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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 18, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas n Mostly sunny High Low 70 47 Details .... 2B 352. I DEAR ABBY 4B I CLASSIFIEDS OOO | COMICS 3B I CROSSWORD 38 ! FORUM    4A | OBITUARIES 3A | SPORTS 5A I TV GRIDS 4B WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2004 IL TILTNBU fights power plant purchase’s impact SPORTS DISTRICT TIE Canyon girls soccer team beats New Braunfels, 3-0, to tie for the lead in district standings. Page SA RECYCLING Ted Garland sells his business to focus on his hobby — restoring junked cars to roadworthy machines. Page IB Serving Vol. 153, No. 85 14 pages, 2 sections CLICK 50$ WWW i a ",,56825"ooooi By Scott Mahon Staff Writer New Braunfels Utilities filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Kerr County to seek clarification of its contract with the Lower Colorado River Authority, which provides up to 90 percent of NBU’s electric power. NBU, in conjunction with the Kerrville Public Utility Board, filed the lawsuit following LCRAs purchase of Lost Pines I Power Project, a gas-powered plant near Bastrop. GenTex Corp, a LG RA affiliate, paid $150 million for 50 percent interest in the Lost Pines No. I Power Project, according to the Austin Business Journal. NBU representatives said the city-owned electric company has a contract with LCRA to purchase almost 90 percent of its electric power through 2016, and it does not believe the cost of the Lost Pines purchase will benefit its customers in New Braunfels. “This will not affect our contract with LCRA,” said Gretchen Reuwer, NBU communications manager. “Our concern is the cost of the Lost Pines I Power Project, and we want to ensure LCRA does not pass that cost on to our customers. We feel the expense of LCRA’s purchase of the Lost Pines plant outweighs any benefits to LCRA customers." LCRA, based in Austin, supplies electricity to 42 electric co-ops and See POWER, Page 2A Budget consultant: Cut $1.5M in jobs By Dylan Jim6nez Staff Writer Experts advised New Braunfels Independent School District to cut $1.5 million in staff positions and reduce the over-65 property tax exemption. Facing a possible $1.2 million deficit, the district hired John Wilson and Associates to recommend budget cuts. “The budget deficit is something that a lot of districts across the state are dealing with,” Wilson said, adding that it is important to get the problems under control before they dry up reserve funds. Although the district cut the budget last year, officials still had to dip into reserves, NBISD board president Jorge Maldonado said. “Frankly we can’t do that again,” he said. During the last five years, student pop ulation and the size of the budget have grown slower than state and regional averages, the consultant said. Staff levels have remained lean during See BUDGET. Page 2A PUBLIC FORUM ON NBISD BUDGET CUTS H 6 p.m. March 1 I NBHS auditorium OTHER COST-CUTTING MEASURES ■ Consolidating the tax office with Comal County would save $84,000 per year ■ A state free energy audit could save $ 120,000 each year ■ Changing the long-distance rate plan could save $20,000 VI Increase community education fees ■ Encourage better attendance to get more state funds ■ Explore cheaper copier services 4A + 4B = construction fund for CTTC covered By Ron Maloney Staff Writer If Guadalupe County commissioners are a little embarrassed over their failure to pony up $100,000 toward construction of the Central Texas Technology Center, they needn’t be. The City of New Braunfels joined Seguin Tuesday night in covering the county’s promise. The 4B Infrastructure Improvement Corp. voted unanimously to lay down $66,500 toward building the project. See CTTC, Page 2A OTHER ACTION: R 4B set a public hearing for 7 p m. Feb. 27 to discuss offering economic incentives to a business in New Braunfels, and R Tabled a vote on whether to enter into a contract with New Braunfels for meeting space and services until city staff prepares the contract Bakeoff In addition to livestock, students compete with cakes and breads at the annual Junior Livestock Show. FRONTand Center Farmers crops rebound By Scott Mahon Staff Writer After surviving last year’s inconsistent rains, Comal County farmers say this year looks better as generations of families cling to a lifestyle that may be disappearing. “The weather is a farmer’s number one problem,” said Korvan Kreusler, a fifth-generation fanner who farms with his father, Melvin Kreusler. “And last year, the rains came at the wrong time, although the annual rainfall was about normal.” In Comal County, the corn crop brought farmers $1.3 million in 2002, but only $517,000 last year, while the milo crop dropped from $950,000 to $400,000. “Last year was horrible,” Kreusler said. “But this year looks good so far." Kreusler, 33, said farming is a capital-intensive business. “It costs a lot to buy farm equipment,” he said. “It takes a lot of capital investment to buy tractors, combines and planters. And there may be fewer fanners today, but farmers are more efficient because of the equipment they use.” Kreusler said farming had become more efficient. "You could probably get 50, maybe 70 bushels of corn per acre, if you pushed it, 25 years ago,” he said. “Today, you can get 150 bushels per acre, if the weather cooperates. And because of technology, there will probably be fewer farmers, but larger farms.” I lilmar Schwarzlose, 91, has lived in (fontal County all his david iNGRAM/Heraid-Zeitung fife and bought 78 acres of Hilmar Schwarzlose. 91, looks out over his 78-acre farm in New Braunfels He retired 15 years ago, and his sons. Leroy and Nolan, work the land.    See    CROPS.    Page    2A Filing opens for city, CISD elections From Staff Reports A few people wasted no time filing their candidacy for New Braunfels municipal and Comal Independent School District elections. In New Braunfels, Beth Sokolyk filed for the District 2 seat Tuesday. The incumbent, Larry Alexander cannot run because of term limits. The other spot up for grabs is Discoid I, currently held by councilwoman Sonia Muftoz-Gill, who will complete her first three-year term in May. “Voters will have until April 15 to file an application for voter registration with the county tax assessor," City Secretary Michael Resendez said. According to the city's charter, a candidate must be a qualified voter and must have lived in his or her district not less than 12 months prior to Filing for office. Resendez said there is no filing fee. In CISD, trustees for districts 6 and 7 are up for election. Incumbents Charles Burt and Bill Swim filed for candidacy Monday. Winners in the election will serve a three-year term. People interested in filing for one of the seats must be registered voters, live in the single-member district they are filing for and have been residents of the district for six months. CITY AND CISD ELECTIONS ■ Filing deadline is March 15 ■ Early voting begins April 28 and ends May 11 ■ Election is May 15 ■ For information, call NB City Secretary Michael Resendez. 608-2100, ext 234. or CISD administration office, 885-1791 Sokolyk seeks to replace Alexander By Scott Mahon Staff Writer Beth Sokolyk was the first candidate to file for May’s city election. Sokolyk filed as a candidate for District 2, currently held by Larry Alexander, who has served two executive terms and cannot run again. Sokolyk, a motlier and professional volunteer, is currently president of the Southbank I iomeowners Association. She has chaired the American (lancer Society’s Starlight Gala three years. She has also served as president of both Memorial and New Braunfels Middle School Pl As and is one of the citywide PI A representatives. Sokolyk said growth, water and pul ilk' safety are three main issues. “I want to make sure we plan for our city’s future growth, and our streets Beth Sokolyk and traffic situation need immediate attention,” she said. “I believe the Edwards Aquifer and the Comal and Guadalupe rivers are the lifeblood of our community, and we must work to protect them.” Sokolyk is married to Dr. Steve Sokolyk, a cardiologist, and they have three cliildren — Katie, /Vex and Stettl. 2004 J ;