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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 25, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas Drj J la:’,, Texas Inflation still under control I >. t ne. -it . Hitch womhle a .J. dox T5^3c ballas, iv Com ;>. Consumer prices rose only 0.2 percent in January WASHINGTON (AP) — The Labor Department, rejiggering its major measure of inflation, said today that consumer prices rose a scant 0.2 percent in January. Had the old calculation been used, consumer prices would have been unchanged. Housing costs rose substantially, as had been expected under the new formula, but gasoline and heating oil prices posted sharp drops. The old calculation had been widely criticized for over-emphasizing the effect of homeownership costs. Under the new Consumer Price Index formula, the department said housing costs rose 0.5 percent in January. Under the former calculation, housing costs tumbled 0.8 percent in December. Gasoline prices last month fell 3.3 percent. As of January, gasoline prices were 10.6 percent below their peak level of March 1981. Home heating oil prices plunged 4.1 percent. Prices for both fuels fell in December. The fresh declines in energy prices are largely the result of the continuing worldwide oil glut. Analysts expect even further declines as some major exporting nations have cut their wholesale prices and others ponder similar price slashing. Food orices, meanwhile, climbed a tiny 0.1 percent after holding steady ing the two previous months. Medical care costs, which soared thourghout 1982, rose a sharp 0.8 percent. Inflation last year was 3.9 percent, the smallest rise in a decade. Under an experimental measure similar to the new one, 1982’s inflation at the retail level would have been 5 percent. For the 12 months ending in January, prices rose 3.8 percent under the new formula. If last month’s 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted rise held steady for 12 straight months, the yearly gain would be 2.1 percent. The annual rate reported by the department is based on a more precise calculation of monthly prices than the figure the department makes public. Under the old measure, consumer prices fell 0.3 percent in December, only the second decline recorded since 1965. The department, revising its calculations for the two preceding months, said today that prices held steady in November and rose See INFLATION. Page 10A Local students closer to merit scholarships Ix'ss than half of one percent of American high school seniors are chosen as finalists for National Merit Scholarships. This year included among that small percentage are four local high school students — three from Newf Braunfels and one from Canyon High School. Those chosen include Carolyn Hanson from Canyon and I^eslie Hemstreet, James Del^emos and Patty Schwarz from New Braunfels High School. Nationwide there are 13,000 finalists chosen for merit scholarships. From these, 5,300 merit scholars will be chosen. Finalists who are chosen as merit scholars will receive scholarship offers in March and early April. Merit scholarships are funded by grants from over 600 corporate organizations and educational institutions that support the program’s goals. This year, awards worth $18 million will be offered and about 40 percent of the highly qualified group of finalists will be recipients. v AV New -LULL Braunfels New Braunfels, Texas Vol. 92 - No. 40 Zeitung —T—-SP' FRIDAY February 25, 1983 25 cents 18 Pages - 2 Sections (USPS 377-880* Countdown begins for county jail Judge approves plan; site committee gets deadline By JACQUELINE SMITH Staff writer When U.S. Magistrate Jamie Boyd approved the county's jail settlement Thursday, he set the clock ticking for the county’s 17-month deadline to have a new jail built. According to the settlement approved by Boyd, the county bas until August 1.1985 to have a new jail ready for occupancy. I .ast July, Commissioners Court agreed to the settlement as proposed by attorneys for Robert Delgado, the former jail inmate who brought suit against the county for alleged unsanitary jail conditions. In exchange for the county agreeing to build a new jail and renovate the old jail, Delgado dropped his monetary claims iii the suit. Up until that point the former inmate had been asking for $?(K).0uu iii damages. The county will have to adhere to the August. 1985 deadline “unless an act of God” prevents it from being met, County Attorney Bill Renner said Friday. Boyd would take into consideration extreme bad weather which delayed construction or some sort of strike that would prevent the county from receiving needed construction materials, said Reimer. “But otherwise he will be firm on the deadline...and said that we need to move along with the project,’’ added the county attorney. Based on this news. County Judge Fred Clark told the jail site selection committee Thursday night that it had six to eight weeks in which to complete its task of locating and recommending three or four sites for the new justice facility. Once the committee has recommended what it considers to be good sites. Commissioners Court plans to hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed sites. Following the outcome of this hearing the court wil make a decision on a site, Clark said Elliot Knox, chairman of the 11-member jail site selection panel, plans to organize his group into subcommittees this week to study sites. Several weeks ago Knox's committee named approximately 18 possible sites — although since then a couple more have been added to the list. The committee withheld studying the sites further, however, until Commissioners Court hired an architectural firm. The court did so one week ago — hiring Christopher DiStephano and Associates, Inc., of Houston. In recent weeks two local groups — the New Braunfels Downtown Merchants Association and the Chamber of Commerce — have come out in favor of keeping the new detention facility in the dow ntow n area Representatives from the Downtowners present at Thursday night’s meeting reiterated that group’s position. •localise of tin.' interest expressed by these groups to keep the facility in the downtown area. Knox suggested See jail, Page ioa Elliot Knox outlines the panel's task Staff i Getting with the program Elderly can apply in March to ease crunch of electric bills By DEBBIE DeLOACH Staff writer Applications for the adapted hilling schedule for Utilities senior citizens should be ready by March I, with implementation set for April 1. Two plans to provide an optional budget payment program for Utilities customers 65 > ears or older were adopted at the January hoard of trustees meeting. Inquiries have been mostly by telephone since. Hilling for Plan One will he calculated using the previous 12 months actual billing to obtain an average At the end of each following six month period, a new average will he calculated, based on an average of the ac tual billing for the previous 12 months. The customer will then pay the average hilling for the next six months. Plan Tw o allow s any senior citizen who qualifies for Plan One, to enter a senior citizen’s billing cycle on this schedule: hills would be mailed out on the 20th of each month; hills for the net amount would be due on the 5th; and the gross amount would he due no later than the 15th. Utilities Manager Bob Sohn said many senior c ustomers w ere getting their Social Security checks on the 3rd of each month, but the last day to pay their utility hill without penalty is the 1st of each month It was a no-win situation, which hopefully the optional payment program will remedy. In other news Thursday, Sohn reminded trustees that hydroflosilicic acid will he injected into the city’s water system at 7:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 28. “It will take about a month for it to get through the water system,’ Sohn said, adding those customers closest to the pumping stations will get the fluoridated water first. However, fluoride may not stay in the city’s water system long, depending on the outcome of an April 2 election. Fluoridation, as well as proposed changes in the city’s election system, will be on the ballot. "lf the voters turnout and say yes’ to fluoride, we’re set,” Sohn said, if they say ‘no,’ we’ve got valves and all we got to do is turn them off." The last fluoridation election was held Aug. 9, 1980. The issue passed by a slim 15-margin vote. As for the total $84,518.05 cost of implementing the system, including equipment damage costs incurred last summer, Sohn said, “I don’t know of any cities off-hand who are in the market for fluoridation equipment.” Action taken by trustees Thursday was short and sweet. A $9,778.35 hid from Tom Fairey Company for a sectional sewer rodder was approved, contigent upon a demonstration of the rodder itself and then final approval from Sohn. The hoard okayed Universal Equipment Company bid of $70,160 for a bucket truck, w hich w ill also he equipped to lift equipment. Trustees also accepted a Valero refund of $157,663.76, and directed it into the Utilities’ emergency con-tingueney fund. “This is the third year we’ve received this refund. We’ll get seven of them,” Sohn said, sketching a 1975 court ruling against Coastal States in favor of its customers, including the Lower Colorado River Authority. “Valero bought out Coastal States, and these refunds were part of the settlement.” The first two years’ refunds, based on a charge of equity, were closer to $200,000 “This year’s refund is less, because Valero isn’t selling as See UTILITIES, Page IGA Rental wrangle Zoning board grants variance to build 'triplex' By DYANNEFRY Staff writer Two requests were granted, and a third was tabled, at Thursday’s meeting of the City Zoning Board of Adjustment. A.E. Fricke’s request for variances at 340 Hill Avenue was granted, despite letters from seven neighbors opposing his plan to build an apartment triplex there. Fricke offered to forget it and build a duplex instead. But the hoard got the impression it was the idea of rent property, not the variances as such, that the neighbors were objecting to. City Planning Director IX*bra Goodwin said the letter-wTiters gave no reason for their objections, and “just sat there” when asked for comment at Thursday’s meeting. But she reported a phone call from one neighborhood resident who was worried about what sort of people might rent Fricke’s units The caller, said Goodwin, wanted to see it limited to elderly residents. Fricke didn’t think he could do that, hut he told the hoard he always tried to rent to high-qualiL people w ho would take care of his property He needed a variance on the 13,000-foot minimum lot size »the lot in question is 14,063 square feet i; and another to allow him to put parking spaces in the 25-foot fl out yard setback The hoard also gave South Central Construction a variance on setbacks for a lot between Spur and Cross streets. The company wants to build a five- or six-stall car wash there. Board members asked only that traffic he routed in from Cross, and out on Spur Street, if possible. Three doctors doing business as KAT Enterprises Rare orchids delay project BRYAN, Texas i AP) — State officials have halted work oil a highway mterehange until engineers decide what to do with about nine frail orchids added to the endangered species list last year. “We’re just on hold until we can come up with an agreement with the Department of Interior on w hat needs to he done about it,” said D.D. Williamson, a planning engineer for the Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation. The nine Navasota Indies Tresses, known to botanists as Spiranthes Parksn, are about IO percent of that species known to exist, said Dr. Jim Johnson. acting head of the endangered species section of the U.S. Department of Interior in Albuquerque, N M. The flowers grow near a bridge that will he affected by a project to convert Texas Highway 6 into a four-lane thoroughfare between Bryan and Navasota, about 25 miles to the southeast. The highway department, which will need five years to finish the strip, is spending $10 million buying the right of way. Johnson said it may he possible to shift the site of the interchange a few hundred feet in either direction to skirt the hill w here the orchids bloom for nine days every October. The highway department has known about the flowers for some time, hut was unaware of their specific location, Williamson said. Federal documents were intentionally vague in describing the site to keep the public from discovering the plants, he said. He said officials were surprised to learn that their plans were iii jeopardy. "We thought we were free and clear,” he said The highway department has been working since the 1960s upgrading Highway 6 to a four-lane thoroughfare from Waco to Houston Playwright found dead in hotel room NEW YORK (AP) — Award-winning playwright Tennessee Williams, author of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof,” died today in a Manhattan hotel, an Emergency Medical Services official said. EMS spokesman Jared I.ebow said his agency got a call at 10:54 a.m. from the Elysee Hotel on East 54th Street saying a man named Tennessee Williams had passed away in room 1302. The hotel confirmed that the 72-year-old playw right lived in that room. I>ebow said the ambulance crew recognized the dead man as Williams. Sgt. Daniel I Althein of Midtow n North Precinct said he could not confirm that the dead man was the famous Williams, but he said that was the report they had received. were asked to firm up their plans and come bael next month. Doctors H E. Karbach, Dean Adams and Michae Tilly want to put up a building at 593 N. Union whit! will encroach completely on the corner and real y ard setbacks of 25 and 20 feet However, Goodwir said, they told the hoard they’d take whatever the) could get. The hoard wanted more definite information The doctors also wanted permission to use a lot acrose from McKenna Memorial Hospital for overflow parking. “They only have a five-year lease* on that lot,’ Goodwin said. Board members were concerned about where people would park after the lease rum out. One neighbor family voiced objection to the KAI Enterprises’ building F our wrote letters til favor ol the request, Goodw in saidInsideToday s Weather Comal County forecast calls for mostly cloud) todav with a 40 percent chance of showers or thundershowers today and Saturday, increasing to a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms tonight. W'inds will he* from the north to northeast at 10-15 mph today, then from the east lo northeast at 5-10 mph tonight. Sunset will he* at 6:27 p.m., and sunrise Saturda) will be at 7 a ni.Rangers Face Van Vleck Hie Smithson Valley Rangers’ basketball team travels to Gonzales tonight to meet the Van Vleck leopards in the first round of high school playoff ac tion. Game time is 8 p in See Page 6A CLASSIFIED.......  2    7B COMICS.    9A CROSSWORD............  9A DEAR ABBY..............  2B DEATHS............................2A ENTERTAINMENT....................8A HOROSCOPE........................2B OPINIONS..........................4A RELIGIOUS FOCUS...................5A SPORTS..........................6    7A STOCKS...........................10A TV LISTINGS........................9A WEATHER.........................10A Architect DiStephano ;