New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 4, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2003
SPORTS KICKING BACK
Kyle Langhorst and Steven Stockwell will play a key role in Friday's playoff match with Alamo Heights. Pag« SA
FORUM HOW BAD?
The Bush economic policies are so bad Al Sharpton hasn't found a job in 48 years, Argus Hamilton pens. Page
Vol. 153, No. 17 12 pages, 2 sections
.cvv Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 44B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A APPLAUSE 4B SPORTS 5-6A TV GRIDS 3B
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I Details .... 1B
It /! s
Council has eye on river
Santa rounding up visitors for build
Architects present three designs for civic center facility
New Braunfels landscaper Frank Bass talks Tuesday evening about how his Santa's Ranch drive-through Christmas light show came to be as he
Photos by DAVID MQRAM/Heratd-Zeitung
and his family wait for nightfall and the arrival of carloads of guests. Above, lights twinkle on the exhibits on display at Santa's Ranch.
Christmas-light park wants to become a family tradition
For information, call 830-743-1293
located at 9561 1-35 N .. New Braunfels
Open 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday through
Thursday and 6 to ll p.m.
Friday through Saturday
$12 per car per visit $30 for a season pass
Vehicles taller than 8 feet not allowed.
By Dylan JMwz
Driving through a scenic winter wonderland can be a fun family holiday tradition.
And Frank Bass, owner of Santa’s Ranch off Interstate 35 between New Braunfels and San Marcos, wants to give families a new Christmas experience.
Countless gleaming lights are visible from 1-35, wrapped around trees and highlighting animated displays.
But most of the scenes at Santa's Ranch are hidden by the park's many oakTrees.
Bass bought IO acres of raw land, spent five years plan
ning and invested tens of thousands of dollars to create the wonderland.
Bass, a local landscaper, had to clear six acres of thick vegetation.
“First thing we had to do was make it look like a park,” Bass said.
While planning the park, he consulted his wife and even received help from his 2-year-old daughter Bailey.
The construction took lo months of trial and error.
Bass said many visitors are surprised when they enter the 0.8 mile drive-through. After only the first turn, the park opens up and several of the
animations become visible.
Christmas music flows into the car.
Along the 15-minute ride, Santa appears fishing, bicycling and even tubing on a river. Bass designed and built most of the displays.
He says he has a few hundred characters he hasn’t pulled out yet.
“We’re not going to stop here,” Bass said. “We’re going to add to it every year.”
Still, he doesn't like to look at his investment as a business. It’s more like an overgrown hobby, he said.
“I’ve just always enjoyed the atmosphere of these
things,” Bass, who visited his first light park in his 20s, said. “When they come out of here, everybody's smiling.”
About 600 extension cords support the almost 1,000,000 lights.
“I’ve cleaned out Home Depot about three times," Bass said.
Since Nov. 21, a few hundred cars have visited the ranch — which is in its first year of operation. He expects business to pick up as Christmas approaches.
“It’ll take a few years to take off,” Bass said, “but we want it to become a tradition for families.
By Scott Mahon
Architects presented three designs for a civic center to City Council Wednesday, including plans for a $14 million facility on Comal River.
The least expensive design calls for renovating the existing civic center. A third plan calls for building a new 50,000-square-foot facility on S. Casten Street, which would require demolishing city hall.
However, Ken Rehler with Rehler, Vaughn and Koone Inc, said expanding the existing civic center would hinder future needs for expansion, it would also require the construction of a foul-story parking garage.
On the other hand, Rehler said, building a new 50,000-square-foot civic center on S. Casten Avenue would allow the facility to be expanded in the future to 83,000 square feet.
Plus, more parking space would be available.
“City HaU would have to moved, maybe to the old civic center, and it would cost an additional $1 million to renovate the existing civic center to accommodate
See CINTER. Page 3A
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On the prowl
Don't into the "Go Cougars'banner Wave it and show your Cougar pride at Friday's playoff football game.
Tracking the news
Krause to run for second term in tax office
LAST WI KNEW: Filing period for the 2004 elections opened Wednesday.
LATEST: Charles Stephens filed his candidacy for Judge, County Court-at-Law 2; Jack Dawson filed for re-election as Precinct 1 Commissioner; and Sherman Krause filed for reelection as Tax Assessor/Collector.
NEXT: The filing period runs through Jan. 2.
LAST WE KNEW: Jason Paul Wright, also known as Daniel Reich, was convicted in November on aggravated assault and kidnapping charges in connection with a March incident at Canyon Lake.
LATEST: His co-defendant, Erie Behrens, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by 207th Judicial District Judge Jack Robison on burglary, assault and credit card abuse charges.
NEXT: TWO codefendants in the case still face criminal charges.
From Staff Reports
Comal County Tax Assessor/Collector Sherman Krause filed Wednesday for re-election to a second term.
He said he looks forward to continuing to serve.
“Serving Comal County has been very rewarding for me, and I would like to continue,” Krause said in a campaign statement.
During his tenure, the tax office has eliminated three positions — reducing costs — and improved customer service.
“The most important accomplishment in the last three years has been putting employees in a position which allows them to do their jobs,” Krause said.
The gains have been realized, Krause said, wmmmmmmmmmmmm
through organizing workloads and schedules, clearly defining duties, providing necessary resources — and the dedicated employees and management team at the tax office.
“We now accept credit cards for payment of any fees or taxes we collect, we changed our office hours to tt a.m. to 5 p.m. to fit the regular work schedule, and we have created an updated Web page to make information more accessible,’’ Krause said. During his term, Krause made arrangements with H-E-B and Bluebonnet Motors that save taxpayers and his staff time and travel in taking care of vehicle registrations. “Our partnership with H-E-B allows Comal
, Page 3A
■ The filing period for tile 2004 election is Dec 2 to Jan 2.
■ The primary election will be conducted March 3. The general election will be Nov 3
• Sherman Krause is in his first term as the Comal County tax assessor/collector.