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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 29, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels 2 0 3 3 2 m n n q IG / 2 2 / 0 0 MI C ROI Bl I SH I NG 252?' E YANDELL DR to? mjr mmr    e- van uhHERALD-ZEIT UAG ' ’•......... —” — - ~  ............................... —-_  A □ Vol. 149 No. 29    18    pgs.    in    2    sections    December    29,    1999 Wednesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Common sense, restraint urged for New Year’s holiday AUSTIN (AP) —The most dangerous Year 2000 threat might not be a rash of computer glitches, but people who ring in the new century a little too merrily, officials say. Law enforcement, anti-drunken driving groups and others are urging Texans to tone down their celebrations and use common sense in order to stay safe on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The biggest hazard could be the road since the holiday falls on a weekend and people are expected to drink more while partying 1999 away, said Carlos Lopez, director of traffic operations at the Texas Department of Transportation. “Although we encourage Texans to prepare for Y2K, we believe it will be human factors that cause the most safety problems for travelers,” Lopez said. An estimated 32 people will die on Texas roads from New Year’s Eve to Jan. 2, according to the Department of Public Safety. In 1998, a total of 68 people died in car accidents — 33 in the 78 hours leading up to and after Christmas and 35 in the 78 hours leading up to and after New Year’s. The transportation department says people should name a designated driver and plan ahead to allow extra travel time to and from holiday destinations. Drivers should inspect their vehicles to make sure they are working properly, pack an emergency safety kit and fill the tank with gas. Top Stories of 1999Hit-and-run alters lives ‘Scooter Man’ dies; constable, brother now dealing with related legal issues From staff reports The 78-year-old man known to many H-E-B customers as the “Scooter Man” died in a hit-and-run accident in June, throwing a county official and his brother in the midst of an investigation. Jesus “Jesse” Gomez, the 38-year-old man accused of driving the car that hit Ray Biggadike, was released from the Comal County Jail in July on a $30,000 bond. His brother Joe, Pct. I Comal County constable, also is considering legal action against investigators who he claims violated his civil rights. Biggadike was crossing Business 35 on his electric scooter about IO p.m. June 28 when he was hit and killed. Jesse Gomez allegedly fled the scene and hid his car, a 1987 Acura. Days later, the car was found and Jesse Gomez turned himself in to authorities. In October, he was indicted on three counts: • failure to stop and render aid, punishable by a prison term no longer than five years; • manslaughter, a second-degree felony punishable by a two- to 20-year prison term and optional fine not exceed $ 10,000; and File photo New Braunfels police officers take possession of the automobile they believe struck and killed Ray “Scooter Man” Biggadike in June. • tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony punishable by a two- to 10-year term in prison and optional fine not to exceed $ 10,000. Comal County Assistant District Attorney Jim Noble said officials were waiting to get Jesse Gomez’ criminal history from the Department of Public Safety before making a plea ofter. Once an offer is determined, Gomez’ attorney, Robert Arellano of San Antonio, will be notified, Noble See HIT-AND-RUN/5 A Ingram Readymix plant: A city is born, dissolved By Erin Magruoer Staff Writer The City of Bulverde Northwest no longer exists. After months of negotiations, a settlement was reached Dec. 17 in the long-standing dispute between local cement manufacturer Ingram Readymix, Inc. and the former town of Bulverde Northwest. The agreement was the result of an Oct. 6 lawsuit filed by the State of Texas on behalf of the concrete manufacturer that challenged the May I incorporation of the city. The judgment dissolved incorporation of Bulverde Northwest, without prejudice as to a future incorporation and w ithout admission of any wrongdoing in the town’s earlier attempt to incorporate, according to a joint press statement released Dec. 20. The agreement reverted Bulverde Northwest back to its pre-incorporation status and allowed Ingram to continue its plans to build a concrete See I NG RAM/5 A File photo The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission hears testimony about Ingram Readymix’s plans to build a concrete batch plant in the Bulverde area. TNRCC gave its approval to Ingram Readymix, much to the chagrin of many Bulverde area residents. “This cannot fail. This is not something we can live without.” Police Chief Ray Douglas Communication system cited as need for police, fire departments By Peri Stone PALMQUIST Staff Writer The 25-year-old communication system used by New Braunfels police, fire and other departments is known to drop calls and briefly leave emergency personnel with no way to converse. New Braunfels Police Chief Ray Douglas said the city has tried to fix the problem for the past 10 years, replacing radios and antennas. “But ifs a frequency problem,” he said. And a problem that needs to be fixed soon, he said. City council has voted to put the item on the proposed $38.6 million bond ballot, scheduled to go before voters in May. Council will finalize the bond list by mid-February. “This cannot fail,” Douglas said. “This is not something we can live without.” Currently, a new communication system is listed as a separate proposition, totaling $700,000 with a $50,000 yearly lease. If approved, the cost would increase the city’s current 31-cent tax rate by .82 cent. About 25 years ago, New Braunfels bought one of the early public safety radio frequencies. But the same or similar frequencies have been assigned to other agencies. The result is heavy interference, Douglas said. “We’re losing calls,” he said. “We’re dropping calls.” Or, at times, officers can hear calls from other areas such as Bryan-College Station, he said. “We can’t afford to lose a word or a sentence — but that happens,” he said. “The word ‘not,’ for instance, can make a big difference.” Douglas said he had been searching for a permanent solution for years. New Braunfels could buy a “state-of-the-art” communications system for $700,000 through the Lower Colorado River Authority. It would come See COMMUNICATIONS Bond Series Today Communication system Thursday Sports complex Friday Park improvement bond projects and staff requests Banking on Y2K: Money safest in bank, officials say By Christina Minor Staff Writer Don’t panic and use common sense — that's the advice of New Braunfels bank officials. With 2000 just a few days away, local bank presidents say the banks are Y2K compliant. “We have an organization set up to focus on this,” Norwest Bank president Bill Cone said. “We’ve tested our systems and are ready.” Barry Williams, president of First State Bank, said, “I think we’re overprepared. All banks were required to test their systems three times, but we pulled an unexpected test. We’ve been compliant since early this past year. I don’t anticipate any problems.” Texas Banking Commissioner Randall James said all banks and credit unions in Texas tested CONE    their internal operating systems and operated on the Y2K. compliant system for the past few months. Because all money kept in banks is Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured, Cone and Williams strongly discouraged people from withdrawing large sums of money. James said once the money was taken from the bank, it was not insured and could be stolen, lost or destroyed. “We’ve had reports of people who have taken large sums of money from the bank, and it has been lost rn thefts,” he said. “Do not take out a large sum. lf you want to take an extra $100 for the holiday weekend, that’s fine. But don’t wait until the last minute because the ATM machine could run out of cash or experience problems." Pam Thomas, vice president and marketing director for Frost Bank, said, “People can take a little extra cash out, but I caution anyone from taking large sums of cash out because it could be dangerous.” Although confident that their banks were Y2K ready, officials said they were prepared for any malfunctions. “If something were to happen to a customer’s account, they should bring in a copy of last month’s (bank) statement, and we’ll work from that,” Cone said. WILLIAMS Inside Abby................................7A Classifieds.......................5-8B Comics...............................2B Crossword..........................7A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies................................7A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................8-10A Today.................................2A Television.............................2B Key Code 76 ;