New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 11, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
SATURDAY January ll 2003
j 4 pages jn 2 sectionsHerald-Zeitung
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Vol. 152, No. 51
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852
Sex assault suspect faces nine indictments
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
The 29-year-old Austin man arrested in December 2002 while allegedly trying to pick up a 14-year-old girl for a sexual tryst has been indicted on nine felony charges.
A Comal County grand jury indicted Alex Gregory Zwarun
Wednesday on five charges of indecency with a child, three counts of sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault.
A bench warrant has been issued for Zwarun’s rearrest. The bail figure on the document is $1.6 million.
Eight of the indictments are second-degree felonies punishable by
two to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for each count.
The attempted sexual assault charge is a third-degree felony punishable by two to IO years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Comal County Sheriff’s detectives arrested Zwarun Dec. 5, 2002, in the parking lot of Smithson Valley Middle School as he prepared to
leave with a 14-year-old Comal County girl.
Sheriff’s detectives allege he was planning to take her to a motel room in San Antonio. Subsequent searches of the motel room and Zwarun’s Austin home resulted in the confiscation of evidence, but detectives haven’t said what that evidence was except that it included a computer.
Zwarun allegedly met his victim at an ice hockey game in Austin and communicated with her by e-mail and telephone.
He was originally booked only on two charges — sexual assault of a child and attempted sexual assault of a child.
City takes first swing at allowing private golf carts
By Ron Maloney
New Braunfels City Council Monday considers the first reading of an ordinance that would end restrictions on private cart use at the Landa Park Golf Course.
Also on the table will be a recommendation to eliminate the $5 fee for riders in private carts and to give the golf course manager authority to negotiate rates for special events and promotions.
Council meets at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 424 South Casted Ave.
The recommendations were among those made in December by the Landa Park Golf Advisory Board. They are intended to help promote the course and make it more attractive to the golfing public.
An ordinance can be adopted after its third reading.
In other agenda items at its Monday meeting, city council will:
■ Conduct public hearings for rezoning of tracts of land at the northwest comer of Gruene Road and Common Street, Gruene Road west of Ervendberg Avenue and in the Gardens of Evergreen subdivision,
■ Appoint one member to the Community Development Advisory Committee;
■ Consider first reading of an ordinance pertaining to membership of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; and
■ Consider a proposal for two new rear-loading garbage trucks.
Currently, the only private carts permitted on the course are those owned by golfers who paid the private cart fee in the previous year.
The policy effectively grandfathers existing customers who are cart owners and prohibits new ones.
Judge tosses out suit over parking ordinance
By Sean Bowlin
Following arguments about inadequate parking and what constituted a “parking facility” near the New Braunfels Museum of Art and Music being built in Gruene, 207th District Court Judge Fred Clark dismissed Pat Molak’s lawsuit against the city of New Braunfels.
Attorney Tim Herman, representing Moiak, argued that the museum’s 75 parking spaces were inadequate.
Herman said the 10,000 square-foot museum under construction adjacent to the 135,000 square-foot River’s Edge Restaurant should have 135 parking spaces based upon a code requirement of one parking space for every
IOO square feet of space.
Herman said many of the 75 parking spaces, plus 92 leased by the museum’s board, were more than 200 feet from the museum, violating city statutes.
He claimed the spaces were considerably more than 200 feet away from the museum. “And if that’s the case, for the board [of adjustment — the city’s zoning board] to proceed further would be an abuse of their discretion,” Herman said.
But Museum Attorney Bill McNeal argued the city zoning board didn’t abuse its discretion when it accepted evidence from New Braunfels City Planning Director Frank Robbins saying, first, several museum pur king spaces were See SUIT/3AUnited Way at 60 percent of goal; chair says agencies will be funded Inside
By Sean Bowlin
Residents seeing ther-mometer-style signs showing the results of United Way’s fund drive frozen at 55 percent might get the wrong idea, since it ended D§c. I.
They might think the agency is massively underfunded.
Donations were down in this year’s drive, but money is coming in and the 26 agencies supported by the United Way will get funded as always.
“We’re about at the same level as we were last year at this time, if not better,” said United Way Chairman Doug
Hammerstrom. “But companies that make donations have lost employees and, as an aggregate, company donations were down.
"We’ve been having some difficulties raising money — the economy has hurt more folks, especially retired folks,” he said. “Also, there was the recent flooding and a lot of contributions were made after 9-11.
“We’re real close to 60 percent — we’re almost at $330,000 and $550,000 is our goal.”
That goal includes designations of funding from people who live in Comal County but work outside the county, like in San Antonio, and who
participate in workplace giving. They can designate their gifts to help in Comal County.
‘The big question mark is what we’U get from the San Antonio United Way,” said Hammerstrom. “They contribute about 20 percent of our annual funding,” or about $100,000.
When will Hammerstrom see those funds? He’s not sure.
The earliest we’ll know is the middle of February,” the United Way chairman said.
But the shortfall should not sound a funding alarm. The local agency has a reserve account of $190,000.
Key Code 76
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Suzie Garcia (right) goes through the Community Service Center’s monthly bills as treasurer Martha Rehler signs the checks. Among the checks is one for the Welfare Account, See GOAL/3A used to help customers of the center pay their utility bills.
Some details similar between robberies two months apart
By Ron Maloney Staff Writer
At midmorning Friday, a gunman robbed the Surety Bank located next to H-E-B at Walnut Avenue and Interstate 35 South.
No one was harmed in the robbery — which was the second at the same bank in less than two months and the fourth in New Braunfels in IO months.
New Braunfels Police Lt. John Villarreal said a man walked into the bank at about 10:30 a.m., brandished a large caliber handgun and demanded money.
He left the bank with an unstated amount of cash and
might have left in a silver or gray colored vehicle, which was found abandoned — with the engine running, in the nearby H-E-B parking lot.
He was last seen on Walnut Avenue, driving toward Interstate 35.
Police describe the suspect as a white male believed to be in his late 20s to early 30s, 5 feet, IO inches to six feet tall and weighing 180 to 225 pounds.
He was wearing blue jeans, a brown plaid shirt and a black ski cap that did not cover his face and dark sunglasses.
See ROBBERY/3ABank robbed again
(Above) New Braunfels Police detective Craig Christopherson interviews a witness to the robbery of the Surety Bank Friday morning. (Below) Christopherson dusts the front door of the bank for fingerprints following the hold up. This was the second robbery at the bank within two months.