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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 22, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels TUESDAY April 22, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections 14 pages in 2 scctHHerald-Zeitung HK"""— Vol. 152, No. 136Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents CTTC to provide ‘state of the art’ labor help DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung State Sen. Jeff Wentworth By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer A “state of the art” facility like the Central Texas Technology Center would give students the technical skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly global economy, state Sen. Jeff Wentworth said Monday. Wentworth joined more than 200 other private and public officials at the New Braunfels Municipal Airport for the groundbreaking of the technical center. Guest speakers besides Wentworth were Tfexas Assistant Secretary of State Geoff Connor, and state Reps. Carter Casteel and Edmund Kuem-pel. “Texas future depends on our work force being technologically astute and computer skilled,” Wentworth said. He said those skills are also tied to the futures of those who would attend the facility. “The CTTC may one day be the center where one student makes a dream into a reality,” the state senator said. The center, a 25,00 square-feet facility to be built just south of the new airport terminal, has been billed as one of the most import ant investments in the economic future of the area. By providing a flexible curriculum of technical skills, the CTTC would fill an educational need in New Braunfels and surrounding communities, officials say. The center would help New Braunfels lure new commerce and train the employees of businesses already here. Other speakers praised the main players in the project for coming together to fill “aSee TECH CENTER/8A Property tax hike possible as city considers layoffs By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer New Braunfels might layoff 18 to 20 staff positions though police, fire and other basic city services would be seriously handicapped. Monday night city staff presented to council proposed uncut budgets for their departments. And the needs heard caused council to seriously consider a property tax increase. Fire and police depart ment chiefs told council how desperate they are for manpower. 'Fhey said they are unable to provide basic services to New Braunfels residents and need to add positions to their payrolls. It was the same for nearly all city departments. Department heads said they were understaffed, overworked and needed to add positions. But the money just isn’t See COUNCIL/3A CISD offers early retirement to 97 By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer Voluntary incentive retirement packages would be offered to 97 Comal Independent Sch(X)l District employees under a plan adopted Monday afternoon by board trustees. After meeting in a special closed session for almost two hours, trustees voted 4-2 in favor of the plan, which was adopted in an effort to avoid layoffs. Trustees Nick Nichols and John Bertleson voted against the plan. Deraid LaRue was absent. Eligible employees must meet three criteria: 1) Be a full-time teacher, librarian, counselor or nurse. 2) Have served at least two years with Comal ISD. 3) Be eligible for full retirement benefits under the Teacher Retirement System’s “rule of HO.” That means the person’s age and years of service in public education equal the number 80 or more, CISD spokesperson Kari Hutchison said. The 97 eligible employees would be invited to meetings this week to discuss the option, said Hutchison. They would have 45 days to consider the plan documents and make a decision. Those who take advantage of the early retirement package would get 80 percent of their 2002-03 base salary in four annual payments starting in October of this year. CISD Board of Trustees President Dan K. Krueger said the board has requested the administration to provide additional information on other employee classificat ions. “We will consider all of the other employees at our next meeting,” said Krueger. “We certainly want to do this as quickly as possible, one, to help them with their retirement benefits, but also obviously, to help us — so that if the employee decides and opts to retire, that gives us the opportunity to find the most qualified person to replace them.”Inside Abby....................................5A Classifieds...........................4-6B Comics................................7A Crossword..........................5A Forum.................................6A Movies................................SA Obituaries...........................3A Sports..............................1-2B Today..................................2A TV Grid...............................3B Key Code 76 a 56825 00001 Early voting light for Comal ISD, Bulverde By Ron Maloney Staff Writer While early voting turnout has been steady for the City of New Braunfels municipal election, officials say voters so far haven’t beaten down the doors to cast ballots in Bulverde or the Comal Independent School District. The election May 3, which is a Saturday, will be conducted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jo Bender of the New Braunfels City Secretary’s Office said Monday that 481 people had cast ballots in early voting since it opened this past Wednesday. In the New Braunfels, Gale O’Hara Pospisil is challenging Incumbent District 3 council member Debbie Flume. Valerie Hull opposes district 4 council member Robert Kendrick. Three propositions are also on the ballot in New Braunfels. Early voting in New Braunfels would be conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday through April 29. The early voting location in New Braunfels is Room 104 of the Comal County Courthouse on Main Plaza. Early voting will also be conducted in the courthouse from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bender reported only seven votes had been cast in the CISD election as of Monday afternoon. In CISD District 5, which represents Spnng Branch, four candidates are seeking to replace Deraid LaRue, who chose not to seek re-election. They are Rose Cervin, Lee Iredale, John Zimmerman and write-in candidate Randy Shelton. In District 7, which encompasses Garden Ridge and Solms, incumbent Randy Pawelek is being challenged by Bill Swint and Les Sutton. CISD early voting Is being conducted in conjunction with the New Braunfels municipal election in the Comal County Courthouse. In addition, the CISD will set up satellite early voting locations at the Canyon Lake Action Center in Saltier on Wednesday, the Bulverde Community Center on Thursday and at the Garden Ridge Municipal Complex on Monday. All times are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In Bulverde, early voting clerk Elaine Rogers said this election so far is slower than the one this past November. "Its a little on the slow side. I think we’ve had 34 voters. Its been very slow, but we had controversy last time and that brings them out,” Rogers said. Four candidates are seeking two at large seats on the Bulverde City Council. Incumbent Alderman Charlie Baetz is running with Elliott Franklin, Cindy Cross and Sarah Stevick. Bulverde early voting will be conducted each weekday in Bulverde City Hall located in the Bulverde Marketplace at FM 1863 and U.S. 281. Voting hours in Bulverde are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 29. Voter registration cards list a voter’s county precinct, city council and school districts. NOTES ^ULMr INFORMATIONAL FORUMS The League of Women Voters-Comal Area hosts candidate forums this week in Bulverde and Garden Ridge ■ The forum in Bulverde starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative auditorium, 36101 FM 3159 ■ The Garden Ridge lorurrt starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Garden Ridge City Hall, 9357 Schoenthal Road. Comal ISD District 7 candidates have been invited Huaco Springs drowning jpMPi DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung New Braunfels Fire and Rescue team members Chad Holladay (front) and Ethan Lindner search the Guadalupe River Easter Sunday for the body of 25-year-old Christopher Ybarra while waiting for the arrival of the San Marcos Area Recovery Team divers. The San Antonio man drowned in about seven feet of water at Camp Huaco Springs. Below, SMART team commander Dan Misiaszek flips into the water of the Guadalupe River. On board the rescue boat are SMART diver John Cumutt (from left), New Braunfels Fire and Rescue team member Ethan Lindner and an unidentified eyewitness to the drowning. Death is first at popular camp since 2001 By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A 25-year-old San Antonio man drowned in the Guadalupe River Sunday evening. San Marcos Area Recovery Team divers found the body of Christopher Ybarra in about seven feet of water at 7:36 p.m. — 15 minutes after they began searching for him. Comal County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jimmy Dimmer said public safety officials were dispatched to Camp Huaco Springs just after 6 p.m. “Witnesses said a swimmer got in trouble over there,” Dimmer said, pointing from the campground to the far bank of the river. The victim was part of a large group of picnickers who visited the popular recreation area on an Easter Sunday outing. Dimmer said several attempts were made to rescue Ybarra before officials were called. Canyon Lake Fire and EMS and New Braunfels Fire Department firefighters were dispatched to the scene at the same time as the sheriff’s deputies. Canyon Lake Fire and EMS Capt. Mark Montgomery said rescue units arrived within 15 minutes of the call. By that time, he said, a drowning victim has been under water so long that rescue is not possible.See DROWNING/8 A ;