New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 8, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
THURSDAY, JANUARY 8, 2004
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2004 Soccer season kicks off this weekend with area teams in tournament play. Page SA
COUPON KIDS EAT FREE
Children 12 and younger get a free buffet with an adult buffet purchase at regular price at Mr. Gattis. Page 2A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 153. No. 48 12 pages, 2 sections
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Double-amputee tells NBHS students how to triumph over tragedy
By Dylan Jimdnez
The things Dana Bowman can do are more important to him than the things he can’t.
Prosthetic feet first, Bowman parachuted through almost freezing temperatures Wednesday morning onto a New Braunfels High School field.
When it comes to skydiving and aerial acrobatics, Bowman remains one of the best in the world, even after his legs were torn off in an accident in 1994.
The retired U.S. Army sergeant first class spoke to NBHS students about fighting life’s battles. He wanted to show them “what disability is really about."
“Boy was it cold up there,” Bowman said, trying to ease the crowd.
He was wearing a pair of khaki shorts, accentuating his artificial legs. Many of the students’ and teachers’ eyes bounced from the fake legs up to the man and his projector screen.
I Ie showed clips of his new Nike commercial yet to be released.
“It’s not disability, it’s ability," Bowman told students several times.
Bowman was a celebrated Special Forces soldier and a member of the Golden Knights elite parachuting team.
In February 1994, he and a teammate were performing a trick called the Diamond Track. 'Hie Diamond Track involves two skydivers who streak a mile away from each other, turn 180 degrees and fly back at each other crisscrossing in the sky.
The men had demonstrated the maneuver more than 50 times safely, Bowman said. But they collided as they flew at each other at a combined speed of 300 miles per hour.
Bowman’s teammate died instantly. Bowman’s legs were torn from his body on impact, and his chute opened. He lost one leg above the knee and one below the knee.
Bowman thought his life as a special forces soldier was over.
Instead, after his teammate was buried, Bowman began to train again.
I lis physical conditioning before the accident allowed him to return to skydiving just nine months later, when he re-enlisted as the first double-amputee to be an active member of Army.
I lis re-enlistment set a precedent for other disabled people to be able to enlist in the Army.
“The words amputee and inability are not synonymous," Bowman said.
See AMPUTEE. Page 3A
Disability not inability street
Photos by DAVID INGRAM/ Heiald-Zeitung
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Dana Bowman gives the students and faculty of New Braunfels High School the "thumbs up" after he parachuted onto school grounds Wednesday morning. Bowman lost his legs after he and a teammate collided performing a parachuting stunt in 1994.
County changes precincts as judges OK redistricting
By Ron Maloney
Local officials expressed no surprise Wednesday that a three-judge panel approved Texas' new U.S. congressional districts.
U.S. Department of Justice and the federal courts both approved the controversial new districting, which divides downtown New Braunfels between U.S. Hep. I .amar Smith, R-San Antonio, and Giro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio. The new districts will first be applied in the March 9 primary election.
Democrats are expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the lines disenfran
chise minority voters.
County Clerk Joy Streater said Elections Coordinator Linnell Hinojosa had already begun preparing the new local voting precincts that would be necessary to make the redistricting work.
Under federal law, no voting precinct can be split between two congressmen. The maps drawn up this past fall in a midnight conference committee required Comal County to create IO new precincts. Hinojosa tweaked the lines so she was required to draw four new precincts and make changes to seven others.
The changes have been frustrat
ing for local officials because they come just three years alter Comal County was consolidated into one congressional district — Smith’s 21st — and the county spent thousands realigning and renumbering its precincts.
Wednesday, Streater said the county would move on and make the new system work.
“We’re going to play the hand that’s been dealt us,” Streater said. “That’s the main reason we went ahead and got everything approved by commissioners. We’re ahead of the game.”
A letter will be forwarded to the Justice Department seeking pre
clearance of the local lines in accordance with the Voting Hights Act.
County Judge Danny Scheel said he regretted the changes after the county worked so hard in 2001 to put its districts in order.
“We’re obviously disappointed that they chose to change the lines that we worked so hard to create to reduce confusion to voters,’” Scheel said. “The upside is we now have more than one congressman we can go to when we need something.’’
Scheel said the county would revisit its districts after the next census and see if they couldn’t be realigned as they were in 2001.
By Scott Mahon
Developers and landowners who want to save pecan trees along Landa Street adjacent to the LCRA power plant property were given another month’s reprieve Tuesday.
The New Braunfels Planning Commission voted to give developer Larry Peel of Austin another chance to resolve the issue with the Texas Department of Transportation before it approves the final plat.
City officials know TxDOT plans to widen Landa Street to four lanes — they say 20 years from now. TxDOT recommends a 120-foot right-of-way; however, the 50-foot wide street is lined with 100-year-old pecan trees, which would have to be removed to get that wide of a right-of-way.
Peel, who plans to develop the property, has fought against TxDOT’s recommendation for months. For the second time, he swayed the commission Tuesday to give him one more chance to save the trees.
“The issue is how much right-of-way we should allow,” said Frank Robbins,
See LANDA STREIT. Page 3A
Dierksen steps down as planning chairman
By Scott Mahon
John Dierksen’s leadership was noticeably absent at Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting following his resignation as chairman.
Dierksen has served on the commission since 1978.
Frank Robbins, director of planning and community development, said Dierksen submitted Ins formal resignation Dec. 12,2003.
“His resignation letter said essentially he would no longer have time to serve on the commission because he will be serving as chairman of the chamber of commerce," Robbins said.
Dierksen has served as acting chairman of the board of the Greater New
See DIERKSEN Page 3A
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Tued of retirement, Jeanie Edwards started a bar near downtownt that now marks second anniversary.