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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung Newspaper Archives

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 14, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas _    _    THURSDAYELS    August    I4,2003 SOUTHWEST^HIC k OF UBL ISHURS    IO    pages    in    2    sections    . mmmm mqmmmm    *.    SOUTHUFST    HICROPUULT.SHKSS    IU    pages    rn    ^    secuo 262/ I VANDELLHERAi.u-z. eitung , . . . •: * *i „ ** fa*-* K- . * Si : I . ...... * Vol, 152, No. 234    Serving    New    Braunfels    and    Comal    County    since    1852    50    centsStudents give revamp high marks Work at NBHS done in time for new school year By Ron Maloney Staff Writer If it seems quieter at the county courthouse this week, it’s because many local officials are in Austin for the biennial post-legislative conference sponsored by the Tfexas Association of Counties. The conference is conducted after each legislature to inform officials in the state’s 254 counties about how the bills passed during the legislature will impact them. The conference began Wednesday and continues through Friday. Wednesday’s meetings dealt with changes in court costs, transportation issues, health and human services and use of technology, said Elna Christopher, of TAC. ‘The biggest issue is unfunded mandates. What a lot of people don’t realize is counties can’t do anything the state doesn’t let them do,” Christopher said. An “unfunded mandate” is a law passed from a higher branch of government down to a lower one with no means provided to pay for it. In many states, the practice is illegal. In Texas, counties have tried without success for years for to get funding provided for all new laws. Comal County officials have long lamented unfunded state and federal mandates. This year, County Judge Danny Scheel, Precinct I Commissioner Jack Dawson and Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Minikin repeatedly warned the state’s budget troubles would impact county checkbooks. “Our visiting judges are one example,” Scheel said during a TAC meeting Wednesday. “We got in a tight spot. We needed visiting judges. They See LAWS/3AState Medicaid cuts reduce services for needy By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer In the early 1960s, when New Braunfels High School moved from South Guenther Avenue to its current location, then-principal Oscar Smith gave students a day off. He asked parents and teachers to bring their pickups to haul books and materials to the new location. “We did it all in one day. That was the beginning of this building here,” Smith said Thursday at a ceremony dedicating the building’s expansion. NBHS students say they are proud of the $18.7 million expansion and renovation and glad the construction is complete. “It definitely made our school look a lot nicer, if nothing else,” said Alyssa Smith, senior. “It’s nice to have it all done and have a complete campus.” Seniors this year were freshman when construction started in spring 2001. During the construction, some hallways were narrowed by temporary walls blocking off construction work. They had to walk single-file in both directions sometimes to get around the building, said senior Skyiar Hodgson. Students also had to deal with construction noise. “We’d be trying to take exams, and we’d hear jackhammers,” Hodgson said. Students described the former building as a dingy, dark structure with “old everything,” exposed insulation and stinky carpet. The building was hot in the summer and cold in the winter, they said. They describe the new building as “fun, light and airy.” The school’s mechanical systems have been upgraded, including the heating ventilation air conditioning system, the public address system and fire alarms. New construction totals 63,000 square feet, and 154,000 square feet were renovated. See SCHOOL/5A Where did the money go? New Braunfels Independent School District paid $18.7 million for new construction and renovation at New Braunfels High School. The 63,000 square feet of new construction included: ■ a two-story classroom addition; ■ a new practice gymnasium; ■ new paint, marker boards, flooring, ceiling, lighting and mechanical upgrades in classrooms; ■ Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC), fire alarm and public address system upgrades, ■ three additional parking areas; ■ additional bleachers at the softball stadium; ■ a softball concession stand/transportation department meeting room; and ■ expanded bleachers with a new press box at Unicom Stadium. The 154,000 square feet of renovations included: ■ administrative offices; ■ a competition gymnasium with new dressing room area; ■ science labs; ■ band, choir and dance rooms turned into a new performing arts complex; and ■ the cafeteria became a 500-seat auditorium and commons area. Photos by K JESSIE SLATEN/Heiald-Zeitung By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Medicaid patients should expect significant service-level cuts when laws passed by the 78th Texas Legislature take effect Sept. I. As a result of budget cuts enabling lawmakers to offset a projected $10 billion deficit this past spring, Medicaid will no longer pick up the tab for a number of services previously provided in Texas. Reimbursement to health care providers for services to Medicaid patients could be cut by at least 3 percent. Services will be terminated for those 19 and older in the Medically Needy Program. Hearing-aid and chiropractic services for those over 21 will be eliminated. On Oct. 16, mental health counseling and eye glasses services also will be discontinued for those over age 21. State Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth, R-Burleson, was a sponsor of House Bill 2292, the legislation that, in conjunction with the appropriations bill, reorganized health and human services in Texas. Wohlgemuth said the goal of HB 2292 was to increase effi ciency and decrease costs of delivering health care and other services to the poor, while maintaining as many services as possible and striving to be good stewards of public money. “There were many other choices that could have been made in attempting to balance our part of the budget without a tax increase. In the beginning of the See MEDICAIDS (Above) New Braunfels High School students lead visitors through the new band room and other remodeled areas and new additions in their school. (Left) Former NBHS principal Oscar Smith watches as parents and other community members tour the newly remodeled building.Did you know? ■ Medicaid and Medicare were established under Title 19 of the Social Security Act of 1965. ■ Medicaid pays medical bills for low-income patients who cannot pay for health care. ■ In 1997, Texas Medicaid covered 2.5 million people, including the elderly, the disabled, children and ' pregnant women. ■ In 1999, it was reduced to 1.8 million patients. At an expenditure of $11.1 billion, the program accounted for 21 percent of the state budget in 1999. effects of new laws Boy burnt playing with fire By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A 9-year-old New Braunfels boy was flown to University Hospital with major burns after an accident Tuesday night police say resulted from playing with fire. The boy’s condition was not known Wednesday. Police and fire officials would not release the boy’s name. A University Hospital official refused to divulge information about his condition, citing medical privacy laws. Police and firefighters were called to a Loma Vista Street residence at ll p.m. to aid the boy, who, according to the police? report, suffered second-degree burns on his left leg, arm and face. “He had severe burns that required medical attention,” police detective John Rios said. Two other boys involved in the incident, both age IO, told officers conflicting stories about what happened. One boy said a can of burning gas was kicked and struck the injured boy, causing the burns. The other boy said they were igniting aerosol spray with a cigarette lighter. Rios said both stories See BURNT/3A Inside Classifieds.............3-4B Comics...............6A Crossword........  6A Forum................4A Obituaries.............3A Sports................1B Today.................2A TV...................2B 00001 ICity sets street repair priorities By Dylan JimEnez Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council decided Wednesday to take “little bites” out of the city’s $30 million street problem. Council made a preliminary decision to direct staff to start 17 minor street projects in the city’s six political districts. Earlier this year, council decided to raise taxes, spending $100,000 on street repair in each district in addition to $350,000 already earmarked for this budget. See STREETS/5A Minor street repair projects get thumbs up The knowing streets this fiscal year could be overtayed with new asphalt: District One ■ Lee Street — from Live Oak Avenue to Peach Avenue; $43,337 ■ Bridge Street — from Walnut Avenue to Live Oak Avenue; $56,750 ■ Lee Street —- from Hickory Avenue to Live Oak Avenue; $45,240 District TWO ■ Devin Drive — from Pahmeyer Road to dead end; $48,046 ■ Dustin Cade — from Pahmeyer Road to dead end; $51,188 ■ Tumbleweed Drive — from Walnut Avenue to Neuse Street; $22,768 District Three ■ Cedar Elm Street •— from Mission Drive to Twin Oaks Drive; $37,345 ■ Wood Road <*- from Laurel Lane to Mission Drive; $50,476 ■ Grandview Avenue — from Canyon Drive to Fredericksburg Road, $41,334 District Four ■ Orion Road — from off Goodwin Lane 725 feet to Pacific Ftarlroad, $33,123 ■ Industrial Dove — from Gruene Road to Loop 337; $98,037 ■ Goodwin Lane — from Farm-to-Market 306 to Orion Drive; $63,601 District Five ■ Mather Street — from Union Avenue to Grant Avenue; $51,843 ■ Union Avenue — from North Street to Common Street; $143,801 District Six ■ Nacogdoches Street - from Magazine Avenue to Seguin Avenue; $57,976 ■ Perryman Street — from 1-36 frontage to Academy Avenue; $55,692 ■ Lee Street — from Magazine Avenue to Santa Clara Avenue; $42,713 ;