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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 5, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels WEDNESDAY February 5, 2003 16 pages in 2 sections ■■■■*■ V    16    pages    in    2    sectKHERALD-7 EITUNG Vol. 152, No. llServing New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 centsNASA warned shuttle wing was vulnerable By Marcia Dunn AP Aerospace Writer SPACE CENTER, Houston — NASA was warned nine years ago that the space shuttle could fail catastrophically if debris hit the vulnerable underside of its wings during liftoff — the very scenario that might have brought down Columbia. After receiving the warning, NASA made changes in materials and flight rules to lessen the risk of debris breaking loose, Paul Fis-chbeck, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who conducted the 1994 analysis, said Tuesday. “There are very important tiles under there. If you lose the tiles on those stretches ... it can cause the shuttle to be lost,” he said. The underside of the left wing is where NASA is focusing its investigation into Saturday’s disaster, which killed seven astronauts. A spokesman at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, David Ex-teacher pleads guilty to indecent act By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A 45-year-old New Braunfels man pleaded guilty to indecent exposure Tuesday in connection with an incident in which he allegedly exposed himself to a 13-year-old boy more than a year ago. Former Comal Independent School District teacher James A. Solis pleaded guilty before County Court-at-Law Judge Charles K. Miller. Indecent exposure is a class B misdemeanor. Under terms of the plea agreement reached between Assistant District Attorney Ed Springer and defense attorneys Frank Suhr and Atanacio Campos, Solis received a 90-day suspended jail sentence and a $500 fine. He will be on probation for one year. When the plea was entered, Springer filed a motion in 22nd Judicial District Court to dismiss a more serious charge of indecency with a child by exposure. “Due to the state of the evidence, the prosecution felt this solution, while not satisfactory to any of the parties involved, was the best solution that could be had,” Springer said. A certified copy of the court verdict has been forwarded to the State Board of Education for further action. Solis was an industrial arts teacher at Spring Branch Middle School when the exposure incident allegedly Drachlis, said Tuesday night that no one was available to comment on the report. Also Tuesday, the space agency sent teams to check out reports of shuttle debris found as far west as California and Arizona — material that could shed light on the earliest stages of Columbia’s breakup. And investigators occurred in a student restroom at SBMS. He was suspended Nov. 20, 2001, and resigned Dec. 21, 2001. Sheriff’s detective Wayne Lehman arrested Solis Feb. 6, 2002, after an investigation. Until his airest, Solis was a part-time substitute teacher and cook at Nancy Ney Charter School, located with Connections, Comal County’s juvenile residential supervision, treatment and education center for at-risk youth. Solis was originally booked on a charge of indecency with a child by exposure, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He posted bail and has remained on bond for nearly a year without incident.Inside Abby....................................5A Classifieds...........................4-6B Comics................................3B Crossword..........................5A Forum.................................6A Local/State.........................4A Movies................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................8-10A Today..................................2A Key Code 76 S 56825' 00001 1 also are getting new military images of the spacecraft’s fiery, dying streak across the country from an Apache helicopter. Fischbeck and a colleague at Stanford University studied the damage caused by debris during the first 50 shuttle launches and concluded that on average, 25 thermal tiles per flight sustained damage of at least once inch. He said his risk analysis showed that the most vulnerable spots on the shuttle were the undersides of both wings close to the fuselage, and right under the crew See SHUTTLE/3A Trustees discuss budget, testing By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer New Braunfels Independent School District trustees discussed goals for the future during a Monday evening workshop. The workshop was conducted after a closed session, which ended at 9 p.m. at the NBISD Education center at 430 West Mill St. “We discussed not only concerns but opportunities we’d like to explore. First and foremost — what impact the state deficit will have on the district.” NBISD Board of Trustees President D. Lee Edwards said. “In light of changing from the TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) to TARS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), we’ve seen some mandates that might go unfunded." Under the column of concerns, Edwards, who said he thought the TARS was harder than the TAAS, said having to convert from teaching TAAS-oriented subjects to the TARS requires more hours spent by teachers. So it will be interesting to see how the budget shortfall will affect that, he said. As for opportunities, Edwards said one possibility mentioned was the teaching of foreign languages by immersion — having the language taught in all the classes to the students who would choose such a curriculum. Edwards said that dining a year where a budget shortfall is expected, it was also important to keep art and music classes, because it was important to have wellrounded students. See TRUSTEES/3A Gambling charges added to allegations against Ortiz By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The legal problems of a local bar owner arrested Jan. 17 on drug and evading arrest allegations increased this past week. Paul M. Ortiz, 45, turned himself in at the Comal County Sheriff’s Office Saturday on a charge of possession of gambling paraphernalia, which is a Class A misdemeanor. He posted $7,500 bail and was released from custody. Comal County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tbmmy Ward said the gambling paraphernalia warrant was issued Thursday for Ortiz’s arrest in connection with the Jan. 17 search of his bar, the Ortiz Rec Center, which is located in the1 200 block of West San Antonio Street. Ward did not say what the alleged gambling paraphernalia was, but a police department official said on Jan. 17 that it included documentation related to a football betting pool on the outcome of NFL playoff games. The search, by New Braunfels police and members of the Comal County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force, came after Ortiz fledSee GAMBLING/3A ... Woman dies after van tumbles Body found in wrecked vehicle underneath bridge By Dylan Jimenez ANO RON MALONEY Staff Writers A 37-year-old New Braunfels woman was found dead in her minivan late Tuesday morning in Eikel Creek off Walnut Avenue. Officials were not certain just when Dee Ann Y. Cornelius apparently drove her 2000 Ford Windstar minivan off the side of Walnut Avenue, landing upside down in the creekbed. But New Braunfels Police Lt. John Villarreal said she didn’t return home from work Monday night. Comal County Judge Danny Scheel pronounced Cornelius dead at 11:40 a.m. after she was discovered. Scheel ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. Cornelius was found still seatbelted into her vehicle, which came to rest against an uprooted tree beneath the Walnut Avenue bridge about 20 feet below the road. The roof of the van was crushed. New Braunfels Fire Department rescue personnel worked slowly to cut Cornelius from the minivan and to ensure there were no other victims inside. Dustin Woodall, whose family is moving into a home in the 400 block of Eikel Street, said he discovered the overturned vehicle just before 11:20 a.m. “My house is right over there,” he said, pointing through some trees. “They’re laying a new floor and I brought my boy out for a walk in the back yard when I saw it. It obviously happened last night.” Villarreal said investigation tended to confirm the likelihood that Cornelius had been there all night. “The motor’s cold and the exhaust is cold, but of course it was cold this morning,” Villarreal said. “The victim apparently left the road and took down at least two trees.” Police Patrol Sgt. Kevin Stevens said the fact that no witnesses reported the accident tended to support that. ‘In my estimate, this happened late, late last night. During the daytime, someone would have seen or heard it,” Stevens said. DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung (Above) New Braunfels firefighters had to cut open a crushed minivan to free the body of Dee Ann Cornelius Tuesday. From top left, Engineer Rodney Bailies, Paramedic Brandon Riojas and Capt. Ray Hacker prepare to remove the vehicle. (Left) New Braunfels firefighters prepare to free the body of Dee Ann Cornelius from her wrecked minivan Tuesday. From left, Chief Frank Gonzalez and Paramedic Brandon Riojas survey the vehicle. ;