New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 4, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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Above, owners of the businesses in the IOO block of North Casted Avenue discuss their options Wednesday morning as state and local fire investigators examine the damage inside First Plaza Finance, 140 N. Casted Ave. Below, a co-owner from First Plaza Finance tapes a sign to the window asking customers to take their payments to First State Bank, 401 Main Plaza.Reaction
“Its frustrating not knowing what to do.”
Anne Swanky, Security Finance Loan manager
“I could have lost everything”
Debbie Bailey, For Kids Again owner
“I’m going to aim for next week,” she said.
The structure’s cornerstone identified it as the Palace Theater building, erected in 1924. The building is on the east side of North Castell Avenue, between West Mill and West San Antonio streets.
Vol. 148, No. 55 14 pages in I section February 4, 1999 rn r Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents
ThursdayInvestigators hot on trail of fire
Officials: six downtown businesses affected by ‘suspicious circumstances,’ four offices believed to be damaged
By Bill O'Connell and Chris Crews
An early morning blaze damaged four downtown businesses and closed two others in what fire officials called “suspicious circumstances.”
City, state and federal fire officials pored over the scene for more than 15 hours Wednesday in an attempt to determine a cause.
The alarm came in just before 3 am in the IOO block of North Castell Avenue. Three engine units and one EMS unit responded and the fire was under control within 20 minutes, said City Fire Marshal Elroy Friesenhahn.
No injuries were reported.
All six businesses in the strip shopping center remained closed Wednesday as the area was cordoned off because it was a “suspected crime scene,” Friesenhahn said.
He said witnesses had made statements but specific suspects had not yet been identified, Friesenhahn said.
Bart Mora, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said, “We’re here at the request of the New Braunfels Fire Department.”
Deputy state fire marshal Lloyd Young also was at the scene to “inspect some electrical hardware as a possible ignition mechanism.”
Friesenhahn said the fire started in the manager’s office of First Plaza Finance and moved through Security Finance, Window Treatments By Ottie and Flowers By Sharon through a common attic. Damage was estimated between $100,000 and $150,000.
Two other business in the strip, For Kids Again and Alternative Copier Company, were separated from the other businesses by a fire wall. Friesenhahn said he had not inspected those stores for possible damage.
Friesenhahn said he was leaning toward allowing the business owners to return to their properties today.
“It’s frustrating not knowing what to do,” said Anne Swaney, who manages Security Finance, a loan company at 142
New Braunfels Fire Department employees pull down extra extension cords from their tanker truck on Wednesday morning.
N. Castell Ave.
City fire officials said the blaze began at First Plaza Finance, 140 N. Castell Ave., and caused minor fire damage to Security Finance’s offices, which are next door.
Swaney said she was alerted about the situation by phone early Wednesday morning and arrived at the scene about 4:15 arn.
“I’ll just wait and see,” she said.
Others said they were thankful as they watched investigators pore over the fire’s aftermath.
“I could have lost everything,” said Debbie Reiley, owner of For Kids Again, a children’s clothing and accessories resale shop at 138 N. Castell Ave.
Reiley said she had opened for business in November and intended to repair the smoke damage.
Reiley said the store would be open again soon.
William Davis speaks to Memorial Intermediate students Wednesday inside the school library, part of a Black Heritage Month presentation. Davis shared some of his accomplishments in the field of science and emphasized the importance of getting an education.
Speaker shares his heritage with studentsMemorial Intermediate studies black history
By Heather Tooo
What do instant mashed potatoes and the “Twist” have in common? A visitor to Memorial Intermediate on Wednesday would know the answer — African Americans invented them both.
Fourth and fifth-grade students at Memorial Intermediate also learned the answer to that question — and many more — during the schools Black Heritage Month activities.
More than 350 students participated in
activities to increase awareness of African American history and the impact of black culture on our nation.
Librarian Gloria Kolacek organized the Black Heritage Month activities in conjunction with Black History Month in February.
“We wanted to help students celebrate black culture and the importance it has played throughout history,” she said. “We had all the students participating by rotating through 30 minute sessions.”
William C. Davis, a scientist, educator and humanitarian, told a room full of captivated students about his accomplishments in science and the importance of getting an education.
“At this age, you are all curious about how things work. It is that curiosity you have right now that might provide the cure for many diseases at this time or create some new form of technology,” he said.
Davis earned his doctorate degree in biochemistry at the University of Idaho, currently teaches at St. Philip’s College and works with the University of Texas at San Antonio Health Sciences Center.
Davis described his early interest in science, which was sparked when he was 6, and his memories of the first radios and televisions in his hometown.
“We have all these things now that are a
New Canyon athletic director will be hired Friday
By Peter Brown
Comal Independent School District trustees are expected to hire a new athletic director for Canyon High School on Friday.
A candidate for the Canyon High School football coach/athletic director positionjias been chosen by .an ad*hoc committee charged^with recommending an applicant, CHS principal Will J* Xrieg said Wednesday.
C1SD Superintendent Jerry
Major will present the recommendation to trustees at a noon meeting Friday at the district administration building, 1421 N. Business 35.
“We h°d an excellent selection of candidates from throughout the state,” Klieg said. “I feel like this person will do us an excellent job at this school.”
The position opened in January when Carl Gustafson left to take a similar position at San Antonio Churchill, his alma mater.
Klieg said about 50 applications were received for the position, from which the committee selected IO applicants to be interviewed. The Herald-Zeitung requested a list of the IO finalists but did not receive it by press time on Thursday.
Two of those selected for interviews backed out of the process, while eight were interviewed earlier this week. Klieg said a recommendation had been reached by Wednesday.
City sets up master plan hearing
By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer
City planners have set Feb. 16 as the date for a public hearing on New Braunfels’ comprehensive plan, an extensive document intended to serve as a guide for development in the next 20 years.
Written by a national consulting firm, the plan could help shape official city policies on several key issues, including transportation, economic development, land use and zoning and
“It is a vision of what our community wants to see into the next millennium,” Mayor Jan Kennady said.
T\vo public hearings will be conducted before the plan can be adopted as city policy. The Feb. 16 meeting will be conducted by the planning and zoning commission.
Another hearing will be conducted before New Braunfels city council, probably on March 22.