New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 11, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 2 — Herald-Zeitung Tuesday, January J1, 2011
Fire turns aerosol can into missile
By J. Louisa Larson
()nr thing led tn another—a smouldering cigarette, an aerosol explosion and a home fire on Saturday,
The New Braunfels Fire Department responded to a call just before noon from a nes idence in the 2500 block of Dove Crossing Drive. There, a resident arrived home and tried to use her garage door opener only to see it buck and smoke coming f rom inside the garage.
I ire crews found a stack of newspapers smouldering, and eventually traced the source of the blaze, said Fire Marshal Patrick O'Connell.
“Her husbands a smoker, and he kept a planter on a wire rack that was in the same area of the newspapers in the garage, that he used for an ashtray.
‘‘An improperly discarded cigarette ignited the newspaper, burning the paper, which heated up a can of deodorizer on that rack and caused it to
That explosion shot the can through the sheetrock ceiling and into the attic," O'Connell said.
The explosion, which knocked a four-inch hole into the sheetrock, knocked the win* rack over and was also strong enough to derail the garage door off its tracks, he said.
“An aerosol can can explode and take off like a rocket. Anything in aerosol is quite capable of becoming a missile," O’Connell said.
Three indicted for burning, dumping cars
By J. Louise Larson
Ihrce Bexar County residents are accused of dumping vehicles in rural Comal County.
Christopher I ). I lyde, Janea ( helsea Peterson and Vicente D. Hernandez have been indicted by a Comal County grand jury on charges of arson.
CONTINUED FROM Page 1
Levett said the tract is “a starter kit " for the outer loop.
c ouncilor Kathleen Krueger said the tract would he one of the largest ever developed in New Braunfels.
Mayor Bruce Boyer said no development plans for the land have been filed with the city. State officials have said they have a conceptual mixed-use development planned, but things would change depending on who purchases the property.
Additional hearings on the proposed annexation will be held.
( ouneil also approved the first reading of an ordinance that would extend two-hour parking downtown. Due to expire this month, the law was put into effect in July 2009 to encourage frequent turnover of parking spaces and free up for store customers the parking spaces often claimed for long periods by downtown workers.
A half-dozen citizens spoke, with most saying the parking plan has been a success, but
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I he three co-defendants face second degree felony ('barges in the case. Conviction would carry 2 to 10 years and up to $10,000 fine.
“It follows a pattern we see of cars taken from Bexar County, dumped into our county and burned,” said prosecutor Steven De lx*mos, who will prosecute the case.
I It* has been the I )istrict Attor-
others saying it ’s driving away potential downtown visitors.
Council members raised questions about the size of the fines charged — up to $500 — and the cost of enforcement, which is $20,000 per year.
Council on Monday also:
• OK'd a new $300 fee for fil-ing an appeal to the city’s design-standards ordinance. Proceeds will be used to defray staff expenses associated with the review of appeals.
• Postponed discussion of the approval of the proposed Enclave at Westpointe Village, a 48-acre gated development that would be built near the intersection of Independence Drive and Oak Run Parkway. Developers asked for a two-week delay.
• Voted to have city staff draft a resolution repealing the moratorium on shortterm rentals. The resolution will be voted on at the next meeting. Councilor Steven Digges sought the repeal, saying the moratorium is preventing developers from establishing new short-term rentals in commercially zoned districts.
• Approved first readings of ordinances rezoning five neighborhoods to more appropriate residential zoning: Rivercrest Heights, Mission Forest, Gruene Road, Gruene Courtyard and Garden Park. The rezoning is part of an effort to apply appropriate zoning to residential neighborhoods that began with the recently approved
ney’s office arson expert for five years.
Prosecuting arson represents a challenge, De Lemos said.
“A lot of evidence is consumed in the fire," he said. “ (Prosecuting arson) involves some tec hnical stuff and good old-fashioned investigative law enforcement work. You can never substitute for that.”
initiative to ban short-term rentals in residential areas.
Planning Director Shannon Mattingly said three other neighborhoods have already been rezoned and other seven or eight more are planned.
• Approved a $274,000 expenditure for accessories for police vehicles, including radios, cages, light bars and video camera systems.
• Appointed Guadalupe County Judge Mike Wiggins to represent the city on the South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group, which develops water-supply plans for the area.
• Voted to support the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority in its plans to create a new generation of computer models of the Guadalupe River that will improve flood forecasts issued by the National Weather Service’s River Forecast Center. GBRA is seeking state and federal funding for the $1.1 million effort.
• Approved the first reading of an ordinance to allow a "planned development" zoning classification for the proposed redevelopment of the Eden Hill retirement community on Ixikeview Blvd.
• OK’d the renaming of State Highway 46 as “The Rep. Edmund Kuempel Memorial Highway’’ from IH-35 to the eastern city limits.
• Approved an ordinance prohibiting mobile billboards. Under the ordinance, existing mobile billboards can operate until Labor Day 2012.
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‘Twilight Rapist’ suspect tried to flee before arrest
Officials suspect Billy Joe Harris or at least 5 assaults
EDNA (AP) — A suspected serial rapist who Texas authorities believe may be linked to attacks on a dozen elderly women in the past two years fled from two policemen outside a nursing home and wrestled with them for five minutes before finally being subdued,the officers said Monday.
Authorities believe that weekend chase and tussle may have finally nabbed the man known as The Twilight Rapist — a suspect who instilled so much fear that older women in one-stop-light towns bought guns to protect themselves, and Gov. Rick Perry took the rare step of creating a task force to catch him.
It 's safe to say he was one of the most wanted men in Texas over the last year and a half," Iexas Department of Public Safety spokesman lorn Vinger said. "It's hard to overstate the significance of this arrest."
Billy joe Harris, 53, was being held on a charge of burglary with intent to commit a felony in Jackson County, about 100 miles southwest of Houston.
Texas DPS says DNA samples link Harris to at least five assaults or attempted assaults over the past two years involving women 65 to 91 years old, and authorities suspect Harris' involvement in other cases.
Harris is being held on $500,000 bond. He has not been charged in any of the rapes, but Vinger said the more serious charges are pending.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Department had no record that Harris, a longtime state prison employee who also worked in the field of home health care, had hired an attorney Monday. A home telephone number for Flar-ris could not immediately be found. Vinger said Harris had no apparent prior criminal history, adding that's why investigators could never match DNA found at several crime scenes with anyone in the state's criminal database.
One of the victims, a 66-year-old, was attacked twice, despite moving across town following the first assault. The attacks rattled so many women that older volunteers at a Yoakum library began locking the doors during business hours, and organizers at one community meeting gave away pepper spray as door prizes.
John Kuempel ready for first day on the job as state representative
He joins 39 new legislators in largest freshman class in 38 years
By Ron Maloney
Seguin Gazette Enterprise
AUSTIN — Guadalupe County's new state representative is settling in this week in advance of an 82nd Texas Legislature that promises to be a barn-burner with a mul-ti-billion-dollar funding shortfall, redistricting, voter identification and other hot-button issues on the 140-day agenda.
John Kuempel inherited Chief of Staff Brittney Thomas and the rest of the staff of his father, the late 44th District State. Rep. Edmund Kuempel, after winning a nine-way special election on Dec. 14.
But he didn't inherit his father's desk near the front of the house chamber or his capitol office, placement of which are based on seniority.
So this week, Kuempel and the staff have been moving into their new digs.
"I've known them for years, and it's like I already worked here," Kuempel said of
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Thomas and her crew.
An experienced staff is a huge blessing and advantage, Kuempel said.
He and the staff are getting used to one another and coming to realize just how much work Edmund Kuempel did on his own accord — operating on the fly and off the cuff.
"I'm out in the Capitol Annex, down in the basement, and we're getting settled in,” Kuempel said. “The Capitol Preservation Society's been in and hung stuff on the walls because they won't let us hang stuff.”
Kuempel's devoting a lot of hours to studying issues and learning about bills likely to be filed after the legislature convenes today, when he joins 39 other new legislators as the largest freshman class to join the legislature in 38 years.
Tuesday, both houses will convene with ceremonial swearings of members.
Texas lawmakers will have a revenue shortfall of at least $15 billion for general-purpose spending for the next two-year budget compared to current state spending, according to figures released Monday.
Some analysts say the true shortfall could be much higher — closer to $27 billion — if lawmakers intend to maintain spending at current levels and still pay for enrollment growth in public schools and on Medicaid rolls, cost increases and other variables.
Also on the table this session will be bills regarding display of the 10 Commandments, the question of whether to ban cell phones in cars, a raft of immigration reform and voter identification measures and a proposal to make English the official state language.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bad weather grounds AirLIFE flight CLARIFICATION
Poor weather canceled an AirLIFE flight Saturday around 10 p.m.
The New Braunfels Fire Department responded to a single-vehicle accident where a car struck a telephone pole in the 300 block of North Liberty Avenue.
The patient was extricated
■ - w*
by the NBFD.
“We attempted to AirLIFE them to University Hospital in San Antonio but AirLIFE had to scrub the mission due to weather, which forced us to ground transport,” said Fire Marshal Patrick O’Connell.
—J. Louise Larson
Won a Spurs ticket package to the 1
1 Jan, 9th game against the
A birth annoucement for one twin was not included along with her signing in the Sunday, Jan. 9, edition. Bom at Christus Santa Rosa — New Braunfels to:
♦ Derek and Paige Bird at 9:58 a.m., Dec. 18,2010, a daughter, Isabelle Cecilia Bird, 5 lbs. 6 oz. Granddaughter of Michael and Debbie Flume and Gary and Margaret Ann Bird.
♦ Derek and Paige Bird at 10 a.m., Dec. 18,2010, a daughter, Sophia Elizabeth Bird, 7 lbs. 2 oz. Granddaughter of Michael and Debbie Flume and Gary and Margaret Ann Bird.
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