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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, August 13, 2000

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 13, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Air Quality Health Alert Day ■ Reduce emissions by carpooling and avoiding unnecessary driving today. Water Restrictions • ••'♦als Utilities customers with addresses I can water today before 9 a.m. /sers cannot water today. For 925Herald-Zeitung Vol. 149, No. 199    44    pages    in    4    sections    August    13,    2000 Sunday Serving Comal County since 1852 $1.00 Inside ► First school day ► SVHS volleyball For the Smithson Valley volleyball team, Saturday was a last chance opportunity to get ready for the Rangers season opener on Tuesday./I B ► More stress? Did you flunk this past week’s stress test? Many of you indicated to me that you did. One of my faithful readers even told me that her score was 120, which was actually 20 points more than totally possible./! C Isolated showers through Monday By The Associated Press Portions of South Texas and the Hill Country were expected to see isolated showers and thunderstorms through Monday night, mainly in the afternoon and early evening. Otherwise, the days should be mostly sunny with highs between IOO and 105 degrees. The chance of rain was predicted to continue in South Texas and the Hill C ountry through Thursday. The highs should be in the 90s by Thursday. Index Abby.............................................2C Business................................4-6B Classified................................1-12D Stammtisch..................................2C Forum...........................................6A Local/Metro...................................4A Obituaries.................................3A Sports....................................1-3B Today............................................2    A Television...........................TV    Week Key code TI Blaze under investigation By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Investigators were working Saturday to determine the cause of a blaze that destroyed the offices and manufacturing facilities of a New Braunfels playground equipment plant. New Braunfels Fire Department Chief Jack Collier said damages at the Gym-N-I Playgrounds plant in the 1900 block of IH 35 North could add up to $500,000. The figure includes costs of inventory, the building and the manufacturing equipment inside. Firefighter Todd Welch suffered a sprain while fighting the fire. He will be out of work for about a week while he recovers, Collier said. A San Antonio hazardous materials team was working Saturday to determine whether wood preservatives and solvents in the plant posed any risk to firefighters or See BLAZE/5A CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Firefighters worked Saturday to investigate the cause of the Thursday night two-alarm fire. Back to school CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Courtney Barbknecht checks out a tornado simulator in her sister’s science class at “Meet the Teacher Day” at Bill Brown Elementary Saturday afternoon. Students and parents enjoyed refreshments, studied school bus routes, signed up for sports programs and socialized with one another. Four lanes to open on Walnut By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The long-awaited opening of Walnut Avenue to four lanes at Interstate 35 will happen Tuesday, the Texas Department of Transportation reports. Greg Malatek, TxDOT district engineer for New Braunfels, said Friday he would brief New Braunfels City Council at its meeting Monday night on the progress of road construction at Walnut Avenue and Farm-to-Market Road 725. “First, the most obvious thing is to give them an update on the construction out there,” Malatek said. “The big announcement today is that as of Tuesday, Dean Word will be able to reopen Walnut Avenue to four lanes under Interstate 35.” That is big news for anybody who has been grappling w ith trying to get on the other side of the interstate — especially since, as Malatek says, work will be ongoing at FM 725 through the spring of next year. Reconstruction at FM 725 started before work was completed at Walnut Avenue, w hich was unfortunate but necessary, Malatek said. CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Walnut Avenue might give motorists relief on Tuesday when lanes open. “It wasn’t planned that way; it just came out that way. Walnut wasn’t ready to open up, but we had another contractor ready on FM 725. “All work would have stopped and just extended the construction time out there versus just letting them work. Its one of those things to w here it would have extended the time the entire area was under construction,” he said. “We had all intentions of having Walnut opened to four lanes before work began at FM 725, but it just didn’t work out. It was through no fault of the contractors — there were things beyond their control. I can definitely say they know how important it is to the community to get Walnut opened before school starts.” Dean Word of the construction company that bears his name said he did indeed know the importance of getting Walnut Avenue open. “We're highly sensitive to the needs of the city,” Word said. “The nature of urban reconstruction is that when you have as many businesses, residences and driveways up against the highway, its difficult to work long stretches where we can get a lot done. It seems like every time a piece of machinery starts to move dirt, we seem to uncover another utility, gas line or something that isn’t on anybody’s map." Those problems slowed progress, Word said. “I'd like to thank New Braunfels for its patience and apologize for the inconvenience,” he said. Officials seeking newborn’s parents By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The new born girl dropped off at McKenna Memorial Hospital Friday night is doing well, officials report, but attempts are being made to locate the person who left her outside an employee entrance — and that individual could face legal action. Donna Garrett of the Child Protective Services office in San Antonio said the infant, described by hospital officials Friday night as a 5 lb., 8 oz., black-haired Hispanic girl, will be spending a few days in McKenna while tests are conducted and she receives the care accorded any newborn baby. Garrett said officials at McKenna had assured her Saturday that the baby is in good condition. She did not speculate on why the girl had been left at McKenna. “Whenever this happens, it’s obviously an act of desperation,” Garrett said. “We certainly want to try to help, but if nothing else, we want to know about this little girl. We know nothing, no medical history, no family history. “I know its really very difficult, but we really want the parents or anybody who knows anything about the circumstances of this child to come forward.” The next legal step for the infant, Garrett said would be handled by the CPS office in New Braunfels, which w ill go to a judge to decide conservatorship or custody of the baby. A court hearing will be scheduled within 14 days. “At that time, we’ll present what we know to the court in terms of if we’ve found out any information about parents, that kind of thing,” Garrett said. “I’m assuming the New Braunfels Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation to find out who the parents are.” Police did open an investigation Friday night. As of Saturday night’s deadline for this story, no information was available, although a police official said the baby’s parents were not believed to have been located. This infant is the third one to be abandoned at McKenna over the past IO years or so. Now, under legislation enacted last year known as the “Baby Moses” law, a new mother who leaves an infant less than 30 days old with an emergency medical provider can avoid prosecution for abandonment. Bul the situation is a little bit murky. See NEWBORN/5A River City Raceway battling its neighbors By Ron Maloney Staff Writer MARION — The cars — and occasionally a motorcycle or a pickup truck — were lined up behind the starting gate of River City Raceway’s 1/4 mile drag strip Wednesday night. The drivers who paid $ 10 each for a shot at the clock or one another ranged from pimply-faced high school kids in their imported subcompacts to grizzled pros in their nitrous oxide powered rail dragsters or fuel roadsters. All set their brakes and screech their tires RON MALONEY Herald-Zeitung Jimmy Farmer of New Braunfels burns a little rubber at River City Raceway to build up heat in them so they grab the track better on screaming I/4-mile runs through the timing traps. The multi-lighted “Christmas tree” between the two racing lanes lights up; a string of yellow lights from top to the green one on the bottom, and then descends downward. When the green one lights, the drivers pop their clutches, stand on the gas and the cars roar down the strip in times that range from 7 to 12 seconds, depending on the class of competition. At the end of the run, they take their place back in the staging line to do it again and again. River City Raceway is a shiny, modern drag racing facility that opened alongside Interstate IO in this small Guadalupe County town. Its events, which run three nights a week and sometimes on Sunday, are conducted under the auspices of one the nation’s premier racing associations: the International Hot Rod Association (HIRA). As racing facilities go, Todd Zampese’s is a showpiece any promoter would be proud of, although he hasn’t added features to the facility as quickly as he would like. His problem is he’s spending big money on lawyers. Some of his neighbors    a few of them close and some not so close aren’t so happy the raceway is there, mid they’ve been letting Zampese know it. A short distance up Santa Clara Road from his racetrack entrance is a sign advertising a fundraising community yard sale and exhorting folks who pass by to protect Marion’s environment. C itizens of Marion Working for See RACETRACKS As a child growing up in Germany, New Braunfels resident Gertraud McCamant remembers getting a schultute her first day of school./ 1C ;