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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 23, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas I crc / lr x , I tic . —t I . it it C h W ]_g r. 0. r>ox 45^3° , iV-^v pc; 7 5 2/1,5 OTI, J Water, sewer rate hike due to get departments in black By DEBBIE DeLOACH Staff writer New Braunfels Utilities trustees have been talking for months about future water and sewer rate increases. But the same words carried more punch Thursday. NBU’s November operating report indicated the water department lost $30,533.87. The sewer department operated at a $18,125.26 deficit. “Those figures have to get out of the red,” Board Chairman Bill Brown said. “To get those federal funds for the Kuehler Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion, we have to have water and sewer departments that break even at least. It’s a requirement from the big boys.” It will take a “sizable increase" to accomplish that,” Utilities Manager Bob Sohn said. “It will be sizable on a percentage basis, but still under others in the area.” “Rough estimates show, even with the increases, our rates will be less than surrounding areas — by far,” Brown added. “So I’d classify this as some good news and some bad news.” Trustees will probably have a “first cut” of a water and sewer rate increase in January, Sohn said. “The delay has been in building a cost-of-service program for Utilities computers. We’re setting it up so it can be used when an electric rate increasea rolls around,” he added. Springing a leak Courthouse roof has case of the drips By DORIAN MARTIN Staff writer An item not on the agenda — a leaky roof — caused some concern for Comal County Commissioners Thursday. The roof problems in the Courthouse Annex were brought up by County Auditor Bate Bond at the end of the regular meeting. The weight of the building’s air conditioner, which is perched on the roof, is believed to be causing the problem. An employee in the annex said dripping water has leaked onto the second floor and has even been found on the first floor. Besides the leakage, the structuralCounty roundup soundness of the roof was also questioned. Bond said it’s “the safety problem that really needs to be corrected.” No action was taken; however, the county engineer will look at the roof and report to the commissioners. A request by Commissioner W.N. George to discuss possible load limits for Hoffman Lane and Hunter Road prompted the commissioners to request a study by the road administrator on limits for other county roads. George said the request was “the result of complaints from people on Hunter Road. “The roads aren’t wide enough to begin with,” he said, explaining that they can’t handle the larger trucks. “The road isn’t constructed for that kind of traffic,” George said. The commissioner said the proposed limit would cover a 2-mile stretch. An alternate route would “put them (overweight trucks) three or four or five miles out of their way,” he explained. Commissioner Monroe Wetz warned, See COUNTY, Page 10A New -fl-Jaliil- Braunfels New Braunfels, Texas Herald-Zcituno ao m~ ock    18    Pages    —2 Sections FRIDAY December 23,1983 25 cents Vol. 92 - No. 255 (USPS 377-880) Frontward stalactites No. it's hardly rained at all this week So where did the icicles come from? Apparently, the folks at this house on Rivercrest Drive let some water run on this rope and tree branch The result was something out of Natural Bridge Caverns, as record lows promptly froze the water. Record cold wave menaces citrus crop Bv THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Texans shivered again today under icy temperatures that brought snow flurries to far Southeast Texas, freezing drizzle to Galveston and unusually cold conditions to the l.ower Rio Grande Valley, where farmers kept a worried eye on their citrus crops. Fruit growers in far South Texas lit smudgepots and wrapped young trees hoping to fend off freezing temperatures that threatened their crops. The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for the valley Thursday night, but a cloud cover remained over most of the area and readings hovered mostly in the lower and middle 30s early today. Growers faced possible crop damage if temperatures dip to 28 degrees for more than six hours. Some growers flooded orchards hoping for warmth from the evaporating water. With the Christmas fruit market depleted two days before the holiday, growers said they had no reason to rush picking, but must try to protect the fruit on the trees. Ijght snow flurries fell before dawn at the Jefferson County Airport in Southeast Texas and a travelers' advisory was posted for the Galveston area because of freezing drizzle.Another Record South C»"t'<»i Texas Im another '»co*d low Thursday night The temperature dropped to IS degrees et New Braunfels. 14 at Canyon Dem *rnJ 16 degrees in Sen Antonio San Antonio s prevents record for this date was 24 degrees, recorded at 1963 A spokeswoman for the Galveston County sheriff said the causeway from the mainland to Galveston Island was closed for several hours early Friday because of ice. She said the bridge had been reopened, but was still icy in spots. Snow was falling today around the space agency’s Johnson Space Center 30 miles south of Houston and we^t of the city, a spokesman with the state highway department said. A freezing rain slowed travel over much of the rest of town. Houston Lighting & Power contacted about IOO large industrial users Thursday, asking them to quit using heavy electric equipment, spokesman Graham Painter said. The weather service predicted a wanning trend today, giving the state a temporary break from record-setting low temperatures But colder temperatures were on tap for Saturday, although forecasters discounted the possibility of a white Christmas. The winter storms have claimed at least IO lives In Texas since Sunday. A 67-year-old Fort Worth man was found frozen in the back of a van. Medical Examiner’s Investigator Dail McMillan said the body was “frozen solid just like a block of ice." A Dallas transient died at Parkland Hospital, apparently of hypothermia, police said. A medical examiner's office spokesman said a final autopsy report had not yet been completed. Forecasters said highs in the 20s were expected today in the Panhandle, 30s across North Texas, 40s in South Texas, and 60s in far West Texas. But Al Moiler of the weather service office in Fort Worth said Texans would probably wake up Christmas day to another arctic blast. However, extended forecasts called for much warmer weather beginning Monday and daytime temperatures could reach the 50s by Tuesday, the weather service said. Sections of the Panhandle, South Plains and North Texas reported readings in the single digits before dawn today, while central sections were hovering in the middle to upper teens. Temperatures in the 20s and 30s See WEATHER, Page 10A Staff photo Oy John Santar To save a life Bracken ambulance service ready to hit the roads By DYANNEFRY Staff writer With a spanking-new Braun ambulance and a dozen certified volunteers, the Bracken Emergency Medical Service is ready to roll. The fledgling EMS group, a branch of the Bracken Volunteer Fire Department, went officially on call at 6 Wednesday. It will provide emergency sendee to southeastern Comal County, including the Bracken-Garden Ridge area, Comal, and the Schoenthal Ranch region. The ambulance will be dispatched through the Comal County Sheriff’s Office. Emergency phone numbers are 625-9141 for the New Braunfels exchange, and 651-9633 from the Garden Ridge-Schertz area. BE MS direc tor Betty Richter has sent in troductory letters to some 700 families in the main service area, which extends southwest to the Bexar County line, and north to the intersection of farm roads 3009 and 1863. The northeastern boundary is just past Schwab Road. Richter notes that some of this territory may already be served by other EMS units, such as New Braunfels or Bulverde-Spring Branch. “Our intent is not to go in on somebody else's area, but to insure that individuals in those areas are covered.” she said. “They all pay taxes to Comal County." And the Bracken fire department, established some 15 years ago, is supported partly by county revenue sharing funds. Community residents have talked about adding an ambulance service for several years, but “We just got serious this year,” said Richter. The group organized in February, and started training for state emergency certification The ambulance was ordered in May, and arrived in September. Since then, members have been working out bugs in the communication system between Bracken and the sheriff’s office. “When you take a bunch of people that have never even used a radio, and you start from scratch, we have come one long way,” said Richter. She said there would be two or three EMS members on call at all turns, with portable radios strapped to their waists. The ambulance will keep radio contact with the sheriff's department and the hospital emergency room. It is also equipped with a telephone interconnect, so that attendants can call the patient’s home en route, if they need to. See EMS. Page 10A Henry Bacon and Bracken EMS Director Betty Richter check out the new ambulance. Cheer Fund nears the finish line Utilities to save money forLCRA's 'rainyday' The hour approaches for delivery of food purchased with money from the 1963 Cheer Fund, and 120 families will get several bags of Christmas goodies, thanks to your generosity. Local National Guard units will deliver the goods Saturday morning, as Guardsmen have volunteered their time to provide this service. Meanwhile, eleventh-hour donations are still coming in. We received nine more donations Thursday, and they include: Anonymous    >60 Jack Lucas Exxon ..................>26 Paul sod Lind* Dtfilsy ............... >16 Frank Os Grass* and Pat Schofield    >20 Mr. and Mrs EP Huayete    >16 Stanley and Lots Clayton    loud Richard and Elizabeth Svxanson    (IO Mi and Mrs Daniel Zamnianpa    >6 Anonymous    >6 That brings our balance to $3,526.76, and that doesn’t include donated food. If you still would like to contribute, please bring contributions — cash or non-perishable food items — to our office at 186 S. Casten by 5 p.m. We will not be open Saturday. If you would like to donate food but can’t bring it by, Circulation Manager Don Avery can arrange to have it picked up. You can call him at 625-9144. We sincerely appreciate your response. Inside Today's Weather The Christmas weekend doesn’t promise to be any warmer, with highs in the 30s and lows near 20. Today will be mostly cloudy, with winds from the east near IO mph. Tonight will be cloudy, with a 20 percent chance of frozen drizzle. Winds will be from the north at 15-20 mph, increasing to 15-25 mph and gusty on Saturday. The high that day will be near 30 degrees. Christmas should be cold and dry, with a high in the 30s. Sunset today will be at 5:38 p.m., and sunrise Saturday at 7:23a.m. Early Herald Due The Sunday HeraldZettuny will be printed Saturday morning so that our employees may spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with their families. The comics and television listings will be included as usual. The Herald will be closed Monday, and will re-open Tuesday at 8:30 a m. City Schedule There will be no garbage pickup on Monday, but trash will be picked up as usual Saturday. CLASSIFIED.............2    6B COMICS..................8B CROSSWORD.............8B DEAR ABBY...............9A DEATHS................10A ENTERTAINMENT..........8A HOROSCOPE..............9A OPINIONS................4A RELIGIOUS FOCUS.........5A SPORTS................6.7A STOCKS................10A TV LISTINGS..............BB WEATHER................2A There's a new account in town after Thursday’s New Braunfels Utilities meeting. It’s called the "Fuel Cost Equalization Adjustment" account Utilities Manager Bob Sohn said Friday the new account is more for accounting purposes, and not an avenue for higher fuel costs to NBU customers NBU buys its power from the Lower Colorado River Authority. Behind Gov. Mark White’s campaign pronuse to abolish fuel adjustment charges, the Public Utility Comnussion set fuel cost factors for companies like lX'HA to charge customers Uke NBU, effective September, 1983 Those fuel cost factors have handed LURA an under-recovery of $15 million in two months Eventually, I.CRA customers will have to make up that deficit, which could grow by leaps and bounds before LURA makes it before the PUC for an adjustment “By establishing this account, we want to adjust as an ICB A customer to the fuel condition we’re facing,” Sohn said. “We don’t want LCRA to go to the PUC, then say, ‘Ok, you owe us $163,000 Even with the creation of a separate account, NBU customers will continue to pay dollar for dollar in fuel costs, Sohn said “We’re still doing what we did in September before the PUC’s stupid — that’s s-t-u-p-i-d — ruling, and that is, keeping fuel costs current.” Thanks to the PUC, IX’RA has a certain fuel factor it has to charge its customers If more actual fuel is used, that’s where the under-recovery comes in. “We get that bill from LCRA, showing tile amount the Commission See FUEL, Page MA ;