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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 15, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels SATURDAY February 15, 2003 14 pages in 2 sections MMpi    14    pages    in    I    secHerald-Zeitung "a - \ <" \y.s 44- ii ....... , I Vol. 152, No. 81 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 * 50 cents Flume hands in 4B fund petition iWhafs next el ■ City Secretary Michael Resendez has five days to certify the signatures on the Flume petition, ■ City council has 10 days after that to pass an ordinance or resolution placing the issue on the ballot. ■ The wording of the ballot proposition must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice. ■ Voters decide on May 3 whether to reduce the 4B tax from 3/8s of a cent to 1/Bth of a cent and institute a 1/4-cent tax for repairing city streets. By Dylan Jimenez and Ron Maloney Staff Writers New Braunfels District 3 Councilwoman Debbie Flume turned in approximately 1,200 signatures Friday on a petition that would give voters the choice of whether to divert economic development funds to street repair. At midday Friday, Flume was still scrambling to gather and confirm signatures for her petition. The group Man arrested, charged with setting own house on fire By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SAN MARCOS — A 53-year-old former Canyon Lake resident has been indicted and arrested on an arson charge in connection with the $260,000 fire that destroyed his home this past August. Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford said Richard Allen Fields was arrested Thursday night at his home in Woodcreek, a Hays County community near Wimberley. He was booked into the Hays County Jail and posted $10,000 bail Friday. Fields’ arrest came in connection with the Aug. 24, turned in the signatures just IO minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline. Flume wants to divert two-thirds of the 4B tax, which is now earmarked for economic development —three-eighths of a cent on a dollar — to road repairs. She said that was the intent of the original tax when it was established in the 1990s. In 2000, voters agreed to merge the economic development and infrastructure/Inside 2002, fire that destroyed his two-story home located on the 600 block of Abel’s Way in the Eden Ranch subdivision. Manford said Fields was home alone during the fire, which occurred late at night. The fire was suspicious almost from the beginning of the investigation, Manford said. “There were a lot of inconsistencies in Mr. Fields’ accounts to investigators,” Manford said. An investigator from the state fire marshal’s office was caUed in to assist with a dog trained to detect flammable liquids.See FIRE/3A Abby.............................. 5A Church Directory............. 7A Classifieds........................ T6R Comics.......................— BA Crossword.................... BA Forum........................... 6A Local/State................... 4A Movies.......................... BA Sports........................... 1-2B Today........................... 2A Key Code 76 improvement taxes and dropped limits on what percentage could be spent on either. Her proposal, she said, would help get street projects done. Flume and supporters began their petition drive Feb. I, holding signs on Main Plaza and walking door to door in residential areas to round up the 947 signatures she needed. See PETITION/3A K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitunc Councilwoman Debbie Flume (far right) turns in the signatures she helped collect in an attempt to have funds diverted to road repair, to City Secretary Michael Resendez, with supporters Betty Dunkin, Notary Ralph Buller and District 4 Councilman Robert Kendrick (from left). Attorney, informant clash in testimony By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The paid informant who could send Arnaldo Aleman Gomez to prison for the rest of his life clashed Friday with defense* attorney Joseph Garcia III during cross-examination. The informant, a former Canyon Lake resident now serving 37 years in prison for a 2002 New Braunfels bank robb€*ry, was brought into District Court Fnday in handcuffs and chains? He made it very clear he didn’t want to be there, and he never looked up from the witness stand during his testimony. If he had, he would have seen Gomez and other members of the Gomez family watching his every word Gomez, 18, faces 25 to 99 years in prison if convicted on any of five counts in the trial being conducted before 274th Judicial District Judge Gary Steel. The defendant stands charged with his brother, Rodolfo, 39, and sister, Sandra, 41, with engaging in an organized criminal activity by: ■ Possession with intent to distribute heroin; ■ Possession with intent to deliver cocaine; ■ Possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine; ■ Possession of between 4 ounces and 5 pounds of marijuana; and ■ Unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. See TESTIMONY/3A 0    56825    00001    i Casteel’s bills all aimed at county By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer State Rep. Carter Casteel, R-New Braunfels, filed her first pieces of legislation this week — three bills, all dealing with Comal County legal issues. “We’ve got ’em rolling and I’m glad to get ’em filed,” Casteel said Friday. House Bill 871 will establish Comal County Court-at-Law Number Two, which will mirror the existing statutory court. ‘The creation of this second county court-at-law will give the current county court-at-law judge and the district judges relief from the growing case load,” Casteel said. “The case load has increased tremendously in the last two years.” The second county court-at-law will hear misdemeanors and family law cases and proceedings. It will also bring in more revenue, which Casteel said she expects to offset the court’s costs. Then there is House Bill 934. It will allow for increased input and offer a broader perspective to the Juvenile Board, Casteel said. “The proposed legislation adds two additional members — un additional district court judge and the criminal district attorney, with the D.A. voting only in the event of a tie — to the current board. The 207th District judge, county judge and county court-at-law judge make up the board,” Casteel said. Finally, House Bill 935 authorizes creating a magistrate position for Comal County. It also establishes the qualifications and responsibilities of that position. Currently, the justices of the peace and county judge perform this duty, each with an assigned weekday and alternating weekends, So having that position tills in the gap until the second county-court-at-law judge is available, Casteel said. Casteel said the magistrate would assist in the processing of accused offenders at the Comal County Jail, reading them their rights and establishing bonds for them.HBI Flowerpower (Right) Hard at work making last-minute requests, Rose Sassenhagen turned out to be the only rose left in Fancie Flowers, 940-1 San Antonio St. Shortly after 2 p.m., Terry Voges received a call at her shop from a man desperate to find roses for someone. After some moments, Voges turned to her other employees; “He wanted to make sure we didn’t have any left in our back yard that we could dig up.” After selling through 1,200 roses, customers at the flower shop were becoming creative. (Above) Jonathan Torres and Sam Trevino came in looking for something special for their wives. The four would be double-dating later in the evening, and the two friends decided on wrist corsages for their significant others. The two men had planned the dinner, but were leaving the rest of the night up to their better halves. “Dinner, a movie, dancing,” Torres said, whatever they wanted, the corsages would easily go with any of the special moments the evening presented. K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zertung ;