New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 20, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
N EW JfafiBWaiNFELS
Vol. 148, No. 196
Annual event eases fears about high school
By Heather Todd Staff Writer
A new class of ninth-grade students learned Thursday there’s more to high school life than just being a bunch of small fish in a big pond.
Freshmen walked into the annual New Braunfels High School fish camp with apprehensions about what the new school year would bring.
“I’ve been a little apprehensive about high school. My mom thought going to the fish camp would help me get over my fears and learn what it’s all about,” freshman Meredith Barnhill said.
For others, the four-hour introduction to the
"Getting involved in activities and being a part of the school, that s what Unicorn Country and New Braunfels is all about.”
New Braunfels ISD superintendent
high school campus and student leaders was a way to meet up with friends after the summer break.
Whatever reason brought them to the high school gym, more than IOO freshmen walked away a little more prepared for high school life when classes start.
About 6,000 students in New Braunfels Independent School District will head back to class for the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year on Wednesday morning.
NBHS enrollment is expected to top 1,850 students this fall, with between 525 and 550 freshmen. High school senior volunteers and members of the student council introduced students to the faces they’ll see around campus.
NBISD superintendent Ron Reaves urged all students to become active in high school.
“Getting involved in activities and being a part of the school, that’s what Unicom Country and New Braunfels is all about,” he said.
NBHS senior Ashley Michael said the fish camp, which had been sponsored by the senior class for several years, helped ninth-graders get used to the transition from middle school to high school.
“It’s basically to get them used to not being at the middle school. We give them a tour of the school and we perform skits. We can
See FISH CAMP/5A
*i n / O 2 / *3 9
0627 E "^FLl DR
New Braunfels High School freshmen (from left) Ben Campos, Kelly Griffin, Wendy Kuhn and Megan Perro participate in an “ice-breaking” activity at Thursday’s fish camp and orientation session.
LCRA: we’ve got the power
Record usage hasn’t tapped out supply
By Peri Stone-PALMQUIST Staff Writer
Local residents don’t need to worry about power outages and blackouts despite record-high usage, electricity official said.
“We’re in pretty good shape,” Lower Colorado River Authority spokesman Bill McCann said.
LCRA supplies electricity for 44 wholesale customers in Texas, including New Braunfels Utilities.
The number of customers being served continues to increase — NBU electric connections have increased 18.17 percent in the past three years.
Because of this growth, especially in the Interstate 35 corridor from New Braunfels to Georgetown, electricity use is at an all-time high.
McCann said LCRA’s highest peak demand for electricity so far this summer was 2,454 megawatts versus 2,335 this past summer.
Despite this, no one has experienced blackouts, he said.
Blackouts occur when customers use more power than is available.
LCRA generates power through a coal-fired power plant near La Grange and two natural gas power plants in Bastrop and Llano counties. It also relies on hydroelectric generators.
‘Our power plants have been operating at full capacity,” McCann said.
And LCRA has been buying more power from independent power producers in Houston in order to meet demands for electricity.
LCRA signed a contract with the independent power producers in 1995.
Although outages need not be a concern, expensive electricity bills during this hot season are hard to avoid.
Kyle Hoegenauer, a pre-first-grader at Goodwin Primary School, points to his name Thursday during an exercise on the alphabet in M’Liss Brockman’s class. Comal ISD kindergarten students began the 1999-2000 school year on Thursday.
Pre-first-grader Kayla Helmke finds the first day at Goodwin Primary a bit exhausting after her summer vacation. All students in New Braunfels ISD will begin their new school year on Wednesday.
Take action on ozone
High pollution levels could bring increases for gas, fees
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
Comal County residents could pay higher gas prices and vehicle inspection fees if ozone levels in the Greater San Antonio area exceed federal standards twice more this year.
Federal funding for future highway projects also could be cut.
“We need to do our small part,” said Michael Meek, president of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Comal, Bexar, Guadalupe and Wilson counties are included in the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area, which the Environmental Protection Agency currently considers an “attainment area,” or an area that measures below federal ozone level requirements.
But an air monitor recorded an average ozone level of more than 81 parts per billion over an eight-hour period tw ice this month.
lf that level is exceeded two more times in 1999, EPA w ill consider designating the Greater San Antonio Arca a non-attainment area — a determination that could result in various penalties such as increased gas pnces.
Meek suggested residents carpool to work, keep
See OZONE/5 A
• Share a ride to work or school.
• Try to avoid morning rush hour traffic.
• Walk or ride a bicycle.
• Take your lunch to work or school.
• Combine errands into one trip.
• Avoid drive-through lanes.
• Postpone refueling until after 6 p.m.
• Don’t top off your gas tank.
• Postpone using lawn mowers until after 6 p.m.
• Keep your vehicle properly tuned to keep exhaust levels low.
Key code 76
County denies any wrongdoing with child support checksMom didn’t receive payments for a year
By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer
A single mother who didn’t receive child support payments for more than a year says the Comal County District Clerk office is to blame.
Denisa Lawler said the clerk’s office held her checks for more than a year without contacting her.
Officials in the clerk office, however, said
Denisa would have received all 18 checks her ex-husband sent if she had just lived up to her agreement in a court order.
In September 1986, Jim Lawler agreed to pay Denisa child support every month for their two children, and Denisa was to supply Jim with a current address.
Jim paid Denisa directly — not through the clerk’s office.
In September 1998, he wrote a letter to the clerk’s office explaining that payments he made for his children were returned to him from a post office box in Dallas.
He said Denisa had not provided him with a new address but that he wanted to contin
ue making regular payments.
Between September 1998 and June 1999, Jim made payments to the district clerk’s office, which held the checks, uncashed, in a locked vault.
“We were holding the checks in good faith, thinking she would contact us,” child support clerk Kathy Jurica said.
Denisa said she visited the clerk’s off ice several times but the checks were never mentioned to her — until she came in at the end of July.
Jurica said Denisa^ visit in July was the first time she had seen her. “And I’ve worked there for three years,” she said.
In a letter to the Herald-Zeitung, Denisa asked, “How is it that a county agency can illegally accept and hold (and as they put it ‘were going to deposit for me and open a trust for my kids') $4,300 in child support for a year and fail to mention it to the legal recipient (that would be me) that it was even in their possession?”
Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldnp said the district clerk’s office did nothing illegal.
Jurica said it would be impossible for her to track down every child support recipient.See CHECKS/5A
pages in 2 sections August 20, 1999 p DAY G°ma* County since 1852
welcomes freshmen to NBHS