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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 17, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas New Herald Water Restrictions ■ New Braunfels Utilities customers with addresses ending in 6, 7, 8 or 9 can water today before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Well users with addresses ending in 6 or 7 can water today before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m._ JL A LNG -- I1-!;':"'*"!-1- Vol. 149 No. 201    14    pages    in    2    sections    August    17,    2000 Thursday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents DPS enhances sex offender notification From Staff Reports AUSTIN — If you’re a convicted sex offender the state believes is likely to reoffend, your life just got a whole lot hard harder Tuesday — and your neighbors are going to know more about you than you might ever have liked. The Texas Department of Public Safety implemented Tuesday a new notification program intended to supplement current notifications — such as newspaper ads and information available on the Internet linked to the DPS website — to make sure neighbors know when a sexual predator has moved into their area. New post card notifications that provide the name, age, address, offense and a photo of convicted sex offenders hit mailboxes on Tuesday. The first mailing involved 30 offenders and 16,000 postcards. Postcards will be mailed to neighbors within a three-block radius of an offender who moves into a community or subdivision and a one-mile radius in rural areas. The new law affects only felons convicted on or after Jan. I 2000, who are deemed to be Risk Level I (a high risk to re-offend) by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. About 25,000 convicted sex offenders currently walk the streets of Texas, DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said. Anybody who might already be in the neighborhood will not be included in the new noti fications, Vinger said. “The Legislature has given the people of Texas another tool to protect themselves from potentially dangerous people,” DPS Director Col. Thomas A. Davis Jr. said in a news release. Officials caution the information being provided about sex offenders is intended to inform only — and not to encourage vigilantes. “These postcards are not an invitation to violence or illegal activity,” Davis said. “Anyone with concerns or information about sex offenders should contact their local police agency.” Vinger amplified the concerns Davis expressed. “Before you get overwrought about a situation, please look into it. Don’t take the law into your own hands,” Vinger said. “Bear in mind that this is the best information we have available. By the time people get these postcards, the See OFFENDER/8A Widow Vetter files lawsuit against Hale By Heather Todd Staff Writer Cynthia Vetter, the wife of slain state Trooper Randall Vetter, filed a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit Friday against a Hays County man accused of fatally shooting the officer two weeks ago. Donald Dickson, an Austin attorney representing Vetter’s widow, said the lawsuit filed against Melvin Edison Hale, 72, in the 207th District Court in Hays County asked for $4 million in punitive damages and SI million in compensatory damages. Twenty-eight year old Vetter, a six-year veteran    File    Photo of the Texas Department Randall Vetter was shot by of Public Safety and a New' Melvin Hale during a traffic Braunfels resident, was stop for a seatbelt violation, shot in the head Aug. 3 during a traffic stop just south of Kyle and died four days later at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin. Vetter’s family includes his wife and his eight-month old son, Robert. A funeral service for Vetter was held Aug. 11, the same day the lawsuit was filed. Hale is charged with capital murder of a peace officer and is being held w ithout bond at the Hays County Jail. DPS officials reported Vetter stopped Hale, of Kyle, for not wearing a seatbelt on the west frontage road at Interstate 35 and Yarrington Road. Hale is suspected of firing twice at Vetter with a high-powered, semi-automatic rifle, previous reports said. Vetter also was able to fire two shots, but he was hit in the head. The DPS believes Hale then used the trooper’s radio to notify authorities about the shooting. Hale apparently was upset about a controversy over taxes on his ranch in Kyle and believed it was his C onstitutional right not to wear a seatbelt. He had been ticketed in October for the same violation in the same location, the DPS reported. Dickson said the punitive damages would act as a form of civil punishment for the defendant’s conduct. The law suit states that because Hale’s conduct was “willful, wanton, illegal and calculated in design to injure and fatally injure” Trooper Vetter, he should be assessed punitive damages as a result of Vetter’s death. The lawsuit also states Hale’s conduct “deprived (Vetter’s) See LAWSUITS NBISD approves fees From Staff Reports New Braunfels Independent School District trustees approved Tuesday night new facility usage procedures and rates that will raise rental fees for school district facilities. David Rastellini, business manager for NBISD, said the new rates would help recoup some costs to the district for operating the facilities. He said the biggest adjustment would be for the Academy Street Gym, which is the most widely used facility. The new usage fee for the Academy Street gym will be $5 per hour at a two-hour minimum. Users also will be charged a $17.50 per hour utility and custodial fee, which was previously $ 12. The security deposit also has been raised from $ IO to $40. The baseball and soccer fields will require a $260 per day usage fee and a $100 security deposit. The basketball and volleyball courts will require a $235 a day usage fee for University Interscholastic league events only and a $100 security deposit. The usage fee for the football field will be $460 per day with a $200 deposit. Inside Abby......................... ......5A Classifieds................... ....3-8B Comics....................... .......8A Crossword................. ......5A Forum.......................... .......6A Local/Metro................. .......4A Movies......................... .......5A Obituaries................... .......3A Sports........................ ...1-2B Today.......................... .......2A Stocks............................. .......5A www.herald-zeitung. com Key Code 76 County eyes tighter sewage rules By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY — About SO people turned out Tuesday to find out more about proposed on-site sewage facility regulations for Comal County. If approved by the county and the FNRCC, the new regulations — which are more stringent than the state requires — could go into effect in 60 to 90 days, Comal County Engineer Tom Hornseth said. The new rules will double to one acre the lot size for subdivisions served by a public water supply. Sub divisions served by a private water supply — a well — w ill be required under the new rules to have a 5.01 acre minimum lot size. The new regulations, if adopted, would apply only to new development in the county. Lots already platted would not be affected. Residents, engineers and installers who asked questions were interested in the nuts and bolts of the rules for example, whether a previously-existing lot would be grandfathered if it needed a new system but the lot couldn’t conform to the new rules. Some also asked about lots that did not permit contractors to move exca vated dirt far enough away to meet inspection requirements. “We’ve used some common sense in the past and we’d have to allow a variance,” Hornseth said. “We try to run a completely open operation. We treat everybody the same. We’re not out to cause any hardship or delay your work. We’re not going to relax the rules, but we’re willing to work w ith you.” Previously, the on-site sewage facility ordinance required lots of about three acres determined under a formula that set a lot shape to permit two 150-foot diameter circles within See SEWAGE/8A L Warn. Ill ll Aquifer Stage By Heather Todd Staff Writer The Edwards Aquifer Authority declared Stage II watering restrictions Wednesday for all of Bexar County and portions of Comal, Guadalupe, Hays and Caldwell because of continued decline of the aquifer level. Stage II restrictions call for reduced pumping by municipal water users and reduced landscape watering hours by residents and businesses within the Edwards Aquifer Authority boundaries. Well users in Comal County will be restricted to ground water use landscape watering by sprinkler system one day each week depending on the last digit of their address. • Addresses ending in 0 or I can water Monday • Addresses ending in 2 or 3 can water Tuesday • Addresses ending in 4 or 5 can water Wednesday • Addresses ending in 6 or 7 can water Thursday • Addresses ending in 8 or 9 can water Friday. Hours for landscape watering will be reduced to 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 8 p.m. to IO p.m. Monday through Friday. Greg Ellis, general manager of the Edwards Aquifer Authority, said watering would not be allowed on Saturdays or Sundays. In Stage II, soaker hoses and other hand watering measures are permitted only during the limited hours — and not during daytime. The trigger level for entering Stage II of the Emergency Drought Management Rules for 2000 is 640 feet above mean sea level. The Edwards Aquifer declined to 640.0 feet msl on Tuesday at the J-17 index well. The level Wednesday was 639.8 feet msl. The J-17 is the indicator of the water level in the Edwards Aquifer for the San Antonio area. Ellis said the biggest change would affect municipal and industrial users who will be forced to reduce their ground water usage by IO percent the next 30 days. For instance, if New Braunfels Utilities wanted to use IOO acre-feet of ground water the next 30 days, they would have to reduce their usage to 90 acre-feet, Ellis said. Gretchen Reuwer, NBU manager of customer relations and communciations, said for the time being there would be no changes to watering restrictions for NBU customers. “We are monitoring the situation and we are still in Stage III restrictions we enacted May 15,” she said. Stage III restrictions apply to both NBU residen- See STAGE II/8A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Wayne Triesch waters the smaller plants at The Plant Haus three times a day during the height of summer heat. “We try to water as little as possible,” said owner Weston Pacharzina. j ;