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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 7, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas plat power ROBBINS    SCHEEL Inside Dear Abby.............5A Classifieds..............4^B Comics ........2B Crossword.............2B Forum................6A Sports...............1,4B Today  .........2A TV...................3B 00001 " I , ' _    THURSDAY ' New Braunfels    August 7.2003 mrnmmmm mmmmm    12 pages in 2 sections Herald-Zeitung •    > Vol. 152, No. 228    Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 /    50    cents (.ISI) lnnkc Blasts rattle neighbors <    K.    JESSIE    SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung After the blare of a shrill siren and the announcement of “fire in the hole,” an explosion of powder and rock erupts from the Chemical Lime quarry west of New Braunfels. From approximately 1,800 feet away, the blast is barely audible. for new leader Former Bulverde man pleads guilty to environmental felony By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A former Bulverde resident pleaded guilty in district court Tuesday to a felony charge of mishandling used motor oil. Fred Elbel Jr., 57, faces up to five years in state prison and a fine between $1,000 and $50,000. A second-degree felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon lodged against Elbel at the time of his arrest was reduced to deadly conduct, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $4,000 fine. Elbel will appear before 274th Judicial Dis trict Judge Gary Steel for sentencing following a pre-sentence investigation by the county probation department. Elbel’s guilty plea is the first felony outcome of an investigation by District Attorney Dib Waldrip’s environmental enforcement office. “We’re proud of the effort my environmental enforcement office has made. We’re diligently doing whatever we have to do to protect and prevent potential threats to either the Edwards or Trinity aquifers. We were fortunate to contain what could have been an oil slick just prior to the flood of 2002,” Waldrip said. See COURT/3A Quarry officials say explosions are no cause for local homeowners to worry By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer Comal Independent School District Board of Trustees start interviewing candidates for superintendent in closed session tonight and Friday. Trustees say they are looking for a strong leader who has experience in dealing with all issues that face a 600 square-mile district, CISD Board President Dora Gonzales said. “Some of the applications have been from pretty small districts,” District 6 Trustee Charles Burt said. “When you have 500 or 600 students in the district, it s a little bit different ball game than when you have 11,000 in the district ” Choosing a candidate who has been involved in a diverse and growing district will be important, said District 7 Trustee Bill Swint. We’re wot the biggest school district in the SWINT    state, but we do cover a lot of area, and we do have a lot of diversity,” Swint said. A superintendent who is able to manage the growth will allow CISD to educate students more effectively, Swint said. “The more efficient we are, the more money we have for salaries and education materials,” Swint said. “That’s what we’re here to do in the first place.” Burt said he would like to see someone with superintendent experience. Some applicants only have assistant superintendent experience, he said. Burt said CISD needs a unifier — someone who can bring staff, administration and trustees in the district together to take CISD to a higher level of excellence. “A lot of the quibbling and things that go on are detractors from getting to that next level of achievement,” Burt said. “My big push is to find somebody who can unify this district in a way that we are all pushing toward similar goals ” Burt said he hopes the decision on a new superintendent See LEADER/3A City balks at county attempt to gain By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer The New Braunfels Planning Commission objects to a recent move by Comal County to take over the review and approval process for proposed subdivision plans in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). The state requires counties and cities work together to decide which entity will review plats in the ETJ, said New Braunfels Planning Director Frank Robbins. Currently, the city’s planning commission, under the advisement of city staff’, reviews and approves proposed plats within the city limits and in the city’s ETJ. The ETJ includes unincorporated areas outside city limits. Recently, Comal County commissioners passed a resolution asking city council to give that responsibility to the county. Planning Commissioner Cheryl Casteel said at a planning commission meeting Tuesday she would support a collaboration between the two entities, but commissioners said they would like to keep the power. “The city should be the one that examines these things, because it’s going to be the one that takes it over,” Planning Commission Chairman See PLAT POWER/3A GOP senators fly out to meet with Democrats in Albuquerque BY NATALIE GOTT Associated Press Writer ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two Republican state senators flew to Albuquerque Wednesday to meet with Democratic counterparts holed up in a hotel, boycotting the Texas Senate over congressional redistricting, sources told The Associated Press. Republican Sens. Robert Duncan, of Lubbock, and Todd Staples, of Palestine, met with Democratic Sens. Royce West, of Dallas, Juan Hinojosa, of McAllen, and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Senate Democratic Caucus chairwoman, the sources said. The Republicans came to New Mexico to press upon the Democrats the damage being done by their absence, one source said. Staples and Duncan waited See REDISTRICTING/3A SPECIAL SESSION On the Web Texas Legislative Council: By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The siren at the Chemical Lime quarry west of New Braunfels sounded several times about 2 p.m. Wednesday. “Fire in the hole!” came the warning over the two-way radio. An explosion that could barely be heard 1,800 feet away shattered a shelf of rock. About 14,000 cubic yards of rock weighing 28,000 pounds collapsed into a pile — enough to keep workers at the quarry, operated for Chemical Lime by Martin Marietta Materials, busy for two shifts. The explosion was larger than one two weeks ago residents say rocked homes more than a mile away. Quarry officials have seismic charts and blasting records proving it. They keep records and videotape of every blast. That day, numerous concerned residents called the Comal County Sheriff’s Office and Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Millikin. See QUARRY/3A Explaining overpressure Barry Scott, manager of aggregate operations for the company that operates the Chemical Lime quarry west of New Braunfels, said overpressure caused by quarry blasts rattles windows and carries the noise heard nearby. Scott said a large part of what people believe is ground tremor is really their body’s response to the wave of overpressure. “Ifs similar to a thunderclap, but you notice it more because you’re not expecting it. You feel it. Humans are much more susceptible to feeling air overpressure or ground vibration, because we’re made mostly of water. The perception is that This must be damaging my home,’ but it doesn’t fit the reality,” Scott said. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herakj-Zeitung As they survey damage done by an explosion Wednesday afternoon, Mike Schaefer (center) points out to Comal County Commissioner Jay Minikin (right) the point of origin of the blast. ;