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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas rn HOO 9 New 'ftRA&NFELS '■? n 3 33    1'. . T r a 0 P U W... V. "    . irc;T    v,p s0;u,le    1 ') VI J. 1 r c>\XV4; -> -A- ” JI—«/ ▼▼ ^i—i! i ii ^ jl    ,, Herald-Zeitung Vol. 149 No. 69    18    pgs.    in    2    sections    February    23,    2000 Wednesday Serving Comal County since 1852 50 centsMcCain takes Michigan, Arizona primaries DETROIT (AP) — John McCain thumped George W. Bush in a two-state sweep Tuesday night, rallying a “new McCain majority” of independents and Democrats in Michigan and winning his home state of Arizona to seize momentum for a two-week blitz of Republican primaries. Reaching out to Republican voters who backed the Texas governor in overwhelming numbers in Michigan, the senator told supporters, “Don’t fear this cam paign, my fellow Republicans. Join it.” Bush, humbled by defeat, said, “This is a marathon and I’m going to be in it all the way to the end — and some primaries you win and sometimes you don’t.” McCain’s is the latest victory in a see-sawing Republican nomination race. The Arizonan won New Hampshire’s leadoff primary in a landslide, lost the followup showdown in South Carolina and won Michigan by a narrow margin. It further damaged Bush’s hard-fought image as the inevitable GOP nominee, and propelled both men toward a March 7 showdown in 13 states. “This means we’re going to go charging into Super Tuesday,” said state Sen. John Schwarz, McCain’s chairman in Michigan. Even before winning his double header, McCain narrowed Bush’s financial advantage and closed the gap in national polls since New Hampshire. In Michigan, Bush and McCain forged mirror-image coalitions: Bush vote was supported by two-thirds of Republicans, and McCain ventured outside the party for a similar-sized force of Democrats and independents. Open to all comers, Michigan’s primary actually drew more non-Republicans than Republicans. Bush supporters bitterly dismissed McCain’s victory. “John McCain isn’t party build ing, he’s party-borrowing,” said three-term Michigan Gov. John Engler, who accused the senator of “renting Democrats” for the night. Engler had promised to carry Michigan for Bush, and took blame for the defeat. McCain’s response: “Be a man.” —In Michigan, with 55 percent of the precincts reporting, McCain had 376,452 votes, or 50 percent, and Bush had 334,111, or 44 percent. Former ambassador Alan Keyes had 4 percent. —In Arizona, with 14 percent of the precincts reporting, McCain had 60,738 votes, or 64 percent, and Bush had 31,528 votes, or 33 percent. Keyes had 3 percent. McCain’s victories earned him all 30 delegates from Arizona and at least 16 of the 58 delegates in Michigan, closing his gap with Bush. McCain has 60 delegates to date, compared to Bush’s 60. A candidate needs 1,034 delegates to win the Republican nomination. T ime Warner to put Spurs on big screen By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer Local customers who subscribe to Time Warner Cable won’t be able to watch eight upcoming San Antonio Spurs games in the comfort of their own homes — all because two companies can’t agree. Time Warner Cable, the only cable company in New Braunfels, and Fox Sports Net have gone back and forth with offers and counter offers for broadcasting the games. Both sides say the offers have been “unrealistic.” The two companies did have an agreement in place allowing Time Warner to broadcast 20 Spurs games, but Fox then picked up 11 more games, three of which have not been broadcast to Time Warner customers because of the deadlock. Time Warner’s solution is to telecast the eight other games in question, free of charge, in local establishments, including Wursthalle in New Braunfels (see schedule). The alternative to the telecast — accepting one of Fox’s offers — would have caused a rate increase for customers, Time Warner Cable president Navarra Williams said. Williams wouldn’t say how much the rate increase would have been. A Time Warner Cable ad in today’s Herald-Zeitung says Fox is asking for twice the amount of its original proposal, making it “impossible for Time Warner to carry the additional games without passing on a sizable rate increase to every one of our customers.” But Jon Heidtke, senior vice president and general manager of Fox Sports Net, said that “wasn’t necessarily accurate.” Heidtke wouldn’t detail the costs of Fox’s offers but said some additional money was needed to share in the cost of producing the extra shows. Two satellite providers and IO other cable companies in the San Antonio area have agreed to the extra charges, Heidtke said. But they might not have been charged as much, Williams said. “I don’t know if that’s the case,” he said. “We don’t know what they’re What’s Up Time Warner Cable will telecast the following San Antonio Spurs games at Wursthalle in Landa Park: • Tuesday’s game against Miami Heat, • March 2 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, • March 14 game against the Atlanta Hawks. Doors open at 6 p.m. Free hotdogs, soda and popcorn will be served. Alcohol is not allowed.Inside Abby................................7A Classifieds......................5-8B Comics...............................2B Crossword.........................7A Forum.................................6A Local/Metro........................4A Movies................................7A Obituaries...........................3A Sports............................8-9A Today.................................2A Television.............................2B Key Code 76 See SPURS/5A Bracken VFD says county cuts will hurt service By Erin MAGRUDER Staff Writer The Bracken Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors is fighting Comal County funding cuts it says will curtail its ability to ensure residents’ safety. During 2000 budget talks last summer, county commissioners decided to gradually phase out funding for the four rural fire prevention districts based on projected increases in growth and valuations in the taxing districts, Comal County Judge Danny Scheel said. But Arnold Moos, president of the BVFD Board of Directors, said the district’s tax base alone—which is expected to increase almost IO percent in 200(T would not be enough to fund adequate manpower, equipment and increasing operational costs for fire protection in the 70 square-mile district. “We’re fighting for what we need now, and what we need in the future,” Moos said. “We have put a lot into making (BVFD) a first-class station ... We are trying to save lives, and the curve is not keeping up with the services that need to be maintained.” The county, which has supplemented the rural fire and rescue service providers since 1992, decreased its funding by an average of $6,000 per district for 2000. Commissioners plan to continue the reduction in future years—as each district’s tax base increases— until county funding is zero, Scheel said. The four rural fire prevention districts are funded by a state tax cap of 3 cents per $100 property valuation. Because the districts are a taxing entity, providing additional funding for the districts is not an appropriate use of county property tax dollars, Commissioner Jay Minikin said. “When taxpayers provide funds to Comal County — that money should be used to operate departments within the county,” Mil-likin said. “It should not be used to subsidize other taxing authorities such as school districts, rural fire prevention districts, emergency services districts and other agencies which are in no way aligned with the county.” Scheel agreed the fire departments should operate within the revenue stream created by the taxing districts. “We are one of the very few counties inSee CUTS/5A Cutting foster time Cluster court to move CPS cases through system faster By Heather Todd Staff Writer Abused or neglected children placed in foster care will find permanent homes more quickly beginning March I. A newly-formed cluster court, a collaboration by federal, state and local government leaders, will expedite the process. The court, established through a federal grant, is designed to shorten foster care placement by consolidating Child Protective Service cases in a specialized court. It removes the cases from an overburdened court system that must, by law, give priority to criminal cases. On Tuesday, Associate Judge Andrew Hath-cock took his oath of office and donned his robe as presiding judge of the cluster court serving Comal, Caldwell, Guadalupe and I lays counties. Beginning March I, he only will hear cases associated with CPS in the four-county area. Among those attending the ceremony Tuesday at the Comal County Courthouse Annex were officials with the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, which oversees CPS; Comal County Judge Danny Scheel; Comal County commissioners; Comal C ounty Sheriff Bob Holder; local CPS staff; and volunteer case workers. CPS investigates reports of abuse or neglect children and, if necessary, removes them from their homes, said Carole Hurley, director of both the Children’s Justice Act Project and the Court Improvement Project. With a judge’s approval, the agency can take custody of a child and place the child in foster K. Jessie Slaten/Herald-Zeitung care if an alternative, safe placement cannot be found. Hurley said historically, CPS cases moved very slowly through the court system. “In 1995, the average length of time a child stayed in foster care in Texas was 40 months,” Hurley said. In 1999, legislators passed a law to shorten that time. “The concept of cluster courts was bom out of that new legislation,” Hurley said. Currently, three other cluster courts exist in Texas. In February 1999, the Court Improvement Project, a statewide agency, received federal funding for additional cluster courts and sent a request for proposals to all nine Texas admin- See FOSTER/5A Associate Judge Andrew Hathcock takes the oath of office Tuesday. Starting March 1, Hathcock will preside over a cluster court that only will handle Child Protective Service cases. The new system is expected to put foster children in permanent homes in less time. ;