually become the Nevada-based company’s hub in the central United States.
Andy Spinks, New Braunfels Municipal Airport Manager, said Silver State’s commitment to expand its operations in New Braunfels would eventually generate about $40 million a year in additional revenues for the company.
"And the impact of that to the New
Braunfels’ economy would be about $200 million a year,” Spinks said. “So this is very exciting for us.”
Silver State Helicopters began offering helicopter flight training classes at the New Braunfels municipal airport and Central Texas Technology Center in February.
Spinks said 50 students enrolled in the first training class, and that 50 more students were expected to enroll in May.
“They’re hoping to enroll about 150 students a year," Spinks said.
Spinks said Silver State’s plans included a training school for air
traffic controllers and a training school for airframe and power plant mechanics.
“Silver State owns and operates a charter airline company called Vision Air,” he said. “Vision Air uses MDBOs
See EXPAND Page 3A
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SILENCE CAN BE COSTLY
County takes a bite out of unpaid fines
By Ron Maloney
This year hasn’t been a good one for Comal County in terms of financial news, but commissioners got about $300,000 worth of good news Thursday.
The county’s collection agency, McCleary, Vesclka, Bragg and Allen, informed officials at a special workshop meeting that it has collected $307,092 over the past six months in unpaid fines and fees owed to the county’s justice of the peace courts.
In addition, the county’s constables and the warrants division of the Comal County Sheriff’s Office have been working each day to retire old unpaid warrants, although figures for that activity are not broken out from day-to-day business.
The money will he more important than ever this year.
Comal County commissioners say they are strapped by the impacts of the senior and disabled tax freeze and other unfunded state mandates, and are facing what is likely to be the county’s second tax rate increase in the last decade as the 2006
See FINES Page 8A
City begins to look at creating quiet zones
Leadership Institute making changes to help students
By Leigh Jones
Sandy Hancock, principal of Comal Leadership Institute, has watched three former Smithson Valley High School students leave her campus since january because they could not get a ride to school.
One boy was lucky enough to be able to come back when a friend with reliable transportation also started attending the alternative campus in New Braunfels.
“Both boys came into my office when they registered, and I joked with the young man with the car not to complete his course work too soon or his friend would have to leave us again,” Hancock said “Do you know what he told me? He said
“This program will give them what they are really lacking — a close connection with teachers and other students.”
— Sandy Hancock
Principal, Comal Leadership Institute
‘Mrs. Hancock, even if I graduate, I’ll still keep bringing my friend to school.’ And he has. Now that’s friendship.”
Unfortunately, not all of Hancock’s students who live in the north part of Comal Independent School District are as lucky in their friends.
Transportation problems for her rural students motivated Hancock
to propose sweeping changes to the alternative program, beginning with the 2005-06 year.
If the school board approves her plan, the CLI campus will be split, with Canyon I ligh School students continuing to attend class in the current location and SVHS students attending a new, northern campus.
Although she is not sure where the new “campus” will be located, Hancock said several portables on the SVHS grounds were a likely choice.
“On the one hand, it’s convenient, but on the other hand, it does not give our students much separation from their former mainstream campus,” she said. “But, we’re committed to making it work.”
Hancock is excited about the
change because she believes it will help CLI serve more students, but she Is equally enthusiastic about the new freshmen recapture program administrators will implement as part of the alternative campus’ expansion.
Tile program, modeled after a similar set of classes at MacArthur High School in San Antonio, will help repeating freshmen catch up to their peer group halfway through their sophomore year by allowing them to make up aire first year classes they have failed while taking second year courses.
The ninth-grade program will start with 35 students screened to
See STUDENTS Page 3A
New Braunfels becomes the center of the train world — model trains that is.
30 Texas lawmakers licensed to carry concealed weapons
By Brandi Grissom
Associated Press Writer
By Scott Mahon
AUSTIN—Thirty Texas lawmakers have permits to carry concealed weapons, and nearly all of them support a bill to eliminate the public’s right to laiow who is licensed to pack a gun in public.
The Associated Press requested weapons license information from the Texas Department of Public Safety’ for 150 state representatives, 31 state senators, U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey I lutchison and John Comyn, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Gov. Rick Perry.
Of the 185 elected officials, 30, or about 16 percent, are licensed to carry a concealed weapon, the records showed. The governor, U.S. senators and comptroller are not licensed, but 26 state representatives and four state senators are.
Asked why they got the licenses, lawmakers generally cited personal safety and the constitutional right to bear arms.
See WEAPONS Page 8A
The effort to decide whether quiet zones should be created in New Braunfels is underway.
City Engineer Mike Short said Friday that he and representatives from Union Pacific and the Federal Railroad Administration have spent the last three weeks surveying all 46 railroad crossings in New Braunfels to determine what each crossing would require to meet the new quiet zone rule.
District 4 Councilwoman Valerie I lull, Short, Union Pacific representative Joe Garcia and Jerry Martin from the Federal Railroad Administration, spent Friday surveying railroad crossings.
The group started with the railroad crossing at North Krueger Avenue off Katy Street near the Comal County Sheriff’s Department.
“The initial meetings we have with cities is simply to survey the crossings,” Garcia said. “But there are minimum requirements for quiet zones.”
Garcia said train engineers are required to sound train horns 114 mile before and after a railroad crossing and the new quiet zones would encompass the same 1/2 mile stretch.
However, because railroad crossings differ, each could require different crossing gates and electronic equipment to meet the federal regulations for quiet zones.
Short estimated the minimum cost for the implementing a quiet
Photos by DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung
Union Pacific representative Joe Garcia, left, New Braunfels City Engineer Mike Short and Federal Railroad Administration representative Jerry Martin look over the railroad crossing on North Grape Avenue Friday morning to decide what would need to be done to the crossing in order for it to meet the new quite zone rule. Below, Short, left, Martin, District 4 Councilwoman Valerie Hull and Garcia meet at the railroad crossing on North Live Oak Avenue.
zone at the crossing on North Krueger near Katy Street would be $150,000.
Another possibility would be to close streets that run across Union Pacific’s two railroad lines in New Braunfels.
“We’ve talked about which streets we could consider closing,” Short said.
But Short said closing a street would require additional expenditures, if an alternative street would have to be constructed to provide access to a neighborhood.
In some cases, streets might have to be widened, which could add another $60,000 to the cost of implementing a quiet zone at any particular railroad crossing.
See QUIET Page 3A