New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 14, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
TUESDAY August 14, 2001
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Vol. 149, No. 236
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
River management report says so far, so good
By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer
Response to New Braunfels' river management program has been positive, according to statistics provided by Assistant to the City Manager Don Ferguson.
“The feedback has been really positive,” he said. “I think the plan needs tweaking, and there are some things we need to improve, but overall, it seems to be working."
Ferguson presented council with an interim report from the city’s new river management plan in their packets at Monday night’s meeting.
The biggest part of the plan included a crackdown on rowdy behavior on the river. The city now provides police protection on the weekends.
“Council approved giving 25 percent of the fees from citations for river behavior back to the river management program,” Ferguson noted. “But that revenue won’t be in until after the cases go to court.”
One complaint from residents and outfitters is the amount of trash on the river.
To curb littering, Ferguson said the city passed out 25,000 mesh bags for outfitters to give tubers who float
The program, including one-time costs to buy police boats and put up shade covers at the last public exit, has cost New Braunfels a total of $203,000 so far this year, Ferguson reported.
“That includes about $80,000 in capital costs and improvements,’’he said.
That cost exceeds revenue brought in so far by the river management fee, parking fees at Prince Solms park and shuttle fees, he said.
River management fee figures are available only through June.
K. JESSIE SLATEN/HErald-Zeitung
Tubers exit the Comal River at the last public exit Saturday.By the Numbers
From Memorial Day weekend to Aug. 5:
• Number of arrests:
• Number of citations: 145
• Amount of trash picked up by city crews: 616 bags, the equivalent of 10.5 city garbage truckloads.
• Cost of program as of Aug. 8: $203,000
• Revenues as of June 30: $121,000
Still smilin’ after all these years
New Braunfels resident Kurt Wiedenfeld (right) has a laugh Monday with Texas Senior Citizens Association State President Lewis Andrews during Wiedenfeld’s 102nd birthday party at the Comal County Senior Citizen Center.
Annexation: Council won’t promise services
Surprise move draws threats of legal action
Education chief challenges school staff
By Martin Malacara
Improved education standards will be the key to Texas’ prosperity in the next 40 years, the state’s education commissioner said Monday.
Jim Nelson told about 800 New Braunfels school district employees at their back-to-school breakfast Monday at New Braunfels High School that they will play a major role in ensuring that future.
“You’re in a position to affect the future. I’m calling on you and challenging you to do it,” Nelson said.
Nelson, who was appointed education commissioner by then-Gov. George W. Bush, said New Braunfels was one of only two school districts in the state in which he would address staff at their back-to-school gatherings. The other school district was Nelson’s alma mater in Odessa.
Nelson stressed the importance of the state’s education standards, known as the Texas Essentials of Knowledge and Skdls, or TEKS.
The standards put more emphasis on math, science and social studies to better prepare students for coUege and the workforce.
Jim Nelson, Texas Education Commissioner, speaks Monday morning to New Braunfels Independent School District faculty and staff in the New Braunfels High School cafeteria.
TEKS is the foundation for the new assessment exam, known as the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TARS.
When this year’s freshmen become juniors in 2003, they must demonstrate
proficiency in English, math, science and history on the first exit-level TARS test.
The new test replaces the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills Test, or TAAS, which only had students demonstrate English and math skills.
By spring 2002, teachers will have the opportunity to “field test” the exam, Nelson said. Tile TARS trial run, however, will occur separately from next year’s TAAS and have a follow-up in the fall.
Nelson compared the change in curriculum to the advent of the telegraph and its impact on the Pony Express.
He said those who preferred the Pony Express thought they could breed faster horses to compete with the telegraph.
“We can’t breed faster horses. This won’t accomplish what we need for our children,” he said.
Nelson said about 38 percent of the state’s high school graduates took the state’s recommended graduation plan in the 2000-2001 school year to prepare themselves for college.
The state’s recommended plan currently has students earning 24 credits for graduation. Nelson said that plan See EDUCATION/3A
By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer
New Braunfels City Council voted Monday to remove any promise of water, sewer and electrical services to the areas to be annexed, a move that surprised and angered homeowners.
Council also voted unanimously not to annex Preiss Heights and the McAlister Ranch area off Texas 46 South.
Councilwoman Debbie Flume made the motion to remove the two areas from annexation. Unlike the other nine areas, which council considered about a year ago, these two were added this year to the annexation list after a workshop in May.
Unmoved by threats of legal action, council dramatically changed the service plan to the remaining nine areas targeted for annexation.
Citing violations of its city charter, Councilman Robert Rendrick said New Braunfels was one of only two cities — the other is Rerrville — where the municipally owned utility is not under the control of council.
Residents, most of whom spent the public comment period arguing that state law requires extension of water and sewer lines to each home in an area, reacted with shock at the move.
“Who owns NBU?” asked residents in the crowd.
“This is a kangaroo court,” hissed another man as he stormed out of the meeting.
But council held firm, reacting after an hour-long closed-door session with City Attorney Charlie Zech. The charter forbids any involvement with New Braunfels Utilities, except for setting the utility’s rates, Zech said.
■ Remaining steps:
Second reading of the ordinance: Aug. 27; third reading, which sets the effective date: Sept. 10. Council does not plan to allow public comment at the second or third readings of the annexation ordinance. Mayor Stoney Williams allowed 30 minutes at the first reading Monday.
U How an ordinance passes: Each ordinance must go through three readings. At each reading, at three different meetings, the ordinance must pass by a majority vote of the council members present. The effective date of annexation is set on the day council passes the last reading of the ordinance.
■ Home rule: New
Braunfels is a home-rule city. In terms of annexation, that means the city can fix its borders, extend its borders, annex areas adjacent to its borders and exchange area with other municipalities. Other types of city governments do not allow annexation without the permission of the residents.
■ Other information:
• Landowners with 20 or more acres have two weeks to claim agricultural exemptions from the city, which would delay annexation for five years.
• Homeowners in newly annexed areas will not be assessed city taxes until 2003.
Zech also clashed with attorneys hired for Northwoods and Hunter’s Creek, two subdivisions slated for annexation.
Randy Richards, an attorney for Hunter’s Creek, immediately went on the defensive, asking what the city planned to provide in terms of infrastructure.
“The city could seek pro See ANNEXATIONSInside
Key Code 76
Former county judge announcing bid for Texas House
From Staff Reports
Carter Casteel, a two-term Comal County judge, will announce her candidacy for the Texas House of Representatives at 9 a.m. today on the steps of the Comal County Courthouse.
Casteel, 58, will seek the'Republican nomination for House District 73, which includes Comal, Rendall, Bandera and Uvalde counties.
Canyon Lake resident Diane Dasher already announced her candidacy for District 73 as a Republican.
Bill Womack, also of Canyon Lake, announced his candidacy in May as a Republican, and later as a Democrat, but later dropped out of the race.
Casteel also will make an appearance at the Rendall County Courthouse in Boerne at 1:30 p.m. A campaign kick-off barbecue is
scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in New Braunfels, 386 W. San Antonio St.
Casteel, a Hill Country resident for more than 30 years, has been involved in numerous civic and community organizations, including Comal County United Way, Comal County Bar Association, Texas Legislative Conference, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Board, Communities In Schools, Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, Texas Historic Courthouse Preser
vation Committee and the Battleship Texas Advisory Board.
She served as a public school teacher for 17 years and served for six years as a Comal Independent School District trustee, including one term as board president.
Casteel is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Southwest Texas State University and St. Mary’s School of Law.
She and her husband Tom have two grown children and three grandchildren.