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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 19, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Child pornography defendant gets deferred adjudication From staff reports A former Spring Branch resident, arrested after a state investigation into child pornography on the Internet, pleaded guilty in Comal County District Court Monday. Richard F. Snider, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of possess-ing child pornography in a plea agreement. Jack Robison, 207th District Court judge, gave Snider a sentence of IO years deferred adjudication. Possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony punishable by two to IO years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000. lf Snider does not violate the terms of his 10-year probation, the case will be dismissed. Snider was to be released from Comal County Jail Monday after serving 249 days while awaiting an outcome in his case. He had offered to plead guilty in August, his attorney, Charles Stephens, said. Action on the plea offer was delayed while Robison heard a See DEFENDANT/5AInside Abby......................... .......7A Classifieds................... ....2-4B Comics....................... .......8A Crossword................. .......7A Forum.......................... Local Metro................. .......4A Movies......................... .......7A Obituaries.................... .......3A Sports........................ ...1-2B Today............................. , 2A I I 3 to com Key Code 76 Blood drive supports accident victim By Jennifer Rodriguez Staff Writer Eight-and-a-half months pregnant Crystal Ramey was stretched out across the back seat of a 1986 Ford sedan on Nov. 17, when it collided with another car. In the past month, the 27-year-old New Braunfels native has had six chest tubes inserted, a tracheotomy and fatty tissue removed and then reattached to her spleen. The 90-pound woman lost her baby and 92 units of blood, and she has spent more than 30 days in the intensive care unit of University Hospital in San Antonio.Blood Drive ■ WHO: Eden Home ■ WHAT: Blood drive ■ WHEN: 9 am to 4 p m. Wednesday ■ WHERE: 631 Lakeview Drive ■ WHY: To help New Braunfels native Crystal Ramey, who was injured in a car accident Now Eden Home is hosting a blood drive to benefit Ramey from 9 arn. to 4 p.m. Wednesday at 631 Lakeview Drive. “She knows what’s going on — she just can’t talk,” her sister Patricia Ramey said. “She cries, and she^s really emotional. It’s very hard. ” Crystal Ramey was on her way to her hometown of New Braunfels to visit family when the accident occurred in Geronimo on Highway 123. The baby died on the scene. A team from the University Hospital will collect the blood donations. Every unit of blood collected wipes out equally one of the 92 units Crystal Ramey has needed. Wells Fargo Bank will accept donations to help Crystal Ramey. The account number is 0662753516. Call 625-6291. Mr. Bush goes to Washington By Tom Raum Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Bush interviewed Cabinet candidates, conferred with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and assured leaders of both parties on Monday that “we can come together” despite his whisker-close victory. The Republican’s overture drew promises of cooperation from congressional Democrats on the day the Electoral College was voting to hand him the barest of victories, an expected one-vote electoral majority. “We will be there, coming 50 percent of the way, sometimes even a little further,” said House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., cited “an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, to begin anew.” But it was not clear how long this heady spirit of bipartisanship, sounded on Bush’s first visit since the election, would last. Even as he vowed to “heal whatever wounds may exist,” Bush exhibited a stubborn commitment to his $1.3 trillion, 10-year tax-cut proposal that was a central theme of his campaign. Democrats have broadly criticized it as too expensive and benefiting mostly the wealthy. And even some top members of Bush’s own party have pronounced it unwieldy. But, Bush asserted, “I still believe it’s the right thing.” “I campaigned on a clear view of tax relief, and that’s what I’m going to bring to the floor of the HousePresident-elect clears electoral college hurdle By Robert Tanner Associated Press Writer With unwavering support Monday from the electors who had pledged to vote for him, George W. Bush secured the Electoral College majority needed to become the 43rd president. Nevada’s four electors put the Texas governor over the top with a total of 271 votes, one more than the Constitution requires. That closed the door on the remote possibility that a few “faithless electors” who had pledged to vote for Bush might upset his victory by casting their ballots instead for Vice President Al Gore. All that remains is for Congress to make the votes official on Jan. 6. The electors gathered in their state capitals across the country to cast their votes. Though Democrats and political reformers tried to persuade Republicans to defect, the only rogue elector was a Democrat from the District of Columbia who had been pledged to Gore but left her ballot blank as a protest against Washington^ lack of representation in Congress. and the Senate,” Bush said. “There’s going to be a lot of discussions, a lot of head-knocking, a lot of gentle arm-twisting,” he said, See BUSHWASpanning the globe via computer Geographic information systems expert visits SWT By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer SAN MARCOS — The Internet is providing the general public with access to data in geographic information systems that previously was available to only a few people. Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc., was at Southwest Texas University on Monday to deliver the third annual Lovell lecture. The Lovell lecture series is named for Apollo Astronaut James Lovell and his wife, Marilyn. The university’s geography department is home to thp Lovell Center for Environmental Geography and Hazards Research. Geographic information systems record information about objects that people encounter, such as streets, roads and pipelines, for instance, on computer, Dangermond said. That allows people to make maps and then analyze the information. “The world is evolving,” Dangermond said. “We now have more than 6 billion people. It’s doubled since I was a young child, almost tripled. That’s causing all types of changes.” For instance, as population increases, the world’s resources decrease, he said. Geographic information systems can be used to present the changes to society “so they can see the implications of what is going on,” Dangermond said. Dangermond met with SWT faculty members before the lecture Monday. Geographic information systems could be important in deciding where to locate new apartment complexes or school buildings, they said. They also cited instances when such structures were built over closed landfill sites, which leak methane gas. That could have been prevented using data available through geographic information systems about the location of closed landfill sites. Lovell was on hand for the lecture Monday, and he toured the geography department with Dangermond and SWT staff members. FELSHerald-Zeitung Vol. 150 No. 32    12    pages    in    2    sections    December    19,    2000    rny    „    Serving    Comal    County    since    1852    50    cents Tuesday K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung SWTSU professor Bob Larsen (left) shows off a mapping system in one of the computer labs in the Lovell Center for Environmental Geography and Hazards Research Monday afternoon to Jack Dangermond (right) and former astronaut James Lovell (center). Dangermond is recognized as one of the world’s “outstanding authorities” on geographical information systems, according to SWT documents. And his company is the largest provider of GIS software. Now, Dangermond said 5,000 Environmental Systems Research Institute customers are using his company’s software to place maps that everyone can use on the Internet. For instance, one real estate company uses the software to help prospective homebuyers. They can look at maps on the company’s Web site to find out whether the homes they are interested in are in a floodplain and what the grade point averages are at local schools. CHRIS PACE/Herald-Zeitung Battalion Chief John Herber describes how thousands of bats took up residence in the walls of the sleeping quarters at New Braunfels’ central fire station.Fire station By Jo Lee Ferguson Staff Writer Some uninvited houseguests have turned life at New Braunfels’ central fire station upside down, and returning it to normal is proving expensive. A horrible odor at the station several months ago led firefighters there to discover that thousands of bats had taken up residence in the walls of their living quarters. The bats apparently had been living there for a couple of years. Removing them and the smell they left behind has cost the city about $20,000 so far, Fire Chief Jack Collier said. And the price tag is growing. Collier and Battalion Chief John Herber gets batty with repairs stood in central fire station this past week, observing the room where firefighters once slept. The carpet had been tom out, interior walls and insulation had been removed and ceiling panels were tom down. The walls had been treated to remove the smell left by accumulated bat guano, but a pungent odor still lingered. “The more we do, the more we find, and the more problems there are,” Collier said. “Everybody had at one point said ‘If we do this, that’s going to fix it,’ and I said, COLLIER ‘Well, fix it....’ You keep going until you’re at the point we’re at now.” When this year’s long, hot summer finally gave way to rain and humidity, Herber said the firefighters began to notice an odor in their living area. But they couldn’t pinpoint its source at first. Collier said the firefighters thought it might be their “bunker gear,” the suits the firefighters wear. The gear is stored in a room next to the sleeping quarters, and the air conditioner there was designed so that it returned air from one room to another. That problem has been corrected. “But then it got really pronounced when the humidity got really high and the mois- See BATTY/5A ;