New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 7, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
New Braunfels Art League is renovating its downtown space to look more like a commercial art gallery. Page IB
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2004
SAVINGS EL JARDIN
El Jardin Restaurant offers daily specials, including buy three breakfast tacos and get a fourth taco free. Page 3A
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Sei viiig New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
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Vol. 153, No. 47 14 pages, 2 sections
PT Mostly cloudy
Details .... 2BWoman’s body found; death ‘accidental’
By Ron Maloney
SPRING BRANCH—A Spring Branch woman who disappeared four months ago was found dead Monday off the side of a cliff above Rebecca Creek.
Comal County Sheriff’s detec -tive Sgt. Tommy Ward said human remains found near the
woman’s vehicle were identified Tuesday as those of Lisa Rox-ann Sportsman, who disappeared Sept. 3.
Ward said Travis County Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Peacock ruled the cause of Sportsman’s death as accidental, the result of “blunt force trauma’’ after the vehicle
plunged over the cliff and onto rocks 50 feet below.
Sportsman, 41, left her grandmother’s Spring Branch home the evening Sept. 3, saying she would return in a few minutes, but she never did.
An extensive investigation by the sheriff’s office and the San Antonio-based Heidi Search
Center revealed no sign of her.
Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Lt. Mark Reynolds said a pair of hikers reported they found the vehicle off the end of Bluebonnet Hill Drive Sunday.
Ward said one of the hikers made the report Monday after going into a store in western Comal County and seeing a
pamphlet that listed Sportsman missing.
“She realized the vehicle shed seen, a dark green Ford Explorer, matched the description of the one in the flyer,’’ Ward said.
The color of the vehicle and its location made it difficult to see from the top of the cliff.
See DEATH. Page 3A
Commission gets first look at 2004 annexation plans
New Braunfels resident Wayne Rudolph, 73, has asked city council to consider freezing city propery taxes for homeowners 65 and older. Texas voters passed a constitutional amendment in September that gives cities and counties that option.
Local governments weigh property tax break for seniors
By Scott Mahon
()fficials say they are reviewing legislation that allows cities and counties lo freeze ad valorem taxes for senior homeowners hut won t decide anything until they fully understand the legislations impact.
Voters passed the constitutional amendment in September. It permits counties, cities and junior college districts to establish an ad valorem tax freeze on homesteads of residents who are disabled or who are 65 or older.
‘ T he new legislation went into effect Jan. I,” said (Tty
“Senior residents are usually confined to fixed incomes, whereas younger residents still have higher incomes to look forward to.”
— Wayne Rudolph
New Braunfels resident
Manager Chuck Pinto. “I ve already sent a copy of the law to city council members, and I suspect they’ll talk about it when we start our budget process in February."
The amendment was
intended to give elderly and disabled residents the same beneficial tax treatment that elderly currently get with public school property taxes.
At least one New Braunfels resident lias already urged city council to consider freezing property taxes for New Braunfels residents.
Wayne Rudolph, 73, asked council in December to consider freezing city property taxes for homeowners 65 and older.
Rudopii resides within the city limits of New Braunfels in Guadalupe County.
“I know Guadalupe County commissioners are looking
into this,’’ he said. “Anti it s my understanding that senior residents and disabled residents represent only 7 percent of the population of Guadalupe County.”
Rudolph said school districts set the precedent for freezing property taxes for senior residents.
“Senior residents are usually confined to fixed incomes, whereas younger residents still have higher incomes to look forward to,” Rudolph said. “There are a lot of senior residents who have to decide every day to buy medication or food because
See TAXES Page 3A
By Scott Mahon
The New Braunfels Planning Commission began its annual annexation process Tuesday, and officials reminded residents at the meeting annexation is almost always controversial.
“Almost every time we get into annexation, its potentially controversial,” said frank Bobbins, director of planning and community development.
"Anytime we do annexation, there are always some landowners who oppose it,” added Ace McAda, who acted as chairman Tuesday during John Dierksen’s absence. “But we’re just beginning the process tonight. We’re not going to take any action. We just want to give the staff some direction. So tonight is very preliminary.’’
Jocelyn Murphy, a city planner, outlined a timeline for the commission.
“In february, we ll give you a schedule and continue to identify areas to con sider for annexation,” she
said. “Then in March, we’ll prepare a summary of each area under consideration. By April, you should be ready to make your recommendations to city council, which will hold public hearings in July "
Murphy said areas for possible annexation this year include two areas adjacent to the airport, a stretch of land adjacent to 1-35 north of New Braunfels and County Judge Danny Scheel’s property.
“We’re reaching out as far as we can up 1-35 to the Ski Ranch,” Robbins said. “That’s almost to the point of the city’s interlocal agreement with the city of San Marcos near Watson Lane.’
Robbins said the Planning Commission begins its review of potential areas for annexation in January.
“In the past, we worked with a five-year plan,” he said. "We did away with that last year. Now, we begin each year looking at areas of growth that are potential areas for annexation.’’
See ANNEXATION. Page 3A
Meek challenges newspaper’s Texan of the Year’ award
By Ron Maloney
Texas is a big place, hut there’s only room for one “Texan of the Year.”
T he Dallas Morning News apparently didn’t realize this past week when they named President (ieorge W. Bush “Texan of the Year” that there was another honor of the same name in New Braunfels going back 30 years — a recognition Bush received in 2002.
Perhaps nobody was more surprised than Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce President Michael Meek when the Morning News gave Bush the award — again.
Meek said his organization has bestowed the "Texan of the Year" award at its annual Texas Legislative Conference for the past 30 yeai s — anil has trademarked the term with the Texas Secretary of State’s ()ITice.
Now, Meek said his office — more precisely its law firm — is contacting the Morning News to try to dear the matter up.
“We’re in the process of noticing them and giving them a copy of
our trademark registration information that s on file with the secretary of state," Meek said. “They probably didn't even know what they were doing."
Meek would like to see the newspaper — the largest in Texas — change the name of its award.
Dallas Morning News Editorial Page Editor Keven Ann Willey said slit* was surprised to learn that there had been a Texan of the Year named in New Braunfels for three decades.
“We were unaware of a prominent Texan of the Year, which is part of the reason we launched it," Willey said.
So far, Willey said, she hasn t
heard from Meek. When she does, she’ll decide what to do.
“I ve only heard from the newspaper — I haven’t heard from tin* chamber of commerce,” Willey said. TH he happy to consider it when I have something to respond to. I just don’t know at this point.
For his part, Meek was conciliatory.
“We’ve had a long-term relationship with the major media outlets in the state, and I’m sure this is just an oversight on their part,” Meek said. “Someone up there probably said, I ley, lets have a Texan of the Year.’ It sounded good and they did it. It sounded good here 30 years ago.”
Areas to be annexed Other potential areasCheering on
Five local cheerleaders move on to competition squad at Texas State.