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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 19, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Thursday, April 19, 2001Forum Contact Managing Edit* Margaret Edmonsc at 625-9144 ext. 22' NKW Braunfkls Herald-Zeitung New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958. Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson, Managing Editor Jo Lee Ferguson, News Editor (830) 625-9144 Other Views By The Associated PressStar Tribune, Minneapolis, on President Bush’s education plan: If you listen only to the White House, K-12 education is one of the big winners in President Bush’s otherwise lean budget, Administration staffers proudly announced that, consistent with the “Leave No Child Behind” campaign, the Department of Education would receive an 11.5 percent increase. That would push total education spending to $44.5 billion and represent the largest increase of any domestic department. ... Democratic leaders challenged the president’s math, charging that Bush had counted $2.1 billion approved last December by Congress during the Clinton administration. Time and again the president has called education his top priority, yet the numbers show that oversized tax cuts really top his list. For every new dollar that Bush would spend on education, he would channel more than $50 to his tax cuts. ... Within his budget, the president identifies several important educational issues that need federal attention and resources. His request wisely channels $1 billion more to special education. It also triples funds for much-needed reading programs to $900 million. And it would send $459 million more to Title I programs for poor kids. Important existing programs must be sacrificed to help finance those good ideas. For example, in response to the spate of school shootings, Bush would fund more police officers for schools. But he would cut the “Clinton cops” program that helped reduce crime in the neighborhoods surrounding some of the nation’s poorest schools. ... At a time when the federal government projects a very large surplus, it can and should do more for America’s students, even as it funds generous tax cuts.The Elkhart (Ind.) Truth, on presidential styles: WTien the 24 military service personnel held in China returned home last weekend, President Bush was not in sight Instead of seizing the cameras himself, Bush spent a quiet Easter in Texas. Think of how Bill Clinton would have handled the homecoming. He would have hopped aboard Air Force One for a cross-country trip to where news was being made. He would have expressed warm words of welcome and appreciation — and gained a slice of television time for himself. The presence of the president adds intensity to any news event. Clinton was constantly on view at disasters and celebrations as well in situations where some presidential action was required. Adding the Clinton scandals, there seemed to be some kind of Clinton drama going on all the time. When Bush stays calm, it helps keep the rest of the country calm. Many situations are better understood on their own terms without switching emphasis to the president. A president does not have to make news every day. Less noise is sometimes better. If everything is played too loud, eventually we don’t hear anything.Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Thursday, April 19, the 109th day of 2001. There are 256 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History; Fifty years ago, on April 19, 1951, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, relieved of his Far East command by President Truman, bid farewell to Congress. On this date: In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the battles of Lexington and Concord. In 1782, the Netherlands recognized American independence.Letters Policy The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung encourages letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 250 words. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included for confirmation purposes. Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the previous 30 days. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor clo Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Letters To The EditorWe are responsible for preventing child abuse Dear Editor: Forty-three percent of American parents report spanking or hitting their children within the past 12 months, 37 percent report insulting or swearing at their children and 2 percent report having kicked, bit or punched their children. More than 3 million children were reported to child protective service agencies as alleged victims of child abuse or neglect in 1998, and about I million of these reports were confirmed. The physical and emotional abuse of children yields harmful consequences for society: a growing body of evidence links child abuse and neglect with drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, youth violence and chronic health problems. It is therefore critical to focus on preventing child abuse and neglect before it starts. That’s what April’s observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month is all about. Placing an emphasis on positive parenting is an important component to the prevention of child abuse. As a community, it is essential that we support parents and families. We must strive to respect and nurture our children. Here are a few tips on how to be the best parent you can be: 1. Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know that they are special and loved. Educate yourself about a child’s development process so you can have reasonable expectations about what your child can and cannot do. 2. Help yourself. When the big and little problems of everyday life pile up to the point where you feel overwhelmed and out of control, take time out. Don’t take it out on your child. Take a deep breath; turn on some music. Know where you can turn for help when you need it. 3. If your baby cries... It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry, especially when nothing you do seems to work. Learn what to do if your baby won’t stop crying. But never shake a baby. 4. Monitor your child’s television and computer use. Watching violent films on TV or playing violent computer games can harm young children. Not only does it scare them, it also teaches children that aggression is a good way to handle frustration and solve problems. 5. Spend time playing with your children, or read to them instead. 6. Report suspected abuse or neglect. Keeping children safe is the responsibility of every adult in our community. If you have reason to believe a child has been — or may be — harmed, call (800) 252-5400. April’s observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month is an appropriate opportunity to remind ourselves of our collective responsibility to prevent the abuse and neglect that robs so many of our society’s children of their childhood, their sense of security and well-being and their future. Together, we really can make a difference. For more information on how to prevent child abuse and neglect, visit or the Family Outreach Center at 620-1299. Mary Ann Lopez Webster Counseling Intern Family Outreach CenterCandidates don’t want to reveal private information Dear Editor: This year on March 4 the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung and on March 13 the Galveston County Daily News published editorials in support of House Bill 64 and Senate Bill 339. The two bills are identical and authored by Rep. Steven Wolens (D) of District 103 and Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R) of District 25 respectively. In summary the bills propose that a financial statement must be filed by a person who is a candidate for a municipal office filled by election and by those persons appointed to a municipal office. These financial statements must include an account of the person's financial activity and the financial activity of the person's spouse and dependent children and be filed with the clerk or secretary of the municipality in which the officer or candidate resides. The bills are presently being debated in the State Legislature. Among other organization and persons testifying, the Texas Municipal League (TML) and the Texas Daily Newspaper Association (TDNA) have been presenting their case. TDNA is for passage of the bills, and TML against. TML is of the opinion, as are most clear thinking individuals, that few people would run for public office if such information had to be provided to the public since it would be public information. This would be especially so in the many small towns of Texas where nearly all public officials, elected or appointed, are volunteers. In the editorials it is stated that municipal officials can vote on issues that could personally or professionally benefit them or their families and there is no mechanism in place to help citizens determine whether a conflict of interest exists and that it is TML spending public tax money lobbying against a bill that would discourage crooks and profiteers from running for office. Yet there are a number of penal and government codes that address just such issues. Section 171.000 of the Local Government Code specifically requires public disclosure of conflicts of interest and Chapter 573 of the Government Code addresses nepotism. The newspaper editors cannot understand why anyone truly interested in the public good would be so fearful of disclosing possible conflicts of interest. It is not the disclosure of conflicts of interest, rather it is the disclosure of private financial information that is troublesome. Is it really the public interest these editors are concerned about? If so, why isn’t an opposing view presented? Isn’t it their purpose to inform? What kind of government will small towns have if these bills are passed? What do you suppose the newspapers will do with all this financial information available for the asking? Remember the accusations and slandering that went on in the media during the recent national election? What has the media done for you lately? I wonder how Galveston Mayor Bo Quiroga and New Braunfels Mayor Stone Williams and their councilmen view this? Has the newspaper asked? Neither the mayor of the town in which I live, nor any of the five city councilmen nor I, the town treasurer, will continue in our positions as volunteer city officials if these bills are passed. Think about this!Calvin C. Daughetee Enchanted OaksKey changes already being addressed at U.S. 281, FM 306 To update all citizens concerned with the progress of any safety measures being implemented at the U.S. 281 and Farm-to-Market Road 306 intersection, a meeting took place Monday at the Texas Department of Transportation district office in San Antonio. Those in attendance, representing you, the concerned citizen, were myself and my father John Martin. Representing TxDOT were district engineer John Kelly, area engineer Greg Malatek, district traffic engineer Arnold Ramirez and engineer Glen Hartman. We presented the signatures of you who signed the petition, about 3,000, and reiterated our requests previously presented to Sen. Jeff Wentworth and State Rep. Edmund Kuempel on March 12, the Comal County Commissioners Court on March 15 and the Texas Department of Transportation on March 21, which are as follows: I. Reduce the speed limit from CHERYL Henry 65 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour on U.S. 281 from FM 311 to one-half mile north of FM 306. 2. Place a traffic light or at least a blinking yellow light at the U.S. 281 and PTVl 306 intersection. 3. Move the highway signs located on the east side of U.S. 281 just south of FM 306 further east. Since our meeting with Greg Malatek on March 21, at the intersect ion of concern, the highway signs that were obstructing view have been raised. They actually raised them the day after the meeting, and I would Uke to commend TxDOT for its expediency in doing so. However, raising them did not completely solve the problem, and they have agreed to move the signs farther east. A speed survey was conducted before March ended. The result of the speed survey does not warrant the speed limit to be reduced in this area. However, surveys will be conducted periodically because they acknowledge the ongoing growth. There seems to be some trouble in getting a good traffic count. A third one is currently being conducted, after two others have failed to compile the information correctly. We were told that a traffic light for this intersection is out of the question, but a flashing beacon has been approved at the intersection. The construction for this already has begun and will take up to a month to complete. Because the speed limit could not be lowered, I was trying to find other ways to help reduce the risk of accidents and requested signs be posted prior to cresting both hills north and south of the intersection, noting that an intersection is ahead and this has been agreed upon by Mr. Kelly. Mr. Malatek agreed to check into whether there is enough right-of-way for a shoulder to be constructed at this intersection on the southbound lane but was wary as to whether this really would help the safety of drivers. Mr. Ramirez has promised to speak with Blanco County officials for approval to reduce the speed limit from 70 miles per hour to 65 miles per hour from the Comal County/Blanco County line to just south of the Stallion Estates entrance and also to request permission to post the “intersection ahead” sign. Mr. Kelly revealed the federal fund for state highways has dropped from 30 percent in 1970 to 7 percent in 2000. He also informed us of the “National Highway System Designation” program where federal funding is made more available for highways in this program and will provide information on how our community can assist in getting U.S. 281 through Comal County designated in this program. Mr. Kelly and Mr. Malatek expressed their concern over the safety of this intersection, and both were very compliant iii providing and/or seeking answers to our questions. (Cheryl Henry is a Spring Branch resident. Her daughter, Amy Burch, 17, died in a collision with a semi-rig at U.S. 281 and TM 306 while on her way to Smithson Valley High School on Jan. 24.) ;