New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 9, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
■ LIFE, 1C
Flying with the Eagles:
6 make top Scout honor
■ SPORTS, 1B
Bobcats open conference with win over NW State
JANUARY 9, 2011
Texas ^|p Newspaper of the Year
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Water park appeals ‘tree house’ denial to city council
By Greg Bowen
Schlitterbahn is planning to add a dozen new lodging units and to renovate a concession stand — but first it will have to get a building code variance from New Braunfels City Council,
The city’s design standards require that such materials as brick, stone or rock be used
NEW on the exte'
BRAUNFELS ['°rS °f
CITY homes cind
When: 6 p.m. built in New
Where: City Hall, The rules
424 S. Castell Ave. were put in
___ place to pro
tect and enhance the visual environment of the city.
But Schlitterbahn’s building plans are not in compliance — and were rejected by city building officials.
Now the water park is appealing the question to city council.
Schlitterbahn’s plans call for the water park’s planned new “Tree House” lodging units to be built with facades made of wood, steel-frame elements, sculpted cement and live plant material to invoke a tree-house theme, city staffers said.
I he renovated concession stand would feature a facade of wood siding and metal screening accentuated with locally harvested tree elements.
City staffers are recommending that the council approve Schlitterbahn’s plans as presented.
“Staff recommends approval of the request as the proposed structures are unique and will add character to the water park ambiance (and) the proposed structures will not be erected immediately adjacent to roadways," the staffers wrote in a report submitted to council. Schlitterbahn’s Jeffrey
See BUILDING, Page 7A
By Amanda Lee Myers, David Espo and Terry Tang
Associated Press writers
TUCSON, Ariz. - Hep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fire outside a grocery
store during a meeting with voters, killing a federal judge and four others in a rampage that rattled the country and left Giffords politicians fearful for their safety, “it is a
tragedy for Arizona, and a tragedy for our entire country," President Barack Obama declared.
Cliffords was among at least 10 people wounded, and the hospital said her outlook was optimistic as she was responding to commands from doctors despite having a
bullet go through her head. The death toll included a 9-year-old girl, a federal judge, and a staffer for the Democratic congresswoman.
The reaction to the shooting rippled across the country as Americans were aghast at the sight of such a violent attack on a sitting member of
Congress. The shooting cast a pall over Capitol as politicians of all stripes denounced the shooting as a horrific and senseless act of violence. Capitol police asked members of Congress to be more vigilant about security in the
See SHOOTING, Page 10A
A QUESTION OF MERIT
Petition would put NBPD civil service on May ballot
By J. Louise Larson
Civil service for the New Braunfels Police Department is coming soon to a petition — and then a ballot — near you.
The New Braunfels Police Officers Association is looking to get voter input on the issue in the May 14 election. The move follows a successful drive to bring civil service to the New Braunfels Fire Department four years ago.
Sgt. Steve Hanna is vice president of the New Braunfels Police Officers Association. The long-time New Braunfels Police Department officer said the drive between here and the May ballot will be about signatures and education.
First thing people need to know is what civil service is not, Hanna said.
“A lot of people think it’s a union and it’s not,” he said. “It’s just a standardized forum for hiring, promotion and discipline. A lot of people look at it like it’s collective bargaining - but that’s a separate issue,” he said.
Civil service creates a standardized set of rules both the city and the officers must follow, Hanna said.
In 19 years in law enforcement, Harma has been promoted a number of times — and each time the promotional process has been different, he said.
“With civil service, it’s standardized.”
Civil service takes the politics out of employment, replacing it with documentation, he said.
“When you have different city administrators come through... each
c «• r'u • n ix- . • LAURA McKENZIE/Herald-Zeitung
seekingrslg^“oÄesd"yBraUnfelS P°'iCe 0fficers Associati°" "een Marshall while
WHAT IS CIVIL SERVICE?
Civil Service is a merit system under which police department employees may be hired and promoted.
According to the Texas State Statutes (Section 143):
The purpose of civil service “is to secure
one can have a different take on how they feel towards officers. If an officer’s offended someone in city administration, they can just terminate at will," Hanna said.
“ Texas is an at-will employer state, but police and firefighters aren’t allowed to strike - but we’re still ‘at-
efficient fire and police departments composed of capable personnel who are free from political influence and who have permanent employment tenure as public servants."
will’ employees. If an employer doesn’t like us, or the city manager or police chief doesn’t like us, they can just let us go. By seeking civil service, we re not wanting to be ’at-will.’ We’re wanting to be more secure in our jobs and have a more standardized set of rules in place - standardized
for hiring, promotion and the disciplinary process.”
In a public letter, NBPOA President Scott Renken said civil service will add no additional costs to the operations of the department, and will not affect city taxes.
Burgeoning demographics are part of the reason civil service makes sense for the New Braunfels Police Department, Hanna said.
“The population of New Braunfels has more than doubled in size since I started with the police department. It’s currendy around 60,000 and within the next five to 10 years, it will be
See CIVIL, Page 9A
Prince Solms statue planned for front of civic center
Local group asking officials to allow memorial of New Braunfels founder
By Greg Bowen
A life-sized statue of New Braunfels founder Prince Solms could soon grace the lawn of the New Braunfels Civic Convention Center.
The Historic Outdoor Art Gallery, the nonprofit group behind many of the large outdoor murals in the downtown area, is asking city oflfi-
cials to allow the placement of the statue, which will be created by New Braunfels sculptor Paul Tadlock.
The Historic Outdoor Art Gallery would fund the project.
Lois Newton, secretary of the group, said in a letter to the city that the sculpture would be six-foot three-inches tall, made of bronze, and completed in early 2012.
It would be placed on Seguin Avenue in front of the civic center sign, a location chosen by sculptor Tadlock, Newton said.
“It would certainly be a compliment to the civic center compound
and would make a huge statement,” said Wayne Rahe, president of the Historic Outdoor Art Gallery. The statue would be mounted on a base resembling a limestone boulder and would include a bronze plaque with historical information about the prince, Rahe said.
City Council is scheduled to consider the request at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall. The city’s Downtown Development Board is recommending approval.
Prince Solms — whose given name was Friedrich Wilhelm Carl Ludwig Georg Alfred Alexander,
Prince of Solms, Lord of Braunfels, Grafenstein, Munzenberg, Wilden-fels and Sonnenwalde — led German immigrants into Texas via wagon train and founded New Braunfels in 1845. The city was named for the Solms family’s ancestral castle on the Lahn River in Germany.
Sculptor Tadlock’s works include the oft-televised statue of golfer Ben Hogan at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth and the Doughboy sculpture familiar to those who visit Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium at the University of Texas in Austin.
First Commercial BankJU
'M As Independent as Texas ■
Do you know these
Mark Williams, McQueeney• Mark Long, McQueeney ■ Jeff Albrecht, Braunfels.
Doris Rinn, Seguin • General Tommy Thomson, San Antonio Robert "Bob” Pfuilmann, McQueeney • G.P. "Jeep" Kiel, Seguin _
¡¡¡Bl They are our Board of Directors and your neighbors! ■
Vol. 158, No. 51 24 pages, 4 sections
Your locally owned community bank
Member FDIC www.lcb.com