New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 20, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
BIST AVAILABLE COPYNew Braunfels
FRIDAY April 20, 2001
26 pages in 2 sections
m9WBST’ 26 pages in 2 secti<Herald-Zeitung
I ........................... ' 7 ...........
f* ' •¥"” i: J I*".......!.....r..... ............ * ........r ......
Vol. 150, No. 137
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 18*52
Council: Summer river fashions will not include wristbands
David Springfield, of Jack’s in New Braunfels, talks to the River Activities Committee and the City Council about the proposed wristband ordinance Thursday in the New Braunfels Municipal Building.
By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer
New Braunfels City Council voted Thursday to remove the wristband requirement from the river management plan.
Instead, the 23 river outfitters will collect $1 from the tourists and remit that money to the city. The funds will help pay for increased law enforcement, river clean-up, restrooms, trash receptacles and other improvements.
In the past, rowdy behavior on the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers has caused problems both with Utter and crowd control inside the city Emits.
The motion to end the wristband program — and the controversy surrounding the river management plan — passed with a 5-2 split. Both Juliet Watson and Debbie Flume voted against the motion.
“I think wristbands were a good idea,” Watson said. “Ifs for accountability. How else can we make sure this is going to work? We need to make sure the rivers are taken care of.”
But River Activities Chairman Ken Valentine said he was satisfied that the plan the committee developed during the past six months actually would be undertaken.
“I’m happy,” Valentine said. “This is the first time that any plan has passed at all. I would
Deke Brummett, of Rockin R River Rides, loads tubes after picking up his last group of the day Thursday at Cypress Bend Park.
have been happier if they had gone with the wristbands.”
The plan originally included wristbands at a cost of 90 cents. The outfitters then could charge customers $1 for the wristbands to pay for the cost of implementing the program.
Outfitters expressed outrage about the wristband program and threatened legal action. They also submitted the pro
posal that eventually passed at Thursday night’s meeting. At the April 9 city council meeting, council voted to conduct the workshop to iron out details with the outfitters.
“We’re not interested in being in business with the city of New Braunfels,” said Zero Rivers, owner of the Rockin’ R River Rides. “We’d like to run our business without your help.”
Other outfitters echoed Rivers’ frustration with the council and the wristbands. Outfitter Mel Polk said a group of outfitters met and collected $10,000 for an attorney’s retainer to pursue legal action. “There is no legal basis for telhng me that I have to put a wristband on my customers,” Polk said. “You asked us to come up with solutions for the problem, and we told you over and over. But you don’t trust me to collect the money and send it to you. The wristband is not usable. It is a river use fee, and we won’t do it without a court order.”
With that comment, Polk left the meeting.
After some heated discussion between council members, committee members and outfitters, Mayor Stoney Williams said the outfitters were not opposed to paying for the
• City pays 25 percent of all river-related fines to the plan.
• City budgets $50,000 of police overtime.
• Outfitters collect $1 from every tourist using the public exits or city-permitted shuttles. No wristbands will be required.
• Fees increased at public parking for Prince Solms Park.
• Possible increases in shuttle-permit fees.
• 16 contract and off-duty police officers and four civilian spotters
• More signs, provide 21 additional trash receptacles and mesh trash bags
LAST PUBLIC EXIT
• Covered shuttle pick-up
• Lane for shuttle parking
• Barricade Lincoln at Union Street
• Sidewalk on the north side of Lincoln
CYPRESS BEND PARK EXIT
• Realign traffic patterns
• More restrooms, portable toilets
• Add public entry point to Comal River near Landa Street.
City manager releases names after suit threat
Newspaper sought information on engineer hopefuls
By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer
New Braunfels City Manager Mike Shands released the names of candidates for city engineer and city attorney late Thursday afternoon after the Herald-Zeitung threatened legal action to get them.
Shands said he planned to hire a city engineer Thursday night, just hours after agreeing to release the information to the public.
“This is an internal decision on an internal hire,” he said. “I don’t intend to wait to make the decision — I plan to make it tonight.”
On Wednesday, the Herald-Zeitung filed a Freedom of Information request for candidate information for both positions. The information is available to the pubhc under the Texas Pubhc Information Act.
Shands originally denied the request and said he would seek an attorney general’s opinion.
‘I had two appHcants withdraw their names when I told them this newspaper probably would print their names,” he said Wednesday. “Given the animosity the newspaper has shown toward members of city staff, I need the request in writing.”
Shands changed his mind about withholding the final list of applicants after the newspaper threatened legal action against the city. He said he beheved releasing the information would “serve no pubhc good.”
“My feeling is that you release the names only if there is some compelling need for pubhc approval,” he said. "Th me, it doesn’t appear to be a compelling need to
• ROGER L. ENGELKE,
P.E. — New Braunfels Bachelor’s degree in architectural construction from Texas A & M University Master’s of science degree from Texas A & M University Previous experience: senior project manager, office manager, civil engineer and principal engineer.
• JOE H. ISBELL, P E. —
Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A & M University Bachelor’s degree in engineering technology from Texas A & M University Previous experience: project engineer, staff materials and construction engineer, technician ll.
• EDWARD H. LITTELL,
P.E. — San Antonio BSCE - University of Texas at Austin Previous experience: public works projects, land development projects, construction projects.
• JAMES R. NICHOLS,
P.E. — Lacey, WA.
Bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Northeastern University in Boston Master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Connecticut.
Previous experience: public works director, project engineer, quality control manager.
• MICHAEL G. SHORT,
P.E. — New Braunfels Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering Previous experience: project engineer and project manager, drainage engineer for city of Austin, senior aircraft structures engineer.
release the names of people who applied for the engineer’s position. I don’t see where it serves the public good to have the names of people who applied — but weren’t selected or even interviewed. How does that help
Medical witnesses say victim suffered only from malnutrition
By Ron Maloney
Physicians who examined a 7-year-old Williamson County girl after she was taken from her parents this past year testified Thursday that she was malnourished.
But they said batteries of tests failed to find any other problems.
The prosecution of her parents,
Yevette and Joseph Heiser, a Williamson County couple, entered its third day in Comal County Courthouse Thursday. The trial was moved to New Braunfels because of pre-trial publicity in Williamson County.
The Heisers are on trial before 26th Judicial District Court Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield. They are accused of injuring their daughter
by depriving her of food, not seeking medical attention and endangering her through the same acts or omissions.
The charge of injuring a child is a first-degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Endangering a child is a state jail felony punishable by 180 days to two years in a state jail and a fine of
up to $10,000.
Prosecutor Jane Starnes presented physicians and a second school employee as witnesses.
Dr. Karen Wright, a pediatric cardiologist, evaluated the girl shortly after she was removed from her home on Jan. 5, 2000. She evaluated her for a heart murmur and an enlarged liver.
Ultimately, Wright said, the heart
murmur was found to be benign, and the girl had no fiver damage.
She said the patient was “extremely talkative” and described behavior she thought unusual in a 7-year-old.
The girl “demolished” her breakfast about 36 hours after being hospitalized but was still looking for more food, the physician said.See MALNUTRITION/5A
4B board denies funds for Gruene Road, parks
By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer
The Infrastructure/ Improvements Commission denied two New Braunfels city requests for funding parkland purchases and improvements to parts of Gruene Road, president Karen McDonnell said.
The 4B Board — named
for its enabling legislation — conducted three public hearings on funding requests Wednesday night. The board approved only one — a request from the New Braunfels Municipal Airport for funds to build a set of T-hangars.
“It wasn’t that we didn’t See 4B BOARD/5A
Key Code 76
Bomb threat heralds Columbine anniversary
By Martin Malacara
A day before the two-year anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, New Braunfels High School officials investigated a possible bomb threat Thursday.
Administrators and law enforcement officers searched the building but found no bomb.
Today marks the second anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Co. Tbday is also Adolph Hitler’s birthday.
“You tend to notice the dates,” NBHS principal Mike Fitsko said. “Days like this create
a heightened security.”
Fitsko said students reported finding cryptic and faded graffiti on a restroom wall. The misspelled words made references to something happening on Thursday.
“It was more graffiti than anything else,” Fitsko said.
Fitsko said a ninth-grade student was believed responsible for the graffiti.
Fitsko said he spoke with teachers and assistant principals about keeping a watchful eye today.
Comal Independent School District spokeswoman Kari Hutchison said her district does not anticipate any problems today.
“Our antennas will be up,” she said.