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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 29, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels WEDNESDAY August 29, 2001 16 pages in 2 sections ''"‘WM*'’    ^pages in 2 seenHerald-Zeitung ; :    s: .of!■:    •.    ■:" .'-: v:;’1 :;S ------  -    .      I    El:: ... '  ~~~ _- " -st''S. Vol. 150, No. 249Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 centsCity might give $58,000 gift to Little League Possible land donation hits home run with organization By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer For three years, more than 1,300 kids heard the cry, ‘Play ball!” at the fields on Loop 337. The boys and girls rounded bases, slid into home and caught fly balls — all part of playing the game for New Braunfels Little League. Those same kids soon might get a $58,000 gift from the city. That’s the price the Little League was willing to pay for the baseball fields. But after Monday night’s council meeting, the organi zation might not have to buy the land — the city wants to give it to the Little League. “We voted to postpone the decision until we can find out if it’s possible to donate the land,” Mayor Stoney Williams said. “We donated the Dit-tlinger library building to the Sophienburg, so we voted to see if we could donate this land as well.” The idea hit a home run with the Little League. ‘We think it’s tremendous,” Little League representative Jon Ellis said. “The reason our whole organization exists is for the benefit of the kids. Everything we do is for them. If they decide to take that route, we can divert the money into better playing fields and facilities.” The Little League maintains the fields under its agreement with the city. New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Advisory Board discussed the price of selling the land and recommended that the city council approve it at Monday night’s meeting. But council threw a curve ball and asked City Attorney Charlie Zech to look into the possibility of donating the land to the Little League. Currently, the children play on four fields, but Ellis said the association hoped to build three more. “And that’s where this money will come in,” he said. We can use it to build more fields for the kids.” The donation, Ellis said, is a tremendous boon to the Little League groups. We’re so happy about all this,” he said. “This benefits the kids in our program. If the council goes through with this plan, the money goes back to the kids and the community.” Blame it on the rain High waters force road closures; more rain on way By Martin Malacara Staff Writer New Braunfels and the rest of South Central Texas will have a good chance to see more thundershowers the rest of the week. With weekend rains already saturating the ground, Tuesday’s rain caused some area road closures because of runoff and high water. At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service recorded .02 inches of rain in New Braunfels. National Weather Service forecaster Aldis Strautins said tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico was responsible for the needed rainfall into the area. The high-pressure weather system dominating the area this past week moved west and allowed the gulf moisture to move in, he said. A low-pressure system near Brownsville was bringing the showers northward. Strautins said the system was not well organized and unlikely to develop into a tropical storm, but forecasters would keep an eye on it throughout the week. The weather service predicts an 80 percent chance of rain today with temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s, with winds out of the southeast at IO miles an hour. CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Audrey Williams stands under dark skies Tuesday at her home in Walnut Heights with her rain gauge. She has recorded about two inches of rainfall since Sunday. As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service had recorded another 0.02 inches for the day. The recent deluge has forced some area roads to close, including parts of Farm-to-Market Road 1863 and Obst Road. For tonight, a 50 percent chance of rain exists with temperatures in the low 70s. The chance of rain would drop by the weekend with a slight chance for more rain on Labor Day. The weather service issued a flash flood watch Tuesday for the New Braunfels area. Strautins said the New Braunfels Airport recorded .33 inches of rain on Monday and another weather station in the middle of the city recorded 1.33 inches of rain. Average rainfall for New Braunfels is 34 inches a year. Between Sept. I and the end of the year, average rainfall runs about 12 inches. So far, the city has received 14.41 inches of rain this year. Tuesday’s morning rains caused minor vehicle accidents. The Texas Department of Transportation had barricades up along Farm-to-Market Road 1863 near Bulverde, where it crosses Cibolo Creek and at FM 1863 and U.S. 281. Comal County Engineer Ibm Homseth said Obst Road in Bulverde was closed Tuesday because of high water in Cibolo See RAIN/3A Last chance to give input on districts By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A yearlong effort taken once each decade to redraw Comal County’s voting lines soon could be winding to a close. Today is the last day to give public input on Comal County’s proposed redistricting plan. The county’s redistricting advisory committee will meet at 6 p.m. today in the Comal County Courthouse Annex to present the county plan and hear any public comments on it. At the end of the meeting, the committee will vote    on whether to present the plan    — unchanged from a presentation in July missioners. What’s Up:- ■ WHAT: Meeting to hear public comment on proposed county redistricting plan ■ WHEN: 6 p.m. today ■ WHERE: Commissioners’ Courtroom, third floor, Comal County Courthouse Annex, 150 N. Seguin Ave. for approval by com- Thursday morning, county commissioners will vote in commissioners’ court on whether to accept the plan. The plan evenly distributes the population growth in Comal County since 1990 — a 50 percent increase to more than 79,000 — among the four commissioners. “Theres been some give and take,” said County Clerk Joy Streater about the new district fines. Pct. 3 Commissioner Cristina Zamora gained area and population from all three of See DISTRICTS/3A Congressman says recession not beginning By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY - Congressman Lamar Smith is a dues-paying, card-carrying member of the Republican Men’s Club of Comal County. Smith was among friends Tuesday night at the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative auditorium. “I’m not often with friends who make me as comfortable as you all. Its nice to be with all of you and know we’re all working for the same cause,” he told a group of about 75 members and guests. . Smith spoke for a moment of a congressman from California whose office in Washington is two doors down from his and who is in quite a jam now, and then gave a progress report on the new president and his agenda for the people back home. He began with a little “factual background” on the federal budget and surplus, necessitated, he said, because “the national media puts everything in as bad a fight as possible.” ‘The economy has slowed down,” the congressman said. “A $200 billion surplus will be down to $160 billion this year.” Even still, he said, the surplus over the next IO years would top $3 trillion. “We’re not at the beginning of a recession, and we’re not at the point of hav ing to cut back on Social Security like we’ve been accused of,” Smith said. He was asked during the question-and-answer period about media reports that quote Democrats saying that the budget surplus is gone and the government would have to dip into the Social Security Trust Fund to make ends meet. “That’s untrue,” Smith said flatly. ‘What’s worse, they know it’s untrue. It’s so ironic that they would accuse us of that. It’s what they’ve done for decades. We’re the ones who have put Social Security in a locked box. Our slogan should be, ‘We saved Social Security.’ We’re the ones who’ve done that.” See SMITH/3A ‘Monstrosity’ towering over historic neighborhood By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer Residents on Zink Street didn’t want it. A New Braunfels city councilwoman opposed it. But nothing stopped the tower on Zink Street, which already is towering over the neighborhood. Councilwoman Juliet Wat son said she was determined to protect other neighborhoods from the “monstrosity.” “There’s nothing we can do about the one that’s up,” she said. “But we dic^ pass a 90-day moratorium on new ceU towers to keep it from happening in other neighborhoods.”See TOWER/3AInside Abby................................5A Classifieds.......................6-8B Comics..............................2B Crossword........................5A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies.................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports...........................7-8A Today.................................2A Key Code 76 IT HHH Council puts golf plans on back burner By Amy Clarkson Staff Writer This summer, Manager Ward Watson created a plan to radically change the way the Landa Park Golf Course operates. He spent months pouring over golf journals to come up with a proposal to make more money for the course. He endured angry phone caUs from long-time golfers who opposed increasing course and cart fees. And after Monday night’s council meeting, Watson was left only with the news that he’ll have to cut expenses even further. The council delayed a second reading of the ordinance to increase daily fees and remove the course annual pass fees. Tm disappointed,” Watson said. “But well just have to operate within the money allocated. We’ve closed the grill; we’ve laid people off.” Watson proposed increasing the fees from their current level earlier this year because the course’s revenues don’t keep up with escalating costs. The course’s popularity, combined with low fees, makes it difficult to maintain greens and fairways, Watson said earlier this year.See GOLF/5A CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith visits with members of the Comal County Republican Men’s Club Tuesday in the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative auditorium before addressing the club. ;