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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 19, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas N EW <^BS^MPELS 20332    H003    10/22/99    78 SO - WE ST ll IC RO PU BL I SH I NG 26 2 7 E YON DE! LL DR mmfm    V-w    EL    POSO,    TX    79903-Herald-Zeitung Vol. 148, No. 65    22    pages    in    2    sections    February    19,    1999 Friday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 cents Rocket mein: Lovell tells tales from Apollo 13 By Bill O’Connell *..v    Staff Writer * SAN MARCOS — Apollo 13 commander James Lovell capped a day of lectures Thursday at Southwest Texas State University with recollections from his near-tragic space mission in 1970. Lovell told an audience of about 500 that he could cover the earth by placing his thumb on the window of his spacecraft. “It told you how insignificant we really are,” he said. Lovell’s speech at the university’s Evans Liberal Arts Building focused on the Apollo 13 lunar flight, which was popularized in 1995 with a movie directed by Ron Howard. Actor Tom Hanks portrayed Lovell, who was the senior astronaut on the mission that almost met with disaster. “Suddenly there was a hiss-bang,” Lovell told the audience as he retold the events that unfolded as his crew approached the moon during the Apollo 13 mission. “We were in serious trouble,” he said. Lovell encouraged university students and others in attendance to “always expect the unexpected,” a motto he learned when a ruptured oxygen tank endangered the lives of Apollo B’s crew. “You’d be surprised how quickly you learn when you're in a tight spot,” he said as he explained how his crew and NASA officials in Houston scrambled to find a way to get them back to earth safely. Lovell’s lecture was a lively, often humorous recollection of anecdotes, descriptions and musings from several space flights he made during his noteworthy career. With more than 7 million miles and 600 hours in space, Lovell currently ranks as the most traveled astronaut in the world. Lovell seemed as adept at public speaking Thursday night as he was at space travel. His lecture received high marks from college students and others that attended the free event. “The story was very similar to the movie, as I recall,” said Stella Hansen, a New Braunfels resident who attended the lecture along with her husband, Noel, and children Luke, Marina and Helen. Some were surprised at what they heard. “It was a lot more entertaining than ISee LOVELL/5A ROBIN CORNETT/Herald-Zettung Former astronaut Jim Lovell talks about the infamous Apollo 13 flight, which he commanded, Thursday night at Evans Auditorium at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.Cleaning up flood damage Tourism marketing blitz begins Promotional information sent to 112 media outlets; April 15 set as start date By Chris Crews Staff Writer Local outfitters and divers are hitting the Guadalupe and Comal rivers en masse this weekend in the first major cleanup effort since the October 1998 flood. The cleanup coincides with the first media blitz of the year, designed to let Texans know New Braunfels and Comal County will be open for business by April 15, said Rose Marie Eash of the public relations firm Dublin & Associates. Eash said promotional information had been sent to 112 media outlets across the state including daily newspapers, television and radio stations. Judy Young, director of the visitors and convention bureau for the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, said the short-term goal was to have the rivers ready for spring break. “April 15 is when we’re hoping both rivers will be free of debris,” Young said. “With the focus on cleaning up the rivers, we anticipate that floating down the Guadalupe and Comal will be better than ever.” Young said that since many of the businesses had lost buildings in tile flood there would be new facilities with many new amenities, including more restrooms, along the river. She said she was not aware of any outfitters that would not return this year due to the flood. Sherrie Brammall, public relations director for Schlit-terbahn, said the water park would open for its 20th season on April 24. She said it was important to get the simple message out that the park would be open this year. She said that she had received a number of e-mail messages asking if the park would open this year. “A lot of people think that we and New Braunfels were washed away,” Brammall said. Brammall said 85 rooms at the resort had been renovated and would be “better than ever.” Tube chute, Comal River work depend on area contractors, federal government By Heather Tooo Staff Writer New Braunfels water recreation areas could have a slow start this summer as city officials wait for federal approval for flood cleanup. City officials said they have set April I as the deadline to have cleanup from the October floods completed along the city’s waterways. However, some have speculated that extensive damage along the Comal River will delay the opening of the tube chute in Prince Solms Park for the summer tourist season. “I doubt seriously if it will be opened this summer. It will take a major amount of work on the tube chute to get it ready,” said Carl Fox, a member of the New Braunfels Parks and Recreation board. Iris Neffendorf, director of the New Braunfels Parks and Recreation department, said an engineering firm was assessing damage to the chute. “It think it’s premature to say that it won’t be open in time. At this point, we still don’t know exactly what the damage is and the extent of it. It depends on the condition of the waterways, but the structure of the dam itself is still definitely in questionable status.” Despite the condition of city waterways from the October floods, Neffendorf said the park was already well booked for the Easter weekend, which falls on the first weekend of April this year. “Easter weekend officially kicks off the start of the summer tourist season, but it’s typically a picnic weekend for visitors to the park,” she said. A major cleanup of the Comal River and repair project on the dam would need to be completed in the next two months to get it ready for the flood of summer tubers on Memorial Day weekend. “We start slowly progressing with our operations after the Easter weekend and the summer kick-off for water Getting Started ROBM CORNETT/HefaW-Zeitung James and Deborah Blackmore, back left, with family dog Bear, check out the damage at the tube chute while their son, Jackson, 9, kicks a concrete block across from the tube chute. Damage at the tube chute included the concrete and wooden walkways, along with extensive tree damage near the chute itself. The Blackmores were visiting from Michigan and went down to the tube chute to see damage left from the October 1998 flood. recreational activities is typically Memorial Day weekend at the end of May,” Neffendorf said. The tube chute at Prince Solms Park is a major tourist attraction for the city during the summer season. During the 1998 summer season, tube chute fees generated $89,000 in revenue, although the area was suffering severe drought conditions. In 1997, more than $ 100,000 in revenue was generated through the tube chute. Use of to the chute generally peaks during June, July and August. City engineer C.A. Bolner said Freese and Nichols, an Austin-based engineering firm, had assessed the majority of the dam structure, but debris needed to be removed from behind the dam to complete the investigation. “We have to get approval from the (US. Department of) Fish and Wildlife Guadalupe and Comal river outfitters are leading volunteers in the first several river cleanups today and Saturday. The Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority cut the outflow from Canyon Dam to about 125 cubic feet per second on Thursday to accommodate the cleanup effort. Volunteers will pick up debris from the 1998 flood in a 40-foot area along the river banks. WHEN: WHERE: TO HELP: Today, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Rockin’ R River Rides, Guadalupe River at Gruene Crossing Contact any river outfitter for information or call the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau at 625-2385. to go in there and remove the debris. Until then, we still have some uncertainties about how much damage there has been,” he said. The Comal River is home to the See CLEANUPS Inside Abby.......................... ......7A Business...................... ......5A Classifieds.................... .5-10B Comics........................ ......8A Crossword................... ......8A Forum.......................... ......4A Local............................ ......2A Obituaries.................... ......3A Sports.......................... ...1-4B Today.......................... ......2A Television.................... ......SA City dropped from aviation company’s lawsuit By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer A state district judge dropped the city of New Braunfels from a lawsuit Thursday in Comal County court. The ruling by 22nd District Court Judge Charles Ramsay ended the city's involvement as a defendant in a suit filed this past year. “I was pleased to hear that,” said city manager Mike Shands on Thursday, shortly after being notified of Ramsay’s decision. Attorneys for Lone Star Aviation, Inc., a San Antonio company, filed the lawsuit Sept. 29, 1998, in 207th District Court. The suit alleged the city of New Braunfels and a Gatesville-based aviation company “wrongfully converted, hid and secreted” a 1972 Cessna 172 aircraft from a leased space at the New Braunfels Municipal Airport in September 1998. Sunset Aviation, Inc., the company named as a co-plaintiff along with the city of New Braunfels, allegedly rented the aircraft without permission of its rightful owners. A co-owner of Sunset Aviation, Marla Coward, has represented the company in the lawsuit. Attempts to reach Coward were unsuccessful. Plaintiff’s attorneys alleged wrongful conversion and misuse of the aircraft amounted to about $88,000 in lost revenue. Lone Star Aviation’s attorney, Forrest Stewart, could not be reached for comment Thursday. In an appeal to the jurisdiction of the court, attorneys representing New Braunfels said state law prohibited the city from being named in a lawsuit under the circum stances alleged by the plaintiff. “This was basically a dispute between two aviation companies,” said Regina Criswell, a private attorney hired by the city of New Braunfels. The city has an insurance contract with the Texas Municipal League that provides legal representation by private attorneys, according to city attorney Floyd Akers. ;