New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 27, 1994, New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Sesquicentennial March 21,1845
B pages in one section ■ Tuesday, Dec. 27,1994
Serving Comal County for more than 143 years ■ Home of DORALINE SCHULTZE
■ wm- JIW #■ *Inside
dday in history..............................4
he Marketplace.........................6-8StammlischBirthday wishes from the Herald-Zeitung!
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends the following )irthday wishes to; Doraline Schultze, Barbara Welsh, Natal-e Oakes (6 years!), Mary Ann Van Horn, LaRue Christoph, Si). David, Jr., Stephanie Correia, Sarah Wetz, Frances Opsahl, Pat Randall, Bill Simmons, Jeanne Vaughn. Happy Anniversary to Tabitha &
Mark Lyon (4 years).Donations to H-Z Cheer Fund continue
Aiea citizens continue to submit donations to the Herald-Zeitung's annual Cheer Fund campaign, which provides food to needy local families for the Christmas holidays.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so in person by coming by the Herald-Zeitung office at 707 Landa St. or call Cheer Fund Director Carol Ann Avery at 625-9144. Delivery will take plaice Thursday afternoon.
Today's donations include:
B Richard & Dona Caldwell -$100
B Judene, Leroy, Kyi a and Colby Goodson - $25
B Automotive Audio - $100
B Archie & Nancy Ladshaw -$100City's Christmas tree recycling underway
The city of New Braunfels and New Braunfels Utilities began their annual Christmas tree recycling program in Landa Park, yesterday.
An area in the swimming pool parking lot has been designated as the site to receive the trees. Approximately 1,491 trees were converted to mulch last Christmas. Approximately 7,448 trees have been mulched during the last seven years.
Nails and other metal fasteners should be removed from the trees, officials said. The mulch is available free to residents,Bridal Showcase sat for Jan. 4
On Wednesday, Jan. 4, the New Braunfels Bridal Association will host its 14th annual Bridal Showcase at the New Braunfels Civic Center, 380 S. Seguin Ave.
Admission is $3. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
Anyone planning a wedding or are helping someone else who is, this will provide an excellent opportunity to gather information and guidance.New Year's Ive party planned
Texas Nights will perform at the New Braunfels Civic Center on Dec. 31 from 9 pm to I am during a dance benefitting United Cerebral Palsy.
CaU 1-800-798-1492 for ticket information.
TN» ntwapap* la printed on recycled fWMprini
Vehicle flips on 1-35
Herald-Zeitung photo by MICHAEL DARNALL A Jeep Cherokee driven by Anthony Newsome of Austin flipped over on 1-35 (northbound lens) near the Solms Rd. bridge last night at approximately 11:40 p.m. Police reports state that Newsome tried to avoid an animal and lost control of the vehicle. However, Newsome suffered only minor Injuries.
Deregulation of power industry has pros, cons
Local officials point out advantages, disadvantages for open markets
By TECLO J. GARCIA
Local man dies while house goes up in flames
By TECLO J. GARCIA
New Braunfels Fire Department officials said Christmas lights may be the blame for an early Christmas morning fire that killed a man who had enough time to make two phone calls before being overtaken by fire.
George Michael Martinez, 26, of New Braunfels died when he was overcome by the house fire on Washington St. Officials said Martinez may have attempted to re-enter the home to retrieve belongings.
The home, at 338 N. Washington, was totaled by the flames.
Fire Marshal Elroy Fricscnhahn said as fire personnel crossed the river from downtown to the north New Braunfels area, they could see the orange glow of the burning home.
He said personnel received notice there was someone trapped in the home as they made their way to the scene.
“Obviously when they arrived it was impossible for them
to make a rescue attempt because the heat was so intense,” Fricscnhahn said.
Apparently Martinez called 911 to report the blaze and may have made another call, officials said.
The front half of the house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
The origin of the fire was the front porch, where lights were placed around a window. Although the investigation into the fire has been completed, officials were still filing the reports and could not confirm whether the lights started the fire.
They did say no foul play was involved.
Martinez, a resident of New Braunfels, was employed at Casco New Braunfels. A rosary will be resighted at Zoeller funeral home tonight at 7:30 p m. and a funeral will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.
Those interested in donating to the family can contact the local Red Cross chapter as it is organizing an effort to help the family.
Local unemployment drops to 3.8 percent
By TECLO J. GARCIA
The unemployment rate in Comal County dropped to 3.8 percent in November—-the lowest level in nearly IO years—the Texas Employment Commission announced Thursday.
The rate has plummeted from 6.4 percent one year ago, a sign that the local economy continues to forge along in the county and statewide.
In May of 1985, the unemployment rate dipped to 3.7 percent, and peaked out at 7.3 percent in Feb. 1988.
The San Antonio Metropolitan area's, which Comal is included in by the TEC when compiling statistics, unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate in IO years when it reached a 4.3 percent joblessness.
In Comal County the unemployment rate decreased by two tenths of a percentage point from October. The number of jobless in Comal County decreased by 45, bringing the total unemployment to 1,145. Total employment increased by 282 over the month, and stood at 28,810 in mid-November.
The New Braunfels office of the Texas Employment Commission has seen drop in regular customers, however, Office head Richard Bluhm said the commission is still doing business despite the lower rate.
“Our activity has been high despite the drop because of unemployment insurance claims during the holiday period,"
Bluhm said certain businesses shut down during the holidays and laborers seek compensation for the few idle weeks they have. The employees are not laid off, but the stoppage in work is expected, he said.
For Guadalupe County the unemployment rate decreased by one tenth of a percentage point from October to November in the Guadalupe County area and stood at 2.7 percent. The number of jobless in that county decreased by 40, bringing total unemployment to 961.
Total employment increased by 344 over the month, and it stood at 35,094 in mid-November.
The Austin-San Marcos metropolitan area shared the honor of having the lowest unemployment rates and area with perennial champ Bryan-Col-lege Station with 3 J percent joblessness.
Amarillo, Lubbock and San Angelo rounded out the top five.
The McAUen-Edinburg-Mission area in the valley had the highest in the state with a 15 percent jobless rate with the Brownsville-Hartingen area a distant second at IO percent.
Seven downtown businesses are featuring Sesquicentennial window displays through Jan. 1 in commemoration of the New Braunfels Sesquicentennial celebration of 1995. The Herald-Zeitung will begin featuring these displays in tomorrow's edition through Dec. 30.
While wholesale buyers of electricity are licking their chops at the imminent deregulation of the power industry, it could be the regular citizen who benefits the least.
Many power industry executives say deregulation of the power industry for wholesalers will give smaller power companies, which don’t produce their own power like New- Braunfels Utilities, the opportunity to buy power at lower rates for their customers.
However, if large retail customers such as factories leave the local utility, companies will be forced to raise rates to compensate for the lost revenue.
“If all they do is cherry pick customers, what compensation would we get if they take our largest customers from us after we built all this service to them," said Jeff Thompson, NBU assistant general manager.
Therein lies the heart of the problem with deregulation, experts say.
The Texas Legislature will discuss the possibility of deregulating the power industry during the upcoming 1995 session. An interim legislative committee released a report last week asking that changes soon be made in the ■ industry.
Deregulation will allow NBU, for example, to buy power from anyone in the country. It will give the Lower Colorado River Authority a chance to buy power at a lower price and pass it on to the customer for a lower price. Yet the original intent of the deregulation was to give the resident or retail buyer the opportunity to buy from1 whoever they wanted. They would not be limited to buying from the local power company.
Local power entities say they favor open markets and competition, but if a family on Walnut St. wants to buy power from an Oklahoma power source, who will service the home when its lines go down during a storm, or when power goes out? Will the out of town company provide service or will it pay the local company to do so, industry experts ask. And who will the local company respond to first in an emergency, its loyal customers, or the ones who left its fold?
“It will be a nightmare for retail customers if deregulation comes through," said Bennie Fuelberg, general manager of the Pedemales Electrical Cooperative. “It will make it more competitive, but there arc going to some people that will get burned.”
Thompson added: “Much like phone companies, people go with the cheapest one and the get what they pay for."
The predictions of instability might be warranted as recent history shows us that deregulation of industry does not always go as planned in Texas, i.e. savings and loans.
Industry officials believe that the industry will be opened up during the legislative session.
Most utility officials contacted by the Herald-Zeitung said they favor deregulation, and believe it will happen soon but would like to limit it to wholesale only. They said if every power customer would be able to choose their own power company, it would cause too much confusion.
Some national reports of “retail wheeling" said residents would soon be able to choose their electrical companies like they do their long distance carriers. In the South-Central area of Texas, that does not seem very likely in the near future.
The LORA, which sells power to 800,000 customers in 33 cities and 11 cooperatives, said deregulation is nothing new because NBU did not have to buy power from the LCRA. NBU, however, does have a contract to buy power from the LCRA through the year 2016.
“That’s the kind of competition that all of our customers have had for years,” said Robert Cullick, LCRA director of communications. ‘It would not be much of a change to how we do business around here. We just want to be in the same competitive position after deregulation as before."
Fuelberg said although residents will not be able to make their own deals with power companies, but said if local companies can negotiate deals for the lowest power, they will pass the savings along to the customer. “When all this pans out, I don’t think much of this will happen," he said. “But what its going to do is make us and New Braunfels more competitive and make sure we provide good service to customers and the big plants.’’ Independent power producers like DESTEC of Houston, have a vested interest in the deregulation of the industry. It would give them license to bargain with wholesalers statewide. The company even took a two page ad in Texas Monthly to advocate the new openness.
“We feel the changes will provide for free and open competition in the state," said spokesman Marvin Brown. "We would like to compete.”
Harvest from the Heart
Jreon Moi— carri— and aarvaa f'cd to Stavan and Trinidad VlHnrr—I at Harvaat from tha Heart Friday night at tha Haw Braunite Civic Cantar. Harvaat from tha Heart, a fr— holiday dinner for local needy and elderly people, waa sponsored by Molly Joe s Catering of New Braunfels.
Herald-Z&4 tuna oho to bv MICHAEL DARNALL
days a week! L