New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 6, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
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Vol. ISO No. 21 16 pages in 2 sections December 6, 2000
Serving Comal County since 1852
Canyon Lake fire destroys home’s attic
Darren Brinkkoeter, assistant Comal County Fire Marshal, left, and a Canyon Lake fireman search for the source of a fire north of Canyon Lake Tuesday.
By Ron Maloney
CANYON LAKE — A fire extensively damaged a home here Tuesday afternoon — days after its new owner moved in.
Canyon Lake Fire/EMS Chief Shawn Wherry said firefighters were called to the home of Elisabeth S. Thum in the 1600 block of Rhinestone off Cranes Mill Road, north of Canyon Lake, at 2:23 p.m.
Pedernales Electric Cooperative employees who were working in the area reported the fire, Wherry said. Firefighters arrived to find smoke streaming from the roof vents of the home.
Wherry said Engine 52 firefighters used a piercing hose nozzle to break their way into the roof of the home — and then cut a larger hole in the roof to ventilate the house and help them get inside the attic to fight the fire.
‘The hole allowed the fire to go up and out,” Wherry said. “That saved the downstairs and the garage.”
Inside, firefighters bundled Thum’s property as best they could in the center of rooms and covered it with heavy salvage tarps to protect it from smoke and water, Wherry said. Then they broke their way into the attic through the wood plank ceilings.
“It took a lot of manpower to pull the ceiling down,” Wherry said. Fire damage was confined to the attic and
the living room area. Smoke and water damage was more widespread, but confined to the main areas of the home, Wherry said.
Comal County Assistant Fire Marshal Darren Brinkkoeter said early Tuesday evening the fire started in the attic. The investigation was not completed, but he believed its cause was electrical in origin.
“The entire attic is burned off the house,” Brinkkoeter said. He estimat-See FIRE/5A
AG to retry Balonis murder suspect
By Jennifer Rodriguez Staff Writer
The man accused of killing 24-year-old elementary school Kathie Balonis is preparing to defend himself a second time.
On Thursday, 41-year-old Jack Warren Davis will appear in DAV lo a predial hearing in
the Balonis murder trial in Comal County Courthouse.
This is Davis’ second trial. He was first convicted in 1990, but that conviction was overturned by the Third Court of Appeals after a witness claimed prosecutors intimidated her.
Balonis, a 24-year-old elementary school teacher, was found strangled and sexually assaulted in her apartment at 483 Laurel Lane in New Braunfels on Nov. 17, 1989.
The next day, investigators arrested the apartment complex’s maintenance man, the then 30-year-old Davis.
Six months later, Davis was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison.
But the Third Court of Appeals set aside that conviction in November 1992 and sent the case back to the 22nd District Court.
The appeals court based its decision on accusations against then-district attorney Bill Reimer, who they said had improperly intimidated a witness in the case.
Carolyn Toth, a state’s witness, told the appeals court she was “intimidated and frightened” by Reimer into changing her testimony about how Kathie Balonis’ blood got on Davis’ clothing.
After the case was returned to'the 22nd District Court, a new trial never materialized, and in August 1995, Davis was released.
He moved to Gulfport, Miss., and reports twice a month by telephone to the Comal County Adult Probation
St. Nicholas Day
, K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Isla Frazier gives mom a big smile while visiting St. Nicholas Tuesday afternoon at the Sophienburg Museum’s annual visit with Saint Nicholas. Children learned about the German tradition of St. Nicholas visiting children on Dec. 5.
Florida high court will hear appeal
By Jackie Hallifax
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear Al Gore’s appeal of a ruling that upheld George W. Bush’s statewide victory in the contested presidential race.
Court spokesman Craig Waters said the justices wanted written papers submitted by noon Wednesday, and would hear arguments Thursday morning in the case that could ultimately settle the race for the White House.
The unusually condensed schedule reflected the national urgency of the case.
Gore is appealing a ruling by Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls’ that rejected Gore’s request for a manual recount in two counties and to overturn Bush’s certified victory in the state that stands to pick the next president.
Waters said the justices had allotted an hour for oral arguments, 30 minutes for each side.
Joseph Lieberman, Gore’s vice presidential candidate, stood Tuesday in Washington with supportive Democratic lawmakers as he said the Florida Supreme Court would be “the final arbiter” of the election dispute.
Gore’s appeal was one of two elec-
■ Florida Supreme Court justices want written papers submitted by noon
■ Condensed schedule reflects urgency of case
■ Gore appealing Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls’ rejection of request for manual recount in two counties
■ Sauls’ also refuses to overturn Bush’s certified victory
tion-related cases at Florida’s highest court. The other, returned on Monday from the U.S. Supreme Court, requested clarification of the reasoning behind a state Supreme Court ruling last month that approved partial manual recounts beyond a deadline fixed in state law for the end of vote counting in the presidential election.
The Bush and Gore legal teams already were operating under a 3 p.m. Tuesday deadline for submitting written arguments in that case.
Lawmakers to tackle redistricting this session
By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer
SEGUIN — Bills that do not get through the Texas Legislature by March could get lost in the mire of redistricting.
State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, and Rep. Edmund Kuempel, R-Seguin, told those
who gathered Tuesday for an “eggs and issues” breakfast at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin that the upcoming session would focus on redistricting.
“This is the one in five sessions every IO years where the Legislature takes up redistricting,” Wentworth said. “It’s too bad.”
The United States conducts a census every IO years, as it did this year. Information from the census is used by states to draw district lines for the U.S. Congress and state offices.
The state legislators — people Wentworth said were “the most directly and personally and self-
interestedly affected by those lines” — are responsible for drawing the new lines.
And Wentworth said the majority party determined where the lines would be drawn.
“In my judgment, we’re the least qualified to be drawing them,” Wentworth said. “We’re the least
Redistricting will begin after the state gets the census figures about April I, he said.
“Let me just recommend that if any of you have legislation that you’re really in favor of passing, that you try to get it in February or
Inside Cheer Fund
Key Code 76
Contributors to the Herald-Zeitung Cheer Fund were:
• Helgard Suhr —$25 • Anonymous — $100
• Glenn R. Johnson — $25
• Abraham Ybarra — $50
• Alan Barlett — $50 The Herald-Zeitung seeks
donations for its annual Cheer Fund to provide holiday meals for needy residents. Mail or drop off donations at 707 Landa St. in New Braunfels.
Dress warmly for Wassailfest ThursdayNo rain but cool temperatures predicted for downtown bash
By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer
Comfortable shoes and warm clothes are a must for Wassailfest participants Thursday, with organizers predicting lots of walking and cold temperatures.
Wassailfest takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday in downtown New Braunfels.
During Wassailfest, more than 50 downtown merchants cook up their own special wassail recipes to share with the public.
Wassail is a juice and spice drink whose name means “to your health.”
The public walks from business to business tasting wassail and then votes in the people’s choice award for best wassail. The winner will be announced several days later.
Also on Thursday, a celebrity panel of three judges will sample all the wassails and select three winners that night.
Downtown is decorated with more than 100,000 lights, and many different groups and organizations will provide entertainment during the festival.
Wassailfest closes with a door prize drawing at the Main Plaza bandstand.
Main Street Director Lynn Fountain said she had been watching the weather forecast
for the past week.
“It looks like we’re going to luck out again,” she said. “It also looks like it’s going to be very cold, so people need to dress warmly. They do need to wear comfortable shoes.”
The National Weather Service said temperatures probably would be in the 50s Thursday. The sky will be cloudy but no rain is expected, the weather service reported.
“Be sure about where you’re going to park, and park outside the barricades and then come down and have dinner and then stroll up and down the streets,” Fountain said.
Street barricades will be placed around downtown New Braunfels betw een 5:30 and See WASSAILFEST/5A