New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 23, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
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SPORTS SO CLOSE
New Braunfels softball team heads into the playoffs after a 3-2 loss to district champ Dripping Springs. Page 5A
Columnist J.T. Woodall says it's time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Page 4A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 134 16 pages, 2 sections
Details .... 1B
NBISD refuses to turn over bullying report
By Leigh Jones
New Braunfels Independent School District will not release a report on middle school bullying problems, despite formal requests from the Herald-Zeitung and concerned parents.
Based on advice from the district’s lawyer, administrators are
withholding the documents because they claim the information contains sensitive student data protected under the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act.
Assistant Superintendent Janet Patton generated the documents at the request of Super-intendent Ron Reaves after both administrators attended
the March 17 Citizens for New Braunfels Middle School Improvement meeting.
Their goal was to analyze discipline problems at the school and use the information to formulate a plan to cut down on bullying, fights and insubordination on campus.
Although parents have referred to the document as a
report, even claiming they heard it was 60 pages long, Reaves said it was nothing more than a single spreadsheet of information.
“It is not a written report," he said. “It’s just basically a list of in school suspension assignments, which we cannot release."
While student privacy could be protected if the district
removed names and identification numbers from the documents, administrators are concerned people reading the information could figure out who the students were based on other statistical data.
CNBMSI member Liza Stockwell was disappointed and
See REPORT Page 3A
Ron Reavesloved ones
By Leigh Jones
Yvonne Mullings was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.
She was 29 years old.
After a year of chemotherapy, six months of radiation and a mastectomy, Mullings was ready to take her survivor’s lap at the beginning of New Braunfels’ Relay for life.
“I’m really blessed,” she said. “My family was so supportive. Getting cancer was really the best thing that ever happened to me. It helped me focus on what I wanted to do with my life.”
As soon as she finished her last treatment, Mullings went back to college to get her degree, making die dean’s list her first semester.
“I was so excited. It was a real victory," she said.
While Mullings told her story, members of her relay team were putting on their costumes in the background. This year’s Uieme was “Go Hollywood,” and Mullings’ group chose “The Wizard of Oz” for their inspiration.
The sign over their green-topped tent read, “Emerald City,” but the cover, complete with a yellow brick road entrance mat, did not offer much protection from the wind whipping up Dorothy’s pigtails.
The team of 15, organized by janie Medrano, walks every year.
Wearing a friend’s Quincinera dress and sporting a bleach blonde wig, Mullings led the crew as Glenda the Good Witch.
Photos by MANDY REARY/Herald-Zeitung
Cancer survivors walk the first lap around the New Braunfels High School stadium track Friday evening during the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Below, Michele Shelton points out her grandmother's name to her daughter, Shelby, at their tent at the Relay for Life.
Their banner read, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a Cure for Cancer.”
“Glenda” disappeared quickly in the sea of purple shirt-clad survivors gathered at the edge of the track for the evening’s first lap.
Evan Gonzalez, 6, probably was wearing the smallest scrap of purple in the crowd.
The little boy’s energy belied how sick he already had been during his short life.
Diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma five years ago, Evan had a double lung transplant when he was 2, followed by years of excruciating treatments.
His mother, Linda, said he
See RELAY Page 8A
SEEKING A CURE
Relay walkers celebrate life, remember
County pays $800,000 to cover budget shortfall
By Scott Mahon
Comal County spent $1.35 million on indigent health care last year, which along with other state mandated programs caused a cash shortfall that surprised county commissioners.
To cover the shortfall, commissioners approved an $800,000 transfer from the county’s general fund reserves Thursday, and First Assistant County Auditor Sharon Ferrell said as a result, the county’s goner a1 fund reserves would fall far below the $5 million mark that the county tries to maintain.
“The reserves aren't going to be anywhere near $5 million,” Ferrell said Friday. “But I won t know the final number until tile end of May when we complete our year-end financial report that will he presented to the commissioners."
Ferrell said counties are not required to spend more than 8 percent of theii genet -a1 revenue tax levy for indigent health can1, which in 2(X)4 would have been $ 1,528,000.
“We came close," she said. “But other state mandated programs were also short at the end of fiscal year 2004, including expenses for public defenders and housing for juvenile offenders."
Ferrell said in 2004, the county spent $474,947 for public defenders.
See BUDGET Page 3A
Developer plans multi-use project in mill building
By Scott Mahon
A California developer who likes to convert historical buildings first saw the Mission Valley Mill building when he was jogging in New Braunfels last July.
“I was visiting friends in Austin and we were in Gruene and New Braunfels,” said Mark Tolley. “I was jogging when I noticed the building and saw the real estate sign. So I talked to the real estate broker about it and found out someone was thinking about demolishing the building. And I thought what a travesty that would be."
Tolley, who with his partner, Scott Joppin, operate Urban Pacific Builders in Long Beach and specialize in purchasing older historical buildings and
converting them to commercial-resi-dentiiil projects.
“We’re starting a project in Austin that would be similar to the concept we have in mind for the Mission Valley Mill property,” he said. “We don’t intend to demolish the building. In fact, we want to preserve and enhance it’s historical heritage."
Urban Pacific Builders has the property under contract, and local Realtor D. Lee Edwards said the deal could be completed in 180 days.
Edwards is co-brokering the transaction with the Joe Foster Company of Dallas, and said the 40-acre site, including the buildings, had an appraised value of about $ I million.
Edwards declined to disclose the purchase price, but said the transaction
was still in the due diligence process and Urban Pacific Builders would have to complete an environmental and economic impact study.
“The concept for developing the property would be a multi-use project, including office space, restaurants, retail stores, condominiums and some residential housing," he said.
Owned by Plains Cotton Cooperative Association in Lubbock, the property was being considered as a site for a new convention center-hotel complex that would have been funded by a Tax Increment Finance District, a concept initially proposed by the Coker Company of Dallas.
Only 14 employees still work at the
See DEVELOPER Page 3A
D. Lee Edwards, left, developer Mark Tolley and New Braunfels Mayor Adam Cork discuss plans for developing the old Mission Valley Mill building into a multi-use project.