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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 24, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas New tfiRAfiBWFEjHerald-Zeitung .. , ■ . ■■ ““ Vol. 149 No. 70    14    pgs.    in    2    sections    February    24,    2000 Thursday Serving Comal County since 1852 DU ICIID Differing opinions Downtown merchants have their own ideas of how bed tax should be spent By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff writer Downtown has been thrown in the middle of the recent hotel/motel tax debate, but merchants and others associated with downtown hardly agree on the issues. Two referendums have been put on May 6’s ballot. If approved, one would prohibit the city from using its portion of bed tax revenue for a convention center and the other would prohibit the city from spending its 20 percent of the tax for two years Supporters of the first referendum say the city needs to spend bed tax revenue on the arts and historical renovation before a convention center is built. Many of these supporters criticize the freeze, saying an “already dying” downtown needs the money now or before the two years is up. But people associated with downtown are split on both issues. Some say downtown could use hotel tax money now; others disagree. And some say a convention center could really benefit downtown; others aren't so sure. Adam Cork, owner of Color Express, 193 W. San Antonio, said he supported the freeze and wasn’t convinced dow ntown ever needed a portion of hotel/motel tax revenue. “What’s bothering me is people are saying downtown is dead,” he said. “That’s offensive to me.” Downtown has experienced a IO percent increase in sales tax from this past year, he said. And when comparing the existing storefronts to IO years ago, fewer stores are empty, he said. See OPINIONS/8A “If we re going to work on downtown, we need to do it soon. Paul Martinka, owner of Henne Hardware Company K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung Henne Hardware owner Paul Martinka says he believes the two-year freeze on bed tax money is too long. Other downtown merchants say the funds aren’t necessary for a downtown that is seeing success. County gives burn ban reprieve Regional water groups narrow plans By Erin MAGRUDER Staff Writer SAN MARCOS — Developing a water plan to meet the Texas residents’ needs for the next 50 years is no easy task. But Central Texas and Lower Colorado regional water planning group members — who are charged with helping to formulate such a plan — met Wednesday morning in San Marcos to discuss joint water supply options. The more than 300 area residents who gathered to hear presentations at the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins Drive, also were allowed to voice concerns about future water availability and planning for the neighboring regions. South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group represents Region L, which is made up of 21 counties — including Comal — that stretch from Refugio County at the coast up to Kendall What’s Up • The Central Texas and Lower Colorado regional water planning groups will meet again at 10 a.m. March 6 at the San Antonio River Authority, 100 E. Guenther Street in San Antonio. • Residents can get more information about Region L water planning by visiting its Web site at County. The adjacent Region K, represented by the Lower Colorado Regional Water Planning Group, and Region L contain parts of Hays County The regional water planning groups are the result of Senate Bill I, which was enacted two years ago by the 75th legislative session. The omnibus water bill divided Texas into 16 water planning groups charged with formulating and submitting regional plans to the Texas Water Development Board. The plans will be used by TWDB to create a comprehensive, statewide water plan in Fall 2001. The essential demand for water in Region L is concentrated in die Interstate 35 corridor from San Antonio to Hays County and in the Hill County where residents rely on the fragile Trinity Aquifer, Region L planning group members said. The San Antonio Basin area is projected to See WATER/3 A By Erin Magruder Staff Writer Recent rainfall did nothing to eliminate the drought but provided enough relief for Comal County Commissioners to temporarily lift the bum ban in place since August. Residents will have the opportunity, until 5 p.m. Friday, to bum outdoors and get rid of brush and trash piling up on their properties. Comal County Fire Marshal Lin Manford said residents should do so with extreme caution. “Just because it rained, people should not think they can start a fire and then leave it,” Manford said. “There is still a fire danger — and we still have that dead, winter fuel. We are about to have some 80 degree days, and that kind of weather will dry out the grass on top in one day.” Manford said to ensure controlled bums stay controlled, residents should follow a few simple tips; • Always tend the fire • Make sure the area around the fire is cleared of brush or other debris that could ignite • Keep water near the fire in case the bum spreads If a fire spreads because of negligence when burning, the responsible party could be charged with reckless damage — a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine, Manford said. Residents planning to burn today or Friday are required to call the Comal County Sheriff’s Office dispatch at 620-3408 and provide it with the location of the bum. Pryor to seek council position By Peri Stone-Palmquist Staff Writer A self-employed life insurance agent announced Wednesday he’s running for the District 4 seat in New Braunfels City Council, currently filled by Jan Kotylo. Dave Pryor, 35, is the only person who has filed for one of the two open spots on council. Kotylo announced Friday she would not seek re-election to allow more time for her grandchildren and volunteer work. District 5, represented by Randy Vanstory, also is open. Vanstory said he also would not seek re-election. His business took up a lot of time, he said, making it difficult to devote enough energy to council. Filing for District 4 and 5 started Tuesday at the New Braunfels Municipal Building, 424 S. Casted Ave., and ends March 22. The election is May 6. Voter registration cards tell each patron his single-member district. Early voting begins April 19 and ends May 2. Pryor said he looked forward to representing the families in his district, which includes the northeast New Braunfels area, including Gruene, the Loop 337 and Common Street area and the PRYOR Loop 337 and River Road area. District 4 is bordered by Interstate 35 to the east, the M-K-T railroad to the west and the New Braunfels city limits just north of Farm-to-Market Road 306. Pryor said he wanted to work to “maintain the charm and small-town spirit” of New Braunfels, while encouraging “mature development.” “I want to have a New Braunfels that when my daughters graduate high school and college, it’s a place they’ll want to return and live,” he said. Pryor has been married 16 years to his high school sweetheart, Margy, and has two daughters, Christina, 8, and Amanda, 4. He’s currently self-employed as a life insurance agent with Hoffmann Financial Services and teaches in the children’s ministry at Tree of Life Church. He also See PRYOR/8A CISD considers modifying approved 2000-2001 calendar By Heather Todd Staff Writer Comal Independent School District students could start school two days earlier in August if trustees modify the 2000-2001 calendar Thursday night. The change could come in response to concerns voiced by some teachers and administrators. CISD trustees will take another look at the 2000-2001 calendar they approved a month ago at 6 p.m. Thursday at Canyon Intermediate School, 1275 N. Business 35. During executive session, trustees also could take action on buying property for a new elementary school in the U.S. 281 and Cibolo Creek area. The calendar trustees approved Jan. 27 is similar to the current school calendar, with an Aug. 16 start date, the first semester ending before students return from Christmas break and two one-week breaks in the spring. Trustees approved the calendar after considering four calendar drafts. The final vote came after two motions to approve two different calendars failed. In the selected calendar, trustees shifted a week of staff development and teacher workdays in mid-August, which moved the start date from Aug. 14 to Aug. 16. Trustees also changed Nov. 22 and Dec. 22 from school holidays to school days with an early release. Trustees said they have received numerous calls and letters from teachers, administrators and parents asking them to reconsider milking those two days school holidays. At a Jan. IO board meeting, audi ence members applauded when Jean Klein, a teacher at Frazier Elementary, said trustees were not thinking about students or teachers when they approved the modified calendar. Klein said students and teachers needed those days oft' to travel and prepare for the holidays. Klein also said the calendar approved was not the one favored by the majority of school staff. Trustee Dan Krueger he would vote in favor of a motion to change Nov. 22 and Dec. 22 from school days to holidays. He said his main concern was that too many students would not be in class those two days. “Schools are driven by (average daily attendance) numbers and if we’re going to lose a lot of students those days then it would be crazy to do it that way,” he said. But, that would probably require pushing the start date back to Aug. 14. John Clay, who voted against the calendar Jan. 27, said he was against starting earlier in August.See CALENDARS Inside Abby........................... .....5A Classifieds................... 4-6B Comics......................... .....3B Crossword.................... .....5A Forum........................... ......6A Local/Metro.................. .....4A Movies.......................... ......5A Obituaries..................... ......3A Sports......................... ..1-2B Today........................... ......2A Television....,.................. ......3B bi c I com Key Code 76 ;