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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 8, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Herald-Zeitung Vol 150 No. 24    20    pages    in    2    sections    December    8,    2000    pRI 13AY    ^oma*    bounty    since    1852,    50    centsWassail nightNew Braunfels downtown plaza the setting for holiday festival K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung The Kinder Tanzers (above) finish their dancing at Wassail Fest with the chicken dance Thursday night in front of the New Braunfels Museum of Art. Wassail Fest Judges (tower right) Houston Astros’ Lance Bergman, Sen. Robert Krueger and retired Texas Ranger Jim Peters work their way through entries of the holiday beverage. By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer The outcome of the first ever judge’s choice wassail contest rested on the shoulders of three Wassailfest first-timers Thursday night. It was a job the three celebrity judges took seriously. Houston Astros Outfielder Lance Berkman, Retired Texas Ranger Jim Peters and former U.S. Sen. and Ambassador Bob Krueger were quiet as they tasted more than 30 different wassails. Each said it was their first Wassailfest experience. Wassailfest is an annual downtown event in which merchants prepare their own special wassail, a juice and spice mixture, and invite the public to stroll around and sample the drinks. The judges Thursday sat in the bandstand in the Main Plaza and sipped slowly from each cup of w'as-, sail. They thoughtfully sniffed the aroma rising from the cups, and then took another drink while they carefully considered each wassail. The wassails were graded on how spicy they were, how pleasing they were to taste or smell and on their aftertaste. The judges graded each cup without discussing the drinks amongst themselves. Berkman greeted fans who found their way to the bandstand where the judging took place. But he waited to sign autographs until later, after the judging was complete. “This is critical,” he said. The judges made room for a late See WASSAILFEST/3A New^Ms&^nfels Gore makes last stand Davis might be retried elsewhere By Ron Fournier AP Political Writer Desperately short on time, Al Gore’s lawyer pleaded with the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday to order vote recounts and revive his faltering presidential quest. Republican attorneys called George W. Bush the certified, rightful victor and said “not a single shred of evidence” suggests anybody was denied their vote. Even as the seven justices mulled the vice president’s fate, fellow Democrats said they were running low on patience. One month after a maddeningly inconclusive Election Day, the question of who will serve as America’s 43rd president still echoes throughout the nation’s legislative and judicial chambers. On Thursday alone, two state judges and one federal court considered complaints about absentee ballots, qnd GOP lawmakers in Florida braced for a special session Friday to give Bush the state’s 25 electoral votes — in case the courts won’t. All this amid the pressure of a Tuesday deadline set out' in the U.S. Constitution for states to appoint electors. If Florida’s legislative and judicial branches can’t agree on a presidential slate by the Electoral College meeting Dec. W, a divided Congress could inherit the morass. “Time is getting very short,” Gore lawyer David Boies told Florida’s high court. Police arrested Davis the day after Balonis’ body was discovered. He was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison six months later. However, accusations that then-District Attorney Bill Reimer had improperly intimidated a witness in the case led the Third Court of Appeals to set the conviction aside in 1992 and send the case back to district court. A new mal never took place, and Davis was released. He moved out of state and reports twice a month by telephone to the Comal County Adult Probation Office. Davis’ attorney, Stanley Schneider, told the judge Thursday that Davis was in the courthouse but was waiting in a jury room. He did not come into the courtroom. However, Balonis’ parents were present for the hearing and visited w ith Tanner after the pre-trial hearing. They declined comment because of the gag order. Tanner did not discuss the case except to say how Morgan had ruled on several joint motions. First, he approved the motion for the gag order and a motion for continuance, she said. Davis’ retrial was scheduled for January, but it is now set for May 29. Also, she said Morgan took a motion for a change of venue under advisement. However, the issue was left for 22nd District Court Judge Charles Ramsay, who will preside during the trial, to decide.Judge issues gag order in capital murder case By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer Jack Warren Davis will be tried a second time on May 29 for the 1989 murder of Kathie Balonis, a 24-year-old elementary schoolteacher. However, the trial might not take place in Comal County. On Thursday, Senior Judge Don Morgan, from the 212th District Court, granted several motions in DAVIS    the case against Davis, including placing a gag order on those involved iii the trial. , Also. Lisa Tanner, an attorney with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, was placed in charge of the prosecution as the case heads to court for a second time. District Attorney Dib Waldrip previously was disqualified from prosecuting the new case because he was a witness in the original trial. Balonis was found strangled and sexually assaulted in her apartment at 483 Laurel Lane in New Braunfels on Nov. 17, 1989. Davis, who was 30 at the time, worked in maintenance at Balonis’ apartment complex. County ‘tweaking’ water rules again By Ron Maloney Staff Writer • Comal County is going back to work on new subdivision rides that will require developers and suppliers to prove enough water is available to serve their projects. In a commissioners’ court public hearing Thursday, the seventh draft of the new rules was reviewed. Commissioners and county staff left the meeting with a mandate to do a little more “tweaking” of some finer points of how the rules are implemented. Except for setting out guidelines for testing and monitoring wells, a redraft of the rules is not expected to substantially change them from the version approved this past week by the county’s Waterwise Growth Study Committee. In the Dec. 15 meeting of the Waterwise committee, which has worked months on the rules, members will hear a presentation on the Trinity Aquifer. County counsel Nathan Rheinlander said Thursday that he would book John Ashworth, a well-known and regarded aquifer expert and consultant, to speak. Further study of the Trinity comes as the county nears a vote to adopt the new subdivision regulations, perhaps as early as next week. At the public hearing Thursday, Pct. 4 Commissioner Moe Schwab raised concerns about how effectively the rules would regulate groundwater purveyors pumping from the Trinity Aquifer. He particularly questioned the testing and monitoring of wells that the subdivision rules would require a developer to bore. “I’ve seen wells drilled that produced, and you move IO feet one way and IO feet the other way, drill, and get nothing!” Schwab said. County Engineer Tom Homseth, a cochair of the Waterwise committee, told Schwab the proposed rules were based on criteria set by the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission. “They’re in Austin,” Schwab said. “Have they come out and drilled wells? Do they know what the Trinity Aquifer even looks See WATER/3 A Pearl Harbor Seven members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7110 fire three volleys of shots Thursday. A small crowd of veterans and their families salute in honor of the men and women who fought and died on Pearl Harbor Day, 59 years ago. K. JESSIE SLATEN/ Herald-ZeitungHandy Andy stores change ownership By Michael Cary News Editor The Grocers Supply Co. Inc. of Houston foreclosed on a $ 12 million debt and took over ownership of the entire chain of Handy Andy Supermarkets. Three local Handy Andy stores were included in the transfer from H.A. Assets to a subsidiary of the Houston grocery wholesaler, Bexar County Markets inc. of San Antonio. . Grocers Supply Co. was Handy Andy’s main grocery supplier since 1994. The move is a step into the retail grocery business for the Houston wholesaler. “We try not to get into retail stores,” Tom Braddy, See HANDY ANDY/3AInsideCheer Fund Abby................... .............5A Classifieds............ ...........4-8B Comics................ .............9A Crossword........... .............5A Forum................... ..............6A Local/Metro.......... .............4A Movies................... ..............5A Obituaries............. ..............3A Sports.................. ..........1-3B Today................... .............2A Stocks...................... ...............5A Key Code 76 Mail or drop off donations for the Cheer Fund at 707 Landa St. in New Braunfels. Cheer Fund provides food baskets for local needy families. New Braunfels families open up homes for holiday tours From staff reports Find out what makes “home sweet home” for six Ne*v Braunfels families during Saturday’s Christmas Tour of Homes,part of the New Braunfels Festtage Celebration, from I p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets and informative brochures for the event can be obtained in New Braunfels at the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, China and Things, The Collection, La Maison or River Breeze in Gruene prior to the event, or at any of the tour homes on Saturday. Tickets are $8 each, good for admission to all six locations: • Alden Home, One Center Court in T Bar M Estates; • Flume Home, 721 Wood Road; • Williams Home, 459 Hunters Creek Drive; • Gladden Home,337 East Zink St.; • Mayo Home, 88 Mission Drive; and • T Bar M Sunday House. “Homes for the Holidays” is celebrating its seventh year as one of New Braunfels most anticipated events. The Republican Women of New Braunfels sponsors the event. ;