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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 1, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas 4A □ Herald-Zeitung □ Sunday, December 1,1996 — — Opinion ■ To talk with Interim Managing Editor Jim Denery about the Opinion page, call 625-9144, Ext. 221. Herald-Zeitung Opinion Ovtlino contact ■To submit letters and guest columns electronically by way of online services or Internet, or to simply contact staff members, the managing editor's address is QUOTABLE “Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better, whereas enslavement is a certainty of the norse.” Albert Camus French philosopher, author, 1960Thanks for the support; we’ll keep at it EDITORIAL Get that registration done EAA requires entities that pump more than 25,000 gallons a day to seek permits The Edwards Aquifer Act has a deadline coming up that is extremely important to individuals or businesses that pump mole than 25,000 gallons of water a day out of the Edwards Aquifer. Any person or organization operating such a well must register that well by Dec. 20 or lose the right to pump water. The registration is actually a request for a permit to continue pumping. If you do not file this application, your well could be shut down. That’s a serious consequence for missing a deadline. Whether you agree with the Edwards Aquifer Act or the Edwards Aquifer Authority is not the issue. The deadline and the ramifications of missing that deadline are the only important factors to consider. Three separate applications are available, for industrial, municipal and agricultural wells. The applications are color coded, so you cannot use photocopies of the applications. The filing fee is $25. With the application, the applicant must provide evidence of the historic use of the well or wells from June I, 1972, to June. I, 1993. In an interview with representatives of the EAA last week, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung learned that the only location where the applications were available in Comal County was at the courthouse. The EAA, at our request, agreed to provide this newspaper with the applications. So if you need an application, copies are available at the courthouse or here at the offices of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung at 707 Landa St. If you want assistance in filling out the application or have other questions about the permit application process, you may call the EAA for an appointment at 1-800-292-1047. This deadline is final. There is no appeal mechanism for missing the deadline. (Today's editorial was written by Publisher and Editor Doug Toney.) Write us... The New Braunfels Hemld-ZeUung welcomes letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 250 words. We publish only original mail addressed to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung bearing the writer's signature. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included. Please cite the page number and date of any article that is mentioned. Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the previous 30 days. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor clo the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1328 Fax: (210)625-1224 New Braunfels Herald -Zeitung Editor and Publisher, Ext. 301........................................Doug    Toney Director of Advertising, Ext. 308........................Debbie    Banta-Scott Retail Advertising Manager, Ext. 209............................Jack    Osteen Classified Advertising Manager, Ext. 214...............Karen Reininger Business Manager, Ext. 202........................................Mary    Lee Hall Circulation Director, Ext. 228...................................Carol Ann Avery Pressroom Foreman, Ext. 205.........................................Billy    Parnell Interim Managing Editor, Ext. 221....................................Jim    Denery Published on Sunday mornings and weekday mornings Tuesday through Fnday by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (USPS 377-880) 707 Lamb St, or P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Comal County, Tx. 78131-1328. Periodical postage paid by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung in New Braunfels, Texas. Carrier delivered in Comal and Guadalupe counties: three months, $20.50; six months, $37; one year, $66. Senior Citua! Discounts by carrier delivery only: six months, $33; one year, $62. Mail delivery outside Comal County in Texas: three months, $30.30; six months, $55; one year, $103.50. Mail outside Texas: six months, $78; one year, $118.25. Subscribers who have not received a newspaper by 5:30 p m. Tuesday through Fnday or by 7:30 a.m. on Sunday may call (210) 625-9144 or by 7 p.m. weekdays or by 11 a m. on Sunday. Postmaster: Send address changes to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, P.O. Drawer 311328, New Braunfels, Tx. 78131 -1328. On this Thanksgiving weekend, it seemed appropriate to thank those of you that have taken the time to comment on the changes you’ve seen in the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. A community newspaper has an important role and we take it very seriously. We must provide a venue for community discourse — a place where all sides of an issue can be heard. We provided that during the height of the New Braunfels Independent School District school board debate when we published pages of letters to the editor and encouraged leaders within the debate to write guest columns explaining their stands and actions. We also must report as vigilantly as possible on local government and issues that affect our day-to-day lives. Our job should be more than just reporting the facts. A good newspaper strives to report the truth. Often, and this is an important point for both journalists and readers to understand, a completely factual report does not always mean the account is the whole truth. A newspaper’s task is to go to the decisionmakers and information gatekeepers and seek out information for the citizens of our communities. Often, some of those leaders or information gatekeepers believe it would not be in their best interests for that information to be revealed. Though well-intentioned in their own minds, they want to release only some of the facts —just the facts that reflect positively on themselves or their department or agency. We have some excellent elected officials and appointed administrators in our county and in New Braunfels. That’s not the point. What should be understood is that this newspaper’s job is to question, to obtain as much information and fact to assure that our accounts to the puf>-lic are as truthful as they can be. This newspaper probably will be asking more questions and seeking more information than it has in the past. That’s intentional. It’s also essential if we are to do our job better. Often, public officials hide behind the Open Meetings Law to debate public policy. That’s wrong. Suspicion is the companion of secrecy. A newspaper has no more rights than any ordinary citizen to force a government agency or ruling board or commission to work in an open and honest manner. There are no special laws granting newspapers special powers of inquiry. Our power, as with any citizen, comes from persistence, tenacity and sense of purpose. It also comes from the power inherent with the potential of outcry from our readers. A demanding, vigilant public is the best way to ensure an efficient and honest government. Most government officials, especially on a local level, are well-intentioned. If you think otherwise, you’re wrong. Democracy can be a disorderly method of governing. Often, in an effort to act quickly or without dissension, elected officials and bureau- Doug Toney Editor/ Publisher crats take short cuts that circumvent the public’s right to know. When members of a city council or school board debate and form public policy behind closed doors, it is a serious problem. We, the public, have a right to know not just what their policy decisions are, but how they arrived at those decisions. If public officials complain that this obligation to Democracy is uncomfortable or embarrassing, then they should do the right thing and resign. In most situations, the Texas Open Meetings Law does not insist that the boards or commissions meet in private. The law only allows them to meet in private when they so choose. Many public officials would like us to believe that they don’t have a choice, but that’s just not the case. In the months ahead, we will be working harder than ever to meet our obligations to our readers. We will strive to be fair, diligent and watchful. But all of you, our readers, are our best eyes and ears. Many, if not most of our inquiries are the result of citizens who have called about concerns they have. We need and encourage those kind of calls from you. It’s important that the reporters, editors and public officials all realize that the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung works for the readers and citizens of * Comal County, not the government agencies and officials of whom we report. That’s an important distinction to make, and maintain. (Doug Toney is the editor and publisher of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung.) Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Sunday, Dec. 1, the 336th day of 1996. There are 30 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight In History: On Dec. 1,1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, defied the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white man aboard a Montgomery, Ala., titv bus. Mrs. Parks was arrested, sparking a yearlong boycott of the buses by blacks On this date: In 1824, the presidential election was turned over to the House of Representatives when a deadlock developed between John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford and Henry Clay. (Adams ended up the winner.) In 1913, the first drive-in automobile service station opened in Pittsburgh. In 1969, representatives of 12 countries, including the United States, signed a treaty in Washington setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free from military activity. In 1965, an airlift of refugees from Cuba to the United States began in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland. In 1909, the U.S. government held its first draft lottery since World War ll. In 1973, David Ben-Gurion, Israel s first prime minister, died in Tel Aviv at age 87 Ten years ago: President Ronald Reagan said he would welcome the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Iran-Contra affair, if such a move were recommended by the Justice Department Five years ago: Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly for independence from the Soviet Union. Kidnappers in Lebanon pledged to release American hostage Joseph Cicippio within 48 hours. The space shuttle Atlantis safely returned from a shortened military mission. One year ago: Tens of thousands of people in Dublin, Ireland, warmly welcomed President Clinton to his ancestral homeland. The NATO alliance chose Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana to be its new secretary general. Today’s Birthdays: Former CIA director Stanfield Turner is 73. Actor David Doyle is 71 Singer Billy Paul is 62. Actor-comedian director Woody Allen is 61. Singer Lou Rawls is 61 Golfer Lee Trevino is 57. Singer Dianne Lennon (The Lennon . Sisters) is 57. Comedian-actor Richard Pryor is 56. Rock musician John Dens more (The Doors) is 52. Actress-singer Bette Midler is 51. Actor Treat Williams is 45. Actress Charlene Tilton is 38. Actress-model Carol Alt is 36. Thought for Today: “No man knows his true character until he has run out of gas, purchased something on the installment plan and raised an adolescent." — Marceline Cox, American writer. toienostefNM ffirttaefeigflnd Some of us may need reminders about why we should be thankful Thanksgiving is relative. The air in New Braunfels was thick with complaints this week — about the traffic, about working on holidays, about spending time with in-laws, about flu symptoms. On the other hand, AIDS activist Robert Konkel spoke before the City Council on Monday — with thanks. “We have been met wholeheartedly and supported with open arms by the community,” he said. “I really love everyone for what they’ve done for me. • The first time he spoke before City Council several months ago, he opened with profound gratitude to his father. My grandmother is 96 years old, nearly blind and deaf, confined to her bed in a retirement home, with her children and grandchildren living thousands of miles away. She keeps up with current events. She keeps abreast of the accomplishments, exploits — and even the pets — of her great-grandchildren. She enjoys a wry joke about political figures, her health or just about anything. My step-mom, Maria, was bom in Germany. She, her mother and her brother fled East Germany to escape w IM communism during the 1950s. They lived in the attic of a Bavarian house for two years during her teen-age years. Protestant children pelted her and her brother W •€ with rocks because they were Catholics and they were refugees. Her life got harder before it got easier. In America, expecting her fifth child, she left an abusive marriage. She supported her mother and five children, working two full-time jobs to climb out of welfare. Later she lost one of her sons to a motorcycle accident caused by a drunken 15-year-old illegally (hiving a pickup. Extended family members, friends and neighbors call on Maria constantly — she is the most positive, upbeat person they know. She sees a gift in every situation. She’s always ready with a joke, a Susan Flynt England Herald-Zeitung Columnist small present or a hug to help someone through a tough situation or a • blue mood. In “AIDS: The Ultimate Challenge,” by Elisabeth Kiibler-Ross, the author describes AIDS patients at a California workshop: “They were all between 21 and 39 years of age, * all of them were sick, many of them were dying. Some were so weak they had to lie on the floor during the whole session. I have never in my life seen so much genuine caring and sharing, loving and holding, as I saw during that workshop.” There is actually a book called -“Running with the Angels: The Gifts of AIDS,” by Bobbie Stacey. “In my group w*e unflinchingly face the agony of AIDS," says an AIDS patient. “We walk in each oth er’s shoes, know each other’s pain. And, as Bobbie Stacey pointed out, we even laugh together. As AIDS has become part of our lives, we exchange love, warmth, friendship, loyalty and courage. This is a family AIDS has redefined the meaning of ‘family’ for me.” The complaints this week came from people who have jobs, traditional families and general good health. U.S. Senate Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, 283 Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C., 20510, Phone: 202-224-5922. FAX: 202-224-0776. Local Office: 8023 Vantage Drive, Suite 460, San Antonio, TX, 78230, Phone: 210- 340-2885. Sen. Phil Gramm, 370 Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. Phone: 202-224-2034, FAX: 202- 228-2856. Local Office: 404 E. Ramsey, Suite 200, San Antonio, TX, 78216, Phone: 210-366-9494, FAX: 210-366-2016. ;