New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 10, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
THURSDAYLance Berkman hits grand slam in national tournament. Page 5
The Plaza Bandstand
12 Pages in one section ■ Thursday, August 10,1995
Serving Comal County for more than 143 years ■ Home of
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Vol. 143, No. 194
Birthday wishes from the Herald-Zettung!
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends birthday wishes to: Dawson Brum below (21 years), Penelope Biggadike and Jason Rheinlaender. Happy 19th anniversary to Alice and Adam Hernandez.
RIvot and aquifer Information
Comal River -262 cubic-feet-per-second, same as yesterday Edwards Aquifer —624.75 feet above sea level, down .05.
Guadalupe River — 140 c f s.
Concert in the Park
Painted Pony will perform the free concert tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the dance slab in Lan-da Park.
Aggies’ ice cream social
The Comal County Aggie Moms Club invites all Comal County Aggies and their families to an old-fashioned ice cream social tonight at Area 16 (across from the pool) in Landa Park beginning at 7.45 p.m. This new 'Howdy Night' is an opportunity for all Aggies -from brand new 'fish' to graduating seniors ioJormer stu-. dents - and their families to get to know each other and share that great Aggie Spirit. There is no charge for the event.
HOPE to hold ond of summer dance
Hispanic Organization for Public Education announces an end of summer DJ dance fund-raising event with DJ Kenny Longoria.
The dance will be Friday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Hall, 138 W. Austin St.
Lone Star Primary sneak preview
A sneak peek for first and second graders at Lone Star Primary will be held Aug. 11 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Come put away your school supplies and meet your new teacher.
Canyon Music Boosters to meet
Canyon Music Boosters meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Canyon High School Band Hall.
All parents of band, choir and drill team members of Comal Elementary, Canyon Middle School and Canyon High School are encuraged to attend.
Teen Connection Thrift Shop sale
Teen Connection Thrift Shop is holding a back to school sale all August. All clothing is priced from 25 cents to $5 Thrift shop hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a m. to 3 pm.
Money raised by the sale supports the programs of Teen Connection.
The winning numbers
jackpot .-TEXAS r.
Casteel’s budget holds the line on spending
By ROGER CROTEAU
County Judge Carter Casteel has proposed a $16.7 million 1996 county budget which would increase spending just more than one percent, and would allow a drop in the county property tax rate.
County commissioners received their copies of the proposal yesterday afternoon, said County Auditor Bate Bond.
If passed as presented, the county would set a property tax rate of 29.218 cents per $100 of appraised value. The owner of a home with a taxable value of $50,000 would owe $146.09 in county property tax. The owner of a home with a taxable value of $50,000 this year owed $ 151.62. Since property values have been increasing, the county would collect more property tax money even while lowering the tax rate. Casteel estimates the county would collect $6.9 million in property taxes, up $300,000 from this year.
The county also expects to collect an extra $150,000 from a recently passed increase in the cost of automobile registrations. The county also expects to collect more than $2 million from the half-cent sales tax, a $100,000 increase from last year.
Bond described the proposal as a status quo budget. “There are not a lot of highlights this year,” he said.
Casteel is proposing a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay raise for all county employees. Their department heads would also be able to give each employee an additional two or four percent merit raise. Elected officials would all receive 4.1 percent pay raises. The pay raises would cost about $320,000, Bond said.
“In an effort to better meet the needs of the citizens, the county continues to develop the three new programs begun in 1995; rural recycling, environmental enforcement and the parks program. The total amount dedicated to these efforts will be $338,000,” Casteel wrote to the commissioners.
Spending for roads would remain about the same as last year.
Helping keep county spending level are several spending decreases. The county budgeted $238,000 last year to build two new justice of the peace buildings. That expense is not there for next year. Spending for records preservation and the law library at the jail would also decrease.
To balance the budget, Casteel proposed using $900,000 of the county reserve fund, which would
leave $3 million in reserves. Bond said he is comfortable with that amount of reserves, and added he expects 1996 would end with more
than $3 million in reserves anyway, since all budgeted money is usually not spent, and revenues usually exceed what is budgeted.
Bar owners say new drinking hours are killing business
Officials counter that county’s roads are safer
By DENISE DZIUK
Herald-Zeitung photo by MICHAEL DARNALL
David Schoanvogai preparas for a run of the Landa Park Railroad, which he has operated for 13 years.
Driving That Train
David Schoenvogel enjoys his job running the Landa Park Railroad
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND Staff Writer
David Schoenvogel gets a broad perspective of New Braunfels and the world — from his seat at the front of the Landa Park train.
He has been at the helm of the train since 1982. “It’s an attraction that sooner or later everyone in New Braunfels gets around to doing,” Schoenvogel said. He owns and operates the train, a private concession leased by the city.
“A cross-section from the world has been to New Braunfels in the time I’ve been here, especially since the ‘fall of the wall,’” he said. Name a country anywhere in the world and Schoenvogel has probably chatted with a New Braunfels visitor from there at one time or another, he said.
“Now the world has gotten much smaller,” he said.
Children of all ages are some of Schoenvogel’s most loyal customers. “Kids are fascinated by trains usually,” he said. Most day cares in town bring their children by at least once during the season, he said.
The most common request from children is “can I ring the bell,” Schoenvogel said. “The smiles on the faces of the kids are great.”
Older folks from New Braunfels enjoy the train too. “They bring people from retirement homes,” he said. It’s a way to enjoy the park for those who don’t get around as easily as they used to.
“One segment who’ll visit with you about trains are those who worked on locomotives,” Schoenvo-
Depot doubles as home for injured wildlife
The train depot at Landa Park is something more — a part-time wildlife rehab center.
Train owner and operator David Schoenvogel and his wife Stefanie care for injured or lost park animals. “My wife’s taken care of lots of animals, from squirrels to ducks,” Schoenvogel said.
They first take injured animals to the veterinarian, he said. Then they care for the animals until they’re ready to return to their natural environment.
“We’ve fed baby squirrels from a bottle,” Schoenvogel said. “That’s an experience.” When the squirrels are old enough to run around, they
play with cats, he said. The squirrels tease the cats by running circles around them, too fast to catch.
The Sehoenvogels found one squirrel knocked out, with no sight and no hearing, he said. The vet told them the hearing would return first, then the sight.
“The hearing did come back first, and the animal was scared — but it didn’t bite,” Schoenvogel said. “It was amazing how that animal took to us,” he said.
The animals seem to know when they’re ready to return to freedom. “Atter a period of time they’re ready to go out on their own — cut the apron springs,” Schoenvogel said.
gel said. Former train workers reminisce about their jobs when just about everyone used locomotives for longdistance travel, he said.
Schoenvogel is not an old railroad man himself, though. "I learned it from the previous owner, Bill McCrary,” he said. He stayed with me until his death.” McCrary put in the train in 1969, Schoenvogel said.
Bom in Shiner, Texas, Schoenvogel worked for much of his life for the federal government. A Vietnam veteran, he "just went into the military to get it over with.” He worked for the United States Department of Agriculture in New Braunfels and came to love the town. His job moved him to West Texas, but his heart stayed here. “I was away for four years - took all my vacations here, went to all the
Wurst tests,” he said.
Schoenvogel moved back to New Braunfels and "got to know the folks who owned the paddle boats here.” He managed the paddle boats starting in 1978, and learned the Landa Park railroad business by doing.
A train has been touring Landa Park since at least 1969. “In the winter of 1985-’86 we expanded — practically doubled the length of the ride,” he said. Now passengers see almost every corner of Landa Park in a liesurely one-and-a-half mile ride.
The train is open IO a m. to 8 p.m. diiily from l aster through Labor Day. Admission is $1.50 for everyone but babies under one year old. “I have six months that I put in a tremendous amount of hours,” Schoenvogel said.
"It’s the people I enjoy,” he said.
Local bar owners have experienced a drastic decline in business, and they say there is no doubt it is due to a change in the hours for selling alcohol in the county. However, county and law officials say the ordinance has made roads more safe.
On March 5 an ordinance passed by the Comal County commissioners went into effect, which said bar owners in the unincorporated parts of the county had to stop selling alcohol at I a.m. on Saturdays and at midnight the rest of the week. This shortened the original hours, which were 2 a.m. Saturdays, and I a.m. the rest of the week.
Tammy Gonzales, owner of Solms City Limits, said her business has seen a $25,000 a month loss in revenue. Gonzales said she has lost a big part of her customer base due to the change. She said late-night shift workers in the area get off work too late to come in and enjoy a drink. She said tourists from the lake area do not come in anymore either.
"Why do people want to come here, when they can get the same thing somewhere else and be able to drink longer?” she said.
Several bar owners in the county said they have tried to modify their business to lessen the impact of the change in hours. Gonzales said she tried adding other activities, such as volleyball, to draw a crowd. She said this did not work, so the bar will expand to a full-service restaurant. She said several bars are either modifying their business, selling it, or filing for bankruptcy.
John Lecas, owner of the Sundow ner, said his sales have decreased by 75 percent, and he is planning on selling the business.
"Maybe some new blood will have some new ideas,” said Lecas.
Binky Reece, owner of The Shanty, said he ran more happy hour specials. He even tried opening his bar several hours earlier, but returned to his regular hours.
"They’re not going to start partying earlier, lf they can’t do it at their regular times here, they’ll go somewhere else to party, where they can,” Reece said.
Bar owners said a lot of their patrons, even regular locals, are now going to San Antonio or Austin. Reece said he has been in establishments on the north side of San Antonio and has been told they have seen a large increase in the number of Comal County patrons. Gonzales said she has lost a lot of her customers to San Antonio also. Both bar owners said people will meet at their business for a few' drinks, and then go to San Antonio. Gonzales said she has also seen an increase in the amount of
it wasn’t our intent to hurt anyone’s business. We were just looking out for the public’s health and well-being.’
— Carter Casteel
"They’re going into San Antonio and coming back into our county at late hours and driving a longer way drunk ,” she said.
The problem with drunk driving was one of the concerns the county considered when the ordinance was being debated. County Judge Carter Casteel said she does not have exact figures on the number of alcohol-related accidents. However, she said she has recently discussed the change in hours with DPS officers, and they told her the ordinance “could do nothing but help ”
“It wasn’t our intent to hurt anyone’s business. We were just looking out for the public’s health and well-being,” said Casteel.
According to the arrest records from DPS, the Constable's Office, the Sheriff s Office, and other law enforcement agencies except for the New Braunfels Police Department, the amount of driving while intoxicated (DW1) arrests for March through Aug.I have gone up since last year. There were a total of 72 DWI arrests during the period of March to August. This is a slight increase from the same period last year, w hen the total was 68.
Sheriff Jack Bremer said the hours of midnight to 4 a m. are important to look at. During that time, for the same dates, the number of DWI arrests has increased from 44 last year to 46 this year. Bremer said the county should k>ok at the figures for three years before draw mg any conclusions about w heftier the ordinance is causing more or less drivng while intoxicated.
Chief Deputy Elwood Hoherz said the effect of the ordinance on the number of alcohol-related arrests may not be noticeable nght now . He said there have been a lot of tourists in the county this summer due to exceptionally good water levels in Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe River, and that will throw the numbers off. He said the fall and winter months would likely prov ide a more accurate depiction of how eff ective the change in hours has been.
Several bar owners have hired an attorney, and are trying to get their ease heard in Austin. Gonzales said they are still fighting to change the law back, and have not dropped the case yet.
"Hopefully we’ll get the late hours back,” she said.Did the county commissioners make a mistake on drinking hours? See Page 4.