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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 1, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas Herald-Zeitung n Wednesday, January 1, 1997 g 3A 1Y LOW nucts ■Irn From Page 1 tie that was turned in to the auction houses were underweight and sold for much less than normal prices. However, fall rains came as tropical storms moved in, ending the drought's severity and giving residents temporary relief. No. 21 Now Braunfels School The New Braunfels Independent School District saw many changes in 1996. Dr. Carlos Campos and Steve Weaver, who both ran on a campaign that included modifications to the accelerated block scheduling, were elected to the seven-member board in August. In September, the board in a split vote changed the seating arrangement so that the superintendent would no longer sit at the trustees table but with other staff to the side of the board. In October, the board voted to reassign the two top administrators of New Braunfels High School, John Turman and Charles Englcr, to other jobs within the district. The board appointed Karen Simpson, executive director for education services, to be the interim high school principal until the board finds a replacement. The two former administrators said they did not have the full support of the newly elected board. Trustees at the time said they approved the reassignments on the suggestion of outgoing superintendent Charles Bradberry. The vote was on a Tuesday night and the following morning several hundred New Braunfels High School students staged a walkout in protest of the move. Later that afternoon, about 200 parents and students protested the move again at the steps of the administrative offices where Bradberry and a few trustees fielded questions from the crowd. Letters to the editor flooded in the following Sunday to the Herald-Zeitung, expressing a split in the community between support of the board members who were in favor of the reassignments and those who were opposed to the change In November, Bradberry announced he would take a superintendent job at Keller Antonio superintendent, as the interim until June and are in the middle of a search for a permanent replacement. No. 3: Transportation The city of New Braunfels and the Texas Department of Transportation completed work in early summer that changed the two-way access roads on Interstate 35 to one-way. The effort was designed to increase safety and extended from the South Loop 337 to the Highway 46 exits. Interstate 35 through New Braunfels also got a boost this past year. Local leaders and members of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce were successful in gaining approval of $62 million of state highway funding from the Transportation Commission in August. A coalition of local supporters traveled to Austin in June to lobby for the money before the three-member commission. The money will go toward a project to expand the highway from four to eight lanes from South Loop 337 to Highway 46 with construction beginning this fall. Local business owners believe the expansion will eliminate the bottleneck effect of traffic between Austin and San Antonio, benefiting the New Braunfels economy with increased exposure and easier access to the city's tourism-related businesses. No. 4: Double murder, iiaicldo Local law enforcement officials and the community were shocked March 13 after police reported the discovery of three dead bodies near Bulverde: Stanley Lindsey, his wife, Pcnnyc and son, Sheldon. The ordeal began when Comal County Sheriffs Deputies found Stanley's truck on the side of Smithson Valley Road about three miles south of Smithson Valley High School. Stanley, 43, was found dead at the scene after his truck apparently veered across the northbound lane into a cluster of trees. When the sheriffs department arrived at his house on the comer of Antler Pass and Circle Oak, about three mile east of Bulverde, to report the death to family members, found Pennyc, 43, and also dead, each shot administrator. Two weeks ago, the board named Thomas Mosely, a retired San At first police were calling the incident a triple murder but later concluded it was a double-murder, suicide after discovering a gunshot to the head of Stanley. Deputies did not find the gun used by Stanley, who was a welder at a San Antonio shop, until a few months later when it was discovered that the tow-truck driver had taken the gun from the scene No. S: Ullrich trial The murder conviction of a New Braunfels man captured the town's attention. Paul Scott Ullrich, 39, was sentenced to 40 years in prison and a $10,000 fine by a Hays County jury for the murder of 34-year-old Ben Kiesling the morning of Jan. 22 at a trailer home off of Highway 46 in east New Braunfels. The trial was set for early October but was postponed by two weeks and moved to Hays County because the trial’s publicity and popularity of the victim, lawyers said. Kiesling was working in construction at the time of the murder and his funeral drew about 1,000 people, including numerous law enforcement officials, to his funeral in late January at First Baptist Church in New Braunfels. The jury opted to sentence Ullrich for the first degree murder charge after considering a wide range of possible punishments, including probation or two to 20 years in prison for the finding of second-degree murder. Much of the trial centered on child custody battles and marital difficulties between Ullnch and exwife Sandy Kiesling, who had married Ben Kiesling about three weeks before his death The 12-mcmber jury of six men and six women came up with the guilty verdict after three hours of deliberation on Fnday and about a half hour chi Monday. Later that day, they deliberated for about two and a halfhours in determining the 40-year sentence. Ullnch, 39, showed little emotion upon heanng the verdict and could be eligible for parole after 20 years in pnson. Dunng the week-long tnal, Ullnch admitted to killing Kiesling during a fist fight but claimed self-defense because he said he feared Kiesling was reaching for a gun Ullnch stabbed Kiesling once in (the tart witlp*4nck-blade buck knife in the front of the home of one of Kfesting’s mEffds whom he was picking up to give a nde to work Kiesling had Ullnch’s then-8acaroid daughter in his truck at the time After the stabbing, Ullrich said he drove his daughter to school and then went to the New Braunfels Police Department to report the incident as an assault by Kiesling. Ullrich’s daughter also testified in the trial after the judge cleared the courtroom. No. 6: Edwards Aquifer Authority uphold Comal C ounty and New Braunfels officials and residents won a major victory in June after the Texas Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s first regional authonty over the Edwards Aquifer. The ruling came on June 28 and allows the 15-member Edwards Aquifer Authority to manage the diverse interests of water needs along the 175-milc aquifer in South Texas. New Braunfels leaders said they believed the new agency could work together to find a way to conserve the aquifer water while still using it as a natural resource for water supply needs. The ruling immediately abolishes the EAA’s predecessor, the Edwards Underground Water District, which the Texas Legislature created in 1959 The EUWD lacked the authority that the EAA has, which includes issuing fines and implementing a permit process that many believe will help enforce aquifer management measures. The first EAA board members were appointed by the Legislature and began operations in the middle of one of the worst droughts in South Texas. Rainfall at that point was little more than one inch in New Braunfels and recharge over the aquifer was also well below normal averages. The board met throughout the summer to determine a drought management plan that would be acceptable for all the region’s interest. They held meetings in Comal, Bexar and Uvalde counties to collect feedback on whether to declare the drought an emergency and if so, what limits to place on aquifer withdrawals. In a controversial vote, the board voted not to declare the drought an emergency. The day after, Senior U.S. District Judge Lucius Bunton III ordered a plan be written in IO days. The move came in response to the Sierra Club’s lawsuit against all aquifer users, claiming the drought and withdrawals were threatening the existence of federally protected species dependent on the aquifer. The 5th U.S. Circuit C ourt of Appeals blocked the plan about one week before it’s effective date in mid-fall. By that time, fall rains had increased spring flow and aquifer levels to the point that an emergency plan was not needed then Still, the EAA met on numerous occasions this fall to discuss a plan for upcoming critical periods that finally passed the approval of a majority of board members about two weeks ago No. 7: Comal consolidated Supporters of a plan to consolidate the county and district attorneys’ offices began their pitch to commissioners court this past fall Outgoing District Attorney Bill Kenner and District Attorney-elect Dib Waldnp support the idea to unify the two offices, which they feel could save up to $40,000 in 1997. In November, the idea was presented to the commissioners where discussions turned heated with talks of deals, misrepresentations and political games Subsequent meetings were toned down as commissioners tabled the item until January when Waldnp is expected to bnng it back up for discussion With ’Rcimer winning the November election for county attorney, the plan received a big boost as he plans to step down if the plan goes into effect. Some of the commissioners have concerns that consolidation would not bring savings to the county by creating a larger office. Others said they have questions as to whether services will improve by the new process and whether the tenninations are necessary. The consolidation would require approval by the Texas Legislature before being implemented. No. 8: Booming population Comal County has continued to see phenomenal growth in population. The appraisals were released in late April and showed an increase in the city's taxable value from $996,200 last year to $1.12 million this year. The main reason for the increase in values is the nse in new construction, which for Comal County totaled $145 million, about $24 million more than last year. Housing permits for the first 11 months of this year reached 260, which is a considerable jump from 233 in 1995, 211 in 1994 and 169 in 1993. Much of the county’s growth is occurring in the west, which is forcing the Comal Independent School District to build new facilities, including plans to build a new high school and elementary school in seven years. CIS!) currently has two schools under construction, one in the planning stages and numerous additions and renovations are under way on existing facilities. CIS!) enrollment is expected to increase from about 9,250 this past yearto 13,798 in 2002. 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