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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 10, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels FRIDAY August IO, 2001 24 pages in 2 sections "wr "~Tiimrr-    _____    ch    pages    in    &    sectKHerald-Zeitung.   I Vol. ISO, No. 233Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Fire rages near subdivision By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A 20-acre brush fire was contained between two subdivisions by Canyon Lake and New Braunfels firefighters Thursday evening. But firefighters were on the scene into the early morning hours today “mopping up” and ensuring any flare-ups were con tained. Cause of the fire was not known. The fire at Texas Country Estates subdivision, on Farm-to-Market Road 306, was reported at 5:30 p.m. Canyon Lake Fire/EMS responded, and New Braunfels Fire Department was called to assist. New Braunfels Fire Chief Jack Collier and Canyon Lake Fire Chief Shawn Wherry, both on their way home from work, were in the neighborhood when the fire was reported. “I’d almost made it home,” Coiner said. Wherry turned into Hill County Estates, which is located just See FIRE/5A Racing against shifting winds, Canyon Lake firefighter and paramedic Mike Shown takes the hose to battle a fire near the River Chase area. K. JESSIE SLATE N/Herald-Zeitung It's in the Campuses have different rules on backpacks By Martin Malacara Staff Writer Clear, mesh, canvas, Harry Potter — the kinds of backpacks students carry to school this year will depend on their campuses. In Comal Independent School District, each school has its own rules regarding backpacks, district spokeswoman Kari Hutchison said. “It’s primarily for safety reasons. We want to make sure students aren’t carrying stuff they should not,” Hutchison said. Local district’s school supply lists/4B-5B In response to several bomb threats in previous years, some CISD schools only allow clear or mesh bags, or none at all. At Canyon and Smithson Valley high schools, clear or mesh backpacks are allowed. These backpacks are also allowed at Smithson Valley Middle, Arlon Seay Intermediate, and Canyon Intermediate schools. Arlon Seay students will have a chance to buy mesh backpacks when the school hosts its “back to school night” 6 to 7 p.m. Aug. 26. The backpacks cost $17. At Canyon and Spring Branch middle schools, no backpacks are allowed. However, at Canyon Middle School, mesh bags are allowed if the material is transparent. Mountain Valley Intermediate students will be allowed to have lips Pack It Up K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Canyon Middle School principal Janet Reden explains the principle of the hand-carried mesh bag to algebra teacher Richard Strachan during registration Thursday. or clear backpacks. All other elementary schools will allow regu-' lar backpacks. The clear or mesh backpacks are available at most area retailers. In the New Braunfels Independent School District, students are allowed to bring backpacks to school, district spokeswoman Stephanie Ferguson said. Ferguson said the district had no preference on types of backpacks, as long as they do not have inappropriate language or images on them. Canyon High — Mesh or Clear Smithson Valley High — Mesh or Clear Canyon Middle — No backpacks allowed; mesh bags are allowed if totally see-through Smithson Valley Middle — Mesh or Clear Spring Branch Middle — No backpacks allowed Arlon Seay Intermediate — Mesh backpacks (for sale during back to school night, Aug. 26, from 6 to 7 p.m., for $17) Canyon Intermediate — Mesh or Clear Mountain Valley Intermediate — Backpacks allowed any type of backpack. Frazier Elementary is the only elementary campus requiring mesh Health experts offer these tips to prevent children from receiving back or shoulder injury while wearing a backpack: 'Don’t overload the backpack. Your child should carry no more weight in her pack than the weight she can carry comfortably in her arms for a few minutes. To be sure your child is not carrying more than she can safely bear, notice the child’s posture. Backpack wearers should walk normally, with their shoulders down and back and their stomach muscles tightened. ‘Be sure the backpack is the right size. It should not be wider or longer than the child’s torso. The torso extends from the bony bump at the base of the neck down to the top of the hips. ‘Make sure your child wears the pack properly. The backpack should be evenly centered in the middle of your child’s back. You should also make sure the straps are snug but not excessively tight. Straps that are too tight can cause the pack to ride up on the child’s neck. ‘Keep the safety belt buckled. The best and safest backpacks have belts at their base that can be buckled snugly around the child’s waist. The waist belt helps distribute the weight to the lower body so the hips and legs bear some of the load. City to chew legal fat prior to annexation By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer New Braunfels city council’s meeting on Monday starts with an executive session to discuss legal issues surrounding annexation. Council then will consider the first reading of the ordinance to annex more than ll areas into the city. City attorney Charlie Zech said the closed-ses-sion discussion focuses solely on the legalities surrounding annexation. “We’re discussing legal issues,” he said. “The issues that involve annexation. We won’t be discussing specific areas or who to annex — just the legal issues associated with it. People are thinking about suing the city, so we need to talk about those issues.” Three areas — Northwoods, Southbank and Hunters Creek — retained attorneys to help understand annexation. Zech said several other residents threatened to sue the city during public hearings. Zech said the attorney for Southbank had not been “adversarial.” ‘We’re negotiating with Southbank,” he said. “Their attorney hasn’t been adversarial in respect What’s Up ■ WHAT: New Braunfels City Council ■ WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday; executive session at 5:30 p.m. ■ WHERE: City Council Chambers, New Braunfels Municipal Building See ANNEXATION/5A Appraisals send tax bills up, but rate going down By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Comal County Commissioners are lowering the tax rate, but appraisals still will mean higher tax bills for some residents. County Commissioners Thursday unanimously approved the proposed 2002 budget and filed it with County Clerk Joy Streater. At $21 million, the county’s proposed general fund budget for 2002 will be paid for by a tax rate of just less than 32.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation — 6/100s of a cent below last year. The county tax on the average home in Comal County, with a taxable value of $86,488, will be $280 with the proposed budget and tax rate. In 2001, on an average home with a taxable value of $80,051, the county tax was $259.51. The 2002 proposed general fund budget, up $2 See BUDGET/5A Inside Gala Event Abby.................. .............7 A Classifieds............ ..........6-12B Comics................ ............10A Crossword.......... ..............7 A Forum.................. ..............6A Local/Metro......... ..............4A Movies.................. ...............7A Obituaries............ ..............3A Sports................. ..........1-3B Today................... ..............2A The American Cancer Society’s Starlight Gala 2001, “Fabulous Forties,” will begin at 7 p.m. today, at the New Braunfels Civic Center, 380 S. Seguin Ave. General admission is $1 OO for two tickets. For information or to purchase tickets, call (830) 606-5810 or (830) 606-0376. Key Code 76. _ rort/eBush backs funding for limited stem cell research By Suzanne Gamboa Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON — President Bush’s decision to allow federal funding of limited research on existing stem cells won praise from Ibxas’ top Democrat on Thursday. “I think this is an important step in the right direction because we have an awful lot of people who are suffering with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s who can bene fit,” said Rep. Martin Frost of Dallas. Frost hopes in the future that other embryonic stem cell research can be funded. Bush, who has been wrestling with the thorny issue for months, took a middle road on the volatile issue that has divided the Texas congressional delegation. “Embryonic stem cell research offers both great promise and great peril so I have decided we must proceed with care,” Bush said. Bush said he would allow federal funding for research on stem cells from embryos that already have been destroyed. House Majority Whip Ibm DeLay of Houston blasted embryonic stem cell research in a floor speech before voting for a bill passed by the House that would essentially ban human cloning. Meanwhile, Rep. Ken Bentsen, a Democrat also of Houston, extolled the value of the research in a news conference with Texas scientists Thursday. “As the representative for the Texas Medical Center, where much of this stem cell research may be conducted, I believe we must act to ensure the stem cell research fulfills its promise in the near See RESEARCH/5A ;