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  • Location: New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 18, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels TUESDAY February 18, 2003 12 pages in 2 sections hmm    12    pages    in    2    secti<Herald-Zeitung 4 k*. * , , Hffeg>.....T Vol. 152, No. 83 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents Detectives: 5 of 6 arrested in drug raid had ‘needle tracks’ By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Three detectives with the Comal County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force described in detail Monday the investigation that led to the arrest of Arnaldo Gomez. They spoke of running their confidential informant on a series of four supervised drug buys at the Gomez residence on West Bridge Street and described the estimated $5,000 worth of drugs confiscated in the Dec. 13, 2001, SWAT raid on the home. They described used and unused hypodermic needles they said were strewn about the home. They showed pictures taken at booking of the occupants of the home at the time of the raid. Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Sanchez testified that all except one had “needle tracks” on their arms. “Needle tracks” are the puncture marks and scars left in lines over veins by repeated drug injections. They are a typical sign of drug addiction. Over objections raised by defense attorney Joseph Garcia III, Sanchez, a former investigator with the Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force who returned to uniformed service in 2002, described the needle marks he said he saw on the defendant. Gomez, 48, faces from 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; andSee DRUG TRIAL/8A Historic Developer has some ‘lofty’ plans in store for old LCRA power plant building By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Larry Peel can picture this: Trendy, high-rise “loft” apartments like those you can find in the Rust Belt cities of the Northeast and the Midwest. The view from the four upper floors through the large, wall-sized windows is as spectacular as any from Lakeview Drive. On two sides, it’s a Landa Park panorama. From a third, its a view over the rooftops of the historic downtown. From the last, one can look out over the West End and see nearly to Schertz. Inside, nestled among Industrial Age masonry and hot-riveted iron girders, are four glass-roofed, I-beam-lined atriums that rise 120 feet above the ground floor. In public space at ground level are a fitness center, a clubhouse that includes a stage and enough elevated seating for small concerts, a convenience store, retail kiosks, a beauty parlor and a barber shop. The lofts, including another 170 units in buildings nestled between lakes and pools around the property, are priced near the higher end of the local rental market and are designed for mature couples and empty-nesters. Peel pictures See TRENDY/8A trendy future DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zeitung Historian John Volz and developer Larry Peel (from left) discuss the renovations planned for the LCRA building on Landa Street. The building will retain much of the ironwork that hearkens back to its heritage. From the outside, the building will remain the landmark it has been since it was built in the 1920s. Caretaker recalls building’s heyday By Ron Maloney Staff Writer Chuck Welty knows his way around the LCRA power plant like nearly no one else does. Welty, of New Braunfels, went to work for the Lower Colorado River Authority in 1960, retiring in 1994. In his first job, he was a gate guard at what used to be called the Comal power plant on Landa Street. Then he moved inside to work in maintenance. From there, he moved into operations, becoming an assistant fireman, then a fireman, a pump man, a water tender and a turbine tender. He sees the plant differently than most people probably do. “This was a beautiful, beautiful building when it was in operation,” Welty told an interviewer in 1999. “It was a lot of fun.” The plant, completed in 1926, was originally designed to be built on the property along the Guadalupe River now called Camp Comal — adjacent to New Braunfels Utilities wastewater treatment plants. The plan was adjusted to fit the Comal River site when that parcel of land became available. The plant was designed to supply electricity See CARETAKER/8A DAVID INGRAM/Herald-Zertung Chuck Welty had been employed at the LCRA building since 1960. He is currently the caretaker of the building, which at one time was the largest power plant west of the Mississippi River. Inside Abby....................................5A Classifieds...........................3-4B Comics................................7A Crossword..........................5A Forum.................................6A Movies................................5A Obituaries...........................3A Sports ."...........;...1-2B Today  ....................2A Key Code 76 I "56825 00001    1 Public meeting to detail flood-control efforts What’s up? By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SMITHSON VALLEY — Flood control will be on the agenda Thursday night at a public meeting sponsored by the Comal County League of Women Voters. Comal County Engineer Ibm Hom-seth and Precinct I Commissioner Jack Dawson will update the league and its guests on county efforts to build a flood-control dam system and on the buyouts now under way of flood-damaged properties. Dawson has been heading up negotiations with nearly 30 property owners in unincorporated county areas who qualified for flood buyouts through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. He will update the league and guests on the progress of those efforts The League of Women Voters meeting on flood control takes place beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday In the conference room of the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative on Fami-to-Market Road 3159 in Smithson Valley and report any recent news on the issue. Hornseth has been working on the flood control project since the October 1998 flood. Comal County is seeking to build a series of five flood-control structures similar to ones now in place on Blie-ders Creek and the Dry Comal Creek. The Blieders Creek structure, built after the 1972 flood, is credited with reducing water levels in New Braunfels by several feet in the October 1998 flood. The way a flood control impound ment works is by backing up a large quantity of water behind a stone and earthen structure that allows only a small amount of water to pass through. It reduces the flood impact by holding back massive amounts of water that otherwise would have flooded downtown and releasing it over a longer period of time. In the wake of the 1998 flood, county officials commissioned a study and found locations where several of the structures could be built on the Dry Comal and Guadalupe watersheds to reduce flood waters in New Braunfels in the next disaster. Flach of the structures would cost several million or more dollars, involving a total price tag of between $40 million and $60 million by various estimates. The county has met all of FEMA’s See FLOOD CONTROL/8A Prominent pathologist drowns in hot tub By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A prominent local pathologist apparently drowned Monday afternoon in a hot tub at a New Braunfels fitness center. Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Diana Campos pronounced Dr. Franklin D. Foley, 69, dead at McKenna Memorial Hospital at 2:27 p.m. Monday. Foley’s body was taken to the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office. Police and paramedics were called to McKenna Health and Fitness, 700 block of Landa Street, at 1:53 p.m. Monday for a reported possible drowning. They arrived to find staff members of McKenna Health and Fitness performing cardiopulmonary’ resuscitation on Foley. New Braunfels Fire Department paramedics took Foley to the McKenna Memorial Hospital emergency room, where he was treated by Dr. John Flanagan and the emergency room staff. New Braunfels police reported that Flanagan ruled the death an accidental drowning due to hypoglycemia and respiratory failure. Foley was a McKenna Memorial Hospital pathologist. McKenna hospital and health and fitness center officials refused to comment on the death. CISD trustee seeks D-7 post By Sean Bowlin Staff Writer Comal Independent School District 7 Trustee Randall Pawelek has filed to seek election in the May 3. This is Pawelek’s first school board election. Rather than holding a special election in February 2003, he was appointed to the school board in November 2002 to replace District 7 representative John Clay. Clay resigned after he and his family moved to Schertz, outside the district’s boundaries. He had represented the Garden Ridge area since 1995. Because he is an appointee, Pawelek will have to officially run for the seat twice in relatively short succession. First, Pawelek would run in May to fulfill the rest of Clay’s unexpired term. He must then run a second time in May 2004 for a fuU, three-year term. The ami lal board of trustees election in the Comal Independent School District is May 3. Monday was the first day that candidates interested in fifing for one of the four seats up for election could do so. The fifing period extends through March 19. Residents in Districts I, 2, 5 and 7 will vote in the CISD school board election. Trustees currently representing those districts are Dora Gonzales, District I, secretary; Dan K. Krueger, District 2, president; Der-ald LaRue, District 5; and Randy Pawelek, District 7. ;