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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 8, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas .#AV N EW jsaySNFELS ];)MO0 9 10/2-2/99 U!F 0 "I" M I CRO PU Bl I SPI T. MO 2"( P.. Y(OMI)Pl I PP TX 79903Herald-Zeitung Vol. 148, No. 36 18 pages in 2 sections January 8, 1999 RIDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 SO centsSenate trial begins; local reaction mixed From staff and wire reports With Chief Justice William H. Rehn-quist presiding, the Senate somberly placed William Jefferson Clinton on trial Thursday on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors in the first presidential impeachment in 131 years. The White House promised a “compelling case” for acquittal. The nation’s 42nd president — and only the second to face a trial — was at the White House when all IOO senators stood at their desks in the Capitol, raised their hands and swore to render “impartial justice” in his case. Area residents followed the event as impeachment proceedings began Thursday. “I’m glad that they’re doing what’s right. I hope things turn out for the best,” said New Braunfels resident Robyn Coleman. CLINTON The momentous events unfolded as Senate leaders struggled for an elusive accord on guidelines for die trial, setting an extraordinary closed-door meeting of all senators for today. “I think there is some common ground,” said the Democratic leader, Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, although he and Majority Leader Trent Lott added there had been no bipartisan accord on the thorny question of whether to permit testimony by witnesses. Clinton stands accused of peijury and obstruction of justice, allegations that stem from his long campaign to cover up a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. The charges were brought in the name of the House of Representatives and “of the people of the United States of America,” intoned Rep. Henry Hyde, the Illinois Republican who led fellow GOP lawmakers into the chamber to formally present the two articles of impeachment. Some area residents expressed their disapproval of President Clinton as the historical event began on Thursday. “I don’t think anybody has a right to be above the law. I love America, but that mauls made disgrace of that office,” Seguin resident Bennie Cooper said. Like the rest of the nation, local residents tuned in on television, while in Washington, lines of visitors formed at the Capitol, and a lucky few dozen people got seats in the galleries overhanging the Senate chamber for the opening of the trial. “I came here to show my support for theSeeTRIAUSA Good wood San Antonio Zoo horticulturalist curator Tony Pondk flips a rope over driftwood he and Cheryl Trammell, right, collected Thursday morning. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invited anyone who wants free driftwood to come to Crane Mills Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.on Saturday. No entrance fee win be charged, however, chain saws are not allowed. ROOM CORNETT/ Herald-Zertung * Wentworth sees budget as high priority By Heather Tooo Staff Writer State legislators will be greeted next Tuesday with a full plate of issues, including taxpayer-funded school vouchers and deregulation of the electric industry, on the table. State Senator Jeff Wentworth, District 25 representative, said he believed the state budget, however, would continue to be a top priority during the upcoming legislative session. “The state legislature meets only 140 days every other year, and the most important thing we do is adopt a state budget for the next two years,” Wentworth said. “The importance of the budget is even more so this year because we have a budget surplus for the first time in my memory.” With a projected $6 million surplus in the state budget, legislators in this * WENTWORTH year’s session will not be preoccupied with usual federal court orders to make necessary changes to state programs, such as prisons and public education, Wentworth said. “We have high employment and a robust economy, but I think the focus this year will remain on how we decide to allocate that $6 billion,” he said. State legislators also will face off on public education and school choice as several taxpayer-funded school voucher bills will be introduced in the legislative session. Wentworth said he supported a school voucher pilot program to see if competition among schools improved public education in Texas. “I support a school voucher system on a pilot basis. That way we can see if vouchers can prove or disprove themselves,” he said. Wentworth said he was not prepared to give support or opposition to pro-posals of deregulating electric utilities in Texas. “I haven’t looked at the proposals See WENTWORTH/5A County hears first report on floodwater retention dams By Chr» Crews Staff Writer Comal County officials got a report on locations for possible floodwater retention dams in the Guadalupe River watershed Thursday, but the new dams are not likely to come quickly or inexpensively. A coimty-appointed committee to study floodwat^control heard from representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service at its First meeting Thursday afternoon. The NRCSKontingent gave an update of a project cal leer the Guadalupe Laterals, originally performed to identify possible dam sites on tributaries of the Guadalupe. Officials said five dams were completed on the Dry Comal between 1957 and 1981, but the Guadalupe Laterals project was never completed because it lacked the necessary local support. Possible dam sites identified were: Devils Backbone, Keiser Hollow, Cordova Hollow, Mountain Creek, Bear Creek, Isaac Creek, Elm Creek and Jacobs Creek. James Hailey, watershed planning staff leader for tile NRCS, updated the 1974 financial projection for the eight dams into 1998 numbers. “If the supporting group provides the money for land acquisition, the federal government will provide IOO percent of the construction costs,” Hailey said. Hailey updated projections indicated if the county or county/city combined would spend about $ 1.6 million on land right acquisition, the federal government would provide the $ 11 million necessary for construction of the dams. He said the county passed a $750,000 bond issue in the 1960s to provide for land rights acquisition for the Krause, Schuetz and Blei-ders Creek dams on the Dry Comal. Land rights for the Vogel Dam and the Eikel-Blank dams were donated to the county. However, it might be many years before See DAMS/5A Bexar Metro talks water with court Resource manager discusses ‘misconceptions’ about district By Chris Crews Staff Writer Representatives of the Bexar Metropolitan Water District told Comal County commissioners they were not interested in shipping Comal water to customers outside the county. Chuck Ahrens, water resource manager for Bexar Met, said many county residents had “big mimonnrptirmi** about the-district and their intentions. “We are not interested in using the water from Comal County for our customers living outside the county,” Ahrens said. „    Ahrens    said Bexar Met was formed ^ L    as a public company by the legislature in 1945 and was governed by a seven-member board of directors elected by the district's customers. The company was formed to provide a water supply to unincorporated areas south of San Antonio. It had expanded as private water companies offered their businesses to them for purchase, Ahrens said. He said the company had the authority to levy taxes, but that had never been done in the company^ history. He also said Bexar Met had no legal affiliation with the municipally owned San Antonio Water System. Rick Vasquez, development planner for Bexar Met, said the company expected to conclude negotiations to buy Bulverde Water System by Jan. 14. The company will then operate water systems in Bulverde Hills, Oakland Estates and The WooAsbf Spring Branch. , He said the company had no other expansion plans in the county.    .J Vasquez said residents will see advantages of being part of a public water system. “Residents have little say-so in private water systems; but See WATER/5A Party planned for Casteel From STAFF REPORTS Former County Judge Carter Casteel will be the featured guest at a party in her honor Saturday night About 400 of her closest friends were expected to attend. See PARTY/5A Inside Abby......................... .....7A Business....................... .....SA Classifieds................... 4-6B Comics......................... .....SA Crossword.................... .....7A Forum........................... .....4A Local ......... ....2A Obits............................. .....3A Sports........................... ..1-2B Today........................... .....2A Television..................... ......SA Proposed dam sites The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service has identified eight watersheds on Guadalupe River tributaries as sites for floodwater retention dams. 1. Devil’s Backbone 5,338 acres 2. Hefter Hollow 1,246 acres 3. Cordova Hollow 1,651 acres 4. Mountain Creak 3,174 acres 5. Bear Creak 10,323 acres 6. Isaac Creek 4,665 acres 7. Elm Creak 2,714 acres 8. Jacobs Creak 2,074 acres ;