New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 9, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas
FRIDAYUnicorns and Cougars go at it with playoffs on the line. See Page 5
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The Mergele House, 708 W. Mill
16 pages in one section ■ Friday, February 9,1996
Serving Comal County and surrounding areas for n
I, .H4 years ■ Home of VINCE VELEZ
Vol. 144, No. 64
Birthday wishes from | the Herald-Zeitung!
The New Braunfels Herald-I Zeitung extends birthday wishes to: Larry Wiley, Larissa Lynn Morales (two years), Vince Valez,
| Mary Cabello, Diana Romero, Michael K. Garrott Jr. (ll years)
I and Robert Abbotts.
Happy anniversary wishes to I Jimmy and Cathy Petrie and I Ernest and Linda Rodriguez.
Mold —1,020 Cedar —6660
(Poten measured in parts per cubic meter of air. Readings taken yesterday. Information provided by Dr. Frank Hampel.)
Comal River — 274 cubic feet per second, same as yesterday.
Edwards Aquifer Panther Canyon Well ■ 624.76 feet above sea level, down .03.
Main Street puts on seminars
The New Braunfels Main Street Design Committee will host a seminar on ‘Advertising/Marketing Your Business' Feb. 13. Other upcoming seminars include 'Signage in Keeping with Concept and Building' Feb. 27; and 'Good Merchandising - Great and Easy Window Displays’ March 12.
Each of the free seminars begins at 6:15 p.m. at City Hall in the Municipal Courtroom, 424 S. Casten Ave.
Bring a brown bag dinner. Beverages and dessert will be provided
Last chance to nominate Unsung Heroes
Each spring, the Herald-Zeitung presents a Citizen of the Year award and several Unsung Hero awards at a reception celebrating the annual Horizons edition of the newspaper.
The Herald-Zeitung needs the public's help in finding Unsung Heroes. Do you know a person whose good deeds have gone unrecognized? Let us know about him or her, so they can receive the credit they deserve.
The Herald-Zeitung also needs nominations for its Citizen of the Year award.
Mail or drop off a letter telling us about your Unsung Hero candidate to: Herald-Zeitung Heroes 707 Landa St.
New Braunfels, TX 78130. Nominations may also be faxed to 625-1224. Make sure to include your own name and daytime telephone number.
Deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Monday.
Auditions slat od for Shakespeare comedy
Auditions for the Circle Arts Theatre production of Twelfth Night.' will be held Monday, Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. The production, scheduled for an April run, will be given a new twist - the action being set on a Texas ranch, with the Kuke (Orsini) cast in the mold of John Wayne.
Roles exist for four women, ages 20 to 50, and six men, ages 20 to 45. For further information, cal! the theater office at 625-4824.
Maskenball gives revelers a taste of Mardi Gras German style
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
Lovers of German culture have one last chance to lose all inhibitions and party the night away before Lent arrives — Maskenball.
The New Braunfels German-American Society presents this year’s masked ball next Friday, Feb. 16 at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Festivities will begin at 8 p.m.
“We encourage people to come out — it’s a fun tradition,” said Maskenball chairwoman Pearly Sowell.
Costumes aren’t required, but they’re half of the fun. This year’s “International” theme lets revelers show off their flair for the unique and exotic. Those with the best costumes will win prizes.
“They can come any way they want to,” Sowell said. “There will also be a special prize for what the judges think is the most unique.”
Music by the Seven Dutchmen will propel dancing feet. Intermission will also be enlivened by entertainment this year.
Beer and setups will be available and guests may bring their own beverages.
Tickets are available from German-American Society members or at the door — $6 in advance and $7.50 the night of the dance.
Proceeds from the Maskenball go toward scholarships for high school German language students, Sowell said. “That’s our target for each year,” she said — "we have a student from each one of the high schools."
The scholarships go to students who are planning to continue studying German and who have a certain grade point average, she said.
Speaking several languages is going to be a necessity, not an option, in tomorrow’s shrinking world, Sowell said.
Costumes for the Maskenball can be had at two local shops — Abra
cadabra Costumes Theatrical Illusions at 726 Walnut Street and the costume shop on Castell Avenue across from the old Winn’s.
When area residents put on their costumes and their dancing shoes next Friday night, they will be continuing a German tradition that dates back to at least the 1200s, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
New Braunfels area residents went to a several Maskenballen during the pre-Lent season, Sowell said. “When I was a young girl, I remember my aunts and uncles went to them at different dance halls throughout the county,” she said, “one here, one there — it was a whole circuit."
Early German Maskenballen were often the culmination of “Fasching.” Called Fastnacht or Kameval in different parts of Germany and Austria, this festival was the German-speaking equivalent of Mardi Gras or Brazil’s Camaval.
Many German Faschings start on Jan. 6. Tile festival was celebrated most elaborately in Cologne, and it began at the I Uh hour of the I Uh day of the I Uh month of each year.
During Fasching, “the rules and order of daily life were subverted,” Britannica says. Dignitaries sometimes handed keys to the city and rule for a day to a council of fools — or even women.
As well as Maskenballen, revelers attended satirical plays and speeches and read newspaper columns lampooning the clergy and government officials of the day.
Parties took to the streets and festivities built to a fevered pitch by Fasching’s climax on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.
As for New Braunfels’ 1996 Maskenball, “Just come out and think not, ‘someone’s going to entertain me,’ but ‘I’m going to have some fun,’” Sowell said.
Pedestrian struck on 81
An El Paso man is in undetermined condition at University Hospital after a pedestrian-vehicle accident on Highway 81 near Taco Cabana last night.
According to New Braunfels Police reports, Hector Rubalcava was hit by an Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by Sherry Jo Hansmann of New Braunfels at about 10:08 p.m. He reportedly walked in front of her car. Both were flown to University Hospital. Hansmann was treated and released, but Rubalcava was still in the operating room at press time.
Case called a victory for property rights
H«rak) Zeitung photo by MICHAEL DARNALL
The costumes ars half the fun at Maskenball
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
A Comal County jury handed property rights advocates a big victory yesterday when it declared Kenneth Allen Gerhard Lukacik not guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Lukacik defended himself in the case, which was prosecuted by District Attorney Bill Reimer.
The charges against Lukacik stemmed from an incident that happened near the edge of Lukacik’s Comal County property early in December 1993.
Barbara Gomez, now 25 and living in Dallas, filed a complaint with the Comal County Sheriffs Department against Lukacik in 1993 saying he had threatened her with a rifle, shooting in her direction when she was near his property.
Gomez testified that she was staying at her father’s property, near Lukacik’s, at the time of the incident, and that she went outside to investigate when she heard gunshots.
She said her dog was not inside her father’s house and she was afraid for his safety. Gomez testified that she went toward the sound of the shots, near a wire fenceline and stone wall, but never crossed the fenceline.
However, when Lukacik spotted her, he fired his rifle toward her, Gomez testified. She said he never warned or yelled before opening fire.
Lukacik did not deny that he fired shots. A videotape and pictures of two trees near the fenceline, each hit by a bullet, were entered into evidence.
Lukacik never took the stand in his defense, but he made statements while questioning witnesses.
He said that he believed he saw a trespasser, and that he feared for the safety of his livestock and his children.
Lukacik said he only fired three times, and that the shots were warning shots. Lukacik called Todd Costen as a character witness and an expert on guns — Costen runs a hunting ranch in Bexar County.
Costen testified that Lukasic is “A very good marksman.”
Reimer asked Costen if he would fire a gun in the air or near a trespasser without talking to him first. “No,” Costen said. Since Lukacik didn’t take the stand, he didn’t testify himself whether he had given Gomez a verbal
Foundation for Liberty assisted in defense
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
Kenneth Allen Gerhard Lukacik defended himself in his trial for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. “I can’t find an attorney who can do it properly,” he said.
Lukacik fired two attorneys since the charge was filed and began working on his own defense about seven months ago, he said.
But Lukacik did have his own “defense team.” He was assisted throughout the mal by members of the “Foundation for Liberty.”
The Foundation for Liberty meets to study law. One of their objectives is to be able to defend themselves in court without the help of an attorney. “You can’t trust any of them,” one member said.
Lukacik periodically turned to receive notes from his fellow Foundation for Liberty members during his trial. Lukacik said his rights had been violated numerous times since
he was charged — that he never was properly “Mirandized” or arraigned and that three judges dealing with his case were working without an oath of office on file. “They would not allow me basic things like evidence and who they were bringing to testify,” he said.
The Miranda rule wasn’t used, District Attorney Bill Reimer said, because it only needs to be used when taking down a confession-type statement, and Lukacik never confessed to anything. “He was arraigned before the trial," Reimer said, “And the judge, in extra caution, arraigned him before the court.”
People who represent themselves, Reimer said, often think their rights are being violated simply because they don’t understand the technicalities of court proceedings.
lf Lukacik found himself in a similar situation with a possible trespasser again — “There’s probably only one thing I won’t do and that’s make a warning shot,” he said.
warning first or not.
Lukacik had chosen 30 witnesses, but he only called a few. “After I saw what went on up here I decided I didn’t need to call the rest,” he said in his closing argument.
“I did defend my property but I did not use deadly force,” he said.
Reimer quoted the penal cock; regarding use of deadly force to defend property.
The Texas Penal Code says, “A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
■ to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery or theft dunng the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime, or
■ to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft dunng the nighttime from escaping with the property, and
he reasonably believes that:
■ the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
■ the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to substantial nsk of death or senous bodily injury.
The jury of seven men and five women started deliberating late Thursday morning and returned their verdict at about 3:30 p.m. They gave Lukacik a warning along with the not guilty verdict, saying his actions were “extremely hazardous,” Reimer said.
Reimer said he was not surprised by the verdict. “Most people think you can use a great deal of force to defend your property,” Reimer said. “There’s a very strong stance for property rights in this county.”
“The penal code is very specific,” said Sheriff Jack Bremer later. “In the first place, you shouldn’t trespass on anyone’s property,” he said, but trespass only becomes a crime if it is intentional.
“The thing property owners should do is contact law enforcement and not take matters into their own hands,” he said.
“lf you live out in the county, and you’ve got kids that run around in the neighborhood, you’d better keep them inside,” Reimer said.
New community development director sees need for affordable housing
This newspaper is printed on recycled newsprint
By SUSAN FLYNT ENGLAND
Mark Mitchell knows his alphabet soup. Mouthfuls such as CDBGs, the NRDFC, HUD, M A., and Ph.D.
As New Braunfels’ new community development director, Mitchell has the training and experience to translate those acronyms into how to get New Braunfels money for the things it needs.
“I was bom and raised in Converse, just down the road,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been doing community development since about 1988.”
Mitchell holds a masters degree from The University of Texas at Dallas in public affairs. He’s ready to write the dissertation that will mean a Ph.D. in political economy and regional devel
opment from the same school.
He is an expert in asking a community what it needs and getting useful answers. Mitchell studied housing needs for the city of Dallas using drive-by surveys and questionnaires.
He used a phone survey to let United Way of Dallas know the city’s social service needs. "About half of the surveyors were Spanish speaking," Mitchell said.
The Community Development Advisory Committee has helped Mitchell hit the ground running, he said. “You actually have direct involvement from people in the community, from the neighborhoods, from business, from banks.”
Mitchell said affordable housing holds the top spot on the list of New Braunfels’ fiiture development needs.
“That’s an area we really have to focus in on,” he said. “We need to learn what resources we have, and what type of strategies would best help preserve neighborhoods, especially for the lower income neighborhoods.”
New Braunfels needs programs to build affordable housing, Mitchell said. “It is a very tight housing market,” he said.
But giving people access to that housing is just as important. “Programs like housing counseling, down payment assistance — they’re at such early stages that we’re trying to identify what the needs are, what strategies would be best for the city.” Recognizing the different needs of New Braunfels’ Hispanic community will also be important, Mitchell said. Moving to New Braunfels is some
thing of a dream come true for Mitchell. “I’ve beep coming up to New Braunfels just to visit on the weekends,” he said. “I’m thrilled at the prospect of actually being able to live here.”
Mitchell said working with the city staff gives him the best of both worlds. “The city staff are very professional, but also they’re very warm and friendly”
New Braunfels’ historic homes attracted Mitchell, who lived in a historic home in the King William section of San Antonio.
“When ifs a smaller city like this, more people are directly involved, and it’s not just ownership, ifs a sense of pride.”
Mark MitchellFor subscription or advertising information, call the Herald-Zeitung at 625-9144.