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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 24, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas >AV o/99N EW ifehyi UFELS    f» 2 6 * ’ ■HERALD-ZEIl UNG - —...—......__...... I...............:.................... Vol, 148, No, 193    12    pages    in    I    section    August    24,    1999    Tuesday    Serving    Comal    County    since    1852    50    centsNBISD prepares for schoolSteady growth in area challenges administrators By Heather Todd Staff Writer More than 6,000 New Braunfels students have enjoyed an extra week and a half of summer vacation while their peers sat in classrooms and completed homework assignments. The party officially will come to an end Wednesday morning when New Braunfels Independent School District students begin classes — almost two weeks behind most of their peers. NBISD has one of the latest start dates in the state. The later start date also has been a blessing in disguise for administrators trying to plan a new school year in the midst of steady growth. Administrators and teachers in the Memorial attendance area in particular have faced a difficult challenge. New subdivisions south of Interstate 35 and along County Line Road have boosted enrollment at Memorial Primary and Memorial Elementary in recent years. Sharon Tate, principal of Memorial Elementary, said it was difficult for administrators to plan an appropriate number of teaching positions when they did not know how many new students moved into the area each year. “It’s a challenge every year in this school. We take the numbers from our feeder schools, but the big question is who’s going to be here when we open up Wednesday. It makes it difficult,” she said. Tate also said administrators could cross many students off the class lists as other school districts started up classes. “Once we know kids have moved to other districts, we can start taking them off the lists. If we hadn’t been able to do that, I would be afraid of our class lists overflowing at this point,” she said. Elementary classes in pre-kmdeigarten through fourth-grade are required by state law to have a 22-to-1 student to teacher ratio. Rosalyn Bratcher, assistant superintendent for instructional services, said the district was monitoring student enrollment and might have to hire additional teachers after school started if classes exceeded the 22:1 ratio. Last year, NBISD had to ask parents to voluntarily transfer students from Lamar Primary, Memorial Elementary, Memorial Primary, and Seele Elementary to Carl Schurz Elementary. An increase in enrollment in kindergarten through third grade exceeded expectations at those four campuses and surpassed the 22:1 ratio. In March 1999, trustees changed the Carl Schurz elementary attendance area to move 62 students from the Memorial attendance area to Carl Schurz. Janet Patton, director of personnel, said the district hoped to avoid transferring students this year. “We have (teacher) candidates out there and we’ll do what we need to do with those slots. We don't want to move students or create another class, thats not the best situation,” she said. Tate said the school has added two additional teachers this year to accommodate enrollment projections. “Fortunately, we’ve been able to project the growth Coatza< Veracruz Inside Abby......................................5 Classifieds.......................9-12 Comics..................................7 Crossword............................5 Forum...................................6 Local/Metro...........................4 Movies..................................5 Obituaries.............................3 Sports...................................8 Today...................................2 Television..............................7 Key code 76 Council reviews skating, sidewalk laws By Peri Stone-Palmouist ' Staff Writer New Braunfels City Council approved Monday the second reading of an ordinance allowing residential in-line skating on most streets and postponed a decision on a downtown sidewalk ordinance. Several residents urged council to loosen up restrictions on in-line and roller-skaters, currently prohibited from skating on residential streets without sidewalks. Anyone caught breaking the law faces as much as a $500 fine, although it was rarely enforced, according to New Braunfels Police Chief Ray Douglas. Council was considering an amendment allowing roller- or in-luie skaters as well as skateboarders in Hinman Island Park, Prince Solms Park, Cypress Bend Park and Landa Park, except for Landa Park Drive and the Landa Park Golf Course. But even if this amendment was accepted, these recreationists still couldn’t skate in residential neighborhoods without sidewalks. Resident Lisa Repka told council she’d like to keep her children in the neighborhood, instead of hauling them off to a park. “And I’d like to see my children (skate) to school and back,” she said. The ordinance presented to See COUNCIL/4 See NBISD/4County asks FEMA for help By Heather Todd Staff Writer Comal County officials are asking for $23.8 million in federal emergency funding for flood early warning systems and several flood control dams. Closing in on the one-year anniversary of the October 1998 flood, county commissioners authorized County Judge Danny Scheel Monday to pursue a large share of the $42 million the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently made available for counties hit hard by this past year s flooding. County engineer Tom Homseth said FEMA was providing additional funding through the state’s Division of Emergency Management for “unmet needs” remaining in South Central Texas after the October flood. The county faces a Thursday deadline to request the funding FEMA is offering the funding to South Central Texas counties through a matching grant program. FEMA would prov ide 75 percent of the funding, while the county would have to come up with the remaining 25 percent. See COUNTY/4 Comal provides shelter from Hurricane Bret Hurricane Bret Position: 26.5 N, 96.7° W Moving W-NW at 8 MPH Sustained winds: 140 mph Wind gusts: 165 mph As of: Sunday 2 p.m. EDT Source AccuWeather. Inc 200 Km TEXASNursing home welcomes seniors from Corpus Christi Children find a home at New Life centerBret weakens, could bring rain to New Braunfels From staff reports By Christina Minor Staff Writer As Hurricane Bret wreaked havoc on the Texas coast, residents at the Bokenkamp Children’s Treatment Center in Corpus Christi waited out the storm at the New Life Children’s Treatment Center at Canyon Lake. New Life, a residential center for abused and neglected young girls, and volunteers from St. Andrew Lutheran Church at Canyon Lake prepared the facility Sunday for the 52 beys and girls and 15 staff members from Bokenkamp, a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. Residents at New Life made banners to welcome Bokenkamp residents. Volunteer coordinator Connie Osborn Meteorologist Constantine Pashos of the National Weather Service, New Braunfels office, said Hurricane Bret was considered a minimal tropical storm by Monday afternoon and was expected to become a depression by this morning. The center was 25 miles northeast of Laredo Monday afternoon and expected to cross the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass sometime today. “Bret is moving west, northwest about 8 to 9 miles per hour,” Pashos said. “Most of the rain will shift to near the center.” New Braunfels might see scattered showers today, but a chance of rain is minimal. By Christina Minor Staff Writer WAI Ll/Herald-Zeitung Denise Rios, 11, helps care for a resident of Harbor View Nursing Home in Corpus Christi who was evacuated Sunday and brought to Kirkwood Manor in New Braunfels. Eighty-five residents left their home when Hurricane Bret drew closer to the Texas coast. Rios is the granddaughter of Harbor View nurses’ aide Mary Cantu. With Hurricane Bret just a few feet from their front door, residents and staff at Harbor View Nursing Home in Corpus Christi, one block from the Gulf of Mexico, moved to safer ground in New Braunfels. Kirkwood Manor, 2590 N. Loop 337, welcomed 85 residents and more than IO staff members Sunday afternoon. Ambulances and buses transported the residents from the coast. “The residents really enjoyed the bus ride,” nurse Debbie Scott of Harbor View said. “It took us about five hours, but they were so calm.” Harbor View residents slept in the Kirkwood Manor recreation room on mattresses and cots provided by a Hondo nursing home. Staff members also slept in the recreation room as well as in hallways, the lobby and Kirkwood Manor administrator Norm Custer’s office. The staff’s family members stayed in local hotels. “We put (the residents) wherever we had an opening,” Custer said. “I even went to Wal-Mart and purchased some pillows. Each of their residents was given a clean mattress and linens.” Staff from Kirkwood Manor came in from vacation to help, and volunteers donated their time. Harbor View administrator Nancy Wilsford said the nursing home had less than 18 hours to evacuate. “We brought our own dietary staff, laundry personnel and nurses’ aides,” she said. “Everyone here has been wonderful. The teamwork has been great. You almost can’t tell our staff apart from theirs.” Staff at Harbor View also brought their medicine carts and supplies as well as special food. One resident of Harbor View said, “They have treated us well here. They are nice people.” All the residents’ families were contacted Sunday when the residents arrived. Some were frightened and concerned about the hurricane. “The residents are having fun and doing fine,” Wilsford said. “I even have three ladies who said they are going to stay here. I think they have (Kirkwood Manor’s) staff convinced they are staying.” Custer said both facilities’ staff had been great and cooperative w ith each other. “Most of the nurses’ aides have worked 24 to 36 hours,” he said. “They’re tired and sacrificed so much. The staff has really given from their hearts.” said about 12 adults and IO youth met at New Life at 2:30 p.m. to help clean the gym, sweep floors and hang tarps on a chain link fence. “We took all the sports equipment out of the gym, loaded it on a truck and took it to a storage building,” Osborn said. “We weren’t sure what kind of children were coming, so we wanted to move everything out.” The youth group at St. Andrew offered to help Osborn at the center after the group’s swimming plans were cancelled. “The kids had made a decision to help the other kids,” Osborn said. “It was really nice to see them want to help.” The volunteers finished making room for the Bokenkamp residents at 5 p.m. See CHILDREN/3 Hurricane Bret weakened into a tropical storm on Monday after making landfall about 60 miles south of Corpus Christi. For more on the storm, see page 3. ;