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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 12, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas FELS 0 non9 in/2 ) Uh VI hi I CRUPI J Bl. 6 27 lh Yr IMT) hi I DI Herald-Zeii 'DINU Vol. 148, No. 61    22    pages    in    2    sections    February    12,    1999 Friday Serving Comal County since 1852 SO centsSenate set for impeachment vote; acquittal expected ; WASHINGTON (AP) — With acquittal assured, the Senate talked its way through a final full day of closed-door deliberations Thursday at President Clinton’s impeachment trial, set for climactic noontime votes today in the case that one Democrat called “this sordid saga.” Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine became die fourth Republican to declare her intention to vote to acquit on both charges, following the lead of other moderates who broke party ranks a day earlier. Several senators predicted that Susan Collins of Maine would be the fifth, although her office declined comment. Inside the chamber, where Chief Justice William Rehnquist presided, the talk was blunt at times. “Over and over and over again, from both sides of the aisle,” senators denounced the president as a liar, GOP Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah said later. Bennett predicted that Clinton would go down in history as “the most accomplished polished liar we’ve ever had in the White House.” The very name “Clinton,” he forecast, will become part of the lexicon as “a synonym for an elegant, well-crafted lie.” A two-thirds vote is required to convict the president and remove him from office, and there was no chance of that happening. Instead, whatever suspense lingered at the end of the five-week trial was whether either article of impeachment would attain a bare majority — a psychological threshold that had no bearing on Clinton’s fate. Republicans have a 55-45 majority in the Senate.CLINTON A steady stream of lawmakers came forward Thursday to announce their intentions for the roll calls on peijury and obstruction of justice, dividing hugely along party lines on presidential guilt or innocence but offering nonpartisan condemna tions of Clinton’s behavior with Monica Lewinsky. “In my heart and in my mind, I believe to a moral certainty that my verdict is just,” Snowe declared in a written statement. “There can be no doubt that President Clinton’s conduct has made a mockery of most of his words, or that his example has been corrosive beyond calculation to our culture and to our children,” said Oregon Republican Gordon Smith, who said he would vote to convict. “No one, not any senator in this chamber nor any person in this country, will look at this president in the same way again,” said Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, who said he would vote for acquittal on both charges. Sen. Joseph Lieberman said he had concluded that Clinton Is “wrongdoing in this sordid saga does not justify making him the first president to be ousted from office in our history.” The Connecticut Democrat had commanded nationwide attention last September with highly critical words about Clinton’s behavior at a time the White House still hoped to avoid congressional action. Among Democrats, Senate aides said the only question was whether Robert C., Byrd of West Virginia, a longtime party leader, would break ranks. Initial work expected to begin next weekend By Chris Crews Staff Writer The first major post-flood cleanup effort in the Guadalupe River will take place next weekend, local officials said Thursday. Comal County Judge Danny Scheel said the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority agreed to cut the river flow to 125 cubic feet per second beginning next Friday morning. That will allow divers, sponsored by the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and local outfitters, to enter the river and remove small debris and mark large impediments, Scheel said. “This will open the river back for us,” Scheel said. Soon after last October’s flood, the county erected signs at river entrances warning dangerous conditions existed and advising against entering the river for recreational purposes. Scheel said he hoped the weekend event would allow officials to open the river for recreational use. “If the river is safe, we will take the signs down,” Scheel said. The cleanup will cover an area of the river from Farm-to-Market Road 306 to Cypress Bend Park in New Braunfels. The cleaning event will begin one day after contractors from across the country bid for the cleanup of the river channel. Officials said they expected to all bids to be completed by Feb. 19. A contract would then be awarded by Feb. 22. County Engineer Tom Homseth said work done earlier might be recognized as in-kind service and reduce the county’is portion of the cleanup bill. The cleanup will be funded with a combination of federal and county money. Paul Rich, owner of Mountain Breeze outfitters, said river businesses had been assigned sections for the cleanup. “After that weekend, we’re going to have the channel clean and we’ll be able to put people in the river,” Rich said. Rich said outfitters and campgrounds had received a many inquiries for the upcoming tourist season. “A lot of places are already booked for Memorial Day, and we’re getting a lot of interest for spring break,” he said. Hill Street project will give drivers the blues Getting it clean By Chris Crews Staff Writer By Chrb Crews and Bai. O’Connell Staff Writers Motorists traveling through downtown New Braunfels might have to slow down during the next few weeks as railroad crews work on usual during peak drive times starting Wednesday. The 200 and 300 blocks of West San Antonio will experience temporary lane closures as Union Pacific crews install crossing gates at the Missouri-Pacific tracks. “It probably would be worthwhile to avoid that area,” city manager Mike Shands said. Greg Malatek, area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, said Union Pacific officials informed him this past week that the gates would be installed. He said the devices would prevent motorists from hurrying across the tracks ahead of oncoming trains. The railroad project is expected to take three to four weeks. The section of Hill Street south of the tracks to Cross Street will be closed to through traffic, Malatek said The section of Hill Street that runs in front of New Braunfels Fire Station No. I will remain open. Malatek said he had hoped for more notice from Union Pacific. “The railroad being the railroad, they’re coming in,” Malatek said. “We had hoped for four months’ notice and got about a week-and-a-half.” Union Pacific officials said the intersection was designated for safety improvements in 19%. Shands reportedly gave final approval for the project this past year, and TxDOT approved the final plans in October. “Once we get authorization to perform any kind of upgrade it usually takes 12 to 18 months, so this is going pretty quickly,” Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said. He said the railroad company kept state and local officials informed about the project. “Since everybody knew about this, I don’t know who was supposed to be talking to who,” Davis said. See BLUES/5A County reserves could be drained by cleanup effort ‘7 thank the previous commissioners courts for building a large reserve, because we are going to need it.” County Commissionar Jack Dawson, speaking about the upcoming flood ctamuD protect, estimated at to a million awes# wwwwwiNa    wan    iimiwii A drive on River Road gives the observer an idea of the destruction wielded by last October's flood. After the cleanup is paid for, the destruction also will be felt in Comal County’s reserve funds. Officials at the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service estimated the project to clear the river channel would cost about $2.4 million. NRCS will provide 75 percent of the money with 25 percent coming from the county. County Commissioner Jack Dawson said the county likely would dip into the general fund reserves to pay its share. “I thank the previous commissioners courts for building a large reserve because we are going to need it,” Dawson said. “Without it, we couldn’t help anybody or even rebuild our roads.” County Auditor David Renken said the county’s reserve fund fluctuated between $3 million and $7 million dollars, depending on tax collections. However, the average daily balance was about $4 million. See RESERVES/5A ROK CORNETTI teNO-ZHung Contractors work to clear flood debris from alongside River Road in this November file photo. Cleanup work on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers is expected to fully begin later this month, after aH work bids have been received. Inside Abby.....................................7A Business..............................5A Classifieds......................5-1    OB Comics.................................SA Crossword...........................7A Forum..................................6A Local....................................4A Obituaries............................3A Sports...............................1-4B Today..................................2A Television............................SAAnnexation, future growth part of comprehensive plan (Editor’s Note: Today’s story is the sixth in a series on the comprehensive plan for the city of New Braunfels.) By Chris Crews Staff Writer Annexation and how New Braunfels will grow are important elements of the city’s comprehensive plan for the next 20 years. Proposals for the master plan will be discussed at a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the New Braunfels municipal building, 424 S. Casten Ave. Annexing land along major farm-to-market roads has been at the forefront of recent expansions. Harry Bennett, the city’s director of planning, said that type of annexation had a specific purpose. “The philosophy guiding that was to protect us from encroachment from cities like San Antonio,” Bennett said. A steering committee on annex ation and economic realities might take future annexation in another direction. “I think we will likely start to fill in the inside of the “fingers” created by annexation along the roadways,” Bennett said. “Running a main line four miles out Farm-to-Market Road 725 to serve six people doesn’t make a lot of economic sense.” Interlocal agreements between the city and San Marcos and Schertz virtually eliminated the threat of encroachment from those cities. The city was working on a similar agreement with Seguin, Bennett said. The city has another source of motivation to develop their annexation plans as soon as possible. Under state law, municipalities have two years to begin supplying services to annexed areas and 4 1/2 years to complete those services. The Texas Legislature is studying the possibility of changing those parameters. “The legislature might be about to rein in some of the powers cities have regarding annexation,” Bennett said. Copies of the comprehensive plan are available to the public at the municipal building and Dittlinger Memorial Library, 373 Magazine Ave. ;