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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 12, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2004 SPORTS HAVING A BALL NBHS grad Matt Hogue is now enjoying basketball and college life in general at nearby Trinity University. Page 5 COUPONS 'LOVE' TO SAVE Riverview Baskets, Gaudy Chic, Money Mart Pawn, Lone Star Wireless, Blumenmeisters offer Valentine's deals. Inside Serving New Braunfels emu ■ty since 1852. Vol. 153, No. 80 10 pages, 1 section ck I SOO L WWW. 56825 00001 LJS ™ Mostly cloudy High Low 44 30 Details 6 DEAR ABBY 8 CLASSIFIEDS 9-10 COMICS CROSSWORD FORUM OBITUARIES SPORTS TV GRIDS Hotel tax income hits a record high From Staff Reports New Braunfels’ revenue from hotel taxes has reached a record high. T his revenue increase is “crucial” to keeping local property tax rates down, said Michael Meek, Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce president. I lotel tax revenue reported in the 2003 calendar year is up 3.67 percent more than the previous record year of 2001 and 22 percent more than the flood year of 2002, Meek said. Last year’s fourth quarter hotel tax revenue exceeded the previous year’s fourth quarter earnings. I lotel tax revenue is indica tive of strong sales tax revenue because tourists buy locally. After the 2002 flood, hotel tax and sales tax revenue dropped dramatically, impacting the city, which relies on the income for 20 percent of its budget. Following the flood, the chamber instituted a recovery plan that generated thousands of dollars in publicity statewide. “We estimated at the time of the flood that the recovery would take two to three years to reach the same revenue levels of 2001," Meek said. “We were very pleased to learn that we reached that goal in one year." See HOTEL TAX. Page 2A FRONTand Center Polka-palooza! Three days, eight bands music you can handle Area polka band leaders prepare for this weekend's Polka Fest. Clockwise from bottom are Pearly Sowell, Rennie Guenther, Roy Haag, Gordon Zunker, John Kaderli and Urban Kneupper. Polka Fest celebrates area heritage By Dylan Jimtnez Staff Writer There’s more than 200 years of polka music playing among the eight bands scheduled for Polka Fest this weekend. The Polka Band leaders of New Braunfels have hosted the multi-day concert and dance for nine years, trying to maintain New Braunfels’ rich cultural heritage. “The bands keep it going,” said Pearly Sowell, of the band Oma and the Oompahs. “We wanted to keep the spirit of the polka music going.” first year, about 1,000 people from 17 states attended Polka Fest. Most who come to die event are 40 to 80 years old, said David Smith, percussionist for Oma and the Oompahs. Smith has been polka dancing since he was a small boy. ‘Uptown’ inspired by downtown Retail center off the loop will even have a gazebo By Scott Mahon Staff Writer Developers of a proposed retail center told city and chamber officials Wednesday they would recreate an “old downtown” atmosphere in one of the city’s higher traffic areas. A proposed 60,000 square-feet, two-story, retail development at Loop 337 and Sum-merwood Drive will include include a 10,000 square-feet ballroom, restaurants, a gazebo, clothing outlets and other retail stores, developers said. James Boyd, vice president of Premier Systems, said the project will be “reminiscent of old downtown New Braunfels and will have a view of downtown." “It ll be called Uptown Plaza, and we hope to start construction within the next for polka music, and local band leaders hope to keep that culture going. "We’re trying to remind people how many bands there used to be in New Braunfels,’’ said Roy Haag, who hosts a German music show online at The show started on New Braunf els radio more than 50 years ago, highlighting local German-style music. Haag is working to put together a display of local polka band history for Saturday and Sunday Polka Fest shows. “Gruene Hall even started out as a polka band hall,” he said. DAVID INGRAM/ Herald-Zeitung NINTH ANNUAL NEW BRAUNFELS POLKA FEST ■ Schedular 5:45 to 9 p.m., Friday. American Legion Hall. 410 W Coll St 1:30 a m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Knights of Columbus Hall. 111 Landa St. 11 a m. to 7 p.m., Sunday. Knights of Columbus Hail • Tickets: In advance — all weekend $12 50, Saturday $750, Sunday $6 50 Advance tickets available at the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce or China-rvThmgs At the door — all weekend $15. Friday $4, Saturday $9, Sunday $8 • Information: Call Pearly Sowell. 625-9288 Courtesy Premier Systems six months,” Boyd said. “We expect to complete* the project within one to two years." Boyd said his company will be working closely with the chamber and the city. “We hope to recruit retailers like Red Lobster and Landrys restaurant," he said. “Uptown Plaza will be restaurant based, but it will also be a multi-purpose development that will, See RETAIL. Page 2A But for those new to the polka scene, Smith said dancing to the music is as easy as counting one-two-three. And Sowell, who has played polka music for 60 years, says polka still is a strong institution in New Braunfels. “Last year, I was amazed,” Sowell said. “There were a number of younger couples.” Several bands—each with a different style — make up the city’s polka sound, Sowell said. Oma and the Oompahs is booked for more than 50 shows a year. “We play all over the place all year round,” Smith said. Soweil said many other areas looked to New Braunfels Sugpmerwood Drive1 Cold weather in store; no burning today By Bon Maloney Staff Writer Wednesday’s rains will give way today to blustery north winds and cooler temperatures behind a front that blew through overnight. T he expected winds have caused Comal County Fire Marshal Un Manford tc issue a warning against outdoor burning today — just days after the county lifted its burn ban. “Even though the ban has been lifted and it has been raining for several days, outdoor burning will not be allowed Thursday, Feb. 12," W FORECAST Manford said. “Those are state rules. It’s not something I can waive.” Manford said state law prohibited burning when winds were predicted to be less than 6 mph or more than 23 mph during the bum peri-• 5-day outlook.    od. Any burn- Pa9e 6    ing,    Manford said, must comply with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rules. National Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Brundrett said sustained winds of IO to 20 mph with gusts to 40 mph would follow an upper-level disturbance that came through overnight, bringing colder temperatures. “We’re expecting Ughs in the 40s, maybe 50 degrees,” Brundrett said, [vows tonight are expected to be in the low to mid-30s — dose to freezing. Friday night. Brundrett said, some i iii] Country areas could see snow tlurries. "Right now, the models are showing the possibility, but not ail the models are showing it. Stay tuned; the forecasts could change radically,” he said. Tracking the news TOP DOG LAST WE KNEW: Local dalmatian Gambler and his owner, Suzan Casey, were on their way to the Westminster Dog Show in New York. LATEST: Gambler did not place in his group Monday. NEXT: Gambler will attend more dog shows and enter the stud market as a champion sire. New Braunfels, T X Look in the classifieds Fri. A Sun.' for our pre-owned Specials! [email protected] Love story After 50 years, Jeff and Vergie Van Kleef treat every day like it's Valentine's Day. ;