New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 7, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Zeitung O Sunday, January 7,1996 OSA
Drivers shouldn’t get carried away on roads
Texas motorists eager to drive the new 70 mph daytime and 65 mph night speed limits for passenger cars should consider Caesar Augustus’ admonition to “make haste slowly.” Heeding that advice could prevent a traffic citation and, more important, could save lives.
President Bill Clinton signed the National Highway System Designation Act repealing the 55 mph speed limit in November, but it could be May before 70-mph signs are installed on all state highways. Where conditions warrant, the speed limit could remain at 55 mph.
“The best advice for motorists is to abide by the posted speed limit,” said Mike Cox, Texas Department of Public Safety. “Each law enforcement agency will decide how to best enforce the speed limit within its jurisdiction and policies may vary. Some areas will stay 55 for safety reasons.” DPS personnel are concerned that the higher speed limit adversely will affect traffic safety. Motorists who drive legally at 70 mph on some major highways should remember that speeding can be fatal.
In 1974, when Congress responded to the Arab oil embargo by lowering the speed limit to 55 mph, traffic fatalities dropped 17.5 percent. The trend did not continue.
Federal legislation enacted in 1987 allowed states to raise the speed limit on rural sections of interstate highways to 65 mph. The speed limit changed from 55 to 65 mph on 2,422 miles of the state’s 3,147 miles of interstate highways on May 9,1987. In 1988, the number of traffic fatalities increased 4.11 percent. Alcohol and speed were contributing factors in many of the fatal accidents.
Thirty fatal accidents occurred during the 1994 Christmas holiday period, and 53.3 percent involved alcohol or speeding. Of the 23 fatal accidents recorded during the 1994 New Year’s holiday period, 13 were alcohol- or speed-related.
In 1993, the 73rd Legislature passed the Administrative License Revocation Bill by Zaffinni and Rep. Steve Wolens, D—Dallas. An effective weapon in the war against drunk driving, ALR could save up to IOO lives a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Between Jan. I, 1995, when ALR became effective, and Nov. 30, 1995, 57,299 licenses were suspended and $1.7 million reinstatement fees were collected.
Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, a strong supporter of the legislation, issued an interim charge to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee to review driving while intoxicated statutes that could enhance ALR. These include allowing sobriety checkpoints, prohibiting open alcoholic beverage containers in vehicles, lowenng the blood alcohol threshold and increased penalties for DWI
Chamber banquet Jan. 26
Tickets went on sale this week for the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s 77th Annual Meeting and Banquet, which is billed as “A Sesquicentennial Finale.” The banquet will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26, 19% at the New Braunfels Civic Center.
The chamber has just completed 76 years of history, which makes it half as old as the city. Since 1995 was the Sesquicentennial year, it will be an appropriate time to reflect on the year’s special events, according to the chair of the board, Carter Casteel. Highlighting the evening will be the changing of the chair of the board’s gavel, presentation of awards for 1995, the drawing for the Sesquicentennial quilt and the sealing of the time capsule.
Of special interest is the presentation of the Besserung Award (outstanding citizen award), whose recipient is kept secret until the awards ceremony. The coveted Besserung Award, which means “community betterment,” is the highest honor that the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce can give to any citizen, and is awarded to the person who has made a significant contribution toward the improvement of our community. A buffet dinner will be served.
“This very popular event is almost always a sellout so we advise those interested in attending to get their tickets as soon as possible,” said Casteel. Tickets may be purchased from any Blue Coat, board director or at this chamber office, 390 S. Seguin St.
Concerned about the new speed limits and the confusion that may result because they will not be increased on all highways, DPS officials raised their estimate for the New Year’s Day holiday death toll to 40 persons. Cox reminds motorists to drive the higher speed limit only where 70 mph speed signs are posted and to exercise
The 70 mph speed limit applies only to passenger cars. Truck speed limits are 60 mph during the day and 55 mph at night.
Texas Department of Transportation engineers will not post all 70 mph speed limit signs until they complete their four-phase study of the state’s highways, including interstate and divided highways, undivided highways of four or more lanes, all other highways on the state and U.S. systems, and all other farm-to-market and ranch-to-market highways.
The completed first phase resulted in 70 mph speed limits posted on the majority of rural interstate and divided highways in mid-December. Phase two focused on speed limits for undivided highways of four or more lanes and was presented to Texas DOT commissioners at their December meeting.
Recommendations for speed limits on all remaining highways in the state and U.S. systems will be presented at the January commission meeting. FM and RM highway speed limits are scheduled for approval at the April commission meeting.
“For months, Texas DOT anticipated that the national maximum speed limit would be lifted,” said Bill Burnett, executive director. “With the repeal of federal restrictions, states have the authority to set their own speed limits, and we are making sure we continue to maintain a highway system that is safe and efficient.”
(Judith Zaffirini is a state senator for New Braunfels.)
First Protestant blood drives record 124 donations in 1995
On behalf of the Department of Mission and Service at First Protestant Church, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, and the many people who benefit from the blood donations received at the community blood drives at First Protestant, deepest and most sincere gratitude is extended to all who participate. Without the help and encouragement from members and friends, it would be impossible to continue this vital work.
The report from the Blood Bank as of Dec. ll indicated 124 donations received at drives held at First Protestant for 1995. At the beginning of the new year, the Department of Mission and Service asks that the community join them in rededicating themselves to the support of this important mission of First Protestant Church and New Braunfels. The first opportunity you have to show your support is Jan. 7, 1996. The first blood drive of the year will be held in the Family Life Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The department is looking forward to seeing you there! Best wishes for a healthy and peaceful New Year.
Charlene Nolte, coordinator New Braunfels
Immunizations could eliminate most flu deaths
Each year an average of 20,000 Americans die from Influenza (Flu) or its complications. This disease is usually preventable with an annual immunization. Those who are most at risk for the complications of Flu are Senior Citizens. New Braunfels is extremely fortunate to have organizations which are actively concerned about our own “at risk” citizens. The Downtown New Braunfels Rotary Club has contributed a very significant amount of money each year since 1990 towards the purchase of Influenza Vaccine, which has been administered free by the Health Department to the Senior Citizens. The Comal County Senior Citizens Center annually hosts this one day free clinic at their beautiful facility.
Hats off! Kudos! Many, many thanks to the Downtown New Braunfels Rotary Club for the generous financial backing and to the Comal County Senior Citizens Center for the
use of their facility. Their generosity has made this program possible and successful for the past six years. With- *, out their concern for others, many in our community would be “at risk.” I am looking forward to their continued support in the years to come.
Sincerely, Shel McWilliams, R.N.
Comal County Nurse
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle
I fail to understand how anybody can get so caught up in liberalism or conservatism so strongly that they can’t see all sides in a clear light and open mind. Some become so furious they actually lose control of their thinking through rage or even violence. It’s terrible seeing American citizens worshipping politicians—liberals or conservatives—so much that they think either party walks on water and wears halos. Many actually see some of these politicians as gods and would fall to the ground and lick their boots if the politicians let them. How naive! Some are even possessed by conservatism or liberalism so badly it actually blinds their thinking toward reality and they would give up their front seats in heaven (their souls) for their party, right or wrong. They even think of the opposite party as non-American when actually there are both conservatives and liberals lying out in those military graveyards and are now risking their lives in Bosnia today.
I feel very uneasy when there is a lopsided majority occupying the White House at any time! I’ll be giad when two terms in office is law. Those liberal and/or conservative politicians thumb their noses at us unsophisticated low-income peasants anyway most of the time and kiss up to their lobbyists.
The human being I vote for, regardless of party, will always be the best, I think, of those running. We vote and pay those politicians a good wage for doing their job. If they don’t do a good job, we get them out! Those doing good jobs stay and get paid. I see no use in becoming hysterical lunatics and fanatics over any political leader or party. Let’s keep our eyes on them all...not wash their feet! Geez!!
Jerry E. Daugherty Spring Branch
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New Braunfels like Los Angeles? Nab...
I look forward to visits in my hometown of New Braunfels. The city offers a pleasant and relaxing change from the frenzy of Los Angeles, where I now reside. Amazingly, however, New Braunfels does rival L.A. in a few unfortunate ways.
Your new grocery store is larger than any retail grocery store I’ve encountered during the 4.5 years I’ve lived in L.A.
Bigger is not necessarily better, but at least your store employees are
friendlier and the facility is cleaner than my smaller “neighborhood” supermarket in Studio City.
The traffic in L.A. deserves its highly negative reputation. I feel lucky that my car has only been hit twice during the years I’ve lived there and I think it’s a good traffic day when a 20-mile freeway commute between Studio City and Santa Monica takes “only” 50 minutes—each way. New Braunfels doesn’t have that sort of traffic nightmare, but in the role of pedestrian I perceive as much danger from the traffic while walking around the Plaza in New Braunfels as I do walking in L.A.
Drivers in L.A. generally understand the concept of pedestrian right-of-way; I have my doubts about some drivers in your friendlier city. Furthermore, where San Antonio and Seguin streets intersect the circle around the Plaza, there are no noticeable crosswalks to aid a pedestrian in negotiating unyielding traffic. Faded paint is evidence that there were crosswalks at these sites in the past. Why have these crosswalks not been repainted? I understand that there are sights to see on the Plaza grounds, such as a historic walk. Perhaps enjoyment of the Plaza is intended for risk-takers or sprinters. Woe to the nonsprinting risk-taker, for there is no protected pedestrian route to the Plaza. The city could do more to make a visit to its historic, unique Plaza area a safe one.
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