New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 9, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
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Vol. 149 No. 59 18 pgs. in 2 sections February 9, 2000
Serving Comal County since 1852
CISD trustees want to talk bond concerns
By Heather Todd
Two Comal Independent School District trustees say they are determined to make trustees and the public address what they call serious problems with the $141 million bond plan approved by voters in May.
Trustees John Ber-telsen and Lester W. Jonas, who have been harshly criticized lately for supporting an alternative bond plan, will present some concerns they have with Proposition 2 of the bond package at the board meeting 6 p.m. Thursday at Canyon im,.„ Intermediate
J0NAS School, 1275
N. Business 35.
Bertelsen said many parents did not know the potential impact of the proposed elementary school attendance zones on w here their children would attend school and the distance they would have to drive to get to those schools.
In other business, trustees also are scheduled to discuss changing the 1999-2000 school calendar requiring Smithson Valley High and Smithson Valley Middle school students to attend class on March 17, nounally a bad weather/make up day.
The calendar change is in response to missed class time because of bomb threats and evacuations Jan. 13 - Jan. 30.
Bertelsen said he requested discussion of long-range plans for facilities as a way to open discussion among trustees about potential problems with the original bond plan.
Bertelsen and Jonas said they
■ WHAT: Comal Independent School District trustees meeting
■ WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday
■ WHERE: Canyon Intermediate School, 1275 N. Business 35
hoped the board would discuss ways to achieve balanced enrollment, minimize boundary line changes, improve traffic congestion and shorten travel distance to schools.
Bertelsen said he has requested the item remain pennanently on the agenda until the issues are resolved or before trustees select a site for the new Canyon Lake high school.
In May 1999, CISD voters passed a $141 million, two-phase bond plan that included building three new elementary schools and a new high school in the Canyon Lake area.
Trustees already have closed on sites for two of the new elementary schools — one at Cranes Mill Road and one at Hoffman Lane and Farm-to-Market 306.
Trustees have selected the general area for the third school — west of U.S. 281 in the Cibolo Creek area — but have not chosen a site.
Under proposition 2 of the bond plan, the new Canyon Lake high school would open no sooner than 2004.
The district’s eight-member bond oversight committee rejected Bertelsen s alternate plan in January, but unanimously agreed it had serious concerns about the current plan.
The new elementary schools are scheduled to be completed in
Chamber seeking new visitor center on Seguin Avenue
By Peri Stone-Palmquist
A renegotiated contract gives the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc. the “stability” it needs to pursue a visitor center in a new, more strategic location, chamber president Michael Meek said.
The chamber’s previous contract with
the city — which guarantees the chamber a portion of bed tax revenue in exchange for tourism promotion — would have expired Dec. 31,2001.
“By the time we’d get ready to build this (new visitor center) is the time our old contract would have expired,” Meek said. “This gives us the stability we need to make
In January, city council agreed to extend the chamber’s contract until Dec. 31,2004.
A new $80,000 to $ 100,000 visitor center — funded strictly through private donations — could be open by then.
The chamber has been talking to the Texas Department of Transportation since
1994 about a site on the Interstate 35 access road and Seguin Avenue.
Now tliat plans with the interstate expansion are complete, TxDOT likely will finalize an agreement with the chamber in the next three months, TxDOT resident engineer Greg Malatek said.
The agreement will outline issues such as
who will maintain the property, Malatek
“We’ll submit an agreement to the chamber, and then they’ll be responsible for approaching the city,” he said.
The existing visitor center is off InterstateSee CENTER/5A
SV students will make up for lost time
From Staff Reports
Students at two western Comal school district schools will start making up for lost time this week after a number of false bomb threats and evacuations.
On Thursday and Friday, students at Smithson Valley Middle and Smithson Valley High schools will attend classes until 4:30 p.m.
In addition, SVHS and SVMS students also will attend school
on March 17, previously a bad weather make-up day and the Comal County Youth Show day.
Students at SVMS off Farm-to-Market 311 have been evacuated three times since Jan. 13, including Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, because of written bomb threats found on campus.
Because of the number of evacuations, students at SVHS also will have class until 4:30 p.m. on Monday and Feb. 18.
Key Code 76
Texas 130 project up for public input
From staff reports
SEGUIN — Local residents will have a chance to comment on Texas 130, a proposed 91-mile relief route for Interstate 35, when the Texas Turnpike Authority conducts a simultaneous public hearings Thursday in Round Rock, Austin and Seguin.
A final alignment for the highway has not been determined, but the possible turnpike could be parallel to and east of Interstate 35. It could run from Texas 195 north of Georgetown to Interstate IO near
The purpose of the proposed project is to relieve congestion on Interstate 35 and other major transportation facilities within the Austin-San Antonio corridor.
In Seguin, the hearing will be at Seguin Coliseum, 810 S. Guadalupe.
In Austin, the hearing will be at Baibara Jordan Elementary School, 6711 Johnny Morris Road.
In Round Rock, the hearing will be at Stony Point High School,See HIGHWAY/3ATexas 130
■ WHAT: Public hearing on Texas 130
■ WHEN: 6 to 7:30 pm, open house; 7:30 p.m. formal presentation
■ WHERE: Seguin: Seguin Coliseum, 810 S. Guadalupe; Austin: Barbara Jordan Elementary School, 6711 Johnny Morris Road; Round Rock: Stony Point High School, 1801 Bowman Drive.
Plane crash kills one
New Braunfels man dies when aircraft nosedives off FM 306
By Erin MAGRUDER
A 36-year-old New Braunfels man died Tuesday afternoon when his single engine aircraft nose-dived into a vacant lot on River Chase Drive off Farm-to-Market Road 306.
The pilot, Michael Sooter, was the only occupant of the 1968 Beechcraft Muska-teer airplane that wimesses said was flying at a very low altitude before plummeting to the earth about 1:39 p.m., Department of Public Safety trooper James Jones said.
Sooter reportedly departed from New Braunfels Municipal Airport earlier Tuesday afternoon and might have experienced some type of engine trouble while frying over the River Chase development area, officials said.
“The pilot possibly had contact with the (New Braunfels Municipal Airport) tower and had some engine trouble. But we are waiting for (Federal Aviation Administration) to come out and investigate the crash,” Jones said.
New Braunfels Municipal Airport manager Darrell Phillips said Sooter was a familiar face at the airport.
“I knew him—he flew in and out of here a lot,” Phillips said.
Trae Binz, a superintendent working on a house about one-quarter of a mile away from the crash site, witnessed the final moments before the plane disappeared into a cluster of cedar trees.
“I was getting into my truck, and I saw the plane flying about 30 feet high. It was moving pretty fast,” Binz said. “Then his wings just stood up vertical, and he nosedived straight into the earth.”
Jack McNeal, who also was doing contract work at the house nearby, heard the crash and called 911.
“I heard the plane, and it sounded like it was going very fast,” McNeal said. “Then I heard the engine grow louder just before the impact and then bang — quiet... It was very loud and sudden. ... I didn’t want to believe what I’d heard.”
About eight to 10 planes were searching the area of the crash site looking for the downed aircraft before the plane was found by law enforcement officials, said Reena Udkler, a part-time receptionist at the airport.
DPS, Comal County Sheriff's Office
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
DPS Trooper James Jones, second from left, and an unidentified CCSO officer watch Canyon Lake Fire/EMS personnel remove the body of a 36-year-old New Braunfels man from his single-engine airplane.
and Canyon Lake Fire/EMS immediately responded to the crash but were unable to rescue Sooter, who probably was killed on impact, officials said.
Sooter was pronounced dead at 2: IO p.m. by Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Howard “Curly” Smith.
McNeal said officials told him the airplane
might have run out of fuel just before the crash.
“When I got to the plane, there was no fire, no explosion, and I couldn’t smell any fumes,” McNeal said. “They said the way the plane impacted, it should have ruptured the fuel tank.” The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.