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View Sample Pages : New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, December 03, 1999

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 3, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas A N EW    els S 0 - W E S T MIC R 0 P U BI“ 26 27 E YPN I) FLL DR FL PRSC), TX 7 990 3Herald-Zeitung^ay..a  ..................=.    .............Big lil.L     va...........—■-------  ---Vol. 149, No. ll 24 pages in 2 sections December 3, 1999    P    RI    DAY    Serving    Comal    County    since    1852    50    cents Wassail and Market Days top holiday weekend By Erin MAGRUDER Staff Writer Residents get a chance to learn “wassail” the fuss is about tonight as they toast the season in downtown New Braunfels at the seventh annual Wassailfest. More than 50 merchants will prepare versions of the drink enjoyed by Robin Hood and his Merry Men centuries ago. The event is from 6 to 9:30 p.m. and will include live musical performances, door prizes, horse-and-buggy rides and special holiday treats. Residents and tourists can vote for their favorite wassail in the People’s Choice Awards, which will be given to the top three “was-sailmeisters.” Downtown Gruene also will be aglow with holiday cheer this weekend at its Special Christmas Market Days, which runs from IO a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. About IOO vendors selling holiday gift items will line the streets as the Community Band plays Christmas favorites. The town lighting ceremony will be at 6 p.m. Saturday and will feature a visit from Cowboy Kringle. What’s Up WHAT: Candlelight Tour WHEN: 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday WHERE: Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture, 1370 Church Hill Drive; Sophienburg Museum, 401 W. Coll St.; Conservation Plaza, Churchill Drive ADMISSION: $3 a person; guests under 18 admitted free with a parent Traditional trimmings dress up museum for tour By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer Lights, action, wassail! Weekend of holiday cheer starts with Brauntex debut By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer A local nonprofit plans to close on a deal to buy the historic Brauntex Theater by Dec. IO. To celebrate and raise community awareness, the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre Association, Inc. plans to light up the theater’s sign — darkened for more than a year now — for tonight’s Wassailfest. The Brauntex will join several stores downtown in serving wassail, a holiday drink whose name means “to your health.” Thursday night, a front room in the theater, 209 W. San Antonio Street, was freshly painted for the occasion, and the theater’s lights were tested. “We’re hoping to light that end of the street and get some attention,” association president C.B. “Mac” McCoy said. The marquee worked just fine, but the vertical sign still needed some work. “We’ll have to work on that (today),” McCoy said. The group received permission from the theater’s owner, David Roberts, to set up a Wassail booth, even though the deal won’t close until Dec. IO, McCoy said. “That is going to be a real prime spot to visit,” Main Street director Lynn Fountain said. “They’re going to have the barbershop quartet and his- See BRAUNTEX/5A AMANDA BECK/Herald-Zeitung C.B. “Mac” McCoy, president of the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre Association, helps test the lights Thursday on Brauntex Theater’s sign. The vertical sign didn’t light up for the test but hopefully will by tonight’s Wassailfest, he said. WAI U/Herald-Zeitung Heritage Society of New Braunfels member Debbie De La Rosa prepares the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture on Thursday for Saturday’s Candlelight Tour. Instead of heading out to the corner store for holiday decorations, families in the 1800s relied on nature for seasonal cheer — a look that a local museum is imitating this year. Volunteers dressed up the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture, 1370 Church Hill Drive, on Thursday with pine boughs and berries, preparing it for Saturday’s Candlelight Tour. “The theme is an early Texas Christ-See MUSEUMS/5A Flood dam study clears crucial step By Erin Magruder Staff Writer With the terrain bone-dry and temperatures hovering in the 80s, it might be hard to imagine that little more than one year ago, much of the greater New Braunfels area was headed down the Guadalupe River. “Central Texas is one of the four most flood-prone areas in the United States,” Comal County flood control committee chairman Nathan Rhein-lander said Thursday. “We appear to be in the bull’s eye for this type of event.” Rheinlander updated Comal County Commissioners Thursday about the committee’s study into flood control projects. The county hired the firm of Freese and Nichols to conduct a feasibility study, which ultimately will determine the cost/benefit ratio of building flood control dams. FNI recently completed the hydrologic and hydraulic models for the study to determine downstream effects of floods in the county. The computer models are the first big blocks of data from the study and can show how a particular amount of rainfall in a RHEINLANDER specified amount of time will flow across the terrain. The feasibility study is required in order to receive federal funding for flood control projects, Rheinlander said. Another requirement is that the dams will be cost-effective. The cost of building a dam must be less than or equal to the amount of damages it would prevent in one flood. During the 1998 flood, four structures on Dry Comal Creek and the Bleiders Creek Dam saved homeowners millions of dollars in property losses and damages, county engineer Tom Homseth said. The dams were built between 1957 and 1981 at a total cost of $4.4 million dollars, most of which was federally funded. Bleiders Creek Dam cost $500,000 to build and saved an estimated $10 million in damages in the 1998 flood, Rheinlander said. The dams also have prevented floods by filling to capacity several times since their construction, he said. “And those dams hold back a significant amount of water,” Rheinlander said. The feasibility study is scheduled for completion in June 2000, he said. FNI probably will identify at least five sites for flood control dams. The study not only will be a jumping off point to receive federal dollars for the dams, but also a way to obtain state funding or pass a bond issue if necessary, Rheinlander said. Because of limited federal funding available for watershed projects — $4 million for Texas in this past fiscal year — the county might have to turn to the taxpayers to pay for part or most of the costs. “We want to exhaust every other possibility before we go to the taxpayers,” Rheinlander said. A preliminary estimate for the five additional flood control dins is $20 to $30 million, County Judge Danny Scheel said. The committee should have a better idea about federal and state funding by early 2001, at which point the county could consider a bond issue, Rheinlander said.NBU prepares for Y2K; utilities have contingency plans By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer A big part of New Braunfels Utilities’ staff will be on call or working New Year’s Eve, ready to handle potential problems. But chances are, threatening weather is a more likely threat than any computer glitch, NBU general manager Paula DiFonzo said. Either way, however, NBU and other local telephone and electricity officials said they were ready. “We’ve planned for the worst and hope for the best,” NBU spokeswoman Gretchen Reuwer said. NBU started evaluating potential prob-‘7/ s not just preparation for one day but information we can use for a number ofsituations” Paula DiFonzo New Braunfels Utilities general manager lems in August 1997 and has been Y2K compliant since Sept. 29, NBU officials said. Lower Colorado River Authority, which provides electricity for NBU, also is compliant, officials report. NBU upgraded utility billing and financial system software and has developed a comprehensive contingency plan, outlining specific steps to take in case of an unexpected outage. “It’s not just preparation for one day,” DiFonzo said, “but information we can use for a number of situations.” The entire staff is required to stay in town for the holiday and many will be called in to work. The electricity, water, wastewater, technology and business service managers will report to the surface water treatment plant, 2356 Gruene Street, by IO p.m. Dec. 31. “That’s where our dispatch tower is locat ed,” Reuwer said. Several crews also will be on site, and customer service personnel will take six-hour shifts starting at 9 a.m. to answer any customer concerns. That night, concerned residents can call 625-8564, and NBU also has launched a Y2K hotline: 628-8Y2K. NBU has bought generators for backup electricity, but water and wastewater systems can be operated manually if the power goes out, Reuwer said. NBU’s technology manager, Al Kauf-mann, said he believed NBU was Y2KSee Y2K/5A Inside Archives Anonymous 7A Classifieds.....................5-1    OB Comics...............................8A Crossword..........................7A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies................................7A Obituaries...........................3A Sports..............................1-4B Today.................................2A Television..........................8A Key code 76 ;