New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 20, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20,2005
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Smithson Valley use scrimmages to prepare for opening night. Page 5A
FORUM SPEAK OUT
Readers have their say about fuel mileage, racial bias, supporting farmers and Cemex. Page 4A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 233 16 pages, 2 sections
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Details .... 1B
4B Board agrees to fund airport tower
By Leigh Jones
The New Braunfels Municipal Airport will get its air traffic control tower, but not without jumping through a few more hoops.
Industrial Development Corporation (4B) Board members approved Thursday spending $1.5 million for the structure, as long as it remains city property and the remainder of the $15 million expansion project gets funded.
Silver State Helicopters has proposed a bond, guaranteed by the city and paid back through the company’s rental revenue, to pay for hanger and classroom space, a fixed base operation center and ramp expansion.
Airport Manager Andy Spinks told board members he was waiting on final bids for the additional improvements before taking the request to city council.
Although council members have not approved or even discussed
guaranteeing a bond for the project, they will vote Monday to ratify the 4B board’s conditional expenditure.
City Manager Chuck Pinto said the accompanying vote enabling the city
See AIRPORT, Page 3A
By David Rupkalvis
SATTLER — Jennifer Curtis spends each school year working to get children excited about science. Thursday, she got a head start.
As students at Mountain Valley School returned to the school to meet their new teachers, they had a surprise in store — fun and games that challenged students to think about science and math.
Curtis came up with the idea after seeing it at another school, but in order to make it a reality, she needed help. So she recruited some of her daughter’s friends as well as former students, and for days they prepared.
When students walked into the gymnasium and cafeteria at Mountain Valley, what they found were stations set up with different games and challenges that encouraged students and parents to think about math and science.
Curtis said one of the reasons she came up with the idea was because she wanted to give parents ideas of what they could do with their children. Each station included instructions on how to do the projects at home.
“Parents are always looking for ideas,’’ Curtis said. "They want something to do with their children, especially during the first week of school when they’re real excited.’’
Taylor Robinson, a seventh-grade student, and Katy Payne, a sixth-grader, went through the exhibits.
Robinson said the hardest event was a hopscotch jump where participants were challenged to multiply as they jumped from number to number.
“Having to do both at the same time was tough,” Robinson said.
Both girls agreed the most fun event was a table where their thumbs were taped to their hands and they were asked to do simple chores without their thumbs.
"It was challenging but fun at the same time," Robinson said. “You never really think about how much you use your thumbs."
Sixth-grader Jackie Salazar helped students try the thumb experiment. She said she had practiced for two days to get ready, “but I’m pretty good at it.”
"We’re showing how hard it is for animals to get around without thumbs,” Salazar said.
Matt Hardy led a station where students learned about their bodies by checking height, weight, their pulse before and after exercise and reaction times.
“It just proves all about yourself in different scientific ways,” he said.
One station was less about science and math and more about a challenge between boys and girls. At the station, students were
See MATH, Page 8A
Sales tax revenues in New Braunfels continue to climb
By Leigh Jones
New Braunfels is way ahead of the rest of the state in this year’s sales tax revenue, increasing its take 12.87 percent compared to the same time last year.
According to numbers released by Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the state has increased its revenue by only 5.9
percent compared to last year’s intake.
City Manager Chuck Pinto said the New Braunfels’ better-than-average performance was nothing new.
“Doing better than the state overall is a city trend,” he said. "We have made a marked effort to improve our economic development, which creates wealth.”
While the city’s efforts have contributed to the growth in sales tax numbers, Pinto said the area’s overall expansion also was a factor.
“Our entire area is growing. The houses going up all around us create a need for businesses to serve the people that live in them,” he said. “Those businesses generate sales tax revenue.”
The city’s steady increase during the last IO months equals $837,965.51 more so far for this year’s expenditures.
August’s sales tax report covers June, the first montli the city uses for its summer revenue calculations.
So far, so good, Pinto said.
See CLIMB, Page 3A
McKenna gets shot down by 4B Board
By Leigh Jones
The Industrial Development Corporation (4B) Board sent McKenna Healthlink home without any money Thursday — and told officials not to come back again.
McKenna Health System President Tim Brierty had asked the board for $250,000 to help pay for the group’s Healthlink and Childrens Museum facility on San Antonio Street.
Board member Jay Patrick said the hoard had not liked the idea any of the previous three times it had come before them for consideration and wasn’t likely to change its mind.
“lf we had wanted to do something with this, we would have scheduled a public hearing on it before now,” he said. “I think we’ve made ourselves clear on this."
Patrick was joined by board Chairman Matt I larrison and members Kirk Kistner and Monroe Miller in voting to permanently table McKenna’s request, effectively ending the group's bid for 4B funding.
See McKenna Page 3A
New Braunfels business allows new moms to get in shape even with the children in tow.
Fire danger could be lifting in Comal County
By David Rupkalvis
Comal County commissioners could wait awhile before instating another burn ban after learning a new technique to measure the fire danger.
Twice this summer, commissioners enforced a bum ban, outlawing virtually all outdoor burning in the county. After hearing a presentation from Eon Patterson, a regional fire coordinator with the Texas Forest Service, commissioners decided to allow burning for the time being.
Patterson explained that the Keetch-Byran Drought Index, which Fire Marshal Lin Manford and commissioners have used to assess fire danger, is not the best tool to make that determination.
Instead, the Forest Service uses its own system, the National Fire Danger Rating System. Patterson explained the weakness with the drought index was it w as created to check for drought conditions, not fire danger.
The drought system measures the depth under the soil before moisture is reached. The further under the soil, the great the
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GETTING AN EARLY START
Math, science displays mix excitement and education
Photos by MANDY REARY/Herald-Zeitung
From right,Troy, Lilliana and Natalie Eyster and Laura Richner blow through straws to see who can shoot the furthest at Mountain Valley School Thursday evening. Below,Taylor Robinson, left, and Katy Payne make their way through the multi-colored flowers into Mountain Valley's gymnasium, where science and math experiments were set up.