New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 5, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas
THURSDAYComal County teams set for tourneys. See Page 8.
Donations ao far— $a6S|Ooo
To contribute to the United Way, call 620*7760
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12 pages in one section ■ Thursday, December 5,1996
Serving Comal County and surrounding areas for more than 144 years ■ Home of Martin S. Perez
Vol 144, No 278
Birthday wishas from tho Horald-Zoitung!
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends birthday wishes to: Jennifer Jaksik, Mark Edgar (43 years old) and Martin S. Perez.
To have a birthday or anniversary listed here, coli 625-9144.
(Polan mtMurMl In parts per cubic meter of air. Information provided by Dr. Frank Hampel.)
Comal River —194 cubic feet per second, down 3 from Tuesday.
Edwards Aquifer Panther Canyon Well — 623.36 feet above sea level, down .01 from Tuesday.
Canyon Oam discharge —189 cfs Canyon Lake inflow — 207 cfs Canyon Lake level — 906.87 feet above sea level. (Below conservation pool.)
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NSU reports pumping 5.34 million gallons of surface water Wednesday, and no well water was used.
By DENISE DZIUK
A clerk in the County Attorney’s Office, who was given a pink slip for supporting a losing candidate in the recent county attorney race, plans to tile a lawsuit in federal court on the grounds that firing her violated her civil rights.
Yolanda D’Antuonok, a clerk and docket coordinator in the County Attorney’s Office, helped Stephanie Smith-Burris campaign for county attorney. Bill Reimer, who is the current district attorney, defeated Smith-Burris in the primary elections by a narrow margin. Smith-Burris is an assistant county attorney.
After Reimer’s election in November, he notified both women they were being fired, effective Jan. I.
During a Commissioners Court workshop on Nov. 13, D’Antuono’s husband. John D’Antuono, asked Reimer
whether the termination w as political, and Reimer responded “Yes sir.”
In an interview' Tuesday. Reimer said the government code allows him to make personnel changes to have “people you feel confident with.” “Due to past contacts, we were redefining the positions ... and we felt we w ere better off changing the personnel in those jobs,” Reimer said . Bill Reimer D’Antuono’s attorney. Sam Katz,
said his client's termination w as a \ aviation of her civil rights I Ie said that even if the government code were used as a rationale, “it is still a v iolation of her rights.”
Turn to Reimer. Page 2
Discovery of infected bat prompts rabies warning
By DAVID DEKUNDER
The Texas Department of Health issued a rabies warning Wednesday after it confirmed that a dead bat found at a Bulverde home two weeks ago had rabies.
Troy Hiller, an animal disease control specialist for the TDH office in Uvalde, said the bat was found Nov. 23.
Hiller said the person who found the bat picked it up with a paper
towel and put it in a plastic bag. He took the bat to the Bulverde Bexar Vet Clinic to be submitted for testing. The tests confirmed the bat had rabies.
Hiller said the resident believed his dog might have picked up the bat in the yard and brought it in.
“The dog had its rabies vaccination earlier this year,” Hiller said. “The standard policy, under state law, is to give the dog its booster immediately and isolate it from any Turn to Rabies, Page 2
Fired Comal clerk plans suit
ChMr Fund donations might by newspaper
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeftung’s Cheer Fund kicked off lh 15*i campelgn to provide food for local needy families on Nov. 17.
The fund last year provided Christmas food and gifts to 200 families in New Braunfels and Comal County.
B Today’s total — $1,647.48
Bk. Nicholas to malt# visits to city’s kids
The annual children’s visitation with St. Nicholas, the German Santa Claus, will take place at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. today at the Sophienburg Museum at 401 W. Coll St. in New Braunfels.
For more information, call 629-1572.
Cookbooks on sal# to fund scholarships
Cookbooks to benefit the Joe Hales Memorial Scholarship Fund are now on sale for $6.50 apiece at Carl Schurz Elementary School.
For more information, cal! Linda Bingham at the New Braunfels Independent School District.
Wsach for a Star needs toys, cash
Reach for a Star is looking for donations of toys, cash and time to help give to local children. We will be wrapping on Dec.
21, starting at 10 a m., and Dec.
22, beginning at noon, at Red McCombs Universal Motors.
For more information, call 629-9387 or 608-9406.
NswComors Club plans holiday party
The Newcomers Club is having its Christmas party on Dec. 6 at the Senior Citizens Center of Comal County. Hors d’oeuvres will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. A dance,
\ featuring the Seven
Dutchmen band, will last until 10:30 p.m. Bring your own bottle.
Family Outreach seminars continuo
Family Outreach of Comal County continues to have its Tor Kids’ Sake” seminars. They will run twice a month for the next two months.
Political dismissal by Reimer violated free speech rights, lawyer says
Appellate court hears arguments on aquifer use
By ABE LEVY
AUSTIN — The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Wednesday from the Sierra C lub and aquifer pumpers concerning an injunction on aquifer withdrawals that the federal court blocked this past summer
The Sierra Club filed the original lawsuit in June and then sought injunctive relief in July to reduce pumping of the aquifer under the Endangered Species Act.
Senior U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton III issued the injunction on Aug. 23 and set Oct I as the beginning date for compliance. San Antonio appealed the order to the appellate court in New Orleans shortly after that. That court issued a stay on the injunction on Sept. IO.
San Antonio law yers argued that the injunction is valid because the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution calls the Endangered Species Act into question.
That clause mandates that federal laws, like the Endangered Species Act, can only involve interstate activity and are not relevant to South Texas’ impact on Comal and San Marcos springs.
Sierra Club law yers argued that the aquifer affects the South Texas economy, which in turn involves other states.
“The (U.S.) Supreme Court has made things difficult with the commerce clause," Sierra Club lawyer
‘The (U.S.) Supreme Court has made things difficult with the commerce clause. But everyone knows ifs the lifeblood of the San Antonio economy.’
Renea Hicks CHjh lawyer
Renea Hicks said. “But everyone knows it's the lifeblood of the San Antonio economy."
Hicks said the Sierra Club's next step is to wait for a ruling that could be issued in about tw o months.
San Antonio lawyers argued that the state already has the Edwards Aquifer Authority to regulate the aquifer.
“I think ii showed there was a substantial sensitivity to the issues we were dealing with but you can never predict,” said John Mac! cod. a W ashington lawyer whom San Antonio lured for expertise on the Endangered Species Aet.
City of San Antonio lawyer Russ Johnson said the judges questions were touched on issues he has been raising in aquifer court battles.
“I think the judges asked good questions. Obviously, you can’t read uxt much into an oral argument We bite our nails while the court w rites an opinion on our appeal .”
School sees disease harmful to women carrying babies
County health department officials said slight outbreaks of fifth disease are normal this time of year.
lions with the pregnancy. She -.aid women exposed to the disease should talk with their doctors.
McWilliams said about 15 cases have been reported at Memorial Primary in the past couple of w eeks (Miler schools have not reported any cases to the public health department, McWilliams said.
“Typically we see a few cases here and there, especially at this time of year,” McWilliams said "I hen a school will have a slight breakout of it."
McWilliams said the hest prevention was good hygiene. She said frequent handwashing w ith soap and water would reduce the chances of catching the illness
“With any illness that helps,” McWilliams said. “It cuts down the transmission rates.”
By DENISE DZIUK
Broken line, squirrel cause power outages
By ABE LEVY
A power line breakage Wednesday evening caused a circuit to shut down in Sattler and left about 1,200 people without power until early this morning, officials from the Pede. nales Electric Cooperative said.
Bob DiFonzo, district manager for the electric company, said the line broke at a midspan splice at about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday. He said workers were able to fix the line by about 8:20 p.m., but the circuit was unable to handle the power after they restored that line.
‘(Th* squirrels) are active and sometimes in the wrong place at the wrong time.’
— Roger Biggers NBU assistant general manager
The power was finally restored by about 1:15 a.m. today and affected an area from Canyon City, down EM 306 to just outside New Braunfels at Hunter Road.
A squirrel was to blame for a power outage in an area east of Interstate 35
earlier Wednesday, New Braunfels Utilities officials said An NBU crew restored power about VO minutes later.
The squirrel got into the Morningside Drive circuit of the Sheriff Posse Substation, which caused a power outage for residential customers and businesses in the Palace Heights area, including Target on Walnut Avenue.
NBU officials said about 3(H) customers were affected.
“(The squirrels) are active and sometimes in the w rong place at the wrong time,” said Roger Biggers, NBU’s assistant general manager for technical operations.
More than a dozen children at Memorial Primary have contracted fifth disease, which can cause complications for pregnant women w ho contract the disease.
But a county health department official said slight outbreaks like this are normal for this time of year and pregnant women should not panic.
Registered Nurse Shcl McWilliams, with the Comal County Public I lealth Department, said fifth disease was “a very minor viral illness that primarily affects children."
A child suffering from fifth disease, which is an airborne disease, typically is not very sick, McWilliams said. She said the indicator for the disease is a bright red rash on the cheeks. The rash might only last a couple of days, hut will return when the child gets warm.
“It looks like someone slapped the .child with their palm on both cheeks, and they’re bright red,” McWilliams said. ‘That's the only disease where we see a rash like that.”
McWilliams said pregnant women should take precautions, but not panic. Pregnant women exposed to the fifth disease could experience complies-Clinton serves Chinese waffles. See Opinion, Page 4.