New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 12, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
Plan for improvement
County judge seeks support for updating historic courthouse
mr ^ TUESDAY
New Braunfels August 12,2003
IO pages in 2 sections
Vol, 152, No. 232 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 / 5*0 cents
(Above) County Judge Danny Scheel shows county officials the fire box for the old water-heating system in the Comal County Courthouse basement. Scheel said the county might have to renovate the courthouse with little or no help from the state. (Right) Court-at-law Judge Brenda Chapman and Precinct 1 Commissioner Jack Dawson take a tour through the “morgue” at the courthouse Monday. Renovation plans call for the room to become judge’s chambers.
Supreme Court rules against Republicans
County to seek bonds for building flood control dams
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
Comal County Judge Danny Scheel said Monday he would ask voters to OK issuing bonds for the first two in a series of proposed dams designed to reduce impact of future river floods in New Braunfels.
‘I would think we could conceivably move forward on these projects within the next year," Scheel told commissioners during a special commissioners’ court session.
County officials have been working with state and federal authorities since 1998 to build a series of five flood control dams.
If all five dams in the proposed flood control system are built, it could cost more than $60 million.
The county has completed historic and environmental impact studies for the first dam
on the Dry Comal Creek near Solms. The Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized a $5.5 million grant toward its construction.
“We re getting ready to move on that as soon as FEMA releases the funds,” Scheel said. He estimated the total cost of the project could be $11 million.
Preliminary discussions have been held with property owners for a second dam on Elm Creek watershed, Scheel said.
“Tom (Hornseth, county engineer) is doing some preliminary engineering. We feel this project, will move much, much faster, because we’re not using federal money," Scheel said.
As work progresses, Scheel said he would ask county voters to OK bonds for flood
Four candidates remain in superintendent search
By Dylan Jimenez
The search for a new Comal Independent School District superintendent was narrowed to four candidates.
CISD trustees interviewed candidates last week and are trying to schedule a time to bring back the final four, CISD Board President Dora Gonzales said.
“We’re striving to have all the board members there,” she said. “Hight now, we’re checking our calendars for a time for call backs.”
The board’s goal is to hire a superintendent before the end of the year, when current superintendent Jim Grunert retires from the position.
Trustees say they are on schedule.
Gonzales said the board will narrow the list further after more interviews.
Itll still take a few weeks to find the right person, she said.
Trustees said they are looking for a unifying leader who has experience working in a school district the size of CISD.
‘Tve been impressed with the quality of candidates,” CISD trustee Charles Burt said.
Burt said he was pleased with the progress the group had made in building a consensus.
The trick will be to find the person who best fits the needs and goals of the district, Gonzales said.
“Everyone has something to offer. It’s been tough,” Gonzales said. ‘They all have talents and their gifts.”
By Ron Maloney
Commissioners who visited the historic courthouse Monday had the opportunity to see things most tourists never do.
County Judge Danny Scheel said the county might have to renovate its signature structure with little or no state help.
Seeking support to begin planning that process, Scheel showed county officials some of the building’s problems.
The building needs more courtroom space, new windows and new heating and air conditioning.
Scheel said Monday he did not know how much the improvements cost, but he believed it is time to begin planning for the work.
“You all know how much I hate to spend money, but I think its time to hire an architect,” said Scheel, whose tight-fistedness is nearly legendary — and sometimes joked about — in the courthouse. “I think we need to do a master plan for renovating and repairing the courthouse.”
Scheel touted a plan County Court-at-Law Judge Brenda Chapman proposed to construct a second county court on the third floor of the courthouse.
Both judges feel that move would allow more effective use of space for court clerks and for record storage.
Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Diana Campos, who now occupies the space on the third floor, will move to the West San Antonio Street courthouse now used by Precinct I Justice of the Peace William Schroeder. The county is building a new facility for him off Tfexas 46 in front of the county road department.
The Comal County Courthouse was designed in 1898 by architect J. Riely Gordon.
Built of cut limestone, the $36,600 courthouse had a soaring, three-story high center atrium that aided ventilation in the days before central air conditioning.
Gordon’s design also included a two-story district court with a balcony for spectators.
Tile courtroom is now a single-
Photos by DAVID INGRAM/HerakJ-Zertung See COURTHOUSE/3A
rats to end their Senate boycott.
Democrats were pleased the Supreme Court stayed out of the political fight.
“We believe strongly that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction with respect to Senate turf,” said Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso.
Tfexas Attorney General Greg
Abbott — acting on behalf of Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst — asked the Supreme Court to order Senate Democrats back from self-imposed exile in New Mexico. Their absence prevented the Senate from considering a GOP plan to redraw the state’s congressional districts.
The court offered no explana
tion for its decision to reject the Perry-Dewhurst request.
“I am very disappointed that the Supreme Court did not resolve this pending constitutional crisis,” Perry said.
Perry said Democrats need to return to Tfexas and get back to work. He said Texans expect elected officials to draw congres
sional district lines, rather than leaving the work to federal judges.
Before the Supreme Court ruling, Senate Democrats moved ahead with a federal lawsuit, accusing GOP leaders of pushing their plan through the Legislature without adequatelySee REDISTRICTING/3A
By April Castro
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN — The partisan fight over redistricting erupted on two fronts Monday, as Tfexas Democrats sued to block Republicans’ effort to redraw the state’s political map, and the Tfexas Supreme Court refused to order Democ
On the Web
Texas Legislative Council: www.tlc.state.tx.usNew Braunfels park fees increase
Heme table fees in New Braunfels parks will increase.
New Braunfels City Council passed revisions to the city’s parks ordinance.
The ordinance misos picnic table fees for nonresidents from $5 to $10 per table. It sets a $75 charge to reserve the Dance Slab or Gazebo in Lands Park. Year-round rental fees for Ernest Eikel Field Pavilion and Solms Pavilion will be $45, and Cypress Bend Pavilion will cost $110 for nonresidents. Residents will pay those fees Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
The ordinance reduces annual swimming pool pass fees from $110 to $100.
It extends city alcohol and glass bev
erage container regulations to new park areas.
Also Monday, residents ignored a public hearing on Comal County's sexually oriented business order revision.
The public hearing opera*! and closed with no community response.
The order regulates sexually oriented businesses in unincorporated areas of the county. District Attorney Dib Waldnp told council the public hearing was important because New Braunfels residents will be affected by the county’s SOB regulations.
City Manager Chuck Pinto pulled from the agenda council discussion about giving the county power to review and approve plats in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Storms produce little damage locally
From staff and wire reports
High winds south of Castroville destroyed a hangar complex and damaged at least IO planes Monday afternoon while the area was under a tornado warning.
Castroville, in eastern Medina County, is about 20 railes west of San Antonio.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in the area.
Iii New Braunfels and Comal County, officials reported a few downed trees and branches in Monday afternoon’s storm but little else.
“Actually, it didn’t affect us,” said New Braunfels Fire Department Battalion Chief, Don Zercher. “I thought we were going to, because we had a lot
of good, sustained lightning strikes, but we didn’t even get a call from it.” A Comal County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher reported no major problems.
“We had a bunch of home alarms go off because of thunder and wind. There was a tree down on River Road but no damage from it. The lights at U.S. 281 and FM 1863 lost power for a little bit, but that’s it.”
At the Spring Branch Volunteer Fire Department, a firefighter reported no problems at 6 p.m.
“ It was raining earlier, but the sun’s shining,” the firefighter said.
Rain was reported along a line from Cameron to Paris, from Mason to north of Mineral Wells, and over parts of Southeast Tfexas and the Hill Country.