New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 11, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
‘TUESDAY February ll, 2003
12 pages in 2 sections
T x r~w _Herald-Z eitung
Vol. 152, No. ll
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
Council turns to voters, seeking flexibility in civic center plans
By Bon Maloney Staff Writer
New Braunfels voters will have the opportunity in May to give the city a little more flexibility in how it addresses its needs for civic or convention facilities.
City Council voted 4-3 Monday night to pass a resolution to put a proposition on the May 3 ballot that would allow the city to spend Hotel
Occupancy Tax money to build a new civic/convention center — or expand the existing one.
The vote was not, however, a typical 4-3 City Council vote. It was a night for strange political bedfellows.
The motion that was accepted was made by Mayor Adam Cork and seconded by District 4 Council member Robert Kendrick.
Voting for it with Kendrick and Cork were District I representative
Sonia Munoz-Gill and District 3 Coun-cilmember Debbie Flume.
Mayor Pro Ibm Lee Rodriguez, District 2 Councilmember Larry Alexander and District 5 Councilmember Ken Valentine voted against it.
The resolution expands on the similar one passed in the May 2002 election by a 2-1 margin.
It would allow the use of HOT mon-
See CIVIC CENTENA
Architectural rendering of proposed civic center over Comal River.Proposed ballot question...
Proposition 1 on the May 3 municipal election ballot will read: “Shall the City of New Braunfels amend Section 122.31 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of New Braunfels to allow for the construction of a civic/convention center in the downtown area of New Braunfels?”
A “yes” vote would allow the city to use HOT tax money to construct a new civic/convention center or expand the existing one.
How they voted...
■ Motion was made by Mayor Adam Cork and seconded by District 4 Council member Robert Kendrick.
■ Voting for it with Kendrick and Cork were District 1 representative Sonia Munoz-Gill and District 3 Councilmember Debbie Flume.
City tempts industry with loan, tax breaks
By Bon Maloney
New Braunfels City Council approved Monday night a three-year, $600,000 nointerest loan and a package of tax incentives it hopes will bring a major injection-molding firm to the city.
Moll Industries Inc., a worldwide player in the injection molding of plastic products, is expected to bring 250 to 300 jobs to New Braunfels and $11 million in tax base to the city, county and Comal Independent School District.
Mayor Pro Tem Lee Rodriguez moved for approval of the loan, seconded by District 2 Councilmember Larry Alexander.
Voting with them (5-2) were Mayor Adam Cork, District I Councilmember Sonia Munoz-Gill and District 5 Councilmember Ken Valentine. District 3 Councilmember Debbie Flume and District 4 Councilmember Robert Kendrick voted against the loan because it was unsecured.
On the tax abatement,
Alexander moved approval and Rodriguez seconded. Flume was the lone councilmember voting against the abatement.
Moll Vice President for Operations Ron Embree said the firm would work now to sign a lease on its proposed New Braunfels site.
Round Rock is the other city in contention, but Embree said after Monday night’s council vote that his company was excited about New Braunfels, and implied that it is leaning in this direction.
“We haven’t signed the lease, but this vote tonight and the interest of this council goes a long way toward ensuring that. If we can finalize that lease, we’ll cut the Round Rock talks off,” Embree said.
“I think we’ll have a final decision by the end of the month.”
Council met with Moll officials in a special executive session to discuss the arrange-
See MOLL INDUSTRIES^
Environmental threat gone, but cleanup to take weeks
By Bon Maloney Staff Writer
Representatives from the firm that owns the Engel Road chemical warehouse destroyed in an alleged arson fire this past week met with its neighbors Sunday to outline cleanup efforts.
The contractor cleaning the site said it could take up to a month or a few weeks longer to finish the cleanup — but neighbors were assured that the threat to health or property from solvents or chemicals is gone.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the contractor who is cleaning the site and neighborhood in the aftermath of the million-dollar fire and the Texas Com
mission on Environmental Quality, which will oversee it.
About 20 neighbors attended the meeting, which was conducted in the New Braunfels Fire Department’s training room.
Rodney Scott owns Temple-based TEM-TEX with partner Ray Cohen, who manages the New Braunfels operation.
Scott opened the meeting describing his 42-year-old business and pointing out that for 21 years, his Engel Road neighbors have had no problems with his firm.
“I think we’ve been a good neighbor We’ve been considerate, haven’t been a burden and we’re not going to stop being a good neighbor now,”Teen charged
David Buffington, 17, was booked into Comal County Jail early Friday on a charge of arson causing injury, which is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
His bail is $100,000.
Scott said. “What happened Thursday night was not any fault of anything we did, and was not a result of anything any of you did. It was the result of a 17-year-old boy starting a fire,” Scott said.
At Sunday’s meeting, the neighbors were told Buffington told investigators he set
the fire “to see what would happen.”
“You might not believe this, but our company and our families are victims in this just as you are,” Scott said. “And we’ve lost much more in this than anyone here will.” Officials have estimated the loss at well in excess of $1 million.
Eagle Construction and Environmental Services Regional Manager Jeff West described the nature of the incident, the chemicals involved and what his company has done and will be doing to clean it up.
The warehouse contained soaps and solvents. The solvents that escaped their containment as 55-gallon drums exploded were flammable
and were burned up, West said.
What ran off the warehouse site with the water New Braunfels firefighters poured into the building were commercial soaps that were for the most part either organic or biodegradable, West said.
The ground had been saturated by recent rain and could absorb no more water, so the soap-laden runoff flowed as much as a mile from the site into a stock pond, which resulted in a fish kill.
But the news was mostly good, considering the scope of the fire and what was in the warehouse, West said.
Many drums and an 8,000-gallon bulk storage tank did not explode.
Key Code 76
NB teenager masters difficult art of ‘dressage’
By Sean Bowlin
Ryan Rushing is mastering the difficult art of training a horse in precision movement.
The sport is “dressage” — the classical ballet of the equine world. Rushing puts a horse, Kema-Kola, through a series of logical, natural, sequential exercises.
Rushing, a junior at New Braunfels High School, practices with “Kola” about one-and-a half hours daily, three to four days a week.
The practice improves Kola’s strength and balance as Rushing guides him through his trots, steps, canters, half-passes, trotting in place and other “gymnastic” movements — without bits or spurs.
And Rustling will break Kola’s aggressiveness down occasion
ally by tying the horse to a round pin and putting it through lunges and other movements until Kola is compliant.
It’s called round-pin reasoning — Kola has to know who is boss while also understanding that Rushing is a friend.
‘You’re trying to connect with Kola — this is all about making them want to do something. You get the connection to where the horse is wanting to do the moves,” Rushing said.
Sometimes, Rushing will spend an entire day practicing a movement and another day testing Kola’s execution of the movement. Other days, ifs lots of trotting and cantering for conditioning and suppleness, for Kola must be extremely fit to execute all movements.
Rushing has been in dressage
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Above, with slight pressure of the reins, Ryan Rushing communicates his commands to Kola. How the horse reacts to those commands is a result of hours of training and the bond Rushing has established with the animal. At left, dressage riders use a platform to get on their horses, saving the backs of their animals from any undue jolting from mounting on such a thinly-padded saddle.