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  • Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas * ^ ^ New Herald-Zki Water Restrictions ■ New Braunfels Utilities customers with addresses ending in 3, 4 or 5 can water today before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Well users with addresses ending in 4 -- >..otor today between 3 a.m. from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. I Ui NG □ _ Vol. 149 No. 206    18    pages    in    2    sections    August    23,    2000 Wednesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 centsAuto burglaries drive up crime rate From staff reports Burglaries and thefts in New Braunfels went up during July, driving an increase of 18 percent in the overall crime rate compared to the same month this past year. But city officials believe the increases are a seasonal spike and note that, for the year to date, the crime rate is unchanged from 1999 — and is going down in some key respects. "What we saw in July was about an 18 percent increase in the overall crime rate over July 1999,” said Don Ferguson, assistant to the city manager. "That increase was because in large part of a jump in motor vehicle burglaries and in theft/shoplifting ” Ferguson said the reasons for that were probably sea-See CRIME/3A Inside Abby......................... .......5A Classifieds.................. .. 4-8B Comics....................... .......2B Crossword................. .......5A Forum......................... .......6A Local/Metro................ .......4A Movies......................... .......5A Obituaries................... .......3A Sports........................ ....7-8A Today........................ .......2A Television...................... 8A www.herald-zeitung com Key Code 76 Hartwig jury gets look at charred scene By Heather Todd Staff Writer In a voice sometimes soft and sobbing and other times clear, Adele Hartwig told law enforcement officials her husband did not-deserve to live fill’ '■ HARTWIG then described how she set a fire that claimed his life. Jurors in Hartwig’s capital murder trial Tuesday heard portions of the audiotaped statement Adele Hartw ig, 62, gave to Texas Ranger Tony Leal and Comal County Sheriff s Detective Tommy Ward a week after the fatal fire. The Comal County District Attorney’s office is attempting to prove Adele Hartwig intentionally set a house fire May 4, 1999 that killed her husband, 72-year old Harold Hartwig. Adele Hartwig is charged with intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion by igniting flammable substances and/or accelerants near an interior wall while Harold Hartwig was inside their home. The state presented to jurors Tuesday an edited audiotaped version of her May 13, 1999 statement, including portions w here she described pouring gun powder into an electrical socket, placing a w ick with lamp oil in it and setting it on fire. Jurors then heard portions of the defense’s version of her entire statement before District Judge Jack Robison recessed the court. The six-man, six-woman jury will continue hearing the rest of the tape beginning 9 a.m. today. The trial began Monday in 22nd District Court. Hartw ig could face a mandatory sentence of life in prison if she is convicted of the capital murder charge. The Comal County District Attorney’s office is not pursuing the death penalty. During her audiotaped statement, Adele Hartwig described Harold Hartw ig as a cruel man who physically and mentally abused her many times and threatened to kill her and other family members. “He’s committed every atrocity on the earth.. ..There s going to be some people killed because of him,” she said during one portion of the tape. Adele Hartw ig then said she was ready to die before she described how she set the fire. "He’s not going to hurt the world anymore,” she told investigators. Jurors also got their first look Tuesday at the charred remains of Harold Hartwig’s body and the log cabin the Hartwigs shared on Heuco Springs Loop Road in Comal County. Adele Hartwig sat quietly and showed little emotion in the courtroom as prosecutors presented jurors a videotape taken at the scene of the fatal fire. The Travis County Chief Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy testified Tuesday Harold Hartwig died of asphyxiation because of carbon monoxide poisoning mid smoke inhalation and/or severe body bums during the May 4 fire. See HARTWIG/3A Officials see smooth electric deregulation HOUSTON (AP) — When Texas begins deregulating its electric power industry next year it will not experience the problems that California went through when it did the same, said officials at a state Senate oversight committee meeting Tuesday. “I’m not trying to be a Pollyana,” said Pat Wood, chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission. “Things will go wrong. But most things will go right.” Texas deregulation is set for a pilot program in 2001 and is to begin in earnest in 2002. Only a few- states — California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have decided to open their power markets. Deregulation has been put into place or is being considered in 25 states. Officials said while Texas has some of the lowest utility rates in the nation, it has some of the highest bills, and that opening the market could help lower them. State Sen. David Sibley, R-Waco, and state Sen. Steve Wolens, D-Dallas the authors of the utility restructuring bill that was signed into law June 26, 1999 said Texas is in a very different position from California. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Residents have complained about the chain link fence Bluebonnet Motors has erected around the former H-E-B property on San Antonio Street. They contend the fence does not resemble any other fences in the neighborhood.City seeks to foil Bluebonnet fence By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer New Braunfels Zoning Board of Adjustment w ill consider Thursday whether a temporary fence can remain around Bluebonnet Motors’ storage lot. The board meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the New Braunfels Municipal Building, 424 S. Casten Ave. Bluebonnet Motors is using the former H-E-B parking lot, 843 W. San Antonio St., to store some of its vehicles temporarily. Bluebonnet parks vehicles on the lot pending completion of its new building on Interstate 35. Bluebonnet Motors applied to the city for a permit to place a temporary, six-foot, chain link fence around the lot. The city denied the application, Planning Director Harry Bennett said.See FENCE/3A Sheriff: City, county must work together if ban OK’d By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer New Braunfels and Comal County should coordinate their efforts to address problems on the river, Sheriff Bob Holder said. The New' Braunfels City Council on Monday will consider an ordinance banning open alcohol containers on the two rivers running through the city. The proposed ordinance also would prohibit alcohol consumption on the rivers. The ban would affect the Guadalupe Riv- HOLDER er from the Gruene Road bridge to the Faust Street bridge and the Comal River from the Landa Drive bridge to where it meets the Guadalupe River. But Holder said it could cause problems to ban alcohol on the rivers in the city mid not in the county, lf people can’t drink on the river in the city, those people might instead switch to floating in just the county waters. “First of all, this has been brought up before, and I think if there’s going to be an alcohol ban in the county anywhere, if the city's going to take a strong look at it, I think the county should also take a strong look at it,” Holder said. “What they do, they should do together Whatever the effort is, it needs See HOLDER/3A Ban battle looms K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung These Texas A&M students enjoy part of their last week of freedom Tuesday afternoon with a float down the Comal River. Chamber says proposed prohibition premature, greater enforcement needed By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce believes an alcohol or container ban on the city’s two rivers may be premature and ineffective. Instead the chamber supports more law enforcement on the rivers and user fees, fines, shuttle fees and tubing taxes to pay for it. The chamber released a statement Wednesday on a proposed ordinance the council w ill consider Monday. If approved the ordinance w ill ban open alcohol containers and alcohol consumption on the Guadalupe River from the Gruene Road bridge to the Faust Street bridge and the Comal River from the Landa Drive bridge to where it meets the Guadalupe River. The proposed ban follows years of complaints about bad behavior on the rivers. "In November 1998, an all-member survey included the question: 'What are your solutions of choice for minimizing law breakers and bad behav lur on the river?’,” the chamber’s statement said. The solutions that received the most votes, in order, were: “increased law enforcement, arrest law breakers, increase fines, increase signage of laws/rules, increase the number of restroom facilities and provide recycling areas for cans,” the chamber reported. Those survey results mirror suggestions residents of the Guada-Coma neighborhood presented to the city council this past week. Joanne Chambers represented the neighborhood during the meeting. The neighborhood avoided the alcohol issue when it drafted its proposal, she said. “That was one issue that we didn’t agree on,” she said. Instead, the neighborhood proposed ways to fund an increased police presence, more signs and periodic river cleaning. "A more visible law enforcement presence on the river is needed to enforce laws and ordinances,” Chambers said. Suggestions to generate revenue included a tube tax paid by those who use or profit See BAN/5A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Tubers enjoy a wide variety of liquid refreshments on the Comal River near the Prince Solms Tube Chute Tuesday afternoon. Opinions at Landa Park varied widely on the alcohol ban, but several people said they will go elsewhere if it is implemented. HHH—sr”*' ;