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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — HERALD-ZEITUNG — Sunday, April 23, 2000Opinions Forum Letters  - .........................-    -V...............................................................—...........       ^    ........... ...................-•—<-----........................... NKW Rj&AJjNFELS 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 Editorial U.S. tried to do right thing in the wrong way Little Elian Gonzalez has seen more trouble in his young six years than any person should have to go through. In November, he clung for his life to an inner tube before being rescued from the sea where his mother drowned. For five months, his father and the federal government engaged in an international custody dispute with Miami relatives and other Cuban Americans over what is best for the boy. Shortly before dawn on Saturday, eight federal agents stormed the home of his Miami relatives. More than 20 agents arrived in white vans and used rams on the chain-link fence and front door. They came in with automatic weapons and pepper spray. This demonstration of force by our government was not conducted in the best interest of Elian Gonzalez. True, the child belongs with his father; the father has worked in good faith to secure the return of his child. However, our federal government tried to do the right thing in Tic wrong way. Attorney General Janet Reno made the decision to retrieve the child through force. She defended that decision by saying she tried to negotiate with the Miami relatives but they “kept moving the goal post and raising the hurdles.” These negotiations were not for the release of hostages; this was a 6-year-old boy. Both sides forgot about Elian the little boy and instead focused on Elian the political issue. The child was not in imminent physical danger until the federal agents stormed that Miami house with guns and pepper spray. The child seemed to be well-adjusted until complete strangers — with automatic weapons — yanked him screaming from the home where he has lived for the past five months. The White House is fortunate this did not turn into another Waco; certainly the potential was there. This was not a matter of political or international pride. This was about a little boy’s life. If our federal government truly were interested in the welfare of Elian Gonzalez, officials would have found a much more peaceful, cooperative transition for reuniting the boy with his father. Instead he must live with another painful memory, this one inflicted by the American government. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Easter Sunday, April 23, the 114th day of 2000. There are 252 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: April 23, 1564, is believed to be the birth date of English poet and dramatist William Shakespeare; he died 52 years later, also on April 23. On this date: In 1348, King Edward III of England established the Order of the Garter. In 1789, President-elect Washington and his wife moved into the first executive mansion, the Franklin House, in New York. In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was bom in Franklin County, Pa. In 1896, the “Vitascope” system for projecting movies onto a screen was demonstrated in New York City. In 1899,    Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov was bom in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1940, about 200 people died in a dance hall fire in Natchez, Miss. In 1954, Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves hit the first of his record 755 major-league home runs, in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. (The Braves won, 7-5.) In 1969, Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for assassinating New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. (The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.) In 1985, the Coca-Cola Co. announced it was changing the secret flavor formula for Coke (negative public reaction forced the company to resume selling the original version). (^^£©2000TteH£»: i0HW«5-UNiOrt 'Netted mof6fite(o«er !iyie was arerawhgover • Letters to the Editor Passage, not location, important for Prop. 5, 6 Dear Editor: There seems to be a lot of questions about the location of the sports complex and family activity center. The important thing is that Propositions 5 and 6 pass. The kids don’t care where they play, just that they have a place to play. The youth need these facilities, and these facilities will be used not only by the kids, but also the parents, senior citizens and even tourists. Locations mentioned are land on the loop, airport, Doeppenschmidt Road and Seidel property. This issue is take care of our youth. We seem to have money for expansion of the county jail and the city law enforcement center. Maybe if we invest more on our youth, we won’t have to spend so much money on the criminals. And if you have an opinion on where you think these athletic facilities should be located, visit with your city council person and let him or her know what you think. Larry Wenzel Past president, New Braunfels Youth Sports Indoor pool would be asset to community Dear Editor: I believe that I must speak up in favor of the proposition for building an indoor swimming pool. New Braunfels has been blessed with two rivers that provide summertime fun and exercise for its citizens and visitors. Maybe for that reason, we have been rather slow to recognize the need for an all-year round swimming facility. I doubt that there is a community the size of New Braunfels in the entire country without an indoor swimming pool for the use of youth and anyone else who wants to use it for exercise or competition. Building an indoor municipal pool is not a drain on the local economy either. The outdoor pool in Landa Park has had positive cash flow since the Olympic-size pool was completed. It is a little known or appreciated fact that it not only has paid its own way but has contributed more than $200,000 a year to the general city budget. An indoor pool would do as well. It could be structured to provide a much-needed resource for physical education for our area schools, practice for our swimming teams (both interscholastic and AAU), free swim time for all our citizens who enjoy swimming for health or rehabilitation and swimming lessons for those who don’t know how to swim. There is no denying that swimming is as good as any exercise, and better than most in maintaining aerobic fitness and weight control for our aging population. So for a health standpoint, it is worthwhile also. I am going to vote “yes” on propositions 5 and 6, and it is my prayer that enough citizens will do so to allow New Braunfels to “catch up” in this important area. Hylmar E. Karbach, M.D. New Braunfels NBGSA says thanks for help Dear Editor: The New Braunfels Girls Softball Association’s board of directors would like to publicly thank the superlative group of individuals, businesses and organizations who helped make our pre-season and April 8th Fun Day an outstanding success. We are again able to provide a quality youth sports program because of the support from friends, family and patrons in our community. We sincerely thank the following: Cynthia Williams, Julie Duckworth, Terry Hannasch, George Garcia, Rachel Stein, Arlon and Teresa Hansmann, April Marie, Comal Flower Shop, Ernesto’s Jewelry, Goepf Jewelers, St. Anthony’s Jewelry & Formal Center, Plumeyer Photography, Lacks Furniture, Great American Products, Blinders Hair Salon, Coiffures de Villa Salon, Gaston’s, Great Clips for Hair, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Carlton’s Meats, Granzin’s BBQ, Keno’s BBQ, McBee’s BBQ, Mr. Gatti’s Pizza, Clear Springs Restaurant, El Nopalito’s, Jack-In-The-Box, Hwy 306 Burger King, Steaks-to-Go, Luby’s, The Gym, Physical Therapy Unlimited, Bodywerks, Massage & Trigger Point Therapy, N.B. Mattress, Vivoroux’s, Rawlings, Jesse Campos, Hansmann’s Woodworks, Linda Koehler Metal Art, Jim’s Video, Hollywood Video, Becker Motor Co., Bluebonnet Motors, Don Maxwell Chevy, N.B. Feed & Supply, Schlitterbahn, Sun Dance Golf, Golf USA, Quail Creek C.C., A Tan for All Seasons, U-Ka-Tan, Auto Zone, BradzOil, Express Lube, Hill Country Customs, Car Quest Auto Parts, Oakwood Tire, Pro-Tech, Quick Align, Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express, The Plant Haus, China & Things, N.B. Cycle, Rockin’ R River Rides, Coming-Revere, Maldanado’s Nursery, Bug-a-meister, Sherwin Williams Paint, Bexar Electric, Kustom Fence, Sequin SPCA Animal Shelter, Arlon Hansmann Construction, New Braunfels High School, The Paper Factory, Mr Richard Marble, the N B Parks & Recreation Dept and all the NBGSA coaches, parents, grandparents, and friends. Randy Heinbaugh President, NBGSA Thanks to council for supporting arts Dear Editor: This is a public letter directed to city council: At the April IO city council meeting, when you approved the recommendations of the city arts commission for the distribution of the bed tax revenues to local arts organizations, a few of the grateful recipients were present. We wanted very much to stand up and say, “Thank you!” but as soon as that item was decided, you moved immediately on to the next business of the agenda, so we didn’t get the chance to publicly declare our appreciation. Hence, this letter. We want you to know how proud we are to have your support, your recognition that we make a contribution to our community’s quality of life. Without the dedicated appraisal by Chair Mary Beth Smith and the other members of the city arts commission, and without your respect for the commission’s work, and your recognition of our efforts, many of us would find it almost impossible to provide our artistic services and to strive for excellence in our endeavors. Please multiply “thank you” a hundred times, and you might come close to our gratitude for your support. Elizabeth Elliott Executive director, Circle Arts TheatreBelow normal rainfall likely to continue into summer By Bob Rose Special to the Herald-Zeitung Central Texas is once again in a moderate to severe drought, just like in 1996 and 1998. But this drought is lasting longer and could be more devastating. Several scientists trace its origin to the fall of 1998, just after the October floods along the Colorado and Guadalupe rivers. About this time, the waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific began to turn unusually cool, signaling the start of “La Nina,” a weather phenomenon that typically creates a dry weather pattern in Texas. La Nina strengthened during the winter of 1998-99, then weakened last spring and early summer. Similarly, Central Texas rainfall was well below normal last winter, but returned to normal last spring and early summer. Then, late in July, La Nina began to strengthen once again, and rainfall across Texas dried up. It's now been about nine months since our region has had widespread rain. Is there any end in sight? Let's take a look at weather history. Droughts are a natural cycle in Texas weather, and Texas climate history tells us that serious droughts occur at least once every decade, and usually last from one to two years — some a little longer. The current drought is similar to the ones we experience as recently as 1983-1984, 1988-1989, and even 1995-1996. Climatology suggests that we may still have a way to go before the current drought ends. On the other hand, scientific data suggests that the current La Nina has peaked. Computer forecasts models indicate that La Nina conditions should weaken this spring, the Pacific water treatments returning to near normal readings around July. A few computer models even suggest the temperatures may become unusually warm, creating a weak El Nino by next fall or winter. El Ninos usually bring above normal rainfall to Texas. Based on this data, the dry weather patterns caused by La Nina will continue throughout the spring and early summer, then relax by next fall. Keep in mind that summer is usually a dry time of year in Central Texas even when La Nina isn’t present. Therefore, a shift toward increased rainfall isn't expected until maybe this fall. One wild card is the hurricane season. The outlook for this summer calls for above normal hurricane activity. One dying tropical storm or hurricane over Texas Hill Country could change our drought to a flood in less than 24 hours. (Bob Rose is the chief meteorologist for the Lower Colorado River Authority.) ;